Thursday, April 16, 2009

Foodie Friday - Easter Food Review & The Blessing of the Baskets

Holy Week is the busiest week of our year. My husband and I both sing with the choir, so we're at just about every prayer service and mass. I also help with altar preparations and decorating, and of course there's the cooking and baking that has to be done. This year I worked out a schedule that I'll probably use next Easter season. I was tired, but not frazzled, and everything got done. I always consider that the second miracle of Easter!

I baked two large loaves of Greek Easter bread. This is the after...
and this is the before...
I also made a cheese filled babka, which is my husband's favorite.
We baked ham, cooked kielbasa and boiled and colored eggs. Salt and pepper shakers were filled, and coffee, sugar and prepared horseradish were packed into containers. We also made sure that we bought a chocolate cross...
and that the lamb carved out of butter, that I wrote about in last week's post, was ready to go.
This is the reason that all of our cooking, baking and shopping had to be finished by Saturday morning.
All of the food that's served for our Easter breakfast, is packed into baskets and taken to church to be blessed at noon on Saturday. Baskets start to line the altar steps by 11:30AM...
and soon the aroma of smoked meats and freshly baked bread fills the sanctuary.
We were early, so I hopped up to the choir loft and started to snap pictures, but they weren't what I had hoped. The lights are put off after morning prayer and the church remains dark until the lighting of the new fire at the entrance to the church at the beginning of Easter Vigil at 8:00PM. I had to shoot in natural light on night setting and didn't bring my tripod! This was the best I could do under the circumstances. The day was overcast, but the sun did break through for a few minutes, and at least allowed me to take this blurry shot.
One of the wonderful things about the blessing of the baskets, is its multi-generational nature. Three, and sometimes four, generations gather together to carry on this tradition. I was able to get a cute photo of our friend's grandchildren.
At noon, our Pastor began the brief ceremony. He read from scripture, and spoke about his experiences with this custom, (he happens to be of Polish descent),
and then he blessed the baskets.
On Easter morning, our table was set with all of the traditional foods that had been blessed the previous day.
A few years ago, I found a tablecloth that we use every year. I love the way the pattern frames each place setting...
and the lovely scalloped border. The design is painted on the fabric, and then outline stitched in the same color.
After Easter we were faced with the annual ham and hard boiled egg dilemma. Ham sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, ham and potato casserole, egg salad, and split pea soup are old standbys, but this year I really wanted to try some different recipes. I've never tried my hand at puff pastry sheets. I've always limited myself to the full size shells, and more recently the mini shells, but it looks so wonderful on so many blogs, that I gave it a try. I layered shave ham, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms, then topped it with a mixture of spinach and cream cheese and fresh basil leaves. The results were wonderful! I'm sure I'll be experimenting with it again in the near future.
I hope you'll stop by Designs by Gollum and take advantage of the Mr. Linky feature that our hostess, Michael Lee, so generously provides. Mr. L. will take you on a delightful culinary adventure.

And don't forget...the Easter season is just beginning!


  1. Nancy Jane, wow, absolutely gorgeous pictures. The food looks so delicious and how you did the lamb is amazing! Glad you had a great week. Thanks for sharing this special time.

  2. How lovely that your church has a blessing of the baskets. I have never heard that until now??? Wonder why my church does not do this? The food all looks delicious. Your table cloth is so pretty. Thank you for sharing your Easter with me.

  3. The "blessing of the baskets" pictures are just beautiful, what a lovely tradition. Your Easter table was so pretty and all the food looks delicious!

    Blessings to you !


  4. Thanks for sharing that... it was really interesting.
    ~Really Rainey~

  5. I love the tradition of the blessing of the baskets. What a wonderful Easter Saturday tradition. Your breakfast looks yummy and I love that tablecloth!

  6. What a wonderful Easter tradition to carry on for generations. Your bread turned out great. First time to your blog, loved your post.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. What a lovely tradition. Thanks for sharing.
    The blessings continue to flow.

  8. Delicious foods and beautiful pics! What a combination! Great job! You have a great tradition.

  9. That was lovely, Nancy. I hope you had a wonderful your Babka...I am trying your recipe next. I posted ours too..good, but I miss the cheese!
    I love that tablecloth! Where did you get it? It is perfect!

  10. Perfect braided Easter Bread. I enjoyed your photos.

  11. GIRL!!!!! I wish I could cook like you!
    I am just stopping by quick to say I miss you....and that I will be around again soon....luv ya and hope all is well with you.

  12. stop by on Saturday morning. there are two awards there for you

  13. Okay, now I am willing to bet that even Martha Stewart hasn't carved a lamb out of the butter.
    You must be one great cook.


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