Baricat Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (131039)

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Chef John's Chicken Under a Brick

Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2015
Great instructions for how to cook a spatchcocked bird under clay bricks. There is, however, one crucial piece of info that would appear to have been inadvertently omitted in the written recipe. Fortunately, it was included in the video. The temperature that the oven must be preheated to is 425 degrees. Other than that omission, everything else is spot-on. If you're unsure how to spatchcock your bird, the video covers that. It's helpful to see a demonstration if you've never done it before. Note that although it's possible to do with a meat cleaver and/or a pair of kitchen shears, I'd strongly recommend that you invest in a pair of poultry shears, which have the heft and blade to cut through chicken bones easily. Save yourself some frustration and get the right tool for the job. This technique is excellent for roasting, as in this recipe, or cooking on the grill. The chicken cooks in a fraction of the time. Actually, you can even cook your Thanksgiving turkey this way. It's fast, easy, moist and tender. As you can see, once you get those poultry shears, you'll make liberal use of them.
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Chef John's Meatless Meatballs

Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2015
Color me impressed! I was skeptical that these could be as good as the real deal, but I stand corrected. If the mushrooms are chopped finely in the food processor, even the texture is darned close. I suggest processing the mushrooms rather than trying to chop finely enough by hand, which is tedious work. I processed a half pound at a time, and in under 10 seconds of pulsing, they were nice and fine. After making according to the recipe exactly the first time, I made only one small change going forward. Since the object is to try to closely simulate a real meatball in flavor as well as texture, I started with the onion. Instead of adding it to the browned mushrooms, I began by carmelizing the onion in the olive oil. Then I proceeded with the recipe as written. This lends one more layer of meaty flavor and gives a nuanced complexity. I'll definitely make spaghetti and these puppies on Lenten Fridays, as well as "meatball" subs. If they come apart when added to the sauce, it's because the mushrooms were not cooked long enough before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook until dry. Allowing a minimum of one hour for them to simmer in the sauce is necessary for the taste to meld and develop appropriately. The only way anyone would know they're a vegetarian alternative is the appearance, as real meatballs do not tend to be that dark on the inside. One other note, this recipe always yields 24 for me, (using a 2 Tb scoop) not 16, a fact that doesn't bother us at all!
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Duck Fat Steak Fries

Reviewed: Apr. 16, 2015
Absolutely ridiculous!! The thyme is an unexpected and stellar addition. The only change I made was to soak the cut potatoes in very hot tap water for 10 minutes, then I dried them with a smooth kitchen towel before tossing them with the spices and fat. This accomplishes a few things that improve the final product. First, it rinses off excess starch from the surface which prevents the leathery, mottled, overbrowned skin that often forms on oven fries. See the picture above. The skin will be thin and crispy, evenly golden if you do the soak. Secondly, it starts the cooking process, which seals the moisture inside the potatoes, so that while the outside crisps, the inside stays delightfully soft and fluffy. That's a winning combination, obviously. Thirdly, by sealing the outside, the amount of fat that soaks in (and which you ingest) is minimized. The fat adds a subtle, complex layer of flavor that just isn't there with fries cooked in vegetable fat. Yeah, yeah, I know. Cholesterol. Just so long as you don't make a habit of them, which is admittedly a temptation, the occasional indulgence won't be a big deal. Trust me. They'll be fighting over who gets the last couple.
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Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Reviewed: Mar. 21, 2015
The cookies were all right. They looked appealing out of the oven. I followed the recipe as written, with the exception of cutting back the salt, as I used salted butter. The texture was hearty and chewy. But the taste was bland, making them an overall disappointment. I waited to try them again the following day, as some cookies need a little time to develop their best flavor. Still felt the same. Sorry to have to say, in all honesty, just not worth the time, electricity or calories.
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Crispy Fish Fillets

