This blog is about two friends, miles apart, striving to pattern our lives after the Proverbs 31 woman. Here you will find our daily journeys, whether serious, funny, practical, or inventive. Thanks for stopping by and we hope you'll stop by often!

~Lauren & Page

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Dinner

This recipe is brought to us by my sister, Hannah. As an aspiring gourmet chef who is pretty brilliant in the kitchen, she never ceases to please the bellies of all who partake in her fabulous meals! This meal is NO exception, in fact I'm craving it right now!! (Thanks Hannah :-P )

Are you trying to figure out an exceptional Easter dinner? Then look no further!! Read this recipe, jot down the ingredients and then make a mad dash to the store!! It will be sure to impress your family, guests and all who have the privilege of eating it. This meal would make the perfect "special occasion" dinner."

SlowCooked Lamb Shanks with Roasted Almond, Parsley and Lemon Gremolata

This recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Tom Kime. I find his food to be comforting and elegant as well as down right delicious! If you ever have company to impress this is surely the meal to do it with! Lamb is one of my all time favorite meats to prepare. It has a tangy somewhat earthy flavor that makes one savor each and every tender bite! My mouth is watering already! Make sure you have plenty of time to prepare this decadent meal...as the cooking time is quite a bit, but the end result is worth it!

Serves: 4


4 trimmed lamb shanks

2 T. Olive Oil

4 garlic cloves, halved, green shoot removed

1 dried chile, crushed

3 sprigs rosemary

6 ripe plum tomatoes

2 large onions, sliced

4 strips orange zest

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. brown sugar

Generous 1/3c red cooking wine

2 1/4 c water

2 c. prepared white or brown rice

Salt & Pepper

Gremolata: ( Gremolata or gremolada is a chopped herb condiment typically made of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. )

¾ c blanched skinless almonds

2 garlic cloves

Zest of 2 lemons

Small bunch or flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 350*. Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a skillet. Add the meat and brown for 3 minutes on all sides, remove from the heat. Chop the garlic, chile, and rosemary together. Set aside.

Cut the tomatoes in half and spoon out the seeds. With the skin side in your hand grate the flesh on a cheese grater to form a rough tomato pulp. The skin will be left in your hand.

Remove the meat from the skillet and add a little more oil. Return to the heat and add the garlic, chile, and rosemary and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the meat to the skillet with the orange zest, bay leaves, sugar, tomato pulp, wine and water.
Cover the dish, place on the stove and bring to a simmer. Then transfer to the preheated oven and cook for an additional 2 ½ hours, basting regularly.

Meanwhile make the Gremolata. Roast the almonds in the oven until golden brown. Finely chop the garlic…chop very finely since this will be eaten raw. Add the cooled almonds and the lemon zest. When ready to serve, chop the parsley, add to the gremolata.

Place a good amount of prepared rice on each plate followed by a succulent lamb shank then scatter the gremolata over the lamb and the rest of the plate. Serve with a salad of choice and Enjoy!

Marinated Baked Ricotta with Roasted Vegetables in a Lemon and Basil Dressing

This salad is so light and refreshing. All the flavors mingle well and the outcome is incredibly delightful! I love serving this salad with the roasted lamb shanks posted above. Both dishes compliment each other beautifully. Try either recipe to impress some picky eaters or catch up on some brownie points. ; )

Serves: 6


2 whole ricotta cheeses, 7 ounces each

2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into cubes

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

2 fennel bulbs

½ c pine nuts or slivered almonds

2 handfuls mixed bitter and peppery salad greens…I love arugula!

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Marinade for ricotta:

½ red chile

3 T. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon


½ garlic clove finely chopped

Pinch of salt

Small bunch of basil, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

4 T. olive oil


Preheat oven to 400*. For the marinade, seed and finely chop the chile, then mix with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the whole ricotta cheese to the marinade. Turn the cheeses regularly in the mixture.

Season the cubes of sweet potato with a little oil and salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 20 minute, until caramelized and golden.

Roast the butternut squash in the same way, until golden brown and caramelized. Halve the fennel bulbs, removing the tough outside layer, cut each half into thin wedges.

Dry-roast the nuts of choice on a separate baking sheet until golden brown in color.

For the dressing, crush the garlic with the salt to a fine puree. Place the garlic and most of the chopped basil in a food processor and blend to a paste. Add the lemon juice and zest and work until smooth, stir in the olive oil. Check the seasoning. It should be sharp and a bit salt to work with the sweetness of the vegetables.

Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the whole ricotta cheeses and brown on one side for 2-3 minutes on one side. Gently turn over- if they’re too fragile to turn just brown on one side. Scatter the fennel around the skillet, season well with salt and pepper, and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes.

When the sweet potato and squash are cooked (they should be soft to the point of a knife), let cool slightly, then place in a bowl and dress with two-thirds of the basil dressing. Add the salad greens, tearing any that are too big. Tear in the extra basil leaves. Add the fennel and then gently break in the ricotta cheese. Mix together lightly to avoid it turning to a pulp.

Place salad mixture on each plate pour remaining dressing over the salad and garnish with some torn herbs and roasted nuts. The cheese and the roasted vegetables complement each other brilliantly, and are brought to life by the tangy dressing!


We hope you enjoy this extraordinary Easter menu, pair it with your favorite dessert and you'll have quite the feast!

Enjoy this guest post? Head over to her Food Blog for more amazing recipes at http://raesgourmet.blogspot.com/

Wishing everyone a blessed weekend thinking on the REAL reason for Easter, our Saviour's glorious resurrection from a death on Calvary's cross for all mankind! Praise God for the shed blood of Christ that has the power to wash our sins away!


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