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.
Summer 2020 has been quite the disappointment so far, and still being stuck at home is tough. If you’re looking for something to lift your spirits, 2-21: Shrimp Salad probably isn’t going to do it. However, if you close your eyes while you’re eating it, maybe you can pretend you’re on the beach instead of your couch.
This salad features not one but TWO cream-based dressings, so you know it’s fancy. I recently covered 2-5: Caribbean Seafood Salad which also features a shrimp-based salad. However, that one includes apples, bananas, and asparagus, so this one might be a safer choice.
I’ve already covered various types of turnovers (beef/spinach/crab), and 8-37: Roast Beef in Puff Pastry can now be added to that list, even if it’s not officially referred to by Simply Delicious as a turnover.
I wasn’t able to pinpoint when ready-to-bake puff pastry was first available in stores–my guess would be somewhere around the 1960s-70s, but I could be totally wrong.
Think of this recipe as a fancy Hot Pocket, because that’s essentially what it is. Look at you, all sophisticated with your fancy Hot Pocket.
Pork is probably the most common version of sweet-and-sour that you see in Chinese restaurants–there’s even a vegan version of it you can buy in most stores. In case you’re looking for something more refined (but maybe not as easy or meatless), here’s Serious Eats’ take on it.
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. 🎺🍅
12-25: Parmesan Rice with Shrimp is a great weeknight dinner option or even perhaps a side dish for a potluck or party. It has similarities to paella and risotto, but isn’t as time or skill-intensive as either of those. And as you can tell by the frequency of how much I’ve been posting lately (not much), anything quick is much appreciated.
I feel like they were trying to roughly capture the essence of Shrimp Etouffee with the flavors used in this recipe, but with much less work involved. Cajun/creole-inspired isn’t new for Simply Delicious, but it’s rarely executed faithfully.
9-21: Chili Beef Casserole is yet another case of calling something a casserole that is barely a casserole. There is no condensed soup in this recipe and this dish is cooked on a stove top, not baked. This dish is more of a tortilla filling than a main course as a casserole.
One might say this dish is a ground beef casserole with a cultural appropriation problem, not “with a Mexican accent”.
You may recognize 8-65: Sizzling Skirt Steaks as basically fajitas, one of the standard Mexican restaurant menu features. If you’re looking for something different on taco night, consider this dish. This can even be modified for different types of proteins, or even add in a few more veggies or a meat substitute and go meatless.
Flank or skirt steak is taken from the underside of the cow, and is tougher than most other cuts of meat. Therefore, marinating it (especially with some acid) breaks down some of those fibers and gives you a more tender piece when it’s cooked. Cooking fast/hot works well with this type of cut–low and slow will give you tough and rubbery.
Pasta with a thin sauce didn’t seem super appropriate for dinner, so I made 12-15: Pasta with Salami and dished it out for lunch as part of a meal prep. While there are a few differences between the recipe card photo and my final product photo, my creation was similar in spirit to the beautifully shot photo below. The place settings are so retro–such a great scene they set.
The exquisite setup showcases the raw ingredients along with the wonderful cutlery and plating of the dish. How magnificent!