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Amherst, OH, US

Recent Reviews

Re:Summer Tomato Jam

Delicious! But because we don't make 1 c. of anything in this house, I went to work to adapt the recipe for larger quantities for canning:2 c. sugar,1 c. vinegar,approximately 18 lbs. tomatoes (1 peck, or about 30 medium to large tomatoes), cored, seeded and coarsely cut,2 tsp. red pepper flakes.When you are satisfied with the consistency, balance flavors, adding more salt, sugar, or vinegar, as needed. The jam will generally be served cold or at room temperature, so some of the stronger flavors will recede and blend as the product matures.Remember that the red pepper flakes become more assertive with the longer cooking time.Jar and process for 15-20 minutes in boiling water (consult a canning guide if you're unfamiliar with the process).Yield: 6-8 pintsJarred in small, - or 1-pint jars, this jam makes a terrific hostess gift. The color is beautiful, and attaching Barbara Lynch's tips for using tomato jam (credited, of course) will make this a great holiday treat for your friends.

Posted: 06:41 pm on September 9th 2014

Re:Chilled Beet and Beet Green Soup

This is a fine recipe for an authentically Russian cold borsch. The trick is the balance of the beet flavor and the brightness of the vinegar.Someone took my beet tops, so I used Swiss Chard from the garden (leaves and stems) with good results. Chard has some of the same phytonutrients as beets, and gave the soup the slightly earthier flavor the recipe promised.The rye croutons are a fun addition; the dill and sour cream are essential. Russians will often float halved hard-boiled eggs in the soup for an effect that Martha Stewart would call 'pretty.'

Posted: 10:14 pm on August 21st 2013

Re:Parmesan-Crumbed Chicken

Everyone loves this recipe, including my chef-partner who requests it frequently. (He prefers it with chicken thighs, rather than breasts.) Either way, it's a fool-proof, wonderful recipe!

Posted: 09:07 am on December 16th 2011

Re:Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Avocado

This is a good variant on the cucumber/yogurt soup theme. The avocado adds depth. But I found the soup a bit bland. The use of basil and mint (rather than the usual dill) said 'Thai' to me, so I added sriracha sauce, fish sauce, palm (or brown) sugar, rice (or regular) vinegar, and a bit of freshly grated ginger. The flavors really popped and made the soup quite exciting. Those ingredients could be offered at the table, as condiments, in good Thai style (it's a really good lesson in balancing flavors). Now I'm thinking lime instead of lemon, a little coconut milk with the yogurt? Cooking should be an adventure, right?

Posted: 03:00 pm on September 11th 2010

Re:Tomato Purée

We settled on a different solution at our house. We blanched the tomatoes first, peeled them, and then ran them through the marvelous Italian tomato press (inexpensive, even at Williams Sonoma). As in the video, we ran the pulp through the press a few times and then added the pulp to the pure and reduced the mixture for 10-15 minutes before canning. The end product has the consistency of a good canned crushed tomato, but tastes much fresher. (The press was also terrific for making a spicy Georgian plum sauce for grilled meats and fish. Highly recommended, it's on everyone's Christmas list this year.) Also, the Bloody Marys made with the pure are pretty fabulous!

Posted: 06:18 pm on September 4th 2010

Re:Potato Salad with Olives, Scallions & Garden Herbs

A great recipe. I doubled it for a party and the potato salad was a hit. As the recipe says, feel free to experiment with the herbs; I used mint, thyme, marjoram, and a little basil from the garden, and more than this recipe calls for, but no one seemed to mind the brighter, fresher flavor. A sprinkling of capers makes a nice addition as well.

Posted: 09:36 am on July 12th 2010

Re:Chinese Restaurant-Style Sautéed Green Beans Recipe

A good start, but I couldn't resist adding a splash of toasted sesame oil at the end to get a more authentic flavor. Next time, I'll make sure I have a couple of dried chilis to throw in with the beans, and maybe a bit of minced fresh ginger. If you have garden-fresh green beans, you won't want to overwhelm their flavor (and the original recipe brings that out), but don't be afraid to improvise, folks! The only important thing is balancing the flavors.

Posted: 01:42 pm on July 10th 2010

Re:Thai Beef Salad with Mint & Cilantro

Terrific recipe. And the finished product looks far more appetizing than the photograph. Skip the iceberg lettuce, however (a good general rule!). Served in small romaine leaves, this makes a terrific pass-around hors d'oeuvre for parties.

Posted: 01:50 pm on February 5th 2010

Re:Rustic Eggplant Dip (Melanzanosalata)

A good starter recipe for eggplant dip. Don't be afraid to experiment with the fresh herbs, and a dash of good balsamic vinegar adds a nice zing.

Posted: 01:34 pm on July 26th 2009