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Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup

Reviewed: Jan. 15, 2012
Made this recipe almost as written. Substituted one minced fresh garlic clove for the garlic powder. Also in addition to the vegetables listed, I also added one turnip and about a fourth cup of rutabaga (neither of which I have ever cooked with before....when I was shopping I confused this recipe with another and so had bought a turnip and rutabaga - so threw them in). Also I am so used to cooking the aromatics first that it seemed wrong to me to just boil them all. So I cooked the garlic, onion, celery and carrot in some olive oil first, then added the rest of the fresh veggies and cooked them a while, then added the remaining ingredients. After cooking as indicated it wasn't like soup any more. It was like a solid! Maybe the extra veggies I added. So I stirred in about 8 oz more water to make it soup-like again, and cooked it just a little bit longer. When I tasted it I was unimpressed. It smelled a lot better than it tasted, and the flavor was bland. Then I figured out that the extra glass of water has diluted it, so I added about 1/2 tsp of all of the spices, including garlic powder. That made it taste really, really good. I especially like the combination of curry and worcestershire sauce, sugar and salt - made the flavor very different than anything I've ever tasted. So for my attempt at cooking with Barley, I would say not bad at all.
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Classic Tiramisu

Reviewed: Sep. 27, 2009
This was my first tiramisu effort. I could not find any ladyfingers at the grocery store, so bought instead a large package of cookies that looked like ladyfingers in an Italian sack. I was overly generous with the Kahlua, and instead of brushing on 1/4 cup, I sloshed it liberally over the cookies. When I was done, it looked like I had used about a cup of kahlua -- or a little more. Other than that I followed the directions exactly, and when it was done we let it sit in the fridge for several hours. When we tasted it that night, I regretted being heavy handed with the alcohol. The dessert hadn't set up at all, the cookies were still crunchy, and the whole thing tasted very much like alcohol fumes, so much so that I thought I was going to have to do a rescue effort and make another double or triple batch of the cream (without alcohol) and mix it with this batch to save it. We never got that far. The dessert sat in the fridge for another two days, when we tasted it again we were amazed. It transformed itself into the best tiramisu I've ever eaten. The alcohol fumes either soaked in or evaporated, and the dish sat up beautifully!! Truly is the BEST tiramisu I've ever eaten, and I will definitely make it again. Next time I will make it at least 2 days in advance and I will most likely follow the exact measure for the kahlua.
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