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TEST NEST for 22

During our yearly family reunions we take turns cooking. I decided it would be fun to do a special TEST NEST for my family since they live so far away and can’t participate in my experiment here in NYC. Dinner for 22 people is a whole new ballgame. There wasn’t a sit down course dinner structure since we had the little kids. I also explained the ratings before everyone starting eating and the chaos began. What happened next was priceless – just imagine a lot of adorable and vocal kids taking a bite and then yelling, “this is a 5-star,” or “Ains (my nickname), this is a yucky, I don’t like it.” Really, the best way to test recipes is on 11 kids…sign me up again. I loved it! I really wish I would have taken some pictures of their happy faces eating the food – next time.

Mocktail: Grapefruit Sparkle (throw)

None of the kids liked the drink, I assume because it was probably too tart for them. I thought it was okay, but not a winner. I think Grapefruit is better mixed with another juice or infused with some spices.

Main: Rosemary Fried Chicken (throw) with Tomato Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette (5 Stars) and Creamy Pasta Salad with Celery(4 Stars)

Adding rosemary to a buttermilk batter sounded so fabulous. The little bites that the flavor would come through were really yummy, but my 1st time making fried chicken wasn’t so glamorous. I’m probably mainly ditching this recipe because I don’t like frying. I’d rather have chicken tenders with a crispy batter that you can bake, and then I’ll add rosemary.

The tomatoes were definitely the favorite. The parsley vinaigrette not only adds a beautiful contrast in color but really enhances the flavor and juiciness of the tomato. Most everyone liked the pasta salad. With celery and onions I knew quite a few kids wouldn’t care for it, but I was surprised when a few of them came back for seconds of just the pasta. I doubled all the recipes.

Dessert: Coconut-Pineapple Loaf Cake (4 Stars) and Peach-Raspberry Tart (5 Stars)

The smell of the loaf cake when I was baking it ended up being more enticing than the cake itself. I’d suggest saving a little bit of the toasted coconut and putting on during the last 10 mins so that it is a little crunchy on top. I’ll also use diced rather than chunks next time so that the pineapple is more easily distributed through the cake.

The tart was fabulous. The adults ended up eating it after the kids had all gone downstairs to play since there wasn’t enough. I felt bad, but all 10 adults licked the plates…so I think its purpose was better served. We all could have had seconds.


3 Comments (Leave a Reply)

  1. mom (August 7, 2010)

    Peach Rasberry Tart, definitely my favorite. The flavors were great together. My firat bite made my mouth water. A five star no doubt. You can make this for me anytime. I think the chicken would have turned out better without the help of your mom. I have a great idea. Why don't you do your test nest for Thanksgiving.

  2. Monster Mary (August 9, 2010)

    Ains, You're amazing and took all the comments like a pro.
    I did love the flavor of the Rosemary when I did get it. I agree though about the frying bit. I'm not much of a fan of doing it though I'm happy to eat it when someone else has perfected it. :)
    LOVED the Tart!!! Oh and the tomatoes were very yummy too. ANd for the record I LOVE Grapfruit juice but am probably the only one. My last pregnancy I craved it something seriously and just writing about it right now makes me want some. MMMM so good.

  3. Ryan (August 11, 2010)

    Wait a second. How come I never saw the desserts? You can never go wrong with pasta and tomatoes. Good stuff. Tomato salad gets a 5. You'll have to cook for me again to get the other ratings.



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