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?
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).
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: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces covers the basics of butter sauces, which you can expand upon with 20-15: Vary the Butter 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.
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.
They’re not kidding about the “fragile” part when it comes to these tartlettes–I originally made these for this project back in July of 2016, but the whole operation went so poorly that I abandoned it and never even posted about it.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🐟
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”.
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.
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.
6-24: Mushroom-Almond Chicken tasted okay, but looked…odd. I’m not sure why mine came out mauve, but there you go. The picture below is definitely not mauve. This recipe was cooked in tandem with 6-8: Curried Chicken, due to an abundance of chicken.
As I mentioned before, mine came out in a slightly mauve color, which doesn’t seem to be the case on the recipe card photo. I don’t know where I went wrong, but at least it was edible.
The long-awaited 5-24: Meat-Filled Crêpes. I finally solved my ingredient issues and it was crêpe-time. The only thing is…I’ve never done this before.
Confession time: In all of my time cooking (which is most of my life), I have NEVER made crêpes. I have made many pancakes (as you could imagine), but never a crêpe. This was a first for me and as you will see, I learned many lessons from this attempt.
5-1: Mushroom and Cheese Pie…didn’t go as well as hoped. Following directions is important, friends. Let’s dive in–we’re still in Book 1, Group 1 (Appetizers & Starters).
We got a lot of mushrooms in our CSA box this round, and I used the Maitake mushrooms for another recipe from this book, but forgot to photograph it. And as the internet says, “pics or it didn’t happen”. So, I decided to use the White Beech mushrooms for this recipe.
First mistake. Of several.