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?

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: Béarnaise 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: 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.

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15-19: Layered Fruit Salad

It’s a few weeks after Mother’s Day at this point, but better late than never. This year for Mother’s Day, I took a few Simply Delicious recipes and decided to make a brunch menu out of them for my mom. We usually do lox and bagels at home for our holiday brunch celebrations, but this year I wanted the full Mother’s Day buffet experience–but still at home. It’s not brunch without fruit salad, so the first entry for this grand event (MD2017) is 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad.

But wait a minute, you say! This is from the Cold Desserts category? How can it be for brunch?

It’s fancy fruit salad–I think it’ll be okay either as a dessert or a brunch side dish. Plus, I need to burn off some of these dessert recipes–so many of them require fresh fruit and summer is the best time for that.

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3-9: Mexican Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is always good on a day when you are feeling sick. I made 3-9: Mexican Chicken Soup on a really hot day, basically the worst type of day to make chicken soup. I was able to freeze and store all of this soup for future meals. Later on in the week that I made this soup, I caught a nasty cold and having a stockpile of chicken soup really helped me feel better.

The spice mixture is the only part of this soup that is remotely Mexican.

Editor’s noteSimply Delicious has another “Mexican” soup–check out 3-15: Quick Mexican Soup if you want what is essentially a ground-beef version of this soup. 

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1-37: Savory Cheese Appetizers

We can pretend that 1-37: Savory Cheese Appetizers is something fancy and unique, but it’s really just a blue cheese spread on squares of white bread. If you like blue cheese, I suppose this could be an exciting concept–the 1980s were big on both blue cheese and dips (which this recipe can double as).

Simply Delicious has a lot of blue cheese-related recipes–a few I covered just recently include 5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes and 1-20: Prosciutto Appetizers. After making all three of these essentially back-to-back, I’m a little burned out on blue cheese for a while.

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6-10: Savory Chicken Wings

“Chicken wings are a longtime American favorite.” Truer words have never been written, editor of Simply Delicious. To complement another recent wing recipe that Jamie made (1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings), here’s 6-10: Savory Chicken Wings.

I love having chicken wings as both an appetizer and a snack. The editor of Simply Delicious know me too well.

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2-23: Grilled Chicken Salad

Who doesn’t love a simple salad? The editors of Simply Delicious knocked one out of the park with 2-23: Grilled Chicken Salad. Combining fresh vegetables with nicely cooked chicken is an easy method for creating a killer salad. My final product didn’t look much like the photo below, but the flavor is totally on point.

I love the bowl of strawberries and fresh baked biscuits behind the salad in the product photo.

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1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings

We’re over 3 years into this project, and I’m only now covering the very first recipe in the book, 1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings. I don’t think I’ve ever made these wings before, but the memory of coming up with this project and starting to put it into motion (by sitting down and actually scanning the cards) features this recipe very prominently. Since this was the very first one, that might explain why the edges of the card pictures are strangely cropped.

While this would probably make a decent appetizer, I feel like as a society we’ve come pretty far in wing technology and distribution methods in the last 30 years–these are a lot of work for something that are pretty easy and cheap to just buy in, especially in more interesting flavor/spice combinations. There’s entire restaurants dedicated to wings at this point (even ones that don’t feature an owl and scantily-clad women).

We did make wings in-house during my restaurant tenure, but people are awfully finicky about the preferred style (fried vs baked, breaded vs non-breaded, vinegar-based sauce or not, etc.) of their wings, especially when craft beer and other hipster-y stuff like chalkboards and cornhole are involved. 🍻

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2-20: Potato and Sausage Salad

Simply Delicious has a few variations on potato salad–2-17: Spicy Potato Salad is closer to a German variation, using a vinegar dressing instead of mayonnaise. This recipe, 2-20: Potato and Sausage Salad not only uses mayonnaise, but includes your choice of cured meat to accompany it–I went with chicken sausage, but you can use hot dogs, spicy links, or anything similar.

I caught a typo here–they mention capers in this blurb above, but dropped it from the actual ingredients list after the jump. I never realized it and now wish I had–capers would have been a welcome addition to this potato salad, especially instead of beets.

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17-18: Golfer’s Rolls

If you’re looking for something you could use for making lunches in advance, 17-18: Golfer’s Rolls could be an option. My suggestion? Use a creamier, softer cheese like they do in their picture (Simply Delicious shows Brie) or add some mayonnaise/avocado/hummus at the time of eating because these rolls can get a little dry.

Simply Delicious advocates freezing these rolls after filling them like sandwiches, and then bringing them with you somewhere (like a golf course). While my new co-workers like to play golf a lot, I only ended up bringing these to lunch at my desk. ⛳️

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