Sunday, March 24, 2013

Not your Traditional Easter Recipes by Philip S. Kampe

Are you tired of the usual, traditional Easter recipes that you have grown-up with?
These recipes are passed on from generation to generation. Whether you cook ham or lamb as your main course or courses, think about other alternatives.
Before I get to the alternatives, I will share the traditional lamb recipe that my wife has made for as many years as I know her. Her family is European (Italian), but, my guess is that they borrowed this recipe from the Greeks.

Easter Lamb Recipe:
Wash a six (about) boned-in leg of lamb. Pat dry and put on a rack in a roasting pan.
Sliver eight large cloves of garlic and mix with eight tablespoons of oregano, salt and pepper.
Melt a stick of stick of butter and mix with a quarter cup of olive oil. Add the garlic/oregano mixture and stir.
Make slits (20) in the lamb and insert the garlic, oil mixture. Rub the remaining mixture on the leg of lamb.
Squeeze a lemon over the lamb. Let the lamb sit for an hour to marinate.
Turn oven on to 325 degrees. 
After an hour, put the lamb in the oven, covered in tin foil, for three hours.
Baste with the liquid drippings, often..
The Europeans, especially the Greeks like to eat lamb well done. Americans, do not.
If you like your lamb medium-rare, check the lamb at two and a half hours.
If you want to add peeled potatoes and carrots to the dish, when basting, add the potatoes and carrots halfway through the cooking process.
Take your lamb out of the oven, when finished and let it sit, covered for 10 minutes.
Remove the tin foil and serve to your guests.

Since the tradition of ham and lamb has changed somewhat and many people stay away from eating meat, there are alternatives for the palate. Sticking to vegetarian alternatives is one and cooking with poultry is another.
Thanks to Colonel Sanders, chicken was introduced to the masses and has universal appeal. In most households, chicken is a staple ingredient for lunch and dinner. I have incorporated an Easter chicken dish with various spices to liven up your Easter meal.

Easter Chicken Recipe:
Choose the correct amount of skinless thighs and legs needed per person for your Easter meal. This recipe is for six people.
Add olive oil to a sauté pan. Add salt and pepper to all sides of the chicken. Saute until lightly browned and then take out. Add a large sliced red onion to the pan and saute for three minutes. Add four peeled and sliced garlic cloves to the pan and sauté with onions until translucent. Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to the pan. Add the chicken, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half cup of pitted green olives, two tablespoon of freshly chopped ginger and two sliced cloves of garlic.
Cook, covered for 45 minutes on medium heat. Take the cover off every 15 minutes and turn the chicken over.
When finished, take out the chicken and put it on a warmed serving platter.
You are not finished, yet.
In the same sauté pan, add lemon zest from one lemon, juice of one lemon, a quarter cup of parsley and a quarter cup of cilantro to the existing liquid. Heat for two minutes, stir and spoon the liquid over the chicken.
Serve the chicken alone or with a side of rice.

Most meals need a salad. I have a ‘go to salad’ that is always a hit. The preparation is easy and can be done a day ahead.

My Favorite ‘Go-To’ Easter Salad:
I learned about this salad idea many years ago when I lived in Europe. Feta and olives are used, so, my guess is that it may have Greek origins, like the lamb recipe.
Heat olive oil in a large, flat, sauté pan. When warm, add four cups of day old, diced artisanal bread. Add olive on top of each cube/ Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until slightly brown on both sides. When finished, transfer the bread into a separate large rounded salad bowl.
In a separate bowl, toss a seeded chopped cucumber, one seeded yellow and red chopped bell pepper, a small red onion chopped, two pints of halved cherry tomatoes and a half cup of pitted black and green olives.
In a separate bowl make the dressing. Fill a measuring cup with a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, one tablespoon dried oregano, one tablespoon of minced garlic, one tablespoon of Dijon mustard, one half teaspoon each of salt and pepper and a half cup of extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.
In the large salad bowl, top the browned bread with three-quarters of a pound of feta cheese and the salad mixture. Add the salad dressing and mix well. Cover with saran wrap and chill in fridge for one hour. When serving, add salt and pepper to your taste.

Often an  appetizer served with Champagne sets the mood for Easter, I like to serve a dish, our friend from Michigan, Pat Wiley, introduced to us.
I call it the ‘Pat Wiley Special Shrimp Appetizer’.
This recipe is for six.
Peel and devein 24 large shrimp. Leave the tails on. Put the shrimp in a bowl and add an eighth cup of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Dip one side of each shrimp in toasted sesame seeds and put on a baking tray with parchment paper, seed side up. Bake in a 400 degree oven for seven minutes.
While the shrimp are cooking, make a dipping sauce from a half cup of mayonnaise, three tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro, two tablespoons of lime juice, two teaspoons of soy sauce, two scallions finely chopped and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
When the shrimp are ready, add a toothpick to each shrimp and place on a serving tray with the dipping sauce in the middle.

Holidays are always special.
We wish you and your Family a Happy Easter and Passover from the staff at the Wine Hub!

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