Perhaps these posts will be interesting to no one but me, but I have decided to start doing what I am going to call Recipe Review Roundups every so often. Basically, they will discuss some of the recipes I have tried recently. It will document what I liked and what I did not like about the recipes, where I had trouble with the process, what I ended up changing, and how they were received by Patrick and I (and sometimes David).
I think it important to note that Patrick is not exactly what you would call a picky eater. He has a super high metabolism and generally likes anything that can fill him up, and has a special love for spicy things after living in Fiji for 2 years and eating Indian food there. Things fall into 3 categories for him: it is inedible, it serves its purpose as food (fills his stomach and tastes okay), or it is really good. The middle category can really have a large range of how much he likes it, but it is hard to get him to elaborate upon it (I did not marry a man of many words).
In any case, here is my first recipe review roundup.
Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs: Let me start out by saying we really liked these. Patrick said it is probably his favorite recipe for chicken legs I have tried. That said, I quartered the recipe (which was still enough with plenty of leftovers), but accidentally only halved the Cayenne (the perils of mental math). Even so, I would never have used the word "spicy" to describe these. Yes, my spice tolerance has gone up considerably since marrying Patrick, but I honestly can't imagine having thought this spicy before either. Verdict: Really good tasting, really badly named.
Easy Dark Chocolate Mousse Cups: These were indeed easy and chocolate. I made these exactly like the recipe and they turned out to be delicious. The only problem was that the recipe did not give any indication of how much they would make. Without thinking too hard about it, I just assumed that since it was said to be a Valentine's recipe it would make enough for 2. It made enough for at least 4, probably more considering how rich this stuff is. Both Patrick and I really liked this recipe, but we declared it a once-in-a-while recipe; it is too rich to be eaten very frequently. Next time, I will probably half it as well.
Grilled Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls: I did not make this exactly as the recipe says because I substituted cheddar cheese for the Velveeta. I don't generally use Velveeta and I opted for the really good sale on a large bag of Tillamook Cheddar instead when I went to the grocery store. I really liked the substitution, and Velveeta has never been my favorite cheese. These turned out pretty good. They seemed to take a lot longer than the suggested baking time. Mine never got as brown either (the above picture is after a reheating in the toaster oven), but I attribute that to using the store brand biscuits; I have always had a hard time getting them to brown right.
Overall, these were good, but half a cup of butter is way too much; the bottoms of the biscuits were entirely soaked in butter for about a centimeter. They make okay leftovers if you just heat them up in the microwave, but they are much better if you use a toaster oven to re-crisp them after their microwave stint. This is why I have a toaster oven. Overall, they shine the most when dipped in tomato soup (or leftover spaghetti sauce like the picture). I may make them again, but I don't see much advantage over regular grilled cheese, except perhaps novelty.
Pumpkin Soup: I made this for lunch and since I am never willing to put as much effort into lunch, I changed it the most out of all of these recipes. I used a lot more dry ingredients (dry thyme, garlic powder, dried onions). I made a 1/3 recipe because, again, I was making lunch. I made the recipe with the above substitutions and thought it was really salty and not very pumpkin-y. In full disclosure, I really don't like much salt and consider most foods made with canned soups or stocks too salty, but I thought this largely tasted like chicken broth. I ended up adding about 1/3 cup more pumpkin and some more milk. Then, I added just a tiny bit of whipping cream. With these changes, I would say it was pretty good, especially when I dipped toast sticks in it (I invented those to go with the soup, but it is really just a piece of bread cut up into strips before being toasted. They dip better that way). It was great for a crisp fall day, but I think it likely that I search out another pumpkin soup recipe, perhaps the Thai Style Pumpkin Soup mentioned in the post (I didn't have mango).
Delicious Peach Lemonade Slush: I don't drink, so I made the non-alcoholic version, but I can't imagine the alcohol adding much because, seriously, this stuff was super good as it was. Patrick and I both loved it and I will make it again. It was supper easy to make, even in our not-so-great blender.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crescent Rolls: To put this into perspective, I love pumpkin pie. A lot. And Patrick hates it. The result is, I either have to eat a whole pie or none at all. Fortunately, we both liked these, though me a little more than Patrick. And the bonus is they were super easy. I made them just like the recipe (though I may have made the glaze a little thin by not measuring the milk) and they turned out really well. I have to point out that rolling them up after putting in the pumpkin filling is a little harder than just rolling them up. Mine did not look quite as good as hers, as you can see comparing our pictures.
Are these the greatest pastries in the world? No, but making them better would most likely involve making your own dough, which is a lot of work I don't have time for. Perhaps they could be even better with store bought puff pastry dough. Still, I will most likely make these again. It gives me the pumpkin pie fix (and may even be better) without a lot of waste (or a stomach ache).
I am always looking for new recipes to try, so if you have something to suggest, let me know in the comments.