Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kitchen playtime: Easter weekend

Hubby and I always look forward to Easter, which we feels gives us the opportunity for some serious kitchen playtime. We start discussing the menu weeks in advance, and there is a careful selection of recipes as well as strategizing what to pick up where. Yes, I just made up a word.

So first, the cooking wine:

Yes, that is the 2013 Blanc de Syrah Brut from Wolf Mountain Vineyards here in Georgia. They make fabulous sparkling wines, and while they do have one sweeter one, the rest are nice and dry. This one is like spring strawberries in a glass.

And now the recipe sources:

Those would be the November 2014 Cooking Light (chard salad), John Sarich's Chef in the Vineyard (roasted lamb with cherry sauce), and perennial favorite Brother Rick Curry's The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking.

Of course the first part of the meal to be started was the yeast rolls since they rise twice. One thing to remember about the recipes in this book is that the dough tends to be very soft when you turn it out to knead. My best trick for dealing with this issue in this particular recipe is after the initial mixing/kneading period, switch to the dough hook and knead for two more minutes adding 1/2-3/4 cup more flour. It really helps. So, here they are. Rise, my pretties!

And baked. Seriously, I love this recipe.

And now for the Chopped Chard Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette:

This is a great salad for when the farmers' markets are still full of wintry stuff. Yes, come on, spring! I'm ready for some good spring and summer produce. The salad is just as good with feta instead of goat cheese. And hey, it's Cooking Light, so it's healthy.

Finally, the roasted leg of lamb with cherry sauce. Being half Belgian, I'm a sucker for meat/fruit combinations. I might have gotten a little too into the stabbing it before stuffing the herb mixture into the crevices and rubbing it:

But stab, stuff, and rub I did. Here's the cooked leg of lamb:

And Hubby engaged in his own knife work:

Ta da! Easter dinner (salads in bowls on the side):

The cherries in this sauce added more tart than sweet notes and made for a nice acidic foil for the meat. 

And, of course, the Easter wine, the 2012 Les Serrottes from Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Yes, this one is unfiltered and needs to be decanted for at least 30-60 minutes for that reason and to let it smooth out. Once it did, though, it went great with the roasted meat and cherry sauce.

Whatever you did, I hope you had a lovely Easter/Passover/spring weekend!

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