Friday, March 29, 2013

"Rack Of Lamb With Roasted Fennel And Garlic" For Easter Dinner Plus A Fun Drink To Celebrate Called "Peeps On The Beach"

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter! “May your Easter basket be filled with blessings and joy. I wish you, your family, and your friends a day filled with loving memories.”

It’s finally Spring time on Long Island! You can see the trees starting to bud, the flowers are starting to bloom, the sun is getting a little warmer, and the air has that hint of freshness that only spring can bring. Easter falls in the spring, which is when the earth renews itself after winter. Easter is a day to dress in your Sunday best, go to church, celebrate life, enjoy traditional foods with your family, and of course eat way too much chocolate. But, sometimes we forget that Christians all over the world celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. In Italy, the church bells stop ringing on Holy Thursday and Good Friday to remember the death of Jesus on the cross. Then on Easter Sunday morning, the church bells ring out once again, telling people that Jesus has risen. Italian children wake up on Easter morning and find eggs scattered in their rooms. Eggs, rabbits, and young animals are thought to represent re-birth and fertility in the spring.

Throughout the world the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb. The reference to the lamb in Christianity goes back to the book of Genesis, from the Bible. In past centuries it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. In the 7th century the Benedictine monks wrote a prayer for the blessing of lambs. A few hundred years later a roasted lamb became the feature of the Pope’s Easter dinner, and has ever since. Little figures of a lamb made of butter, pastry, cakes, or chocolate have been used for Easter table centerpieces. Many Easter Sundays, I can remember my mom cooking lamb for Easter dinner along with our Italian traditional dishes. 

If you do not want to have the bone in your roast you can ask your butcher to remove it, but remember when you cook the meat on the bone it is much more flavorful. There are numerous ways to cook lamb along with many different spices and ingredients. My recipe this week is called, “Rack of Lamb with Roasted Fennel and Garlic”. Fennel or in Italian we call it “Finocchio” are leaves of delicately flavored and similar to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled or eaten raw. The greens of the fennel (fronds) can be saved and used to put in soups and stews. Fennel seeds are sometimes confused with those of “anise,” which are similar in taste and appearance, though smaller. The flavor of Fennel if you eat it raw is said to have a licorice taste.

Rack of Lamb with Roasted Fennel and Garlic

Recipe from New York Times- November 1994

2 teaspoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, 2 cloves minced, 3 cloves thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 rack of lamb, prepared by your butcher
3 medium-sized fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise,
Then across into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 cup chicken broth, low sodium canned or homemade

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Combine 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the minced garlic, fennel seeds, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. Rub the mixture over the back of the lamb. Set aside. Place the fennel in a large, shallow roasting pan and toss with the sliced garlic, remaining olive oil, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Roast, tossing from time to time, for 35 minutes. Place the lamb over the fennel and roast until the lamb is medium-rare, about 30 minutes longer. (Depending on how you like your lamb) Let stand for 10 minutes. Carve the lamb. Season the fennel with additional salt and pepper if needed. Divide the lamb and the fennel and serve immediately. Yield: 4 people 

I also have a fun adult drink to celebrate Easter which is called, “Peeps On The Beach”. We all know what marshmallow “Peeps” are and they are more popular than ever. A web site called has many different adult drinks that use Peeps as a garnish for their cocktails. Try this one as we are getting into the spirit of summer. 

"Peeps On The Beach"
1 oz vodka
1 oz peach schnapps
2 oz orange juice
2 oz of cranberry juice
1 marshmallow peep

Fill a highball glass with ice (or chardonnay glass). Add vodka and peach schnapps, then fill glass with equal parts of orange juice and cranberry juice. Garnish with a peep. Not only delicious but colorful as well.  Enjoy!

Till Next Time…………………..

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  1. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste.. If you want surprise your guests or pleasure to your family, I advise you Kampot black pepper! Its a fragrant pepper. In more, Im ensure that its fresh peppercorns. It worth it if you are foodies.

  2. Thank you for your comment and reading my blog.