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Spring-renewal recipes

Danielle Durocher
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Avocado Cucumber Soup

For Easter-day ease, make chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup with Cilantro a day in advance.

Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and educational organization founded in 1925.

The arrival of spring means it’s time to celebrate Easter, which has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a little girl. I would spend hours decorating Easter eggs, selecting candy molds for my mother and running through my crayon box designing my Easter basket. I would even sit in the backyard for long stretches of time trying to figure out where the Easter Bunny might hide the highly coveted golden egg.

One of my fondest memories was when I was 8, and my mother finally let me select my Sunday Easter dress. I was so excited. Mother patiently took me store to store until I finally found the dress. It was the prettiest white dress I had ever seen. It was adorned with ruffles and had a sash around the waist, which tied into a large bow in the back. To top it all off, there were three little bells hidden in the skirts that would chime as you walked, much to my mother’s dismay. I matched the dress with a white rosebud-lined bonnet, a pair of gloves and a pink floral purse that would hold my Hello Kitty lip gloss.

I still remember Mother warning me against the all-white dress, predicting that I would get dirty. Well, of course, she was right. After a morning at church followed by Easter lunch, an egg hunt and playtime with my cousins, my dress was no longer pristine white. Oh, but what a perfect day!

I still love Easter. Now I look forward to church and the spirit of renewal it brings. I still love decorating Easter eggs and baskets with my nieces and nephew, but now I substitute pastel colors for white in my dress selections, and I spend my time at the kitchen table with my calendar, cookbooks and cell phone, coordinating Easter weekend with my mother and my sisters-in-law.

I have always gravitated towards colorful and uncomplicated recipes for Easter. The 3 Musketeer Mimosa, from the Junior League of Houston’s Stop and Smell the Rosemary cookbook, definitely fits the bill.

If your family is like ours – filled with overly excited children who can’t wait for the egg hunt – then I suggest making Avocado Cucumber Soup with Cilantro from Peace Meals ahead of time and serving it while the hunt is in full effect. You can make the chilled soup the day before and serve it in individual decorative cups garnished with a dollop of yogurt, cucumber slice and cilantro.

One of my favorite salads is the Asparagus Mushroom Salad with Basil Vinaigrette from Stop and Smell the Rosemary. The recipe for the vinaigrette calls for one clove of garlic; however, I have found half of a clove is enough. This dish is perfect to have pre-plated on the table and the serving dish set to the side for seconds.

I am a firm believer in lamb on Easter Sunday, and the Leg of Lamb with Mint Glaze in Houston Junior League is a perfect centerpiece to the menu. Add the Dilled Scallop Puffs from Stop and Smell the Rosemary, and you won’t have to worry about leftovers.

Our family loves the Cherry Cheese Pie in Houston Junior League. Everyone fights for the last piece. If you make it one or two days beforehand, it will actually taste better. The key is to use a handheld mixer and blend as fast as you can. The filling will thicken quicker and set easier in the refrigerator. You can also have fun with this recipe by serving it in individual ramekins. Then, place bowls of cherry, strawberry, blueberry and even pineapple fillings in the center of your table and let everyone choose their favorite topping.

At Easter, I am reminded of the grace I have received and the joy I have in sharing life’s blessings with my family and friends.

Editor’s note: To buy a cookbook, see or call 713-871-6608.

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