We’re barely into spring, so what better way to celebrate that than to jump ahead to summer with 16-19: Midsummer Cake? We’ll call it being super proactive–you’re already thinking ahead for summer. Like when you go shopping for spring clothes and the summer stuff is already on the shelves. Look at you being so productive. Such a trendsetter!
There’s no rule saying you HAVE to make this in summer–it could be a great spring dessert as well. In fact, strawberries are generally considered more of a “spring fruit” more so than a summer one (depending on where you live), so maybe we should update this to be a “Spring Cake”? I can’t go with “Mid-Spring Cake” because that sounds like something you make in the middle of a jump.
Since it’s summer, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share my summer garden with you, courtesy of 19-6: Fresh Herbs. This one came from the new book, and is the prequel (of sorts) to 19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs. I had lamented not being able to easily find fresh tarragon back when I wrote that one–well, now I grow it myself in my own backyard.
Growing my own herbs in my own garden for use in cooking was one of the top reasons I wanted to buy my own place, and the garden situation outside was one of my main factors when selecting a house (back when you could have preferences about things like that and didn’t just have to overpay for whatever was available).
I use my homegrown herbs for cooking all year round, and it’s quite the pleasure to be able to use just the amount needed fresh from my own backyard rather than buy overpriced herbs at the grocery store and then watch them wilt and die in my fridge.
Happy New Years’ Eve! 2021 has not been my favorite year (probably not yours either), and so I’m not sad to see it go–in fact, we’re going to celebrate its departure with a holiday-ish dessert today: 15-34: White Chocolate Strawberry Soufflé. This soufflé is not baked, but does include meringue being folded in. I’m not sure if that makes it “not a soufflé,” but at this point, does it matter?
“Dramatic” is definitely a good way to describe this past year, so perhaps this is the perfect dessert/recipe for today. However your 2021 has been, I hope that 2022 is a safe and prosperous year for you and yours.?
Now–let’s get off the heavy stuff and into something much lighter–discussion of this “soufflé”.
Soup isn’t usually thought of as a hot weather food (unless you’re Lisa Simpson). However, if it’s summer and you’re looking for ice-cold soup options AND gazpacho isn’t your thing, maybe try 3-29: Herbed Cucumber Soup instead.
It’s not technically summer anymore at the time of posting this (October 1), but we’re still hitting 100ºF temps here in California, so I think it counts.
If you were around in the 1980s-1990s, you may remember the obsession with low-fat everything, and finding ways to make “sinful indulgences” into something “guilt-free“. Note the deliberate choice of words, and that we still use that type of psychological framing around food today (and have been for a long time, even prior to the era in question).
The “low-calorie swap” in 16-42: Easy Lime Pie is cottage cheese, which was all the rage in the 1970s as a “healthy” option, but could still be found in a lot of recipes throughout the 80s and 90s.
I feel like even Simply Delicious didn’t really know how to make this pie sound appealing–do you think halved grapes as a garnish can be considered something notable? You can definitely tell this particular recipe was aimed at the dieting/low-calorie crowd.
Believe it or not, 1-3: Melon with Smoked Turkey is one of my last few remaining Group 01: Hot and Cold Appetizers recipes left to cover. I’ve put this one off for a while because I’m not a big fan of melon (other than watermelons)–but when the weekly CSA box keeps bringing them to you, you have to do something with them.
Theirs looks super fancy–mine looks like a sloppy mess. I suppose if I were actually serving this for a party I would have tried harder. Melon + meat = appetizer isn’t a new equation–even Pillsbury has their own version. Most versions include prosciutto instead of turkey, which is the variant I’m more familiar with.
Let’s get the first question out of the way right now. Compôte means “mixture” in French, so 15-20: Apple Compôte is essentially fancy applesauce. Don’t even worry about exerting the effort to mash the apples–these are just syrupy slices.
Some of you might have thought of pie filling when you saw “compôte”–I know I did. There’s actually differences between jam, jelly, preserves, conserves, and compote–I still don’t know if this iteration matches up with their definition, but here’s a recipe from my same trusted source (Serious Eats/Stella Parks) for essentially the same thing we’re making here.
I had extra strawberries left over from 14-22: Strawberry-Peach Cobbler, so I tried to reuse them into 15-45: Strawberries with Cottage Cheese. Simply Delicious is big on using cottage cheese in an effort to be “low-fat” (all the rage in the 1980s when this book was published) and healthy, but they’re not usually very successful.
Don’t be deceived by their pretty picture here. It’s not ice cream. It’s cottage cheese. Just keep that in mind going in.
I’ve used this project as an excuse to make dishes to share at work before. This time, I made 16-45: Raspberry Tartlettes for a quarterly staff meeting. I had a colleague that was interested in trying vegan recipes and another that required gluten-free dishes, so I tried to incorporate both in this attempt.