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Chantal's New York Cheesecake

Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2007
OK - I don't want to be rude, but this is the deal: this is a perfect recipe, and if it fails for you, it's your fault, not the recipe's. A couple of things you should know about cheesecakes: OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Beat cream cheese with sugar only until smooth. Proceed with a wooden spoon for the rest of the recipe. OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO HAVE THE "WRONG" TEXTURE. Air bubbles, gritty/not creamy texture, etc., are fixed my the same instructions above. OVERCOOKING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Do NOT cook this cheesecake until it's set. Matter of fact, don't check it at all. Put the cheesecake in the oven, set the timer to 60 min., turn the oven off, and forget it. I mean it! Don't open the oven, just leave it alone to do its thing. And that's it. A beautiful cheesecake. Far from bland: this is a PURIST'S cheesecake. It's great as is, but also a great foil for other flavours. I serve mine with passionfruit pulp or mango puree.
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8897 users found this review helpful

Eggplant Parmesan I

Reviewed: Sep. 24, 2002
This recipe won out over the other Eggplant Parmesan recipes for me because of the addition of ricotta, which I love, and makes it like a delicious pasta-less lasagna. I made double the amount and had too much sauce (Best Marinara Sauce Yet, here at AllRecipes), which made it a little sloppy when serving, but nonetheless yummy. Everyone was happy that there was plenty of sauce to mop up with crusty bread! And hubby has asked that I make it again at the earliest available opportunity. Degorging (ie salting) is done only to take away bitterness (not make eggplant tender as some reviewers believe), and it is not necessary when you have wonderful tight-skinned, fresh young eggplants. Degorging actually might contribute to the greasiness of the dish. (Drawing moisture from eggplants with salt makes the temperature of the oil drop too much when adding them to the pan, hence they absorb more oil.) I didn't degorge my eggplants, and used a non-stick pan with a smear of extra-virgin olive oil. Very little fat, and no bitterness.
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955 users found this review helpful

Crazy Cake

Reviewed: Jun. 2, 2004
When I want chocolate cake, nine times out of ten, this is the cake I make. Whether eaten plain, or my favourite way, which is sandwiched with dulce de leche and topped with chocolate ganache, it's brilliant! One little thing though: the directions are fine if you want to serve your cake in the pan, but if you want to unmould it for prettier presentation, your pan will need to be greased and floured, or brushed with bakers' secret (which is no secret: combine equal parts oil, shortening, and flour). This means you should mix the cake in a separate bowl, but hey, it's still really easy and cleanup is minimal. Now! For all you people nervous about the vinegar: there is a simple reason why it's there. For a cake to rise, you need an alkali, and an acid. When the alkali and the acid combine, they react with each other, giving off carbon dioxide, which is what makes the cake rise. All cakes other than yeast cakes are risen this way. The alkali/acid deal is present in baking powder (already mixed for you), and in recipes that call for baking soda (alkali) and, say, cream of tartar (acid). In this case, you have baking soda (alkali) and vinegar (acid). They react with each other and make the cake rise. You CANNOT taste the vinegar, so relax, make the cake, and enjoy!
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705 users found this review helpful

Cousin Cosmo's Greek Chicken

Reviewed: Sep. 24, 2002
Very easy, very quick, very delicious! And like another reviewer said, looks stunning on the plate. I added more spinach because I had a pile of it and we all love it; I served it with pilaf and a crisp fennel salad, and it was a great meal. The only thing I think detracts from the dish is the bouillon cube. It made the sauce taste a little fake on my palate. I'd say skip the cube and use chicken broth instead of water. Next time I think I'll also add a lemon juice to the cooking sauce because the flavours would be very complementary. UPDATE: Since I reviewed this recipe, I adapted it to serve at a café where I served as head chef for a time, and it was an absolute HIT! Other than the changes above, I stopped using flour altogether (I don't think a light sauce is a sin; besides which there's no runny sauce that can't be mopped up with something yummy), used cherry tomatoes instead of diced ones, and most importantly, added baby spinach leaves in the last two minutes of cooking, just so they wilt and are still bright green.
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247 users found this review helpful

