An Alabama Cheesemaker’s Greek Easter

March 21, 2016 | By | Comments (0)

I was just lamenting today at the creamery that it feels like Easter has completely snuck up on me.  How is it already here?!  Maybe you are more prepared than I and you have been dying eggs and planning your meal for weeks, but not me.  What to do?  The Easter feast is particularly special to me – well, all meals carry importance if I am being honest – because Easter is what we call in Greece my “name day”.  Name Day is celebrated almost like we celebrate birthdays here in the US.  My name means the resurrection and thus is celebrated on Easter day.

I normally like to bring to the table new menus that surprise not only friends and family, by myself as well. This year, however, due in part to my poor planning, and also because these favorites are well, favorites, I’m doing a little bit of rehashing.

Southern Living shared my Southern, by way of my Greek-roots, Easter dinner a few years ago and this year my table will be graced with them again.  (I’m so happy!)

In case y’all have forgotten and don’t have your menu planned, here are some of my Easter go-tos I would love to share with you.

Split Pea Hummussplit pea hummus sl x An Alabama Cheesemakers Greek Easter

1 cup dried green split peas
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Sort and wash peas. Bring garlic and 3 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add peas; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp. salt; cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.

2. Combine peas, olive oil, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in a food processor; pulse 5 to 7 times or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Serve at room temperature.

Cheese Platecheese plate s An Alabama Cheesemakers Greek Easter

A cheese plate is a perfect appetizer to start a big meal. Some of my best tips on how to set up a cheese plate:

1. Start soft: Try Belle Chevre’s Greek Kiss, which comes wrapped in grape leaves for a dramatic presentation ($7.50 for 4 ounces; bellechevre.com).

2. Add something creamy: Belle Chevre’s Fromage Blanc ($8 for 8 ounces) spreads easily on crackers.

3. Add something hard: an aged goat cheese or a Manchego.

4. Toss in a conversation starter: Belle Chevre’s julep-inspired Southern Belle is dressed with mint, bourbon pecans, and sugar ($7.50 for 4 ounces).

5. Add edible accents: Bread, fruit, nuts, and honey.

Rosemary Roast Lamb rosemary lamb sl x An Alabama Cheesemakers Greek Easter

1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (5- to 6-lb.) bone-in leg of lamb
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Pat lamb dry, and place, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Make several 1-inch-deep slits in lamb with a paring knife; rub olive oil mixture over lamb, pressing mixture into slits. Cover loosely with foil, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Uncover lamb, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Bake at 400° for 2 hours and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145° (medium rare). Let stand 30 minutes before slicing.

Strawberry-Fromage Blanc Tartlets strawberry tartlets sl x An Alabama Cheesemakers Greek Easter

1 (6-oz.) container fromage blanc
1 large egg
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (1.9-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 pt. fresh strawberries, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Process first 6 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Slowly sift in flour; process until blended.

2. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoonful mixture into each phyllo shell. Place on a baking sheet.

3. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until set.

4. Meanwhile, cook balsamic vinegar in a large saucepan over medium heat 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).

5. Toss strawberries with sugar. Spoon strawberries over tartlets; drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.

I hope you have a most beautiful Easter celebration with your family and friends!

From my heart to your kitchen,

Tasiameet the hostess s An Alabama Cheesemakers Greek Easter
Chief Cheese
Belle Chevre
http://www.bellechevre.com

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