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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Your Easter Lunch 2020

April 8, 2020

Hearts of Palm and Artichoke Salad

Salad Dressing:

1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbl shallots, minced
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1/4  cup cottonseed oil
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 Tsp fresh black pepper
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 Tbl fresh basil
1 cup tomato, finely diced

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and blend together using a wire whisk. Refrigerate until needed. This dressing will hold for 4-5 days refrigerated.

Garlic Croutons:

1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbl fresh garlic, minced
3 cups French bread cubes (1”)
1/2 Tbl kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place the oil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Add the garlic to the war oil and cook for two minutes. Place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl and drizzle the garlic oil over the bread. Toss the bread several times to ensure that all bread has been mixed well with the oil. Place the bread on a baking she and sprinkle the kosher salt over the unbaked croutons. Bake for 10 minutes. Gently turn the croutons on the baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

For The Salad:

2-14 ounce cans of hearts of palm, 1/4 inch slice on a bias
2-12 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup red onion, thinly shaved
3 cups romaine lettuce, cut into thin pieces
3/4 cup Romano cheese, shredded, divided
3 cups garlic croutons

Place the hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, red onions, romaine lettuce, half of the cheese and the croutons in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing into the bowl and toss the ingredients with the dressing, making sure to coat everything completely. Place in a large serving bowl, or on individual serving plates and top with the remaining romano cheese. serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Asparagus Bread Pudding

1 cup asparagus, cut into one-inch long pieces
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1/2 cup White Onion, diced
1/2 cup Red Pepper, diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 /2 cup Riesling Wine
12 Tbl Fresh Basil, chopped
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Half and Half
1 /2 cup Whole Milk
4 Egg Yolks
2 Eggs
6 cups French bread, crust removed and small diced

Preheat oven to 325.

Place three cups of water into a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus pieces in the boiling water and cook for 45 seconds Strain the asparagus and run it under cold water until cooled completely. Drain and dry the asparagus pieces and set aside.

In a medium-sized sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and peppers for two-three minutes. Add the cooked asparagus, salt and pepper and cook for one more minute. Add the wine and allow it to reduce by half. Remove this mixture from the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the basil, dry mustard, sour cream, half and half, milk and eggs. Blend them together and fold in the cooked vegetables and French bread. Cover and allow the mixture to set for one hour before baking.

Place the pudding mixture into a lightly buttered 2 quart Pyrex baking dish. Cover the pudding with a piece of parchment paper, and cover the parchment paper with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes covered. Remove the foil and paper and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Allow pudding to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields: 8-10 servings

Chive and Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 Tbl sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbl Kosher Salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
½  cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbl chopped chives
½ cup frozen butter
3/4 cup + 2 Tbl cup quarts buttermilk
1 Egg
3 Tbl unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese and chives. Gently mix to combine the ingredients.

Using a cheese grater, shred the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Lightly toss to incorporate, but keep butter as cold as possible.

Whisk together the buttermilk and egg.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and using your hands, blend the dough. Blend only long enough to moisten all of the flour. Do not over mix.

Place the biscuit dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut biscuits using a 2 –inch round cookie cutter.

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with the melted butter

Bake 12-14 minutes.

Yield: 10-14 biscuits

Leg of Lamb with Raspberry Mint Chutney

Preheat oven to 375

1 Leg of Lamb, bone in, about 6-7 pounds
12 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbl fresh chopped rosemary
1 Tbl fresh chopped thyme
3 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl fresh ground black pepper

Using a paring knife, cut 12 small pockets, spread out in the lamb leg.

Insert one clove of garlic into each pocket.

Rub the leg with the olive oil, the rub the herbs, salt and pepper over the leg.

Place the lamb in a large roasting pan, and place it in the preheated oven.

Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and continue to bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to achieve a medium rare temperature. If using a thermometer, it should register 145 degrees.

Remove from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly around the bone and serve.

Raspberry Mint Chutney:

1 Tbl olive oil
1 /2 cup shallots, minced
1 Tbl garlic, minced
1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced fine
2 tsp curry powder
1 /4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 /2 cup sherry
3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup mint jelly
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
1 /2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl fresh mint, chopped

In a small sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook shallots 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and seasonings, and cook 3-4 more minutes, stirring often. Do not let garlic brown. Deglaze with sherry and reduce by half.

Stir in 2 cups of the raspberries, chicken broth and bay leaf and simmer 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in mint jelly and cook three minutes more, stirring constantly. Dissolve the cornstarch with the 2 teaspoons of water and stir it into the simmering sauce. Allow the sauce to thicken then remove from the heat and strain. Stir in the vinegar, fresh mint and remaining cup of raspberries.

Serve at room temperature.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons whole unsalted butter
2 cups Aborio rice
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
4–6 cups hot mushroom stock
1 tablespoon salt, added to the mushroom stock
3/4 ounce dry morels or 3 ounces fresh, slice into 1/4 inch thick slices (if using dry, cover the mushrooms completely with hot water soak until softened, then slice)
1 cup cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 TBSP truffle oil

In a very large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add shallots. Cook until onions become soft. Add rice. Stir constantly to prevent rice from browning. The grains of rice need to get hot. Add 1 1/2 cup of stock and turn heat down so that the stock is just barely simmering. Continue to stir constantly. As the stock is absorbed, add more stock in small amounts. Continue this process until the grains have become slightly tender. In a separate skillet, place the other 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add the mushrooms to the risotto. When rice is almost completely cooked, add the cream and again stir until the moisture is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, pepper, and fresh herbs. Drizzle the truffle oil over the risotto just before serving. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6–8 servings

Caramel Cake


2 1/2 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter 2 9-inch layer cake pans and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper.

To make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour pans, shaking out the excess.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the melted butter. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, milk and vanilla scraping the bowl once or twice to form a thin batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a sharp knife to cut each layer in half, leaving you with 4 thin layers of cake.

Caramel Frosting:

4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the brown sugar and milk in a heavy duty 3-4 quart saucepot. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches softball stage ( 234-238 degrees on a candy thermometer), stir frequently during this stage to prevent burning. Remove from the heat, and using an electric mixer, blend in the butter and vanilla. Continue beating until the icing becomes thick enough to spread, this process takes about 10-15 minutes, so be patient. Should the frosting become too thick to spread, beat in a few drops of very hot water. Spread a little less than one quarter of the frosting over the top of one cake layer. Place the next layer atop the iced layer, and repeat the icing process until all layers have been iced. Spread remaining icing around the sides of the cake.

The cake is best when served at room temperature, but if it is not being served soon after making, refrigerate it until one hour before serving.

Yield: 10-14 servings

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