Charley's Slow Cooker Mexican Style Meat

Reviewed: Apr. 14, 2002
What wonderful aromas as this cooks! I was burning some lavender candles the day this was cooking and I couldn't smell the lavender... but I didn't care! I like spicy, but had to adapt it for the children (they like spicy too - but their mouths are still more delicate than ours). I reduced the amount of hot peppers because I used jalapenos and they were severe, and omitted the cayenne. For chili powder, I made my own using paprika, oregano and cumin. It was just right for everyone! We had half the meat in tacos the first day, and tonight I'm making the remaining meat and sauce into a savoury stew with potatoes, zucchini, green beans, pinto beans, and corn rounds. A bit of arroz blanco, and we're set! Here's one tip which adds immeasurably to the sauce (and I'm surprised the recipe author didn't say this): after browning the meat, dump a cup of water or stock into the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits. Add this liquid to the crockpot along with everything else.
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130 users found this review helpful

Basil Parmesan Spread

Reviewed: Jan. 2, 2005
Ach - who'd want to mix everything together? It'd look and taste a sorry mess! Made as directed, it looks and tastes spectacular, and is easy easy easy. It's not for wimpy palates though: the flavours are robust! I made 1 1/2 times the amount of cheese mixture and used a little more of the tomato to yield two bowls. A note to people who are doubtful about the sundried tomatoe: even though ordinary tomato paste is indeed cheaper, the flavour can in no way compared to sundried tomato paste or pate. Dry-packed (ie. in a packet, not in a jar in oil) dried tomatoes are CHEAP, and you're far better off using those. Simply place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water, allow to soak until soft and swollen, then drain and wizz in the food processor with good olive oil, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper, and a few olives and/or capers if you like. Extremely delicious, inexpensive, and better than anything you could buy - particularly ordinary tomato paste!
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93 users found this review helpful

Grandma's Secret Pie Crust

Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2004
The most delicious, light, flaky pastry I have ever made for my pies - and that's saying something! I made it with butter, as usual, and YUM! For the flakiest pastry, stop cutting in the shortening when it is about the size of a pea, no finer. People who say the recipe didn't work for them, please remember that there are many variables when adding liquid to flour: eggs aren't all the same size, and the humidity of the day will affect how much of the liquid mixture the flour will need. Cut in the liquid a bit at a time, be patient, and when the dough comes together, just stop.
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93 users found this review helpful

A Drama Queen's Pavlova

Reviewed: Apr. 16, 2005
A good basic recipe, but with these modifications: 1) I prefer it without coconut. 2) Use unsweetened whipped cream. The reason that a pav is such a spectacular dessert is the contrast: sweet, marshmallowy meringue, mild cream, tangy fruit. Sweeten the cream, and it will be too sweet. 3) Try spooning on passionfruit pulp if you can find fresh passionfruit. Not only is it traditional, but it’s the perfect foil for the pav: tangy, and crunchy. Passionfruit can be used alone, or in addition to the other fruit.
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87 users found this review helpful

Dad's Kickin' Jamaican Wings, Mon

Reviewed: Dec. 12, 2004
Why settle for commercial "finger-lickin' good" when you can have these? Absolutely fantastic, and not too spicy for us. Because I didn't have jerk seasoning blend on hand, I added jerk flavours to the dip. The ingredients that went into the blender were all the above plus one onion, 2 1/2 tsp. thyme, 2 tsp. allspice, 2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cayenne, and salt instead of the jerk seasoning blend. While the flavour was out of this world, the other revelation was the long cooking at a lower temperature. Usually I make my wings at a higher temp for a shorter time, and while they're good, the texture was much better this way: crispy on the outside, and meltingly tender on the inside. I'll never cook wings at a higher temp ever again.
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61 users found this review helpful

Quick Butter Croissants

Reviewed: Apr. 26, 2002
While delicious, these aren't really croissants. They're missing those lovely layers that make croissants what they are! It hasn't stopped the children and I from eating an embarrassing amount of them, and I know they'll be popular with guests... it's just that I was looking for a shortcut to the authentic thing. I'll keep looking, but then again maybe there isn't one!
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49 users found this review helpful

Bible Cake

Reviewed: Dec. 11, 2001
I enjoyed this recipe, but here are a few caveats: Fern must have made a typo, because 1 cup milk is nowhere near enough liquid to moisten the ingredients. I followed the suggestion of the previous reviewer and added 3 eggs, and there were STILL pockets of dry flour! I think all in all, I used 3 eggs, and 2 1/4 cups milk. Because of the lack of fat, this cake would not keep that well without drying out (it's interesting, because other scripture cakes have oil added). To increase keeping qualities, I'd reduce amount of sugar to 1 cup, and add 1 cup honey. I added ½ cup chopped dates (Deut. 34:3), and grated zest of 2 oranges (Deut. 33:14). Some additional scriptural refs: the raisin reference in the recipe is incorrect, it is actually 1 Samuel 30:12. I also prefer the salt ref of Job 6:6, and for the baking soda, the best ref is 1 Cor. 5:6 (although if you're Jewish you'll have to find another one!).
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Greek Lasagna

