Fill Your Basket with Scotch Eggs this Easter

Scotch Eggs Chef Jennifer Booker - Credit Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Credit Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Every year, millions of people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. It also marks the culmination of the Lenten season, and it goes without saying that this is a very important marker for religious believers worldwide. Easter also occurs during a time in the year when our surroundings are in bloom, which falls in line with the Spring season’s ties to birth, growth and fertility.

Somewhere along the line, Easter Sunday picked up secular associations with a big bunny, egg hunts, candy and an array of pastel colors. When it comes to those long-eared hoppers, you can thank German immigrants who shared old stories of an Easter rabbit who laid eggs meant for children to find and baked cakes shaped like hares. In the 1800s, French and German candy makers fashioned chocolate eggs, which spread to various countries across Europe. Kids were encouraged to make little nests shaped like baskets for the Easter Bunny to leave his chocolate eggs. Today, we continue to follow along with these traditions. In light of imposed restrictions and denials common with Lent, indulging in candy is also a welcome treat for adults.

Tradition is a wonderful thing, but it can be exciting to try something new. Tired of dipping your eggs in dye? How about wrapping them in fresh sausage and cooking them to golden brown perfection? Dress up your Easter eggs with this classic–the Scotch egg. Popular in the United Kingdom, Scotch eggs are often served cold in pubs or cafes or packed in picnic baskets. They used to be the perfect lunch for workers whose wives transformed leftovers into a second meal or travelers picking up portable snacks for the road. Stories vary as to who may have created the first Scotch egg, although the London department store, Fortnum & Mason, claims them as their own. 

For a while, Scotch eggs were looked down upon, but lately, they’ve received welcome and deserved recognition. Unlike the basic boiled egg, Scotch eggs combine creamy yolks with seasoned, cooked meat and a crispy exterior. They are a sophisticated blend of textures and flavors. Dip these hot, fried (or baked) eggs into the accompanying tarragon mustard sauce, and you have something very special for Easter Sunday.

 

Sip Green for St. Patrick’s Day with a Basil Martini

Basil Martini St. Patrick's Day - Your Resident Gourmet
Photo credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Emerald Isle is a magical place. If you’ve been there, you definitely know why people love it. The rolling hills, kind folks, hearty food and lively music are just a few reasons the country has such a strong hold on the hearts and souls of many. St. Patrick’s Day is the yearly marker to celebrate the history of the country’s patron saint. This year, put down the green beer, and give this naturally green martini a go.

Thanks to fresh basil and tart key lime juice, this twist on a martini is a strikingly colorful version of a traditional cocktail with an herbal note. Never made your own simple syrup? Just equal parts sugar and water, the syrup is often a main ingredient in a number of drinks, serving as a liquid sweetener that meshes well with everything in the mix. Simple syrup is easy to prepare and adapt in terms of flavors, and yes, colors, if you so choose. Use the leftovers to sweeten other cocktails, tea, or as the base of a summer lemonade. This green, slightly herbal basil martini is my ode to St. Patrick’s Day.

Basil Martini - Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 ounces American dry gin

1 ounce simple syrup (see below for recipe)*

5 small or 3 large fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1 ounce fresh key lime juice

1 cup crushed ice

4 ounces seltzer water or club soda

Directions:

Pour the gin and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker.

Add basil leaves and lime juice. Muddle until the basil leaves are broken into small pieces.

Add crushed ice, seal, and shake about 10 seconds.

Pour into two chilled martini glasses. Top with seltzer or club soda, and garnish with a sprig of basil.

Cheers!