What's on your dinner menu this Easter? It's just days away, so now is the time to decide: Lamb or ham for Sunday dinner?
Even if your family is neutral on the subject of religion, there's something about Easter -- perhaps it's the bright spring flowers, the chocolate bunnies, the promise of summer -- that makes us all want to celebrate. And what's a celebration without a special meal?
For those whose family origins hail from Mediterranean or Middle Eastern countries, lamb is a part of your culinary heritage. And lamb very likely appears on the table more often than just once a year. At Easter, because it's a spring celebration, lamb is a natural choice because spring is when lambs are, well, lambs. When they pass their first birthday, lambs become mutton. You don't hear chefs praising the virtues of old sheep.
If you opt for lamb, go to the American Lamb Board's website, www.americanlamb.com, for recipes and tips.
If you decide to play it safe with ham -- and how much safer can you get -- most hams are sold already cooked and simply need to be warmed up before slicing and serving. If you really want a fool-proof roast, you can buy spiral cut hams, which practically eliminates any carving. With ham as the centerpiece, even if you're a klutz in the kitchen, it's easy to put together an impressive Easter dinner.
For directions for glazes to make your ham extra special and serving tips, go to the National Pork Board's consumer site, www.porkbeinspired.com/index.aspx.
Wood vs. plastic
Confused about cutting boards? Not sure if you should be using wood or plastic? According to the Washington State University Walla Walla Extension newsletter, no matter what the material, cutting boards can harbor bacteria in cracks and grooves.
Plastic is less porous than wood, making it less likely to harbor bacteria and easier to clean. Wash your cutting board with hot water, soap and a scrub brush.
After washing, sanitize your board in the dishwasher or by rinsing it in a chlorine bleach solution of one tablespoon bleach to one gallon water.
Keep the solution handy in a spray bottle near the sink.
The book: Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook by Jean Duane.
Best for: This must-have cookbook is for anyone following a special diet.
The author shows readers how to make appetizing cakes, muffins, quick breads, cookies, soufflés, crackers, desserts, breakfast treats, tarts, pies and crisps. In addition to the easy-to-follow recipes, most of which can be completed in five steps or less, the book also features hundreds of mouthwatering photos as well as notes on what happens in a recipe when one ingredient is changed.
*Loretto J. Hulse, 582-1513, firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a recipe via email each Tuesday register at and click on newsletters. If you already are registered, click on edit account and newsletters to select Recipe of the Week. This exclusive recipe does not appear in the newspaper.