Another successful Easter Dinner has come and gone. We’re up to 16 for the immediate East Coast family. It’s not nearly as crazy as my West Coast family – we’re up to 40-something out there – but it’s crazy in its own right. And fun.

Our 2-year old great nephew has a couple of food allergies, so I decided to make a completely inclusive dinner for him – no dairy, nuts, or eggs. Being that I am the butter and egg and cream and nut king of the forest, it was a completely different mindset for me – but we pulled it off without a hitch. We did cheat with the hors d’oeuvres, a bit, though. Uncle Rudy’s Easter Pie is mandatory, and I did a spin on Little Gram’s Eggplant Appetizer and put cheese it it. Otherwise… we kept to the plan.

I’m pretty yeah, whatever, to food preferences. People don’t like this or don’t eat that… well… that’s your choice. This is what we’re having, eat or don’t eat as you see fit. No hard feelings. Your choice. Food allergies are different. It’s not a choice. And if something is going to make you sick, I’m really going to try really hard not to feed it to you. Especially if you’re two.

Besides lots of inclusive foods, there were plenty of spirits not suitable for two-year olds… Tom brought his homemade wine and Joanna had a new cocktail. Some thing with fig vodka…


I have to admit that, while I love figs, the thought of a fig vodka is pretty rough. But, hey… I wasn’t drinking the things…


Victor made the Easter Pie – A pizza rustica – in a springform pan, this year – and did a lattice top crust. It was stellar. I did a variation on Little Gram’s Eggplant Appetizer and it was pretty good, as well.



I also baked off a loaf of sourdough bread and made a couple dozen sourdough rolls. I didn’t get a picture of the loaf of bread, but here are the rolls…


The recipe is from my Mom’s Cook Book. She made this all the time back when we were kids. It’s good stuff and the starter just gets better as it ages…

And Victor also made Rice Balls. These are really, really good!


This is a recipe that has really morphed over the years… The basic is a risotto that has cooled, then rolled into balls, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried. Victor usually sprays them with olive oil and bakes them off in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Leftover risotto will work just fine. They really are good.

First thing out of the oven was the ham. We got it from Robertson’s Ham in Oklahoma. Yep. Oklahoma. We got a whole ham – not spiral cut and not honey-glazed. Moist, tender, and full of flavor. We first heard of them when our friend Ann sent us one as a gift. They’re just a damned good ham. Period. I also picked up a smoked turkey breast while I was at it. Both are going to make some fine sandwiches.


And the bones are going to make some awesome beans and soup.

And while I didn’t glaze the ham, I did have a sauce for it – Cranberry Mustard Sauce.


Dijon mustard mixed into canned whole berry cranberry sauce. Pretty simple but it packs a flavor wallop!

We had plenty of sides to go along with the ham and turkey. First up was a Mango and Red Onion Salad. I’ve made a lot of variations of this over the years. This one worked really well today!


Mango and Red Onion Salad

  • 1 bag frozen mango chunks, thawed
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Peel and halve the onion. Slice into paper-thin half moons. Gently toss the mango and red onion.

Whisk the vinegar, juice, mustard, zest, and spices together in a bowl. Slowly whisk the oil in until emulsified.

Pour over mango and onions and mix, coating everything with dressing.

Next up was a Shredded Carrot and Raisin Salad. I shredded rainbow carrots on my trusty mandoline and added orange juice, raisins, chopped apricot, pomegranate molasses, a bit of sherry vinegar and a good drizzle of good olive oil.


I have to admit it came out pretty good.

Roasted potatoes came up next…


They were merely quartered, rubbed with olive oil and a ton of garlic, and popped into a 425° oven for 40 minutes. The asparagus was oven-roasted, as well.


It was also drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic powder, salt and pepper and roasted in the same oven for 20 minutes. I finished it off with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Really simple, lots of flavor. No butter!

The no-dairy concept was broken by Marie who brought her Pineapple Dressing 


and an Orzo Salad with Feta.


Both were totally delish. Miles doesn’t know what he’s missing, right now, but I really hope he outgrows the dairy allergy soon, because it would be a shame to go through life not tasting his grandmother’s pineapple dish. She only makes it at Easter. It’s a rule.

We also celebrated three birthdays – including a sweet 16.


The cake was made without dairy or nuts – or eggs – and actually was really good. I let his mom make that and I stuck with rum balls and fresh fruit for my contribution to the sweet table.


I made a lot of rum balls for my brother-in-law… The guy knows how to make them last.



And Re-Re also made cookies… Not Miles-Friendly, but, hey… He’s two. He doesn’t need all this stuff, anyway!



Some chocolate-dipped strawberries and jelly beans finished it off…



The jelly beans were allergen-free.



The dishes are done, the tables put back, chairs back downstairs, leftovers wrapped and it’s time to sit back and relax.

Happy Easter!