Tags Posts tagged with "Easter"


METRO photo

By Warren Strugatch

Warren Strugatch

This past Easter Sunday was my first without my wife Cindy. On the little dining room table that she brought home from Europe, beneath the candy-colored mini-chandelier acquired on the same trip, I set a holiday table. I reheated crab cakes, stirred up some homemade hollandaise, and sat down to a tasty, albeit solitary, meal.  

I celebrated Easter remembering how Cindy made it festive. She made every holiday festive, none more so than Christmas. She celebrated to the max: decorating, cooking, doling out family tales about her resourceful, hard-toiling immigrant ancestors from England, Holland, Germany, and Ireland. 

I come from a Jewish family with roots in Poland and Belarus; Easter and Christmas were terra incognita. I offered immigrant stories too, plus treats like halvah and matzo brei. Of gefilte fish, the less said the better. 

On Easter, Cindy baked ham, broiled asparagus, boiled potatoes, and prepared quiche. The ham she shared with her mother, Patricia, who had come to live with us in Stony Brook. The quiche, the designated vegetarian plate, was for me. The asparagus was for all. I made matzo brei, the traditional egg and matzo casserole.

The memories of those meals and other occasions warm my heart. My beautiful wife died of leukemia in February. Her mother passed away a year earlier from heart disease. I’ve inherited many of their rituals, including Easter brunch and Christmas celebrations. Now they’re my traditions, too.

My mother-in-law Patricia Slattery, who went by Pat, grew up in the fifties on a farm in Huntington. She got a job working for lawyers while still in high school, surprising her parents. She married Larry Smith, a Navy vet returning from the Korean war, and the couple settled in Smithtown. In a way it was a homecoming, as Larry claimed descent from Smithtown founder Richard “Bull” Smith.  

He opened an auto repair shop. She stayed home to raise Cindy and her younger brother Lawrence, then went to work full-time in the 1980s. In the mid-2000s her car was hit from behind while she drove home from work. Pat suffered a stroke, never walked again, and spoke only with much effort.

Soon thereafter, Pat moved in. With nothing said out loud, Cindy became keeper of the Smith legacy. Her family’s approach to holiday celebrations was revelatory. As for me, I grew up in the Bronx and then Westchester, my home resembling a Larry David script co-written with Billy Crystal. You want a holiday? Come for Festivus. We’ll show you how to share grievances! Billy’s six Jewish relatives, hopping from photo album to photo album, alighted on ours. Hey, that’s Uncle Morty!

As Passover often coincides with Easter, Cindy took elements of one holiday and incorporated them into the other. Our first hybrid celebration almost didn’t happen. Cindy, an event planner par excellence, asked me to collect what was needed a week ahead of time. I dug into the boxes I brought from my previous life and found a menorah. What about the matzo? Well, the store was out.

Cindy: “Go find a store and buy matzo. What are you waiting for?”

I went, I shopped, I couldn’t find. The Passover shopping season was over.  Returning to Stony Brook, I opened the front door to the scent of baked ham and cooked matzo. Cindy must have hidden a box and found a recipe online.

“Happy Passover,” she said.

Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media


Visitors to Stony Brook Village this week will be treated to a beautiful lawn display on Christian Avenue. The approximately 15-foot cascading scene with large Easter eggs, bunnies and chicks is an annual event that brings a smile to all who drive by.  Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

Send your Photo of the Week to [email protected]


by -
0 642

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


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


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


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


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?

by -
0 1098
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.

by -
0 1922

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.

by -
0 2138
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


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


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


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.