Recipes & Cooking: Delicious & Nutritious Dishes

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In summary: Micheal Ballon! This dish is a great way to enjoy chicken without the hassle of frying it. The ginger and garlic blend together to create a fragrant and flavorful sauce. The cilantro and green chilli add a pop of colour and flavour. The dish is completed with a good amount of spices, giving it a complex and delicious flavour. In summary, Micheal Ballon's recipe for Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander is a great way to enjoy chicken without the hassle of frying it.
  • #1
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I like to cook, which is good thing because my wife doesn't, and it is probably one of the reasons my wife married me. :biggrin: I used to help my mom and her mom when they were cooking, and that's probably where I get my interest in cooking.

Anyway, I am always looking for interesting and nutritious foods, that taste great. I just heard about these recipes today.

Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce
Chef Michael Ballon's RoundTable Recipe (from - May 11, 2005)

A puree of vegetables makes a light and satisfying sauce for fresh fish, and is much healthier than some of the old fashioned sauces based on butter. Just because this is easy and simple to make does not mean it isn't delicious. While it can be made without chicken stock, the stock adds a lot of flavor. The tiny amount of cream can also be eliminated, though that too makes the sauce smoother and a more appealing color.

Cucumber Dill Sauce

2 Cucumbers
1 bunch dill
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons heavy cream
pinch salt

1. Peel the cucumbers, and remove the seeds from the center.

2. Wash the dill, and remove the thick stems, and use only the fronds.

3. Puree the dill and cucumber in a food processor, with the chicken stock, until very smooth.

4. In a sauce pot, combine the cucumber dilll puree with the cream, add salt and pepper, and heat until warm. Serve with grilled or baked fish.

Apparently Salmon goes well with this Dill and Cucumber Sauce

Mike Ballon is owner and chef at Castle Street Cafe in Great Barrington, MA -

What's for Dinner by David Rubel

Listener Feedback on the "Chicken with Cashew Nuts"

Michael Chesloff, who writes that he has been "cooking and researching Chinese food for over thirty years," explains the proper way to "build" the sauce:

"The inclusion of hoisin as the primary component in a sauce is usually done by a method called gong bao. This means the hoisin is 'exploded' in hot oil rather than stirred into the other ingredients." Michael recommends removing the chicken and red pepper from the wok after the two minutes of stir-frying. Then add a little pool of oil (about a tablespoon) to the wok, let the oil eat up, and finally drop the sauce into it. The sauce really does "explode." After it has thickened a little (about 30 seconds), return the chicken and red pepper to the wok, and continue with the recipe. the gong bao method really is an improvement. Michael also points out that a proper Chinese chef would cut the red pepper into chunks about the same size and shape as the chicken pieces (rather than into strips, as I do). "A basic principle of Chinese cooking," he writes, "especially in stir-frying, is that the ingredients be cut to a similar size and shape." Michael also advises that the Chinese would deep-fry the cashews rather than dry-frying them.

What's for dinner archives -

I have also been compiling recipes on another forum - Everything-Science ( ) - and that is what I thought about doing here on PF. I have a big backlog to work through though.
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  • #2
This is one of my favourites, Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander, recipe by Madhur Jaffrey.

2 pieces fresh ginger root (1" cubes)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (skinned)
5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
7 ounces cilantro (finely chopped)
1/2 fresh green chilli (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put the ginger and 1/4 c. water into a blender or processor. Blend until you have a paste.

Put the oil in a wide, heavy, preferably nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in as many chicken pieces as pan will hold in a single layer, and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces this way.

Add the garlic to the hot oil. As soon as the pieces turn a medium-brown color, turn heat to medium and pour in the ginger paste. Stir-fry it for a minute. Now add the fresh coriander, jalapeno, cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Stir and cook for a minute.

Put in all the chicken pieces as well as any liquid that might have accumulated in the chicken bowl. Add 2/3 c. water and the lemon juice. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken pieces over. Cover again and cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender. If the sauce is too thin, uncover the pan and boil some of it away over a slightly higher heat.

