Golfer’s Oven Roasted Asparagus

asparagus plated *

Happy Fourth of July! I feel like I should be posting a meaty, grill-type recipe on this day that is famous for barbecues and hamburgers, etc. Instead, I’m going to give you a recipe for asparagus. Not very Fourth of July. I apologize. It almost seems sacrilegious, but you’ll thank me for this simple, tasty way to prepare this seasonal and local vegetable.

This recipe was given to me on the golf course by a dear friend. Even on the golf course, I just can’t stop myself from thinking about different ways to prepare food. I know I should be concentrating on my game ( and believe me, I really should be concentrating) , but I always end up talking about food in some way or another every time I’m on the course, especially with this aforementioned dear friend.   We talk about restaurants, dinner parties, our mother’s recipes, anything at all related to food. One day, between the 9th and 10th hole, she told me this fabulous way to make asparagus. I wrote it on the back of a scorecard, and this is the only way I make asparagus now. It doesn’t get any easier or tastier.

This will make a very nice side dish to anything you might be grilling this summer, especially if you’re just coming off the golf course and want to serve something tasty and quick with a nice presentation.  Fore!

RECIPE:

2 bunches of asparagus

5 TBSP of olive oil

2 tsp sea salt ( or any really, good salt)  I’m loving Celtic Sea Salt.  It really adds to the flavor.

freshly ground pepper to taste.  I use about a teaspoon.

1/4 cup of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  After preparing the asparagus by washing and cutting off the tough ends, dry well and spread out on a baking sheet.

3.  First sprinkle the salt and pepper over the asparagus.  Then drizzle the oil.

4.  Toss well to coat with the oil and salt and pepper.  I use my hands to do this.

4.  Put in oven for about 7 or 8 minutes.  Then shake the pan to slightly turn the asparagus.  Cook another 10 minutes or so, checking every so often (maybe give another shake) for desired doneness.  This timing will definitely depend on the size of your asparagus spears.  The very thin ones will take less time, and the thick ones will need more time.  Also, I like crunch in my asparagus.  You might like them more well done.

5.  Arrange on plate while still hot.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese, using more or less according to your preference.

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Ann & Bev’s (Noodle) Pastiera

pastiera plated ***

If you were to look up “pastiera” in any Italian cookbook, the recipe would most likely be translated as “ricotta and grain pie.” But if there is one thing I’ve learned about Italian cooking, it’s that these names vary from family to family.   In my long- time, dear friend’s family, “pastiera” meant something completely different.   Yes, there is ricotta and eggs and sugar in the recipe, but the similarity stops there. There is no crust; there is no grain. There are noodles, of all things. Also there are eggs, ricotta, sugar, butter, vanilla and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It sounds like such a strange combination, doesn’t it? But I can tell you that heaven awaits you.

I hadn’t had this dish since I was a young girl in the 1950s and 60s. My friend’s mom, Ann (you’ve met her in several other recipe posts), would make this quite often, as she was quite the baker, and she would give it to us as an after school snack. Or if you were lucky enough to be sick, Ann would probably bring this to your home to heal you, as it was  considered to be very nourishing. I actually had forgotten about this pastiera until about 5 years ago, when my friend made it for me when I broke my knee. One bite, and the memories flooded back to me. It is amazing how a certain taste can bring you back in time.

I’m just not sure exactly when you should serve this dish. Is it dessert? It’s rather heavy for after a meal.  It does make for a delicious brunch, or even lunch. Actually, Ann was right….it is a perfect after school snack.  That’s what I tell myself in the afternoon, when I sit down to a delicious, nostalgic piece!

RECIPE:

1 pound fine egg noodles

9 eggs

1 1/2 pounds of ricotta

1 stick (1/4 pound) butter

2 cups sugar ( you can use a little less if desired)

1 TBSP vanilla

1 or 2 handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Grease a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan.

