Recipe Test Nest » 5 Star » Mother’s Day TEST NEST
Mother’s Day TEST NEST

I have my next TEST NEST tonight so I’m really behind. May has come and gone too quickly, but my mom and I’s trip to the Netherlands has made this my favorite month of the year so far. She joined me in NYC a day before to play, so I decided to host a special Mother’s Day TEST NEST on May 8. I haven’t spent Mother’s Day with my mom since I left home for school at 18, so this was a very special treat for me and I created a very special menu.

My testers (Ann Henrie, Lisa Tadje, Steve Wells, Lauri Bishop, Jamar Knox and Shaun Parry) and I spent a very pleasant Saturday night together stuffing ourselves with yummy food. Happy Mother’s day Mom! Here are the results:

Mocktail: Tropical Ginger Punch (4 Star)

This is a even blend of flavors and the grated ginger added just the right amount of kick.

Salad: Asian Pear Salad (5 Star)

I haven’t made a lot of salads so far, but I’ve got a lot of my list to try for the summer months. This salad is full of flavor bursts. Next time I will put in more dates as they were a little too insignificant in the bites.

Main Course: Pistachio-Roasted Halibut (3 Star) with Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard (5 Star)

While in Alaska I happened upon Chef Al Levinsohn who is infamously known as the “Alaskan Chef,” his cookbook “What’s Cooking, Alaska?” is chock full of fabulous fish recipes. I still have halibut in my freezer that I caught last summer and I was excited for Mom to benefit from the works of my labor. However, the last couple times I’ve made the halibut it’s been a little dry. Maybe the fish has been frozen too long, or I’m dying it out when thawing, or not cooking it right. Jamar is a food writer for Starchefs.com and he suggested that the fish would have been moister if I would have put tin foil over it when baking. The flavor concept of the pistachio with the fish is great but I probably need to grind up the pistachios more so it could have been more of a crust on the fish. The swiss chard was the true catch of the day. It was AMAZING. I doubled the recipe and used 4 heads of swiss chard and it barely enough to have a good portion on the plates with the fish. The swiss chard is cooked with bacon, onion, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. It is pleasantly sweet and sour.

Dessert: Lemon Pine-Nut Tart (3 Star) and Toasted Almond Milk (4 Star)

The cornmeal tart dough on this bitter lemony tart is definitely a keeper and a perfect compliment to the tartness of the lemon. My testers were all very mixed on this dessert, some really liked it, and others didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t find Meyer lemons and despite my best efforts the rinds of the lemons did not soften enough. The dessert needed more curd to the slices lemons. To be honest I don’t think I’d make it again even though it has great possibility to be a really yummy dessert. I’d rather fill my recipe book with another lemony treat.

The Almond milk was very comforting if you like warm and creamy drinks. The toasted almonds steep in the milk giving it a rustic flavor mixed with the sweetness of the added shot of amaretto syrup. It would be nice with shortbread and biscotti; it would also be a great complement to a mild cheese plate.


3 Comments (Leave a Reply)

  1. Lauri (May 26, 2010)

    1 word…YUMMY!!! Amber did an amazing job. It was my first test nest, and it was such a pleasure…not to just eat great food, but to savor each course. I will definitely plan for more return trips. It was fantastic.

  2. mom (May 27, 2010)

    It was a great experience to be invited to my first Test Nest. The conversation at the table was enjoyable and the food was great. Pear Salad: Each bite was a new flavor burst of food you normally wouldn't expect to taste in a salad, but very enjoyable. Halibut dish: The presentation of the swiss chard and fish was something very different, but the two together complimented each other. Dessert: a great ending to a meal and not to sweet. And all this served up elegance and an Amber flair, a totally new New York experience.

  3. Monster Mary (May 31, 2010)

    I love that you had a special test nest for your mom. How much fun! Now I'm waiting my turn. Maybe I just need another trip to NYC. 😉



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