Susan Parran Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - (18981907)

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Susan Parran



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French Onion Soup Gratinee

Reviewed: Jul. 12, 2006
This is really good soup! I made it per the directions but I don't eat beef, so used an equal mix of chicken and vege-table stocks. This soup tastes a lot like what you might order at a nicer restaurant. I do question the use of mozzerella and asiago cheeses - two Italian cheeses - in something that is so decidedly French. I personally was not a fan of the resulting taste and next time I will combine parts of this and my recipe, which calls for the use of Gruyere or true Emmental swiss (no substitutions). If desired, throw into the soup the rind of one hard French or Swiss-made cheese of your choice, doing so after removing kettle from flame to rest (about ten minutes). I also use sherry wine, not balsamic vinegar, because my grandmother always used this flavor in soups and casseroles. The sherry imparts a subtle sweet-smokey flavor that is a nice counterpoint to the Gruyere's mild tanginess. Remove cheese rind, and ladle the soup into bowls. Top with a 1/2 in. slice of dense, day-old, crusty french baguette that has been lightly toasted beforehand. Top with Gruyere swiss or Emmental and continue with recipe, broiling as directed. I found just 3 minutes in the broiler was enough. Keep an eye out for over cooking - there is nothing worse than the taste and smell of burnt cheese.
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115 users found this review helpful

Eggless Pasta

Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2008
Good basic, eggless recipe. I keep concentrated vegetable pastes in my freezer that I make myself from scraps. I made this recipe with 1/3 cup water and two tablespoons of sundried tomato paste, and also added two teaspoons of olive oil. I dressed the pasta with a very light cheese sauce made with light cream, romano, and nutmeg, and topped with a spinach and walnut sauce. This was a very good dish.
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57 users found this review helpful

Banoffee Pavlova

Reviewed: Apr. 20, 2009
Doubled the recipe and made a three-tier torte with whip cream and bananas spread between layers and on top. Topped with more whipped cream, and instead of the chocolate chips and caramel, I crushed up chocolate toffee Heath Bar and sprinkled it over the top of the torte. This was really delicious! This can also be made with strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries and chocolate.
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40 users found this review helpful

Tasty Breaded Seitan

Reviewed: Mar. 11, 2009
Just a note to those who couldn't get the breading to stay on. Put 2 Tbsps of mayonnaise into a bag along with the seitan and squeeze it around until seitan is coated. Dip into bread crumbs, then fry or bake. If you're a vegan, use one of the many eggless mayonnaise brands sold at health food stores like Trader Joe's and health food co-ops.
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36 users found this review helpful

Tofu Creamed Spinach

Reviewed: Mar. 6, 2009
Some reviewers commented on the bitterness of this dish. The way to reduce bitterness is to include the stem of the spinach in your dish (many people cut it out). The variety is also important, for mixes, I like the Bloomsdale Long-Standing variety of spinach. As you saute, add a tsp. of sugar and a scant tablespoon of lemon juice. Make sure you are cooking it long enough- the recipe says until just wilted, but you want to cook it much longer - 15 to 20 minutes, and keep adding liquid as it dries out.
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31 users found this review helpful


Reviewed: Nov. 17, 2008
Here's what I learned from making this dish: I wanted to cut the saturated fat (a cup is A LOT of grease!); I did this by mixing 1/4 each melted butter and olive oil. Also added about 1 scant tsp. nutmeg (the traditional Greek seasoning for this dish). I never use eggs in mine, as they make the mixture too wet, and the lovely phyllo gets soggy as a consequence. Nothing worse than soggy phyllo! I also only used half the phyllo and 2 10 oz. frozen packs spinach for the same reason. Kept the parm and swiss cheese and that was a really nice touch. I used only half the package of phyllo and baked in a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish until golden. Make sure you roll the edges and butter them (it makes a nice pizza-like crust). I serve this with a large Greek salad, and, on special occasions, get to serve it with the homemade baklava that my next door neighbor Georgia -- who is Greek -- brings by during the holidays. Good times.
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30 users found this review helpful

Aloo Gobi Masala (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2010
I really loved this. The only changes I made were to use a very large onion, and the addition of 2 Tbsps ground cashew and 1 tsp. ground black sesame seeds. I think it would have been just as good without these changes. I'd rate it more than 5 stars if I could!
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28 users found this review helpful

