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If I had a head for business the way I have a heart for Easter brunch, I’d be a millionaire writing to you from a yacht off the coast of Monaco.

But I don’t, so here we are.


cocktail table small

Shall I tell you about brunch, then?

I woke up at 3:45 on Sunday morning.  I was that excited about deviled eggs.  But 3:45 is not an acceptable hour to run around the house shouting “Deviled eggs! We get to eat deviled eggs!” so I lay there until 6:30.

At that point I turned on the lights, threw on some Cuban music, and bumped around the kitchen in my pajamas.  I made crumb cake and raspberry scones.  I ate a Texas grapefruit that I was supposed to save for cocktails.  And I opened the refrigerator approximately 200 times to sneak a peek at the spinach and cheese strata, which I had a feeling was going to be very, very good.

Meanwhile, Scott stood at the stove valiantly flipping pea and chive pancakes.

salmon small

At the last minute, we wrote our guests’ names on hard-boiled eggs and set them out as place cards.  And then the screen door began to creak and slam, and our friends came in bearing champagne and almond tarts and roast legs of lamb.

table 2

We ate.

kelly 2

We feasted, rather.  Here’s what we had:

-deviled eggs (whee!)
-hot cheese olives (the recipe’s below)
pea pancakes with smoked salmon (from Bon Appetit)
crumb cake (from my grandmother)
spinach and cheese strata (from Gourmet)
roast leg of lamb (from Gourmet)
-asparagus (tossed in olive oil and salt, roasted at 400 degrees until the stems were fork tender)
-almond tart (from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food), fruit, and chocolate cookies (from Momofuku Milk Bar, via A Periodic Table)

We also had some special dishes (fusion dishes, maybe?) put together by a 4-year-old.  Her masterpiece was an Alphabet Pasta With Half-Eaten Strawberry.  It looks simple, but the preparation process was actually kind of complex.

Easter spaghetti

Scott and I had a lot of help from our friend Sarah.  Sarah is the kind of person who notices that the food is about to burn up in the oven and everyone is out of champagne and you are nowhere to be found.  When this happens (and it did), she takes the food out of the oven with one hand, opens a bottle with the other, and keeps the party hopping until you’re back in the game.   Because of her, Scott and I were actually able to sit down and enjoy ourselves.

easter scott

easter me and luc small 2

I loved it–even the part where it rained and we couldn’t play badminton in the backyard.  Even the part where Seymour snagged five deviled eggs off the table and Thunder tried to eat the tutu off a little girl.  See that tutu there, in the bottom right corner?  That one.

thunder easter small

So, my friends, that was the scene around here on Sunday.  If you try one thing from our menu, you might want to go for the hot cheese olives.  They’re so retro!  When I pop one in my mouth, I can almost see myself clutching a martini at a cocktail party circa 1956.olives

There’s some cheese in the dough, but they’re not really hot cheese olives.  They’re more like olives in a blanket.

olive inside


Hot Cheese Olives {Download & Print Recipe}
recipe by Julia Reed from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, told in my own words.
If you’re having a party, you can make these a day in advance.  After you roll the olives in the dough, put them on a baking sheet and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Just before your guests arrive, remove the plastic wrap and bake them up.  They’re best served hot, so baking them right before the party is a better idea than baking them earlier in the day.

Ingredients: {makes about 50 olives}

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened

2 c. grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

dash or three of Worcestershire sauce

1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. water

50+ small pimento-stuffed green cocktail olives


In the bowl of an electric mixer (or by hand, if that’s your only option) beat the butter until it’s creamy.  Beat in the cheese.  With the mixer on the lowest setting, add in the flour, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire, and beat until the dough is smooth.  Add the egg and water mixture and beat until the mixture is incorporated but no more.

Gather the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate it for an hour or more.

When you’re ready to wrap the olives in the chilled dough, put some of the olives in a bowl, tip out the brine, and pat the olives dry.   Dust your hands in flour.  (It will make rolling so much easier.)  Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of 2 hazelnuts and roll it into a ball between your floured palms.  Using your palm and your other thumb, press the ball of dough into a thin disk.  Put an olive in the middle and wrap the dough around it and seal it at the top.  Patch any breaks in the dough with your fingers and then roll it between your palms to smooth out the seams.  When you finish wrapping an olive, put it on an ungreased baking sheet.  You don’t want the olives to touch and bake into each other, but they’re not going to rise during baking so they can otherwise be as close together as you want.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, try to use the smallest amount of dough possible to wrap each olive.  When you near the end of the dough, preheat the oven to 350.

Bake the olives for about 15 minutes, until the dough sets.  They won’t necessarily be golden brown like in my photo–I overdid that batch a little.  An  earlier batch wasn’t as golden brown, but the dough was soft and delicious.   Serve them hot.


seymour restingThis is Seymour resting after a highly successful afternoon of hunting for deviled eggs.

p.s. photo credit for the shot of me to my friend Stephanie, with thanks.

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Allow me to be serious for just one moment – that is a beautiful photo of you!

    OK, as you were.

    The more pressing matter: why, WHY, is it deviled and not devilled? De-viled is not a nice way to describe an egg. I spell it with two Ls even though that’s not correct because I can’t bring myself to defame an egg in that way.

