12-15: Pasta with Salami

12-15: Pasta with Salami

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!

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13-8: Vegetarian Calzone

13-8: Vegetarian Calzone

Much like Ben Wyatt, a late-addition character from NBC’s Parks and Recreation, I have enjoyed my fair share of calzones. Hawaiian calzones are one of my favorite types, pineapple and Canadian bacon can’t be beat! However, when wanting to eat in a health conscious manner, 13-8: Vegetarian Calzone is a great meat-free alternative.

Preparing this dish was super easy. A lot of time can be saved by using ready-bought puff pastry.

Editor’s note: This was a dish I made as part of a big family dinner I cooked with a family friend when I was 13–my step-grandmother is vegetarian and we made this so she’d have something to eat. My mom made her a baked potato for Thanksgiving once, complete with a toothpick-and-construction paper turkey head, wings, and tail that I painstakingly spent the day crafting. She did not appreciate the turkey-potato (too closely resembled an animal for her…go figure), but she did like this calzone. 

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8-29: Marinated Flank Steaks

8-29: Marinated Flank Steaks

Over the years I’ve made plenty of steaks, but I don’t have a lot of experience cooking flank steaks. Jamie grew up eating carne asada–but on the East Coast, we were eating Steak-Ums sandwiches. Not quite the same, but it got the job done. 8-29: Marinated Flank Steaks was a fun opportunity to cook this recipe and get familiar with cooking a different cut of beef that I’m used to.

I have some experience with marinades so this dish wasn’t too difficult for me to attempt. It is ranked Fairly Easy after all.

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8-22: Beef Tenderloin with Whole Garlic

8-22: Beef Tenderloin with Whole Garlic

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.

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6-27: Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

6-27: Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

The quote from front of the recipe card for 6-27: Sweet-and-Sour Chicken is as true as anything I could write about this recipe: “Cook chicken legs and thighs the Chinese way, in a sweet-and-sour sauce. This is such a simple way of preparing bargain chicken and the result is just terrific.”

Sweet-and-sour sauce tastes great when you make it fresh, but it’s just as easy to buy the thick, red sauce in a jar and call it good.

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11-35: Grilled Pacific Halibut

11-35: Grilled Pacific Halibut

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

11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops

11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops

Hey, y’all. Took a month or two off (I need SOME sort of summer vacation now that I’m not a teacher anymore), but as I’ve said before, I’m not going to let this die. Even though I haven’t been actively writing and publishing, I’ve still been cooking and photographing–I’ll get caught up here soon. Thanks for sticking around. 🙂

Here’s one I cooked a little while ago, but never finished writing–11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops. My husband Adam LOVES seafood and at the start of this summer, we had decided we were going to try to knock out more of the Fish and Beef chapters of the book over the warm months. I can’t say that vow has worked out (I don’t think any of the ones in the queue are either one of those), but here’s a vestige of what was to be.

11-5 Lemon Pepper Scallops
I’m gonna tell you right now–I can do a LOT of things in the kitchen, but poaching is my white whale. I always have a REALLY hard time with it (see 5-4: Eggs Benedict for an example of that), and I’ve yet to conquer it. Practice makes perfect, but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of poached seafood anyway (very 1980s). I think for this one, I’m going to use a more flavorful searing technique, which I have less of a chance of screwing up (hey, scallops ain’t cheap).

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6-39: Chicken Pot Stickers

6-39: Chicken Pot Stickers

6-39: Chicken Pot Stickers are another case of a food that I “can” make, but would choose not to after seeing all of the mess and work involved.

“Steamed, stuffed dumplings” sound delicious. Mine came out a little more fried than steamed, still delicious.

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9-29: Ground Meat Kebabs

9-29: Ground Meat Kebabs

The Ground Meat and Sausage category is mainly 2 types of dishes: ground meat patties and ground meat kebabs. 9-29: Ground Meat Kebabs is one of the kebab variety. I made this recipe at the same time as 9-19: Meatballs on Skewers because they called for almost identical ingredients.

Grilling outside is much more satisfying than using a grill pan in my apartment, but I currently don’t have a lot of space for grilling.

Editor’s note: Putting on my ex-history teacher hat for a second–note that Simply Delicious claims this dish is from the vineyards of Yugoslavia, which hasn’t been a country since the late 80s/early 90s, around the time the Soviet Union collapsed. These remind me a lot of lule kabobs, which were one of my favorites when we lived in a heavily-Armenian area in Los Angeles (the apartment with the blue tiles and yellow walls from the beginning of this project). These are NOWHERE near as good as those ones, but I suppose they could pass in a pinch. 

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20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

Consider 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces to be the advanced version of 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces. There’s probably something that bridges the two better (whatever 20-14 is, but I don’t have that card in my collection), so 5-4: Eggs Benedict will have to do. This set of recipes is part of the Cooking School, the back section of Simply Delicious that provides instructions in basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that any skilled cook should be familiar with.

20-15 Vary the Butter Sauces
Like I said in 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces, Hollandaise and its variations comprise 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 always appreciated a well-made butter sauce, and these variations are intriguing–I’d be interested in eventually trying each one out.

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