Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: Grandma shares special recipe

Lamb, ham, turkey, pork, chicken or sea food, hot cross buns and many forms of special breads are just a few of the dishes popular at Easter

A smoked

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for many Christians around the world. Easter Sunday, which immediately follows Holy Week, is the great feast day of the Christian liturgical year: on this day the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.

In Canada, there are as many different traditional Easter dishes as there are ethnic peoples! You’ll have time to gather ingredients for the following recipes should you wish to try some. The first is a wonderful rack of lamb with a sweet, herbaceous crust. Lamb is a popular Easter option for many people and this mint-crusted rack of lamb is perfect for the occasion. Secondly, ham is one of the easiest mains to prepare for a large group, as there’s no trussing, stuffing or tricky carving involved. This recipe yields many servings, so freeze any leftovers to toss into pastas, stir-fries and casseroles in the weeks to come. For a change, try the potato dish which combines russets and sweet potatoes and let’s not forget to bake hot cross buns this week.

Mint Crusted Rack of Lamb

1 cup fresh mint leaves

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

1-1/2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 (1-1/4 pound) racks of lamb, trimmed

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Cook mint leaves in pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Transfer mint leaves to bowl of ice water; soak 30 seconds, drain and squeeze dry.

Combine blanched mint with garlic, olive oil, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend for 20 to 30 seconds until fine and crumbly. Transfer mint mixture to a large bowl; stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup Dijon mustard and 2 teaspoons honey in a small bowl, set aside.

Combine extra-virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper in a jar with a lid. Shake vinaigrette vigorously until combined, about 30 seconds. Set vinaigrette aside.

Slice 1/2 to 1-inch slits between each bone of the lamb racks to assure the meat roasts evenly. Season each rack with salt and black pepper on all sides. Heat vegetable oil in skillet over high heat. Brown each lamb rack for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer lamb racks to the foil-lined baking sheet. Brush each rack with mustard and honey mixture. Sprinkle mint mixture over the top and sides of each rack.

Bake in preheated oven until browned on top and medium rare in centre, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into centre should read 125 to 130 F (52 to 54 C). Remove from oven and allow lamb to rest 10 minutes before serving, drizzled with honey mustard vinaigrette.

Pineapple-glazed Ham

3-1/2 cups (875 mL) pineapple juice

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) packed brown sugar

1 piece (3 inches/8 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

6.5 kg fully cooked, smoked bone-in ham

In saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the pineapple juice, the brown sugar and two-thirds of the ginger; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until glaze is reduced by half and thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

While pineapple glaze is simmering, pour remaining pineapple juice and 1 cup water into roasting pan; sprinkle in remaining ginger.

Place ham, fat side up, on greased rack in roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil; roast on bottom rack in 325 F oven until instant-read thermometer inserted in centre reads 130 F, about 4 hours. Uncover ham; peel off and discard outer skin. Trim fat layer to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Using paring knife, diagonally score remaining fat to make diamond pattern on ham. Brush half of the pineapple glaze over ham.

Roast, uncovered, in 375 F oven, brushing with remaining glaze several times throughout (reheat glaze to loosen, if necessary), until glaze is caramelized and golden and instant-read thermometer inserted in centre reads 140 F, about 30 minutes. Remove ham to cutting board; cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Crunchy Parmesan-topped Double Potato Mash

Five russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 cloves garlic

Four sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup  milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Crunchy Parmesan Topping:

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

2 tbsp. butter, melted

In large pot of boiling lightly salted water, cook russet potatoes and garlic just until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

Mash with milk, chives, butter, salt and pepper. Spread in lightly greased 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish.

Make-ahead: Cover with foil; refrigerate up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 1-1/2 hours; bake, covered, in 425 F oven until warmed through, about 40 minutes.

Crunchy Parmesan Topping: Stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan, chives and butter; sprinkle over potato mixture. Broil until golden brown, about 1 minute.

Grandma’s Favourite Hot Cross Buns

4 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

3 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)

2 cups canola oil

8 large eggs

4 large eggs, separated

1-1/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

13 to 15 cups all-purpose flour

2-2/3 cups raisins

2 teaspoons water


3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 to 5 tablespoons 2% milk

In a very large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add oil, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, yeast mixture and 10 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Stir in raisins.

Turn onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.  Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Divide into 72 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place two inches apart in four greased 15x10x1-inch baking pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine egg whites and water; brush over tops. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Icing: combine confectioners’ sugar, butter and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Pipe a cross on top of each bun. Yield: 6 dozen.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boil water notice issued for Vernon’s Dunsmir Road area

Map shows which customers are advised to use caution when consuming water

Single lane traffic for Bella Vista in Vernon next week

Work planned for Monday, Wednesday to complete utility installation

Lake Country traffic bottleneck solution still lacks funding

No money committed yet but province will unveil solution options for Highway 97- Beaver Lake Road-Glenmore Road intersection this fall

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Former Vernon Viper recognized for ALS fundraising

Coldstream’s Aaron Volpatti raised more than $27,000 competing in an Ironman triathlon last summer

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Most Read