I love calling on my favorite local chefs for holiday recipes, and they're happy to comply. I can't think of a better way to dish out a few Easter treats for our readers. I asked the chefs to keep their recipes simple, which isn't quite what these expert cooks are accustomed to in their kitchens. But the easy-to-do recipes are the ones I'm most likely to prepare over and over again. A great choice for brunch is the Mumm Napa Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine, widely available and less than $15 retail.
of Lido in Dolphin Bay Resort
The chef provided a recipe from his grandmother Cecile Bales, explaining: "I learned this recipe from my grandma who was a home economics teacher at Santa Barbara High School in the 1950s. She was just like Donna Reed, a real '50s housewife who could cook anything. Whenever we visited, I would always run into her kitchen to see if I could help cook, especially if she was making a cake so I could lick the frosting bowl."
Glazed Ham from Grandma Cecile
One 5-lb. ready-to-eat, spiral cut-ham
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 cups honey
2/3 cup butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Score ham lightly with cross hatches and stud with cloves. Place in foil lined roasting pan.
Using a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey, and butter, then keep warm while ham bakes.
Brush glaze over ham and bake for one hour and 15 minutes, brushing on more glaze every 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, turn on broiler to brown the ham. Remove from oven and let it sit 10 minutes before serving.
From Chef Erich Koberl of Koberl at Blue in SLO
Chef Erich noted: "A Central Coast Syrah or Pinot Noir is a great wine pairing with this leg of lamb."
Herb-Marinated Leg of Lamb
1 6-lb. semi-boneless leg of lamb, aitchbone removed and tied
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 T. black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. olive oil
1 cup carrots, diced 1/2 inch
1 cup white onions, diced 1/2 inch
1 cup celery, diced 1/2 inch
1 cup leeks, diced 1/2 inch
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken or veal stock
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat lamb dry and trim off excess fat. In a bowl combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, black pepper, sea salt, and olive oil. Place lamb in a lightly-oiled roasting pan (or spray with Pam) and rub herb/oil mixture all over it. Marinate for 2 hours.
Roast lamb in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes and then lower temperature to 375 degrees F. Add onions, carrots, celery, and leeks to the pan and continue to roast with the lamb for 45 minutes. Check doneness by inserting meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast the temperature should read about 130 degrees F.
Remove lamb from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let it rest 20 minutes. The internal temperature after resting will be about 140 degrees F. (medium rare). During the resting period, drain excess fat from the roasting pan, leave vegetables in the pan, and add red wine and chicken or veal stock. Reduce by boiling over moderate heat for five minutes. Strain sauce and reduce further if desired, adjusting seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Slice lamb when ready to serve with sauce on the side. This is delicious with a side dish of white beans:
Cannellini Beans with Tomato and Sage
2 cups dried cannellini beans
3 quarts cold water
1 T. sea salt
1 herb sachet: a cheese cloth wrapped pouch containing 4 peeled garlic cloves, 16 large fresh sage leaves, 2 bay leaves, and 12 white peppercorns
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
14 fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced 1/4 inch
Place beans in a large bowl or pot, cover with water, and soak overnight. Drain beans and transfer to a large, heavy pot. Add 3 quarts of cold water, salt, and herb sachet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, until beans are tender. Strain beans, reserving cooking liquid, and cool. Remove herb sachet and discard. In a separate pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add diced onions, garlic, and sage leaves, and saute over low to medium heat, but do not brown. Add diced tomatoes and continue to saute until tomatoes soften. Add beans and about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, simmer for 20 minutes. Add more cooking liquid if consistency is too dry the beans should have a stew like consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
of The Park in San Luis Obispo
Here's a popular recipe from owner/chef Loring. Her menu offers it as one of a trio of spreads with artisanal bread. She noted that it also complements fresh sole or halibut with a side of roasted carrots.
Spring Pea Puree with Truffle Oil and Parmesan Shavings
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 fresh mint leaves, minced
In a saucepan, cover potatoes with water and cook until soft. Drain and mash potatoes with olive oil. Place peas in food processor and chop until smooth. Add garlic, mint, and salt and pepper blend until smooth. In a bowl, stir the pea puree and potato mixture together. With a potato peeler, shave small pieces off a Parmesan block. Place a spoonful of pea puree on a slice of grilled crostini and garnish with a drip of truffle oil and a Parmesan shaving.
The Easter Bunny comes to Lido
If you don't want to do all the work while everyone else has fun, why not make reservations at the fabulous Lido at Dolphin Bay Resort for Easter Brunch, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday, March 23? The Easter Bunny will be there at 11:30 for photos and a Easter egg hunt for the kids.
You can reach New Times' Cuisine columnist at email@example.com.