Recipes for the perfect spring dinner from DINE kitchens

Deerfield Inn flower vaseSpring is filled with the flavors of lamb, new vegetables and early berries.  The Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) have scoured their recipe files for recipes creating the perfect spring dinner.  No need to spend hours seeking a taste of spring for your next feast or dinner party.  Allow recipes from DINE kitchens to create the model road map for your next soiree. You’ll enjoy smiles around the table and compliments from all using these recipes.  Better yet, visit any of DINE’s nine member inns for your next getaway and you might just be treated to one of these tastes of spring at the breakfast or dinner table.

Lamb Rack with Herbed Dijon Crust and White Truffle Tomato Cream

from Rabbit Hill Inn (serves eight)


Lamb rack on grill4-8 bone lamb racks

½ cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup white wine

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tblsp garlic, minced

¼ cup freshly chopped herbs

3 Tblsp white truffle oil

½ cup tomato puree

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup brandy

½ cracker or breadcrumbs

1 shallot, minced

Salt & pepper to taste


Combine mustard, wine, olive oil, 1 Tblsp garlic, herbs, and salt & pepper in bowl and combine with breadcrumbs.

Salt and pepper lamb racks to taste and sear till browned on eye side of rack.

Put lamb in roasting pan seared side up and rub with Dijon crust.

Roast in 400°F oven for 12 to 25 minutes or till internal temperature reaches 135° F.

For the tomato cream:

Combine shallots and 1 Tblsp. garlic in sauté pan with enough oil to sweat them.

Add brandy to deglaze.

Add tomato puree and cream.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to reduce by half and whisk in truffle oil.

Serve warm over roasted lamb racks

 Beet & Spinach Salad from Deerfield Inn

(serves 2- entrée sized portions)

Beet and spinach salad from Deerfield InnIngredients:

1/3 cup candied pecans, chopped

2 bunches small colored beets (8 to 16 beets)

Handful washed chilled baby spinach leaves

3 tablespoons orange poppy seed vinaigrette

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces feta cheese, cubed

orange supreme sections to taste (the central sweet spot w/o pith)


Directions for candied pecans:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until pecans are evenly browned, 1 hour.

Ingredients & Directions  for vinaigrette:

4 teaspoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons cold water

1-1/3 cups orange juice

1/4 cup white vinegar

4 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard

4 teaspoons honey

1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth.

Stir in the orange juice, vinegar, mustard and honey.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

Stir in poppy seeds and salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.

Directions for Salad:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Trim greens and long roots from beets. Spritz with evo and wrap in 2 to 3 aluminum-foil packets, dividing beets according to size.

Place foil wrapped beets in oven, and roast until tender, 35 to 45 minutes, depending on size of beets.

Wipe the skins from the beets. Cut into slices and squares, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Drizzle vinaigrette over beets; toss to coat.

When ready to serve, lay on chilled baby spinach leaves, add feta, pecans, orange supremes.

Garnish with nasturtium flower, if still out in the herb garden.

This is enough for an entrée sized salad for two.

Spring Pea Cakes from Manor on Golden Pond

In case you missed this recipe recently highlighted, here it is again as it makes the perfect addition to a spring meal…


2 cups peas (Fresh or Frozen)

2 eggs

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs ( may need more if mixture is too wet)

2 Tblsp chopped garlic

2 Tblsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper


Roughly chop the peas in a food processor or by hand;

Fold in remaining ingredients;

Form into small patties;

Sauté in olive oil for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown

Fresh Berry Trifle from Chesterfield Inn

First, make the sponge cake and then the custard sauce, as follows.

Berry TrifleIngredients & method for the Sponge Cake

12 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1/2 cup rum or Triple Sec

Beat egg whites to soft peaks and add 1 cup sugar.

Add the other 1 cup sugar to the yolks and beat until light colored.

Stir in flour, and rum or triple sec, gently.

Fold in the whipped egg whites.

Butter a full size sheet pan.

Put parchment on pan, and butter that.

Spread batter in pan.

Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.

Cool on rack before removing from pan.

Ingredients & method for Custard Sauce

9 egg yolks

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 cups milk, scalded

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl over a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes until blended and light colored.

Slowly add hot milk and stir over the heat with a wooden spoon.

Custard is done when it coats the back of a spoon.

Remove heat, add vanilla, and cool over a bowl of ice.


To assemble the Trifle:

Slice and sugar 1 quart strawberries.

Layer with 1 pint of blueberries and 1 pint raspberries with the sliced sponge and custard sauce in a clear glass bowl.

Top with whipped cream.

Serve chilled.

As you think about upcoming spring getaways, we hope you’ll consider planning a trip to any of the Distinctive Inns of New England.  Don’t forget to book directly with the inn (skipping the booking engines) for the best availability and rates.

In Maine:  Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire: Manor on Golden Pond  in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield.

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod