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Great Ideas For Your Easter Menu

Enjoy recipes from Greek, Italian and Spanish traditions

Side notes:
Spring Artichoke Ragout with Ham and Sherry by Anya von Bremzen: This Spanish stew is redolent with all the trappings of spring: fava beans, artichokes and the fresh flavors of lemon and parsley. Serrano ham or prosciutto adds a festive, meaty note.

Spinach Pies by Claudia Roden: These Lenten specialties made of puff pastry filled with spinach flavored with onion, allspice and lemon are as comfortingly familiar as they are fresh and rejuvenating, whether eaten hot or cold.

Braised Baby Artichokes by Diane Rossen Worthington: This recipe for tender baby globe artichokes is herby and flavored with white wine and tomatoes. It can be served chilled as part of a vegetable or antipasto spread.

Spring Risotto by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh: You can make a batch of this for Easter, but likely you'll end up making it all summer long. Warm-weather vegetables such as asparagus, peas, and yellow and green zucchini dot the surface of the creamy, toothsome risotto.

Happy endings:
Lemon or Orange Cake by Dorie Greenspan: This potently citrus-flavored pound cake is filled with grated zest — the trick is to mix the lemon or orange zest together with the sugar by hand, so that the sugar comes apart into moist grains and the zest releases its citrus essence. This cake also keeps for a week at room temperature, making it a lovely gift this time of year.

Jammin' Sugar Cookie Thumbprints by Abby Dodge: These fun little cookies are great for kids to help make, and are reminiscent of Easter eggs with their round shape and vivid color.

Polish Easter Cheesecake by Sarah Leah Chase: This cheesecake gets its texture from ricotta and eggs in the filling, and is flavored with lemon and vanilla. A brown sugar and walnut crust adds warmth and richness.

Also of interest: Throw a simple spring dinner party.

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