9-21: Chili Beef Casserole is yet another case of calling something a casserole that is barely a casserole. There is no condensed soup in this recipe and this dish is cooked on a stove top, not baked. This dish is more of a tortilla filling than a main course as a casserole.
This is a ground beef casserole with a cultural appropriation problem, not “with a Mexican accent”.
You may recognize 8-65: Sizzling Skirt Steaks as basically fajitas, one of the standard Mexican restaurant menu features. If you’re looking for something different on taco night, consider this dish. This can even be modified for different types of proteins, or even add in a few more veggies or a meat substitute and go meatless.
Flank or skirt steak is taken from the underside of the cow, and is tougher than most other cuts of meat. Therefore, marinating it (especially with some acid) breaks down some of those fibers and gives you a more tender piece when it’s cooked. Cooking fast/hot works well with this type of cut–low and slow will give you tough and rubbery.
Sometimes when you use recipes from old cookbooks, they can seem a bit “tone-deaf” when it comes to modern-day sensibilities about race and culture. Despite a questionable name, 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp contains many ingredients commonly found in Chinese food.
I love the porcelain bowls they served the example dish in. The wooden chopsticks are also a great touch. What a great photo!
Almonds are grown in California in abundant numbers so luckily, the featured ingredient in 11-8: Almond Trout is fairly inexpensive for us. This is not the first recipe to include almonds in a main course. Jamie chopped some for the sauce of the 11-16: Indian Fried Fish and I added them whole to 9-27: West Indian Meat Casserole. Jamie also combined pork and almonds in 7-55: Sunday Pork Stew. Who could forget the chopped almonds in the sauce from the mauve chicken in 6-24: Mushroom-Almond Chicken? Once you go into desserts, Simply Delicious offers tons of recipes that contain this wondrous drupe, which is technically a seed, but commonly called a nut.
Pan-fried fish has to be my second favorite preparation of fish, second only to full frying in a deep fryer, of course.
Pasta with a thin sauce didn’t seem super appropriate for dinner, so I made 12-15: Pasta with Salami and dished it out for lunch as part of a meal prep. While there are a few differences between the recipe card photo and my final product photo, my creation was similar in spirit to the beautifully shot photo below. The place settings are so retro–such a great scene they set.
The exquisite setup showcases the raw ingredients along with the wonderful cutlery and plating of the dish. How magnificent!
Fettuccini and ham are different foods I’ve heard of before. 12-20: Fettuccini with Ham is a dish I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. It is both “piquant and tasty” as described below and I enjoyed the dish a lot.
Time for a confession: I have never cooked fettuccini nests before in my life before I prepared this dish. My parents weren’t adventurous with their pasta choices. We were strictly a spaghetti and angel hair household when it came to noodle pasta. Having a cream based sauce was rare also, they generally opted for a tomato-based sauce.
Oh boy, yet another pork chops recipe. 7-11: Piquant Pork Chops tries to stand out by boasting a fruity, spicy take on the standard pork-chop-with-pan-sauce entries that have already been covered at length throughout this project.
I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to insist that just adding a “new” spice or sauce to pork chops radically changes it as a dish, but I suppose that for some people it can be a big deal to experience new things outside of the regular old tried-and-true.
Looking for an easy weeknight dinner? 11-19: Oven-Baked Red Snapper will remind you of the all-too-familiar crunchy oven-baked chicken, but with a lighter fishy twist. If you find yourself with some fish filets (red snapper not required), give this one a try.
Another way to look at this: a more elegant presentation of fish sticks. 🐟