Joe Pontes Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (13491691)

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French Tartiflette

Reviewed: Sep. 16, 2009
This dish is often found in many high-end restaurants, but with quite a few things you can do to upgrade the flavor with common ingredients. Since the average person has to get their ingredients from supermarkets, Port Salut cheese is probably the best substitute for the difficult to find Reblochon. That said, you are MUCH better off using chopped Pancetta (which you won't have to drain) than bacon. A couple of cloves of garlic go very well in with the onions and bacon/pancetta. Also, I would recommend only half-pre-cooking the potatoes in step 1, then slicing them, and then frying them in withe the frying pan items before putting them in the baking dish. Perhaps most importantly, this dish was MADE for Thyme - add 1/2 tbsp of thyme to the cream and wine before baking too. Yummy! Great addition to the site!
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Roast Chicken with Rosemary

Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2009
This one baffles me as to why people liked it, as the recipe merely calls for putting seasonings into the chicken cavity and then doing nothing more with it. So little of what you put in the cavity of the chicken seeps into the chicken meat itself during roasting that the it's largely wasted. You might as well just salt and pepper the chicken and stick it in the oven - all you would lose is a nice smell while it cooks, but the affect on the meat would be unnoticeable. Now if you're going to use the droppings to make a gravy or stuffing, then the seasoning suddenly is leveraged and adds to the dish and this might be good - I made a gravy of it and it was perfectly tasty, albeit nothing unforgettable. As the directions stand now, however, all this is is a recipe for generic roast chicken that will smell nicely of rosemary and onions while cooking.
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Oregano-Lemon Chicken

Reviewed: Sep. 11, 2009
This recipe - slightly modified - was made by my grandmother for me and I've made for my kids with great regularity and has long been a family favorite. The changes in how I make it: no garlic or honey (garlic sounds good and I love it, but would imagine it takes away from the lemon/oregano purity), but yes to salt and pepper; use 2 lemons, cut in half and squeezed over the thighs, then put the lemon halves in the dish while it bakes; coat the thighs with a bit more oregano than this calls for so all thighs are evenly coated. This is the best use of lemons in a non-desert other than over fish.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

Reviewed: Sep. 11, 2009
This was actually quite excellent and well worth the effort. This has a rich blend of flavors that will catch peoples' attention, yet is also somehow simple enough that my kids went back for seconds and thirds - something that almost never happens. A few notes: (1) I did not have apple cider onhand so used 3 cups of unsweetened applesauce with a touch of cinnamon instead and it came out great (I'll be curious to see if it's better/worse with cider next time); (2) I doubled the curry and still barely noticed it so would recommend others do the same; (3) if you use microwave steam bags for the squash you can avoid using the oven and can get it cooked in 6 minutes, shaving some time off the overall prep time; and (4) definitely blend this... we're a family that likes chunky soups and I read the review suggesting to leave it chunky (I used a potato masher instead of blender) and the result was everyone in the family opting to stick theirs in the blender. This does not make a great chunky soup in my opinion, but is restaurant-quality as a blended soup. This was truly excellent and the best thing we've made out of over 20 top-rated recipes from this site.
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Cheesy Italian Tortellini

Reviewed: Sep. 8, 2009
This gets 3 stars because the kids liked it, even if the adult reaction would have made it a 1 or 2 star. The first time I tried this I made my own marinara sauce and used fresh mushrooms, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. The result was disappointing. The second time I followed the recipe to the letter and felt like I was eating sloppy-joe-coated tortellini. This is a thumbs down for me, though I'm sure is great for people with different taste.
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Red Lentil Curry

Reviewed: Sep. 5, 2009
I'm a curry lover and am never disappointed by curry dishes, but this was a truly original and delicious blend of tastes. The only things I did a bit differently were to increase the curry by a bit and use a mix of half hot curry paste and half regular. It was so good I'll likely be trying the sauce out on a chicken-based dish with other veggies soon. Awesome!
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