Yum yum yum.

I've just discovered that when this recipe was first published, so many people in Manchester made it that the whole city was sold out of fresh coriander for weeks.
  • #3
Brewnog, that sounds yummy...Astro, I have made a cold salmon dish with the cucumber dill sauce in the hot's very good!

My husband does a lot of the cooking at home, one of the reasons I definitely married him! But when it comes to any sort of mexican dish or lasagna, I can satisfy the hungriest tummy. When I get more time, I will post a recipe or two that always goes over well.
  • #4
I love cooking! :biggrin:

This evening I cooked simple but delicious:

3 stalks of celery
1 cucumber
1 chilli pepper
2 cloves garlic

stirfry all that, at the last moment add 2 finely chopped tomatoes

mix with cooked rice vermicelli and serve :-p
  • #5
Monique said:
3 stalks of celery
1 cucumber
1 chilli pepper
2 cloves garlic

stirfry all that, at the last moment add 2 finely chopped tomatoes
What kind of oil do you use in the stir-fry? And do you use a wok or pan/skillet?

Kerrie said:
I have made a cold salmon dish with the cucumber dill sauce
I imagine you used salmon fillet, as opposed to out of the can I am looking forward to trying the cucumber dill sauce.

Ballon did asparagus au gratin with a manchego cheese sauce. :-p It was easy, however the second time I made it, I forgot to monitor the butter (hazard of cooking with ADD :biggrin: ) and I boiled the butter Had to throw it out and start over.

Also, I may have missed it, but when is that baby due?
  • #6
Astronuc said:
What kind of oil do you use in the stir-fry? And do you use a wok or pan/skillet?
I used to use extra virgin olive oil, but switched over to sunflower oil (olive allergy). I cook everything in a wok.. makes life so easy :smile:
  • #7
Astronuc said:
I like to cook, which is good thing because my wife doesn't, and it is probably one of the reasons my wife married me. :biggrin: I used to help my mom and her mom when they were cooking, and that's probably where I get my interest in cooking.

That cucumber and dill sauce sounds wonderful! I bet it will go well with other foods besides salmon too. Cucumber and dill over grilled salmon sounds like a very nice combination for a summer meal. :approve:

Edit: I just jotted down that recipe and ingredients to stop at the grocery store on my way home. I have chicken for dinner tonight, but I think I'll give the sauce a try over that (anything to give chicken breasts some variety). Yes, I love cooking, and I really like simple recipes that taste great and can vary my every day cooking, not just the meals I prepare when I have a whole day to cook a complicated recipe. I also like to take recipes and modify them into new dishes, like this one, substituting the more readily available chicken for salmon.

I made gumbo this week, but I didn't actually follow a recipe, so I'll try this the best I can (it's supposed to have celery in it, but I didn't have any and it tasted fine without).

Sautee cut okra (I just used a package of frozen) in olive oil until it stops being "stringy."

Meanwhile, prepare a roux (approximately equal parts oil...I used olive oil because that's what I had, but any vegetable oil will work...and flour), and cook until medium to dark brown, depending on taste (I don't like it too dark, but some like it to look nearly burnt). When the roux is brown, add a cut onion and a cut pepper (I had an orange pepper; I prefer the sweeter peppers rather than green pepper) and a lot of minced garlic (5 or 6 cloves I think I added). Sautee until the onions turn clear. Then add two cans of chicken broth (I'll have to check the size on those cans...the standard small chicken broth cans, not the monster ones), and canned, diced tomato (I used half of what I think was a 32 oz can, I didn't have a smaller can). Of course you could use homemade broth/stock or fresh tomato, I was just using what I had in the house. Season with salt, black pepper, a little oregano, a couple bay leaves, and some red pepper. Add the sauteed okra, and while the mixture starts to come to a boil, cook andouille sausage (cut into approx 1/2" slices)...I just use the same pan the okra came out of, otherwise you could be cooking the sausage at the same time as everything else and save some time at the end. When the sausage is browned, add it to the pot with everything else. Add hot sauce to taste!

