The Taste of Country Cooking: Recipe Discussion, Links, & Previous Picks and Pans
June 2007 Cookbook of the Month.
Use this thread to discuss which recipes you are planning to try from The Taste of Country Cooking, by Edna Lewis.
Get tips from other hounds or list other online resources here such as recipe links. Maybe even search out other like-minded hounds and have a cook-off on the same recipe.
Feel free to post short reviews of recipes you may have already tried in this thread (picks and pans), but full length recipes should be posted in the appropriate section thread.
A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.
Thanks for participating!
the excellent Very Good Chocolate Cake, linked from the WaPo
It is very fine crumb and light. The shortening is peanut oil, and 1 c stong coffee is one of the ingredients. I used thick yogurt for sour cream, and iced it with a white butter/cream cheese "boiled frosting" instead of chocolate.
This is a great chocolate cake.
Discussion of the frosting:
Here's some more links (though not from "Taste of Country Cooking"):
Edna Lewis' Thirteen Bean Soup
Panfried Oysters With Cornmeal Coating - Stuffed Red Snapper - She-Crab Soup, Charleston-Style - Catfish Stew
"Cool Casual Outdoor Menu" from Ms. Lewis and her partner:
Edna Lewis' Christmas Fruitcake:
A Southern Thanksgiving (with Mr. Peacock) - there's a list of the menu items with links to the recipes in the sidebar titled "Recipes in This Article":
Coconut Layer Cake:
Compote of Stewed Blackberries (from Taste of Country Cooking):
Busy Day Cake or Sweet Bread (from Taste of Country Cooking):
Southern Pan-Fried Chicken (from Gift of Southern Cooking):
Bay-Studded Pork Shoulder with Sauce of Wild Mushrooms (from Gift of Southern Cooking):
Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze (from Gift of Southern Cooking):
Coconut Lane Cake:
Okra Pancakes (adapted from Gift of Southern Cooking):
Turnip Potato Soup (from Lewis and Peacock):
Sugared Raspberries (from Gift of Southern Cooking):
Here are some links... the first one is from The Taste of Country Cooking, but the rest are from other cookbooks.
Steamed Chicken, Blueberry Cake with Blueberry Sauce
Edna Lewis' profile on Epicurious
Sauteed Chicken with Hominy Casserole, from In Pursuit of Flavor
Creamed Scallions, from In Pursuit of Flavor
Apple Brown Betty, from In Pursuit of Flavor
Breakfast Shrimp for Supper, from The Gift of Southern Cooking
Okay, I failed you on this one... I can't find hardly any online recipe links from this book! I found two... only two! :-( I did find several Edna Lewis recipes, so I will go ahead and post those, but overall, I'm strugglin'! Of course, I also have the links on my computer at work so I will have to post those tomorrow. Hopefully, Dommy! can scrounge up some more links to add to my small collection.
As a small peace offering, I've paraphrased a few recipes from the book that stuck my fancy! Hopefully, you will want to cook some of them! Happy cooking everyone!
2 cups sifted flour
½ t. salt
½ cup cold lard
¼ cup cold water
Mix flour and salt; add the chilled lard and blend with a pastry blender or your fingers. When the lard is incorporated, add the water, and mix until the dough comes together. Chill for 15 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a circle to fit in 2 8-inch pie pans. Chill.
3 cups soft dark brown sugar
1/8 t. salt
2 T. sifted flour
2 eggs, separated and beaten
2 T. butter, melted
4 T. dark Karo syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup milk, at room temperature
Combine sugar, salt, and flour. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, milk, butter, and the Karo syrup, and mix well to combine. Beat the egg whites until the form soft peaks and carefully fold into the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared, chilled pie pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350° or until set. Serve warm- it will be the consistency of homemade jelly.
VIRGINIA FRIED CHICKEN WITH BROWNED GRAVY
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
2- 2 ¼ to 2 ½ lb. chickens cut into 8 pieces each
½ cup lard, at room temperature
½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 slice smoked ham (optional)
Mix the flours, salt, and pepper. Rinse the chickens off and pat them dry. Set the backs and wing tips to the side for the stock (see gravy directions). Coat each chicken piece in the flour mixture and let them sit for about an hour. Heat the lard in a skillet until almost smoking. Add the chicken pieces to the hot skillet, along with the butter and ham. Watch the chicken very carefully. The fat should cover the bottom half of the chicken pieces. Cook over a “brisk fire” for 10 to 12 minutes on each side until the chicken is golden brown.
3 chicken backs, any wing tips and feet
1 stalk celery with leaves
1 thickly sliced onion
3 cups cold water
4 T. fat from chicken pan
3 rounded T. flour
Salt and pepper
She says to prepare the stock in advance. Place the chicken backs, celery, onion, and water in a saucepan and cook for 1 hour on medium heat. Strain the stock and set aside to cool; skim fat off the top when cool. When the fried chicken is about halfway done (above), spoon 4 to 5 T. of the fat from that pan into another skillet. Heat over medium and add flour and cook until it is a medium shade of brown. Remove from heat and add 2 ½ cups chicken stock. Combine well, return to medium heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with fried chicken.
