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Test Dinner

Our sister-in-law, Kris (married to my baby brother, Steve, living in Denver) is in Portland, visiting her sister for a few days. Tonight, DT and I had the sisters to our house for dinner. It just so happened that I was trying to help Lisa develop a recipe, so Kris and Toni were actually human Guinea Pigs for my Butternut Squash Lasagna.

Poor Dears.

To brace the girls for my recipe-test, we served Apple Cups. Perfect cocktail for a crisp Autumn evening.

And we also had interesting flowers on the table - orange-pink roses, rose hips and eucalyptus - in an antique canning jar.

So pretty!

And we served an absolutely perfect fall salad - mixed greens topped with sliced persimmons and dried cranberries, tossed in a simple orange vinaigrette (olive oil, orange juice, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper) and garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds. So yummy and attractive!

Make this salad.


The much anticipated Butternut Squash Lasagna was lacking in something. No, two things. One, moisture, and two, oomph. Lisa and I spent about twenty minutes discussing whether-or-not this recipe needed béchamel. I was convinced it did not. Lisa was convinced it did.

Lisa was right - the recipe needed more liquid - but I think it could be covered with a little milk, cream or even stock. No messy béchamel sauce required. The oomph would be covered with more fried sage.

Or more garlic. Butternut squash is sweet - this lasagna needed more savory.

Still, we all finished our portions. The recipe included caramelized onion, garlic, fresh sage, roasted butternut squash, ricotta cheese, shredded hard Italian cheeses, nutmeg and the entire thing was served garnished with toasted hazelnuts. Next time, I would also add a more colorful garnish - parsley or basil.

A work in progress.

One good thing about inviting family for dinner. They love you and will forgive your cooking experiments.

Assuming you serve enough wine with dinner.

Until my next update, I remain, your experimental correspondent.