11-10: French Scallops

11-10: French Scallops

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 of versions of it out there, most somewhat similar to this one.


Read more

8-15: Cajun-Style Sirloin

8-15: Cajun-Style Sirloin

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 Delicious versions 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.


Read more

17-15: Cream Puffs

17-15: Cream Puffs

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


Read more

2-19: Country Bean Salad

2-19: Country Bean Salad

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 Thrones as 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.


Read more

2-3: Salad Niçoise

2-3: Salad Niçoise

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.

Salade niçoise is a well-known dish (like the last recipe I covered, 14-8: Baked Alaska), and there are many different versions of it out there. Even Simply Delicious alludes to the different variations in their blurb above– although what they insist as a “must” (eggs, tuna, olives) seems to be up to interpretation.


Read more

2-12: Tips About Salad Dressing

2-12: Tips About Salad Dressing

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?

PS: I spy that sneaky tarragon vinegar in their picture below. If you want to learn to make your own, check out 19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs.

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.

One of the first times I made the blue cheese dressing (which required a giant immersion blender and a 22-quart Cambro–it’s kind of like mixing concrete in a bucket), a customer liked it so much they asked to buy some to take home. I guess that makes me qualified to write about salad dressings now.

Hey–I have to find something to do while we’re all staying at home for a while. And so do you (probably), so why not read this?


Read more

7-21: Jambalaya

7-21: Jambalaya

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. 🎺🍅


Read more

8-54: Beef Beignets

8-54: Beef Beignets

When I think of beignets, I think of New Orleans. 🎷 I’ve never been to the real Café Du Monde in New Orleans, but I have been to the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square at Disneyland which serves beignets (very delicious ones).

8-54: Beef Beignets are NOT like the ones at Disneyland or Café Du Monde–they’re more like Mongolian Beef before you toss it in sauce.

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.


Read more

16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie

16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie

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.


Read more

19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs

19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs

19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs has been a recipe-in-the-making for a few months. I mention frequently that I often write these entries months after I complete the actual recipe, but this one actually took me that long TO complete.

19-7 Fresh and Dried Herbs

Usually, these Cooking School cards don’t have too much in the way of actual recipes–often times it’s more like the card above, more recommendation than actual recipe. I’m not going to restate what they’ve written here–it’s all good advice. Jump behind the cut for some herb blend recipes as well as a DIY vinegar challenge and BONUS limoncello recipe.


Read more