I love the appetizer-style dishes featured in Simply Delicious. They are complicated because of making individual portions, but you can prepare them ahead of time to heat and serve when ready. When I make a batch of an appetizer like 4-20: Oven Baked Tomatoes, I like to eat a few right away and then stash the rest in the refrigerator to eat later as a healthy snack.
My family did not grow up eating baked, hollowed-out, stuffed tomatoes, however, that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this dish.
Editor’s note: Looks like my mom made this one before, and substituted broccoli for mushrooms–that makes sense, she hates mushrooms. She also dislikes tomatoes, so I have no idea why she was making this in the first place.
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
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.
If you’re looking for a relatively easy homemade buttermilk biscuit recipe, 17-39: Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits isn’t a bad choice. I made these once before for a dinner I made about 8 years ago. I remember thinking they were very bland as written–hence my notes written on the front and back about adding more salt. After following my own suggestions this time around, they’re much improved.
I didn’t make these for any particular dinner or reason this time around, but they still made decent snacks and accompaniments to meals throughout the week.
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.
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.
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.
4-3: French Potato Gratin is a great side dish for a dinner. It was easy to make and it only takes one pan to cook this recipe.
Jamie made notes on this recipe that I completely ignored. I used the mandoline to cut the potatoes and I used 9 medium/small potatoes.
Editor’s note: I did indeed make notes on this, from when I made this for a fancy dinner for my family during Spring Break of 2009. I stand by my recommendation of using the food processor, but you do you, boo.
Cooking a pizza on a pancake dough creates a very kooky, weird pizza experience. 5-31: Oven Pizza Pancake is not your usual pizza–this soft-crusted abomination is another dish created when the Simply Delicious editors decided to have one too many beers at the office.
The beer in the background of this image should have been my first clue that this was a strange dish.
Editor’s note: I used this recipe for when I taught cooking in an after-school program for K-8 kids a few years ago–I didn’t have the time or resources to make a traditional rising dough using yeast on that particular site, so this method provided me a somewhat valid shortcut.