Easter Feast, On A Shoestring

Still seeking ideas for Easter dinner?

Gourmet magazine Executive Editor John "Doc" Willoughby had plenty on The Early Show Saturday Edition.

He took on our "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge of cooking a simple, yet delicious, three-course meal for four on our recession-busting budget of a meager $35. But the result was anything but meager!

He also threw the Easter bunny and his chef's hats into our "How Low Can You Go" competition. The "Shoestring" chef whose total is lowest will be invited back to prep our all-out, holiday extravaganza dinner at the end of the year!

Holiday meals can get pricey, but with good planning, you can make a feast without breaking the bank, as Doc proved.

His menu included Simple Spring Green Salad, Herb-Roasted Pork Loin with Golden Potatoes and Green Beans, and Lemon Glazed Butter Cake.


Bibb Lettuce: This butterhead lettuce has delicate, loose leaves and lots of flavor.

Boston Lettuce: This is a type of butterhead lettuce that has soft, tender leaves. It's terrific in salads and sandwiches, or the leaves can be used as a bed for other dishes.


Simple Spring Green Salad


1 head Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 head Bibb lettuce, large leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine lettuces in a large bowl. Season with salt, then drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Herb-Roasted Pork Loin


For Pork
1 (2 - 2-and-a-half pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 rosemary sprigs, divided
4 large thyme sprigs, divided
4 sage sprigs, divided
4 savory sprigs (optional), divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (2 to 3)
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon pepper

For Sauce
1/3 cup dry vermouth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


For Pork:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pat pork dry and season with 1-3/4 teaspoon salt and 1-1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Straddle a flameproof roasting pan over 2 burners, then heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it simmers. Brown pork on all sides, then transfer to a large plate.

Put a metal rack in pan and arrange half of herbs down middle of rack. Stir together shallots, garlic, mustard, and 1 tablespoon oil and smear over top and sides of roast, then put roast, fat side up, on top of herbs. Roast 1 hour. Toss remaining herbs with remaining teaspoon oil and arrange on top of roast.

Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer registers 140° to 145°F, 5 to 15 minutes more (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees as it rests). Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 15 to 25 minutes.

Make sauce while pork rests:

Remove rack from pan and discard herbs from rack. Straddle pan across 2 burners on medium heat. Add vermouth and mustard and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half. Add broth and simmer 3 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup measure. If you have more than 1 ½ cups, boil to reduce; if less, add water.

Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk in vermouth mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Serve pork with sauce.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.