3.  Beat eggs, then add sugar.  Beat well.

4.  Add ricotta and mix until smooth.

5.  Meanwhile boil noodles.  Drain and put in a large bowl.

6.  Add the butter to the hot noodles and mix until melted.

7.  Add the vanilla and grated cheese. Mix again.

8.  Add the ricotta mixture and mix until well blended.

9.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake in the oven for one hour or until the top is golden brown and set in the middle.

10. Cool before serving.  I like it slightly warm.  It can be frozen, but I doubt you’ll have any left.

pastiera ingredients

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Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

spaghetti squash tomato:basil bowl

I wish I could say to you that this recipe for spaghetti squash with tomatoes will taste just as delicious as a dish of regular spaghetti, but I can’t.   It’s just not so. I do have to laugh whenever I hear people say that you won’t miss pasta once you’ve tried this low carb alternative. While this is absolutely delicious ( what wouldn’t be with a delicious sauce of fresh tomatoes and basil ), it is not ever going to replace real 100% semolina pasta as far as I’m concerned. However, it does make an absolutely delicious side dish that I think you will truly enjoy. I am always looking for some lower carb side dishes just like everyone else. I’ll save my carb calories for a large dish of real pasta, thank you very much

I’ve had a lot of fun with this vegetable, trying to come up with the sauce that I think is most compatible with this light tasting, spaghetti shaped vegetable. Do let your imagination run wild a bit. I would say that almost any sauce that you enjoy on pasta, would taste delicious on this squash. You just want to be careful not to over- sauce it, as the strands of the squash are delicate. I’ve chosen my cherry tomato and basil sauce (which you can also find in the archives ) because I feel it is a light sauce with an aroma that blends well with the spaghetti squash. On another occasion, I added a bit of sliced zucchini to the skillet of tomatoes, and that also worked marvelously. I love that sauce with this as well.  I’ve included both recipes.

I’ll also explain two ways to cook the squash. One way is in the oven, and the other is in the microwave. I was afraid to use the microwave at first , as I had read that it might explode…and what a mess that would be. But if you pierce the skin, I think the chances of that are quite small. I’ve used the microwave at least 6 times now, and nothing has gone wrong. I hope that’s not a jinx!!

RECIPE:

1 spaghetti squash, about 2 lbs

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large zucchini, sliced thin (if using)

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

4 TBSP olive oil

1 cup of loosely packed basil leaves

sea salt (I’m into Celtic sea salt right now…another story) and pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmigiano cheese

1.  To microwave the squash, I carefully put 1 inch gashes all around the squash…maybe 10 slits in all, and microwave it on high for about 12 minutes.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting it open.

2.  To cook the squash in the oven, preheat to 450 degrees.  Cut the squash in half and place, cut side down in a glass baking dish with 1/2 in water.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Let cool.

3.  While the squash is cooking, using whichever method you prefer, start the sauce.

4.  Put the oil, garlic, tomatoes and sea salt  (and zucchini if using) in a large skillet that will hold the squash as well.  Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The tomatoes ( and zucchini) should be soft.  Add the basil at the end.

5.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, clean out any seeds.  Then using a fork, gently scrape the squash to remove the flesh in long, spaghetti like strands.

6. Place the strands of squash into the skillet with the tomatoes, and gently stir to combine over a low flame.  I like to use tongs with this since it is so delicate.  Place in a serving bowl and add grated parmigiano cheese.

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Alberto’s Barbecued Chicken (Italian Style)

Italian chicken dish 1

A few weeks ago I shared Sandy’s Barbecue Sauce with you, and I hope you’ve tried it by now. I would be remiss if I didn’t give equal time to my husband’s barbecued chicken. Of course, it’s Italian style. Why would it not be? He just has to turn everything, even something as American as barbecued chicken, into something Italian. I will agree that all over Italy (especially the countryside) you will see open fire pits for cooking outdoors. This is indeed very popular in Italy.   His remembrance of this recipe is from his childhood, helping his mother kill a chicken in the backyard, and then marinating it to the get the gamey taste out before cooking it over the outdoor fire (or indoor fireplace, for that matter).   They lived in the countryside, raising animals for food so this of course did not seem grotesque at all for a child.  This was a way of life.

