Traditions are great, but taking part in them doesn't mean you have to do them, well, traditionally. Take Easter, for example. A day when recipes like savory ham, comforting potatoes and flavorful veggies reign supreme, it's also an opportunity to bring a little something different to the table. This year, the National Pork Board (NPB) is partnering with Haylie Duff – actress, author of "The Real Girl's Kitchen Cookbook" and blog, and host of "The Real Girl's Kitchen" on the Cooking Channel – to show pork lovers how they can freshen up familiar favorites for a one-of-a-kind Easter menu.
"Pork has always been part of my Easter table because it's such a great canvas for creating a truly one-of-a-kind menu that will wow any guest," said Duff. "This year is no exception – but I'm taking inspiration from the tried and true and infusing it with a personal touch to make sure my table is unique and special."
To help people across the country re-envision their Easter celebrations, Haylie shared three tips that she'll incorporate into her holiday feast:
- Think of your favorite Easter ingredients, like delicious ham, and experiment with serving them in new, unexpected ways. This year, try ham in your favorite potato gratin, and use a muffin pan to make them in individual servings.
- Setting your menu is a good start, but don't forget about presentation! Change up your tablescape to make it feel fresh and modern – think crisp, rustic and monochromatic linens and décor. You can even serve a signature cocktail.
- Don't be afraid to shake up your traditional schedule. If you usually do an Easter brunch, try something new and serve your feast at dinnertime. That way, there'll be a different ambiance to go along with your refreshed menu.
TRADITIONS + TRENDS
Each of the recipes Haylie created for NPB – which she'll be serving at her own Easter celebration – were inspired by the classics you know and love, incorporating timeless Easter ingredients like ham, fresh herbs and potatoes into more modern preparations:
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Roast with White Wine and Herbs – If you're looking to change up your centerpiece at Easter, this recipe is just what you need. The subtle but enticing flavors from tender pork roasted with fresh herbs, mustard and prosciutto will wow your guests.
- Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits with Maple Butter – These savory, crumbly biscuits – stuffed with ham and smoked Gouda cheese and served with sweet maple butter on the side – are an easy way to update the classic dinner roll.
- Ham Stacks Au Gratin with Thyme – Made in a muffin pan for simple serving, this recipe is the perfect side dish for any Easter centerpiece. Each "stack" is layered with ham, thinly sliced potatoes, Gruyere cheese, thyme and a cream mixture.
"With spring around the corner, Easter is a wonderful occasion to refresh your menu, unlock new experiences and explore new flavors," said Pamela Johnson, director, Consumer Communications, the National Pork Board. "Pork makes that easy to accomplish because it has unlimited possibilities."
Duff also invited NPB into her home in Los Angeles, California, where the actress prepared her three new holiday recipes and revealed how she plans to put together her table. You can view the images captured from the day on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Don't forget to check out PorkBeinspired.com and Twitter for more delicious recipes for this year's Easter menu – including your traditional favorites.
About the National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.