Hot Take: Artichokes are the lobster of the vegetable world. 4-14: Stuffed Artichokes represents this well: too much work for too little satisfaction. Peeling the little leaves off the artichoke and harvesting the heart feels a lot like picking apart the carapace of an undersea crustacean.
Stuffing an artichoke with a mushroom stew is a unique way to serve this giant edible thistle flower. These plants don’t grow naturally where I’m from, so my experience with artichokes only came after moving to California. My favorite way to enjoy them is marinated artichoke hearts.
There are few things in this world as good as potatoes and vegetables covered in cheesy breadcrumbs. It’s a popular side dish that you’ve seen many variations of. I really enjoyed 4-36: Golden Potato Medley and the plating that Simply Delicious shows below looks so much better than how my dish came out. I go more for utility than aesthetics when I’m cooking, but it’s also true that you eat with your eyes before your stomach. 👀
This dish is the perfect side dish, but it is hearty enough to be eaten as an entree. It doesn’t look like much, but is perfect with hot sauce.
4-10: Spinach-Mushroom Ring claims to be perfect for a ladies’ luncheon…this light and fluffy egg and mushroom stew dish is yet another dish that I wouldn’t generally make for myself. I ate one of these rings and threw the rest out, and if you know anything about me, that’s something I rarely do.
This dish is described as luscious and from the most accepted and common definition, it can described as richly luxurious or appealing to the senses. The combined flavors of the mushroom sauce and spinach omelette could be described as rich and creamy, but that still doesn’t mean it was a tasty dish.
I love the appetizer-style dishes featured in Simply Delicious. They are complicated because of making individual portions, but you can prepare them ahead of time to heat and serve when ready. When I make a batch of an appetizer like 4-20: Oven Baked Tomatoes, I like to eat a few right away and then stash the rest in the refrigerator to eat later as a healthy snack.
My family did not grow up eating baked, hollowed-out, stuffed tomatoes, however, that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this dish.
Editor’s note: Looks like my mom made this one before, and substituted broccoli for mushrooms–that makes sense, she hates mushrooms. She also dislikes tomatoes, so I have no idea why she was making this in the first place.
4-3: French Potato Gratin is a great side dish for a dinner. It was easy to make and it only takes one pan to cook this recipe.
Jamie made notes on this recipe that I completely ignored. I used the mandoline to cut the potatoes and I used 9 medium/small potatoes.
Editor’s note: I did indeed make notes on this, from when I made this for a fancy dinner for my family during Spring Break of 2009. I stand by my recommendation of using the food processor, but you do you, boo.
It’s been a hell of a month, y’all. Between my birthday at the very beginning, the election, an aunt passing away, unexpected horse-sitting, and planning/executing my very first self-made Thanksgiving dinner, I unfortunately didn’t do a lot of writing. However, our Thanksgiving this year (TGV 2016) was Simply Delicious-themed, as I used 7 recipes for this year’s feast.
I started the cooking marathon on Tuesday 11/22 with 4-27: Mushroom-Parsnip Au Gratin–I thought parsnips would make an interesting variation on the “vegetable” dish for Thanksgiving. I also cooked this one first because I knew I could cook it most of the way, and save the final broiling for right before the dinner was served.
I don’t know much about parsnips being the “poor man’s lobster” (a quick Google search reveals butter baking cod/haddock/etc. to be the most common modern use for that term), but I’d describe them as a cross between potatoes and carrots. Too potato-y to be a carrot, but too carrot-y to be a potato.
Everything I needed to learn about making 4-18: French Vegetable Casserole was told to me by Remy the animated rat, star of Ratatouille. I know…the editors of Simply Delicious call this dish “French Vegetable Casserole” to make the name more palatable for Middle America. 🇫🇷
The card mentions that the dish is referred to as “ratatouille” in its area of origin.
Editor’s note:I did the underlining you see above when I realized this recipe was “ratatouille”. I’ve made this recipe before, a year or two prior to embarking on this project. I even watched Ratatouille on my laptop while I made it. 🐀
4-7: Mixed Vegetable Bake is yet another boring vegetable dish. 🍆 🌶 🍠 There wasn’t an emoji for the vegetables used in this dish, but it was such a bland dish that even the text needs a little excitement with some added emojis! 😉
This onion is about the most flavorful part of this combination behind the cheese. The vegetables add a lot of color, but not a lot of flavor.
This one’s short and sweet. I’ve made 4-34: Italian Roasted Vegetables a few times before, once as part of a big dinner party I cooked for when I was about 13 (6-22: Crispy Chicken Drumsticks and 9-20: Meat Roly-Poly were part of that as well) and Thanksgiving 2000 based on my mother’s notations on the back of the card. I know I’ve used the concept multiple times in other instances, even if I wasn’t following this exact recipe.
This is more a method than a particular recipe–you can use pretty much whatever vegetables you want with this one. Now’s a perfect time for this recipe–farmer’s markets are open and there’s lots of good stuff out there to roast. 🔥
Late March/early April is right around the time asparagus begins its short season, so if you happen to find yourself with some in the near future, here’s a recipe for you: 4-9: Asparagus with Italian Butter Sauce. I served this as a side dish along with 8-20: Juicy Steak with Garlic Topping.
There’s such a short window of time when asparagus is in season–you start seeing it around March-April, and it’s done around early summer, in June-July. We’ve recently signed back up for our CSA box after a break, and asparagus was waiting for us in the first one.