18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I

I’ve made a lot of bread during the 3.5 years I’ve been working on this project (both for the project and outside of it), and I hear a lot of the same remarks whenever I talk about making bread: “Oh, that seems hard”, or “It’s too much work to make bread”. I used to feel the same way, and shied away from yeast recipes for a long time out of a fear of failure. In cooking (like most things in life), you have to be ready to embrace failure and learn from it–otherwise, you’ll never get past heating up Hot Pockets in the microwave.

18-1 Basic Yeast Dough I

Simply Delicious even notes in their recipe blurb that bread making is perceived as hard. It’s maybe not the easiest thing in the world, but you’ll make a lot of friends fast if you can make them fresh bread. 18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I is the first in a three-part series on bread making, where you’ll learn some tips and tricks for improving your bread baking, as well as a few basic recipes that you can use.

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17-14: Nutty Muffins

Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️

17-14 Nutty Muffins

See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.

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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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15-30: Champagne Sundaes

The final dish of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017) was the second half of my dessert options (in addition to 17-23: Mocha Éclairs): 15-30: Champagne Sundaes. My mom loves mimosas (which we had in abundance already), and since we already had fruit from 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad, I decided this would be an easy dish to make as well. Plus, it’s nice to have something light to finish with–it balances out the other rich dishes I made for this meal.

I decided to update this recipe concept for the 2010s: I served them in mason jar glasses instead of stemmed glasses. This could totally be a dish at current-day hipster bottomless-mimosa brunches everywhere.

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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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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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17-39: Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

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.

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5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

Finally, one from the “revisited” pile–those are recipes I’ve already made before, but am making again for the sake of this project5-20: 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.

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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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