Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you’re think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.
I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.
Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).
The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates
Here’s a very basic dessert recipe: 14-21: Pear Pandowdy. Pandowdies are typically made with apples, but Simply Delicious offers a pear variation which is also popular. Both are in season right now, so either one would work for this recipe if you’re looking for something to do with all of that fall produce.
An old-fashioned favorite, the pandowdy is, by definition, a cooked fruit dessert sweetened with maple syrup or molasses and topped with a pie pastry. The name refers to the act of “dowdying” the crust — that is, breaking it up with a knife and pressing it into the bubbling juices — midway through baking. While it’s not the prettiest of pastries, what it lacks in streamlined good looks it more than makes up for in rich flavor.
Yankee Magazine, August 2020
Let’s see how close Simply Delicious gets to their definition. They sell this thing much better than I do.
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.
A LOT of the dessert recipes in Simply Delicious feature almonds, and 14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears is a perfect example of these type of “semi-fancy” recipes. I’m not sure why almonds are featured so heavily in the book (or 1980s cuisine in general), but I suppose it’s to lend a sense of haute cuisine to something that would be (in reality) executed in a home kitchen.
The 1980s were all about stylish and flashy veneers without much to back it up underneath, even when it came to food, and this recipe is a perfect encapsulation of it. The fancy top covers up the cheap canned pears underneath, dazzling you with a hint of something high-class to distract you from the less impressive core which makes up the bulk of the dessert. Maybe some things should have just stayed in the 80s.
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.
We’ve covered lasagna dishes on this site before, and 13-15: Vegetarian Lasagna introduces yet another variation of the traditional dish by eschewing tomatoes completely. This version is similar to the Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna that my aunt used to bring to dinners all the time as a “homemade dish”. This has no tomato sauce, instead going for cheese and spinach layered between lasagna noodles.
There’s also onions and olives in there as well (I LOVE olives), as well as…chili sauce? I’m not sure why they thought chili sauce was a good addition to this recipe, but at least you can adjust it based on preference.
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.
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? 🤔
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 think 14-9: Glazed Crêpes with Pears might be my final untested crêpe recipe from Simply Delicious–but there may be others in there. I’ll even give you a quick spoiler (since this recipe is kind of boring…another spoiler) for upcoming posts–there are more recipes out there than what I had originally. I know because I found (and purchased) some in a local Goodwill.
I’ve still got quite a few posts to go before I dig into some of the *NEW* recipes (and show you the book they came in), but for now, you can read aboutyetanothercrêperecipe after the jump. But this time, with pears! And glaze!