Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feast Menu - Ostara

Here is another complete menu for your Ostara celebration. A little lighter than the previous one.

Ostara Menu 2 

Appetizer- Spring Dip with Pita Chips


6 cups fresh parsley leaves
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground nutmeg
Dash of ground red pepper
Dash of black pepper
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh onion
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
Fresh parsley sprigs
Pita Chips


1- Place parsley and mint leaves in a food processor, and pulse 2 to 3 times or until combined.

2- Add the sherry vinegar, the salt, the nutmeg, red pepper and black pepper and process until well-blended, scraping sides of processor bowl occasionally. Add ricotta; process until smooth.

3-Spoon parsley mixture into a mixing bowl; stir in yogurt, sour cream, and onion. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a sauce-pan; let stand 1 minute.

4- Cook over low heat; stir until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir into parsley mixture. Cover and chill. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired. Serve with Pita Chips.

For Pita Chips, you need approximately 3 pitas of 6 inch each. To do the pitas as chips, preheat the oven to 350°. Split pitas, and cut each into 8 wedges. Place wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. You can also use Tortillas if you prefer.

Main Dish - Ginger and Thyme–Brined Pork Loin 

1 cup chopped fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups water
1/2 cup ginger preserves (such as Dundee)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ginger preserves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


1- Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until salt dissolves and then, pour thyme mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag and add the pork in the bag, then seal. Marinate in refrigerator 24 hours, turning occasionally.

2-Preheat oven to 425F.

3- Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Pat pork dry with a paper towel and rub pork with pepper.

4- Place pork on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon preserves and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl and place rack with pork in pan.

5- Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F (do not remove pork from oven); bake 30 minutes.

6- Brush preserves mixture over pork and bake an additional 5 minutes.Place pork on a platter; let stand 15 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch slices.

Side Dish - Apricot Glazed Carrots & Cheese-Ranch Potato Bake

2 pounds carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1- Add carrots to a pot of lightly salted water, and bring to a low boil. Simmer until carrots are tender and drain.

2- Put melted butter in a bowl, and stir in apricot preserves. Stir in nutmeg, salt, orange zest, and lemon juice. Add carrots, and stir well to coat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Cheese-Ranch Potato Bake


4 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 (8 ounce) package shredded colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1 (8 ounce) bottle Ranch dressing


1- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place the potatoes in the baking dish.

2- Season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Evenly distribute the butter over the potatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until potatoes are tender.

3- Remove from oven, and mix in the cheese and Ranch dressing. Continue cooking 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Salad - Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped spring or sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and thyme; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

2- Add artichokes; sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add broth and quinoa; bring to a simmer.

3- Cover and cook 18 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed. Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley, rind, juice, and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dessert - Banana-Coconut Cream Pie


2 cups flaked coconut
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large firm bananas, sliced
whipped cream and sliced bananas, optional


1-  In a large skillet, saute coconut in butter until golden. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish. Press remaining toasted coconut onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 350F for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

2- For filling, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Stir in cream until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature without stirring.

3- Place bananas in the crust. Cover with cream mixture. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with reserved coconut. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and bananas. Refrigerate leftovers.


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