rharris

I am uncomfortable rating my own cooking level. That should be done by others (and not reported by me as "everyone loves this dish when I make it.")
Wilted Cabbage Salad with Bacon
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Delicious country cooking. My only strong suggestion would be to throw out the bacon grease and use olive or canola oil. By far the biggest health problem with bacon is in the grease, particularly because the carcinogenic nitrosamines concentrate in the grease. That's why we don't cook our eggs in saved bacon grease any more--it's particularly unhealthful!

Deb's Scallops Florentine
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

A fantastic recipe! Although I am usually critical of reviews by those who changed the recipe, I am now guilty of doing the same. Boiling the scallops in advance is a major mistake. Scallops are incredibly delicate and are ruined by overcooking. Baking the casserole is plenty of time to cook them fully; any additional cooking from boiling will make them tough and less flavorful. In fact, rinsing them first would also be a big mistake, washing away much of the flavor. I also added fresh mushrooms and sherry, although the recipe is delicious and worthy of 5 stars without them.

Honey Baked Chicken II
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Spectacular recipe! I am guilty of making a few minor changes, but I am convinced that it would have been worthy of five stars exactly as written. My only changes were to replace most of the butter with olive oil, and add more curry, along with turmeric (already in the curry, but I added more), a touch of paprika, green onions, minced garlic, and fresh ginger. It's now tied for first place among all of my chicken recipes.

Basic Crêpes
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Good basic crepe recipe. I omit the salt and add vanilla, and I blend all of the ingredients simultaneously, as others have suggested. Also, I do not turn the crepes; I prefer thinner crepes, so I add enough liquid to make them thin enough so that they cook completely without the need to turn them. As an aside, the 20 minute cook time in the recipe is a typo--they cook easily within 2 minutes. It's easy to prep AND cook them in 10 minutes total! For those who have not tried making crepes, it's incredibly easy in a skillet--much easier than the electric crepe makers that require dipping the appliance into the batter. I had an electric crepe maker and hated making crepes; switching to a non-stick skillet totally changed my attitude.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

It's much better to boil the seeds first. If you boil them in salt water, it infuses the salt in the seeds, instead of leaving the salt on the surface. It also eliminates the work of cleaning the seeds, because the boiling does the work for you. Finally, the result is tastier. Joy of Cooking recommends hulling pumpkin seeds, because the hulls are tough. Boiling eliminates that problem, resulting in a tasty, crispy (but not tough) product.

Mom's Best Waffles
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

This is a fine, but definitely ordinary, recipe. I have always used the recipe from Joy of Cooking, because although it is a bit more work, the light texture and taste made it worth the effort. I tried this recipe to see if I could save some effort. The waffles were okay, but a bit heavy and rather ordinary. As an aside, I was surprised by the controversy among raters over separating the eggs and whipping the whites, as recommended by Joy of Cooking. I definitely have never noticed an "eggy" taste, nor does it make me gag, as another reviewer suggested. Rather, it makes for very light, delicate waffles that are crusty on the outside and soft in the middle. I also strongly recommend adding vanilla, cinnamon, walnuts, blueberries, etc., regardless of the recipe that you use. One more suggestion for those who make their own yoghurt but have never found a good use for the leftover very healthful whey: if you use yoghurt whey instead of part or all of the milk, the result is a waffle that is a little more crispy on the outside, along with a subtle, but interesting change in flavor. It's also good for you! That whey also makes excellent pancakes.

Alice Chicken
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Delicious without any modifications. Luckily, it's easy to avoid the problem of fat and calorie content without any real modifications. I simply use low fat ingredients. You can even use no fat cheese with little sacrifice in flavor. For the dressing, making your own with low fat mayo (or even yoghurt) can cut the fat & calories dramatically.

Seared Tuna with Wasabi-Butter Sauce
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

I reviewed this recipe some time ago, but I have tried a variation that is interesting and would like to share it. Rather than use the white wine vinegar, I used a larger quantity of sake that was past its prime for drinking, then simmered it long enough to reduce it appropriately. I had saved it for possible cooking, and gave it a try last night. I recommend the change. As before, I strongly recommend using sashimi grade tuna and then searing it very briefly. I use a cast iron skillet at high heat, first popping some whole black peppercorns in the oil and then adding the tuna just long enough to sear it. It's sashimi-grade tuna that I normally use for sushi, so I want to make sure that the inside is still cold--certainly not "slightly pink" or grey.

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Creamy Cheesy Scrambled Eggs with Basil
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Very tasty. Out of curiosity, tried this as an alternative to my usual scrambled eggs, because this is somewhat similar. I will stick with my recipe, however, because the results are at least as good without all of the cholesterol. You can replace at least half of the eggs with silky (soft) tofu, cutting the fat content drastically. I use cheddar (fat-free is okay and more healthful) instead of mozzarella for the added flavor, and I use more fresh basil, preferably without mincing it. As an option, avocado and mushrooms both add a lot. With plenty of cheese and the optional ingredients, you don't even realize that your eggs are really faux scrambled eggs! I also cook them in olive oil instead of butter. In short, mine is not a modification; it is a different recipe with health benefits.

Extreme Veggie Scrambled Eggs
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Very tasty. I tried it out of curiosity, since it is similar to a recipe that I use for scrambled eggs. However, next time, I will revert to my standard recipe, which does not include milk and differs in several other significant ways. I know that many use milk in scrambled eggs, but I prefer mine less fluffy. I also use avocado, which I feel makes a major contribution, and I often use more tomato, which makes it a bit more like one of the staple tomato and egg dishes served regularly in many parts of China. I also replace roughly half of the eggs with tofu, which makes it much more healthful, both because of the health benefits of tofu and the reduction in cholesterol. I also add spinach, which I buy fresh but freeze for later cooking when it starts to deteriorate. Unlike others who have reviewed this dish, I prefer olive oil for cooking eggs (even for fried eggs), both for taste and health reasons. I used to use butter (and even bacon drippings before that), but olive oil is far more healthful. I usually use sharp cheddar cheese, but next time, I will try feta, as another reviewer suggested. Fresh cilantro is also a nice addition, and if you add cumin, it makes a tasty breakfast wrap (in a flour tortilla). For wraps, you can add shrimp or sausage for extra flavor.

Goat Cheese Salmon
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

Incredibly delicious, yet easy to prepare. like others, I didn't have herbed goat cheese, so I used fresh basil, a little powdered garlic, and a touch of dried rosemary. Similarly for the mustard-mayo blend, I made my own by adding equal proportions of Dijon mustard and low-fat mayo. I thought it would be really good, but it beat my already high expectations.

Shrimp Fried Rice
Rating: Unrated
rharris's rating

The recipe is fine, although after trying it essentially as written, I would recommend several changes: 1. use raw shrimp and do not cook it for the full 7 minutes-especially not if the shrimp were already cooked! About the only thing you can do wrong with shrimp is cook it too long, making it mealy. Once it loses its translucence, it is done; anything beyond that makes the texture unpleasant. The easy rule of thumb is if you have cooked it long enough to cook the eggs, the shrimp is certainly done. 2. Unless you don't like sesame oil, 1/4 t. is not really enough. 3. The soy sauce adds plenty of salt; I can't imagine adding more (my only change from the recipe was to omit the extra salt).

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