Sunday, July 20, 2008

animal, vegetable or mineral?

I have a small spiral-bound notebook that was a gift from Amy a few years ago. It is long and thin, with a cord to hold it closed and an illustration of a very tall dark-haired girl in an apron holding a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. It says "Gourmet Girl" at the bottom. I transformed this binder into my Master Recipe Database. I divided it up into sections using sticky tabs, and I used the same chapter divisions from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks, which I consider to be the most well-organized basic cookbook that I own. It's basically alphabetical by major categories, and it really works for me. Under each section I list all the recipes I have tried (at least the ones I consider a success) and where that recipe can be found. They could be in a cookbook, on Epicurious, or in one of my six recipe binders or two recipe boxes. I can scan, for instance, the Salads section and know where my best coleslaw recipe is (Dark Recipe Box under Salads), or where that spinach and pecan salad came from (The Nashville Cookbook, page 116).

A few months ago, I was apparently bored (?) and went through this little notebook and gave each recipe that I remembered a grade. A letter grade, like in school, from F on up to A+. Actually, I don't think I have any Fs or Ds in there, why would I have written it down in the book if it was that much of a failure? But I might have marked some Cs on recipes that Austin liked much more than I did. I only put A or A+ on dishes that I consider to be Ultimate Classics, foods I will make again and again, things that would be a signature triumph.

So, for your reading pleasure, the A and A+ list from Delaney's Recipe Repertoire:

Appetizers:

King's Hawaiian Crab Dip A+
Black Pepper Almonds A+
Slice and Bake Cheese Straws
Herbed Olives
Taco Dip
Spring Rolls

Beans, Rice and Grains:
Parmesan Rice
Tostadas
Rice Cakes
Curried Couscous with Roasted Vegetables
Cheesy Grits

Beverages:
Plantation Tea
Summer Watermelon Situation
Bethany's Mom's Tequila Punch A+
Margarita Watermelon A+

Breads:
French Toast
Hush Puppies
Hoecakes A+
Stuffing with Cinnamon Bread
No Knead Yeast Rolls
Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread with Orange Pecan or Cinnamon Crisp Topping

Cakes:
Sticky-top Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce A+
Semisweet Chocolate Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Frosting
German Chocolate Cake
Gooey Butter Cakes
Grandma's Devil's Food Cake with Seven Minute Frosting A+
Triple Decker Strawberry Cake

Candy:
Two Minute Fudge
Gill Family Microwave Toffee
Caramel-Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de Sel A+

Cookies:
Three Layer Brownies A+
Hello Dollys
Katharine Hepburn Brownies
Orange Brownies
Rosemary Shortbread
Turtle Bars
Dad's Chocolate Chip Cookies A+

Desserts:
Berry Compote
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries and Whipped Mascarpone A+
Tiramisu
Pumpkin Creme Brulee A+
Chai Cheesecake
Orange Blossom Cheesecake with Pomegranate Raspberry Sauce
S'more Cheesecake A+

Eggs and Cheese:
Deviled Eggs A+
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Enchiladas
Scrambled Eggs with Pepperjack, basil, mushrooms, bell pepper and shallots
Fried Egg and Avocado on English Muffins

Fish:
Herb-Crusted Salmon with Dill Sauce
Crab Legs A+
Baja Style Fish Tacos
Marinated Salmon in Pepper Crust

Grilling:
Grilled Corn with Parmesan Butter A+

Meat:
Famous Pork Tenderloin
Beef Stroganoff
Caramelized Bacon A+
Taiwan Salt & Pepper Pork Chops with Sesame Noodles
Austin's Chili A+
Island Pork Tenderloin Salad
Austin's Brats A+
Italian Sausages with Peppers, Onions and Potatoes
Pulled Pork with Vinegar Sauce A+
Rory's Ribs A+
Wheeler Biscuits A+

Pasta:
Mom's Spaghetti Sauce
My Macaroni and Cheese
Cheesy Lasagna
Brandes' Lasagna
Sicilian Pasta A+
Buttered Noodles with Parmesan, Salt and Pepper A+
Baked Pasta
Spaghetti Carbonara
Penne with Sausage and Mushrooms

Pies and Tarts:
HFS Tart (Bittersweet Chocolate and Orange Tart with Toasted Almonds) A+
Caramel-Chocolate Tart with Drunken Raspberries

Poultry:
Poppyseed Chicken A+
Roast Chicken with Rosemary Mustard Sauce
Two Hour Turkey A+
Chicken Parmesan
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Salads:
Mom's Potato Salad
Herbed Salad with Grilled Balsamic Vegetables and Lemon Dill Dressing
Seven Layer Salad A+
Taco Salad
Edamame and Carrot Salad with Rice Vinegar Dressing
Salad with goat cheese, dried cherries, green apple, caramelized shallots, avocado and mustard vinaigrette
Broccoli Slaw

Sauces and Relishes:
Blackening Seasoning
Lemon-Dill Dressing A+
Best Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Relish A+
Cilantro Yogurt A+
Dulce de Leche Sauce (use for fondue)

Soups and Stews:
Spicy Tomato Soup A+

Vegetables:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions with Rosemary and Parmesan
Roasted Zucchini with Goat Cheese
Cucumbers with Sour Cream and Dill
Corn Casserole
Famous Roasted Potatoes A+
Roasted Brussels Sprouts A+
Hash Brown Casserole
Peas with Rosemary and Pine Nuts
Sweet Potato Bake
Roasted Root Vegetables
Artichokes
Herbed Summer Squash and Yukon Gold Potato Torte
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Butter A+
Oven Roasted Tomatoes A+
Cucumber (Benedictine) Sandwiches
Sweet Potato Chips
Yellow Squash with Thyme, Pine Nuts and Balsamic

Want any of these recipes? I know just where to find them. Each and every one...

5 comments:

Jenny Gill said...

What a ready reference! I want the edamame carrot salad recipe.

theblondemule said...

Oh my god. My head is spinning. In my next life, I want to come back as you. Or maybe your Kitchenaide Stand Mixer...

DJ B said...

now, cf course, you must bundle up all the A+ recipes and give them to us as Xmas presents

Casey said...

gosh, i feel lucky to have personally experienced almost all of these! (except, like, the bacon-ey ones...)

Casey said...

trent would like to note that he HAS experienced almost all of these, including my portions of the meat dishes.