Depending on how hungry you are, you can let it simmer for an hour or so to better develop the flavor, or eat it soon after all the ingredients are added and brought to a boil (just make sure the sausage is cooked through). Serve over rice.

If you have time and want to do so, instead of using chicken broth, you can include chicken in the recipe...start out by boiling whole chicken breasts, with the bone, and make a stock from that, then remove the cooked chicken from the bone and include the meat in the's really tasty that way, but adds a lot of cooking time to make a good chicken stock, so I just use broth from cans.
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  • #8
Astronuc said:
I like to cook, which is good thing because my wife doesn't, and it is probably one of the reasons my wife married me.

That's too funny. If I didn't cook we'd starve! When my wife boils water for oatmeal she claims she is "cooking" water, that's how bad it is here. Just kididng, I love to cook and she loves to eat . . . what could be better?

Below is my favorite soup, tweaked over years of experimenting. I make soup several times a week, and the number one, biggest secret I have is getting the broth right over and above every other consideration. My number two secret is to use a pressure cooker, not for speed of cooking, but because it traps so much more flavor into the broth than regular pans. a link to the pressure cooker I use. It should appeal to all the physics types, it works incredibly well. I often use the smaller pressure fry pan size to make two servings.

Minestrone Soup

In a food processor puree:
• 1 cup water
• 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
• 8 garlic cloves
• 2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed (don’t substitute dried basil)

Add puree to the following and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes in a regular soup pot, or 25 minutes in a pressure cooker if you have one:

• 5 cups water • 1 small yellow onion, diced
• 2 stalks celery, sliced “fat” • 1 bay leaf
• 1 can (15 oz. size) chopped/cut tomatoes with juice
• 1 Tbs fresh chopped oregano leaves
• 1 tsp sea salt • fresh-ground black pepper
Add following ingredients to soup base and cook for another 10 minutes in regular soup pot, or heat until pressure builds in a pressure cooker, and then set aside and let the pressure dissipate naturally:

• 1 cup carrots, sliced • 1/4 lb. green beans, sliced

Add following ingredients to soup base, turn off heat, and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving (i.e., let the heat already in the soup cook these last ingredients):

• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 small zucchini, halved and sliced
• 1 15 oz. S&W brand can small white beans, rinse off liquid
• salt to taste
• 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil

Optional: small pasta shells. Because pasta does not hold up well in standing soup (as in leftovers), cook pasta separately. Use approximately 1/8 cup per serving, cook in some of the soup broth or a little salted water, and then add to individual soup servings.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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  • #9
The best and easy...Apple/Cherry bread @15 mins prep time.

pre heat oven, 350

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped unpeeled cooking apples
1/3 cup chopped cherries

In a big bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl
combine flour, soda and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix well. Add apples and cherries. Mix again.
Turn into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour at 350.
  • #10
Mmm, sounds good Les.

Sooo...the grocery store didn't have any fresh dill. I resorted to the dried stuff (and took a guess at how much dried dill might equal a "bunch" of fresh). But, the sauce was still very tasty over chicken! :approve: It'll definitely be a regular on my summer menu! Thanks Astronuc!
  • #11
Oooh, everything sounds so yummy!

I will have to dig out one of my favorite recipes. Most of what I cook now is done by "feel" a pinch of this, a bit of that, I'd have to stop and actually measure the ingredients.
  • #12
The entire extent of my cooking repertoire:

can opener
something in a can
(or boiled eggs)

  • #13
Cornish Pasty

Cornish Pasty (serves 4) - so if you cook for one, freeze or refrigerate the others, or have a dinner party. I prefer to have dinner parties whenever possible.

