Menu for a Spring fete

We held our annual Easter Eggstravaganza this weekend, albeit a scaled-down one because I keep getting in trouble with my husband for over-inviting to our parties (I tend to invite a broad range of folks assuming that at least half of them will decline; this has backfired on me more times than I care to admit and we almost always wind up with a house stuffed full of people with no place to sit. I mean, I am mostly a more-the-merrier person, but I always feel like a bad hostess when I can’t give all of my guests my undivided attention.). So, we invited a small handful of families over for an egg hunt and conversation for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, I did not scale the menu or amount of food down to suit the number of attendees; I still made enough to feed a hungry batallion of graduate students. Next time I have a party at three in the afternoon, I will cook accordingly (i.e., not very much at all).

The menu comprised:
tortilla chips and salsa
multigrain chips and curried pea dip*
spinach and artichoke quiche on whole-wheat crust
roasted asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar*
smitten kitchen lemon bars
a big bowl of luscious strawberries with a bowl of brown sugared-sour cream, brought by Sally*
mimosas, two kinds of tea, lemonade, limeade (I made the mimosas, Abby and Ran brought the teas and ades)

*indicates gluten-free items; one of my friends was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and I wanted there to be something she could snack on.

The two most popular dishes were the curried pea dip and the lemon bars (always a crowd-pleaser). I had had the dip back in 2006 at an ’05 Moms Halloween party but hadn’t really thought of it since. But for this party I wanted some bright new spring flavors (I’ll allow that lemon bars don’t really constitute “new” flavors, but they certainly are sunny!), so I scrounged up the recipe and made a few adaptations (well, one, really; the original calls for curry powder, which I’m a total snob about. I chose to mix up my own spice blend instead).

Curried Pea Dip
3 cups peas (I used frozen and thawed them in the fridge for a day)
1 tsp coarse salt
2 scallions, diced
approx. 1.5 tsp garam masala

For the garam masala, I mixed together the following:
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fenugreek (kesoori methi) leaves
a fingertip each of cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger root, cinnamon
a sprinkling of garlic powder

Load it all into a food processor and start pureeing. While pureeing, drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil. Serve in a brightly colored bowl with multigrain or pita chips, or carrot sticks. Prepare to be amazed when your guests devour it!

I’ve linked to the lemon bar recipe above, so I won’t reproduce it here; I made the thicker layer version but used 6 large eggs instead of extra large. The edges here look burned but they weren’t, just nicely caramelized. Delish!

Leave a comment


  1. Sally

     /  April 5, 2010

    A lovely time, as usual!

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