Bring the Outdoors In on a Rainy Easter Sunday

Blue Bird of HappinesApril showers may bring may flowers, but they can also mess up a perfectly good weekend in the garden! Ok, so technically it’s the last day of March, but let’s not let that trip us up. The weather folks are predicting thunderstorms this Sunday – just when we were planning Easter brunch in the garden. That got me thinking. If we’re going to be driven indoors, why not bring the outdoors in? I came up with a couple of ideas to keep my mind on the garden while my house overflows with guests. I know we’re a landscape design and construction blog, and not a food blog, but these recipes were so fun I thought I’d share!

DSC08042Easter Egg Hunt Cheddar, Chive and Bacon Biscuits

(makes 12)

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 sticks of chilled butter cut into cubes
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Cayenne to taste
½ pound bacon cut into ¼” lardons and cooked
12 soft-boiled eggs

Heat oven to 400

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Insert baking cups if desired, and spray again.
Place eggs in pot and just cover with water. Bring pot to boil and remove eggs from heat. Let them sit for 3 minutes, then cool them in cold water or an ice bath. Remove shells when they’re cool enough to handle.

Whisk dry ingredients. Cut in cold butter until pea-sized pieces form. Add cheese and toss lightly to integrate the cheese into the dry mixture and coat it with flour.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk and chives.
Make a well in the dry mixture and pour liquid mixture in. Use a fork to mix it all together. Avoid overmixing.

Press mixture into about 2/3 of the baking cup. Add a soft-boiled egg to the center of the batter (if it’s still damp from cooking, dry it off first) and cover with more batter. Think of the top batter like a blanket and tuck it all around the egg, pressing it into the batter beneath.

Repeat with all 12 eggs. Lightly brush with milk.
Place in oven for approximately 18 minutes – keep an eye on it! Mine have taken as long as 28 minutes to cook to my liking.

Egg hunting has never tasted so good!

You'll find an egg in every biscuit!

You’ll find an egg in every biscuit!

A plate of nestsBird’s Nests w/ Chocolate Almond Eggs
This is the easiest thing – EVER. And delicious. And really freaking cute!!! And you’ll look like the craftiest person anyone knows. These would make really charming name card holders if you’re feeling kind of formal.

My next door neighbor growing up always made us haystacks with these noodles, but I wanted something more garden worthy.

Before you start, spread out wax or parchment paper for nest-building.
Here’s what you’ll need:

1 package Fried chow mein noodles. I got mine in the bulk section at Berkeley bowl and one package did really nicely in:

1 package of butterscotch chips – you can also try peanut butter chips, or good old chocolate chips, however you want your nest to look

In a double boiler, melt your chip of choice. Melting patterns can vary if you’re not using chocolate – I found that my butterscotch chips wanted to seize up a little, so I added a little vegetable oil, and voila! creamy butterscotch.

Once melted, remove from heat and gently fold in the noodles. From there the mixture is cool enough to handle, and you can start building your nest. Try to make a bowl that will hold your eggs.

Let dry. You can make these little nests a few days ahead and store in an airtight container.

Fill with your choice of egg-shaped candy. I looked for malt ball robin’s eggs but couldn’t find them. I really like how the chocolate and yogurt-covered almonds look.Nesting