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.
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.
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.
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 4colors 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. ⏳
Looking for a way to use up some leftover chicken for breakfast or lunch? 5-14: Thai Chicken Omelette doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, but makes for a light yet hearty meal. Omelettes are something Simply Delicious does quite a bit of (5-33: Omelette Stacks with Rice, 5-21: Omelette with Herbs, or 5-9: Swiss Cheese and Crouton Omelette are just a few examples), but this one’s definitely a decent take on it. Simply Delicious mentions the Thai cuisine featuring lots of fruits and vegetables, but this recipe doesn’t have much in the way of produce, other than maybe the bean sprouts. Try substituting sautéed squash or carrots for a vegetarian alternative to the chicken.
Here’s a simple dessert that’s easy for a dinner, gift, or even just a snack. 16-9: Raspberry Tart is exactly what it sounds like–pie crust in a tart pan filled with raspberry preserves and topped with bits of dough. Simply Delicious uses a simple drop method for the dough topping, but I think we can do better than that. 🌟
Why did anyone think that amorphous blobs of dough were an acceptable tart topping? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Simply Delicious is introducing me to so many newculinaryterms. 6-46: Chicken Breasts Veronique was a new one for me. 🍇 The definition of “Veronique” is explained below:
Chicken and grapes isn’t the most obvious combination, not in 🇺🇸 American-style cuisine anyway. This dish is definitely influenced by 🇫🇷 French cuisine. I’ve eaten chicken and grapes before in Middle-Eastern styled recipes as well.
4-3: French Potato Gratin is a great side dish for a dinner. It was easy to make and it only takes one pan to cook this recipe.
Jamie made notes on this recipe that I completely ignored. I used the mandoline to cut the potatoes and I used 9 medium/small potatoes.
Editor’s note: I did indeed make notes on this, from when I made this for a fancy dinner for my family during Spring Break of 2009. I stand by my recommendation of using the food processor, but you do you, boo.
Stew happens to be one of my favorite dishes. 😍 It contains all the things I really enjoy: tender meat, vegetables, and gravy. That being said, even though it’s the opposite of springtime right now, 10-1: Springtime Lamb Stew was right up my alley.
I’ve never been to the Provence region of France to try this style of cooking in it’s natural habitat, so learn more from someone who has. 🇫🇷
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.
I 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. ♻