    April 2, 2013
    • I support your decision to spell deviled eggs however the hell you want to. (Get it? Devil? Hell? I crack myself.) I prefer “fishes” to the plural “fish.” Fishes or fishies is so much more fun to say. At our next picnic we should serve devilled fishes, you and I.

      April 2, 2013
  2. I have to try these, one of the best things I’ve ever made were fried olives, and I remember thinking at the time that it would be great to wedge cheese into the equation, somehow. Brilliant!

    April 2, 2013
    • I’ve never had a fried olive but I adore fried pickles. I bet I’d love the olive version! I have a friend who is really good at frying okra, so maybe I’ll get her to fry me up some cocktail olives sometime.

      April 2, 2013
  3. If you’re like me, it’s probably a good thing you don’t have a yacht. Put me on a boat and I’m sicker than a dog who ate too many deviled eggs. I wonder if fried olives are a good cure for motion sickness… All that aside, what a wonderful brunch you had!! what a lot of work!

    April 2, 2013
    • Oh geez. I am okay as long as the boat is MOVING. I went fishing once in choppy seas and I was fine as long as we were in motion. Unfortunately, whenever my friend caught a fish we had to stop for a few minutes to reel it in, kill it, etc. Catching the fish was supposed to be the best part, but for me it was the worst. The worst. As soon as we stopped to reel it in, I’d start puking off the side of the boat.

      We caught a lot of fish that day. It was not ideal.

      April 2, 2013
  4. Love both pictures of you! And your screen door description!

    April 2, 2013
    • It’s so like you to love the screen door bit, and that makes me smile. Happy Easter from down home!

      April 2, 2013
  5. Gawd, you and Scott are like an awesome movie. One of those movies where you think about how great it would be to be JUST LIKE THEM. And then you invite yourself to Easter brunch at their house next year.

    Even though they don’t have a yacht.

    April 2, 2013
    • Hold up. You’re the one who probably has a EXTRA TUTUS in her closet that little girls can wear when their original tutus are mauled by a household pet. I want to watch THAT movie.

      April 2, 2013
  6. juanitascocina #

    We make these olives all of the time together. That means we’d party well together. Just sayin’.

    Also, I used to make tutus for a living. So, if you want one…

    And yes, I’m totally serious.

    April 2, 2013
    • You make these olives?! That’s awesome! You’re way ahead of my curve. I only just found out about them.

      I’m going to need a WHOLE LOT more detail on your tutu-making past. Is this on your blog somewhere? Did I miss this? Because it sounds incredible.

      April 9, 2013
  7. Thunder looks quite peeved that he hasn’t got a tutu as well, you should do something about that? Do they make tutus for dogs? I think I’ve had a similar recipe, years ago, I’m probs as old as that recipe:D But it’s a great one and I’m happy you reminded me of it and it’s here to try making myself!

    April 2, 2013
    • Barbara, now that you mention it, maybe Thunder was trying to eat the tutu for the same reason that one of those goat’s at my friend’s farm tried to eat one of our goat coats: because she wanted one! I’ll have to take that into consideration next Halloween…

      April 9, 2013
  8. jenny_o #

    What wonderful pictures and descriptions. “A good time was had by all” comes to mind!

    I don’t blame Thunder for trying to get a tutu. When you know it would look awesome on you, you will beg, borrow, steal or harass a small child to get one.

    Also, Seymour looks a little like he has a deviled egg hangover. I hope his digestion was not compromised.


    April 2, 2013
    • Ehm, to be honest–Seymour was not the only one who had a hangover of some sort. We were (the house included) a little worse for the wear by nightfall, but what fun it was!

      April 9, 2013
  9. Olives-in-a-Blanket! Thunder-in-a-Tutu! Seymour-in-digestion! What a great party!

    April 3, 2013
    • Bwahahaha. You continue to crack me up Sandy Sue.

      April 9, 2013
  10. Such a lovely post of gracious entertaining, good friends, good times. And of course, good food. The pooch antics added fun and I can just imagine how you all must have laughed!

    April 3, 2013
  11. Amy #

    Holy cow, that’s some party you threw! Love your menu choices (obviously seymour did too). Next time I want an invite….it’s a pretty far drive though so I might be a little late. I’ll bring something tasty.

    April 3, 2013
  12. You have a knack for writing opening sentences, and this post has one of the best openings ever. That looks like a lovely Easter brunch. The olives sound great. And bad, bad Seymour, stealing deviled eggs!

    April 3, 2013
  13. Those dogs are amazingly photogenic 🙂

    And what a lovely brunch. I think that Scott is a lucky guy.

    April 4, 2013
  14. rhema3one7 #

    Enjoyed every bit of your post. Must say, I almost felt like living in your place. Those beautiful pictures wow…. And your recipes, should try them.

    April 8, 2013
  15. Movita took the words right out of my mouth for this one: you and Scott ARE like an awesome movie.
    And i want, want, WANT those hot cheese olives. And also for someone to take a picture of me where i looked that polished and effortlessly joyful as you do in the one above. Sadly, i am neither of those things, so that photo? it may NEVER HAPPEN for me.

    April 9, 2013
  16. I realized that I am not only yachtless but green olive-less. I will rectify the olive situation immediately and try this, but you can keep the yacht! 🙂 Looks like a BLAST and Thunder and the tutu? OMG that is awesome!

    April 11, 2013
  17. Laural #

    these would be awesome made w/ the spicy garlic olives in the Tapas cookbook…hmm. may try them…

    April 20, 2013

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