Sunday, July 21, 2013

Easter in July

I love the holidays, especially Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  It's great to spend time with family,  and I love to eat the special meals we cook.  We have carried on family traditions while making them our own.  Today, I'm going to focus on our Easter meal, which we make about 2 or 3 times a year because we love it so much.   When my family was in town this past Easter, we served lamb roast, hummus, Easter Bread Buns, lemon risotto, and green beans.  Today, we will just be making lamb, Easter Bread, white bean hummus, and mini sweet peppers, because we tend not to serve as many courses when we don't have guests over. 

My family has always served lamb for Easter dinner, but they usually marinated cubes of lamb and grilled them on skewers, or bought racks of lamb that they seasoned with mustard, breadcrumbs, and rosemary before cooking them in the oven.  We prefer to make a lamb roast.  We buy a boneless leg of lamb roast and ask the butcher to butterfly it.  For 13 people, we made two 4 pound roasts this year.  When it's just the four of us, we purchase a 3 to 3 1/2 pound roast so we get two meals out of it.  I try to make big meals on Sundays, so we have leftovers for Monday.  It's an easy way to start the work week!  

Lamb Roast

Marinate a 3 to 4 pound boneless leg of lamb roast that has been butterflied, for 4 to 6 hours.  
Marinade - juice of 2 to 3 lemons, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic (cut in half), 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper.  

We purchased the lamb at Whole Foods

We marinate our lamb in a bag in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Massage it and flip it over a couple of times while it marinates.  

My husband cooks the roast on his Big Green Egg (BGE).  He sears it on direct heat, then cooks it over indirect heat on 450 for about 30 minutes until medium.  My husband used to cook this on his Weber Charcoal Grill before he acquired his BGE.  

White Bean Hummus -- this recipe now has its own blog post.  You can view it here.  


1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) -- rinsed
1 can of white cannellini beans -- rinsed
4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice 
2 T tahini
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic


Use a NutriBullet, food processor, or stick blender to puree all the ingredients until smooth.

We serve this hummus right on top of the lamb.  The combination is so delicious!  

Lemon Rice -- This recipe now has its own blog post.  You can view it here.  

My family has been making lemon rice for as long as I can remember.  I changed the family recipe a bit with the the use of Arborio rice instead of long grain white rice.  

In a medium size pot, I sauté 2 cups of Lundberg White Arborio Rice with 2 tablespoons of butter for a couple of minutes on medium high heat, until the butter melts.  

Add 3 cups of gluten free chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and the zest of 2 lemons.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the burner and let it stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and add 2 pinches of kosher salt, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter.  

I buy Lundberg Rice almost exclusively.  Their short grain brown is so good!  We love to season it with a little kosher salt and butter, and serve it with steak.  I purchase it at Whole Foods and Publix.  

Green Beans

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, and my kids love them too.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Publix Microwave in Bag French Green Beans were really good.  After cooking them in the microwave for the minimum suggested time, I add a little butter and kosher salt.  I used to buy fresh green beans that we had to snip the ends off of before I steamed them in a frying pan with a little bit of water, but these beans are so much easier.  

Lastly, the pièce de résistance-- Easter Bread Buns!!!

This recipe now has its own blog post.  You can view it here.  

Easter Bread Buns


1/3 C warm water
1 package of GF rapid rise yeast (I use Fleischmann's RapidRise)
1 tsp granulated sugar

4 C Jules GF All-Purpose Flour
3 T plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp GF baking powder

1 C Lowfat Vanilla Stonyfield Farms Yogurt at room temperature
5 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 C canola oil (I purchase non-GMO canola oil from Whole Foods)
4T honey
Zest of one orange and one lemon

1 large egg, beaten

Preheat your warming drawer on low.  If you don't have a warming drawer, preheat your oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off.  

In a small bowl, mix together the first 3 ingredients.  I proof my yeast on the warming zone of my stove.  If your yeast mixture hasn't bubbled and grown after 5 to 10 minutes, throw it out and start all over again with another packet of yeast.  

Whisk the second set of ingredients, the dry ingredients, together in a large bowl.  

In the bowl of of your stand mixer, combine the third set of ingredients, the wet ingredients.  I like to use my dough hook.  Add your yeast mixture, mixing to combine on low speed.  Lastly, gradually add in your dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed.  I usually add a few spoonfuls, mix, turn off the mixer, add some more, etc.  When all the dry ingredients have been added, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  

Spray your muffin pan with cooking spray and scoop a generous amount of batter into each cup.  
Mix the extra egg and a splash of water together in a small bowl, and brush the egg mixture onto the top of each bun.  Place your muffin pan into your warming drawer or oven, cover with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray, and allow your buns to rise for 30 minutes.  

After the buns have risen at least slightly, place them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Cook for about 17 minutes on the top shelf until nicely browned.  

I drizzle them with a powdered sugar/water mixture before serving.  I love to eat my Easter Bread warm, with a little bit of butter.  

Dinner tonight was fabulous!  Instead of eating dessert, I had a second Easter Bread Bun!  

On Easter, my gluten eating family was doubting my Easter Bread was going to be any good.  They all loved them and were disappointed that everyone only got one!  My mom has even used my recipe, because it's easier than her Easter Bread recipe.  She does not need to eat gluten free, so she uses wheat flour.  

My Easter Bread recipe was inspired by a Jules Challah recipe.  

2014 Update - A picture of our Easter dinner.  We skipped the green beans on Easter Sunday, and made them with our leftovers the next day.  


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