Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter FEAST!

I love Easter Dinner.  Maybe I just love all holidays and excuses to make something I would not make on a normal day, like a ham or a turkey.  I also like an excuse to get people together, if you couldn't already tell that.  This was the first time since moving to Brooklyn that I was actually in Brooklyn.  It has worked out in the past for one reason or another for me to head back to South Dakota an see the family.  Since I was not going to be making the trek west, I decided to gather my friends for an Easter Feast.
Doesn't it look yummy?
The menu included baked ham, mashed potatoes with noodles, quiche with goat cheese, caesar salad, baked brie, banana bread with walnut cream cheese, creamy jello and horchata.  In the Easter spirit revolving around eggs, Melissa made the yummy quiche that was filled with peppers and spinach and goat cheese.  The mashed potatoes and noodles, the noodles always go on top, are a holiday meal tradition for my friend Andrea, so she shared it with us.  We made fun of her for it at first because it sounded rather odd, but it was really good.  Christian tossed up the delicious caesar salad and the rest I decided to make.  I could have just made the ham and skipped many other things, but I just kept coming up with necessities. 

Ham is my families traditional Easter meal and creamy jello is also a special guest at the table, although mom has a mold to make jello eggs. I realize that it is another thing that sounds rather odd, but trust me, it's delicious.  The banana bread was an accident because I needed to use up some old bananas so I made it up on Saturday and when it was almost done I realized that I had forgotten the walnuts so I mixed some in with some cream cheese to spread on top.  While I was in the cheese section of the grocery store I decided that I needed to make my baked brie as an appetizer and Sunday morning I was looking at a recipe for horchata, a creamy Mexican drink with Rum, and added it to the menu. 
I am not going to share all the recipes for the items here, but I am going to share them some day, except maybe the brie, everyone want that recipe.  Today I am sharing the ham, which I found on Real Simple and the creamy jello since those are my Easter favorites.  Everything was delicious and turned out well despite my fears of over or under cooking the ham.  Everyone had a good time and we spent the remainder of our afternoon drinking our wine, beer, and horchata while playing Ccatch Phrase in garden.

Glazed Ham with Coriander & Fennel
I had a larger ham than the recipe I found, so I adjusted the recipe for that and I cooked the ham according to its packaging instead of by the recipe. This should be about 12 to 14 servings.

  • 1 10-pound fully cooked bone-in ham (shank end)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1  1/4 cup (10 oz.) apricot preserves

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place the ham, cut-side down, in a roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1.5 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, using a heavy pan, crush the fennel, coriander, and peppercorns. In a small bowl, combine them with the preserves to form a glaze.
  4. Brush 1/3 cup of the glaze over the ham and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. 
  5. Brush another 1/3 cup of the glaze over the ham and bake until the ham is heated through, about another 40 minutes. 
  6. Thinly slice and serve with the remaining glaze.
Creamy Jello
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 packages of 8 serving (or 4 pkg of 4 servings) jello- I would stick with berry flavors
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 package of 4 serving instant vanilla pudding
  1. Stir water and jello in a large bowl 3 minutes or until dissolved. Let cool at room temperature during next step. 
  2. Mix pudding into milk in a medium bowl and beat with a wire whisk for 1 minute.  Mixture will be thick. 
  3. Quickly pour pudding into cooled gelatin. Stir with whisk until well blended. 
  4. Pour into pan or molds and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  
Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011


All the delicious Dishes

Yesterday was the big Lemon off and it was a huge success.  So many yummy things and a few amazing trophies!  In a tight race for number one the Lemon Lasagna by Hillary won Best of Show, The Lemon Pasta by Melissa was the Savory winner and the Lemon Icebox Pie by Stephanie took home the Sweet trophy by a landslide.  Truth be told they were all so good, I had trouble making my choices and honestly cannot remember which ones I picked.  
Melissa, Hillary, & Stephanie with their trophies
The table after the feast
Unfortunately for me my Lemon Ricotta Tart did not win the trophy this time, but it was delicious. I found it in my Martha Stewart Fresh Flavor Fast.  I had not tried it before and the crust baked faster than the it was timed too so when the tart took longer to bake, my crust was almost over done.  It was fine, but I was still not happy that my oven has no consistency and somewhat ruined my tart.  I didn't have tart pan with a removable bottom, but I don't think that made any difference.

Lemon Ricotta Tart
  • 72 vanilla wafers (from a 12-ounce box)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse vanilla wafers until finely ground (to yield 2 cups). Add butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened. 
  2. Transfer crumb mixture to a 9-inch tart pan. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. 
  3. In clean food processor, blend ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Pour into hot crust in pan; bake until filling is set and browned in spots, 30 to 35 minutes.  
  4. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust top of tart with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

The rest of the recipes will be up soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

One last Lemon recipe trial: Fettuccine with Lemon

The Lemon- off is tomorrow and even though I decided what I am making earlier this week, I still wanted to try out a recipe I found in a Martha Stewart magazine called Fettuccine with Lemon, Mint, and Parmesan.  I ended up making a few changes to the recipe because I am cheap and only need half the amount of pasta, so below is my version of Fettuccine with Lemon.  It turned out well, although I would say that it was not as good as the Lemon Spaghetti with Asparagus, my roommate said he liked this recipe more.  I guess you can do your own taste trial and decide for yourself. 
Fettuccine with Lemon
  • 1/2 pound dried fettuccine
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4cup asiago cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Crushed red-pepper flakes (my friend who was joining me cannot handle red-pepper flakes and I forgot to sprinkle some on my own dish, but I bet it's an awesome addition)

  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
  2. Transfer pasta to a large bowl, and mix in reserved cooking liquid, cheese, lemon zest and juice, mint, oil, and red-pepper flakes if desired. Divide among dishes, garnish with cheese, and serve immediately.

    Picture Via