Just what the Easter bunny ordered: Egg hunts and homemade treats

A round up of local Easter happenings and a savory bread pudding recipe if you're staying home.

Asparagus and Leek Strata is bread pudding layered with fresh asparagus, leeks, and cheese. — Photo by Sarah Waldman

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring — even though the temperatures haven’t yet warmed up to my liking, I’ll take this over snow any day! And what better sign of spring than Easter slowly hopping its way to us this week? We’ve put together a list of Easter happenings, on-Island egg hunts, and brunch — all perfect occasions for spending time with friends and families.

Saturday, April 4

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Edgartown: Easter egg hunt starts at 9am.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Oak Bluffs: First annual egg hunt sponsored by Veterans Services at MVCS, starts at 10 am.

West Tisbury library: Spring egg hunt at 10 am sharp. After the hunt the library will offer a family craft for ages 3-plus and for tweens and teens.

Rainy Day, Vineyard Haven: Adult Easter egg hunt at 10 am.

Oak Bluffs library: Egg hunt from 10 to 10:30 am in the children’s room.

Long Point Wildlife Refuge, West Tisbury: Annual spring egg hunt begins at 10:30 am sharp. Stop by anytime to decorate eggs and complete seasonal outdoor activities. (Use winter entrance on Deep Bottom Road.)

Jardin Mahoney, Oak Bluffs: Visit with the Easter bunny from 11 am to 1 pm.

Juliska, Vineyard Haven: Easter Foodie Event with Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt from 2 to 4 pm. Champagne and deviled eggs will be served.

Sunday April 5

Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown: Meet at the front lawn of the hotel; the egg hunt starts at 10 am. They’ll also be hosting an Easter brunch — call 508-627-3761 for reservations.

First Baptist Church, Vineyard Haven: Easter egg hunt follows 11 am service.

First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, at the Ag Hall: Community Easter service at 11 am, followed by an egg hunt.

Jardin Mahoney, Oak Bluffs: Visit with the Easter bunny from 11 am to 1 pm.

Terrace at the Charlotte Inn: Easter brunch from 11 am to 2 pm; call 508-627-6227 for reservations.

Grace Church in Vineyard Haven: Easter egg hunt starts at 11:15 am.

Grill on Main, Edgartown: Easter brunch with three seatings (11:30, 1:30, or 3:30). Call 508-627-8344 for reservations.

Chilmark Community Church: Worship service at 9 am will be enhanced by guest harpist Sandra Bittermann, and an egg hunt for children.

Vineyard Gardens, West Tisbury: Annual egg hunt at 1pm.

Flying Horses, Oak Bluffs: Visit with the Easter bunny from 1 to 4 pm.

Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs: Easter egg hunt for kids age 0 to 12 years at 1 pm.

If you decide to spend Easter at home with friends and family, what better way to celebrate the joyous occasion than with a spring-inspired recipe by local cookbook author Sarah Waldman? This Asparagus and Leek Strata is simply a savory bread pudding layered with fresh asparagus, leeks, and nutty Gruyère cheese, perfect to make the night before and bake while you host your own Easter egg hunt!

Sarah, born and raised on the mainland, moved on-Island and fell in love with Island living. She writes the web site sarahwaldman.com, where you can find “a collection of healthy, seasonal, delicious recipes that celebrate a family-focused life.” She’s also a first-time cookbook author, and her book Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Snacks, comes out in July, so be sure to grab a copy when it hits the shelves. Sarah’s recipes have been showcased on numerous blogs and publications, including Fine Cooking, My New Roots, and mom.me, among others.

Asparagus and Leek Strata
Serves 6 to 8

1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbsps. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 bunch asparagus, tips set aside and stems chopped
2 leeks, sliced down the middle then across into thin ribbons, rinsed thoroughly
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan (1 cup)
9 large eggs
2¾ cups milk
2 Tbsps. Dijon mustard

Cook onion in butter over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes, then add ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in asparagus stems and leeks, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize.

Now build the strata in layers. Butter a three-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Start with the bread — spread one-third of the cubes in the bottom of the dish, top with one-third of vegetable mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, vegetables, and cheese. Finish by decorating the top with the asparagus tips.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl, and pour evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for at least 8 hours, or up to a day.

The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350° F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.