Reviewed: Feb. 28, 2015
Light, crispy, ethereal coating. The flour pre-dip is a must to ensure solid adhesion. I detest mustard, but had to use it out of the curiosity factor, and although the beaten eggs smelled strongly of it, it's not discernible in the cooked product. Used swai fillets, but this recipe would translate out well on any fish that you fry. No trace of oiliness, and the potato flakes cook up with the promised crispness, the taste a fitting backdrop for the mild flavor of the fish. If you like seasoning in your breading, adding it to the dredging flour will maximize its even application to the fish, as if it's added to the potato flakes, it will promptly sink to the bottom of the flakes, usually out of reach of the breading surface. If you want to kick up the heat, adding a dash or two of hot sauce to the beaten eggs will work. Will try this on thin chicken breast cutlets, as well. All in all, a delightful surprise! Edited to add: I just tried this on chicken breast thin cutlets, and it was just as good! Same lovely crunch. Only caveat if you use this on chicken is to be sure your cutlets are very thin. I don't recommend trying this on whole breast halves, as by the time the meat is cooked through, the delicate potato flakes will be incinerated. With the cutlets, I added several dashes of sage, thyme, marjoram and pepper to the initial dredging flour. Makes superb sandwiches with a dab of mayo, some lettuce and sliced tomatoes, or as a base for chicken Parmesan. Superb!
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Grandmother's Oatmeal Cookies

Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2015
In a word? DIVINE!! I seem to be the only one with the opposite problem of those who experienced dry dough. Mine was so moist that I had to add about a quarter cup extra flour to be able to work with it. I did one thing, though, that may or may not have accounted for this. I mixed the raisins in the eggs and vanilla as directed, covered it, then refrigerated...and refrigerated! I forgot about it for almost two days! When I remembered and retrieved it, the eggs had completely soaked into the raisins. Don't know if that accounted for the extra-moist dough. The problem was easily remedied with the addition of the extra quarter cup of flour. The next time I make them, presumably with the proper soak timing, I'll amend this review to report the results if different. Additionally, I only keep regular, rolled oats in the house, but no matter. Lovely, soft cookies, with a hearty chewiness that is wholesome, appealing and satisfying. Cookie jar cookies, if they last that long!
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Stuffed Brie

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2015
As someone whose idea of a great meal out is just appetizers and desserts, I can say that this is one appetizer that is WELL worth the calories! The orchestration of carmelized onions, mushrooms, and dates is symphonic! That unexpected bit of sweetness just catapults this into the stratosphere. As for the art of heating it until melty, but still in a recognizable form, try using a low power. I started with 2 minutes at 20%, and added increments of 1 minute at that same power until it barely started to melt, which amounted to about 5 minutes total. I served it at my book club tonight, and all the ladies loved it! Of course, crackers always work, but try grapes and apple slices as alternative accompaniments. Simple to put together in about 15 minutes, delicious, and sophisticated.
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Mom's Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 20, 2014
Everyone loves these!
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Oven Fried Chicken II

Reviewed: Nov. 6, 2014
The challenge with any oven fried recipe is to end up with a crispy exterior. In order to do so, I used a 3-prong approach. First, I used panko crumbs which tend to contribute crunch. Then, I opted to use convection baking which distributes the heat evenly. The first half of cooking time I held to the 350 degrees, and upped it to 375 for the latter half. And third, I flipped the chicken every 10 minutes. The reason oven fried products are difficult to crisp up is that at any given time, one side is down, meaning the down side is steaming somewhat from resting in its juices. By flipping several times, you maximize the time each side is exposed to the dry heat, thereby creating the greatest opportunity to lose the moisture that renders your breading soggy and unappealing.The chicken meat was juicy and meltingly tender. I added spices to the panko, including sage, marjoram, thyme and a whisper of cayenne. Hands down the best oven fried chicken recipe I ever had. BTW, not to worry if you don't have a convection oven. It's not a deal breaker. You can accomplish good results just by flipping more often. As by now you can tell I had to make significant changes to the directions in order to improve the results, so that loses a point. But 4 stars for the basic concept, ingredients, and prep procedure.
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Easy Peanut Butter Bars

