For Paige Poulos and many fellow Greek Americans in the West, Greek Easter - or Pasch - comes a little later this year (April 23). There's no glazed ham or bunny-themed centerpiece, but the meaning of the holiday, and the love of tradition, is the same. At Poulos's home in Point Richmond, California, the celebration is only complete with a tableful of simple Greek foods, surrounded by family.
Poulos's husband, John Woolley, grills an aromatic wine- and herb-marinated leg of lamb. Poulos adds a traditional Greek soup, salad, and spring vegetables. Lambropsomo - anise-scented bread embedded with red-dyed eggs in a cross shape - is a central symbol for the holiday. And flaky baklava with a glass of Greek dessert wine or a strong Greek coffee makes for a sweet ending to a meal that is just as enjoyable for a non-Greek Easter too.
• Feta cheese and olives, pickled green tomatoes with chiles (available in Mediterranean delis), and spanakopita (spinach-and-cheese filo packets, available frozen)
Serve with: ouzo (an anise-flavored spirit), diluted with ice water
• Egg, lemon, and rice soup (avgolemono soupa)
• Greek salad
• Greek lamb with herbs and garlic
• Swiss chard or spinach sautéed with olive oil and salt and garnished with lemon wedges
• Boiled artichokes drizzled with olive oil and vinegar
• Steamed baby potatoes mixed with olive oil, salt, and pepper
• Greek Easter bread (lambropsomo) or other sweet egg bread, such as Hawaiian
Serve with: Greek red wine, such as Amethystos - a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Limnio from Macedonia, with blackberry and cherry flavors - or a fruity Zinfandel
Serve with: Mavrodaphne, a Greek dessert wine