I guess the best way to start this is…have you seen that Julie & Julia movie from a few years ago? If not, and you enjoy reading this blog (or even if you don’t), you DEFINITELY should go watch it. It’s essentially the idea that formed this website/project. In that movie, one of the featured Julia Child recipes is her Boeuf Bourguignon which is found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of her most famous books and one of the most famous cookbooks in general.
With that being said, we come back to the fact that this is not a Julia Child cookbook project, it is a Simply Delicious one. So, I present to you Simply Delicious’ version of the dish: 8-10: Beef Bourguignon.
Simply Delicious isn’t wrong–this dish is essentially French beef stew (with a good amount of red wine in it). I’ve made Julia’s version a few times (let’s be honest, we ALL made it at least once after that movie came out), but I’ve yet to attempt the Simply Delicious version, mostly because it was a “new book” recipe and I didn’t know it even existed until a few years ago. Let’s see how they compare…
Greetings, and happy Friday! It’s been a minute, but I’ll always come back eventually–I’ve put way too much time/work/energy into this project to give up now. Today, I present to you 1-12: Mixed Seafood Au Gratin. Au gratinis not new for Simple Delicious, and neither is the use of the pictured serving shells. I finally broke down and bought some a year or two ago for 11-10: French Scallops–I’m happy they’ll get another use here.
When was the last time you heard the phrase “tantalize the taste buds”? I feel like that went out of style around the same time as soufflé humor.
Happy New Year, and welcome to 2022! I’m going to start this year off with a redo–although you didn’t know that it was such. I cooked 11-10: French Scallops early last year (2021), but did such a terrible job of it that I didn’t even want to share the pictures of it with you. I’ve had it hanging out in my queue for almost a year, and it’s time to fix that–when you know better, you should do better.
I took far too many liberties with my first attempt, not realizing that this dish was somewhat specific in its design and not just “up for interpretation”. Coquilles St. Jacques (note Simply Delicious misspelled it) is a French preparation of scallops, hence their abridged title of “French Scallops”. There’s lots ofversionsof it out there, most somewhat similar to this one.
Looking for something different to do with a cut of beef sirloin? 8-15: Cajun-Style Sirloin is a pretty quick and easy way to prepare beef, and also comes with a bonus cucumber salad recipe as an accompaniment/garnish. The cucumber salad and yogurt topping give this dish almost a Middle Eastern feel–they’re used to cut the heat from the paprika, curry, and cayenne pepper used to season the meat.
I’ve yet to visit Louisiana myself in person, but Simply Delicious has a few different Cajun and Creole recipes to try that can take you there culinarily, at least. There’s even some non-Simply Deliciousversions of this recipe out there, if you’re looking for variations. I’m still intrigued by the addition of the cucumber salad and yogurt topping for this version–that seems very avant garde for 1980s home cooking.
Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.
I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (TGV 2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.
Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).
The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates
I had intended on using the entry for 2-19: Country Bean Salad to make the tired joke about how no one likes bean salad or the person who brings it to a party. And to point out how it was always a skip for me at the salad bar (RIP salad bars/buffets, I will REALLY miss you).
But there’s got to be a reason why “bean salad” is still a thing. Someone must still like it, for it still to exist. And not just in an ironic hipster “I like it specifically because it’s uncool” way. Maybe the vegans? I eat mostly vegan, and it’s still a no-go for me.
Simply Delicious says that this particular variation of bean salad is “typically French”, but I can’t find too many references online that specifically corroborate that claim. I did find a fancy version of this dish done by one of the Top Chefs that might be worth looking at, if you’re interested in bringing this recipe into the 21st century.
Apparently it was part of a particularly infamous (red) wedding meal in Game of Thronesas well. I watched GoT, but the food on the table wasn’t exactly the focus of that scene, so I must have missed it.
Even if it’s been on TV, it’s still not that appetizing to me. But again: someone must be into this stuff, so if it’s you, read on.
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.
Since there’s about to be quite a few salad recipes coming up, I thought I’d put 2-12: Tips About Salad Dressing out there as well. I tried to think of more salad dressing variations than what they list here, but honestly? Most “traditional” salad dressings do fall into one of the three categories they establish: vinaigrette, cream/mayo-based, and low-calorie. Go ahead–can you think of one that doesn’t?
At the restaurant I worked at a few years ago, we made our own dressings from scratch. And by “we”, I mean “me”–I made all the dressings for the whole restaurant every week and kept everything stocked up, since it was my station (garde manger, or pantry chef) that made the salads. We made a blue cheese, ranch, Caesar, creamy balsamic vinaigrette, and another lighter, more traditional vinaigrette.
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 looked around for similar types of recipes to confirm that this wasn’t just a Simply Delicious invention–and I really couldn’t find too many. There’s nothing wrong with battering beef and frying it–just don’t call it a beignet.