20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

Consider 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces to be the advanced version of 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces. There’s probably something that bridges the two better (whatever 20-14 is, but I don’t have that card in my collection), so 5-4: Eggs Benedict will have to do. This set of recipes is part of the Cooking School, the back section of Simply Delicious that provides instructions in basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that any skilled cook should be familiar with.

Like I said in 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces, Hollandaise and its variations comprise one  of the five mother sauces, a big part of French cuisine. Mastering it (and the others) is one of the marks of an accomplished and talented chef. I’ve always appreciated a well-made butter sauce, and these variations are intriguing–I’d be interested in eventually trying each one out.

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5-4: Eggs Benedict

5-4: Eggs Benedict

I believe in a couple of things–nobody’s perfect, and all things eventually balance out. My experience with this recipe, 5-4: Eggs Benedict, especially relative to how the rest of the meal went, encapsulates both of those ideas. In the days leading up to making this Mother’s Day brunch (MD2017), I knew I needed to practice two things before the big day: poaching eggs and hollandaise sauce–I’ve had trouble with both in the past. Guess what I didn’t do?

I procrastinated on practicing both my egg poaching and my hollandaise, and those were my failure points on this recipe. After the jump, you can read about what went really well (my homemade English muffins) and what didn’t (my broken hollandaise sauce, for one).

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20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

It took over 3 years and almost 300 entries, but I’ve finally cracked the final untouched category of Simply Delicious–the very last one, Group 20: Basic Recipes. These are part of the Cooking School segment in the back of the book, teaching you basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that you’ll need to be an experienced cook. This recipe, 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces covers the basics of butter sauces, which you can expand upon with 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces.

Hollandaise is one of the five mother sauces, a big part of French cuisine. Mastering it (and the others) is one of the marks of an accomplished and talented chef. I’ve been cooking for a long time and I’m still working on mastering this one.

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17-23: Mocha Éclairs

17-23: Mocha Éclairs

As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs.  My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.

I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.

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5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

Finally, one from the “revisited” pile–those are recipes I’ve already made before, but am making again for the sake of this project5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes were one of the appetizers I made for a Valentine’s Day 80’s party I talked about in 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds–I thought these little cheese tarts seemed very 1980s.

They’re not kidding about the “fragile” part when it comes to these tartlettes–I originally made these for this project back in July of 2016, but the whole operation went so poorly that I abandoned it and never even posted about it. Now that I’ve bought the proper equipment and ingredients for it, it went much smoother.

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16-24: French Chocolate Cake

16-24: French Chocolate Cake

I recently attended a baby shower for a former co-worker and took it as an opportunity to knock out two more Simply Delicious desserts: 16-39: Apricot Tart and this one, 16-24: French Chocolate Cake. I wanted to bring something fruit/nut and something just plain chocolate, since some people there had nut allergies and others might just want something simple and chocolate.

This was a combination birthday party/baby shower (same person being honored for both), which will hopefully explain the odd decorations on my version of the cake. I’ve spared you pictures of the worst of my decoration choices, but let’s just say I made liberal use of all 4 colors of a grocery store icing kit. I kept meaning to hit a craft store for better cake decorations (or even Amazon), but time got away from me. ⏳

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16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie

16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie

Whenever I think of lemons, I can’t help but think of Lemongrab from Adventure Time, my favorite, lemon-insipred, animated character. From my research, there are two other major characters who are lemon-themed, Lemon Meringue from “doll commercial hidden in a cartoon” Strawberry Short Cake and Honey Lemon, one of the main characters from Big Hero 6, a 3D animated feature film released by Disney in 2014 . I haven’t had a chance to check this movie out yet, but if it ever pops up on Netflix, I’d watch it. Now that my rant about cartoon characters is complete, enjoy this entry about 16-54: Lemony Cottage Cheese Pie, a really weird lemony pie. 🍋

Serving this pie on top of a tapestry featuring a creepy little girl must somehow enhance the flavor of this otherwise weird lemony pie. The background tapestry is probably the most interesting and tasteful part of the entire photograph. 

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15-18: Chocolate Favorites

15-18: Chocolate Favorites

Cold desserts are not my area of expertise, but I gave it a shot for this recipe. ❄ 15-18: Chocolate Favorites were a hit! I really just got a kick out of saying “Chocolate Favorite” when describing these little treats. 🍫

15-18-chocolate-favorites_page_1Bite sized pastries are the best! These two layers did come out as intended, a one-two punch of chocolate flavors. This recipe did indeed make me want to rejoice. 😆

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15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe

15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe

The other of two desserts that I made for this year’s Thanksgiving (TGV 2016) was 15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe (the first was 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte). With my family, it’s REQUIRED that there be a chocolate dessert option when having a big dinner, so I decided to give this one a whirl–I thought it’d be a nice contrast of flavors and textures when compared to the other options (the aforementioned torte and a pumpkin pie my mom made). 🍫

15-49-chocolate-pudding-deluxeThis was the third dish I made, continuing the Wednesday 11/23 portion of my holiday cooking marathon. Since the pudding needed to chill, I thought letting it rest in the fridge overnight would give it the best chance of holding together when served the next day. 🍮

Other dishes I made on this night (Wed. 11/23): the dressing for 1-10: Seafood Louisiana Cocktail, cranberry sauce, 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte, and a roasted garlic & herb butter to serve with 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls.

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5-5: Individual Ham Quiches

5-5: Individual Ham Quiches

I wasn’t about to go out and buy mini quiche pans just to cook 5-5: Individual Ham Quiches. Taking the alternative route, I made this dish as one, full-sized quiche.

5-5-individual-ham-quiches_page_1I believe the card puts it best. At this point I’m not quite “fortunate enough to own small oven-proof quiche pans,” so a full-sized pie pan will do. If you use a foil pie pan, there is a lot less cleanup when the quiche is done, just toss the foil pan in the recycling. ♻

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