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Bon Appetit Y'All by Virginia Willis... The thread

In response to several suggestions I'm starting this thread so that I can report on the recipes I make as I periodically work my own individual way through this cookbook. I sincerely hope others will be encouraged to post results of their own experiences with Ms. Willis' sweet, nostalagic book.

I'll preface this by saying that of necessity I have to adapt the prep for these recipes to my situation. Namely, I can no longer stand at the stove and make traditional Risottos and Polenta. Believe me, I have made my share of those, I assure you. I'll be baking them in the oven instead of stirring over the stove top. Also, I'm going to trim back the amount of butter, oil, cream, salt, etc. Nuts will not be used unless they can be pulverized. I think these adaptations will not diminish the flavor and taste of the recipes.... that has not happened in the past.

This is a lovely book and I am looking forward to a month of good eating and sharing the experience with all of you who would like to participate.
Bon Appetit, Y'All!!

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  1. Aunt Lee's Macaroni and Cheese, Ch. 7: Grits, Rice, Pasta, Potatoes, Pg. 166

    For last Friday night's Lenten dinner we made the quintessential southern Mac & Cheese recipe. 5 ingredients " all mixed up in the dish till it looks right," says Ms. Willis' Aunt Lee.

    >Bring water for the macaroni to a boil and add 2 cups of elbows. I used 1 lb. of Ziti and increased the other ingredients accordingly, but I'll give the original amounts here.
    >Preheat the oven to 350F and butter a casserole dish.
    >In a large bowl combine the drained macaroni, 2 cups whole milk
    (I used 2%), 2 lightly beaten large eggs, 8 oz. cubed extra sharp cheddar, Kosher salt and FGBpepper. Mix it all up then transfer to the casserole.
    >Bake for 25 minutes or till bubbly golden brown.

    She advises leaving it a bit longer if you want the topping to be "dark, chewy, cheesy." We didn't. This couldn't have been easier or quicker and it was absolutely delicious. Dh had 3 servings and declared he had no room for the salad I had prepared.....

    NB: I did use the extra sharp cheddar but added cubed Fontina as well.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Classic Cole Slaw, Ch. 2: Salads and Slaws, Pg. 35

      Apparently this is a classic slaw in Georgia. There are 3 kinds of southern slaws:

      BBQ from western North Carolina, Mustard slaw from western South Carolina &

      eastern North Carolina and this Classic one....

      The dressing is made first and consists of:
      1/4 cup sugar - I used less
      1/2 cup mayo - I used TJ's organic..she recommends her homemade on pg. 282
      1/4 cup buttermilk
      juice of 1 lemon
      1 T apple cider vinegar
      1 t grated Vidalia onion - I used a large white
      1/2 t dry mustard - I used Penzey's "Oriental"
      Then...:
      about 2 cups cored & shredded red cabbage...
      2 cups green cabbage...I used all red cabbage
      1 shredded carrot
      Kosher salt & FGBpepper

      Everything except the cabbage and carrot is combined in a large bowl and

      whisked till smooth. The cabbage & carrot are then added, mixed well and

      seasoned with salt and pepper.
      Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

      Taste & season with S & P if necessary.

      Ms. Willis recommends using this slaw with Pulled Pork Sandwiches, pg. 81, but I

      served it with the Catfish Sloppy Joes from the Fish book which is the current

      COTM. I'll be making this cole slaw again.

      1. re: Gio

        this slaw sounds like the kfc clone recipe in that it uses buttermilk, and is slightly sweet. i love kfc cole slaw. http://www.cajuncookingrecipes.com/cl...

        KFC Cole Slaw Clone Recipe

        8 cups finely chopped cabbage
        1/4 cup carrot, shredded
        1/3 cup sugar
        1/2 teas. salt
        1/8 teas. pepper
        1/4 cup milk
        1/2 cup mayonaise
        1/4 cup buttermilk
        1 1/2 tbls. white vinegar
        2 1/2 tbls. lemon juice

        ~~~~~
        but, with all due respect to mrs. willis, i don't know of "classic" southern cole slaw using but just a wee bit of (if any) red cabbage.

        1. re: alkapal

          That recipe from KFC is scary! They are the same recipe except fot the 1/4 cup of milk. The statement by Ms Willis about the slaws is in the intro notes to the recipe. i wonder who is copying who. Thanks for that Alka!!

          1. re: Gio

            i could eat a quart of that slaw at one sitting. maybe with some fried chicken or pulled pork. mmmm, that sounds like good eating for today! oh, add a couple of good fluffy biscuits, too.

            1. re: alkapal

              I love KFC coleslaw too!!! seriously, It just tastes good! I could just sit and eat it while watching a movie...

        2. re: Gio

          Had some leftover cabbage so thought I’d give the Classic Cole Slaw a try. I followed the recipe as written, except that since I was using up leftovers, I used only green cabbage, not a combination of white and green as called for. And I made my own mayonnaise according to her recipe on page 282. This is the first cole slaw I’ve ever made that I really liked. Most are too vinegary or have caraway seeds and I’ve just never been happy with any of them. I wonder how much of it had to do with the homemade mayo? If nothing else, this was a great reminder of how good the homemade stuff really is and how easy it is to do. She says the cabbage should be “finely shredded” and I may have gone a bit overboard in that direction; next time I’ll try shredding a bit less finely and see if I like it even better.