Key Largo Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Glaze

Reviewed: Jul. 13, 2009
This recipe needed obvious (and not so obvious) changes. Don’t use a stand mixer to blend batter; crumb will become too dense—a reaction of the long-chain gluten (protein) strands in the flour being over mixed. Replace all shortening with approximate quantity of butter. Not sure exactly how much I ended up using, but two cups—4 sticks—way too much. Add ‘til consistency is cake-like, and batter tastes good. (A batter that tastes good bakes into a cake that tastes good!). Whip the egg whites firm and fold into batter. Don’t add the glaze until after the cake has cooled completely: Hot cakes are especially porous & glaze will sink in. Also, just mix the sugar and lime juice (no butter) together, then heat without stirring until it begins to bubble around the edges and can glaze the back of a spoon. Prompted by other reviewer comments, I decided to use my simple confectioner’s icing instead of glaze. Just one cup confectioner’s sugar mixed into 1 TBS lime juice. Fork drip it over the cooled cake in a lattice pattern. For the time-constrained among us, there’s an easy solution to this recipe. Simply replace part of the water when preparing a yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) with approx. ¼ cup concentrated frozen limeade, and a few drops of lime extract. Add more or less of both, depending on the amount of lime flavor desired (remember- taste the batter!). Let cool and add your sugar/lime juice glaze to the top. Makes an awesomely good, quick, and inexpensive cake!
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24 users found this review helpful
Photo by Susan Parran

Sausage Gravy II

Reviewed: Jan. 27, 2008
I wasn't happy with this recipe. For one, it needs more milk. The correct ratio is 1/4 cup flour to 3, or 3-1/2 cups milk. The onion, garlic and parsley are odd pairings for a milk gravy; so in my second try I left these out and added 1/4 teaspoon ground sage and a dash or two of fine ground white pepper, to boost the sausage flavor. No salt necessary; guests should be allowed to salt according to taste. My personal preferance for sausage is Jimmy Dean Regular flavor in the bulk roll. It works best for sausage gravy.
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24 users found this review helpful

Faken (Veggie Bacon)

Reviewed: Aug. 18, 2008
Desperation inspires all sorts of creativity! As is, this is good and tasty marinated tofu. This is going to sound strange, but do yourself a favor and make this one a little fatter (just a little!). Once you have sliced the tofu (and buy firm so that you can get it into very small slices - dry out the pieces on a clean kitchen towel for about an hour, flipping once. (Do the evening before if you prefer, then wrap and store in fridge). Next lay tofu in single layer on jelly roll pan - or any pan with sides. Brush each piece with vegetable oil, then flip the pieces over and do the same on the other side, using about 1/2 cup oil, in all. I have also used Earth Balance vegetable shortening for this step by brushing it, softened, onto each tofu piece. (Earth Balance is an all-natural, non-hydrogenated form of vegetable shortening). Let the tofu pieces soak up the fat, then continue with the other steps. For Fakin Bacon salad crumbles, bake in the oven until tofu is hard, but not yet all the way dry (about 40 minutes to 1 hour on moderate, 300 degree heat). Remove from oven and let set out for an hour. Once cool, crumble with a fork into bits and sprinkle on salad. Very good with a nice meatless Cobb salad (with avocado, radish, onion, yeast or soy cheese, etc.), and with eggs, nuts, and cheese (if your an ovo-lacto vegetarian).
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22 users found this review helpful

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Reviewed: Dec. 31, 2008
You need to add lemon juice to the spinach mixture. The eggs aren't necessary, by the way. Strained yogurt works just as well. Again, I'm somewhat confused by the lack of lemon juice, and especially fresh dill weed in this recipe. I worked in a Greek restaurant and there was hardly ever a savory (but non-meat-based) recipe that went without the two together. They would make delicious additions to this basic recipe, as the lemon counteracts the slight chemical flavor of the spinach, and the dill is an excellent mate for the tart/creamy feta.
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21 users found this review helpful

Barbeque Tempeh Sandwiches

Reviewed: Jun. 11, 2009
Do yourself a favor and make your own red or yellow barbeque sauce. Add an extra cup of water or vegetable broth (I use homemade pastes) and simmer in a slow cooker until the water evaporates. The vinegar does something to break down the firm and sometimes rubbery texture of the tempeh. This comes out much like a shredded/pulled pork barbeque sandwich.
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18 users found this review helpful

