Recipe Test Nest » Holiday » Early Easter, April 19
Early Easter, April 19

If you love to cook, you can’t let any of the holidays pass you by – traditions, decorations, and friendships – what more can you ask for? This early Easter Test Nest was a treat of happy spring infused flavors like lemon and ginger and of course some seasonal influences of Asparagus and Leeks. I also wanted to challenge myself by making my first whole chicken (its pretty easy too, so not sure why I’ve been so reluctant to do it). My guests included Todd Stevens, Paul Dozier, Emily Kunz, Daniel Evans, Kristen Jensen and Gabriel Jones.

Mocktail: Sparkling Ginger Lemonade (4 Stars)

This was a nice twist on the lemonade although the ginger wasn’t strong enough. Daniel said it was one of the best drinks he’s had at Test Nest (and he’s been to 6 or 7 by now). I’ve become a big fan of all drinks that have an infusing step and this drink steeps the fresh sliced ginger in boiling water. Next time I might make ginger infused simple syrup and see if the flavor resonates stronger in contrast to the fresh squeezed lemon. I also think kicking up the ginger a little will make it sharper.

Appetizer: Warm Asparagus Toasts with Pancetta & Vinaigrette (4 Stars)

This was a great appetizer – I really liked it! There was quite a discussion among testers about the bread. The toast was Challah bread and some said it was too thick and too dry and others said it was perfect for cutting and not too crunchy. I’m not sure about the toasts, but the combo of the asparagus, pancetta and mustard vinaigrette was fantastic…particularly the pancetta.

Main: Paprika-Rubbed Roasted Chicken with Roasted Garlic (throw)

A whole chicken definitely looks pretty, and while it was nice and juicy the flavor didn’t resonate nearly well enough. There was a lot of garlic, stuffed inside the cavity and around the pan and the meat definitely didn’t take on the garlic well enough. Rubbed in Paprika, it also didn’t pierce throw the skin strong enough. So while this was good, and the group gave it 3 stars, I wouldn’t venture to make this again since I have so many other options to try.

If anyone has any tips for roasting chicken pass them along!

Side: Leeks with Hazelnut Dressing (3 Stars) and Savory Mashed Potatoes (throw)

Finding baby leeks is pretty difficult and this was a fun idea. Todd gave it a 5-star, but it didn’t necessarily have the same affect for others. The hazelnut drizzle over the grilled leeks was definitely yummy – could be interesting to try it over asparagus or some other grilled veggies like zucchini. Mix toasted hazelnuts with olive oil, orange and lemon juice, sherry vinegar and chopped parsley.

The savory mashed potatoes were too plain. I added garlic, thick chicken stock, butter and milk to the Yukon potatoes. I think I prefer rosemary added to potatoes for more flavor and bite. These didn’t taste bad, just didn’t really add anything to the combo either.

Dessert: Lemon Madeleines (4 Stars)

This was my first time making madeleines and I haven’t even tried a lot of different versions. I had my French friend Andy Mojica who was visiting from Dubai test them and he said they were the right consistency and good flavor…so I did okay on my first try. All testers agreed that the lemon could be stronger, so I’ll increase the lemon zest next time. I wanted to make these with Meyer Lemons but I couldn’t find any, so I think the flavor would pop more with the Meyer Lemon rather than plain. I served these with a chai rooiboos tea, which was a great spicy compliment to the teacakes.


Edible Bird NestsGuests loved the bird nests…not only as decoration but also for flavor. They’re definitely a fun add for Easter meals and I think kids would get a kick out of them.

I tried to emboss the eggs, which did not work and took way too much time. I’m not sure if my embossing stamp pad and powder was old and not grabbing, but I was definitely disappointed I couldn’t make it look like front page of Martha Stewarts April 2011 issue.

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