FRESH BLACKBERRY COBBLER
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
½ t. salt
½ cup lard
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup crushed cube sugar
¼ cup light cream
5 cups blackberries
4 thin slices butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 t. cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 450°. Combine the flour and salt and blend in the lard with a pastry blender until it is combined well. Add water and combine quickly into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half and let it rest for a few minutes. Roll out one piece of dough and line an 8x8x2 baking pan with it. Sprinkle the dough with 2 to 3 T. of the crushed cube sugar. Fill the crust with the blackberries. Mix the cornstarch and the granulated sugar together. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the blackberries and dot with the slices of butter. Roll out the second piece of dough and cover the blackberries with it, sealing the edges of the two sheets of dough with water. Cut a few slits in the top layer of dough. Brush the top with the cream and sprinkle the rest of the cube sugar over the top. Put the cobbler in the preheated oven and turn down to 425° and bake for 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH SLICED TOMATOES
1 lb. green beans
¼ cup vinegar
½ cup olive oil
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
2 t. grated onion
Lettuce, tomato, 1 T. chervil
Trim the ends off the beans, wash, and boil, uncovered for 12 minutes in a large pot of salted water. Drain the beans and shock them in ice water for 2 minutes. Remove the beans and pat them dry. Combine vinaigrette ingredients. Bundle the beans together and place in a dish; pour the vinaigrette over the beans and let marinate for a half hour. Place the marinated beans on lettuce and garnish with the tomatoes and chervil.
3 lbs. spareribs
3 T. brown sugar
5 T. honey
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 t. salt
6 T. sweet sherry
½ cup strained chili sauce
½ T. finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
Combine marinade ingredients. Put the spareribs in a pan with water just to cover the ribs. Let simmer for about 1 ½ hours or until tender. Cool ribs and then brush with the marinade. Let marinate for 1 hour, but not any longer. Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the ribs on a wire rack in a roasting pan and place in the oven, turning the temperature down to 350°. Bake for 20 minutes; baste with the soy sauce and honey, and return to bake 4 to 5 more minutes.
re: Katie Nell
Thanks again for the work, Katie.
Unfortunately, I found NO copies of the book at the Berkeley Public Library. In fact, ALL of Edna Lewis' books were labeled "missing"
In Oakland, they have one copy, but it's reserved upon return. Probably by a Chowhounder. So again I'll be depending on the kindness of strangers. Thanks a bunch for the starter recipes.
That's interesting . . . the Los Angeles Library has 2 copies of the original, and around 10 of the new edition, and at the time I put in my hold request, most of them were available -- it's interesting to me how different library systems make different cookbook purchases. So far, all the books we've picked for the cookbook of the month, they've had in L.A. The only one I had trouble getting was Arabesque, but I think that was because it was new and I had to wait 4 weeks for a copy to become available. Does S.F. have a separate library system from Oakland and Berkeley? Maybe they'll have it?
Edited to add: I'm really interested to hear about people's experiences with this book. Of all the areas of cooking, I have to say the one I've tried least is "country" or "Southern" cooking -- am looking forward to experimenting, but will also appreciate hearing about the recipes that others have tried from this book that they really liked.
Well, L.A. is about 800 times bigger than Oakland, Berkeley or even SF. I will check SF, but it's a drag to have to go all the way over there to get the book...and then return it. Whine, whine, whine.
Oakland DOES have a couple of her other books and so I may be attempting to get those. They are, however, not at the main branch. Rewhine, rewhine, etc.
I guess I could wait outside the library door and, when the person who's reserved it comes out, grab the book and run.
guess I'm lucky; I can reserve books at any library in my county (Westchester in NY) and it shows up at my local branch (and I can return it there). It really helps with these cook books. Amazing, there's something that we are more "advanced" in than the Bay area (where I lived and loved it for many years and where I envy you all your weather/produce/ and lots of other things) :)
Well, not so fast, DG, we can do the same AND get library books from other libraries such as Stanford and UC Berkeley. However, I don't know if we can do SF, since it's in a different county. I'll have to check interlibrary loans. My husband uses it all the time for his esoteric research.
My husband snickers that one get books from other branches of the Oakland library sent to the main branch near our house.
I'm particularly eager to make the stewed (creamed) scallions on one of the Epi links. Sounds like a recipe guaranteed to rush you to the local cardiovascular unit!
My library doesn't carry this particular book either but it does have The Gift of Southern Cooking, Edna's collaboration w/ Scott Peacock. I got it last week and have really enjoyed looking through it! Very inspiring and makes me want to learn more about the authors' backgrounds and evolution of their relationship. I was inspired to make a modified version of their deviled eggs which was devilishly good! I'll have to post that report this weekend...
re: Carb Lover
I've had great luck with Ms Lewis' FRIED CHICKEN out of The GIFT book, which is same as Katie Nell paraphrased above, but with a brining then overnight buttermilk soak for the chicken. Yeah, the lard combo is the way to go for frying chicken!
My occasional variations include sage (and thyme..which may be in Gift) and a bigger dose of s+p in the dredging flour, and occasionally Tabasco in the buttermilk (gf likes that better, but I don't)
You know people are just stealing this book in Oakland 'cause it's goooood. I've seen the reissue in paperback recently....
THANK YOU ALL FOR THE GREAT LINKS!
re: Katie Nell