Spring is all about fresh starts, so consider trying a fresh approach to the traditional lamb served at Easter.

This Japanese-influenced recipe for rack of lamb from Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook, “New American Table,” coats the lamb in a miso-butter blend, then packs crunchy panko breadcrumbs around the outside.

The best part is that it’s fast and easy to prepare, and can be done ahead and reheated.

Miso can be found alongside other refrigerated Asian ingredients, usually in the grocer’s produce section.


Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 4

2 tablespoons dark miso

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon mild chili powder

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 frenched racks of lamb (1 1/2 pounds each)

Salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs

Heat the oven to 400.

In a small bowl, combine the miso, butter, chili powder, egg yolk and sage. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan and sear until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Let the lamb cool slightly, then smear the miso-butter mixture over both sides. Firmly press the panko into the miso-butter mixture on the rounded side of each rack.

Place the racks, rounded fat sides up, in a roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the center of the rack reads 125, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

(Recipe from Marcus Samuelsson’s “New American Table,” Wiley, 2009)


AND FOR DESSERT: Most people are familiar with the classic tiramisu, an Italian espresso-mascarpone layered dessert. This version borrows the concept of a layered mascarpone cream and ladyfinger dessert, but adapts it with spring and Easter in mind.

If lemon and raspberry aren’t your thing, you can substitute another berry combination, including blueberries, sliced strawberries, orange segments or mango.

If you don’t care for alcohol in your desserts, substitute juice for the liquors. Mascarpone cheese can be found in the specialty cheese section of most grocers. Organic edible flowers can be found with the herbs in the produce section.


Start to finish: 4 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 12

For the syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup limoncello liqueur

1/4 cup lemon juice

For the mascarpone cream:

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup elderflower liqueur

1/4 cup limoncello liqueur

Two 16-ounce tubs mascarpone cheese

Two 3-ounce packages ladyfingers

Two 6-ounce containers raspberries

To garnish, if desired:

Organic edible flowers, such as pansies, roses or marigolds

1 egg white

1 teaspoon water


To make the syrup, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the sugar, limoncello and lemon juice. Heat until simmering and the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

To make the mascarpone cream, in a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and both liqueurs. Set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan with 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Place the bowl of the egg mixture over the pan. The bowl should rest over the water without touching it. Whisk the yolk mixture continuously until thickened, lightened in color and hot to the touch, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mascarpone cheese and the yolk mixture. Beat together on medium-low until thoroughly mixed. Increase speed to medium then beat for 30 seconds. It should be thickened and hold peaks.

In an 8-by-11-inch pan, arrange a layer of ladyfingers across the bottom. The number that will fit will depend on the size of the ladyfingers. Sprinkle evenly with the syrup. You should use half the syrup. Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the top of the ladyfingers.

Evenly distribute 1 package of the raspberries over the cream, gently pressing them in. Arrange a second layer of ladyfingers, drizzle with the remaining syrup, then top with the remaining mascarpone cream and raspberries. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

To make sugared flowers, you can choose to use small flowers whole or pull the petals off larger flowers. Beat the egg white and water together until bubbly. Using a small clean paintbrush (be sure it’s never been used for paint) paint the flowers or petals lightly with the egg white mixture, then sprinkle with sugar. Set aside on a wire rack to dry. Sprinkle over the top of the tiramisu before serving.


EASY TO MAKE and fun to do with your kids, this colorful no-bake Easter treat also is a good way to use up all that Easter candy. Candy coating chocolates can be found at most craft stores in the candy and cake decorating aisle, as well as in the baking aisle of most grocers.

You can get a variety of colors, including pastels and white, as well as milk and dark chocolates; mix and match as desired.


Start to finish: 30 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 16

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Green food coloring

1 pound pink candy coating chocolate

1 pound yellow candy coating chocolate

1 1/2 cups of candy toppings (such as small jelly beans, Easter candy sprinkles, candy-coated chocolate eggs)

In a large zip-close plastic bag, combine the coconut and a few drops of green food coloring. Close the bag and shake until the coconut is evenly green. Set aside.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. One at a time, place each color of candy coating chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high in 30-second bursts, stirring between, until melted and smooth.

Spoon the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet in a random pattern. Use a small spoon to swirl the colors together.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then top with the jelly beans, sprinkles, other candies and green coconut as desired. Set aside to harden completely, about 20 to 30 minutes, then break into chunks.


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