4-10: Spinach-Mushroom Ring

4-10: Spinach-Mushroom Ring

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.

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18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II

18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II

Happy New Year! đŸŸÂ We’ll start off this year (as I have other years) by finishing up a bit of old business from last year. I had started a Bread Series at the end of 2017, covering the first part of this Cooking School set (18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I) as well as including 20-12: Basic Rolls as a good base recipe to practice with.

Here, we’ll cover 18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II, which includes the fundamentals of the process of bread-making, as well as some tips on how to tell where your bread may have gone wrong. I’ve been making bread for a while, and I still run into trouble–it’s nice to know what I might have messed up so that I can try to fix it for the future.

18-2 Basic Yeast Dough II
Bread making is not a quick process–sometimes you can be working on a bread for 24-48 hours between the blooming, kneading, rising, and proofing. When I was being trained to make bread in the restaurant I worked in a few years ago, we would start making bread at 8 AM, and barely be finished by dinner time around 5-6 PM.

That’s not including our starter which had to be fed every day, as well as making all of the other baked goods that our pastry chef made daily. It can be a LOT of work!

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3-19: Soupe Saint Germain

3-19: Soupe Saint Germain

Working on the Simply Delicious Cookbook Project with Jamie has given me an opportunity to learn and expand my culinary palette. As with a lot of these dishes, I have never tried 3-19: Soupe Saint Germain before. This soup is made with ingredients I generally enjoy, but the end product was hardly enjoyable. The sparkling white wine was probably my least favorite component of the dish and not something I normally drink.

To the best of my recollection, I haven’t eaten many other classic French soups. My version of this dish may have been less than stellar due to a less than fresh bottle of sparkling white wine and my substitution of sour cream for cream.

Editor’s note: Potage St. Germain is essentially “pea soup”. There’s many variations out there, but not too many with sparkling wine in them. Since it’s New Years’ Eve, here’s an interesting alternative for all that Champagne you may have on hand…Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2018!Â đŸ„‚

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5-4: Eggs Benedict

5-4: Eggs Benedict

I believe in a couple of things–nobody’s perfect, and all things eventually balance out. My experience with this recipe, 5-4: Eggs Benedict, especially relative to how the rest of the meal went, encapsulates both of those ideas. In the days leading up to making this Mother’s Day brunch (MD2017), I knew I needed to practice two things before the big day: poaching eggs and hollandaise sauce–I’ve had trouble with both in the past. Guess what I didn’t do?

5-4 Eggs Benedict
I procrastinated on practicing both my egg poaching and my hollandaise, and those were my failure points on this recipe. After the jump, you can read about what went really well (my homemade English muffins) and what didn’t (my broken hollandaise sauce, for one).

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20-13: BĂ©arnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

20-13: BĂ©arnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

It took over 3 years and almost 300 entries, but I’ve finally cracked the final untouched category of Simply Delicious–the very last one, Group 20: Basic Recipes. These are part of the Cooking School segment in the back of the book, teaching you basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that you’ll need to be an experienced cook. This recipe, 20-13: BĂ©arnaise and Hollandaise Sauces covers the basics of butter sauces, which you can expand upon with 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces.

20-13 Bearnaise and Hollandaise Sauces
Hollandaise is one of the five mother sauces, a big part of French cuisine. Mastering it (and the others) is one of the marks of an accomplished and talented chef. I’ve been cooking for a long time and I’m still working on mastering this one.

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5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

Finally, one from the “revisited” pile–those are recipes I’ve already made before, but am making again for the sake of this project. 5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes were one of the appetizers I made for a Valentine’s Day 80’s party I talked about in 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds–I thought these little cheese tarts seemed very 1980s.

5-20 Golden Cheese Tartlettes
They’re not kidding about the “fragile” part when it comes to these tartlettes–I originally made these for this project back in July of 2016, but the whole operation went so poorly that I abandoned it and never even posted about it. Now that I’ve bought the proper equipment and ingredients for it, it went much smoother.

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17-61: Vanilla Chip Cookies

17-61: Vanilla Chip Cookies

I had high hopes for these. They sounded great. And to be honest, it still might have been my fault these went badly. 17-61: Vanilla Chip Cookies were part of my big batch of assorted baked goods that I made as gifts for people this year–you can find the others linked at the end of this entry.

17-61 Vanilla Chip Cookies
Maybe I overworked them. Maybe my dough was too warm. Maybe it was my oven or my pans. Something just didn’t work out here. After the jump, I’ll show you what happened.

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4-30: Cheese-Stuffed Potato Croquettes

4-30: Cheese-Stuffed Potato Croquettes

This one
was challenging. And it seemed so simple! 4-30: Cheese-Stuffed Potato Croquettes are essentially mozzarella sticks with a mashed potato/panko coating. These turned from a quick snack into a multi-day attempt.

4-30 Cheese-Stuffed Potato Croquettes
Now, before I scare you off this recipe: it was 100% my fault it went south. I tried to improvise in several places, and it proved to be my downfall each time. Sometimes you can take liberties, and sometimes you can’t.

Here’s how you learn those lessons.

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11-16: Indian Fried Fish

11-16: Indian Fried Fish

Another bit of real life distractions, but I refuse to let this die. Back to it, with an interesting dish: 11-16: Indian Fried Fish. 🐟

11-16 Indian Fried Fish
Um, okay. “Indian” is being used liberally here, as far as I can tell. It was an okay dish, but didn’t exactly conjure up images of India. This seems more like West Indies/Caribbean “Indian” than India “Indian”.

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6-26: Chicken Maryland

6-26: Chicken Maryland

A week or two ago after we returned home from a grocery shopping trip, I found myself with a package of chicken that needed to be cooked ASAP due to having its plastic wrap punctured on the way home. Since I had some red peppers that needed to be used up as well, I chose to make 6-26: Chicken Maryland.

6-26 Chicken Maryland
Recipe #26 of Subgroup 6 (Poultry & Game) in Book 1, Group 2 (Main Courses) is Chicken Maryland, which is basically a nicely-spiced fried chicken with a red bell pepper cream sauce. The chicken was delightful–the sauce turned out a bit odd, but that was probably my fault.

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