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.
Today is Independence Day here in the U.S., so let’s do one of my favorite desserts and recipes from this book, 14-8: Baked Alaska. Obviously Simply Delicious didn’t invent this dish–it’s an American dessert that’s existed since Civil War times and is so well known you can even make it as a Sim.
I have a history with this particular version of the dish, however. I first made it as my “showstopper” dessert for a big family dinner I cooked as a teenager (along with a similarly-aged family friend) many years ago.
I also taught about 200 K-8 kids (ages 5-13ish) how to make this recipe and several others as part of an after-school cooking class program that was one of my first teaching-related jobs. I’ve been waiting YEARS to write this one, so now it’s your turn with it.
When I made 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp, I decided to try to knock out a bunch of recipes at once, thinking I could just buy a few pounds of shrimp and save myself multiple trips to the store. One of the other shrimp recipes I made was this one, 12-21: Luxury Rice with Shrimp.
One of the glaring problems with this theory is that shrimp goes bad QUICKLY, and unless you want to cook/eat a ton of shrimp all at once, you might not end up using all of it in time.
This is what happened to me, and I ended up having to toss a bunch of the shrimp (which was on sale–BIG red flag) before I could even use it and buy more (not on sale this time 💰💰). So much for trying to reduce my environmental and financial impact.
Consider that before you attempt my idea. Also, make sure the recipe is worth it–this one was not even worth rebuying the shrimp, in my opinion.
I’ve finally caught up to Mother’s Day…2019. I made 15-10: Frozen Raspberry Desserts along with a few other desserts from Simply Delicious, which has essentially become a tradition at this point. Considering I got these books from my mother, she has no one to blame but herself.
Mother’s Day is a bit ahead of summertime, but the fruit is usually already out and plentiful by then. The hardest part of making these desserts is the chocolate cups, which I also used for 15-23: Kiwi Mousse with Chocolate Cups. If I have to go through the trouble of making them, I’m getting as much bang for my buck as possible.
I bet you thought I abandoned this project. You’d be wrong–I just started a few others and let this one get a bit dusty. After almost 5 years, I’m still plugging along, and will be until I finish this damn thing. I don’t even know when I cooked this, but here’s 16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie.
I know I cooked it sometime in 2018, and I know that I wanted to attempt a vegan version (which didn’t go well). I think I was making it to bring to work, but I have a feeling it never made it there. Looking over the pictures of it, I think I know why.
The editors of Simply Delicious love to write a common type of recipe that includes the act of putting meringue on top of a fruit filled pie. 14-19: Old-Fashioned Apple Meringue is a mistake with all but the classic lemon custard version of a meringue pie. Apple and cherry do not carry a meringue the same way in my opinion.
The meringue clouds in the example photo would probably have been the ideal presentation method, however, my meringue came out runny so it didn’t clump very well. I was lucky that it cooked to a hard crust.
A few months ago, we celebrated Pi Day in my office. Most of the pies were store-bought, but I decided to flip through Simply Delicious and see if there was anything worth contributing. I decided on 16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie–everyone likes chocolate, and we had had a mishap with the lemon meringue pie on the way back from the store while preparing the day before.
If you’re not familiar with Pi Day, it takes place on March 14th, which when written as a numeric date is 3-14 (at least in the U.S. it is–some countries reverse the order). Pi (the mathematical constant represented by the Greek letter π) is usually rounded up to 3.14, so March 14th is celebrated with actual pies (and a bit of math) as a play-on-words. 😂
No one really needs an excuse to eat pie, but “It’s a math joke” is certainly an acceptable one.
14-14: Sliced Pineapple with Nut Meringue is a unique desert. It was actually fairly tasty, just not something I would have thought to put together. This interesting dish has multiple textures, flavors, and temperatures which all interact nicely. I love raspberry, pineapple, and meringue, but I never thought to combine them, especially this way. 🍍
Meringue is probably one of my favorite applications of eggs in cooking. Egg whites only, but still a great use of eggs.
The Ground Meat and Sausage category is mainly 2 types of dishes: ground meat patties and ground meat kebabs. 9-29: Ground Meat Kebabs is one of the kebab variety. I made this recipe at the same time as 9-19: Meatballs on Skewers because they called for almost identical ingredients.
Grilling outside is much more satisfying than using a grill pan in my apartment, but I currently don’t have a lot of space for grilling.
Editor’s note: Putting on my ex-history teacher hat for a second–note that Simply Delicious claims this dish is from the vineyards of Yugoslavia, which hasn’t been a country since the late 80s/early 90s, around the time the Soviet Union collapsed. These remind me a lot of lule kabobs, which were one of my favorites when we lived in a heavily-Armenian area in Los Angeles (the apartment with the blue tiles and yellow walls from the beginning of this project). These are NOWHERE near as good as those ones, but I suppose they could pass in a pinch.
Whenever I think of lemons, I can’t help but think of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, my favorite, lemon-insipred, animated character. From my research, there are two other major characters who are lemon-themed, Lemon Meringue from “doll commercial hidden in a cartoon” Strawberry Short Cake and Honey Lemon, one of the main characters from Big Hero 6, a 3D animated feature film released by Disney in 2014 . I haven’t had a chance to check this movie out yet, but if it ever pops up on Netflix, I’d watch it. Now that my rant about cartoon characters is complete, enjoy this entry about 16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie, a really weird lemony pie. 🍋
Serving this pie on top of a tapestry featuring a creepy little girl must somehow enhance the flavor of this otherwise weird lemony pie. The background tapestry is probably the most interesting and tasteful part of the entire photograph.