We’re barely into spring, so what better way to celebrate that than to jump ahead to summer with 16-19: Midsummer Cake? We’ll call it being super proactive–you’re already thinking ahead for summer. Like when you go shopping for spring clothes and the summer stuff is already on the shelves. Look at you being so productive. Such a trendsetter!
There’s no rule saying you HAVE to make this in summer–it could be a great spring dessert as well. In fact, strawberries are generally considered more of a “spring fruit” more so than a summer one (depending on where you live), so maybe we should update this to be a “Spring Cake”? I can’t go with “Mid-Spring Cake” because that sounds like something you make in the middle of a jump.
Because it takes me a while to get around to writing these, it often works out that I’m writing about winter recipes in the summer and vice versa. Sticking with that theme, I present to you (in December) 15-24: Monterosso Ice Cream. Hey, at least it’ll be timely if you’re in the Southern hemisphere. I bet you guys are tired of everything being geared towards the Northern hemisphere anyway, so this one’s for you.
In case you were wondering, Monterosso is a coastal village in Italy, and it looks very nice. Totally giving me White LotusS2 vibes. I can’t seem to find anything that associates a certain type of dessert or ice cream with the town, but I did find some recommendations for gelato in case you’re ever in the area.
I can’t quite figure out if 8-23: Beef Kebabs with Red Wine Butter are supposed to be used for when you are serving fancy food in a casual situation (like a truffle and foie gras burger in Las Vegas) or casual food in a fancy situation (like food trucks at a wedding). I suppose this one could go either way, depending on the circumstances.
This recipe features not only kebabs, but a compound butter to serve with them. Simply Delicious is big on beef + compound butter–another example is 8-4: T-Bone Steak.
It’s a bit past apple season (usually fall/autumn), but 16-29: Heavenly Apple Cake uses applesauce instead of fresh fruit, so you can make it anytime you’ve got a hankering for apples. Or cake. Cake is always good.
They (Simply Delicious) are trying REALLY hard to make you believe there are actual apple pieces in this cake. I mean, the picture and the description would lead you to think that this thing is just chock full of fresh apples.
I hate to break it to you, but this is gonna be one heck of a bamboozle.
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.
If you were around in the 1980s-1990s, you may remember the obsession with low-fat everything, and finding ways to make “sinful indulgences” into something “guilt-free“. Note the deliberate choice of words, and that we still use that type of psychological framing around food today (and have been for a long time, even prior to the era in question).
The “low-calorie swap” in 16-42: Easy Lime Pie is cottage cheese, which was all the rage in the 1970s as a “healthy” option, but could still be found in a lot of recipes throughout the 80s and 90s.
I feel like even Simply Delicious didn’t really know how to make this pie sound appealing–do you think halved grapes as a garnish can be considered something notable? You can definitely tell this particular recipe was aimed at the dieting/low-calorie crowd.
A nice, cool parfait is the perfect dish for summertime. Raspberry and lemon are two of my favorite flavors and they blend together nicely to create this creamy dessert. My version of 15-29: Raspberry-Lemon Parfait will look much different from what you see here, but it is equally as delicious even though it is lactose-free.
The set designer and photographer did a particularly good job of staging the photo for this recipe card. The fresh raspberries and lemon rind really add a nice pop of color. The choice of tablecloth, wine, grapes, and flowers each provide a nice contrast to the yellow and white creamy colors of the dish and the parfait itself.
Editor’s note: This entry was written last summer, but didn’t get posted until now.
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. ☕️
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.
I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.
For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.
I recently attended a baby shower for a former co-worker and took it as an opportunity to knock out two more Simply Delicious desserts: 16-39: Apricot Tart and this one, 16-24: French Chocolate Cake. I wanted to bring something fruit/nut and something just plain chocolate, since some people there had nut allergies and others might just want something simple and chocolate.
This was a combination birthday party/baby shower (same person being honored for both), which will hopefully explain the odd decorations on my version of the cake. I’ve spared you pictures of the worst of my decoration choices, but let’s just say I made liberal use of all 4colors of a grocery store icing kit. I kept meaning to hit a craft store for better cake decorations (or even Amazon), but time got away from me. ⏳