ChrisD Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (188992993)

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Christmas Eve Beef Stew

Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2013
I really don't understand people complaining about this recipe. I thought it was fine, not my mom's standard but yummy and hearty, although I customized it to my liking. I don't like tomatoes or peas in my stew, I left them out and added 3 times more spices and bell peppers and some extra wine. Just a few points to the complainers: The reason to stew beef is because it's inherently the worst cut of the animal, just above the leftovers for ground beef. Hence the need to stew as long as needed, could be half hour with excellent meat or 3 hours for old cow... Beef is not the same everywhere. Depending on where you shop, you either get old dairy cow or 2 year old steer. The cheaper the cut, the more chewy it will be. Proper unfrozen aging of the meat removes rigor mortis and provides for blood coagulation prior to packaging. Some meats that are frozen just after butchering is never tender as the blood didn't coagulate. Buy better non-died meat. If the recipe is too bland, add flavors you like. A recipe is tailored to you personal taste when you make it, nobody forces you to like someone else's taste. If the stew is too liquid, add some thickening agent to it. Small glass of cold water with corn starch, flour or even beef gravy mix. Whenever I do a stew, I simmer the meat until really tender THEN add all the carrots, give them a cooking head start, THEN add the rest for 10 minutes. Potatoes differ, there are hundreds of different types with different cooked characteristics.
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French Bread

Reviewed: Jul. 30, 2013
Well, I'm on my fifth try, 0-4 so far. Where I live in Asia, we don't have yeast packages and it looked like the recipe called for .25 oz total, so I used equivalent .1oz yeast/package. Ended up with 2 bricks. After I figured the .25 oz was per package, the second batch rose the size of a basketball. The first rise that is... After I punched it down and followed the rest of the recipe, it stayed down and didn't rise again, another set of bricks. Third batch, I went back to the store to get some other makes of both flour and yeast. Then realized all I get is INSTANT yeast here, not active dry yeast. So converted to instant yeast, a half batch to stop wasting flour, then forgot to rescale the ingredients and added twice the amount of salt, it actually deflated quite a bit after I put it in the oven and still really dense but somewhat usable (used some of it on the French onion soup as croutons and the rest for French Toasts this morning). I'm trying it once more, half batch, then I give up on this one. Don't have a problem with other types of breads, but this one is really testing my patience (and putting a serious dent on my ego...).
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