Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lisa Cooks for Easter and Passover

I had to shake my head in disbelief today that we’re already a week into April. How did that happen?

Nevertheless, I love April. As Shakespeare once wrote, “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

It also means we’ll soon be getting together with families and friends for Easter and Passover.

I had so much fun creating these holiday recipes. The glazed ham with orange and cranberries is especially delicious. Make sure to ladle the sauce over the meat when you serve it!

Corn, roasted red pepper and asparagus salad
Serves 8

3 red peppers, roasted, seeded and diced
3 cups yellow corn, frozen
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
2 small red onions, diced
½ cup basil, chiffonade

½ cup honey
¾ cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Roast red peppers until the skins are fully black; place peppers in plastic bag and remove skin by rubbing off in bag. Remove seeds and membrane, then dice and set aside.
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large stock pot.
We will next perform what’s known as blanching and shocking. It’s a fairly simple procedure that involves immersing the food in boiling water for 1-3 minutes (the time depends on the food) and then immediately placing the food in ice water in order to stop the cooking process and keep the vegetables crisp.
Beginning with the corn, blanch for 3 minutes and immediately place in ice water.
Next, blanch the asparagus for one minute and immediately place in ice water.
Take the asparagus and cut them—on an angle--into bite-size pieces; add to bowl.
Sprinkle red peppers and onions over asparagus mixture.
In another bowl, mix dressing ingredients and lightly drizzle over asparagus salad.

Cranberry and Orange Glazed Ham
Serves 8

1 8 to 10-pound smoked ham, bone-in, skin on
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup canola oil
1 orange, sliced thin, seeds removed
½ cup cranberries
2 cups orange juice
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut on a diagonal

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Score the ham on the fat side with slices 2” apart and about ½” deep and place ham in a roasting pan. Cut a diamond pattern into ham by repeating slicing pattern in the opposite direction.
Season the meat with Kosher salt and ground black pepper rubbing into slices.
Take ½ of sage leaves and dice and mix with extra virgin olive oil to form a paste.
Rub sage oil over ham, making sure it gets into slits
Bake for 35 minutes.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add canola oil, orange, cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, water and spices.
Slowly reduce liquid to a syrupy stage; this should take about 30 minutes.
Coat ham with syrup and cook for another 25 minutes, basting with syrupy juices every 5 minutes.
Blanch and shock carrots and add to ham 10 minutes before it is done (will be in pan for 2 bastings); cook until the carrots are tender and the ham is crispy and glistening.

Potato Latkes
Serves 8

3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled
½ cup shallots, diced
Equivalent of 2 eggs (I recommend Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil; add more as needed

In a food processor, grate the potatoes.
Line a strainer with a cheese cloth and place over a bowl and squeeze out some of the moisture from the potatoes. Let cheese cloth drain for 15 minutes.
Pour off liquid, but leave starch from potatoes in bowl.
Add shallots, egg replacer (egg replacer is mixed with water and added to mixture right after it is mixed), tapioca starch, rice flour, Kosher salt and ground black pepper to the starch.
Returned drained potatoes to starch mixture and thoroughly incorporate.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add canola oil until hot.
Dry potatoes as much as possible to keep oil from spattering.
Drop heaping tablespoons of potato mixture to skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes or until latkes are crisp and golden.

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