Here’s another “traditional” recipe from Simply Delicious: 6-12: Chicken à la King. I’ve heard of this one before (you probably have too), but never ate it much as a kid despite it being chicken-based (the mushrooms were probably the dealbreaker for my mom). This is from the “new book“, so I didn’t even know Simply Delicious HAD a Chicken à la King recipe until recently.
Chicken à la King has been around for a while, but enjoyed a resurgence in mid-to-late 20th century America (probably due to all the Baby Boomers and a need to feed them cheaply/quickly). It seems “dated” to me at this point (and not necessarily in a good way), but probably was still pretty popular in some parts of the country at the time these books were published.
Combine this with 8-12: Beef Stroganoff, and you’ve got a pretty good handle on mediocre American cuisine from the 1980s.
Many moons ago when I first began this project, I wrote about Simply Delicious‘ use of adjectives to spice up the descriptions of their dishes. 3-7: Snappy Crab Soup reminds me of 3-13: Velvety Carrot Soup in its use of flashy words to get you interested in something hard to get excited about.
This is essentially a crab bisque, without the extra steps of simmering shells. The “hot pepper seasoning” they refer to in the blurb above is Tabasco sauce, so this is a mildly Cajun-influenced recipe as well. I remember thinking Tabasco sauce was the HOTTEST thing ever when I was a kid…I’ve learned so much since then. 🦀🌶
Usually, I give Simply Delicious a hard time for their attempts at “cultural cuisine”–I had gone into 8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole with the same expectations. I even cooked the recipe with that thought in mind–that this was just another lame attempt at something “exotic” for the 1980s housewife crowd to try to excite their disaffected family about. I mean, read that description below and try to imagine how that would go in real life.
However, while researching for the write-up (the last part of this multi-step process), I found some interesting “similar” recipes. I’m still not sure if I’m right or wrong about this one.
Here’s my thoughts on the two things this recipe could be (given my new findings):
They might be trying to attempt nikujaga (Japanese “beef stew”), but it’s missing potatoes which are a crucial (and easy to obtain) part of that dish.
They’re attempting some sort of pan-Asian sautéed beef/Asian veggies dish that you’d be more likely to find in a dead mall’s food court and just calling it Japanese casserole.
I’m guessing it’s the latter, but if you’d like to decide for yourself, keep reading.
Oh, and that dead mall link above? That’s another one of our projects…
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.
Obviously, the name of this recipe is 15-17: Summery Cantaloupe, and if you’ve seen any of the pictures of the recipe (like above, as a header image), you’ve put it together that the melon pictured is in fact, not a cantaloupe.
The CSA box that week provided a very nice watermelon, and so that’s what I went with for part of my Mother’s Day 2019 brunch (MD2019). Yes, I’m also behind on writing these up.
I’ve made Simply Delicious fruit salads for Mother’s Day before–if you’re looking for similar ideas, check out 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad and 15-30: Champagne Sundaes from 2017‘s brunch. If you’re up for the challenge of carving a cantaloupe (or in my case, watermelon), continue on.
The terms are used interchangeably here, and seemingly in most other places as well. The biggest takeaway from the spring vs. egg roll debate is that spring rolls are originally from China, but have been Americanized along the way (while egg rolls were always American).
They tend to have a thinner wrapper than egg rolls, and are often also associated with the transparent rice paper rolls you tend to see in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.
We can pretend that 1-37: Savory Cheese Appetizers is something fancy and unique, but it’s really just a blue cheese spread on squares of white bread. If you like blue cheese, I suppose this could be an exciting concept–the 1980s were big on both blue cheese and dips (which this recipe can double as).
Marinade is a “sauce, typically made of oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavor or soften it”. Port wine is not an ingredient I normally keep in the house, but I have marinated a pork tenderloin before so 7-18: Pork Tenderloin in Wine Sauce shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
Meat that soaks in a marinade comes out tender and delicious. Cooking with this method requires more preparation time. Leave the meat in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours for maximum tenderness. The minimum marinating time I recommend is around 1 hour. When I prepared this recipe, I tried to make it in one night, so the meat marinated in the refrigerator for only 2 hours.
I’ve always been a fan of a nice seafood bisque–lobster and/or shrimp bisque on a menu always gets at least a consideration from me, if not an order. 3-18: Shrimp Bisque was a solo affair for me (cream-based things usually are), but I enjoyed every bit of it. 🍤
I’ll admit it right now: I left the peas out of my version (except for the final picture plate–sorry to break the illusion), but you go right ahead and include them if you dig peas.