Sunday, March 23, 2008


Easter Sunday is very early this year. I am ready for Spring, but not really ready for the same old Ham! Here are a few twists on the traditional recipes. Egg prices have sky-rocketed over the past few months so make sure to utilize them in you buffet after the hunt is over. You can follow the basic deviled egg recipe or add dill, caviar, sour cream, bacon, and/or cheddar, the choices are as limitless as your imagination. The mint pesto in the lamb is a fresh twist on the sickly sweet mint jelly, and asparagus risotto uses the popular spring vegetable to add variety to your menu. The carrot cake is so tasty and a joy for all ages. Regardless of how you celebrate the season, these are fun spring recipes that make any meal fresh and special.

Deviled eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon
3 tablespoons dill pickles, minced
Splash vinegar
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
Peel eggs and very carefully slice eggs in half the long way, keeping the whites intact as much as possible. Place whites on tray, holes up. Drop yolks into a small mixing bowl and smoosh with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix with fork until smooth. You can fill the egg whites by using a small spoon or a pastry bag. Sprinkle with paprika or chopped chives for a little color, and serve or refrigerate.

Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto

1 cup pine nuts
6 large garlic cloves
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
1 5- to 6-pound leg of lamb
2 pounds baby new potatoes
12 ounces baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
Fresh mint sprigs

Finely chop pine nuts and garlic in processor. Add 2 cups mint leaves and basil and chop finely. Add oil, lemon and Dijon and blend until pesto is smooth. Cut excess fat from lamb, leaving thin layer. Set lamb in large roasting pan. Make several slits in lamb with tip of small sharp knife. Reserve 1/2 cup pesto for vegetables. Spoon some pesto into each slit; rub remainder into lamb. Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature or cover and chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast lamb 45 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and turn to coat in pan juices. Roast 30 minutes. Add carrots and reserved 1/2 cup pesto and turn to coat carrots and potatoes in pesto and pan juices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 140°F. for medium-rare, about 45 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.
Carve lamb into thin slices. Arrange on plates with potatoes and carrots. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Asparagus Risotto

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Blanch asparagus pieces in large pot of boiling, salted water 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse asparagus under cold water. Drain asparagus well. Bring chicken stock to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep broth hot. Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir 3 minutes. Add white wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Continue cooking until rice is tender but still slightly firm in center and mixture is creamy, adding chicken stock 1 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, about 20 minutes. Add blanched asparagus pieces and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper.

24-Karat Cake

2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
2 cups grated carrot
8 1/2-oz. Crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cup chopped nuts

To flour, add salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. Mix. Add eggs and cooking oil and mix well. Add carrot, pineapple and nuts, and stir to combine. Put in a 9x13 greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.


Beat the following ingredients until smooth.

1/2 cup butter
8oz cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Frost and enjoy!

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