3/4 to 1 lb of sirloin steak
1.5 large or 2 small white potatos
1 white onion or diced onion

optional ingredients
1 turnip
1 large or 2 small carrots
1 handful of peas (I would guess a cup)

salt & pepper.

pie pastry (not to thick)
Since the ingredients will cook inside the pasty, you don't brown the meat or onion.

Cut (small cubes) the steak. Put in bowl and moisten with water or a little oil.
Salt and pepper (season according to preference)

Dice potatoes, onions, turnips (and optionally carrots) and blend together in separate bowl.
Salt and pepper (according to preference - but not too much if the meat is seasoned).

Now there are two options - to mix meat and veggies or not to mix the meat and veggies.


Lay out the pie pastry in the form of a circle or slight oval. It should be about 3x the width of the ingredients or about 10-12 inches in diameter. Make sure the pastry is not too thick, not too thin.

Place the meat and veggies (mixed or not mixed) in the center. My mother put the meat on the pastry and then put the veggies over the meat (not mixed option). Sprinkle parsley sparringly.

Fold the pie pastry up to the center and crimp. Don't make it tight, since steam pressure will build up. Prick the top with a fork in a few places to let out the steam. Moisten the top surface so the pie pastry doesn't get dry.


Now place the pasties on a greased (or Pam'd) cookie sheet and place in the middle of a pre-heated oven.

Cook for at 375°F until brown, or a 350°F, which will take longer. At high temperature about 40-45 minutes, and at the lower temp 1 to 1.5 hr. It's down when brown and the bottom is crisp.


Now my mother always did pasties with meat, potatoes, onions and turnips. My grandmother would add carrots, but never peas, and some other families would add peas. It's a matter of taste - whatever you like. I personally like a combination of carrot and parsnip with a little melted butter in the mix.


You could also try (recipe for pastry from scratch)
That recipe is essentially the one that my mother used.

Or try (measurements in metric, 454 g = 1 lb, 225 g = 1/2 lb.)

Have fun and experiment.
  • #14
Yummy, even more good recipes! I've wanted a good recipe for pasties ever since the first time I tried them! :smile: Though, at this rate, I won't be fit to be seen in a bathing suit when I go to Disney with ZZ and Evo! :biggrin:
  • #15
Moonbear said:
I've wanted a good recipe for pasties ever since the first time I tried them!I won't be fit to be seen in a bathing suit
If you have pasties, isn't the suit a little redundant?
  • #16
Danger said:
If you have pasties, isn't the suit a little redundant?

Imagine my surprise when I learned they are edible! :smile:
  • #17
Moonbear said:
Imagine my surprise when I learned they are edible! :smile:
I've nibbled on a couple in my time, but I never thought of swallowing one. :eek:
  • #18
Astronuc said:
Anyway, I am always looking for interesting [recipes]...that tastes great

okay, I have some great stuff!

and nutritious foods

uh oh, never mind. :redface:
  • #19
Home made pizza crust

Make 2 - 41 cm or 2 - 38 cm by 25 cm pizza

50 g fresh Beer Yeast or 25 g of dry yeast (Fleishmans for example)
1 tbsp of sugar (corn sugar is better, it activates the yeast faster)
625 ml (2 1/2 cup) of water at body temperature, not too hot it will kill the yeast, not to cold the yeast will be slow to activate
4 cup of "OO" or all-purpose flour (My modification, 3 cup of whole wheat and 1 cup of all purpose)
2 cup of wheatlets
1 tsp of salt

In bowl, dissolve the yeast with the water and sugar.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, wheatlets and the salt. Add the yeast to the dry ingredient, knead to mixture until it becomes elastic (5 to 8 minutes). Split the mixture into and put into 2 different bowl.
Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until it double in size. Deflate the mixture, knead againt for about 5 minutes. Let rise for another 45 minutes. Deflate and knead for 2-3 minutes. At this point the mixture can be frozen or put in the fridge.

