As a kid, Easter was the only time my family really had brunch and to be honest, my parents just considered it a late breakfast. Because the Easter egg hunt and basket hunt took a little bit of time in the morning, breakfast was just pushed back an hour! But it was a celebration and there were the traditions that made the holiday special.
First, let me set the scene. I’m one of six kids…the oldest. I grew up in a NYC apartment with one bathroom. (The idea today of one bathroom and 8 people scares the bejesus* out of me! LOL But that was the norm.) Now, imagine six little rugrats running wild all around that apartment searching for the dyed eggs my parents hid. Add to that, the six homemade baskets we had made out of washed and cut milk cartons and pipe cleaners, and you’ve got one crazy morning! At least on Christmas, everything was in one place…under the tree. This was mass craziness and an awful lot of fun. You are probably thinking how many places could you possibly have in an apartment to hide eggs and baskets? My parents did a darn good job and my father was the mastermind behind the perfectly hidden egg!
There were eggs in dresser draws, and behind books on the shelves and inside slippers. There were baskets in the washer, behind curtains, in the clothes hamper (minus the clothes) and in the linen closet. But every year, my father outdid himself. One year it was the microwave…no one thought of touching that. Another year there was an egg on top of a painting’s frame (no one found that one…my dad was 6’2” and we were, well, midgets…never thought of looking up!) But the award winning egg hide of all time was under a baseball cap that was sitting on the floor right in plain sight. No one one was going to pick up anything that wasn’t candy, right? That hat sat there the whole morning, right through brunch and well into the afternoon until our begging and pleading got him to reveal the hiding spot of that final missing egg! These are all fond memories of Easter morning. Our late breakfast/brunch was so simple by today’s “Brunch Standards” but it had special touches that made it special to us!
We had the same Easter brunch menu every year. This year, I’m doing the same menu with a couple of upgrades and enhancements but it is still the same, humble meal we enjoyed every holiday.
Scrambled eggs, kielbasa sausage, kaiser rolls with butter, orange juice and the coveted jelly donut! That’s it…nothing more, nothing less. And it was something we looked forward to all year. My dad’s Lithuanian heritage influenced the kielbasa choice (The Polish sausage was a favorite of his so it was always the breakfast meat of choice. The Baltics are close to Poland and Russia so there were a lot of those food influences in our house.) He was also responsible for the jelly donuts…granulated sugar covered (no powdered sugar here) and just delicious. We never had donuts for breakfast so this was special!
I hesitated when I decided to share this simple menu but then I thought, I could add some of my own special touches to make this special for you too. I added a little heavy cream and chives to my eggs and fried up the kielbasa to get crispy bits (rather than just boiling it like my parents). As kids, we always put ketchup on our eggs (much to my father’s dismay). I later learned the reason for this was that my mother hated eggs and the one way she would eat them is if they were covered with ketchup…LOL. Who knew?
So, for my mom who will be enjoying this walk down memory lane with me, I’ve made a fresh tomato salsa for her to top the eggs.
I whipped the butter with some herbs to make it lighter and fluffier than what we had as kids and I made fresh squeezed OJ (Sorry Tropicana…no one was squeezing oranges in my childhood home!!!) and offered Prosecco for the adults so they could have a mimosa. The big “tah dah” moment came with the jelly donuts which I made from scratch. Oh they are good. My dad would have loved them.
And there you have it, a simple menu updated with some fresh and delicious homemade twists.
BTW: Be sure you color your own eggs with food color and vinegar. Forget about those “egg dying kits”. As a kid I wanted one of those PAAZ kits so bad and we just never got them. Finally one year, my mom gave in and brought home the kit. What a disappointment. The dyes were pale and didn’t really stick to the eggs, the wire egg holder would bend and drop eggs and the cute little bunny stickers I dreamed about for years, wouldn’t stick!!!! LOL Dad was right again. Food coloring, vinegar and hot water was the way to go!
Be sure to give the menu a try. It is an easy menu that is great for a crowd. Since you can squeeze the juice, whip the butter and make the donuts the day before, this meal comes together fast. Let this Easter’s brunch be about the people, the conversation and the laughs. The food is just the glue that brings it all together. Looking to celebrate with an Easter Dinner instead? Check out my Easter Dinner menu here.
*An exclamation traditionally attributed to the Irish, used to express surprise or for emphasis. ‘He’s off to the top of Cologne Cathedral, where the bejesus – and, hopefully, the fear – will be scared out of him. ‘