I haven’t done a Cooking School entry in forever, so here’s 19-19: Root Vegetables I for your reading pleasure. You can expect 19-20: Root Vegetables II sometime in the near-to-distant future.
Wikipedia has a pretty extensive list of root vegetables, so if Simply Delicious doesn’t discuss what you’re looking for, they’ve got you covered. It’s a good time for root vegetables, so think about how you can incorporate some into your mealtime rotation if you’re interested.
I often wonder when I “evaluate” these recipes if I’m biased in my ratings/attitude towards them because of my own personal feelings about their contents. If I don’t personally like pears, does that unfairly impact my review of 15-41: Pear Halves with Chocolate Topping? Probably. Just a thought.
I’m not a huge pear fan, so if you haven’t figured it out by now, pear halves with weird chocolate bread topping wasn’t my jam. But if months of quarantine have you curious about weird desserts from the 80s, read on.
Looking for a smaller Thanksgiving option this year than the traditional 6-29: Stuffed Turkey? Here’s part of what I made for last year’s meal–6-42: Turkey Pot Roast. If you’re cooking for less people this year (or any year) and still want something Thanksgiving-ish, this might be a good option.
I didn’t want to make a full turkey for only two meat eaters (me not being one of those two), so I combined this recipe along with some additional leg and thigh pieces into enough turkey to complete the holiday without having to make more than we needed.
This is also MUCH easier to do than a full turkey, especially if you’ve never attempted one of those before and don’t want 2020 to be your first run at it. 6-9: Orange-Glazed Turkey Breast is another “smaller” turkey option if you’re just looking for a taste of turkey instead of a glut of it.
Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you’re think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.
I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.
Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).
The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates
Here’s a very basic dessert recipe: 14-21: Pear Pandowdy. Pandowdies are typically made with apples, but Simply Delicious offers a pear variation which is also popular. Both are in season right now, so either one would work for this recipe if you’re looking for something to do with all of that fall produce.
An old-fashioned favorite, the pandowdy is, by definition, a cooked fruit dessert sweetened with maple syrup or molasses and topped with a pie pastry. The name refers to the act of “dowdying” the crust — that is, breaking it up with a knife and pressing it into the bubbling juices — midway through baking. While it’s not the prettiest of pastries, what it lacks in streamlined good looks it more than makes up for in rich flavor.
Yankee Magazine, August 2020
Let’s see how close Simply Delicious gets to their definition. They sell this thing much better than I do.
Usually, I give Simply Delicious a hard time for their attempts at “cultural cuisine”–I had gone into 8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole with the same expectations. I even cooked the recipe with that thought in mind–that this was just another lame attempt at something “exotic” for the 1980s housewife crowd to try to excite their disaffected family about. I mean, read that description below and try to imagine how that would go in real life.
However, while researching for the write-up (the last part of this multi-step process), I found some interesting “similar” recipes. I’m still not sure if I’m right or wrong about this one.
Here’s my thoughts on the two things this recipe could be (given my new findings):
They might be trying to attempt nikujaga (Japanese “beef stew”), but it’s missing potatoes which are a crucial (and easy to obtain) part of that dish.
They’re attempting some sort of pan-Asian sautéed beef/Asian veggies dish that you’d be more likely to find in a dead mall’s food court and just calling it Japanese casserole.
I’m guessing it’s the latter, but if you’d like to decide for yourself, keep reading.
Oh, and that dead mall link above? That’s another one of our projects…
You thought I’d run out of crêpe recipes by now, didn’t you? Here’s yet anotherfor you (#7, at the time of this posting), 5-17: Crab-Filled Crêpes.Simply Delicious has featured both sweet and savory crêpe recipes, and this one would probably be EXCELLENT for a nice brunch.
WAY, way back, when I first started this project (April 2014), crêpes were a new frontier–something I’d never done before. You can read about it in 5-24: Meat-Filled Crêpes.
Soup isn’t usually thought of as a hot weather food (unless you’re Lisa Simpson). However, if it’s summer and you’re looking for ice-cold soup options AND gazpacho isn’t your thing, maybe try 3-29: Herbed Cucumber Soup instead.
It’s not technically summer anymore at the time of posting this (October 1), but we’re still hitting 100ºF temps here in California, so I think it counts.
A LOT of the dessert recipes in Simply Delicious feature almonds, and 14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears is a perfect example of these type of “semi-fancy” recipes. I’m not sure why almonds are featured so heavily in the book (or 1980s cuisine in general), but I suppose it’s to lend a sense of haute cuisine to something that would be (in reality) executed in a home kitchen.
The 1980s were all about stylish and flashy veneers without much to back it up underneath, even when it came to food, and this recipe is a perfect encapsulation of it. The fancy top covers up the cheap canned pears underneath, dazzling you with a hint of something high-class to distract you from the less impressive core which makes up the bulk of the dessert. Maybe some things should have just stayed in the 80s.