Reviewed: Oct. 30, 2014
Just as the title says, these are super easy to throw together, using ingredients that are probably found in most pantries at any given time.I used the food processor, creaming the wet ingredients until smooth, then pulsed in the dry ingredients, just to incorporate. Into the oven in 5 minutes flat! I baked them for 19 minutes total, and they were wonderfully chewy. Since I didn't have enough chocolate chips, I melted the few ounces I had, put it in a ziplock bag, snipping off a corner, and squeezing out squiggles over the top. Nice presentation, and enough chocolate that each bar had a touch, and no mess. Simple to make, homey, delicious goodness.
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Super Lemon Ice Cream

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2014
Fan flippin TASTIC! I have made this several different ways, beside just as written. It's great like it is, but we prefer to reverse the proportions of heavy cream and half-and-half, meaning one cup heavy cream and two cups of half-and-half. It's a bit less unctuous that way, with less cholesterol and fewer calories, allowing that fresh, clean taste to shine. It's still wonderfully creamy this way, and quite rich enough. I especially like to use Meyer lemons from our back yard, harvested just before making the base. Subbing 1/4 cup limoncello for 1/4 cup of the lemon juice keeps it scoopable right from the freezer. I have also steeped 1 cup of roughly torn basil leaves in the heated cream/sugar mix for an hour, straining the leaves out before proceeding with the custard. SPECTACULAR, as well as quite chic. We love it topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Any which way you make this, however, you're going to love it even more than you think you will. It's the type of thing that sneaks up on you. After it's all gone, you'll be pining for more.
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Lucky's Quickie Chickie

Reviewed: Jul. 11, 2014
The first time, I followed the recipe without any kind of alteration. Whereas we liked it OK, we felt there was room for improvement. First, there was not enough sauce to suit my husband. I started by sautéing a couple of cloves of finely minced garlic after cooking the chicken (removed chicken to a plate and kept warm while making the sauce.) I then reduced 1/4 cup dry white wine by half, and added 2 Tb of chicken stock, along with the doubled balsamic and honey. This rounded out the flavor perfectly to suit our palates. Simmered the sauce for a few minutes until it started to get a little syrupy. Added the chicken back in and folded it gently into the sauce for 2 minutes to rewarm the meat. Sprinkled liberally with a chiffonnade of fresh basil at the last minute. Served it over rice cooked in chicken stock and it was a fabulous summer dinner. Although those steps added to the prep time, it was still pretty quick to throw together. The flavor advancement made the few extra minutes seem like a good trade-off.
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26 users found this review helpful

Creamsicle® Cheesecake

Reviewed: Jul. 1, 2014
Lots of praise for the cook with this one! Not a heavy, dense cheesecake, but light and luscious. It's a fitting happy ending for just about any meal. Mine was perfectly baked at 30 minutes. For those who want to make their own crumb crust, one sealed packet of graham crackers, crushed, combined with 5 Tb melted butter, baked at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, makes just the right size/thickness of crust for a 9" pie pan. Prebaking the crust lends a pleasant crunch. I replaced the sugar with 3/4 cup Splenda, as I find that with baked goods, it takes more to ensure the proper degree of sweetness. It was just sweet enough, without being cloying. Guests didn't realize they were eating a low sugar dessert (not completely sugar free because of the graham crackers.) They were doubly delighted when they found out! With that substitution, it makes an excellent dessert for diabetics. The filling as written comes right up to the top of the pie pan. The flavor is fresh and perfectly tangy. I used 6 drops of yellow and 3 drops of red food coloring, which made for a pastel orange color, reminiscent of an actual creamsicle. A lovely, easy-to-make dessert that's a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
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Pork Lo Mein

