Wow, the days are flying by at warp speed! I cannot believe Easter has come and gone. Growing up, I remember having either turkey or ham (canned of course!) for Easter Dinner. We hunted for Easter eggs first thing in the morning, and spent the day eating from our baskets, which were filled with all sorts of candy: jellybeans, chocolate bunnies, malted milk balls, and – of course – marshmallow peeps…I think our sugar high probably lasted for at least a week. Looking back, it makes complete sense that we had Spring Break the week after Easter. Can you imagine the teachers having to deal with a classroom full of students coming down from a sugar high? My kids have always had Spring Break prior to Easter…bad idea for the teachers, fabulous idea for parents!!!

Fast forward to present day: I have changed up our Easter dinner. I love traditions, all sorts of traditions, and one year I researched how others celebrate Easter. I came across many feasts featuring lamb as the meat of choice. I had not ever cooked lamb, and being ever curious I sought out information on how it should be prepared, traditional Easter recipes and dishes to serve with it. I ended up serving more of a Mediterranean-type feast: Leg of lamb roasted with garlic and herbs; roasted potatoes with onions and peppers, Greek salad (admittedly American-style Greek salad which includes lettuce); hummus and tzitziki with pita.

So leg of lamb it was for many years. My husband does not prefer lamb, but he has tolerated it over the years for this one day…I have since switched to rack of lamb, which is not as gamey as leg of lamb and therefore, a little easier for my husband to ‘digest’. This year we had a domestic rack of lamb which was 100% grass-fed. Delicious! And the entire meal was finished off with our traditional coconut cake for dessert.

Oh, and by the way, the new dishwasher did FABULOUS with the clean-up!! 😉

Love the new dishwasher!!!

The new dishwasher arrived on Tuesday, and I ran my first load today. Can you say ‘clean dishes’??? I have always been one to rinse before loading but as an experiment I did not for this first run. Squeaky clean, from my lean mean dishwash machine!! Plus, it looks beautiful and fits in flush with my cabinets…more updates to come! 🙂

Homemade Pizza!

My son is back at college with homemade pizza memories floating around his head! In November I treated myself to a new Cuisinart food processor, and the pizza dough recipe that came with it is wonderful. On Saturday I made a homemade tomato sauce, we shredded several cheeses (mozzarella, goat and feta), and I set out the fixings for make-your-own pizza. This included spicy sausage, smoked chicken, spinach, arugula, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and kalamata olives. The pizza was enjoyed with a nice Malbec picked out by my husband…all in all, not a bad send off.

I am still working this week’s menu…I have a recipe for a Guinness Beef Stew that I’d like to sample, and tomorrow looks as if it will be the perfect day to try it out. Wednesday – St. Patrick’s Day – will be a repeat of the meal I did last week (corned beef with Guinness mustard, horseradish cream, potatoes and glazed carrots). I will also bake my Cheddar Cheese-Stout Cheesecake I make every year for the festivities, and I am sure we will enjoy a black and tan (or two) that evening! I tried a Chocolate Stout Custard this weekend, but I wasn’t totally ‘wowed’ by it. I can’t decide if it needs tweaking, or if I need to drop it altogether. The verdict is still out on that one…

I am so excited – my new dishwasher is due to be installed tomorrow!! I have been researching and asking around for several months, and finally decided on the Asko 5893 model. I currently have 2 dishwashers, one of which needs to be replaced. The other one will need replacing soon as well, but I will try out this Asko model first. The next model down from this is the 5253 and doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles. I want to see if I will actually use the extra features (and how well they work) before paying the extra money for them when I replace my second dishwasher. The outside of both models is identical; the difference is in the configuration of the baskets, number of programming options and drying cycle options.

I have a suspicion my wall ovens will need replacing within the next year. The cleaning cycle on my top oven gives me an error code whenever I use it, and the light doesn’t work (yes, I have replaced the bulb). In addition to that I have had it serviced twice over the course of its life, both times were electrical issues and expensive fixes. I would love to replace it with a Wolf double wall oven, but the price is steep…I have to wait a bit on that upgrade. To put it in perspective, it would take about seven month’s worth of savings on my Jewelry Diet to pay for it…so unless my oven actually goes kaput it is off limits for now. But a girl can dream!

Beef Short Ribs

I am extremely happy with the beef short ribs I made tonight. I ordered them from Burgundy Pasture Beef and was able to get the slab-style ribs normally reserved for restaurants. They happened to have extras the day I ordered….Hooray for me!! They were phenomenal!!

I braised them as I usually do – in a porter ale (I used a Kona Pipeline Porter, which I also drank with my meal) – and finished with a maple-horseradish glaze. I drizzled the reduced juices over creamy golden mashed potatoes, and served a salad made up of heirloom lettuces, roasted beets, cucumber, radishes and shavings of Parmesano-Reggiano – topped with a homemade mustard-maple dressing.

I think I have mentioned Burgundy Pasture Beef in a prior post. I first ordered from them in January. The quality of their meats has been incredible! They raise 100% grass fed cattle and even process their own meats. Lamb, Pork and Poultry are also processed there, brought in from sustainable nearby farms. The lamb I made on Monday was delivered from Burgundy Beef, and it was the best lamb I have had the pleasure to serve to my family. So far I have tried pork chops, ground pork sausage, lean hamburger, lamb and short ribs. The sausage had a bit more fat than I am used to, so I may stick with the Whole Foods mild Italian, but since I have extra I will certainly give it another chance. In my freezer there are more meats to sample, including a couple of roasts, some tri-tip, tenderloin tails, and a whole chicken. I look forward to each and every future bite!

Burgundy Pasture Beef offers tours from time to time, and I would love to get a group together to visit and witness first-hand a sustainable farm in action. They have a boucherie on site where their meats can be bought in person. They even offer hamburgers made-to-order from their own grass fed beef! I have a feeling the long drive down there will be well worth the effort.