Recipe Test Nest » 5 Star » Manchego, Manchego
Manchego, Manchego

I went skydiving on Memorial Day and after wards we spent the evening in Philadelphia were we ate at Amada, a tapas restaurant. We had quite a few AMAZING dishes at this restaurant, in particular a few with Manchego. I’m not sure what was more exhilarating, jumping from a plane or the amazing food. I had already picked this menu but became more excited about it after the manchego tapas consumed in Philly. It’s probably the reason that I got a huge chunk of it at Costco, when I didn’t need nearly that much, but it just might be one of my new favorite cheeses. My testers included the fabulous Joon Shin who of course provided us with these amazing photos once again. The other wonderful testers were my new roommate Amber Robinson, Mary Maroon, Daniel Evans, Mala Grewal, Nat Harward, and Jason Bevan.

Sparkling-Roasted Vanilla Lemonade (3 Stars)

The reviews were really split on this recipe. Nat said he’d make it for a memorable event because it was so unique. While Dan said that he wasn’t a fan of the teaser flavors…wanting more bitterness or more vanilla. We all liked the robust flavor in the drink as a result of roasting the lemons but that lemonade might not be the right name for the drink. It wasn’t too sour or too sweet.

Roasted Cauliflower and Manchego Hand Pies (4 Stars)

This recipe is yummy but definitely time consuming. Testers wanted more cheese and more cauliflower. I could have made the dough a little thinner so that there was less of the crust, which was yummy, to the mix of flavors inside. The flavor profile was very savory. This could be a fun recipe to play with to fix the ratio and maybe make as an empanada or a pot pie in a ramekin.

Creamy Romaine Salad (4 Stars)

This is an excellent, light pairing salad. It was great to eat it with the hand pies because it brought more moisture to the palette and differentiated the taste. The dressing was perfect in the simple salad, if it was more complex then it would throw off the salad. It would have been more visually appealing to do a shaved manchego or parmesan instead of the shredded.

Chorizo-Saffron Risotto with Sautéed Shrimps and Tomato-Saffron Vinaigrette (3 Stars)

Not sure if this is a Gourmet or Bon Appetite recipe, but it was a reader that wrote in asking for the recipe from Pastis in LA where he had this dish. Again, testers were mixed on this dish. The vinaigrette was not needed, there was already so much going on that it put it over the top. The grilled shrimp was a great compliment and the saffron was definitely noticeable in the risotto which was nice as often saffron is too light.

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Stewed Rhubarb (5 Stars)

This might be one of the best things I’ve made so far. This was a definite HIT, HIT, HIT! Mala called it “ridiculous.” The creamy consistency is perfect in this dish and the subtle twist of citrus again the tart of the rhubarb and raspberry compote plays well together.  The crust was a 5, the sauce a 5, and the cheesecake plain would be a 5.

5 Comments (Leave a Reply)

  1. Nat (June 28, 2011)

    I still insist the lemonade was a 5!! Loved the cheesecake, of course.

    Attending these is always a pleasure, Amber. Thank you!

  2. Lorie (June 30, 2011)

    Manchego, a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain, is one of my favorite cheeses, too. As you find other 5 star recipes that use it, please post. [Note spelling]

    • Amber Henrie (July 6, 2011)

      Thanks Lorie – I kept forgetting to fix the spelling. Are you in NYC? Friend of a friend? How did you find my blog and if you’re in NYC do you want to be added to the invite list?

  3. Daniel (July 4, 2011)

    The hand pies definitely have the potential to be amazing, given slightly different ratios of cheese/cauliflower to dough.

    My favorite was easily the cheesecake, one of the most delicious I’ve ever had. The citrus notes and compote worked remarkably well together. The crust was maybe a little too thick around the edge, but I can’t even really fault that because it tasted so good I was gnawing on it all through post-dinner conversation until it all disappeared.

    Amber, if you’re not yet a domestic goddess you’re well into demi-god category.

  4. Joon (July 5, 2011)

    Just thinking about the cheesecake makes my mouth water again but I think the two dishes that had potential to be 5 stars were hand pies and the risotto – maybe I’m biased because I like rich and savory – but with some tweaks, they would have been pretty killer dishes.

    Based on how thick the crust was for the hand pies, I felt that it would have been better in a ramekin like a pot pie or as a hand pie using puff pastry.

    As for the risotto, I’d hold off on the shrimp and the vinaigrette – they all taste great separately but I think the dish started going through some identity crisis when all those ingredients started to commingle. Although, as much as I sound like a traditional risotto purist, I did like the chorizo that added a note of mild spice and tang.

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