Previously I have shared some Easter desserts with you, like blueberry lemonies, and the dirt pudding trifle that has become Easter tradition thanks to the requests of my son. This year we move on to the main course with a stunning loaf of bread, some scrumptious veggies, and an impressive lamb roast centerpiece.
At heart, I'm really more of a baker than a cook, and this loaf is my pride and joy. It may be simple white bread, but there is something about the braid, the golden shine from the egg wash, and the sprinkle of poppy seeds on top that makes me feel very accomplished when I pull it out of the oven. Even though the lamb is the main course, this is the dish I insist on waiting to cut until all the guests have arrived!
4 to 4/2 cups all purpose flour
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg for egg wash
In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flower with the yeast. Add the milk, water, shortening, sugar, and salt, and mix together. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes.
Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. Punch down and knead for an additional 30 seconds.
Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, and let rest for 3 minutes. Roll each piece into a log approximately 15 inches long. Place the logs side by side and braid from top to bottom, pinching the ends together.
Place on a prepared baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size.
Beat one egg and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.
Zesty Brussels Sprouts
I know that brussels sprouts are not everyone's favorite vegetable, but I just love 'em. While bacon is a traditional brussels sprouts pairing that almost everyone loves, my husband happens to be in that weird minority of people who doesn't like bacon. I can't remember where I saw it, but one day I saw a suggestion of cooking brussels sprouts with orange zest. I gave it a try and we loved it! The orange zest really brightens up the bitter brussels, and gives the vegetable a fresh feeling that goes great with a spring meal. This Easter I threw in some bell peppers for an added splash of color and sweetness.
Zest of 1 - 2 large oranges
salt and pepper
Saute brussels sprouts in olive oil. While cooking, add salt, pepper, and orange zest. Cook until tender and caramelized.
Roast Leg of Lamb
The impressive centerpiece of the Easter table! I only cook one big holiday meal on my own during the year, so I don't mind splurging a little on some lamb. Not only is lamb a significant Easter symbol, but my husband doesn't like turkey, and neither of us are big ham people, so lamb is perfect! As impressive as it looks when it comes out of the oven, it is actually quite simple to make. Amaze everyone without having to slave away at the oven all day!
1 boneless or semi-boneless leg of lamb
Take lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Place in roasting pan with rack
Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Broil on each side for 5 minutes (or brown each side in a pan)
Rub with fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic
Roast at 325 degrees, at 25 minutes per pound. Cover loosely with tinfoil for 1 hour, and then remove for the rest of the cooking time.
Let rest 15 minutes before carving.