Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Easter Dinner

I endeavor to live a life where my faith is front and center, and Easter is a day where I especially take stride in expressing my deep gratitude for and celebration of my Christian heritage.  This year was no exception and that celebration flowed into the preparation of my special Easter dinner. 

Interestingly enough, the main course of my dinner was the same as the one I prepared last year.  I haven't decided whether this menu will become a standing tradition or not, so you'll have to check back in with me next year to see where I land.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Minted Pea Puree

My main course of grilled lamb chops, served with a minted pea puree, seemed to perfectly embrace the Easter tradition and Spring all-in-one.  The lamb shined with the accents of garlic, lemon and rosemary and the pea puree was bright, fresh and, to my chagrin, gone too soon.  They melded in perfect harmony for a simple, yet indulgent, bite.

Apple Turnovers

And then there was dessert.  Apple Turnovers made with flaky puff pastry and tart Granny Smith Apples.  With the help of store bought puff pastry, these gems came together in no time flat and succeeded as the perfect ending to my special meal.  How sweet!

To be clear, you don't need a special occasion to enjoy this menu.  All together or on their own, each dish is great and should be enjoyed as often as you like.  That's my plan, anyway.

Happy Spring and Happy Eating!

Grilled Lamb Chops with Lemon, Rosemary & Garlic 
1.5 lbs. lamb chops
Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon

Drizzle olive oil on the lamb chops and season on both sides with salt and pepper.  Combine the rosemary, garlic and lemon zest into a mixture and, along with the lamb chops, add to a resealable bag. Rub the mixture into the chops and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Remove chops from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior to grilling to allow meat to come to room temperature.  Preheat grill (or grill pan) and grill chops until medium-well or preferred level of doneness.  Remove chops from grill and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.   

Minted Pea Puree
1 lb. frozen green peas
2 garlic cloves
Sour cream
Fresh mint

Bring a pot of cold water to a boil, then add salt, green peas, and garlic and cook until the peas are tender.  Drain the peas and put peas and garlic in a blender.  Add 3-4 tbsp. of sour cream, several sprigs of mint and blend until pureed.  Remove from blender and check for seasoning.  Season further, as desired, and return to the pot.  Cover to keep warm until serving.

Apple Turnovers
Adapted from Ina Garten
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
3/4 lb. Granny Smith Apples 
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. dried cranberries
2 tbsp. sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg + tbsp. water (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and slice apples and place in a bowl; toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.  Add in sugar, cranberries, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together to coat the apples.  Beat together egg and water in a separate bowl.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry to approx. 12x12 in. and cut into 4 squares.   Fill the center of each square with 1/3 cup of apple mixture.  Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg wash and fold one end over diagonally and seal the edges.  Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Insert two small slits on top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve and enjoy! 


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