Tofu Masala

Reviewed: May 5, 2009
Not at all what I expected. Here's what I think I'll do next time: Make extra sauce and add whole-fat yogurt, clarified butter (ghee), or cream. Might also substitute all or a portion of the above for ground cashews. I'll increase the amount of onion to two, and also the amount of tomato. I'll up the amount of garam masala spice, and skip the garbonzo beans. If I add anything more, it will be the pul lentils or type used in toor dal -- these are the yellow legumes. I was surprized not to see lemon juice in this, as it was a creamless masala.
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18 users found this review helpful


Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2009
For those who'd rather not use straight corn syrup, melt a regular-sized bag of mini marshmallows and mix with peanut butter. You can also use a dark Agave syrup in place of the corn syrup. Sweet-maple-like flavor, or make a sweet syrup of your own by adding 2 parts sugar to 1 part water that's warm enough to melt the sugar completely. You might need to add slightly more peanut butter to get the consistency desired.
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17 users found this review helpful

Home Made Farmer's Cheese

Reviewed: Mar. 19, 2009
Use vinegar, not lemon juice.
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17 users found this review helpful

Mama's Macaroni Salad

Reviewed: Jul. 20, 2006
I've made this twice. I can't save it to my recipe box as written because the preferred version is my second attempt at making it with revisions as follows: Less mustard- 3 Tbsps. and the type I used was a German, whole-grain dijon style. The addition of sweet red pepper relish in place of sweet pickle relish. Chopped in 1 medium red onion instead of the small green onions called for (store was out), and only 1 cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 Tbs sugar and approx 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I suggest the vinegar be "to taste" as taste preferences vary from person to person). I kept the black olives (used jumbo size) but stuffed them with jarlsberg cheese because it together with the olives somewhat mimics the sweet/bold taste of the salad. I actually really liked that olive touch!! Thank you for providing me with inspiration to try a new type of pasta salad!
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15 users found this review helpful

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

Reviewed: Aug. 26, 2009
I added basil as they do in the south of France and baked the dish longer, uncovered, to bring out the natural sugars in the vegetables and create more of a true vegetable stew; which is what ratatouille basically is (as opposed to braised vegetables). Very nice dish.
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13 users found this review helpful

Absolutely Perfect Palak Paneer

Reviewed: Apr. 13, 2009
I don't understand the substitution of ricotta for paneer when the cheese is so very simple to make. You also want to "bloom" the herbs/spices first (before adding spinach) by sauteing in pot with onions and garlic and then adding tiny amounts of liquid, cream or oil, then sauteeing again for five minutes. Repeat this process, known in Indian cookery as "blooming" three or four times.
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13 users found this review helpful

Spam™ and Napa Cabbage

Reviewed: Aug. 25, 2009
Oh yeah, this is the real thing! I LOVED this stuff when I was a kid. Now that I'm all grown up (and a vegetarian), I like this dish made with a polynesian-style marinated tempeh. Also, try it with either pineapple chunks, sliced and peeled sauteed apples, or "rehydrated" dried fruit like raisins, fig, cherries or apricots. Delicious! Serve it usually over a brown or basmati rice, but I'll sometimes make a nice risotto if I have the time.
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12 users found this review helpful

Savory Breakfast Muffins

Reviewed: Mar. 17, 2009
You can do a lot with this recipe. In one version, I added a large handful of diced long horn cheddar, and pecans (or perhaps it was walnuts; I can’t remember which). Based on reviewers’ suggestions, I added maple syrup in place of sugar, substituted a portion of flour with whole wheat and wheat germ. Added two chopped, hard-boiled eggs and used my tofu bacon recipe in place of the pig bacon. The cheese and other extras I added help keep the muffins moist for the week. For another version I got rid of all the add-ins except the cheese and soy bacon, and added sautéed onion, mushroom and broccoli. (No maple syrup in this version). Next time I’m going to use apples (peeled and chopped and sprinkled lightly with cinnamon) with a sharp cheddar, the corn, and maple syrup. Maybe I’ll throw a chopped egg in there; we’ll see.
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12 users found this review helpful

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