Easter À La Diana Shafroth


Pickle ball, croquet, an egg hunt, and sometimes snow. Yes, that is usually Easter in the Rockies. My in-laws always make it fun with lottery tickets and mini bottles of booze hidding with the eggs and chocolates! Everyone participates in the Easter Egg hunt. This year we made Diana proud even in the rainy, cold weather. I missed her presence in the dysfunctional kitchen.

Here’s some great sides and a dessert for Easter or entertaining large crowds:                     

Grilled Asparagus with Flageolet Beans and Rice Salad

Flageolets are a bean variety from France. I love them for their light green hue. White beans would also be fine in this recipe. I buy mine from Bob’s Red Mill and cook according to their instructions. If you must use canned beans then do but it’s so much better with homenade beans. If you don’t have a grill, steamed aspargus works well too.

2 cups cooked Flageolet beans
2 lbs. Asparagus, buy fatter stemmed asparagus if you are grilling so that they don’t slip through the grill slats
2 cups cooked basamati rice
1 cup pickled pearl onions, drained

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup sherry wine vinegar (or champagne, or white wine vinegar, don’t use balsamic)
½ cup fresh orange juice (remember to zest the oranges before you juice them)
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp. orange zest                                                                                                                                
1 Tbsp. anchovy puree (optional)                
To save time: A few days before the party, cook your beans; cook the rice; make the dressing.
Cut the stems off the asparagus. Place into a large flat pan and drizzle some olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper and spread the asparagus around to coat well with the oil. Grill the asapargus over a hot grill for about 5 minutes, checking that they don’t burn. Remove from grill and allow to cool.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside until it is time to make the salad; 30 minutes before serving, toss the beans, rice, and asparagus together in a  large bowl. Add just enough dresssing to make it moist. You don’t want it to be saturated in dressing.  Toss well just before serving.
Serve at room temperature.
Greek Baby Artichokes, New Potato and Baby Carrot Stew
Serves 12 as a main course (for vegetarians), more as a side dish
Baby artichokes are wonderful in that you don’t have to worry about cleaning out the center. They are a good source of dietary fiber. If you don’t want to be bothered with pulling off a few of the outer leaves, you can use canned artichoke bottoms in this recipe, it just won’t look as pretty. Add them at the end of cooking otherwise they will be too mushy. This dish takes the longest to prepare so it make sense to start this one first, or even the day before.
1 pkg. baby artichokes (or 2 packages frozen or canned artichoke hearts, not marinated)
1 bag small real baby carrots with tips (not the nubs that aren’t really baby carrots at all) or 2  large carrots with stems, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 large white onion, diced
2 Tbsp. Savory Spice Capitol Hill Seasoning
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups small red New Potatoes, cut in half or in quarters, depending on their size
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 head of fresh spring garlic
If using fresh artichokes, clean
them by cutting off their pointy tip, removing about 4 or 5 of the outer leaves and trimming the stem. Store in water with 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice added to keep them from oxidizing too much. Trim the carrots and lightly peel them. Cut into long, lean pieces. 
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan or Dutch oven. Add the diced white onion and Capitol Hill seasoning and the carrots and cook for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile slice the artichokes in half lengthwise and add to the pot and add the lemon juice. Now add the wine and stir and allow the liquid to evaporate. Add the butter, when it has melted stir in the flour, stir for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile heat your stock or water in another pot or in the microwave just slightly. Now add the warm stock. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Slice the potatoes in half and add to the pot and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle in the fresh chopped parsley and spring garlic.

Diana’s & Lorna’s Deviled Eggs
Lorna and Diana didn’t care too much for Dijon mustard and were infamous for saying “not everyone likes Dijon you know.” Their deviled eggs only had mayonaise.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Diana would have preferred a scrunch but I love this cobbler.

This cobbler’s bisquit topping doesn’t need to cover the whole pan. It will puff and expand while cooking. This recipe is prepared in a large,15x10x2 inch baking dish.  Leftovers are great for breakfast.


3 lbs rhubarb, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and sliced into quaters
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 Tbsp. flour

Add the prepared fruit to a large bowl. Toss the flour and sugar over the fruit and mix to incorporate.  Grease the baking pan with the butter pan and place the fruit into it, spreading it out evenly over the surface. Make the biscuit topping.

Cobbler Biscuit Topping – I love this recipe as it can be done in a food processor.

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the dry ingredients into the work bowl of a food processor. Place the butter on top. Process until it is cumbly then add the heavy cream while running the machine. Pulse the dough together until it forms into a sticky mass.

Flour your hands slightly. Place big pieces of flattened dough over the fruit. Don’t worry if you have holes, the topping will puff and spread lightly over it. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving. This recipe can be made the day before and re-heated in a 225 degree oven for 20 minutes before serving.

PS from Kimberly:  Lottery tickets, nips, cobbler: I’m coming to your house next year.


  1. Goodbye 3901 | Flavorista - September 24, 2011

    […] house they grew up in. My mother in-law lived there for 50 years and threw many a cocktail party, Easter egg hunt, Christmas breakfasts, countless dinners – replete with cod fish balls and other […]

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