But that's not the kind of "mixing it up" I was planning to talk about. I actually meant to talk about literally mixing things up in the kitchen.
The dinner we went to tonight was at some friends' house, and they offered to supply the stuff for the grill and a salad, and we took along appetizer and dessert. The appetizer was homemade guacamole with chips and veggies for dipping. And dessert was my mom's go-to cheesecake.
But I realized partway through baking the cheesecake that although it's really good, the only flavoring in it (and, really, the only ingredient aside from ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, and sugar) is the juice and rind of a lemon. And it seemed like it needed more than that.
So I started digging around to see what we could do.
I found some Smucker's Strawberry Preserves, and decided to warm them up and thin them out with... what? Yeah. That's always the problem. I get the idea, but I don't immediately think of the next step.
While I pondered that, I kept digging. I found some Chocolate Balsamic vinegar in the back of the cupboard. It's tangy. It's rich. It's not overpoweringly either chocolatey or vinegary. It went into the bag to take along with the cheesecake.
But I still wanted to do something summery with the strawberries (or at least the strawberry preserves). I realized we had some Cointreau in the pantry. Lemon cheesecake with Strawberry/Orange sauce. Hmm... That sounded pretty good. So I heated the preserves on the stove, poured in enough Cointreau to break down the pectins, and called it not-so-shabby.
And that went in to the bag, too.
Apparently I did pretty well. We were all full after our cookout, but we all cleaned our dessert plates, even so. And I have leftovers, so I'm guessing that Christopher and I will be sampling those toppings again, soon.