April 24th 2011

Elegant Easter menu

Easter weekend has arrived, and if you’re planning on hosting the event but not sure what to make, fear not.

This easy menu is elegant and tastes terrific, too. Including all the classics: spring greens, glazed ham, creamy potatoes… it’s guaranteed to go great with your guests, without spending too much time in the kitchen.

Orange-Glazed Ham

1 (8 to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh sage leaves, about 20 leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2 oranges, sliced thin, seeds removed
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Use a sharp knife to score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally  to form a diamond pattern; season with salt and pepper.

Chop about 10 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl. Add the oil and mix to make a paste. Rub the mixture over the ham, pressing into the slits.  Bake 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, oranges, orange juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Cook the liquid down until a syrup consistency. It will take about 30 minutes.

Remove the ham and top with the glaze mixture. Add the remaining sage. Return to oven and bake for an additional 2 hours, basting every half hour or so, until dark and crispy.

Spring Peas with Raisins and Pecans

Sea salt
2 cups shelled fresh English peas
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raisins
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add English peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the snap peas and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add the snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain the peas and transfer into the ice water to cool.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the shallot until soft. Add the pecans, raisins, and cayenne, stirring until pecans are fragrant, about one minute.

Drain the peas, shaking off water. Add to the skillet. Season with salt and cook until heated, about 5 minutes. Toss with additional oil, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Super Rich Scalloped Potatoes

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 clove garlic
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/3 cup shredded comte cheese
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheesePosition an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 425 degrees F. Brush a large skillet with butter. Rub with garlic.

In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella, asiago and comte.

Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out, and season with salt. Top with half of the butter, half of the cheese and pepper. Add the remaining potatoes, top with salt and pepper. Top witht he cream, nutmeg. Simmer 2 to 4 minutes, until fragrant. Add additional butter.

Transfer the potatoes into a shallow baking dish, unless you have a skillet that can go into the oven. Top with parmesan and the remaining cheese. Bake about 25 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Honey Glazed Carrots

1 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley (flat-leaf)
Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add salt and carrots. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the carrots. Add the butter, honey, and lemon to the pan. Add in the carrots, and cook until glazed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.