Easter Is Just Around The Corner

IN THE KITCHEN

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Easter at our house is a ham dinner: ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, hot rolls, orange ambrosia and assorted desserts.

Some traditions put a roast leg of lamb on the table. I have only had lamb once -- or an approximation thereof: mutton stew. I don't recommend it.

So, I admit I am curious about how to fix it: roast leg of lamb, not mutton stew.

But then I think back to the nursery rhyme: "Mary had a little lamb, with fleece as white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go."

I don't know if I could eat something that conjures up pictures in my mind's eye of tiny, fluffy white, pitifully bleating creatures.

A big, old cow or hog, a chicken or turkey, those have no sentimental appeal. A lamb on the other hand ... No. I just don't know if I could hack it.

But here's a recipe anyway ...

Roast Leg of Lamb

(1) 6-pound leg of lamb

3 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon instant minced onion

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Wipe lamb with damp cloth, don't remove fell.

Combine salt and pepper; rub all over meat. Insert meat thermometer into fleshy part away from bone. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat thermometer reads 175 degrees for medium; 180 for well-done. Remove to heated platter, keep warm.

Make gravy. Pour off drippings; reserve 2 tablespoons in roasting pan, stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in two cups of cold water. Add bay leaf and onion and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Serve hot in gravy boat, along with lamb. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Baked Glazed Ham

(1) 2- to 3-pound canned ham

2 tablespoons honey

Grated rind of 1 orange

1 teaspoon dry mustard

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup cider or pineapple juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 small can pineapple rings

Dusting of sugar

6 to 8 canned sweet cherries

Scrape jelly off ham, reserve. Place ham in baking pan. Melt honey and spread over surface of ham.

Mix orange rind, mustard and brown sugar and sprinkle over meat. Using jelly from ham, baste very gently over ham without disturbing the sugar coating. Bake in preheated, 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, basting after first 15 minutes.

Melt butter in frying pan. Sprinkle pineapple slices with sugar; brown on both sides. Serve around ham, with cherries in center of each ring.

Use liquid from baking pan to make sauce; add water and squeeze of lemon if too sweet. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Green Beans

(This is not a fancy recipe, just the way my mother fixes them.)

2 cans green beans

1 stick margarine

Generous helping of bacon bits

Salt and pepper to taste

Empty cans of beans into sauce pan, season with salt and pepper. Add bacon bits. Stir. Put stick of margarine on top, cover and heat slowly until margarine melts. Stir in margarine and serve.

Orange Ambrosia

1 can, unsweetened crushed pineapple

2 cans mandarin oranges

1 regular-size container of cottage cheese

1 regular-size container whipped topping

4-serving size sugar-free Orange gelatin powder

Pecans

Combine cottage cheese and whipped topping, add drained fruit and gelatin powder. Mix thoroughly, add pecans, reserving a half-cup or so to garnish top.

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