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Fresh entertaining ideas and recipes for your spring holiday
Ready to enliven your Easter table? We've got three fresh entertaining concepts designed around quick-prep seasonal dishes, time-saving table ideas, tips for choosing the right wine, and creative how-tos that are as easily said as they are done. And many design elements, along with some of the recipes, can be made ahead of time to avoid stress and let you savor your own soirée.
Brunch at the Beach
At the beach, fuss is as forbidden a concept as donning shoes for a stroll in the sand. With this in mind, our easy Easter brunch has a one-dish menu and creative time-savers like floral arrangements that can be made ahead.
- Breakfast Sausage & Wadmalaw Onion Casserole
- Fresh Orange Slices
- Sunrise Cocktails
Let our dynamite views do the entertaining for you—we settled into the back deck of a friend’s beach house on Sullivan’s Island to whip up this laid-back soirée but any accommodating deck or patio will do.
A washed turquoise fabric is sewn wide enough to serve as both table runner and placemat. Raised beds of button mums form colorful centerpieces; spritz daily with water, and they’ll brighten things up long after the holiday is over.
Keep requisite Easter baskets close at hand. Ours are spray-painted and filled with white- and milk-chocolate “seashells” made from candy molds we found at Michael’s for less than $1.
Mum’s the Word
All you need to fashion these centerpieces are three large blocks of floral foam and three or four bunches of button mums. Soak the foam in water for two hours and cut the flower stems to about three inches. Insert stems into foam until covered completely. (Note: These can be made up to five days ahead of time.)
Supper in the Garden
Slightly more elaborate, yet still a clever approach to the holiday, this tropical garden supper casts a vibrant nod to Mother Nature. Tropical foliage, wood, bamboo, stone, and even live goldfish conspire to effect a fresh, organic approach to Easter.
- Garlic-Studded Easter Lamb
- Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs
- Spring Artichoke & Pea Salad
All that’s required for this slightly formal affair is a grassy expanse and a little shade from afternoon sun.
For an added and easy-to-accomplish dose of drama, treat your guests to a peek at goldfish darting about the center of the table. To make these centerpieces, root birds of paradise, anthurium, and aspidistra in river rocks and place the container inside a separate square vase; add water to both vessels, along with a few brightly hued fish in the outer container.
Red, Red Wine
Unsure which wines to pair with a main course like garlic-studded lamb? We asked Michael Franke of O’Hara & Flynn for his advice. “You need robust wines that stand up to and enhance the flavor of the lamb,” reports Franke, who recommended three varieties at different price points. “Each one is a full-bodied, rustic red with lots of character.”
Barocco Rosso del Salento ($10.50) from Puglia, a southeastern region of Italy
MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon- Syrah ($16.50) from Chile
Bel Colle Barolo ($69) from Piemonte, a northwestern region of Italy
Make a lasting impression at your affair by creating menu cards that double as place cards. Select two decorative papers of slightly different dimensions to layer; then print your menu on a vellum cover, also cut to layer, leaving a 4 ¼'' x 3 ½'' space at the top to overlay a photograph. With the click of a Polaroid camera and a binder clip, the cards become personalized favors for guests to take home.
Tea in the Courtyard
Replace traditional Easter menus with an afternoon tea party, where a selection of fresh breads, fruit, and teas make for a sweet (yet remarkably simple) holiday gathering.
- Strawberry Citrus Muffins
- Minted Scones
- Sweet Ham Tea Sandwiches
A sun-washed courtyard offers a perfect place to lay a tea table; architectural remnants of centuries past are considered a charmed Easter bonus.
The décor of mismatched porcelain and other antique pieces found around the home lend a laid-back sophistication to the table. Eggs are painted to match our wares, and each guest is given a decorative basket packed with a take-home selection of muffins and scones.
Easy Does It
This year, try painting your eggs rather than dying them for more reliable, and often deeper, hues. We placed a trio of these good-looking eggs at each place setting, painted various shades of blue to match the china.
Send guests home with a sweet treat of scones and a trio of teas in personalized wooden baskets. We found ours at a crafts store and lined them with decorative paper. Think of them as the grown-up version of Easter baskets.