Bake at 200C for about 20 to 25 minutes. the best combination seems to be a strong tasting italiens cheese (Parmesan), a soft italien cheeze (Mozarella) and goat cheese. the goat cheese should be added 10 to 15 minutes after the baking starts. I usually add roasted pepper, roasted garlic, mushroom and caramelized oignon. The sauce is just diced tomatoes with their juice.
  • #20
Whats a wheatlet?
  • #21
Astronuc said:
I prefer to have dinner parties whenever possible.
I'm throwing a diner party tomorrow, I just hope they'll like my cooking :wink: I've had people comment that my food is too spicy, the way I like it best.. that's what you get when you live in a boiled potato - boiled vegetable - with gravy - culture :rolleyes:
  • #22
I challenge anyone to come up with a better french toast recipie:

First, grow some fresh mint.

Mix eggs, milk, and anise in a bowl. Dip diagonally-cut genuine french bread slices in batter. Start frying. sprinkle cinammon. Cook till slightly burnt. That's right slightly burnt.

Chop up strawberries, preferably fresh peaches. Place in center of plate, place toast about the pile. Place 1 and just one scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Sprinkly with freshly cut chopped mint (just a little bit). Cover with powerded sugar and honey.

Just had some. :!)
  • #23
hypatia said:
Whats a wheatlet?

It's wheat grain that is crushed to small particle.
  • #24
Okay, so maybe it sounds a little weird, but if you are adventurous enough to give it a chance, you will be rewarded. This is a personnal creation that is included in a recipe compendium I am working on.

Beer You Can Eat With a Spoon – from the twisted mind of me
You have to make these just to get people’s reactions- “Beer shots…what’s wrong with you?” ohhh how they scoff at genius. Choice of beer is important, I went with the relatively ‘neutral’ NewCastle. I say neutral not because it’s weak, rather that it isn’t too strong in anyone flavor note. IPA’s would be too hoppy, Stout’s too bitter, Pilsner’s too watery and Porter’s too….much. Use your knowledge of beer (c’mon, I know you’ve got it) and pick a good one. One of the Belgian Raspberry Lambic’s could be nice, I imagine most fruit beer could work. I can see this as an accompaniment to actual food such as a rich, heavy meat dish like pulled pork, stews, braised short ribs, roasts of various game critters, although I would probably warm it slightly (room temp), I wouldn’t serve it cold.

3 cups beer, cold from fridge 1/3-1/2 cup honey
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup
5 ¾ tsp. Knox unflavored gelatin

Put honey and maple syrup in a large, glass measuring cup and add enough beer to make 1 cup total volume. Heat in microwave to just under boiling, stir it frequently as this mix will readily off-gas the CO2 and overflow. Pour remaining beer into a large glass bowl and sprinkle with gelatin to hydrate it for about 1 min (you will probably be left with about ½ a bottle of beer, do with it as you see fit, wink-wink). Gently pour in the hot, sweet beer mix and incorporate carefully until the gelatin dissolves. Check to see if the gelatin has dissolved by looking through the glass at a strong light source, you may need a flashlight if the beer is very dark. Pour into cups or a metal baking pan, if you want to cut it into cubes. Place in fridge and let it set-up overnight.
Notes: You can try adding different flavors such as spices, i.e., cinnamon, cardamom, anise, but I would do this at the heating step with crushed whole spices and strain them out after infusion. Ground spices would make the end product cloudy. I suppose if you're down South you could use a local cane syrup instead of maple (don’t even think about using the fake stuff or I’ll have to give you a serious talking to). You can also play with the ratio of gelatin:liquid, I’m thinking it might be better a little looser, more like jello. If you want to get really different with this, set it up in a pan large enough to yield about an inch of the product in the bottom, cut out the set product with cookie cutters and pass ‘em around.
  • #25
Hey that's not too weird - I've had Guinness ice-cream - something like a blend of Guinness draft and ice cream (possible vanilla). It was great, and it tasted like Guinness.

Also, Guinness goes great with Pecan pie.
  • #26
Astronuc said:
Hey that's not too weird - I've had Guinness ice-cream - something like a blend of Guinness draft and ice cream (possible vanilla). It was great, and it tasted like Guinness.

