Recipe Test Nest » Feature » Celebrating Spring
Celebrating Spring

Since reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” I’ve been so excited for Spring to come. I’ve committed to do my best to visit the farmer’s markets and purchase more local goods. I’d also like to take on some better cooking practices of “cooking in season” so I’ve committed to try to make my menus a little more seasonal…I won’t always do that, but a little effort can go a long way in doing my part to support local farmers and better eating habits. My wonderful testers for this kick-start to spring menu included Daniel Farrel (who was my March Madness contest winner), Amanda Ifrah, Carlynne Cutler, Hazel Sy, Morgan Basset, Donovan Bunker, and my wonderful photographer for this dinner – Martin Rigby.

Rosy Raspberry Spitzer (4.5 Stars)

This was definitely one of the standout drinks that I’ve made. The rose water cleanses the palette and testers loved the crispness of the rose water in this drink. Not everyone liked the seeds of the raspberries and a puree was suggested, but others really liked the fresh fruit in the drink. I would not lightly crush them, just toss lightly with the sugar. Other suggestions were to add mint and maybe try with strawberries instead of the raspberries. This definitely has the ability to be a 5 star.

I replaced the rose wine with white grape juice and it worked really well.

Golden Beet Carpaccio (3 Stars)

This dish has a lot of possibility. This was my first time eating golden beets, and I really liked them a lot more than red beets. They are lighter and more flavorful. The color of this dish is beautiful and visually stunning. It needed more olive oil and seasoning so I would toss the arugula with some olive oil and salt and pepper. The onion is too aggressive so it needs less and I’m going to try slicing it next time in the food processor to get it thinner. It was suggested that this dish needs an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice. My preference would be the later and possibly tossing some with the arugula.

Butterflied, Rolled, and Roasted Leg of Lamb (3 Stars)

The lamb was really tender and there were a lot of mixed reviews on this dish. Most of the group really liked the stuffing but didn’t like the stuffing with the lamb. Others thought the lamb was a nice compliment since it is a strong flavor. However, the stuffing needed something brighter in it to stand out and add a bite in contrast to the lamb.

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli (4 Stars)

The Aioli was really yummy and the testers really liked the aioli with the steamed artichokes. This was my first time steaming artichokes and cutting the artichoke hearts for the lamb stuffing.

Herbed Garlic Potatoes (3 Stars)

This recipe tossed red potatoes with butter, garlic, parsley, season salt and paprika. Some of the chunks of potatoes weren’t quite done so the cooking time should be 5-10 mins longer than the suggested 8 minutes (after 10 mins in the microwave to speed the cook time). Testers liked the season combo but it was not a strong stand-alone dish. It paired well with the lamb, but didn’t speak to anyone as a great potato dish.

Strawberry Shortcake with Basil (4.5 Stars)

This was a great change up to the traditional strawberry shortcake. The basil gave the dish an interesting and refreshing kick. I was worried about the dish getting soggy so I didn’t put the strawberries and whip cream on the shortcake until ready to serve but most testers wanted the shortcake to be more moist and felt that letting the strawberry juice and whip cream soak in would have made it even better. The fresh whipped cream is infused with basil and was really spectacular.

2 Comments (Leave a Reply)

  1. Carlynne Cutler (June 30, 2011)

    What a lovely evening. thank you for sharing your talents and giving people a chance to come together and mingle. Love your test nests!

  2. MJBassett (July 1, 2011)


    Thanks for putting together another amazing dinner and fun evening.

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