As you would expect, Easter is a big holiday in New Orleans. Being one of the largest percentage of Catholics in the city, around 36%, New Orleans celebrates the end of the Lenten season with a big day on Easter Sunday. I know you are thinking that they must have an Easter parade. Actually, there are three. The Historic French Quarter Easter parade begins at Antoine’s restaurant and ends at The St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America. After 11:00 a.m. Mass, the participants head to across to Jackson Square to show off their Easter bonnets. Later in the afternoon, the Chris Owens French Quarter parade and the Gay Easter parade both parade int the French Quarter.

Of course, what would be a holiday without a big dinner. The first thing that my taste buds water for is the Easter ham. Usually a spiral cut ham, it is the star of the meal. You can use the glaze packet that come with the ham. However, here is a glaze that will raise the flavor of your Easter ham to new heights.

Spicy Sugar Ham Glaze

1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Steen’s Cane Syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground Clove
1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice
1 tablespoon coarsely ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup (packed) Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended. Allow to stand for at least 1 hour before using. Spread 1/3 of the mixture over ham before starting to cook. Continue to occasionally top ham with glaze throughout cooking time.

Most people serve mashed potatoes with their ham. However, here is a great substitution for those potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a staple is Louisiana cooking. This dish is also great for a picnic or barbecue.

Sweet Potato Salad

3 medium Sweet Potatoes
4 Green Onions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 ribs Celery, diced
1/4 cup Olive oil
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Rinse and dry the sweet potatoes. Bake foil-wrapped potatoes at 400℉ until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 to 60 minutes Set aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add green onions and celery. Set aside.
Mix the oil, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, Creole seasoning and pepper.

Every great meals ends with a great dessert. The dark brown sugar that is used has more molasses added to it. It gives the cake a nice rich flavor. Serve it with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened
2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons All-purpose Flour, divided
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 cups packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 large Eggs
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon Rum Extract (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-cup Bundt Pan and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of flour. Swirl the pan to coat then dump out the excess flour.
Sift remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Beat butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add brown sugar gradually and continue beating until light and loose, about 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with 1 cup evaporated milk. Stir in rum until just mixed. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Invert onto plate. Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving, if desired. Store in refrigerator.

This is just a small sampling of a New Orleans Easter dinner. With a family as large as mine (I am one of 7 children) there are often as many as fifteen dishes to sample. These 3 are often repeated even year.