Reviewed: Mar. 14, 2003
I was hoping that this would be a simpler version of the real Greek lasagna, pastitso, but it wasn't. As it is, it's rather a bland mess. I had to alter it substantially to get something we were happy eating. First up, you need a flavourful sauce as a sturdy base for the pasta. After browning the meat and onions, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and extra seasonings of oregano, garlic, and parsley (a splash of red wine is not only traditional but delicious), and allow to simmer until slightly reduced and flavourful. Only then should you add the pasta and cheeses. The white sauce is also very weak: thin-looking and thin-tasting. It needs to be made with all purpose flour, and it also needs seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I give my own variation five stars, but the original is only two. Sorry!
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43 users found this review helpful

Vietnamese Style Vegetarian Curry Soup

Reviewed: Apr. 29, 2002
This is a beautiful soup; I agree with the other reviewer in that it seems to have cross-bred with Thai laksa! I reduced the amount of curry and chili for the children's sakes, and it was just right. The only thing is that the cooking times on the recipe don't do it justice! AllRecipes puts this soup as being ready in two hours, but that's way, way off. Mine was done in under 40 minutes, and that included frying my own tofu! A very quick and easy recipe.
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30 users found this review helpful

Funeral Pie

Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2004
Very sweet, very rich, VERY delicious - made even richer and more delicious by the dollops of double cream we served it with. If you want a festive pie (for example if you really hated the person who’s died), replacing a bit of the water with a slug of booze (I used rum) kicks it up several notches. Although, granted, it might not be a very Amish thing to do! I can thoroughly recommend Grandma's Secret Pie Crust from this site to make it.
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20 users found this review helpful

Favorite Hot Cocoa

Reviewed: Oct. 7, 2004
It's amazing how people come to rely on packet stuff and forget what real hot cocoa tastes like. Last time I made this for a gathering, people were saying, "What did you put in THIS?" These proportions are just right for us: not too sweet. A good basic recipe, and you can ring the changes with marshmallows, or whipped cream, or a candy cane or cinnamon bark swizzle stick.
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19 users found this review helpful

Oreo™ Cookie Bark

Reviewed: Feb. 10, 2002
Delicious, and dead easy. You can make it while half asleep! (Speaking from experience here, given my Christmas cooking marathons.) Don't crush up cookies too fine, though, or the overall colour will be a little weird.
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19 users found this review helpful

Fava Bean Breakfast Spread

Reviewed: Dec. 11, 2001
YUMMY! Really unusual, delicious any time of the day. I used home-cooked beans, plus some of their cooking liquid.
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19 users found this review helpful

Orange Cream Cake I

Reviewed: Dec. 9, 2001
It's not often I say this, but... This cake was absolutely vile. I have no idea how it got a five-star rating. I heeded the "too sweet" comments and used home-whipped cream instead of the topping, and I still couldn't choke it down. In the words of my six-year-old son, "This tastes like medicine!" The problem here is that we're not used to such obviously artificial flavors, so I think next time I'll stick to making a nice traditional orange syrup cake, and serve it with thick or clotted cream.
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19 users found this review helpful

Greek Potato Stew

Reviewed: Apr. 10, 2002
This was unbelievably simple, unbelievably good. Gutsy flavour - my kind of food. The best extra virgin olive oil is absolutely necessary here. Although I could easily make a meal of this with salad and flat bread, I had extra kids in the house and so coupled it with Zucchini Patties and some pilaf. Everyone ate everything! Make sure you have plenty of good bread on the table to mop up the delicious juices.
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18 users found this review helpful

Old Fashioned Scalloped Tomatoes

Reviewed: Feb. 1, 2002
This is a great recipe, but I took it as a basic one, for me to fiddle with as I like. Dried parsley for me is akin to hay in flavour, so for me, fresh herbs from the garden (mixed in with the tomatoes) are a must. I have also made this not just with crushed crackers, but also diced French bread, and stuffing mix, and different cheeses. I have stopped draining the tomatoes, too, and just add a little more saltines or whatever. It is a great side dish to ANYTHING, and we love to make a meal of this with just some poached eggs and toast. My youngest calls it "lasagna", and leftovers are good on toast for breakfast the next day.
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17 users found this review helpful

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