Tags Posts tagged with "Easter"

Easter

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Here comes Peter Cottontail … 

On Sunday, April 4, Barbara Ransome, director of operations with the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, dressed up in her Easter Bunny costume to hand out treats and take photos with passerbyers for the holiday.

Over the past 25 years, Ransome has played the role, carrying a basket full of candy — and carrots for herself — throughout Main Street.

From 11 a.m. until the late afternoon, Ransome visited the local shops to say hello, and took pictures with several families. 

“We’re hoping next year we can have our parade and egg hunt,” she said, “But in the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to spread some cheer.”

Last year, the holiday events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year was the same but that didn’t stop people from snapping a selfie with Ransome, or a quick group photo with the local Easter Bunny.

Bunny Butt Cake

(Culinary.net) Warmer days at the start of spring mean Easter is almost here, and the big bunny himself will be hopping around in no time delivering goodies.

This Easter, celebrate with your loved ones with a delicious and colorful Easter Bunny Butt Cake. It can bring smiles and laughter while putting everyone in a light, joyful mood.

This cake is fun and bright with a fluffy, moist interior. Complete with chocolate candy eggs, shredded coconut and chocolate chips for little bunny toes, this recipe goes all out to paint a picture of the Easter bunny. This cake is worth every step. It’s delicious and as cute as can be, plus it’s perfect for dessert after a big Easter dinner.

Easter Bunny Butt Cake

Yield: Servings: 10-12

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

2 eggs, plus 4 egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup cream of coconut

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

2 teaspoons coconut extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Buttercream Frosting:

3  cups powdered sugar

2   sticks unsalted butter, softened

3   tablespoons milk

1   teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2  teaspoon coconut extract

 

4 thin pretzel sticks

1 bag (10 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut

8 drops green food coloring

2 large round chocolate candy melts

6 chocolate chips

mini candy-coated chocolate eggs, for garnish

Directions

Heat oven to 325 F.

Line muffin pan with four paper liners. Spray oven-safe glass bowl with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites, cream of coconut, pineapple, coconut extract and vanilla extract until combined.

In food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Pulse until combined. Add remaining butter. Pulse until coarse meal forms.

In large mixing bowl, add coarse flour butter meal. Add half of egg mixture. Beat 1-2 minutes. Add remaining egg mixture; beat until combined.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until done. Cool completely.

Pour remaining batter into prepared oven-safe bowl. Bake 1 hour, 40 minutes, or until done. Cool completely.

To make buttercream frosting: In large bowl, add powdered sugar and butter; beat until fluffy. Add milk, vanilla extract and coconut extract; beat until creamy.

Turn bowl upside-down on cake stand until cake removes from bowl. If cake needs leveled, turn cake over and trim to flatten. Frost cake.

Remove wrappers from cupcakes. Using two pretzel sticks, press into base of cupcakes

and anchor to bottom rim of bowl cake to create bunny feet. Frost feet.

Take third cupcake and cut muffin top off. Cut muffin top in half. Using one pretzel stick, anchor one muffin top half at bottom of full cupcake to form toes. Repeat with second muffin top half for other foot. Frost toes.

Attach final cupcake with remaining pretzel stick to butt area of cake to make tail. Frost tail.

Apply 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut all over cake. Press chocolate candy melts into bottoms of bunny feet to resemble foot pads. Add chocolate chips to resemble pads for toes.

Place remaining coconut in plastic bag. Add green food coloring. Toss in bag until coconut is colored. Spread around base of cake for grass. Decorate grass with chocolate eggs.

Tips: Spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level off excess. Scooping directly from bag compacts flour, resulting in dry baked goods. Add 1 tablespoon additional milk if frosting is too stiff. Keep adding until desired consistency.

Photo by Drew Biondo

Looking for a fun dessert to brighten up your holiday table this weekend? Why not go old school and make this blast from the past bunny cake? We printed this recipe back in 2016 but our readers had so much fun making it we thought we’d bring it back for an encore. Not only is this cake easy to make and delicious, but it is also fun for kids as they can help decorate and bring out their creative side. 

Devil’s Food Bunny Cake

INGREDIENTS:

1 and 3/4 cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

white frosting (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 bag sweetened coconut flakes

red food coloring

assorted jellybeans

pink gel frosting

DIRECTIONS:

Sift the flour with soda, salt and sugar. Soften the butter. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup milk to the butter. Mix to dampen flour and then beat for two minutes at medium speed. Add the vanilla, eggs, chocolate and 1/4 cup milk. Beat 1 minute longer. Pour the batter into two 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with paper. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove and cool on racks. 

Cut one cake into 3 parts, making two ears and a bow tie (see diagram). Assemble the other cake as the head. Frost the entire cake. Line the inside of the ears with pink gel frosting. Tint 1/4 cup coconut with red food coloring to make it pink. 

