With the holidays (shudder!) fast approaching, I was thinking tonight about recipes. I'm not talking about the new recipes I've acquired thanks to Mom's impending move, but about the ones I've printed off various food-related web sites over the last year or so. What I'm wondering is if there's anything I can make that I wouldn't be afraid (or ashamed) to take to family gatherings.
The holiday season, in the case of my family, includes many, many birthdays and a couple of anniversaries, along with the holidays themselves. We are so into this time of year that we celebrate a lot of things we don't even believe in. Now that's commitment!
These thoughts were running through my mind tonight as I was making Rachael's Dijon Tarragon Chicken Breasts for the second time, and wondering why I didn't take better notes the first time I made it. My sauces never turn out as thick as they should, and I'm sure I could have reminded myself to use more flour (or less liquid), if I'd thought of it.
This dish doesn't have much taste, either, but that's not the worst thing that can happen. Adjustments can be made, and leftover cooked chicken has many wonderful uses. But still, I probably wouldn't try to palm tasteless chicken off on the family.
I also made Oil and Vinegar Slaw tonight, because I like salads with vegetables that will keep for several days. I don't much like cooking vegetables, although I did buy some fresh asparagus today. I also make a tasty Carrot Raisin Salad that I've had compliments on. I think either of these salads would be a fine addition to the next picnic (or whatever), especially since neither uses nasty old spoil-it-if-you-leave-it-out-too-long mayonnaise.
I need to go through these recipes again to make sure, but I didn't find many that I'd happily share with unsuspecting family members. There were several that I made just once, and then never even tried again, some because the ingredients are hard to come by (Tilapia with Tomatillos, for example), and others because the work involved wasn't worth the final product. I had such high hopes for Pesto Mashed Potatoes that I actually did make it twice before realizing that it just wasn't that good.
Maybe I'm not ready yet. I can always fix my grandmother's Tamale Loaf again, because I'm satisfied that it's something I can't ruin and don't have to watch every second. (Plus, it makes a ton.) I have two tested recipes that I've successfully used for crowds — Baked Beans with Bacon and Red Onions, and Sage Sausage Bites with Balsamic Apricot Dip. I guess those are the "signature" dishes that I made such a big deal about when I started my cooking adventure. But I'm looking for a little more variety.
And I'm going to keep looking. As I went through the recipes, I found several that I obviously had enough interest in to print and save, but that I've never even tried. And of course I still have all those old recipes that Mom would have thrown away if I hadn't salvaged them. So there's still hope.