As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.
Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”
Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.
One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️
Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my dorm room hungover from a wild freshman-year-of-college Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.
2-4: Chef’s Salad is another somewhat classic American restaurant dish to serve with your 1-18: Club Sandwich. Wikipedia gives it a similar history–most accounts trace it back to early 20th century New York, although a few credit it to originating in 17th century England. This iteration is pretty similar to most you’ll find in modern-day restaurants–the beauty of the chef salad is that the ingredients are at the discretion of the chef.
I NEED that creepy statue in the Simply Delicious picture. Google has nothing decent for me when I search “hippopotamus chef“, but you never know–someday one of my thrift store treasure hunt trips may pay off.
It’s a new year, and it’s also been a long time since I’ve covered any of the Cooking School portion of the back of the Simply Delicious cookbook. One of the featured topics is 18-3: Good Kitchen Knives, essential tools for any cook. I’ve had a lot of terrible knives, and I’ve got a long way to go until I make jaws drop with my knife collection, but I’ve got a few that are not too shabby. 🔪
I’m going to try NOT to make this a “look at all my cool knives” kind-of-a-thing, because honestly, my collection isn’t all that Internet-impressive–I don’t have a ton of trendy Japanese pieces or massive cleavers, because I just don’t cook that way too often. Plus, I feel about knives like I feel about cars–give me a broken-in cheap old workhorse over a shiny speedster you’re afraid to scratch up any day of the week. 🚙
Due to some infestation-related activity long ago, the Lamb and Veal category suffered some minor liquid damage. Some of the cards are virtually unusable, but this card, 10-10: Roast Leg of Lamb is just slightly mangled.
Despite the condition of the card, this preparation of leg of lamb is one of the best I’ve ever had. 🐏
I don’t make appetizers very often, so I made 1-14: Avocado Halves with Spicy Shrimp for us to eat as a snack while cooking other dishes. 🍤
I was lacking lettuce at the time, so my dish was served on a platter instead of a bed of crispy lettuce.
After staring at the screen for much too long (not the whole two weeks since the last time I posted, but at least some portion of it), I’ve determined that I just can’t think of anything all that notable to say about 17-19: Parmesan Bread. I’ve even made it once before, despite the lack of notations or photographic evidence. It’s just not what I hoped it could be.
The first time I made this bread, it turned out (somewhat) like the one shown in the Simply Delicious picture. This time, it turned out more like savory, vaguely cheesy monkey bread.
The photo of the pie for this recipe, 16-4: Blueberry Pie is epic. The peasant blueberry picker doll in the background is a great departure from most of the photos in Simply Delicious. 👍 We bought a case of blueberries during a trip to the market because they looked super fresh. I was going to make blueberry muffins, but after flipping through the recipes, this seemed like the best choice.
The whipped cream in the receptacle looks great. Check out how they used the pie in the background as well as in the center of the photo. The blueberries scattered on the table and the baby’s breath everywhere makes this photo extra fancy. 🎩
There was apparently a week in April 1992 (can’t say that without thinking of this) when my mom was on a tear through this book–7-14: Easy-to-Make Pork Casserole is from two days earlier, and there’s a few more coming up from that same time period. 6-17: Chicken Breast with Cheesy Filling seems like something my mom would have been all about–she loves chicken breasts and blue cheese.
Stuffed chicken breasts aren’t new territory for Simply Delicious—6-4: Easy Stuffed Chicken Breasts and 6-25: Salmon-Filled Chicken Breasts are two variations on the concept that I’ve already covered.
17-35: Healthy Bread with Vegetables was yet another attempt to make bread that went somewhat awry. This recipe was quite an experiment with quite unusual results. 🍞
This bread was definitely moist and colorful. I’ve had carrot cake, but I’ve never had shredded carrot in my bread. I substituted the beet with zucchini because the only Beets I enjoy are the band from Doug.