I'm sure many of you are well into the planning stages for your Easter meal this weekend, but for those of you who haven't even thought about it yet, I've got a couple of simple, easy and utterly beautiful recipes that will make your Easter feast look and taste amazing.
These recipes both come from Eva, the passionate blogger behind Adventures in Cooking. The first is a gorgeous roast leg of lamb, seasoned with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. If you haven't guessed by now, yes, Eva is Greek. Fittingly, her leg of lamb is studded with whole garlic cloves, rubbed with olive oil and dusted with a mixture of salt, pepper and oregano.
The key to making this lamb is to allow it enough time to marinate. It should marinate in the refrigerator overnight with the garlic cloves inside, then for another two and a half hours after you add the lemon juice and spices. After those hours have passed, the lamb roasts for about an hour in the oven. You start it at 375 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 for the last 40 minutes. This roast lamb could not be a more fitting centerpiece for your Easter feast.
But Easter wouldn't be complete without dyed Easter eggs, and Eva has got a few tricks up her sleeve for making the most incredibly beautiful and artistic Easter eggs I have ever seen. She calls these jewels "Herb Stenciled Easter Eggs" and they are literally works of art. The thing I love most about this recipe is that she uses completely natural, homemade dyes made of plants instead of the artificial stuff most of us get at the grocery store. For example: spinach leaves make green, purple cabbage makes blue, beets make pink, and a mixture of carrots and paprika make orange.
She adds each vegetable to its own pot of water, brings them all to a boil and then reduces them to a simmer for one hour. To create the stenciled effect, she rubs each egg with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Next, she places the herb leaves onto the surface of each egg. To hold the leaves in place, she cuts (new) women's stockings into six-inch tubes and slides them around the egg, holding the herb leaf in place with her other hand. She places the eggs into their respective pots of dye, brings them back up to a boil and simmers them for another 10 minutes. Once they finish cooking she takes them off the heat and allows them to cool, then refrigerats each pot of eggs--still in the dye--overnight to intensify the color. The longer they soak, the more vibrant they will become.
Just before serving, Eva recommends that you wipe each egg with a cloth dipped in vegetable oil, just to make the color a bit brighter and shinier, as they do dull slightly once the dye has dried.
Your guests will love both of these Easter classics and the kids will probably wonder how you got your eggs to be so beautiful. If you want to tell them the Easter bunny made the eggs special just for them, your secret will be safe with me. Happy Easter, everyone!