Reviewed: Jun. 22, 2014
If anyone in the US knows great Chinese food, it's New Yorkers, of which I proudly count myself. And this native New Yorker can tell you, this is hands-down the best lo mein I ever put in my mouth! The only changes I made are very minor. No red bell pepper because I'm allergic, and used pork, chicken, and shrimp in place of only pork (making this my own version of "house lo mein".) The flavor lingers pleasantly on the palate, and the sauce enrobes the linguine gently with no trace of gloopiness. Just the right hint of sweetness, not overpowering as so many are. It really doesn't matter what protein you use. The sauce is a symphony of taste, which elevates anything you choose to feature. In my case, said choice was dictated by what was in my fridge. For the pork, I diced up 2 small boneless chops. Loved the liberal use of mushrooms. Bamboo shoots and/or water chestnuts could be successfully added, as well. This recipe needs no tinkering, however, to ensure a virtuosic blend of flavors. Phenomenal!
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8 users found this review helpful

Five Minute Brownies

Reviewed: May 16, 2014
THE quintessential, all-American brownie. Chewy, moist, with a thin crust on top. All that's needed is a couple of shakes of powdered sugar.
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2 users found this review helpful
Photo by Baricat

Amazin' Raisin Cake

Reviewed: May 5, 2014
And amazin' it truly is!! I cut the recipe in half, and it made exactly 18 cupcakes, which were perfectly baked at 20 minutes. I added additional spice, per personal preference. If you like a little kick, you can add a couple good shakes of white or black pepper, which will leave a pleasant warmth on the tongue. I frosted them with a basic cream cheese frosting, gently laced with allspice. The cupcakes did not dome even slightly, but came out just about level with the tops of the papers when filled about 3/4 with batter. The crumb is exquisitely fine and tender, and they're so moist that they don't even shed a crumb when bitten into or pulled apart. For this reason, they freeze perfectly when wrapped airtight. Old-fashioned, wholesome deliciousness.
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Easy Pleasy Mac N Cheesy - US Navy Style

Reviewed: May 4, 2014
The tanginess imparted by sour cream serves to underscore the cheese flavor, but we felt that one full cup was overkill. We don't want to taste the sour cream - we're all about the CHEESE! The reduction to 1/2 cup as others have noted, is just about right, replacing the remaining 1/2 cup with milk. As I didn't serve it immediately, the sauce tightened up considerably during the wait, so I blended in even more milk. I didn't measure how much, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was about an additional 1/4-1/3 cup. Just make it slightly looser than you think you need, because the starch in the pasta absorbs liquid readily. Sautéed some boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes, in garlic butter with fresh thyme and folded in to make it a complete meal. A hit all around!
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Momma Moots' Pork and Pierogies Casserole

Reviewed: Apr. 16, 2014
We just aren't fans of the taste of canned soups. So I made a very basic cream soup using chicken stock, leaving it on the thick side, so as not to thin it out too much when the sour cream was added. I cut up boneless pork loin, removing all the fat. It was delicious! Eliminated the corn, as we had it last night. It's not a deal-breaker; I'll add it the next time. The fresh rosemary was lovely, and complemented the pork. To sum it up, the recipe has sound "bones", but replacing the canned soup with something made fresh represents a huge advance in flavor.
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Brownie Frosting

Reviewed: Apr. 10, 2014
Mixed bag here. Pros: Easy to throw together in just a few minutes. Pretty, glossy finish. Cons: very slightly grainy texture. Too sweet for us. As I had suspected, the chocolate flavor is only as good as the chocolate you use. The first time I make a recipe, I like to give it a fair shake and stay as true to the listed ingredients possible. It calls for "chocolate chips" so that's what I used. And, unfortunately, that's what it tasted like. In the future if I do make this again, I will sub bittersweet chocolate, which I believe will make this so much better in taste, and will have the additional benefit of cutting back on the sweetness. As for the texture, I believe about 30 more seconds of boiling would take care of that. Not bad, but there's room for improvement.
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