Sprinkle pink coconut in the centers of the ears and in the mouth area. Sprinkle white coconut over the rest of the cake. Use black jelly beans for the eyes and nose and assorted jelly beans on the tie. As a grand finale, add three whiskers on each side of the mouth with pink gel frosting.

Now who wants some cake?

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Kids celebrate the first annual Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce Easter egg hunt April 6. Photo by Kevin Redding

The Rocky Point-Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce broke the cold day doldrums of early spring, with the new chamber’s Easter Egg Hunt April 6.

Hundreds of kids came out with baskets in hand to hunt for the brightly colored eggs, and a few lucky children who found the silver and golden eggs won special prizes in the form of gift baskets.

All photos by Kevin Redding.

The Easter Bunny and his friend Li’l Chick invite children of all ages to join them in the Vanderbilt Rose Garden at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport for an egg hunt, petting zoo, bubble machine and light fare (coffee, juice, goodies) on Saturday, April 20.

Three times are available: 9 a.m., which includes a special planetarium show, “One World, One Sky,” starring Big and Elmo (great for toddlers); and 10 or 11 a.m., which includes the planetarium show, “Earth, Moon, and Sun.” Children are encouraged to bring their Easter baskets and bonnets.

Tickets are $25 adults, $20 children. Adults $25; members $20; children nonmembers $20. Seating is limited. Preregistration is required at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org. For more information, please call 854-5579.

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Hundreds of children and their families turned out to participate in the St. James Chamber of Commerce’s annual Easter egg hunt at Deepwell Farms. The race was on to collect multi-colored plastic eggs filled with candy from the lawn. Afterwards, children and their families had the opportunity to take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

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Representatives from Kilwins chocolate shop and Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen with a 22-lb., 3-foot-tall chocolate Easter bunny. Photo by Alex Petroski

Easter was a little sweeter this year for guests of Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen thanks to a donation from a Port Jefferson chocolate shop.

Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen in Port Jefferson serves a hot, fresh meal homemade by volunteers at several area churches free of charge for those in need on a daily basis, and for patrons who stopped in to First Presbyterian Church on Main Street March 30 for dinner, a stunning visual awaited for dessert.

Brian and Christine Viscount, owners of the Kilwins location on Main Street in Port Jeff, elected to take an offering from the company’s corporate headquarters to commemorate Easter. For the last two weeks the store has been displaying a 3-foot-tall, 22-lb. milk chocolate Easter bunny behind Plexiglas which it donated to the soup kitchen for guests to take home on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

“We knew we wanted to have the bunny in our store because it gives the store that ‘Wow’ effect, but we wanted to do something special with it afterwards,” Christine Viscount said. “We were trying to think of a charitable way to use the bunny, and we spoke with the mayor’s office actually and they gave us some ideas. When we heard about the soup kitchen we said what better way for a lot of people to enjoy the chocolate. No one family needs 22 pounds. We thought this would be the perfect fit.”

A 3-foot-tall, 22-lb. chocolate bunny from Kilwins chocolate shop on display at Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen. Photo by Alex Petroski

The solid chocolate bunny was displayed whole for guests to admire during dinner, then broken into pieces by the Viscounts before being bagged up and sent home with the guests as an Easter treat. It was made in the Kilwins kitchen in Petoskey, Michigan using the company’s truffle chocolate and a giant bunny mold.

“The guests were so pleased with the fun of having this huge bunny on site as they entered the dining room,” Marge Tumilowicz, president of Welcome Friends, said in an email after the meal. “Everyone was thrilled to take home the full gift bags. Welcome Friends thanks our new neighbors from Kilwins for their kindness, generosity and community spirit.”

Lorraine Kutzing, a co-coordinator at the soup kitchen who was on hand helping volunteers March 30, said seeing the bunny and taking home the chocolate made the day special for guests.

“For a lot of them, they probably won’t be getting a lot of chocolate for this holiday, so at least we’re able to give them a taste of something that’s really good,” she said. “It just means a lot that the community backs us the way they do to do something like this, to provide for those less fortunate, I think that’s wonderful.”

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

By Barbara Beltrami

Spring is here, or is it? As I sit here writing this a week before publication and approximately two weeks before the holidays, the third snowstorm in two weeks is swirling outside my window. The calendar says spring started on March 20, but right now it’s hard to take that seriously. Anyway, think positively with me and read on.

This year, as so often happens, Easter and Passover fall at the same time. No matter which holiday we observe, it is a signal to officially welcome spring. Out with the old dried up winter floral arrangements, in with pussy willows and daffodils. Out with hearty stews and soups and root veggies; in with asparagus, tender young greens and tiny new potatoes.

And while each holiday has its own religious and traditional observations, many dishes prepared for the feasts have a lot in common. For Passover, eggs are used in abundance to replace the forbidden leavening; for Easter, eggs from the eponymous bunny find their way into many creative dishes. Clear broths served with matzo balls, thin noodles or tortellini usher in the holiday meal, and light fluffy cakes made with flour or matzo meal and egg whites offer a grand finale.

