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Easter Lamb Cake

Indgredients

  • Pound Cake from a Boxed Cake Mix box (about 18 oz) cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 package (3.8 oz) instant pudding mix (use vanilla for white or yellow cakes, use chocolate for devils food)

Mix all ingredients according to cake mix instructions.

Line the bottom of your oven with foil as insurance. If filled properly, the pan won’t overflow, but just in case, the foil will be easy to clean up. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in your cake recipe. Spray both pans well with nonstick cooking spray. If you prefer to grease and flour your pans, use a pastry brush to get into every nook and cranny. Dust insides with flour and shake out the excess. Cover any spots that are still shiny with more shortening and dust with flour. Mix your pound cake batter and pour 5 cups of it into the bottom half of the lamb. Five cups will fill it all the way to the top, until it is almost overflowing. If your batter is so thick that it doesn’t flow evenly, spread it to the edges of the bottom pan. Line up the top pan with the bottom pan. It’s easy to tell the pans apart because the top one has a hole punched in to insert a cake tester or toothpick. Using kitchen string, tie the pan together in 2 places (kind of like trussing a lamb to roast, only easier!). I like to tie mine at the neck and around the back end. The strings ensure that the rising cake batter won’t force the pan halves apart. Bake the lamb cake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a toothpick or cake tester through the hole on the top pan. When it comes out clean, your lamb is done.

Now that it’s baked, the cake needs a chance to cool down and firm up. Remove the pan from the oven to a cooling grid and don’t open it for 5 minutes. Baked Top of Lamb Cake

Snip the kitchen string and remove the top half of the pan, cooling like this for 5 more minutes.

lamb cake

Replace the top half of the pan, turn the cake pan over (use oven mitts – it will still be very hot), and remove the bottom half of the pan. Let the cake rest like this until it is completely cool, about 4 hours.

Lamb Cake

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces\ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted\ Table salt and ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425° F.\ In a bowl, toss together carrots, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.\ Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange carrots in an even layer on top of parchment, then tightly cover the whole pan with aluminum foil.Bake for 15 minutes.

Take pan out of oven, remove foil, and return pan to oven for another 30-35 minutes, or until the carrots are lightly browned. Stir twice during cooking time.Season with more salt and pepper if desired, and then serve

THICK-CRUST SICILIAN-STYLE PIZZA

INGREDIENTS: For the Dough:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups semolina flour

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast

  • 1⅔ cups ice water

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2¼ teaspoons salt

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Pizza:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)

  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (3 cups)

DIRECTIONS:

Make the Dough: Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar and yeast on low speed until combined. With the machine running, slowly add the water and oil until a dough forms and no dry flour remains, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Add the salt to the dough and mix on medium speed until the dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead briefly on a lightly floured counter until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours.

Make the Sauce: Heat the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce measures 2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool, and refrigerate until needed.

Make the Pizza: Place a baking stone on the upper-middle rack and preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, then coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and gently press into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18×13-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, fitting the dough into the corners. Spray the top of the dough with non-stick cooking spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough. Place a second baking sheet on the dough and let it stand for 1 hour. Remove the top baking sheet and plastic wrap. Gently stretch and light dough to fill the pan. Spread the sauce in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the entire surface of the dough, then repeat with the mozzarella cheese. Place the pan on the baking stone, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the cheese is bubbly and browned, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the pizza. Transfer to a cutting board, cut into squares and serve.

Chicken Ramen Stir-Fry

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 packages ramen noodles (seasoning packets discarded)

  • 1 cup sliced purple cabbage

  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Sriracha hot sauce, for serving

  • Lime wedges, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, honey, vinegar, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes. In the meantime, use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons from the carrots; there should be about 1 cup of carrot ribbons. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the ramen noodles; let sit for 2 minutes, then drain. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet or wok. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Stir-fry the chicken in the hot oil until cooked through, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the cabbage, onion and carrots to the skillet and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup water, scraping up any browned chicken bits from the bottom. Add the cooked ramen noodles, cooked chicken and reserved marinade to the skillet along with the scallions. Stir-fry until everything is heated through and uniformly combined, an additional minute. Serve immediately with sriracha and lime wedges

Sweet Italian Sausage

INGREDIENTS\ 2 pounds (1 kg) trimmed boneless pork shoulder blade roast, chilled\ 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) freshly cracked fennel seeds (see Tips)\ 2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt\ 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sweet paprika\ 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder\ 1/4 cup (60 mL) red wine or water\ 4 to 5 feet (120 to 150 cm) 32/35 mm hog casing, soaked\ Instructions\

[Soaking the Casing: About an hour before you plan to make sausages, cut the casing to the length you need — about 4 to 5 feet (120 to 150 cm) for 2 pounds (1 kg) of meat — and rinse it thoroughly. Place the casing in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Soak the casing for 1 hour, changing the water several times. This process will make the casing more pliable and easier to work with, and will remove some of the natural odor, as well as the salt. Some sausage makers like to soak the casings in wine instead of water, as they believe it works better to remove odor. Store any remaining casing in a brine solution in an airtight container for later use. To Make the Sausage: Cut pork into pieces small enough to fit in the throat of your grinder. Using the coarse grinder plate, grind pork into a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Add fennel seeds, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder to the ground pork. Using your hands or the stand mixer paddle attachment, mix until seasonings are evenly distributed. Add wine and mix until white strands appear in the mixture and a handful of the mixture holds together. In a small skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté a small amount of the sausage mixture until no longer pink. Taste the sample, then adjust seasonings as desired. Stuff sausage mixture into prepared casing. Twist into 6 links, each about 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Yield: 6 sausages\ ]{}