Lamb Dinner is Luscious

Easter dinner is a wonderful time to serve leg of lamb. It has always been my favorite treat!

Often, one or more of our four children and their families will join my husband, Kenny, and me for a holiday celebration.

Along with my Rosemary Leg of Lamb, I like to serve Romaine Caesar Salad, Sour Cream Yogurt Braid, Cran-Orange Coconut Cake and Ginger Ale Citrus Cooler.

Although there are some people who prefer lamb rare, I love its distinctive flavor when it’s cooked more. Garlic and rosemary complement the flavorful meat, and the pan drippings make a delicious gravy.

Daughter's Tangy Dressing

We have enjoyed zesty Romaine Caesar Salad for several years. Everyone who tastes it is impressed. My daughter Ann was first in the family to make this salad after getting the recipe from a dear old German friend.

Ann cut down on the amount of anchovies in the original recipe and added more lemon and garlic. She has a talent for knowing how to improve any dish.

I'm proud that all three of my daughters are good cooks. They have inherited my love of cooking, which rubbed off on me from my mother. I grew up on a wheat ranch between the villages of Grass Valley and Kent in north central Oregon, about 63 miles from where we now live.

My parents raised almost every animal—including cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and chickens.

Mom sent for every offer of recipes that came her way. We had a woodstove, which actually made food taste better, as I remember.

My Sour Cream Yogurt Braid is a twist on a bread recipe I found in a 1960s cookbook. Wanting to try for a "San Francisco flavor," I substituted yogurt for half of the sour cream called for in the recipe. The bread turned out very well. Later, when I decided to enter it in a fair, I braided the dough—and loved the look!

Lifelong Love of Fairs

I was the youngest of six in a very competitive family. Everything went to the fair—and I've been entering ever since! My main interests have always been baking and textiles.

I never learned the knack of knowing when the woodstove oven felt right for baking. But electricity came to our area in 1940, when I was 9. When we got an electric stove, I baked our first batch of cookies in it!

Our Easter dessert of Cran-Orange Coconut Cake is a lovely bundt cake with complementary flavors of cranberries, nuts and coconut. Brown sugar and grated orange peel add to this cake's appeal. I often add a dollop of whipped cream to each serving.

We usually call Ginger Ale Citrus Cooler "mock champagne" because it is fizzy and fruity but not overly sweet. This pretty pink-orange punch is one that we often enjoy with company.

I was 20 when I married Kenny. While he served in the Army in Korea and then finished school in Seattle, I worked at the Federal Reserve Bank.

He always wanted to be a farmer, and after he held various jobs as a hired hand, we leased our first small farm and raised our children there. We retired to The Dalles and in 2001 celebrated our 50th anniversary.

Through the years, I taught 4-H sewing and cooking, and I have been judging fair entries for about 40 years. I've written a pictorial history for the local high school, put together pictorial family histories of both sides of our families and authored two cookbooks.

Breads, cakes and pies are my favorite things to make, but I like trying all kinds of new dishes. I’m finding easier ways to do things these days, but I still like the challenge of a dish made from scratch.

Happy Easter to you! If you have a chance to try my recipes, I know you'll have delicious results.

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