Easter is my FAAAAAV-OOO-RIIIITE holiday! So every year I have a classic southern Easter dinner for my surrogate family of friends here in Los Angeles. It’s a wonderful way to remember my roots and to honor the legacy of ladylike entertaining that my Nanny and Mother have taught me.
Friday was a busy day spent making lists, shopping and preparing the kitchen for a weekend of cooking and baking!
As a child, I was fascinated with a Bunny cake that my mother made for my brother years before I was born. I always felt like I missed out on it by being born 7 years later. I used to just stare at that picture. It’s probably one of the reasons I fell in love with baking so much.
I have been wanting to try to make it for years and decided that this was my chance!
I baked it on Saturday and was THRILLED with the results!
Easter Sunday started with a Make-it-Work moment! To accommodate seating for 15, my catering & part prep helper from TaskRabbit – Jennifer – and I brought in the table from outside. Once in, we realized that we needed to make the coffee table the same height as the other two garden tables. So improvise we must! And we did! With beautiful results!
Cookbooks, tabletop books and magazines under the legs made the tables equal height. Yay! Seating for 15!!
Easter-inspired floral arrangements were put together in a jiffy using the charming candies of Easter. Layering pastel M&Ms with pastel peeps and setting a smaller vase (or glass) inside a larger one created the perfect Easter centerpieces!
So what was the finger-licking lineup for Easter dinner this year?
*We had to start with a signature Easter cocktail, of course! This year – in continuing with the Blackberry theme for Easter – was The Blackberry Bunny! It was refreshing with champagne, cream of blackberry liqueur and Trader Joe’s Blackberry Crush juice topped off with a blackberry and sprig of mint!
I asked my friends to bring vegetables, salads, appetizers and wine since I had the starches and fats covered!
So Hope tossed together a cheery Chicken Lentil Salad. Vanessa brought a scrumptious Strawberry & Avocado Kale Salad. Dave manned some beautiful Bacon-wrapped-Goat Cheese-stuffed-Dates. Jennie put together some primo Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. Jose and Lindsey had us set on vino and Amy and Dave brought champagne. And my sweet friend Rebecca – in town from Chicago shooting a pilot – brought 3 bunches of BEAUTIFUL tulips!
Here are the dishes I just had to have because no southern Easter dinner would be complete without ’em!
*Delightful Deviled Eggs (mayo, cream cheese, tabasco, lemon juice, yellow mustard, dijon mustard, sweet relish & cornichons)
*Southern Pea Salad (peas, sour cream, mayo, worcestershire sauce, cheddar and onions)
*Cowboy Creamed Corn (buttermilk, corn, diced chiles and cream cheese)
*Cheddar Green Bean Casserole (green beans, cheddar, buttermilk, sour cream, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup and French’s Fried Cheddar Onion Rings)
*Texas Ranch House Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (buttermilk, Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning, cream cheese and sour cream)
My favorite dish had to be my Nanny’s Lime Green Jello Salad (lime jello, cream cheese, pineapple and pecans). I used her original jello mold to create it. It even still has her “HAYES” label on it from when she used to take it to church functions! I was thrilled when it came out perfectly. The mold has interchangeable designs that imprint into the mold depending on the holiday. Easter’s design is a tulip!
And the Dessert Table reminded me of old church socials at my grandparents’ church in Albany, Oklahoma:
*Chocolate Bunny Cream Pie with Homemade Salted Buttermilk Crust – there wasn’t a crumb left!
*Nanny’s Favorite Pineapple Cream Meringue Pie with Salted Buttermilk Crust – my meringue came out beautifully but the inside was a little runny. Oh well! It still tasted divine!
Sour Cream Chocolate Easter Basket Cupcakes with Sweet Cream Cup Frosting – these are such an easy treat to make for Easter! I love making them for my friends, neighbors and agents!
Bernie The Bunny Cake (coconut cream cake with coconut cream buttercream frosting)
And no southern affair would be complete without sweet tea!
These are the beautiful faces I got to look at all afternoon!
This was my favorite Easter yet! I couldn’t have picked a better group of friends to share this precious day with me. And as I gave the toast right before we dug in, I could feel my Nanny there with us! She would’ve been proud…well, except for the Pineapple cream pie.