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Dining In: Celebrate spring with bright, sunny flavors

by Karen Diefendorf, food and features editor

Leg of lamb with green peppercorn butter
   6 1/2 - 7 lb. whole leg of lamb, trimmed, boned, and butterflied
   2 garlic cloves, minced fine
   2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
   3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
   1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Green peppercorn butter:
   1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
   1/4 c. minced fresh parsley leaves
   1 Tbsp. drained green peppercorns packed in water
   1/2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
   2 Tbsp. black peppercorns, crushed
   In a shallow dish arrange lamb cut-side up. In a small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil and pour over lamb. Let lamb marinate and chill overnight. To make butter: In a food processor, blend all ingredients and salt until combined well. Chill, covered.
   Bring back to room temperature before serving. Press crushed black peppercorns into lamb at room temperature and sprinkle with salt. Arrange lamb on broiler pan rack. Cook under preheated broiler about 4" from heat for 12-15 minutes on each side.
   Transfer to carving board, brush with green peppercorn butter and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut lamb into thin slices across grain and dot slices with more butter. Serves 8-10.

Pork tenderloin with star fruit
Marinade:
   2 pork tenderloins (1 pound or more each)
   1/4 c. rum
   1/4 c. orange juice
   1/4 c. vegetable oil
   2 minced garlic cloves
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
   1 Tbsp. each: fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme (use 1/2 tsp. of dried herbs)
Garnish:
   3 sliced ripe starfruit or kiwi
   2 tablespoons butter
   2 tablespoons brown sugar
   1/4 c. rum
   1/4 c. orange juice
   For the marinade: Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well mixed. Rub pork tenderloins with the marinade, place in non-corrosive container, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to marinade at least 3 hours to enhance flavors.
   To cook: Remove tenderloins from marinade and let juices stand. In a hot frying pan, set pork at high heat. Turn heat down, add marinade juices, and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 155 F. Turn off heat and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Let pan juices stand.
   For the garnish: In a second frying pan, melt butter at high heat, add star fruit, and quickly toss. Add brown sugar, rum, orange juice, and the reserved pan juices. Shake the pan to mix.
   To serve: Arrange tenderloin slices in serving platter and serve starfruit around pork. Dribble remaining sauce over pork and fruit.

Beef fajitas with fruit salsa
   1 1/2 lbs. boneless beef round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
   3/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
   3/4 c. nonfat Italian salad dressing
   1 tsp. chili powder
   1/4 tsp. ground cloves
   4 oranges, peeled, seeded, and chopped
   3/4 c. chopped, green pepper
   1 c. fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
   2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
   8 10-inch flour tortillas Nonstick spray coating
   2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
   1/2 c. light or regular sour cream
   Trim fat from beef and partially freeze. Thinly slice beef across the grain into bite size strips. Place beef strips in a plastic bag set into a deep bowl. For marinade: In a bowl combine thawed concentrate, salad dressing, chili powder, and cloves. Set aside 1/3 cup of the marinade over beef in bag. Seal bag and turn to coat beef strips. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning bag occasionally. For citrus salsa, combine reserved marinade, chopped oranges, green pepper, cherries, and jalapenos.
   Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Spray an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick coating. Preheat over medium heat. Drain beef, discarding marinade. Add half of the beef and cook until the onions are crisp-tender and meat is desired doneness. Remove and repeat with remaining beef.
   Return all meat to skillet, heat through. Spoon meat mixture onto tortillas. Drain salsa and spoon onto meat mixture. Top with sour cream. Serves 8. Nutrition facts per serving: 357 cal., 26 pro., 45 g carbo., 8g total fat (2g sat.), 56mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 544mg sodium.

Oriental chicken salad
   1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
   3/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
   2 c. of water
   2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
   3 oz. packaged dried Chinese egg noodles or fine egg noodles, broken
   Soy-ginger dressing(See recipe below)
   1 c. red or green sweet pepper cut into thin strips
   1 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
   4 cups torn Boston or bibb lettuce
   4 oranges, peeled, sectioned and seeded
   Orange twists, optional
   Rinse chicken. Reserve three tablespoons of the thawed concentrate for dressing. In a large skillet, combine remaining concentrate, water, and onion. Bring to boiling; add chicken. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Drain chicken, discarding liquid and onion.
   When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size strips. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and drain again. In a salad bowl combine with chicken strips and cooked noodles. Pour soy-ginger dressing over chicken mixture. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
   To serve, add pepper strips and bamboo shoots to chicken mixture. Toss well. Divide lettuce among 6 individual serving plates. Spoon chicken mixture on lettuce. Top salads with orange sections. If desired, garnish with citrus twists. Makes six main-dish servings.
   Soy-ginger dressing: In a screw-top jar, combine the reserved 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil, 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon grated gingerroot. Cover and shake well. Makes about 1/2 cup dressing. Nutrition facts per serving: 266 cal., 19g pro., 30g carbo., 8g total fat (1g sat. fat), 52mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 306mg sodium.