This recipe card gave me an excuse to cook up a big ol’ batch of 9-14: Chili Con Carne, not that I needed an excuse. I’ve made a few pots of chili in my day, but not one quite like this. My favorite episode of the Simpsons, entitled El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer), features a chili cook-off as a vital plot point. The infamous space coyote scene still cracks me up to this day. 😹
With the peppers featured prominently on the front of the recipe card, Simply Delicious has pointed out the one major issue I had with this dish. WHO PUTS BELL PEPPER IN CHILI? 🌶 Jamie and I enjoy a little spice in our chili. I’ve always wanted to try adding a pepper akin to the “Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango … grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum.” 🌶
The whole time I was making 6-2: Fiery Chicken Casserole, I had this image in my head because I thought my sauce came out wrong. My sauce was light colored and the chicken in the photo shows a crispy, golden skin. If you look hard at the bowl in the upper left corner, you can see the white sauce that the authors described.
My version of the casserole came out a lot differently than the image shown on the card and didn’t taste very “fiery”. This dish would need a lot more heat to be considered “fiery”. 🔥
I had mentioned in 9-26: Crispy Beef Turnovers and 13-13: Spinach Turnovers that there was a third turnover recipe that I had intended to make (for a trio of turnovers), but that the third recipe required a different cooking method (deep-frying versus baking), so I chose to shelve it until I could do it right.
Well, I happened to have a (borrowed, since returned) mini-deep-fryer in my possession recently, so 1-7: Trader Vic’s Crab Turnovers (the fabled third turnover recipe) was finally about to become a reality.
9-2: Mexican Fiesta sounds exciting, but it’s really just poorly layered nachos. I know that they were trying to make it seem like a casserole, but all the good stuff that goes in tacos/nachos is basically layered in a pan and covered with a layer of chips on top–I think you eat it like a dip? 🌮
I like the touch of the Corona with a lime in the background of their picture, like all of a sudden that makes it a party. I can’t think of too many decent Mexican places that would serve something like this, but if you want something festive yet inoffensive for a party or a lengthy Netflix session, I suppose this recipe could get the job done. 🌶
I’ve often talked during this project about my mother and her predilection towards recipe experimentation. One of these instances was where she attempted to make gumbo–I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but I remember the family failing to choke down poorly cooked okra and my father making a quick run to KFC while she surreptitiously got rid of the rest.
The mere mention of gumbo usually brings this unsavory memory back, and so I attempted 11-26: Fish Gumbo with a fair amount of trepidation.
Roux is something I’ve covered several times throughout this project, and it’s an essential flavor and texture component of gumbo. Letting a roux brown deepens its flavor, and there’s a fine line between too light and over cooked.
Coconut is the main thing here–it’s meatballs with coconut all up in there. It’s not a bad taste, just an an acquired one. Paprika is usually associated with Hungarian (European) cuisine, but its origins are in the Americas, brought over during all of that New World/Old World business in the 16th century.
Here’s something a bit different from the Pasta and Rice chapter. Simply Delicious has a lot of international recipes, some more authentic than others. 12-22: Nasi Goreng is a take on a popular Indonesian fried rice dish, a sweeter and spicier variation of the ubiquitous Chinese take-out version.
This recipe doesn’t give you much in the way of creating Nasi Goreng spices if you don’t have access to or want to use a premixed blend. After the jump, I’ll include a Nasi Goreng spice blend I used and a link to the book from which I pulled it.