by The Culinistas

There’s nothing we love more than getting all dressed up and hosting a holiday meal with friends and family. Throw in a few sugar-coated pastel marshmallows, the afikomen and a good bottle of Cremant for Elijah and even without a crowd, it’s a party.

For the culinary side of your hosting duties, we’re here to help with these tips from the top. Whether you’re celebrating Easter or Passover this year, take a tip or two from Tiana & Jill. And if you’d rather leave it to the Easter Bunny, you can always hire a Culinista.

Tiana’s Easter Tips

Make your own all-natural food coloring for dyeing eggs: Normally, we advocate for making things less complicated when it comes to hosting, but this is an easy DIY trick that won’t require an additional trip to the store. Use beets to make pink dye, turmeric for yellow, and red cabbage for purple. Blend the ingredients with water in a food processor and strain or pass through a juicer, then steep white eggs in the liquid. 

Beat the crowds to the butcher: If you have your eye on a rack of lamb for the main event, don’t chance it by waiting until day-of to make your trip to the butcher. Two days out is the perfect time to beat the crowds without having to worry about your centerpiece going bad.

Bag it up: If ham is on the menu, do your future self a huge favor by purchasing an oven bag to bake it in. This will save you from having to scour a pan after a long day of cooking and cocktailing. Don’t forget to score your ham and plug it with cloves before going into the bag.

Roll with the punches: This is good advice for hosting and holiday, but it’s our cute way of reminding you to grab an extra pack of rolls that can be used for quick and easy ham sliders when guests get their second wind. Pro-tip: Get Hawaiian rolls and turn them into mini ham breakfast sandwiches the next morning. 

Jill’s Passover Tips

Charoset it and forget it: Charoset is my favorite part of the meal. That apples, raisins, and walnuts soaked in wine is part of my heritage’s culinary tradition does make me feel chosen. Budget one apple per guest & make this dish 1-2 days in advance so there is time for it to infuse. Make a portion with grape juice instead of wine for the kids.

Speaking of advanced prep, brisket should always be made at least a day ahead of serving as well. Let it sit in the fridge between days & skim the fat from the top of the casserole while it’s cold & congealed before slicing, returning to the broth & reheating. 

Controversial, but give the classics a colorful modern twist adding minced spinach and herbs to your matzah ball mix. Brighten up the aforementioned brisket with pomegranate molasses & seeds. 

Make perfect eggs. The egg always feels a bit random to me within the flow of the appetizing section of the sedar. Jazz this up a bit by boiling a 7-minute egg that stays a touch jammy in the yolk. 

Make our whitefish salad recipe! Pro tip: add an egg & some matzo meal, form to patties, and sear in oil to make fish cakes.