Offering to host an Easter dinner is the easy part. The organizing, cooking, decorating--and still finding a way to relax and enjoy it--is the challenge for most dinner hosts. The key to a successful, stress-fee Easter dinner is to take advantage of the fresh foods and flowers springtime offers. Choosing low-fuss recipes will allow you a chance to enjoy your guests--instead of spending the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen.
Pork or lamb are typical picks for the Easter dinner table and lend themselves to one of the easiest cooking methods around: roasting. Select cuts that are ideal for roasting, such as pork tenderloin or leg of lamb. Season the meat--a simple combination of olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, salt and pepper works well--and put the roast in the oven a few hours before dinner is to be served. Roasting time and temperature will depend on the size and cut of your meat. Make sure the meat sits for about a half hour before it is served. You can serve the meat on a platter already sliced, or if you want to be more formal, slice the meat at the table.
Focus on the season and serve vegetables typically harvested in the spring such as asparagus, peas, baby greens, new potatoes and leeks. Dress the salad in a basic olive oil vinaigrette, and use that vinaigrette to season the asparagus or leeks. Steam the peas, dab them with a bit of butter and season them with salt and fresh, chopped tarragon. Place the asparagus or the leeks on a pan and roast them in the oven while the meat sits, just before dinner is served.
Drinks should complement the light, simple flavors of the meal. Pick lighter red wines, such as pinot noir, or serve white wine. For something particularly festive, consider serving champagne cocktails, like mimosas or bellinis. Because Easter dinner is typically served during the day, be sure to offer nonalcoholic beverages as well. Mash mint or rosemary in the bottom of a glass, add a bit of sugar and lemonade for a flavorful nonalcoholic drink. Sparkling juice or cider would work well with an Easter meal, too.
Easter conjures up images of crisp white linens and spring flowers. Decorating this way is easy, too. Cover the dining table with a white tablecloth and place a vase of delicate springtime flowers in the middle. An Easter basket filled with dyed eggs is a nice touch, especially if children will be attending the dinner.