Recipe Test Nest » Feature » November 10, Spiced Ham and Everything Nice
November 10, Spiced Ham and Everything Nice

I can’t believe we’re already in November, where has the year gone? I realized I hadn’t made a ham yet and figured now would be a perfect time. I’ve made over 200 recipes so far (TEST NEST and all other dishes I’ve tried as I haven’t made anything this year I’ve tried before). My wonderful testers (Gabe Jones, Rebecca Weidler, Bryan Whitchurch, Mbe Agbor, Amber Mackay, Lindsay Orme and Andrea Nielsen) as always brought great laughs and conversation to the dinner table and also were great helpers.

Mocktail: Apple Mojitos (3.5 Stars)

I love mojitos! Lindsay did a great job shaking the mojitos but we decided the apple wasn’t strong enough. Maybe use apple cider instead of apple juice and more of it. Mix the apple juice, fresh limejuice and mint with ice in a cocktail shaker and then top off with ginger ale.

1st Course: Sweet Potato & Apple Soup (3.5 Stars)

The addition of crème fraiche is what makes this soup. The thyme springs are a beautiful presentation but would also be good to fold in some chopped thyme to add more flavor as it was a little bland. This recipe had onion, shallots, sweet potato, carrots, apples, papaya, and chicken stock.

2nd Course: Ham with Spiced Cider Glaze (3 Stars)

Even though this ham had a dry rub (brown sugar, honey and dry mustard) and spiced cider glaze, the flavors didn’t really come through. I put it in the crock-pot so the oven would be free for the squash and soufflé. I passed around the sauce, which was needed so the ham didn’t taste dry. I’d suggest thickening the sauce with some molasses to enhance the sweetness and glaze

Savory Sweet-Potato Souffles (4 Stars)

This was my first time making soufflés and I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten a savory soufflé before. The recipe turned out nice and fluffy (which I was really nervous about) and Amber suggested tossing some grated parmesan cheese into the ramekins as sweet soufflés are tossed with sugar so the soufflés have something to grab onto and puff up higher.

All together these three items were a great melody.

Roasted Squash with Maple and Sage Cream (4.5 Stars)

Brian loved the squash and couldn’t slow down. Mbe said that he is not a squash fan (how can anyone not love squash?) but loved this recipe. The maple syrup enhances the natural sweetness of the acorn squash and the cream sage sauce enhances the salty. I’ll double the cream sauce next time so there is extra to pass along with the squash; the sauce is really what makes it. Slice squash, brush with olive oil on both sides and roast. Infuse cream with sage and drizzle on squash along with pure maple syrup.

Dessert: Pear and Cherry Crisp with Nutmeg-Walnut Streusel (4 Stars)

I served this with vanilla bean ice cream but for the first time the ice cream didn’t enhance but rather distracted. There was so much goodness going on with the pear, cherry and streusel. The recipe said to serve with ice cream or whipped cream. I ate the leftovers with whipped cream and it was much yummier. Amber suggested that serving with a sauce (like maybe a browned butter or caramel) or unique ice cream pairing could take it to a 5. As always it would also be good to increase the streusel a little for more crunch.


One Comment (Leave a Reply)

  1. Monster Mary (November 18, 2010)

    Ahh the souffle, way to go Ains. It looks beautiful. Did it fall after sitting outfor a bit? I took a souffle class and was disappointed in the fact that souffle's only look puffy and pretty for a few minutes. I'd recommend mixing a little savory bread crumbs with that cheese in the bottom of the ramekins. That's what I learned at my class. Well they didn't use cheese at all, it'll get gooey of course but sounds good. The souffle had cheese mixed into it though. Also I think you did the best by serving individual ramekins as in our class our teacher even said that a big souffle for a dinner is much more difficult to keep pretty for presentation.

    You really do love you're squash. Looks good though. I've made a carrot soup that was supposed to be french that was bland but when friends of ours made a similar version, (carrots, potatoes, onion cooked and pureed) they added a tablespoon of curry and a dallop of yogurt andit was yummy. totally different flavor for a very similar start.

    Once again, wish I could be there. :) Thanks for sharing.



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