I LOVE cooking on holidays. I know lots of you probably dread it, but if you have some dependable recipes and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get super-fancy, you can produce a great meal that will satisfy everyone and not be too much work for you. The key is planning and keeping a list handy of what you need to do. I make a pretty detailed list because I tend to forget the important things like ‘set the table’ which causes me to rush around like a crazy woman when everyone arrives. So, keep it simple, make your list (preferably the night before) and get cooking!
EASTER – so many choices. Do I want a glazed spiral-sliced ham, roast lamb, turkey or prime rib? Potatoes-mashed, roasted or scalloped? Which vegetable? What kind of salad and what about dessert? I decided to simplify this year. So here is my menu. Bon Appetit!
~Roast prime Rib with Gravy and Horseradish Sauce
~Crispy roast potatoes
~Fresh Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
~Baby field green salad with dried cranberries, crumbled bacon, gorgonzola cheese, red onion and a simple lemon vinaigrette
Roast Prime Rib of Beef
For the prime rib, I basically follow the Joy of Cooking, a kitchen resource that if you don’t have, you really should get! I cut slits in the fat part of the roast and slip in little slivers of fresh garlic, sprinkle the whole thing with salt and pepper and roast to a beautiful medium rare. The whole house smells absolutely heavenly!
- Take your roast out of the fridge an hour or two before you put it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 550.
- Put the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast without touching fat or bone. Do not cover the roast.
- Put it in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350 and roast for 18-20 minutes per pound for medium rare. Your thermometer will read 140 for rare and 170 for well done.
When the roast is cooked to your liking, take it out of the oven, cover loosely with foil and let it stand for about 10 minutes. If you slice into it right away, all the juice will come out so let your meat REST!
Now you can make your gravy or just make an easy little horseradish sauce. I just take a cup of sour cream and add a couple of tablespoons of horseradish. Taste it and add a little salt and pepper if you like.
- Organic Potatoes (I like red-skinned potatoes), 4-5 pounds
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400. Cut up the potatoes into quarters or eighths and put in a glass pyrex dish or a roasting pan.
- Sprinkle with 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil. Now sprinkle with salt and pepper. You could add some fresh rosemary or garlic if you like. Roast for about an hour. Check them and stir every 15 minutes or so.
- I like them nice and brown and crispy so I cook them till they look right! My husband, being Italian, likes to sprinkle a little red wine on them when they are almost done. Maybe 1/2 cup. This just gives them a rich taste that really adds a nice touch! You could also put the potatoes around your meat while it roasts if you like.
- 1-2 pounds organic asparagus
- Grape seed, coconut or olive oil-about 1/4 cup
- Chopped garlic, 2-3 cloves
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400. Place your asparagus on a large sheet pan. If it’s the little, pencil sized asparagus, it’s not necessary to peel. If you have the large stalks, peel them with a vegetable peeler to about 2 inches from the top. The skin can be tough so I like to peel it off!
- Drizzle olive oil over your asparagus and toss it around. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped garlic.
- Roast for about 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and serve. The cheese will melt as it hits the hot asparagus!
Baby Field Greens Salad
- Organic baby field greens or lettuce of your choice, except iceberg!
- 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
- 4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
- Thinly sliced red onion, about 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup of toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans or pine nuts)
- 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Feta cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or agave nectar
- 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (to taste)
- Place your greens in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, bacon, nuts, cheese and onion.
- Now, put your lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, the minced garlic and the sugar. Whisk together.
- Now, add the oil in a thin stream whisking constantly to emulsify. Taste from time to time and correct the seasoning.
- Pour dressing over salad just before serving. Use less than you think. You can always add more but you don’t want to drench the greens!
Chill until ready to serve.
The recipe I have used for years comes from the Silver Palette Cookbook. It makes a dense, rich cake that my husband absolutely drools over. It’s his favorite and he gets to pick dessert!
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups to 3 cups sugar ( I like a less sweet cake so I use the 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups oil
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 1/3 cups shredded raw carrots
- 3/4 cup crushed pineapple
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch layer cake pans or grease a large 9 x 13 inch pyrex or sheet pan. Line with waxed paper.
- Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges have pulled away from the sides and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you use the sheet pan cook for 50-60 minutes.
- Cool on a rack for 3 hours. Fill and frost sides with cream cheese frosting or dust top with confectioners sugar.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2-3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly sift in confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps.
- Stir in vanilla. Frost your carrot cake.
So, there you have it. Simple and elegant, easy and satisfying. Easter is a wonderful holiday for so many reasons. Celebrate with family, friends, and great food. Happy Easter!