I've been trying quite a few new recipes lately. Here are the photos, links, and reviews for the four most recent ones.
The recipe: In my search for new grilled foods to make, I came across the recipe for these Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops which happily coincided with my search for new pork chop recipes. I was excited to try it.
The mods: The only change I made this time was adding a sprinkling of crushed red pepper to the sauce in an attempt to increase the flavor after I sampled it.
My impression: This was a reasonably good recipe. It was not inedible; in fact, we even enjoyed it while we were eating it. However, the sauce was much more bland than I would have imagined. I don't anticipate making this again, but if I do, I would omit the oil in the sauce (it just sat slimy-ly on top and never incorporated into the sauce), use more and fresh ginger, and use all apple juice instead of half apple juice, half water.
The recipe: I was intrigued when I found this recipe for Tomato Cucumber Salad with Mint and even bought a cucumber for it because I was too impatient to wait to try it until garden cucumbers are in season.
The mods: The first modification I made was to use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. The velvety richness of the balsamic instead of the more acidic bite of the red wine vinegar appealed to me and more than made up for the less pretty color it imparted to the cucumbers. The second change I made was to use about one tablespoon of crumbled dry mint instead of the fresh mint. The last change was omitting the onion; I simply wasn't in an oniony mood the day I made this.
My impression: I liked it. I'm a fan of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint and thought the combination of the three was a refreshing and delightful new experience. The boys and my dad also seemed to like it quite well. A friend who tried it made polite but not enthusiastic remarks, while neither his wife nor my Benjamin were inclined to try it at all. My conclusion: this recipe is one that totally depends on individual taste.
The recipe: When I found this recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo, I thought it sounded like a perfect summer dish.
The mods: I substituted plain sun dried tomatoes for the oil packed ones after reading a couple of reviews stating that the oil-packed tomatoes combined with the oil in the recipe made for a too-oily dish. I also substituted some dried basil for the fresh basil since 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves was more than I could expect from my puny little basil plants.
My impression: This was a delicious recipe! Everyone who ate it enjoyed it. I will definitely be making this one again. Next time I hope I can use the fresh basil (I really think it would add a lot to the dish). I'll also plan on adding just a little bit more salt.
The recipe: Another recipe found in my search for new grilled foods, Grilled Lemon Chicken, looked like a simple, delicious alternative to plain grilled chicken.
The mods: The only thing I changed in this recipe was that I did not add bell peppers to the marinade. I don't care for them, and I didn't want to buy any, so their fate of being left out of this recipe was sealed.
My impression: This recipe, while not earth-shattering, was tasty. As I anticipated, it added a slightly different spin to plain grilled chicken which was refreshing but not overwhelming. I may not use this exact recipe again, but I will be planning on experimenting with these marinade ingredients some more; they have fantastic potential!