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.
As I mentioned in my last post, this project just passed the 6-year mark, and a lot has changed since I first started it–careers, cities, kitchens, vehicles, family, presidents, even dietary preferences.
For the last two years, we’ve been sticking to a plant-based diet, with the very occasional seafood or dairy indulgence (however, traditional meat itself is totally gone). We’ll still go out for a real sushi dinner here and there (although, not lately due to coronavirus), and every so often, I’ll make a recipe like 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp with real shrimp as a treat.
“Fruit from the sea” as a description for shrimp seems strange to me, even though I know Simply Delicious didn’t coin the term. “Fried Jumbo Shrimp” is what they use to lure you into mediocre chain restaurants–it’s not quite haute cuisine.
I’m not doing a good job of selling you on this dish, am I? Well, since fried food doesn’t travel well as takeout, maybe you’d like to take this “opportunity” to learn how to fry your own?
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. 🎺🍅
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.
Sometimes when you use recipes from old cookbooks, they can seem a bit “tone-deaf” when it comes to modern-day sensibilities about race and culture. Despite a questionable name, 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp contains many ingredients commonly found in Chinese food.
I love the porcelain bowls they served the example dish in. The wooden chopsticks are also a great touch. What a great photo!
Working on the Simply DeliciousCookbook Project with Jamie has given me an opportunity to learn and expand my culinary palette. As with a lot of these dishes, I have never tried 3-19: Soupe Saint Germain before. This soup is made with ingredients I generally enjoy, but the end product was hardly enjoyable. The sparkling white wine was probably my least favorite component of the dish and not something I normally drink.
To the best of my recollection, I haven’t eaten many other classicFrenchsoups. My version of this dish may have been less than stellar due to a less than fresh bottle of sparkling white wine and my substitution of sour cream for cream.
Editor’s note:Potage St. Germain is essentially “pea soup”. There’s many variations out there, but not too many with sparkling wine in them. Since it’s New Years’ Eve, here’s an interesting alternative for all that Champagne you may have on hand…Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2018! 🥂
Not every Simply Delicious recipe is a home run. With 9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole, perhaps unsuccessfully, tries to break the mold. By not forming the beef into a patty, meatball, or kebab, this casserole tries to do something different. To cook this recipe, I had to prepare a parsnip, something I’m not accustomed to. I made this dish before a trip out of town and brought it with me to have something homemade to eat.
I cut my vegetables in a manner similar to the photograph, but my substitution of milk for half-and-half made the sauce come out runny.
It’s been a hell of a month, y’all. Between my birthday at the very beginning, the election, an aunt passing away, unexpected horse-sitting, and planning/executing my very first self-made Thanksgiving dinner, I unfortunately didn’t do a lot of writing. However, our Thanksgiving this year (TGV 2016) was Simply Delicious-themed, as I used 7 recipes for this year’s feast.
I started the cooking marathon on Tuesday 11/22 with 4-27: Mushroom-Parsnip Au Gratin–I thought parsnips would make an interesting variation on the “vegetable” dish for Thanksgiving. I also cooked this one first because I knew I could cook it most of the way, and save the final broiling for right before the dinner was served.
I don’t know much about parsnips being the “poor man’s lobster” (a quick Google search reveals butter baking cod/haddock/etc. to be the most common modern use for that term), but I’d describe them as a cross between potatoes and carrots. Too potato-y to be a carrot, but too carrot-y to be a potato.
12-14: Brown Rice Casserole doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it is very cheap to make and very filling. I made this dish before I took a trip as a meal prep and it really helped me keep my eating in check. ✅
As advertised on the card, this dish is hearty enough to be a meal in itself. I did eat it with a side of pepperoni slices, but the majority of the meal was this casserole. 🌾