Life on Regal-Hill: April 8, 2009

This Sunday is Easter. It is one of my favorite holidays. I guess that is because it includes personal redemption that I can always use as well as getting together with family and friends besides preparing a special meal. However, it just isn’t so hectic compared to Christmas since there isn’t the decorating, gift-giving, sending of cards and such associated with Easter.
Yes, there may be the candy and Easter baskets for children, along with coloring eggs and sometimes egg hunts, but generally speaking there is less time, money and work spent on preparing for Easter and then there isn’t the letdown feeling once it is over either.
Also there is the fact that it is spring and all the things associated with spring are beginning to appear and one can begin looking forward to summer rather than thinking it is still winter and will be for several months yet.
May Easter mean more than just fun to you and may you take time to attend a church service during this time as well. Besides Easter Sunday there is also Good Friday and Easter Sunrise Services to attend while some churches offer Thursday Maundy Services as well. Happy Easter!
Many of us try to prepare a special dinner for Easter. Here at Regal-Hill we usually enjoy ham on this day, since I am the only one who likes lamb. That is alright since we don’t have ham often, so it tastes especially good when we do have it. One can make the dinner extra special even if ham is part of the main course by changing the vegetables, salads, breads and desserts served with it. Perhaps these suggestions will help you plan your special Easter dinner.

Baked Ricotta with Tomato Vinaigrette
Glazed Easter Ham • Sour Cream ‘n’ Chive Potatoes
Balsamic Glazed Carrots • Springtime Asparagus Medley Buttermilk Biscuits • Chocolate Macaroon Tart

Baked Ricotta with Tomato Vinaigrette
2 lemons
1 container (32 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bag (5 to 6 oz.) baby greens
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. From lemons, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice. Set aside. Spray 9-in. glass or ceramic pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium bowl, stir lemon peel, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until blended. Spread ricotta mixture evenly in prepared pie plate. Bake 1 hour or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes to allow cheese to set. Slice into 12 wedges.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Whisk in olive oil in slow steady stream until blended. Stir in chopped tomatoes.
To serve, place 1 ricotta wedge along with some greens on each of 12 serving plates. Top greens and ricotta with tomato vinaigrette.
Good Housekeeping April 2009

Springtime Asparagus Medley
1 cup water
1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces.
2 small tomatoes cut into wedges
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese, optional
In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Add tomatoes; cover and keep warm.
In a blender, combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, onion, salt and paprika; cover and press until smooth. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Pour over asparagus mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl; sprinkle with almonds and bleu cheese if desired. Serve warm.
Yield: 8-10 servings - 2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes