Cook’s corner

Adapting Rosa Mexicano’s Passover lamb


Sleuth’s corner

Q. I just started reading your articles in the newspaper and I like the way you help people find recipes they lost. My lost treasure is a recipe for making grilled pork kabobs with margarita mix. This was really outstanding and easy. I made these in the early 1990s from a magazine clipping. The magazine got tossed and I’ve never been able to find that recipe again. Here’s hoping.


Main Dish

Rosa Mexicano’s Stuffed Lamb

1 (6- to 8-pound) boneless lamb roll (saddle or loin), tied

Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Cooking puree:

6 to 8 garlic cloves

1 bunch mint leaves, divided

1 tablespoon fresh epazote leaves (Italian parsley may be substituted)

1 (16-ounce) block, divided, quince paste (in Latin and gourmet markets; guava may be substituted)

1 cup pomegranate juice


1 cup pomegranate seeds

Remaining quince paste

Remaining mint from bunch, including stems, chopped fine

8 whole garlic cloves

Season the lamb all over with the salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb on all sides until a nice caramelized look has been achieved. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Make the cooking puree by combining the garlic, about 1/4 cup of the mint leaves, epazote or parsley in a food processor and pulsing to puree. Pulse in half of the quince or guava paste. Blend in the pomegranate juice. Reserve.

Make the filling by using your hands to combine the ingredients — the remaining quince paste, pomegranate seeds, mint and garlic cloves. Without unrolling the lamb, stuff in the paste from one end until it can be seem from the other. (This is a flavoring agent — remove most of it when slicing to serve).

Place the stuffed lamb roll in a roasting pan and liberally coat with the reserved cooking puree. Place in a heated 350-degree oven, basting frequently while cooking for 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer (an internal temperature of 125 degrees for medium rare to 145 for well). Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 565 calories, 59 percent calories from fat, 36 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 15 g monounsaturated fat, 175 mg cholesterol, 51 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 187 mg sodium.


Mini Tres Leche Cakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup half-and-half


1 cup whipped cream

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

14 maraschino cherries for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with 14 paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter for 2 minutes on high speed, then beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Mix in flour mixture gradually until just combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling them 2/3 full.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pans 180 degrees after 9 or 10 minutes. Tops should be lightly browned. Remove from oven to cool completely. Unwrap from paper liners and poke each cake all over with a fork. Place each cake in a 4-ounce jar.

Stir together the three milks — condensed, evaporated and half and half. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture slowly over each cake. Cover the jars and store in refrigerator overnight. Just before serving, make the topping: Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread over cakes and top with a cherry. Makes 14 servings.

Per serving: 272 calories, 37 percent calories from fat, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 122 mg sodium.


Hot and Spicy Crust for Baked Ham

4 cups homemade fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup hot pepper jelly

Prepare the bread crumbs. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the bread crumbs and stir over low heat until the butter is absorbed and the bread crisps, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and remove from heat.

Coat a baked still-warm ham trimmed of brown rind and fat liberally with the pepper jelly. Use your hands to press the prepared crumbs into the jelly and cover the ham. Bake just until the crumbs start to brown, about 15 minutes. Serve within an hour. Makes enough to coat a 12-pound ham, 12 to 16 servings.

Per serving: 184 calories, 35 percent calories from fat, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 241 mg sodium.

Rosa Mexicano, the Mexican food chain with locations in Mary Brickell Village and South Beach, is once again celebrating Passover by melding Jewish tradition with current culinary trends in Mexico. Monday through April 2 you’ll find menu choices that include matzoh balls made with poblano pepper, chipotle or marrow and tomato-jalapeno. Entrees range from veal shank with sweet oranges and chiles to lamb stuffed with quince and pomegranate.

I’ve adapted the stuffed lamb recipe for home use. The epazote and quince paste (crema de membrillo) are available in Latin markets, but you can substitute more readily available guava paste for the quince. Epazote is a leaf that tastes something like oregano. You can use Italian parsley leaves instead, or cilantro.

Easter ham

Q. I have lost a favorite Easter dinner recipe, so unusual, where instead of a sugar glaze you topped your roast ham with hot pepper jelly and breadcrumbs. Can you help? I last made this more than a dozen years ago.

Bob L., North Miami

The topping is easy and as you say quite different from the usual fare. I like to use cornbread crumbs, but you could also use challah or potato bread. I like using a crust like this because you can bake the ham, add the crust, then bake it again for 15 minutes and it will stay warm for half an hour while you get everything else ready.


Cook’s Corner readers have always loved the quirky and were quick to embrace the bread-in-a-jar movement a few years back, where we all used canning jars to bake quick breads that lasted for months sealed properly. So I was eager to check out the recipes in Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson (Harvard Common Press, $16.95).

There are lots of fun and intriguing recipes, like the one here for mini Tres Leche Cakes in a jar. The disappointment comes in finding out a majority of the recipes use jars as decorative presentations, not as baking vessels. A saving grace is the chapter on mixes, which make lovely gifts in jars that can indeed be sealed and mailed their merry way. The recipes also make clever individual treats for bake sales and potlucks. I also love the format — a hard cover with a hidden spiral binding that makes it easy to prop open while you’re working.

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