Back to good health for all of us. Mum and I have both been sick for weeks, so we’ve missed several Sunday dinners. It feels good to be back in the kitchen. This is our first “empty nest” Easter, no kids, no Easter baskets. Well, I couldn’t resist, I made up a small basket with a potted azalea for Mum. Then, what luck, my cousin Cheryl and her family were vacationing in nearby Vero Beach and asked if they could see us. Yay! They were able to join us for Easter dinner.
Cheryl and I are the same age and we grew up together, went to college together and have been like sisters forever. We used to torment our grandmother by making her say who she liked best, Cheryl or Carol. Grandma would get flustered and start to mix up our names. We delighted in this goofy taunt for years. One time, Cheryl sort of held Grandma by the shoulders and lit a small disposable bic cigarette lighter. She held it out in front of us like it was a dangerous weapon, and said, “ok, Grams, now who’s it gonna be, Carol or Cheryl?” We laughed like hyenas! Mind you, it was a teeny tiny disposable lighter, definitely NOT a dangerous weapon. And it was nowhere near anybody. You don’t think that’s funny? We thought it was hilarious. I still think it is hilarious!
I had decided on a boneless leg of lamb for dinner. The smallest one I could find was about 5 pounds. I felt guilty buying so much food for just the three of us. But with Cheryl and her family coming I could really go to town. To go with the lamb, I came up with the following menu:
- Boneless Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs
- Rosemary Redskin Potatoes
- Puree of Sweet Peas with Mint
- Warm Dinner Rolls
- Triffle of Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries
I unrolled the boneless lamb and pounded it to even up the thickness. I sautéed shallots, fresh chopped oregano and garlic in olive oil, then stirred in some goat cheese to make a spread. I spread this all over the inside of the lamb, rolled it up and tied it. I had reserved some of the sautéed shallots, oregano and garlic, which I used to make a basting sauce by adding Marsala wine and reducing it by half. I poured this sauce over the lamb and basted it while it was roasting. It was tender, fragrant and delicious. I used a meat thermometer to test for doneness, but since the meat was rolled up, it was tricky to test all throughout the roast. I ended up having some very rare pieces which I had to leave off the platter. Next time I would test for doneness in several places on the roast.
The potatoes are a snap to make. Use whichever kind you like, Yukon golds, redskins, fingerling, whatever. Cut into a uniform size, spread out on a 9 by 12 baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary and salt. Roast them for 20 to 25 minutes at 450 F.
I love this side dish. It is cooked and pureed frozen peas. I saute onions or shallots and add to the puree along with fresh mint, yogurt, feta cheese, thyme and all spice. Then I thin it with chicken stock to the desired consistency. Add salt to taste and serve with crumbled feta cheese and mint on top. It is surprisingly fresh tasting with layers of complex flavors. I am not a pea lover, but I love this dish. Sometimes I thin it out more and serve it as a soup, delicious.
For the triffle, I made a pound cake and some lemon curd, which is a custard made from fresh lemon juice and thickened with eggs and sugar. I cut the pound cake into chunks and layered it in a triffle dish with the lemon curd, fresh berries and whipped cream. It was a picture to behold, but sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of it. I used the leftover ingredients the following week and made a variation of the dessert, using only blueberries. Here is the picture of that yummy dessert.