It’s a new year, and it’s also been a long time since I’ve covered any of the Cooking School portion of the back of the Simply Delicious cookbook. One of the featured topics is 18-3: Good Kitchen Knives, essential tools for any cook. I’ve had a lot of terrible knives, and I’ve got a long way to go until I make jaws drop with my knife collection, but I’ve got a few that are not too shabby. 🔪
I’m going to try NOT to make this a “look at all my cool knives” kind-of-a-thing, because honestly, my collection isn’t all that Internet-impressive–I don’t have a ton of trendy Japanese pieces or massive cleavers, because I just don’t cook that way too often. Plus, I feel about knives like I feel about cars–give me a broken-in cheap old workhorse over a shiny speedster you’re afraid to scratch up any day of the week. 🚙
Editor’s note: Happy New Year! We start the new year by finishing up a bit of old business from last year!
My second apple recipe for this year’s holiday gifts (XMAS 16) is 17-40: Apple Rolls. These “not too sweet” rolls contain an apple wedge wrapped inside a savory dough, covered with sesame seeds. I made a double sized batch of these rolls. Thankfully, the instructions are very good and I’ve practiced with yeast enough times to make a pretty decent dough.
I wish I had taken the advice from the front of the card and used chopped pecans instead of sesame seeds.
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.
I’m counting 1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana as the fourth dish I made of this year’s 7-recipe Thanksgiving cooking marathon (TGV 2016) , but its components actually spanned a few days (and a few cooks). This was one of three appetizers I made for my Thanksgiving dinner–the others being a crudité & hummus platter and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket.
My mom was always big on the idea of “shrimp cocktail” as being necessary for Thanksgiving dinner appetizers (it was always part of her family’s holiday dinner when she was growing up), so in order to honor that idea, I chose this recipe.
As I mentioned above, I’m counting this as the fourth dish I made–it spanned Wed. 11/23 and Thu. 11/24 as different components had varying levels of make-in-advance-ability. My sous chef made the dressing and prepped shrimp the first night, while I assembled the dish itself right before serving the next day.
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. 🇫🇷
One of the two desserts I made for this year’s Thanksgiving (TGV 2016) was 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte (the other was 15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe). I wanted something “of the season”, and this seemed like a cross between apple pie and fruitcake.
This was the second dish I made, starting off the Wednesday 11/23 portion of my holiday cooking marathon. Since this cake holds well at room temperature, I planned to just slightly underbake it, and then finish it off for 5-10 minutes in a preheated oven to warm it up for dessert on the day of the holiday.
If I hadn’t made this for Thanksgiving, I think it’d make a great gift (mailed or delivered in person) or potluck dish, especially for an office or somewhere where it would sit for a while. Even though Thanksgiving is over for the year, it’s totally still the season for a cake like this one.
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.
Everything I needed to learn about making 4-18: French Vegetable Casserole was told to me by Remy the animated rat, star of Ratatouille. I know…the editors of Simply Delicious call this dish “French Vegetable Casserole” to make the name more palatable for Middle America. 🇫🇷
The card mentions that the dish is referred to as “ratatouille” in its area of origin.
Editor’s note:I did the underlining you see above when I realized this recipe was “ratatouille”. I’ve made this recipe before, a year or two prior to embarking on this project. I even watched Ratatouille on my laptop while I made it. 🐀
I made another “New Orleans” recipe at the same time as this one–you can go back and read 12-29: New Orleans Beans and Pasta for what is essentially a pasta version of this dish. Either one is a hearty and relatively inexpensive meal. Since the two share a lot of ingredients, consider making both–they store and reheat well. 💰