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Prepare an Easter egg-stravaganza

Easter makes for the most egg-cellent holiday.

Beyond being colored or dyed, eggs are a protein-packed power food that perform triple, or even quadruple, duty for Easter Sunday. They go from brunch to appetizers, entrees to desserts.

The Easter season is a time of rebirth, renewal and newness. Arriving on the heels of Lent, which is a somber, penitent time, Easter is a joyful day. For Christians, it is Resurrection Sunday. For non-believers, it represents the joy of spring.

Spring comes with bright, colorful foods from the garden, adding new life and energy to an Easter meal. Pair those veggies with the versatile egg.

A sumptuous brunch after sunrise church services makes for a perfect Easter meal, which is a little out of the ordinary for the holiday. Eggs are center stage, from omelets to eggs Benedict — or even huevos rancheros that kick the meal up a notch or two. You can go on the light side as well with some Mediterranean Diet recipes that take eggs to another level.

Picnics are perfect for Easter, and eggs are perfect for picnics if kept at the proper temperature. How about hummus-stuffed eggs, colored boiled eggs or avocado-and-egg salad? Be sure to pack plastic eggs to hide for the children.

Preschoolers and younger, elementary-age children rarely tire of hunting Easter eggs.

If a sit-down Easter meal at home is a tradition, don’t forget the egg. A braided Easter egg bread creates a pretty, edible centerpiece. They are easier than they look, so don’t be afraid. Of course, any Easter meal would not be complete without deviled eggs featuring a variety of fillings.

A favorite dessert after a heavy Easter lunch or dinner is a simple egg custard.

Skip the pie crust and prepare the custard in baking cups. What a sweet, light way to end the meal!

Here are some recipes to put those eggs to tasty use. Try captain’s eggs neptune for brunch or avocado-egg crostini for an appetizer.

Captain’s eggs neptune takes only 30 minutes to prepare. How easy is that?

CAPTAIN’S EGGS NEPTUNE

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

8 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup cold butter (One stick cut into 16 pieces)

2 tablespoons softened butter

Pinch ground red pepper

4 English muffins, split and toasted

8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into 1-ounce pieces

2 tablespoons chopped dill

Heat two to three inches of water, vinegar and one teaspoon salt in large saucepan or deep skillet to boiling. Adjust heat to keep liquid simmering gently. Break eggs, one at a time, into small bowl. Hold dish close to surface of pan and slip egg into water.

Cook eggs until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, three to five minutes. Do not stir. Lift eggs from water with slotted spoon. Drain well on platter lined with paper towels. Keep warm.

Whisk egg yolks, water, orange juice and lemon juice in a small saucepan until blended. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until mixture is foamy and small bubbles appear along side of pan. Whisk in cut-up butter one piece at a time until butter is melted and sauce is thickened.

Remove pan from heat immediately. Whisk in orange zest, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and red pepper.

Spread muffin halves with remaining tablespoons of softened butter. Arrange muffin halves on plates and top with salmon. Place one egg over salmon, top with sauce and sprinkle with dill.

— From www.incredibleegg.org

EGG AND AVOCADO CROSTINI

1 baguette loaf

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 eggs

3 tablespoons milk or water

1 tablespoon butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 large avocado, peeled and pitted

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice baguette into about 16 slices. Lay slices on greased baking sheet; brush tops with olive oil. Bake for about five minutes or until lightly browned and toasted.

Beat eggs and milk in bowl until blended. Melt butter in small skillet set over medium-low heat, swirl pan to coat the bottom.

Pour egg mixture into skillet. As eggs start to cook, push, pull and fold eggs with spatula frequently until all egg is cooked and no liquid remains. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Mash together avocado, lemon juice and pinch of salt in separate bowl; spoon over slices of baguette to cover most of the surface on top. Spoon scrambled eggs over avocado.

Top with chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves eight.

— From www.incredibleegg.org

Andrea Yeager is a freelance writer who lives in Gulfport with her daughter, granddaughter and pets.

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