Spring Menu

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Peeps Cake: Cake layers are sponge cake (Mark Bittman’s recipe x1.5) with 1/2 cup coconut flakes added to the batter, baked with a layer of pink peeps on top (10 per cake round), filling is 1 c. cream cheese frosting + 1 c. unsweetened coconut, frosting is simple dark chocolate ganache (dark chocolate melted with cream) and cacao nibs.

(Originally Posted 4/26/2014) This was originally billed as an Easter-Passover menu because those are the best known spring holidays, but really it’s a spring celebration menu. You might argue that May Day is the spring holiday – well, let me tell you, by the time April rolls around in Vermont, you’re in desperate (desperate) need of a holiday, any holiday, to distract attention from just how miserable the weather / landscape is. So here is a cheery spring menu:

  • Popovers and Hot Cross Buns
  • Sliced radishes with high quality butter and flaked sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • Pan Fried Deviled Eggs
  • Ricotta Cake (savory) – Recipe follows
  • Lamb Sort-Of Gyros – Recipe follows
  • Parsnip & Potato Chips – either homemade or purchased (yeah, I love Terra Chips). Here is a homemade potato chip recipe from Vice.
  • Large Green Salad with Avocado Dressing – I make the dressing by mushing up an avocado, juice of a lime, salt, pepper, crushed small garlic clove, cilantro to taste, generous tablespoon of plain yogurt or sour cream, then thinning as needed with water to make dressing consistency.
  • Dessert Matzoh and Peeps Cake

Serve with summery cocktails and sparkling white wine

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Ricotta Cake

This is really a base for playing around with – if you take a large container (16 oz) good quality ricotta cheese and mix it with 3 beaten eggs (some recipes separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks before incorporating to make the cake less dense) you have the base for a good savory cake. Add in salt and/or salty things (parmesan cheese for example), herbs, bacon, chopped sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, ham, a layer of lox, scallions, onions, cooked dandelion greens (be sure to squeeze water out of them – you don’t want to add extra liquid!) . . . whatever suits your fancy. Baked in a greased 9-inch round cake pan at 350-degrees for about 50 minutes, until it’s lightly brown on top and firm to the touch.

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Lamb Sort-Of Gyros

Either use up leftover lamb roast by slicing thin and cooking with the sauce or start with 1.5 lb of ground meat (lamb, beef, turkey)

Spice with:

1.5 tsp each chili, coriander, mango spice (if you have any, which is admittedly unlikely)

1/2 tsp each cumin, ginger, black pepper

(I’m giving you the lower edges of these spices, if you like more interesting spice you’ll end up increasing them and it wouldn’t hurt to add cayenne pepper)

Melt together in a small saucepan or microwave – 1 Tb butter, 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, 1/3 c balsamic vinegar, 2 Tb maple syrup

Now, in a large saucepan cook together with a good amount of olive oil – 1/2 cup finely chopped prunes, 2 large cloves minced garlic, the spiced meat. Add in the melted sauce. Add salt to taste, then adjust seasoning.

Serve in soft pitas with full fat (needs to be full fat! or even Greek style!) plain yogurt on top.

I make soft pitas by dissolving 1 Tb yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a medium bowl, then stirring in 3 Tb canola oil, and 3/4 cup plain yogurt. Mix 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour with 2 tsp salt in a large bowl, make a well in the center and pour in the liquid ingredients. Working out from the well, mix together with the flour. Add more flour if needed. Knead well then let rise covered for 3-4 hours. Roll out into whatever size pita you want, allow to rise on greased baking sheets for 15 minutes, then bake at 425-degrees for about 10-12 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. If you’re more patient than me, you can also cook on a griddle (they do taste better that way, but need more tending to).

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