So now, we are after that same fresh, farm raised (no antibiotics, etc.) flavor when we go to the supermarket to purchase chicken for our families.  Local, farm to table certainly is popular now, and with good reason. We want our food as fresh as possible, and we want as pure as possible. We want our chicken to taste like chicken, as we do all our meats and produce. I could go on a real rant right about here, but I’ll refrain. Let me just share with you a wonderful marinade that will make your chicken taste simply delightful and wish you a “buon appetito.”

I have to let you in on his secret, which I just found out the other night. Before putting the chicken on the grill, he bakes it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.   When I caught him in the act, he denied it at first, but I do believe this might be the key to this moist, succulent chicken. Hmm, I wonder if he learned this is Italy. Doubtful!

RECIPE:   serves 4

4 LBS of chicken, either a whole chicken cut in pieces, or pieces of your choice

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

juice of two lemons and another lemon or two.

3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 TBSP oregano

2 TBSP  Kosher salt

2 tsp. black pepper

1.  Put chicken in large pan.  Spread the salt, pepper and oregano all over it.  Pour the lemon juice all over it.

2.  Wait a few minutes to let all these ingredients take hold. Then add  the olive oil, vinegar and garlic,  and turn to coat on all sides.  You can add a little more salt and oregano if desired.

3.  Let the chicken marinate, covered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and of course, the longer the better.

4.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

5.  Now you’re ready to put the chicken on the grill.  Turn often and remember, you don’t have to cook it quite so long since it’s already partially cooked.  When the chicken is done, squeeze more lemon all over and serve.  It’s great right off the grill, but also wonderful at room temperature. Italian chicken ingredientsItalian chiken marinatingItalian chicken dish 1Italian chicken dish 2

Strawberry Shortcake

shortcake dish

Happy Memorial Day! With all the festivities that surround Memorial Day, it sometimes requires a moment to stop and think about the real reason for this holiday. It is not about barbecues and outdoor fun, although that has become a much beloved part of the celebration. First and foremost we are celebrating all those who gave up so much for our country. “Memoriam.” That is what the day really is all about.

Along with this, so many of us think of this day as the beginning of summer, even though summer doesn’t actually arrive until June 20th. Beaches and pools open on this weekend. This is the weekend when most people clean up their barbecue grills, and start the season of outdoor cooking and eating. All the glory and fun of summer seems to begin on this somewhat solemn occasion.   Interesting.

It’s usually around this time that I start to think about what will be my dessert of choice this summer. It’s usually something fruity, using the fruit or berry of the season. It’s also usually something light. So when called upon to bring dessert to a family barbecue, I decided to think back to my youth, and try to remember (not an easy feat for me these days, mind you) some summertime desserts that my mom would make. The first thing that came to my mind was her strawberry shortcake. I decided to search through her recipe folder, and there it was…from the Newark Sunday News, June 4, 1967!

Over the decades, I had made my version of this recipe, and of course there are now so many different variations on this classic. I simply used a boxed cake mix instead of making the cake from scratch. This was the way we (most of us homemakers) rolled in the 80s and 90s, and actually, until recently when this “whole foods” movement became so popular. Now, I’m so much happier baking ( and cooking) with whole ingredients, rather than the time-saving boxed cake mixes. Honestly, it doesn’t take that much more time.

So I decided to go back to my roots, and follow this recipe to the mark, except I don’t use margarine. Back in the 60’s, margarine was thought to be healthier than butter, but we all now know that this is not so. It’s delicious, and it tastes old fashioned, if that’s possible. Or maybe it was the visual of my mom coming out of the kitchen door to the back yard, carrying this dreamy looking desert, in the heat of summer that made me taste those warm summer days of my past.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and are able to enjoy all that summer has to offer.

