April 2: Midday Fix - Easter Brunch
Carol Mackey The Entertaining Epicurean

Asparagus Rollups

about 24 asparagus spears
12 thin slices of prosciutto
12 thin slices of provolone
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Trim asparagus to about 4 inches (you do not need to discard the rest, cook and use in a salad). Simmer asparagus in water until cooked about 7 minutes, immediately shock by submerging in cold water. Wrap one half of the slice of cheese slice and then a half slice of prosciutto around each asparagus spear, wrap each roll with a chive and tie. Arrange wrapped asparagus in rectangular dish, layering as necessary. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. To serve, arrange on a serving platter and drizzle dressing over them.

Smoked Salmon Carrots

3 oz. cr¨¨me fraiche (optional)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbs chives
1 Tbs Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs capers; coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
8 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon; cut into ribbon like slices
dill sprigs
mini bagels, if desired

In a mixing bowl combine the above ingredients.
Start by making 36 balls and place in the freezer so you are better able to work with. Once they get harder, shaped into a cone (carrot shape), place back in the freezer to get hard. Then wrap the smoked salmon slice around the cream cheese mixture, repeat.
These can be made several days in advance. Place dill sprig in the top of carrot just before serving. Place on toasted mini bagel to serve.

Salami and Egg Salad Canap¨¦s

5 large eggs
4 ounces sliced salami
about 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp dill pickle relish
micro greens or Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish
8 slices of bread, toasted and cut into bite size rounds with a pastry cutter

Boil the eggs 10 minutes, run under cold water and peel. Add the rest of the ingredients with the eggs to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined, but still chunky and you can still see the pieces of salami. Spread on the toast rounds and top with garnish.

Omelet Torte

1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (there are 2 sheets per package - you'll need both)
1 package trimmed fresh spinach
2 Tbs butter, plus 3 Tbs for omelets
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chopped and drained roasted red peppers
6 large eggs
approximately 2 Tbs fresh chopped Italian parsley
approximately 1 Tbs tarragon 1 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (you may substitute mozzarella)
2-4 slices cooked ham
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

Thaw and unfold puff pastry sheets. Lightly flour working surface and roll sheets, one at a time, gently in opposite directions. Cut a 9¡å circle out of one sheet. Press remaining sheet into the bottom of an ungreased 8¡Á3¡å spring form pan; leave a 1/4¡å overhang at the top of pan.
Cook spinach with 1 Tbs butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until spinach wilts and liquid evaporates, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Combine 2 eggs and a pinch of parsley, tarragon s&p, heat an 8¡å skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbs of butter and tilt pan to coat the bottom and sides evenly as it melts. Pour the egg mixture into the pre-heated skillet. As mixture begins to cook, gently push the edges of the omelet towards the center, encouraging uncooked portions to flow around and underneath the cooked portions of the egg. Continue this process until the omelet is evenly formed and gently set, flip. Remove the just-cooked omelet from the skillet by sliding it onto a clean plate; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining eggs. To begin layering the torte, place 1 of the omelets in the spring form pan, directly atop the uncooked pastry shell bottom, next arrange half of the spinach mixture, then 1/2 the shredded cheese, ham, roasted red peppers, omelet, cheese, spinach and remaining omelet. Top all with remaining pastry circle, bringing up 1/4¡å overhang and sealing well, crimping the edges. Brush top with beaten egg. Place pan on lined baking sheet on bottom rack in oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let torte stand approximately 20 minutes before serving. Move torte to serving plate (or stand) and carefully remove outer ring of the spring form pan. Slice torte into 8 pie-shaped pieces, using a sharp serrated knife.

Bird's Nest Candies
Makes about 2 dozen

1 12 oz. package chow mein noodles
12 oz. milk chocolate morsels
Egg shaped candy (I used Cadbury mini eggs)

Place morsels in a microwave safe dish and heat for about 30 seconds or until melted, add chow mein noodles and mix until combined. Take about 2 Tbls. Of the mixture and put into a mini muffin tin and shape as a nest, repeat, place in the refrigerator until they solidify and you can pop them out. Should one break simply reheat in the microwave. Place chocolate egg in the center. (I sprayed the nests with edible gold food coloring spray that I purchase at Michaels).

Chocolate Eggs and Bacon
Makes about a dozen

1 bar white chocolate
pretzel sticks
yellow M & M's

Place white chocolate in a double boiler as the microwave tends to burn the white chocolate (can use a pot with simmering water and stainless bowl over that if you don't have a double boiler. Once the white chocolate is melted, spoon on to a sheet pan lined with parchment. Place 2 pretzels at the end and a yellow M & M in the center. Do not place the M & M on the chocolate until it has cooled a bit, if it is too hot it will crack. Place in the refrigerator until solid and peel off.

Carrot Cake

2 cups sifted flour
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flaked coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can (8 1/4 oz) crushed pineapple

Grease pan and dust lightly with flour; tap out excess. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Make a well in center and add in order: sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla; beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple until well blended; pour into prepared pan. Bake in moderate oven (350 for 45 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip. The center will sink slightly). Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Spread with cream cheese frosting. Store in fridge.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat 1 pkg. (3 oz,) softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup softened butter in medium sized bowl. Beat in 2 cups sifted icing sugar with 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Add 2 tsp. milk, if necessary, to make frosting of spreading consistency.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Sticks for the cookies can be purchased at most craft stores. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Using electric mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 30 minutes. Roll out and cut cookies, bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen. For cookies on a stick; roll cookies out approximately 1/4 inch thick and insert cookie sticks at least 1/3 to 1/2 way into cookie.

Royal Icing

6 Tbs powdered egg whites mixed with 3/4 cup water
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat the egg whites and water until stiff. Add sugar and beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick add more egg white mixture; if too thin, add more sugar. Color with desired food coloring. Makes about 3 cups.