Easter recipes: Alton Brown's deviled eggs, Paula Deen's french toast casserole, Michael Chiarello's toasted spiced ham

alton-brown-paula-deen.jpgEaster is almost upon us and in addition to the religious festivities, it generally means a time for meals that rival Thanksgiving. So we're here to help you out, with a little assistance from our friends Alton Brown, Paula Deen and Michael Chiarello at the Food Network.

Alton Brown's 4-Pepper Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:


    * 6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
    * 1 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns, divided
    * 1/2 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
    * 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    * 1/2 teaspoon whole green peppercorns
    * 1/2 teaspoon caper liquid
    * 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    * 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    * 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    * Pinch sugar

Directions

Slice the eggs in half from top to bottom. Scoop the yolks into a medium mixing bowl and lay the whites aside. Place all of the peppercorns, except 1/2 teaspoon of the pink peppercorns, into a spice grinder and process until ground well. Add the ground peppers, caper liquid, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and sugar to the egg yolks and using a fork, stir to thoroughly combine. Place the mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and cut a small hole at one of the corners. Pipe the mixture into each of the white halves. Coarsely grind the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pink peppercorns and use to garnish the top of each egg.

Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.


Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole:

Ingredients:

    * 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
    * 8 large eggs
    * 2 cups half-and-half
    * 1 cup milk
    * 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * Dash salt
    * Praline Topping, recipe follows
    * Maple syrup

Directions

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:


    * 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
    * 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    * 1 cup chopped pecans
    * 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.


Michael Chiarello's oasted Spiced Ham

Ingredients:


    * 1 boneless country ham
    * 2 cups honey, for glazing ham
    * 2 tablespoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
    * 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped fine
    * 6 celery stalks

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place ham on an open brown paper bag for easy clean up. With the tip of a paring knife carefully score a 1-inch grid pattern around the outside of the ham. Brush the entire surface of the meat on all sides with some of the honey.

Season the entire surface of the meat on all sides with the toasted spice rub and thyme. Add about a half cup of water to the base of the roaster. Place ham on several celery sticks in the roasting pan.

Cook for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes, baste ham with juices that collect in the base of the roaster and the honey. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving as desired.

Toasted Spice Rub:


    * 1/4 cup fennel seeds
    * 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    * 1 tablespoon peppercorns
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
    * 1/4 cup (1-ounce) pure California sweet chili powder*
    * 2 tablespoons kosher salt
    * 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. (Toasting freshens spices, releases their oils, and makes them more fragrant, as well as adding a new dimension of flavor.) When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan; add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Put in a blender with the sweet chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground.

If you have a small spice mill blender or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.

*Chef's Tip: Taste your chili powder and, if spicy and hot, cut back the amount. California chiles are almost sweet, not hot.


Sounds like a great Easter dinner to us. Enjoy!
 

Photo/Video credit: Food Networ, Getty Images