19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs has been a recipe-in-the-making for a few months. I mention frequently that I often write these entries months after I complete the actual recipe, but this one actually took me that long TO complete.
Usually, these Cooking School cards don’t have too much in the way of actual recipes–often times it’s more like the card above, more recommendation than actual recipe. I’m not going to restate what they’ve written here–it’s all good advice. Jump behind the cut for some herb blend recipes as well as as a DIY vinegar challenge and BONUS limoncello recipe.
Oooh-la-la! What a fancy recipe 8-22: Beef Tenderloin with Whole Garlic is!. I have never attempted a dish like this before, but I approached it with confidence because I’ve watched Jamie make both a spiced butter and oven roasted garlic. She makes it look easy, but making this dish was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I don’t have plates with fancy fluted edges and I was out of red wine to serve with my dish, but I served it as best I could.
This dish is definitely gourmet. With spiced butter and roasted garlic, this dish contains a lot more elements than my usual go-to dishes.
I have never been known for my skills in preparing fish, but this recipe, 11-35: Grilled Pacific Halibut, helped me become a halibut grilling master! 🐟
Many of the times I failed at cooking fish, I did not marinate the flesh first. Skipping that step definitely makes a difference.
Editor’s note: By the looks of the notations on this card, my mother made this in what looks like July of 1995, although that last digit is difficult to clearly determine–her handwriting has always been a challenge. It might be 1990. She noted that it was “Very Easy” on the back–sounds like Adam may have had a similar experience. Read more
Gyro is probably my favorite preparation method of ground meat, so when I saw this recipe, I got very excited. This recipe, 9-19: Meatballs on Skewers is basically the same recipe as gyro, just served differently. However, I wish I had just bought a container of tzatziki at the store instead of making the yogurt sauce.
The rabbit handle piece on the end of the skewer in the example photo is simply incredible. I’ve never seen a set of skewers quite like that. It looks like the other skewers have other animal handles, I think I see a cat and a chicken on the other skewers that are slightly obscured by the meatballs. The serving dish is very neat, I’d like to add one to my collection.
I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.
For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.
The card for 2-10: Spinach Salad is great because it has notes and reviews from the attempts of two other chefs I really admire, Jamie and her mother. From the date of the original note, I can deduce that Jamie’s mom made this recipe almost 25 years ago. She gives a succinct review, “Very Good, Very Easy.” Jamie’s equally positive review of her attempt at making this recipe 9 years back is encouraging. Making this salad for dinner one night after work is a super easy task and I agree with the previous reviews written on the card.
Simply Delicious helps you learn in so many different ways. Not only do I get a recipe for a salad, I get some history about the main ingredient: SPINACH!
Editor’s note: I made this as part of a “fancy dinner” in my first apartment, a year or two after college. I was so happy to have a kitchen and table to call my own, I invited some friends over, busted out a few Simply Delicious recipes, and threw a “fancy” dinner party, complete with table settings and after-dinner coffee.
Whenever I think of lemons, I can’t help but think of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, my favorite, lemon-insipred, animated character. From my research, there are two other major characters who are lemon-themed, Lemon Meringue from “doll commercial hidden in a cartoon” Strawberry Short Cake and Honey Lemon, one of the main characters from Big Hero 6, a 3D animated feature film released by Disney in 2014 . I haven’t had a chance to check this movie out yet, but if it ever pops up on Netflix, I’d watch it. Now that my rant about cartoon characters is complete, enjoy this entry about 16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie, a really weird lemony pie. 🍋
Serving this pie on top of a tapestry featuring a creepy little girl must somehow enhance the flavor of this otherwise weird lemony pie. The background tapestry is probably the most interesting and tasteful part of the entire photograph.
17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars were the second of my holiday baking batches this year (XMAS 16), and one that I’ve baked in the past, given my rather bold notes. I think I was on a cheesecake kick, and thought these would be easier than making an actual cake. “BAD DO NOT MAKE” doesn’t exactly bode well for a recipe–why make it again?
Here’s why: sometimes it’s important to try again, even when the first experience wasn’t exactly a positive one. The first time I made these lemon bars was my junior year of college, so about 10-12 years ago. I had just moved into my first off-campus apartment with my friend, and we had a full kitchen, something I hadn’t had access to for a few years while living away from home in the dorms.
I remember making these in that kitchen (yes, I dragged these books with me all the way out to Colorado and back) and struggling with this recipe. Out of that frustration (and failure) came the note. I’ve learned a lot since then (culinarily and otherwise), so I think it’s time to figure out if it was the recipe or it was me.
This recipe, 6-29: Stuffed Turkey, is the WHOLE reason I originally decided to take on the challenge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year (TGV 2016)–when else was I going to get a chance to use the actual Thanksgiving recipe but on the holiday itself? I have cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, but not in my own house, and not planned/shopped/organized for by myself. It was a fun challenge, and I have this card and project to thank for it.
Of course I made this recipe the day of Thanksgiving (Thursday 11/24), and it includes not only the turkey, but traditional stuffing and gravy as well. I cooked this in the afternoon, after making 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket in the oven that morning.
This year’s Thanksgiving was at least 2 weeks ago by the time you’re reading this, but I hope that if you had one this year it was a nice one, and that if you’re reading this sometime in the future preparing for the current year’s feast, that yours is nice as well. Mine was lovely despite what’s been a tumultuous year, and this recipe was definitely a big part of making my first solo Thanksgiving successful. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read even just a bit of what I’ve written, and thanks for participating in my project, even just for this brief moment.
I’ve been working on this project for just under 3 years now, and I’ve got at least that long to go to attempt to finish it–thanks for giving me a reason to keep this project alive, an outlet for writing, a focus for creative energy, art to share with my family and friends, and a priceless set of memories and experiences tied to a set of stinky old cookbooks that have always meant a lot to me, and mean even more now. Thank you.
I’m counting 1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana as the fourth dish I made of this year’s 7-recipe Thanksgiving cooking marathon (TGV 2016) , but its components actually spanned a few days (and a few cooks). This was one of three appetizers I made for my Thanksgiving dinner–the others being a crudité & hummus platter and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket.
My mom was always big on the idea of “shrimp cocktail” as being necessary for Thanksgiving dinner appetizers (it was always part of her family’s holiday dinner when she was growing up), so in order to honor that idea, I chose this recipe.
As I mentioned above, I’m counting this as the fourth dish I made–it spanned Wed. 11/23 and Thu. 11/24 as different components had varying levels of make-in-advance-ability. My sous chef made the dressing and prepped shrimp the first night, while I assembled the dish itself right before serving the next day.