By Mary Ellen Psaltis
I hold a warm place in my heart for the Easter Bunny. One Christmas my toddler had a clear aversion to getting his photo taken with the big man in the furry red suit. However, the following spring we came upon a lithe, friendly Easter Bunny at the mall who was available for pictures. My son clamored into the rabbit’s lap with nary a peep. I still like that photo. There will be no mall photo this year (he’s in college) but you can bet the Easter Bunny is stopping by to drop off a few selected chocolates.
Whether your celebrations are of a religious nature, such as the Jewish Passover or the Christian resurrection, or if you are welcoming the beginnings of spring and a visit by the Easter Bunny, you will find supplies are abundant both Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway stores.
While it’s true that neither locally-owned grocery store is huge, that means all space is at a premium. I am continually impressed with the variety and quality I find both in produce (locally grown choices) and in the various aisles. Maybe you are hunting for a dessert. Bayview has a case of tempting delights. It’s just you? Opt for a spring decorated petit fours. Alaska Silk Pie Company creations come in numerous varieties. Fudge is made on-site. How about butterscotch chewy praline? There are far more choices than days in a month!
If you are feeding a large group, you might like a Hempler’s Gourmet Semi-Boneless ham. They can weigh over seven pounds. A Niman Ranch uncured ham steak might work better for a more intimate meal. For your convenience, Ralph’s has a concentrated display of Passover foods: potato kugel mix, crackers, chicken consommé and gefilte fish and even horseradish sauce.
At both stores, the areas around the cash registers are well worth browsing. Plush rabbits, wrapped Chehalis Mints, and other festive goodies are on display. Ralph’s has more Easter bunny supplies (plastic eggs, baskets and toys) down the aisle from their Customer Service Center.
I believe the coming of spring is worth celebrating. Yes, the mowing season has already begun but you can lighten your load. Let the professionals at Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores be part of your team. They can help you with wine selections, fresh fish, deli options, decorated cakes and all sorts of decorations. See what goodies you can find to fill your basket at your next visit to Bayview or Ralph’s Thriftway. I’ll be the one strolling through each aisle. Happy Spring.
That basket-full of colored eggs can be put to good use. These eggs-tra eggs are fun to put into sack lunches as they usually retain some color after they are shelled. Here’s another idea. A friend told me she needed to bring appetizers to a party, but it was on short notice. What did she have on hand? She found eggs and Stouffer’s Spinach Soufflé, which she boiled (eggs) and defrosted (spinach). A spoonful of mayo was added to the spinach, which in hindsight she thought was unneeded. The halved eggs were stuffed. They were a hit.
I really liked this idea but wasn’t crazy about all the extra ingredients in the Stouffer’s version. I experimented at home. I placed four eggs in a pot of cold water, added some baking soda and brought it to boil. When it boiled, I covered the pot, turned off the heat and set the timer for ten minutes. The baking soda promotes easier shelling.
I took a small handful of fresh spinach and cut off the stems then chopped it small. I added a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of mayonnaise plus a healthy squirt of course ground mustard. I squished in the cooked yokes and added a little salt. It was easy to spoon the mixture into the eggs.
Usually I put all the yokes and miscellaneous ingredients into a sealable sandwich bag and hand massage until it’s smooth. I cut off the corner of the bag and pipe the filling into the eggs. I was afraid the spinach might make it too chunky, but actually I think it would work all right.
Fresh asparagus is amazing raw in a salad. Use it to dip into yogurt or other sauce. To prolong the life of your spring greenery, blanch for 45 seconds. That means dunk in boiling, salted water – but not for long. Now they are ready to eat as is, be added into a salad or stir-fry.
Here’s a recipe that has a few of my favorite ingredients: brown butter and pecans. It’s from Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian, who is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”
Brown Butter Asparagus with Pecans
Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes
1 ½ pounds asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and blanch for 45 seconds (add 30 seconds if stalks are particularly thick). Using tongs, remove the asparagus and allow to drain dry on paper towels. Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until the bubbles subside and brown bits start to form, about 2 minutes. Add the pecans and stir so that nothing burns. Once the pecans are fragrant and the butter is toasty brown, stir in the soy sauce and lemon juice, then remove from the heat. Pour the pecan butter sauce over the asparagus, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.
80 calories (50% from fat), 5 grams fat (2.5 grams sat. fat), 5 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 50 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol, 33 grams fiber.
Eat Well Be Well