RECIPE:

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour or cake flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup soft-type butter

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 quart strawberries

1 pint heavy cream  (they use 1 cup, but I’m sorry…no.  Use a whole pint)

1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Mix flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.

2.  Cut in soft-type butter until mixture is like coarse meal.

3.  Make depression  (well) in center.

4.  Beat together the egg and milk, and add to the flour mixture.  Stir until moistened.

5.  Spread in an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan that had been coated with butter.

6.  Bake in 450 degree oven for 17 to 20 minutes.

7.  While the shortcake is baking, hull and slice the strawberries.  Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar and allow to stand.

8.  Whip the heavy cream with the vanilla and 1 TBSP. of sugar.

9.  When shortcake is baked and cooled, turn out of pan and split with a serrated knife.  Spread with 2 TBSP of soft-type butter.

10.  Spoon half the strawberries over the bottom layer.  Then top with the whipped cream and the remainder of the strawberries.***

***NOTE:  this recipe said to spoon the strawberries between and over the top of layers, and then top with whipped cream, but I thought it looked prettier with the strawberries on top.

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Sandy’s Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce dished *

Fire up the grill! Memorial Day is almost here. As we endured this past brutal winter in the northeast, I thought I’d never see my grill again. It was buried under 3 feet of snow and ice for the longest time!   I’d stare out my deck door and yearn to stand out in the sun, grilling over the hot flame. I have to admit, it does look pretty shabby. It really took a beating from the winter elements. However, it still grills to perfection. I tried it out the other day with one of my favorite summer barbecue recipes. Who doesn’t love barbecued chicken??   It just screams “make me for Memorial Day!” It’s so All-American, and is a great way to usher in the summer months.

There certainly are some fabulous bottled barbecue sauces on the market now, but this wasn’t always the case. When my cousin Sandy gave me this recipe for barbecue sauce about 35 years ago (boy does that make me feel old…but it’s true), there were probably only one or two awful choices that were available in the supermarkets.   So putting in a little extra effort to make your own was worth it. Honestly, it’s still worth it.   It’s just better than any sauce in a bottle that I have ever bought. It’s so easy to make, and you can make a double batch to have on hand for the next time.

This sauce is also fabulous on barbecued pork chops, and I can’t even tell you how great it is on ribs! “Finger lickin’ good” is the only way to describe it!

Please note the slightly overcooked (let’s be real and call it burnt) chicken in my pictures.  My husband has been nicknamed “The Killa on the Grilla.”  Need I say more?  But this sauce can make anything taste divine.  And it did.  We were still licking our fingers and smiling.

RECIPE:

1 medium onion, diced

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP. vinegar (any kind will do)

2 TBSP. brown sugar

4 TBSP lemon juice

1 Cup Ketchup

3 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 to 1 TBSp mustard

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Brown the onion in the butter.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.

How easy is this???

** Cousin Sandy added two “hints” on the back of the recipe card that I will share with you.  The first is to make it in advance and heat when ready to use.  And second, make a double batch and freeze half.  I would like to add a third hint, if I may.  Keep a watch on the chicken so it doesn’t burn.

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Spaghetti al Limone

al limone plated 3**

The temperatures are finally warming up here in New Jersey, and I, for one, have had all the heavy, winter Sunday dinners that I can bear. So what did I do the first Sunday that it hit 80 degrees? I brought out the lemons and made one of my favorite, light pasta dishes of all time. Spaghetti al limone. It just makes you think of sunshine and summer, and the joy of dining al fresco. I took one bite and immediately forgot about the long, cold winter that we just finished struggling through. I looked at my case of La Fede San Marzano Italian Plum tomatoes, and thought, “see you in September!” It’s nothing but fresh pasta sauces for me now. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good heavy “gravy,” but by the time summer rolls around, I honestly can’t take it any more. Please remember, that it’s red sauce (gravy) for Italian families every Sunday. At least that’s the way it is in my family. My parents are 94 years old and look forward to that Sunday gravy, week after week. But for a few months every year, they are flexible and enjoy the sauces made from fresh, summer ingredients.

