Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Catch-up on testing and cookbook challenging

I'm so far behind blogging about tester recipes.  It's pretty bad.

A couple of weeks ago (seriously), I had 2/3 of the Ethnocrew to dinner for for Nigel Tufnel Day and, incongruously, Eastern European food.  Well, it wasn't all Eastern European - dessert was well American.  But here's how we got on.
We started with the Roasted Beet Salad with Apples and Dill Vinaigrette.  This was a project, and salad shouldn't be a project.  It took over an hour to make, mostly because I had to first peel and then roast the beets.  I wasn't terribly keen on it, but the girls liked it.  I think it might have been better if the beets had been a little saltier (and roastier) and if we'd left out the lettuce.  At least it was pretty.
Our main was Shchi (Sauerkraut and Mushroom Soup) with Sour Dilly Cream.  This was really nice, and the cream really brought the flavours together.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much the cream tasted like sour cream without actually containing vegan sour cream (i.e., Tofutti).  The soup was lovely as well.  It was just the right amount of healthy, salty, and comforting.
Dessert that night was two cookbook challenge recipes - Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake and Very Vanilla Ice Cream from Vegan Diner.  Let's not pretend that this is anything other than a giant chocolate chip cookie.  It was really good, though I would've liked it to be a bit moister.  The ice cream did what it says on the tin - it was very vanilla.  It worked really well with the cookie cake.  I quite liked both, but I think, if I made the ice cream again, I'd use a bit more soy cream so it was a little fattier/creamier.

I also made a couple of tester recipes this week:
Sunday night, I made Pumpkin Black Bean Posole (but with butternut squash instead of pumpkin).  I love posole.  This was lovely, light and comforting.  It was also easy and quick to throw together.  The only thing I'd change about it is that it needs more cumin.  I'd definitely make this again (but with more cumin).  I might like it with cornbread instead of corn chips, though the corn chips make a lovely presentation.  (NB - I didn't use most of the suggested toppings because I'm either allergic, don't like them, or couldn't be bothered.  It didn't detract from the deliciousness.)
This was tonight's dinner - Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Caper Sauce and Braised Greens with Lemon and Olive Oil.  The gnocchi was good but salty:  olives + capers + added salt in the sauce and pasta = way too much salt.  I like the concept, so I'd probably do this again with tinned tomatoes (for the laziness/sauciness factor) and no added salt.  The greens (spinach, to be precise) were delicious, quick, and easy.  Seriously, about 15 minutes from washing to eating (or possibly less if I had been focused on one recipe at a time).  I'd definitely make this again.  It's kinda like a Mediterranean version of the chard recipe from Viva Vegan!, which is one of my favourite ways to eat chard.  Also, that doesn't look like much, but we ate an entire bag of spinach between the two of us.  I think Mike got more than I did though.  I was too generous.

Hopefully I'll keep up better with testing (and posting about testing) over the next couple of months, though we'll see what happens when we start moving flats and everything.  All being well, we get the keys next Friday (OMG!!!)!

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