Happy Easter! Here are a few recipes to help make the day special. Brunch can be a special occasion for both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter! Here are a few recipes to help make the day special. Brunch can be a special occasion for both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.



Citrus Fruit Salad

Cut fruits into 1/2 inch slices cut crosswise, after peeling fruits, following the natural curve of the fruit and seeding them, remove any extra pith.

2 Ruby red grapefruit

2 Navel oranges

3 Tangerines

2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons champagne vinegar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 Can pineapple rings, drained, juice reserved

Maraschino stemmed cherries, for garnish

To easily slice citrus fruits use a very sharp paring knife. Cleanly slice off about 1/4 inch from the top and bottom of the fruit, then slice peel and pith from the fruit sides following the natural curve of the fruit, removing as much white pith as possible. Lay the fruit on its side and carefully cut into 1/2 inch slices crosswise.

Arrange fruit slices on a serving platter in a decorative design, overlapping slices. Place pineapple slices to make platter look pretty. Place stemmed cherries in the center of the slices.

In a small bowl or cup stir together vinegar, olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice, salt and black pepper, to taste, if desired. Drizzle this mixture over fruit slices then lightly sprinkle slices with chopped cilantro.

Cook’s note: Replace pineapple slices and cherries with peeled Kiwi slices, if desired.


Deep Dish Ham and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

This quiche takes longer to bake than other quiches, about 2 hours.

1 prepared refrigerated pie crust, room temperature

4 slices crisply cooked bacon, finely crumbled

3 tablespoons EVOO, olive oil

2 large Vidalia onions or sweet onions, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups smoked, cooked ham, cut into small bite size pieces

8 Large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten

1 quart heavy cream or half and half

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Lay refrigerated pie crust inside a 9-inch springform pan. Press the dough firmly into the bottom and up the side. Press finely crumbled bacon pieces into bottom and sides of pie crust. Put pan on a sturdy baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fill.

In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Add onions, slowly cook until they caramelize, about 30 minutes. Toss in ham pieces, sauté, stirring, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl whisk together eggs until frothy. Whisk in cream, add salt and black pepper, to taste. Arrange cooked onions and ham in the bottom of crust and slowly pour in egg mixture; filling should be about 1/2 inch from the top. Keep quiche on sturdy baking sheet. Cover loosely with foil and bake for one hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until quiche is set but jiggles slightly, about 30 more minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Loosen the quiche from the pan with a thin metal spatula, then remove the outside ring. Transfer quiche to a serving plate and cut into wedges.


Strawberry and Nutella Crepes

Makes 16 crepes.

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 Teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt


Strawberries, sliced, or banana slices

Confectioners’ sugar

Cocoa powder

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, almond extract, cornstarch, flour, oil, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium high heat until hot. With a 1/4 cup measure add batter to hot skillet. Tilt and rotate skillet to coat with batter. Cook for about 30 seconds or until crepe is browned on bottom and edges are dry. Lift with a spatula and flip over. Cook for 5-6 seconds, then transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking crepes with wax paper in between. Spread with Nutella and top with sliced strawberries or banana slices on top. Fold over then dust with a mixture of confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder.


Vegetable Bow Tie Salad

1/2 English seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch slices, then cut in half crosswise

1 Medium yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, cut into slices

1 Medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, cut into slices

1 Sweet red bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces

4 Cups fresh broccoli florets

1 Medium Vidalia or sweet onion, finely chopped

1 Bottle salad dressing, about 1/2 cup

4 1/2 uncooked cups bow tie pasta

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large salad bowl toss together cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, red pepper, broccoli, and chopped onion, mix well.

Cook bow ties according to package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Add to vegetable mixture tossing and blend well. Drizzle salad dressing over salad mixture, toss to coat evenly.


Lemon Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

3/4 Cup butter at room temperature

1 1/2 Cups ricotta cheese

1/4 Cup sour cream

1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar

3 Large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon lemon zest

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With butter grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom to fit, butter entire surface, set aside.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.

In another bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter, ricotta cheese, sour cream, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add beaten eggs and blend until well combined. Mix in lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until blended.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake

begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes then turn out on wire rack and cool completely. Peel off parchment paper.

Dust with confectioners sugar before slicing, if desired.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.