Blow the Dust off of Winter and Celebrate Spring with a Garden-Fresh Heart-Healthy Easter Meal

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Dr. Michael Fenster creates delicious and healthy recipes perfect to spring into the new season.

Spring is arriving with her bounty. As we gather for family celebrations such as Easter, Dr. Michael Fenster, MD, F.A.C.C., FSCA&I, PEMBA, helps us give thanks with a fresh and easy meal harmonizing the tastes of the season.

There are few dishes as iconic of the spring season as grilled lamb. This delectable dish utilizes the engaging flavor of cherries to accentuate the natural sweetness of tender grilled lamb. Dr. Fenster has paired the meat with a light yet hearty and healthy couscous that contains other harbingers of spring; tender baby carrots, fresh garden peas, small pearl onions. The grains, vegetables and meat are tied together with a wisp of mint that floats softly through the meal like a springtime mist.

Balsamic Cherry Glazed Lamb – makes 8 servings
Serving Size 3 oz; 200 Calories; 11g Total Fat; 7g Carbohydrate

“A serving consisting of 2 cuts from the rack provides a filling protein portion packed into just several ounces. The glaze adds a wonderful texture to the meat and a plethora of subtle flavors with every bite-not to mention wonderful health benefits from the fruit, rosemary and cinnamon. Several ounces of couscous with both garden and root veggies is a perfect complement, both nutritionally and with respect to flavors. And the best thing, it is incredibly easy to make!” Dr. Fenster states.

  •     1 rack of lamb, or 8 lamb loin chops (Saratoga chops also work well)
  •     1 Tbs butter
  •     1 shallot, chopped
  •     6 oz fresh, pitted or 4 oz dried cherries
  •     1/3 cup Cherry Kijafa (or other cherry liqueur)
  •     ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  •     1 tsp dry mustard
  •     1 cinnamon stick
  •     1 sprig of rosemary

If using dried cherries, let them sit in the liquid for an hour before preparation. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the shallot and soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for fifteen minutes, the liquid should reduce by ¼ to 1/3. Remove the rosemary and cinnamon. Using an immersion blender or in small batches in a blender or food processor puree the mixture. It will resemble a thin paste. Remove and coat the lamb. To allow the flavors to develop, you can coat the lamb, seal and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours prior to grilling. Grill the lamb until done, allow to rest, slice and serve.

Springtime Couscous – makes 8 servings
Serving size 8 oz; 280 Calories; 1.5g Total fat; 53g Carbohydrate

  •     2 Tbs olive oil
  •     2 cups couscous, preferably Israeli type
  •     2 ½ cups chicken stock
  •     1 cup fresh peas (frozen is OK)
  •     1 cup baby carrots cut into a small dice
  •     8oz pearl onions, peeled
  •     1 Tbs mint, finely chopped

In a medium sauté pan heat 1 Tbs olive oil. Add the couscous and lightly toast, stirring frequently about 3 minutes. While the couscous is toasting, bring the stock to a boil. Remove the couscous and place in a large bowl, add the stock and cover for 8-10 minutes. While the couscous is finishing, heat the remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil and add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for another minute and then add the peas and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove and add to the couscous mixture. Add chopped mint and mix well. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

Recipes may be reprinted with the following credit:
Copyright Michael Fenster

About Michael Fenster, MD, F.A.C.C., FSCA&I, PEMBA
Michael Fenster combines his culinary talents and Asian philosophy with medical expertise, creating winning recipes for healthy eating. He is frequently asked to present live cooking demonstrations as well as giving numerous radio interviews on health and food shows both nationally and internationally. Michael is a certified wine professional and chef, receiving his culinary degree from Ashworth University where he graduated with honors. He has worked professionally in kitchens prior to entering medical school and maintained his passion for food and wine throughout his medical career. Mike helped manage the award winning Napa Alley in Roanoke, Virginia, and hosted a local cable TV cooking show, “What’s Cookin’ with Doc” in Dublin, GA. He has written columns for, is a regular columnist for the culinary magazine Basil, as well as a member of their Council of Chefs and a monthly health and fitness contributor to The Tampa Tribune. He recently cooked up heart healthy fall soup on the nationally syndicated television show “Daytime.” His new book will available Fall 2011.

Michael Fenster, MD, is a Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist, currently on staff with the Cardiology Specialists of Florida at Hernando Heart Clinic. He has participated in numerous clinical trials and spoken nationally on a variety of cardiovascular topics to audiences ranging from lay public to peer presentations at the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology meetings. He has also published numerous professional peer reviewed articles and served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at North East Ohio University College of Medicine (NEOUCOM). Michael recently graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University’s Physician’s Executive MBA program.

Michael holds a JuDan (10th degree black belt) ranking in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, which he has studied over the last three decades. He lives in Spring Hill, Florida, with his wife Jennifer. His new book will be published in early 2011.

To see cooking demonstrations with Michael Fenster and more recipes, visit


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