Here’s another light/easy option for a summer meal: 1-31: Crab Cocktail. I say “meal” and not “appetizer” or “hors d’oeuvre“, because parties (and everything else) got canceled for this summer. Pretend you’re sitting by the coast with the breeze in your hair when you eat this one. It’s all about imagination these days.
Dig out a fancy glass to serve it in as well. You need to be your own restaurant/entertainment these days, so you might as well do it right.
Salads are usually a good choice when it’s hot out, and since we’re currently in the middle of summer (here in the U.S.), 2-3: Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-swah) might be a good choice for an upcoming meal. Plus, it primarily uses readily-available canned/jarred ingredients, which can be helpful for both budgets and pandemic shopping.
I had mentioned in 11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops that we had a plan to cook more of the Fish/Seafood and Beef recipes since we had already gone through a good portion of the Chicken/Poultry, Pork, and Ground Meat/Sausage ones. Summer got busy, and not as many of those recipes got made as I had intended. I made 11-1: Steamed Halibut with Vermouth during those summer months but I never wrote about it until now (while I clear out the queue).
I’ll agree with the method of cooking being excellent: the fish component came out great. I’m not a huge pea or vermouth fan so the sauce was probably not one I would repeat, but it was a well-done sauce otherwise. Technique-wise I feel like it’s definitely one of Simply Delicious‘ stronger offerings–if you’re really into 1980s-style food.
17-42: Luscious Lemon Bars were the second of my holiday baking batches this year (XMAS 16), and one that I’ve baked in the past, given my rather bold notes. I think I was on a cheesecake kick, and thought these would be easier than making an actual cake. “BAD DO NOT MAKE” doesn’t exactly bode well for a recipe–why make it again?
Here’s why: sometimes it’s important to try again, even when the first experience wasn’t exactly a positive one. The first time I made these lemon bars was my junior year of college, so about 10-12 years ago. I had just moved into my first off-campus apartment with my friend, and we had a full kitchen, something I hadn’t had access to for a few years while living away from home in the dorms.
I remember making these in that kitchen (yes, I dragged these books with me all the way out to Colorado and back) and struggling with this recipe. Out of that frustration (and failure) came the note. I’ve learned a lot since then (culinarily and otherwise), so I think it’s time to figure out if it was the recipe or it was me.
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.
Here’s a new-to-you part of the book I want to start featuring. The last three chapters of Simply Delicious comprise their own section: Cooking School. These chapters detail more of the practical culinary knowledge required to execute recipes well, and teach some skills by going through some basic recipes.
I’m going to start mixing up the regular recipe entries with these Cooking School ones as well, which shouldn’t be too different. If anything, they’ll be a lot shorter–like this one.
UPDATE 1/2/2017: Went back and updated a few of these–mostly adding to where I’ve done more recipes since the last time I wrote. Edited and fixed some of the pictures that didn’t transfer well from the initial Tumblr migration. Carry on.
Chapter 18 is about Basic Techniques. I thought that 18-17: Cooking Glossary I would be a good place to start. I used this same (complete) glossary when I taught cooking to K-8 kids in an after school program a few years ago, and I inserted a copy of it into the recipe book at the restaurant I used to work at. There’s also one taped inside my spicecabinet at home for reference.