Recipe Test Nest » 5 Star » The 1st Test Nest
The 1st Test Nest

The Test Nest has hatched and I thank my friends for their wonderful support and interest and for telling me to charge more money (hehe, when steak and fish are involved it will definitely be more expensive). I’m very excited to keep this going during the year. The 1st menu and its courses worked very well together. A gourmet twist on a classic pasta dish. The menu and ratings by my fantastic guest testers (Lisa Higbee, Jason Robertson, Morgan Bassett, David Caine, Vicky Walters and Adam Lindsay) are as follows:

Mocktail: Grape Sparks (throw)

Grape juice is better sparkling with some Sprite or Ginger Ale versus sparkling water.

1st Course: Apple and Mesclun Salad with Orange-Ginger Dressing and Homemade Asiago-Pepper Bread

Dressing was 4 stars – I kept the salad light because of the heavy stuffed pasta main course, but guests thought I could have added more mix ins. The bread was rated 5 stars.

2nd Course: Butternut Squash Cannelloni with Sage-Walnut Cream Sauce (4 stars)

A sweet and tangy butternut squash filling layered with spinach, rolled and baked. The Sage Walnut Cream Sauce was perfectly complimentary although I’ve made note to add more walnuts. Note: the cream sauce turned a little dark after sitting out so make sure to serve right out of the oven.

Dessert: Tea with Pistachio Shortbread (4 stars)

Buttery, nutty cookie was a perfect light end to the meal.

Guests also left with a little package of shortbread to remember the evening.

Other recipes that I tried during January that I should note include:
Grilled Monster Pork Chops with Tomatillo and Green Apple Sauce
Cinnamon Raisin French Toast (try the buttermilk French toast recipe with Cinnamon Raisin Bread)

During February I plan to have two Test Nest nights. I’m even going to take advantage of Cupid’s holiday and make sure hearts and chocolate are part of each meal. For some reason, even though I dislike V-day I have lots of heart cookware including cake pans, tartlet and cupcake molds (thanks to making Hilary’s Wedding Cake/Chocolate Cupcake and topping bar) – so I figure I better put it to good use.

One Comment (Leave a Reply)

  1. Amber Henrie (February 13, 2010)

    Here are the comments from the original post on

    Blogger Monster Mary said…

    Sounds successful and fun. Wish I could come. Why don't you just come back to AK and do one here for us? :) We miss you.

    January 30, 2010 11:51 AM
    Blogger Lisa H said…

    Oh my gosh, I LOVED your food!!! That is all :) Lisa

    January 31, 2010 8:19 PM
    Blogger Vicki said…

    It was all delish! Lovely food, lovely company! Your citrus-y dressing, made for a refreshing salad. I really enjoyed the Butternut Squash and Sage Walnut entree, mmm! Your pistachio cookies were professionally perfect and the mint tea was a great compliment to them. My favorite though was the Asiago-Pepper Bread! I need the recipe for that one, oh yeah!!! Thanks for the invite, I was pleased to be part of your very first "Test Nest"! :)

    January 31, 2010 9:25 PM
    Blogger Jamila said…

    Who were the test nesters? I think I recognized some of the guests but want confirmation.

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