Mar 24, 2008

Easter Dinner

I love Spring foods, so Easter is probably my favorite holiday meal. Every Easter, I make Lamb - I just like to try a different cut or preparation every year. This year it was a rack of lamb, grilled, with roasted asparagus and mashed new red potatoes with Chevre (goat cheese) and herbs. I marinated the lamb in red wine (a Spanish Rioja) and served with a carmelized shallot and red wine reduction. I served with some fresh squeezed lemonade with a lemon-raspberry 'cheesecake' for dessert. It was very yummy, much due to Cory's superior grilling skillz, but I was a little too busy to really take very good photos so hopefully you can get the idea (the lamb was NOT overcooked, I don't know what the deal is with the picture!). Enjoy!

Grilled Rack of Lamb
1/2 bottle Red Wine (please do NOT use cooking wine, its gross - if you don't want to buy wine, search for a good pre-made red wine marinade at your grocery store)
4 crushed cloves of garlic
a few mint leaves
1 tbs olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper
3 small racks of Lamb (enough for about 6 to 8 adults)

Put the Lamb in a large bowl with herbs, wine, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Marinate for about an hour and then turn so it marinates evenly. Marinate for about another 2 hours, covered in the fridge. Take out of fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you grill. Cook over hot coals, bone side down, for about 8 minutes. It should remain pretty red in the center (but not cold). To serve, cut with a sharp steak knife in between each rib and top with some of the red wine and shallot reduction.

HerbMashed Potatoes
about 3-5 lbs new Red Potatoes
2 small packages of Chevre (french goat cheese)
Mint, Rosemary, and Thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil

Cut the potatoes in quarters, cover with water and boil until soft (I like to add salt to the water). Drain and return pan to heat (turn heat to low). Add olive oil and saute garlic until light golden. Add herbs and toss. Turn off burner. Return potatoes to pot, as well as the goat cheese and salt to taste. Stir to combine and mash with a potato masher until well combined.

Roasted Asparagus
2 lbs fresh Asparagus, with ends of stems removed
Olive oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread asparagus out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and coarse ground salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Put in oven and cook for about 20 minutes.

Red Wine and Shallot Reduction
3 large shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bottle red wine
1 tsp olive oil

Carmelize shallots with the garlic in the olive oil. Add the red wine and simmer until alcohol is burned off and wine is reduced to thick sweet sauce (I am NOT a gourmet chef by any means, I totally just made this up to be similar to what I see in restaurants, I was too lazy to even look up a recipe - so, trained chefs please don't judge me!)

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
1 cup sugar
6 cups water, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
a few lemon slices to garnish

I never used to know just how easy fresh lemonade is to make, and it is so much better than anything you can buy. First, make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in 3 cups of the water and bringing to a boil. Cool (you can make this is batches and keep in the fridge). Simply combine the cooled sugar syrup with the rest of the water and the lemon juice. I throw in a few lemon slices to the pitcher so it looks pretty. I would double this if you are making it for a lot of people.

Lemon-Raspberry "Cheesecake"
I kind of just made this up as I went along - the 'cheesecake' part isn't firm like cheesecake, hence the quotation marks . I didn't have the proper tools or ingredients to make a 'real' cheesecake - this has all the flavors still and was very very easy, but next time I'd like to do it right :)

1 package ricotta cheese
1 package cream cheese
2 cups sugar, divided
1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
juice from one lemon
zest from two lemons
6 Individual sized shortcake or poundcake dessert shells

Blend the cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, one cup sugar, and one tbs vanilla until creamy and smooth. Chill for one to two hours (I made ahead before dinner).

Either in a blender (or bowl with immersion blender) combine raspberries and remaining sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

To serve, top the cake with a few big spoon fulls of cheese mixture then drizzle with the raspberry puree.


  1. Julie, I love your blog! I'm so glad you did it! I had so much fun looking through it and am excited to try some new recipes. I am also glad you finally got to go to S.F., the coolest city in America! And congrats to Cory on is video game reviews, that's awesome! Today was the first time I checked my gmail account in a long time, so if you ever want to get back in touch, email me at Oh, and your easter dinner looked amAzing, rack of lamb is our favorite!

  2. what the BEEP. when did you start cooking gourmet and why didn't you when we woke up to "aloha friday" and overlooked hukilau? That looks so good.

  3. LOL nicole its kinda hard to cook anything when you get your food from the food bank and your parents food storage. Though I sorta do miss your extra big cans of beans and peanut butter...

  4. glad you said that bc i think i was thinking of only myself eating food bank crap, costco size pb with stolen chunks off (what was the rs roommate's name?)'s big old melted costco bag of chocolate chips. Yeah, I said it. I stole from the rs president:) You, on the other hand, were at least cooking. I specifically remember grits - my first encounter. Now I can happily say that I love them and make them at least once a month. Thanks Jew.