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.
In these trying times (are you tired of hearing that yet?), it’s important to make the food you have go as far as you can, and to reduce the amount of food being wasted. Even before “the Rona“, I’ve been spending many a Saturday (or Sunday) meal-prepping for the upcoming week, which has brought down our grocery bills (and our waistlines, but apparently not as quickly).
7-31: Lime Cayenne Pork Chops was part of a “pork chop” meal-prep week, prepared in tandem with 7-53: Cider-Braised Pork Chops and served with some mixed roasted potatoes courtesy of the CSA box. It’s “meat and potatoes”, but maybe with a healthier twist?
My mom apparently made this back in November 1993, and it was “good” and “easy”. I’m not sure who ranked it as such (since she doesn’t eat pork), but we’ll go with that recommendation.
I came clean in 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp that we’ve been eating plant-based for about 2 years now–most entries that I’ve published since mid-2018 feature me essentially attempting to convert these old recipes into meatless/vegan options. 8-27: Classic Beef Stew will be no different.
I realize that not everyone chooses to eschew meat/dairy, and I’m not here to proselytize or debate it with you. I didn’t write these recipes–the goal of this project has always been to take these existing recipes and attempt to cook them ALL, somehow. The recipes are still here, in their original form–it’s up to you (and me) how to interpret them.
I think 14-9: Glazed Crêpes with Pears might be my final untested crêpe recipe from Simply Delicious–but there may be others in there. I’ll even give you a quick spoiler (since this recipe is kind of boring…another spoiler) for upcoming posts–there are more recipes out there than what I had originally. I know because I found (and purchased) some in a local Goodwill.
I’ve still got quite a few posts to go before I dig into some of the *NEW* recipes (and show you the book they came in), but for now, you can read aboutyetanothercrêperecipe after the jump. But this time, with pears! And glaze!
Meal-prepping is trendy now, but it’s always been a good idea if you want to save money and calories. 12-24: Cannelloni with Chicken works well if you want to make it on a Sunday, split it up into a few containers, and reheat it throughout the week. At least, that’s how we ate it.
Even Simply Delicious advises you can make this meal ahead of time, although their suggestion is for entertaining guests. This recipe/concept is pretty versatile–it’s good fresh or as leftovers.
Finally, we’ve reached the first recipe (for this project) made in my new (to you) kitchen: 14-22: Strawberry-Peach Cobbler. It was summer and 4th of July, so something with fruit that goes well with ice cream was bound to be a hit.
Speaking of 4th of July, I made 2-37: Chicken-Salami-Rice Salad for a party that I attended with a guy that I had just started dating. 10 years later, this is the first recipe I cooked in my very first house, that I bought with that same guy (who I ended up marrying not long after I made that first recipe).
15-23:Kiwi Mousse in Chocolate Cups is the final recipe from last year’s Mother’s Day (MD2019) AND the final recipe from this kitchen, which was the backdrop for this project for 5 of its 6 years (at the time of this writing) of existence. I made this in tandem with 15-10: Frozen Raspberry Desserts, since they both make use of chocolate cups and frozen fillings.
These ones didn’t turn out quite as well as their raspberry counterparts, but they made a nice contrast and provided some variety. Along with these two chocolate cup desserts, I also made 15-17: Summery Cantaloupe as part of my dessert offerings for Mother’s Day.
Cajun and Creole cooking are not something I’ve had a ton of experience with, so 7-21: Jambalaya is somewhat unfamiliar territory. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of New Orleans cuisine, other than my mother’s ill-fated attempt at making gumbo once.
It’s not a difficult recipe (quite the opposite, actually), but I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the difference between what makes it good and what makes it great. That’s something that comes with experience, both as a taster and as a creator.
I couldn’t have even told you that there are two types of jambalaya, Creole and Cajun. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the difference between the two is the absence or presence of tomatoes. Simply Delicious identifies this version as Creole, which is correct–that’s the version that has the tomatoes in it, which this one does. 🎺🍅
I’ve used this project as an excuse to make dishes to share at work before. This time, I made 16-45: Raspberry Tartlettes for a quarterly staff meeting. I had a colleague that was interested in trying vegan recipes and another that required gluten-free dishes, so I tried to incorporate both in this attempt.