Recipe Test Nest » 5 Star » December 13 Christmas Celebration
December 13 Christmas Celebration

The last TEST NEST dinner of 2010 didn’t fail to have interesting conversation, especially since Tim led everyone in a discussion about foreskin restoration and baby circumcision. Quite fitting for the holidays.I had 8 wonderful testers at this meal and we laughed the whole night away. My testers included Barbara and Nick, Sally and Tim, David Caine, Justin Benson, Kirsten Dekker and Pete Cerneka. I’ve had a lot of “firsts” this year and have quite enjoyed this fun experiment. I plan to keep it going in 2011, probably every three weeks versus two.

Mocktail: Pomegranate Frost (3.5 Stars)

While this drink was a 4 star for some there was quite a range of opinions. Some had more sparkling water in their mixture than others (fill the glass ¾ then add Pellegrino) and those who had more Pellegrino rated it higher. The others thought it was too concentrated and sour. Kirsten didn’t like the mint, but I loved the mint, which you cut up and crush similar to a mojito. It’s a fun red and green drink and quite festive.

1st Course: Radicchio Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Goat Cheese (3 Stars)

This had great festive presentation with the red color of radicchio and the leaf bowl. The salad was really good with the dressing and goat cheese. I usually don’t like goat cheese much but it was milder in this salad with the tartness of the radicchio, sweetness of the pears and crisp walnuts. A few bites were really bitter and I think we figured out that it was the white part of the radicchio, more noticeable for those who ate their leaf bowl.

2nd Course: Rosemary Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding (4 Stars)

This is definitely a wonderful pairing and the rosemary crusting on the rib roast is fantastic. This was my first time making Yorkshire Pudding but it worked well and everyone liked it – I didn’t have a British critic in the room though so hopefully it would still rank as high with an expert. It is always a challenge to get everything served warm, especially when doing courses, so I had a few things in the oven at the same time. I thought my rib roast was done but when I cut into it to serve it was still raw and I was mortified. Dave helped me cut it and then I quickly pan seared slices so they would be done to everyone’s liking. I feel like this has the ability to be a 5 star if I wouldn’t have messed it up. It is an expensive one to have to do over, but I’m going to have to try it again to see if it is truly a 5 when roasted to perfection.

Cauliflower Gratin (5 Stars)

I was not able to find fresh cauliflower in the 5 stores I visited, so I had to go with frozen but could only find a cauliflower broccoli mix. However, I’d do it with frozen veggies again just to cut down in prep time. It was a little runnier than it should have been, which is most likely a result of the frozen veggies giving off more water. I would like to bake an additional 5 minutes or so next time so that cheese is crustier. The red pepper flakes is what makes this as it adds a needed kick and enhances the crispness of the gruyere cheese.

Dessert: Gingerbread Bunt Cake (4 Stars) with Nutmeg Whip Cream (5 Stars)

The whip cream was perfectly yummy, the nutmeg really made the whip cream stand out. The gingerbread cake was also yummy with fresh grated ginger in it. I wanted it to be more moist but everyone else thought it was perfect. This is a great dessert for the season but not one that is “the best thing I ever ate” type affect.

Cardamom Egg Nog (throw away)

I’m not sure what happened with this one, but it was a failure. It still tasted good, but more custard like and really sweet, but nothing like the store bought egg nog that I love so much. I’m committed to finding a recipe that does taste right and adding the cardamom in addition. It is hard to find a recipe that cooks the egg yolks rather than raw, but I want to find a cooked one. If anyone has a good one please send.


One Comment (Leave a Reply)

  1. Monster Mary (January 3, 2011)

    Ains, I'll send you my eggnogg recipe. I think you'll like it. Just be careful not to cook your egg/milk mixture to long or too hot. Start it off at a medium heat and pay attention to it. If you leave it it will be gross and if you cook it too long it will probably be more custardy. Mine has less sugar and I thought my family wouldn't like it but they all love it. Even I like it but only enough to drink a little bit, I'm just not an eggnog kinda person.

    That roast looks fabulous. I thought you said you had a meat thermometer? Jack bought me one for Christmas. It looks pretty nice and I haven't used it yet but I think I'd like to try your recipe out with it. 😉

    Thanks for sharing yet once again.



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