I Tried Three Recipes

I got some fresh tarragon from Foods of All Nations today on the way home from church. I tried to get some yesterday during my regular shopping trip, but NEITHER grocery store in Crozet had any. So although I was thwarted from trying a new recipe yesterday, I managed to make THREE today.

First thing in the morning I whipped up some pecan mini-muffins. Although I didn't have enough pecans to prepare the recipe properly (I subbed walnuts to make up the difference), I got enough of an idea to determine that the recipe is a keeper. The when I make them correctly next time, they'll taste like tiny bites of pecan pie. They have a lot of sugar, and they crisper up in the oven so they have a crisp candy outside and a chewy inside. Pretty interesting. T loved them, as did W. I'm less impressed by very sweet things, but I liked them well enough. A plus is that the ingredients are always in the pantry (well, if I wasn't down to the last little bit of pecans left in the bag), and it mixed up fast and easy, plus cooked quickly. It's the sort of thing I could probably whip up for a snack any morning or afternoon. The recipe makes just the right amount for one tray of 24.

This afternoon I made two side dishes to eat for dinner. I halved the amounts in the recipes and still had twice as much as I'd ordinarily make for a regular dinner. But I guess they are intended to feed a crowd at Thanksgiving, so there's that. The "new ambrosia" wasn't all that. I had high hopes for the grapefruit, orange, avocado, cucumber combo with tarragon buttermilk dressing, but it was just ok. The recipe called for it to be served over arugula, but tomorrow I'll try it just on it's own and see if I like it better or not.

The squash casserole was pretty good. I mesed up and mixed too many breadcrumbs into the main part (I forgot to reserve part for the top), so my version was definitely a bit too bread-y, but I think it would be just right as written. T suggested that I add more cheese next time, since the bites where he got cheese were delicious, but the bites without cheese were just ok. I thought the amount of cheese looked a little skimpy when I was making it, so I think I will make that adjustment next time. I might also add just a bit more basil. I hadn't mixed fresh basil with squash before, and I liked it. Maybe I'll use dried basil next time for a more potent flavor. And maybe some more onion, too. The recipe called for sweet onion, but I think it would be more to my taste with half sweet onion and half regular onion. I also don't know that I'm on board with their method of pre-cooking the squash and onions together in boiling water until softened. Why not go ahead and lightly sauté in butter? Then you could probably get away with the small amount of cheese they use. Or if you wanted it to be light, then microwaving seems easier to me. Maybe the volume in the original recipe was too cumbersome to use any other method. But for a side dish I'd stick to my half recipe, which by the way cooked up nicely in my 9 x 13 oval dish ( the full recipe called for a 9 x 13 rectangle pan). Two pounds of squash is a decent amount, and I suspect this won't be great as leftovers (although I'll know for sure tomorrow), so it'll be just right to get all eaten up in one meal with guests.

I've got a busy day tomorrow, so I'm not sure I'll try any new recipes, but there are some recipes for biscuits and rolls that look like they could be whipped up pretty fast. And I do want to try their version of sausage gravy, so we might be looking at a dinner of biscuits and gravy (yum!). I could try another vegetable side dish, too, maybe the roasted balsamic carrots and parsnips, maybe the traditional green bean casserole, we'll see.