Centerpieces, Snapshots and Leg of Lamb

easter valerie rice

easter valerie rice

Yes, I’m aware that Easter is so last month. However, it is my holiday, remember? I got sidetracked by my quest to find the best liquor for Cinco de Mayo. In the spirit of better late than never, here’s a glimpse of our annual Easter party (thank you, Evan Janke for the beautiful photos). Keep on reading for a delicious recipe that’s perfect anytime.

easter girl

A Centerpiece Story

Remember those strawberry plants I had intended for my Easter table? That’s what happens when I plan ahead, it leaves time for me to change my mind.  Call it an impulse, call it a moment of desire, but the second I saw these amazing snowball viburnum I had to have them. They made for such beautiful and different centerpieces it left me giddy. It always feels good to use plants or flowers for decoration and then plug them into the garden to enjoy for a long time to come. This help to justify my purchase, well actually that’s the same idea with those strawberry plants…okay, enough rationalization.

easter centerpieces

Once I had those five-gallon snowball viburnums it was a mad dash all over town to find the right containers. I needed four and of course, everything I like they only had three in stock. All through my traipsing all that was repeating in my head was, “I’ve got cooking to do. I’ve got a hell of a lot of cooking to do.” Then I hit the jackpot (wait for it) thanks to my new friends at SR Hogue.

easter table

Sitting outside their storefront on the curb, one of the SR Hogue guys and I cut the lip off the viburnum containers, wedged them into these pretty buckets and then nestled in some sheet moss to complete the look. Seeing these on the tables made me so happy that it was worth the crazy cram session in the kitchen.

Now, Back to the Party

We had more people than ever, including my entire family – which was Easter’s true blessing. How cute are my parents with my long lost brother, Josiah?

easter family

Of course we had an egg hunt…

easter egg hunt

…and brioche bunnies.

brioche bunnies

My favorite Spring Farro Salad found it’s spot on the table.

easter buffet

This leg of lamb was absolutely delicious and was the star of the buffet table. Do you want the recipe? Great! It’s included down below. I’ve made it again since Easter because I just love it for entertaining.


There were desserts…and then a few more desserts.

dessert table

Thanks for the photo collage, Des!

Now back to that lamb…

leg of lamb

leg of lamb

leg of lamb


Late night, we roasted peeps and made s’mores by the fire. That’s what everyone needs after a loaded dessert table and an egg hunt —more dessert. Thank God, we do this only once a year. Actually, I’d host an Easter party every month if the calendar and my husband let me!

easter dessert

Centerpieces, Snapshots and Leg of Lamb

Boneless Leg of Lamb


Serves: 8-12


1 large leg of lamb 7-8 pounds, (ask the butcher to debone it)

1/3 cup garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of salt

¼ cup fresh oregano – plus more for garnish

½ tsp red chile flakes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup of crumbled feta

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil (for searing)

Spring onion, sliced (optional)

Oregano leaves


Open the leg of lamb and dry it on both sides with clean towels. In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic and salt, then add oregano and chile flakes and continue to grind until pulverized. Stir in olive oil. Spread this mixture over the inside of the lamb follow with the feta. *Roll and tie, making sure the lamb is tight and compact. Up to this point can be done a day in advance.


Preheat oven 325


Pat the outside of the lamb dry of any moisture. Salt and pepper the outside of the lamb. In a large frying pan on medium high/ high heat add grapeseed oil and watch for it to dance around the pan. When this happens you’ll know the oil is the right temp to start searing. Add the roast to the pan rotating to brown evenly on all sides. Once the lamb has been seared on all sides, place on a rack in a roasting pan and cook it 20 minutes per pound — approximately 2 ½ hours.


After two hours of cooking, check with a thermometer to gauge additional cooking time. For medium rare, the thermometer should read 135 degrees. Let lamb rest for no less than 20 – 30 minutes before slicing.


Slice meat thinly and garish with sliced spring onions and oregano leaves.