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Easter dinner

For Easter, I rearranged the hanging basket, over the sunken swim-up kitchen… keeping the ivy and replacing the roses with purple iris, daisies, and lilies.

Then, I drew all the new drop-cloth drapes on the patio, to keep the sun and warmth out, turned on the ceiling fans, and we had a beautiful late-afternoon dinner outside.

The place settings consisted of my collection of pink and green Bordallo Pinheiro majolica plates. Here is how I built each setting.

The green salad plate varied from one seat to another.

The bunny plate on the bottom right is my favorite, I particularly love the edging on that one!

For holiday dinners, I usually plate each course, but since Connor’s roommate was joining us, I didn’t want to make any assumptions about what he might or might not eat.  So instead, I set up a buffet.

We dined on Brussels Sprout Salad, Challa, Fruit Skewers, Smashed and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Leg of Lamb with Zinfandel Sauce, a glazed spiral ham from Costco, and Plum and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake.

The fruit skewers are self-explanatory – and just click on the names of any of the other dishes to get to the recipe. Below you will find the recipes for the lamb and the potatoes.

Even though Connor and his roommate, Patrick, are both nearly 21, they still enjoyed searching for, (above) and then playing with (below) the stuff in, their Easter baskets.

Oh, and turns out, I could have saved on the washing of a bunch of bowls and platters and just plated the meal after all. Patrick ate it up!

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Red Zinfandel Sauce

1 tablespoon sweet (not hot) paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 to 5-pound boneless leg of lamb
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Red Zinfandel wine
2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lamb:  Mix together the paprika, fennel, salt, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl, and then coat the lamb leg with the spice mixture.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Swirl olive oil around the bottom of the skillet to coat. Brown the lamb on all sides. Transfer the lamb to the roasting pan with a wire rack and roast in the preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees for medium-rare, about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Sauce: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook until the shallot is browned and nearly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and black pepper. 

Add the wine and simmer to reduce by half. Add the broth and reduce it by half again.

To serve, slice the lamb, arrange it on a platter, and drizzle it with some of the sauce.  Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Serves 8 to 10

Smashed and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place fingerlings in a large saucepan with shallots, garlic, and olive oil.  Cover with water. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove from heat, drain off all the liquid, return to the pan and lightly smash potatoes with a hand-held potato masher. Stir in the thyme, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Serves 6

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1 Pat { 04.10.12 at 11:05 AM }

Looks fabulous as usual! xoxoxoxox

2 Sheila { 04.10.12 at 11:27 AM }

Yummy! and just beautiful! Glad to know there are other 20 somethings still hunting eggs and expecting baskets. Garrett’s roommate (25) plus my G 2 competed for finding the golden egg. I am Blessed!~

3 Marissa { 04.10.12 at 8:15 PM }

So pretty! I’m so sad I missed it.

4 Nancy Jones { 04.11.12 at 11:54 AM }

Beautiful….as always! And love that Connor and friend are out looking for their baskets. That’s precious! Good article too in the paper….on quiche and I’m going to make one or two, though already I see I’ll be missing a few ingredients! Oh well…we’ll eat well and think of you! xoxo N

5 bella { 05.06.12 at 6:05 PM }

Your Easter meal looks delcious. I love your tablescape. I love the green and pink Bordallo Pinheiro dishes. I have the green s plates with the two rabbits-I got all 12 by going to two different Tuesday Morning stores here in Calif.

6 Linda Hopkins { 05.06.12 at 7:21 PM }

I know, Bella. Isn’t Tuesday Morning just the best place for Bordallo Pinheiro? Can’t beat those prices! Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

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