I think you will enjoy the simplicity of this dish, as well as the light, fresh, citrusy flavor.

RECIPE:

1 pound spaghetti

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( 3 to 4 lemons)

2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste

1 TBSP grated lemon zest

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, slivered

1.  In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente.

2.  Meanwhile, combine cheese and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.  Gradually beat in the olive oil until mixture becomes thick and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the lemon zest.  Add the basil and stir.

3.  Pour sauce over cooked spaghetti in serving bowl.  Toss thoroughly.

4.  Serve with grated cheese and freshly ground pepper.

al limone ingredientsal limone lemon juiceal limone mixtureal limone dish unmixedal limone dish mixedal limone plated 1al limone recipe

Ann’s Rice Pudding

rice pudding plated

This recipe for rice pudding is very special to me, as you can see that by the way I cherish (yes, cherish) the three copies of the recipe that I have in my possession. One is in my mom’s handwriting and is very worn and stained from fifty years of use. One is in Ann’s very distinctive handwriting, and one recipe is from my dear friend, Anne’s daughter, who sent it to me via email.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ve met Ann in several recipes already. She and my mom went to a novena to St. Jude twice a week for many years, and they shared recipes as well as prayers.   I can’t think of a better way to bond in friendship.

For many years, when someone was sick in our house, Ann would bring over her famous rice pudding. We all loved it so much that eventually my mom decided we needn’t be sick to enjoy this creamy treat. She asked Anne for the recipe. I still remember the bowls that my mom and Ann used when making this pudding. That’s just how much of a favorite this recipe is of mine.

If you’re expecting this rice pudding to be the typical “diner-type” pudding, you’re in for a nice surprise.   This is more like a custard or a flan (we didn’t even know what a flan was in 1960). The nutmeg topping is very aromatic and adds a lovely crunch topping. There are multiple textures to this pudding to delight your palette……crunch, soft custard, the chewiness of the rice. It’s so complex, yet so simple to make. The only difficult part is gauging the cooking time, as it is extremely dependent on your oven. The recipe says one hour, but I have sometimes needed to bake it quite a bit longer. You’ll know it’s done when the nutmeg crust that forms on top is firm to the touch, and the custard is well set when the bowl is slightly shaken (it shouldn’t jiggle).   I also like to leave it in the oven for 15 to 30 minutes once the oven is shut off to make certain it is set nicely.

It’s wonderful served at room temperature or chilled. Heck, It’s even wonderful warm.   I fully admit to digging in with my spoon while waiting for it to cool.   With each spoonful, I’m brought back to life in the early 1960s.   “Cook, Bake, Pray.”   These two gals knew how to do it right!

RECIPE:

5 TBSP of uncooked rice

5 eggs

3/4 cups of sugar

1 can of evaporated milk (placed in a quart bottle and add water to make quart)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

1.  Boil rice until tender.

2.  Beat eggs, and add sugar.  Stir well.  Add milk, vanilla and salt.

3.  Drain rice and add to mixture.  Stir.

4.  Pour in Pyrex bowl.  Sprinkle the top with lots of nutmeg (coat the entire top well).

5.  Place bowl in pan with water and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 1 hour.

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Flourless Banana Muffins

flourless muffins plated *

Every so often I like to stray from the kitchen memories of my past and create a new memory that I will look back on some time in the future. I’m quite sure that when I look back, several years from now, on this recipe for flourless muffins, that I will first wonder what all the fuss was about with regard to flourless baked goods.   When did flour become the enemy? And why? People have been consuming flour forever.   But right now, we seem to want things to be flourless, even if we don’t have an allergy to it, as so many people do.   Allergies to gluten abound, and many nutritionists will say that our wheat has been genetically modified and is not the same as it was years ago.   And of course, there are the diet conscious, who feel that carbs are to be limited. For whatever the reason, flour is on the outs, and I too, am happy to bake a muffin or bread without using flour. It just feels healthier to me.

