Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections

The Lingenfelsers hosted a traditional Easter Sunday dinner for family in Claxton, Georgia.
After church, a traditional Easter Sunday dinner is served at the Lingenfelser home in Claxton, Georgia.

 

Few things bring me greater joy than entertaining family and friends around my kitchen table. Easter Sunday was such an occasion. I hosted dinner for my parents and sweet in-laws, plus my husband’s beloved Aunt Polly. From Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake to deviled eggs and brown sugar-mustard glazed ham, our celebratory feast was Some Kinda Good, and as Southern and traditional as it gets. Continue reading “Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections”

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Pumpkin Spice Pie with Buttermilk Whipped Cream, anyone?

Pumpkin Spice Pie
Pumpkin Spice Pie

It doesn’t get more traditional than good ol’ pumpkin pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it! Inspired by Paula Deen’s Maple-Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie in the magazine “Paula Deen’s Fall Baking,” this recipe is a slight variation of the original, but doesn’t deviate too far off the course. Have you ever heard of Buttermilk Whipped Cream? That is a new one on me, and boy am I glad I discovered it. Thank you, Paula! Whatever you do, resist the urge to eat this pie with standard Cool Whip. Take the extra 5-minute step to make Buttermilk Whipped Cream. You won’t regret it! I took the liberty of using Pumpkin Spice Syrup instead of maple, and added just a touch more sugar. Sweet and creamy, it’s mouth-watering served warm or cold. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot coffee and a good friend. Add this dessert to your Thanksgiving table or Autumn baking list and your entire home will beckon the changing leaves!

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Pumpkin Spice Pie
1 (15-Ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) pumpkin pie spice

One 9-inch store-bought frozen pie crust (I’m not above it!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and next 8 ingredients. Roll thawed pie crust over 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges with a fork. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until center is set and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Buttermilk Whipped Cream
(Makes about two cups)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat cream with a mixer at high-speed until soft peaks form. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form. Plop a big dollop on top of a slice of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Then EAT!

 “What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?” ~ Peppermint Patty

Table Talk and Family Ties

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Our Easter Sunday dinner spread of pork tenderloin, mayonnaise biscuits, cream corn, fried okra, sautéed zucchini and squash, macaroni and cheese and pound cake with sweet iced tea.

We all know the saying, “If these walls could talk,” but if my family’s kitchen table could speak–boy, could it tell some stories. I’m fortunate enough to have been raised eating around the family table, and every day I’m thankful my parents made it a priority.

From left: Daddy, cousin Justin and Grandma Dot. Mama, the ultimate hostess, scurries in the background ensuring everyone is taken care of.
From left: Daddy, cousin Justin and Grandma Dot. Mama, the ultimate hostess, scurries in the background ensuring everyone is taken care of.

In homes across the world, the kitchen table, much like the front porch, is an iconic, central hub, especially in the American South. Formal dining rooms are different. I’m talking about the table in our eat-in kitchens–the one we cook just steps away from, where we stack our bills at the end of the day, where kids complete their homework, where the family pet begs for that taste of human food.

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Family gathers in the kitchen to celebrate my Grandma’s 75th birthday.

When I think about the people in my family who’ve sat around that same oak, oval-shaped table year after year–even the loved ones who are no longer with us–and all the abundant food that’s been presented on the table top, when I consider the memories it holds, the conversations it keeps and the prayers its heard, I feel ultimately blessed to have experienced that togetherness and I recognize those are the moments that make a house a home.

Grandma Dot makes a wish on her 78th Birthday.
Grandma Dot makes a wish on her 78th Birthday.
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Enjoying my 26th birthday with my traditional chocolate chip muffin at the kitchen table on April 6, 2009.

It’s around the kitchen table that we’ve celebrated birthday after birthday, eaten holiday meals, opened Mother’s Day cards and decorated Christmas cookies. It’s there every time I visit home. Like an old friend, it’s the one constant that’s part of the family too, ready to welcome us, inviting us to sit for a spell and stay a while. There, I eat my mom’s homemade chocolate chip muffin with one candle for breakfast each year, there I introduce new friends to the family. It’s the ultimate place boyfriends are bring-home-to-mama-and-daddy tested. We set it with our everyday dishes and fine china. We adorn it with fresh flowers and fruit in its center. There, we hold hands around it and bow our heads to pray.

Without it, home would not be the same.

My mama, Debbie, with Ewok and her Mother's Day tulips.
My mama, Debbie, with Ewok and her Mother’s Day tulips.

Sure, I’m one to curl up on the couch with a bowl of cereal now and then in front of my TV, but nothing beats sitting down to a home-cooked meal and a place set just for you, to share good food with the people you know and who know you and where you came from.

So much of my life has taken place at the family table and often, it’s the memories associated with that central element that have created the values and traditions I cherish today.

So here’s to you table….and thanks.

What’s your take on the family table? Can you relate?