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.
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.
Cabbage is probably my least favorite cruciferous vegetable. Although cabbage is present in most Chinese food dishes and it doesn’t bother me in that format, however, just the thought of eating plain cabbage is not very appetizing to me. The meatloaf-like mixture inside 9-7: Cabbage Rolls was the most edible part of the dish. I like that they served it with a blurred out Heineken.
Anything that involves a stuffing and rolling procedure is usually best done in a big batch because they are a pain to put together.
As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.
Strap in ladies and gents, this one’s a long one. As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I thought I’d raise the bar and attempt some of the harder ones in the book–nothing impresses your mother like showing her you can cook (and bake). My mom LOVES pastries, so I made her 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries to nosh on while I worked on trying to serve up 5-4: Eggs Benedict. Luckily, these turned out better than my hollandaise sauce attempt did.
Obviously, mine look a bit different than what’s pictured on their card–we’ll get into all the decisions and pitfalls that led to that being the case after the jump.
The other of two desserts that I made for this year’s Thanksgiving (TGV 2016) was 15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe (the first was 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte). With my family, it’s REQUIRED that there be a chocolate dessert option when having a big dinner, so I decided to give this one a whirl–I thought it’d be a nice contrast of flavors and textures when compared to the other options (the aforementioned torte and a pumpkin pie my mom made). 🍫
This was the third dish I made, continuing the Wednesday 11/23 portion of my holiday cooking marathon. Since the pudding needed to chill, I thought letting it rest in the fridge overnight would give it the best chance of holding together when served the next day. 🍮
Croissants are a culinary item that have been around for well…a really long time. Crescent-shaped rolls are a part of several cuisines–one example would be the kifli from Eastern Europe, versus the well-known Western European version, like 17-1: Croissants. 🌙
Wikipedia mentions that frozen pre-formed croissants are pretty readily available these days (and have been since the 1970s), so making this recipe’s truly a labor of love–it takes a good amount of effort, as noted above.
Since it’s currently summer, I’ve been experimenting more with the Cold Desserts section of Simply Delicious. Come fall & winter, we’ll get back to more of the Hot Desserts. 15-2: Chocolate Mousse is not the first mousse I’ve attempted (check out 15-1: Lemon Mousse for a citrusy variation), but it is a pretty solid chocolate mousse recipe–these are great for entertaining, or even making in individual servings and freezing for later. 🍨
As noted above on the card, chocolate mousse is a classic and popular dessert. There are a variety of ways to approach it, as explained in this Serious Eats feature on the dish, but Simply Delicious’ version is super easy–5 ingredients are all you need. 🍫
My posting’s slowed down a bit (and my husband Adam has been cranking out his posts like crazy), but I am still cooking (and eating) from this book. It’s good to take breaks every so often, and rather than abandon the blog for those break times (as I have in the past), I’m glad that he’s here to keep it alive and to lend another voice besides my own. Just wanted to get that out there. I’ll pick it back up to speed soon, but for now I’m enjoying watching it be interpreted through someone else’s eyes for a bit.
I find myself with extra heavy whipping cream now and then due to other cooking activities, and I’m the only one in the house that can consume it without much gastrointestinal distress. When I have excesses of ingredients, I try to find Simply Delicious recipes to burn off that kill two birds with one stone–using up a recipe AND the cream, 14-3: Grand Marnier Soufflé is one of those recipes.
I’ve permanently borrowed a bottle from my parents (when you’re in your 30s, parents don’t seem to mind as much if you raid their liquor cabinet), and it’s what we’ve been using for flambéeing and any other instances that call for brandy/cognac/Grand Marnier. Why buy a brand new bottle when there’s plenty of barely touched ones sitting at their house? 🍾