I’ve tried a few recipes, and I’ve experimented a bit on my own to come up with what I would say is a very delicious and healthy flourless muffin. What I like the most about it is that once you have the base ingredients, you can really experiment by adding any of your favorite things to the batter. I’ve tried several of my favorite muffin recipes (do check the archives) using this batter base, and they’ve all come quite good. Don’t get me wrong here…..they won’t taste the same, but you won’t feel as guilty after consuming a muffin or two.   I think the thing that makes me feel so guilt-free is the addition of protein powder to the batter. You truly do not need to add protein powder, but I do it for an extra benefit.

RECIPE:  makes 9 to 10 muffins

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup almond butter

2 TBSP honey or Agave (or even Stevia)

3 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups almond flour

3/4 cup quick oats

1 to 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (may omit)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

2 TBSP ground flaxseed

1tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and prepare a muffin pan by spraying 9 to 10 cavities with cooking spray or use paper cupcake holders.  Set aside.

2.  In a mixer bowl, food processor or blender, combine the bananas, applesauce, almond butter, egg whites, honey and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and then add them to the banana mixture.  Beat until smooth and creamy.

3.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about 3/4 full.

4.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.

6.  Don’t tell anyone that they’re healthy, or they will disappear!

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Easter Bread

easter eggs baked *

I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this recipe on the website of the blog, theitaliandishblog.com, which is a fabulous blog, by the way.   I have been searching for years for this specific recipe for the Easter bread that my mother made every year at Easter time. It’s probably the only recipe of hers that cannot be found anywhere. When I saw the pictures on this website, I knew (or I should say hoped) this was the recipe I had been longing for over the last 10 years or more.

I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t taste exactly as I remembered, but indeed it did.   Oh boy, was I happy! The memories flooded my mind. My mother made these breads for everyone in our family every Easter. My aunts and uncles, and cousins would all stop by on Holy Saturday to pick up their bread. I used to love to dye the eggs with my sister, and then we were allowed to do the braiding, once the dough had risen. But most of all, I remember the aroma that would engulf the kitchen. It would smell just like a bakery. As the relatives walked through the door, they would all let out a moan of delight. Many would sit in the kitchen and have a cup of coffee and a piece of warm Easter bread.

I’m so grateful to have found this recipe. It has added a little something special to my Easter this year….and hopefully for many years to come.

Buona Pasqua!

RECIPE:  Makes 6 breads

1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons

1 1/4 cups milk

pinch of salt

1/3 cup butter

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups flour (this is very approximate)

1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP water for the egg wash

6 Dyed Easter Eggs ( they may be hard boiled or raw (be careful they don’t crack)

sprinkles

1.   In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until the butter melts.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, combine the yeast, salt, sugar and eggs.

3.  Add the warm (not hot) milk and butter.

4.  Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with a dough hook.  Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough.  I used more flour than specified in order to get the dough to not be sticky.  Knead until smooth with the dough hook or turn out on a floured board and knead by hand.

5.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

6.  Punch down the dough and cut in 12 pieces.  Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long.  Taking 2 pieces, twist to form a “braid,” pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.

7.  Place on two baking sheets, covered in parchment paper or Silpats. Cover and let rise until double (about another hour).

8.  Brush each bread with the egg wash.  Put on the sprinkles.  In the middle of each bread ring, gently place a dyed Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

9. Bake at 350 degree until golden, about 20 minutes.  Cool on rack.

** I don’t think it’s a great idea to eat these eggs, especially if you leave the breads out.  They are really just for decoration.

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