Also, Guinness goes great with Pecan pie.

Exactly. The reason "beer jello shots" might be weird to some people is that the traditional "jello shot" is sweet and fruity, since it's made with jello. Thus most people assume that you are mixing beer with say lime jello and therein lies the distaste (athough if you did it right, it could be done with Corona and lime :rolleyes: ). I think Guinness or other stouts would work fine, but it might not be as widely accepted. There are also many variations on this theme using other alcohols like chardonnay jellies, gin and tonic gelee, sake shots, etc.
  • #27
Carrot Ginger Soup

There are only a couple of ingredients in carrot ginger soup, and therefore it is essential that they all be of the highest quality. Fresh carrots from the garden or a farm market, rather than those from a supermarket. The only other ingredients are ginger, onion, a little brown sugar, and a dash of spice.

  • 4 cups diced organic carrots
  • 1 spanish onion
  • 2 tablespoons peeled minced ginger
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the onions in a little vegetable oil, in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Add the carrots, and stir for 1 minute.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

3. Puree the entire mix in a food processor.

4. Reheat the pureed soup, taste for salt and pepper, and serve hot.
  • #28
McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder Cheeseburger

Drive to local McDonalds Drive thru
order a #3, this is important, make sure it's a three
a three with a Dr. Pepper.
Wait a couple of seconds then say "Yes, make it a large"
pull forward
Now you don't need to be exact here, you need more than $6.50 but less than $10.00. Hand the money to the teller and when you receive change drop it into the window charity box. pull forward again.
Accept bag and drink from window person and say "thank you, yes ketchup would be nice"
unwrap, eat and enjoy
serves one
  • #29
Astronuc said:
Carrot Ginger Soup
Ever since I bought my blender I've been addited to making soups! Carrot soups is one of my favorites, since I wouldn't think of eating carrots as main course. Another favorite is button-mushroom soup, fry an onion and a package of button mushrooms, add a tablet of vegetable stock and two cups of water, add some cream and blend to a soup.. yumm.
  • #30
I once made thai coconut soup, after having had a bowl in a restaurant: boil coconut milk with water, add some slices of pepper, some slices of ginger, bamboo shoots, button mushrooms, quatered tomatoes, some tablespoons of lemon juice and some sugar and salt.. delicious, if you can stomach coconut soup :smile: oh, and add some finely sliced cilantro!
  • #31
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  • #32
I like her and her cooking show, but her restaurant here is not very good. I've been there too many times as it is a common place to take clients as it is never that busy.

I have to agree with the review below. The last time I was there for lunch we chose the three pasta special, it's all you can eat, no one could even eat the first portion, it was nasty. This review could have been written by one of us.

"Could not believe poor quality and prep. Evidently kitchen ran out of seasonings. 3 pasta special must have been donated by a bitter enemy. No one in party willing to finish order. Desert (seen only with magnifying glass must have been run in from Dairy Queen)."

In all fairness I've had some average, but overpriced meals there.
  • #33
Lidia Bastianich's food looks amazing. But you have to realize her resturant's food is not her cooking. I think her cooking should be amazing, because I have had good Italian food from a friend of the family. Italian food is so much more than pasta and fettucini...
  • #34
cyrusabdollahi said:
Lidia Bastianich's food looks amazing. But you have to realize her resturant's food is not her cooking. I think her cooking should be amazing, because I have had good Italian food from a friend of the family. Italian food is so much more than pasta and fettucini...
She should take more care of what the place is doing to her reputation.
  • #35
Yeah, you would hope that it would be like her show, but I don't think you can imitate what she makes at home in a restaurant and get the same quality. Mostly because it’s not her making it, and that makes all the difference. I have been to some supposedly nice French restaurants that cost way too much and had little taste . The escargot had no taste, the French bread was O.K, and the place smelled like burned cheese, and this guy was supposed to be a good chef from DC...

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