So set your table with daffodils, roast a leg of lamb or a ham and those tiny new potatoes, prepare a bunch of asparagus and perhaps a baby arugula and mache salad and whip up a feather-light spring-y (pun intended) cake. (Next week I’ll give you a recipe or two for those cakes.)

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and washed

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and lay asparagus in it. In a small bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and brown sugar. Being sure to coat all the spears, gently toss the asparagus with the balsamic mixture. Bake, gently tossing again once or twice, for 10 to 20 minutes, until asparagus are tender. Remove to platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot, warm or at room temperature with roasted meat or fowl and potatoes.

Roasted Baby Potatoes and Carrots with Shallots

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds baby potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled

1 pound baby carrots, washed and trimmed, if necessary

2 shallot bulbs, peeled and separated into cloves

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

One handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, de-stemmed and finely chopped

Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl toss all the ingredients together, then place in a large shallow baking dish and put in oven. Turning occasionally with a spatula, roast 30 to 45 minutes until carrots are tender and potatoes are crisp on the outside. Serve immediately with roasted meat or fowl.

Baby Arugula, Mache and Green Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry

3 cups mache, washed and patted dry

1½ cups green seedless grapes, washed and patted dry, then halved lengthwise

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon prepared mustard

1 garlic clove, bruised

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a large salad bowl, toss arugula, mache and grapes together. If using within an hour, do not refrigerate; otherwise cover and refrigerate until one hour before use. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Remove garlic clove before dressing salad. When ready to serve and not before, toss the mixture with the greens and grapes and serve immediately with roasted meat or fowl or as an appetizer.

 

 

Northport Village and St. James residents were ready for the Easter Bunny this year, as families and children of all ages came to hunt for eggs, take pictures with the Easter Bunny and play Easter-themed games.

By Ellen Barcel

You may have seen ornamental pepper plants in the stores this time of year. NuMex Easter Ornamental Pepper (Capsicum anuum) is a neat plant for Easter decorating. The plant look like a bouquet of peppers above the dense greenery. This is a small plant, generally about 8 inches high and 10 inches wide, making it ideal as a hostess gift or a table centerpiece. It produces beautifully colored ornamental peppers (purple, cream, yellow and orange).

Yes, it can be grown from seed, but you won’t have a plant ready for this Easter. The ornamental pepper blooms and produces peppers all summer long, maturing in 72 days. While there are many varieties of peppers that are available as heirloom plants, the NuMex Easter is a hybrid. Can you save the seeds to grow in future? You can try it, but as with all hybrids, it’s unlikely that the plants will breed true. Buy the hybrid seeds if you want to grow this one in your garden or the plants from a nursery.

The name Easter pepper came from the pastel color of the peppers when they first appear on the plant. The plant was bred by the New Mexico State University’s Chili Pepper Institute — it also developed a Valentine’s Day pepper (red and white), a St. Patrick’s Day pepper (green) and a Halloween pepper (orange and black) among many others.

This is a great plant for Long Island considering it tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Tiny white flowers form first on the plant to be followed by the brightly colored peppers. Tidy up the plant periodically by removing old, dried peppers and there’s more of a chance of new peppers forming.

Like tomatoes, a close relative, pepper plants like sun. A soil pH of 6.0 or above provides optimal growing conditions, so yes, you probably need to lime your soil if growing them in the ground. If you are growing your peppers in a container and you’ve bought it already growing, the soil is probably just fine.

Is the Easter pepper edible? Different authorities have different opinions. Some say it’s purely an ornamental plant with taste varying from plant to plant. Other authorities, including the NMU say yes, it is edible but extremely hot. In any event, do not consume peppers from the plants grown commercially as ornamentals because you won’t know what kind of chemicals have been used on them.

This is also true of plants like potato vines. Yes, you sometimes get sweet potatoes from the vines in fall, but again, you don’t know what chemicals have been used by the grower, since they are not intended for human consumption. If you want peppers, or sweet potatoes, to eat, select varieties and plants that are grown specifically for human consumption. Besides unwanted chemicals, these plants have been selected for various qualities like taste, time to maturity, keeping quality and highest yield.

The NuMex Easter pepper plants are not frost tolerant, so, if growing them outdoors over the summer, you need to either treat them as an annual or bring them indoors for the winter. According to NMU, chili plants grown indoors in a sunny location and given optimal care can last for 10 or more years.

The plants are available locally usually where ornamental or house plants are sold. Seeds are available from a number of growers, but the seeds of this ornamental as well as many others developed at NMU are available from the Chili Pepper Institute itself (www.chile.nmsu.edu).

Looking for other Easter plants? Consider the Easter cactus — similar to the Christmas cactus but it blooms in spring — as well as a pot of spring flowering bulbs for this time of year. Remember, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats. So, if you have cats either don’t bring Easter lilies into the house or make sure that the plants are in a room that the cats can’t get into. Not only is the plant toxic but the water that the cut flowers are in can be dangerous for them as well. Happy spring!

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.