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.
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.
Given the header picture, I suppose it’s not much of a secret that I’ve made some adaptations to 2-31: Smoked Chicken Salad. Namely, that I’ve changed it from a salad to a sandwich. Here’s the thing–it’s a sad salad as written, but can be made into a pretty decent sandwich that doesn’t require anything different than what’s already required/recommended.
See those rolls in the back of the picture (the ones suggested in the blurb above)? Here’s the quick and dirty: cut one open, take the (very few) salad ingredients, stack inside, eat. Not much more to it than that, but if you’d like to see how that went for me in greater detail, please continue reading.
In these trying times (are you tired of hearing that yet?), it’s important to make the food you have go as far as you can, and to reduce the amount of food being wasted. Even before “the Rona“, I’ve been spending many a Saturday (or Sunday) meal-prepping for the upcoming week, which has brought down our grocery bills (and our waistlines, but apparently not as quickly).
7-31: Lime Cayenne Pork Chops was part of a “pork chop” meal-prep week, prepared in tandem with 7-53: Cider-Braised Pork Chops and served with some mixed roasted potatoes courtesy of the CSA box. It’s “meat and potatoes”, but maybe with a healthier twist?
My mom apparently made this back in November 1993, and it was “good” and “easy”. I’m not sure who ranked it as such (since she doesn’t eat pork), but we’ll go with that recommendation.
Every so often throughout this project, I run into entries that make no sense, culinarily. I’ll admit–my knowledge of Caribbean cuisine is probably more limited compared to other types. However, I find it hard to believe that 2-5: Caribbean Seafood Salad is an “authentic” representation of a real Caribbean dish.
The other similar recipes I’ve found for “Caribbean seafood salad” include pineapple, papaya, and/or mango, and all look much better than this apple/banana/asparagus mess. Keep that in mind–there’s better ways to use these ingredients (and to make a “Caribbean seafood salad” than what they’re out here trying to do.
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.
I love a good salad bar, or did, before coronavirus turned everything in our lives upside down. One of my family’s favorite restaurants when I was a kid featured an impossibly long salad bar. A friend and I even entered an essay-writing contest at Souplantation back in college and won ourselves 30 free meal passes, which we blew through quicker than you’d expect.
2-22: Salad Bar with Warm Dressing is equivalent to most of these at-home solutions we’ve seen during this pandemic–a pale imitation of the real thing. Consider this recipe the “haircut I did myself because everything is closed” of salad bars.
I suppose if you just lumped all the same ingredients on top of some quinoa and called it a Buddha bowl instead, you could send this recipe forward in time from the 1980s to modern day.
Of course, you’d have to take an artsy picture (or 100), slap some filters on it, and post it to social media with a bunch of hashtags first to really modernize it. Do you think they really eat the food after they take pictures of it, or is it just for the ‘gram? 🤔
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.
I’m working through a HUGE backlog right now, so you’re currently getting recipes that I cooked last fall–case in point, 7-53: Cider-Braised Pork Chops. This is more of a fall/autumn-type recipe (when fresh cider is in season), but don’t let that hold you back from your cider-braised, pork-scented dreams.