          Funny, Gio, that you served it as a side for a “Fish Without a Doubt” recipe. So did I. I served it with Broiled Bluefish Dijonnaise, which calls for a mayo/Dijon topping. I was somewhat concerned that the two dishes with mayo and mustard might seem terribly unbalanced, but they were really terrific together.

           
        3. re: Gio

          I made this tonight Gio, also using 2% milk, and it was somewhat watery. I did use a reduced-fat sharp cheese in a bid to cut the calories a bit. Could that have been the problem, do you think?

          1. re: greedygirl

            I'm making it right now - it's in the oven - and it seems like way too much milk for the amount of pasta. Perhaps Gio may have used 2 cups of milk for her 1 lb. of pasta, instead of 2 cups of milk to 2 cups of dry pasta? (I'm going by the recipe as she paraphrased it above).

            Or did you make it from the cookbook recipe and it still turned out thin, greedygirl?

            1. re: chompy

              I used two cups of milk to 400g of pasta. I left it in the oven for a bit longer (maybe 10 more minutes) after my panic-post and it thickened up. Mr GG loved this - I thought it was just OK, but I think I might like it better if I followed the recipe more closely and used full-fat milk and cheese!

              1. re: greedygirl

                I used four cups of milk to four cups of pasta (probably somewhere around your 400g) and ended up having to bake it almost an hour, but it the end it turned out OK. (I guess this is the danger of not having the cookbook). Anyhow, it was fairly tasty.

          2. re: Gio

            As you know, I'm a newbie to this book and haven't cooked all that much from it yet. But fixed this last night and it's another winner, isn't it??? I did a half recipe for the two of us. Had it as a side with a little steak. Had a power failure right before dinner so it was all ready and we ate by (major) candlelight. This is my favorite combination - good and easy. Oh, yeah, and cheese.

          3. Ooh, yay, I'm picking this book up from the library on my way home tonight! Can't wait!

            1. I will be posting on this thread later. I've had the books for a few months and have cooked several things in it, really enjoy it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bayoucook

                Oh I'm so glad you and Katie Nell are going to be cooking from this book, and, I'm glad that you're excited about the recipes. I have a list a mile long to try. Tonight we're making the Pork Chops with Dried Plums. Can't wait.

              2. Hey Gio, thank you for starting this thread. It sounds like a lovely cookbook. Curious--you mention that you'll be trimming back the amount of butter, oil, and cream in the recipes. Not having seen this book, I will say that one of my concerns was that it might be heavier on the butter and fat than my lifestyle permits, as well as lower on whole grains. Totally unfair of me to make this assumption, but for those who have seen and cooked from this book, what is your impression about how "light" the recipes are? Are a lot of them pretty heavy on the cream and butter?

                ~TDQ

                1 Reply
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Well, she does use butter, cream etc. and the occasional buttermilk, but I don't think it's any heavier on the fats than other recipes I've encountered. Many or her dishes are French based and as such relfect that cuisine. I always "trim back" the fats....LOL

                  Here's a link to 17 of her recipes or those inspired by her cooking.
                  http://projects.eveningedge.com/recip...

                  And - here's the recipe page at her web site:
                  http://www.virginiawillis.com/recipes...

                2. Picked this one up at the library today in honor of your efforts Gio. I hope to be able to get a look at it this week and start cooking from it next week. I seem to be in the midst of a bit of kitchen ennui, but I have a feeling fellow hounds can nudge me out of it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LulusMom

                    That's great, LLM.... Thank you Very much!
                    The recipes are simple but loaded with flavor. I hope you'll enjoy them. They all seem to be the essence of Comfort Food. We all need some comfort every now and then. Mostly now, (n_n)

                  2. Here are a few things I've made from the book that we loved:
                    Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar page 105 -
                    Chicken Saltimbocca with Country Ham page 112 - used Serrano ham (so good!!)
                    Fried Catfish Fingers with Country Remoulade page 129- loved as an appetizer
                    Shrimp with Parmigiano-Reggiano Grits and Tomatoes page 139 - HAVE MADE THIS THREE TIMES ALREADY - it is just delicious, didn't change a thing.
                    Mama's Mayonnaise Biscuits page 206 - used Hellman's regular - yum
                    Gulf Coast Oyster Chowder page 238 - have made twice, delicious
                    Potato and Cheddar Soup with Bacon Croutons page 241

                    Have many more tagged recipes to cook out of there, just love the cookbook.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bayoucook

                      This is really helpful bayoucook, thanks. Always good to know certain recipes have been successful.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        They really are. I almost never go exactly by a recipe, but these recipes aren't
                        "broken", they really work!

                      2. re: bayoucook

                        BC....
                        I *was* going to make the Fried Catfish with Country Remoulade for last night's dinner so sent DH out with a shopping list which included Catfish fillets. Well, TDB (the dear boy) came home with the catfish, all right, but it was in a "Cajun Marinade". Oh the horror.
                        I had never eaten catfish and was excited to try this recipe.

                        Nevertheless, he cooked it on the indoor grill pan and I do have to admit it was quite delicious. I had expected it to have that muddy taste that I've read others dislike. But no... it was very nice. The String Beans with Tomatoes will be made tonight with some chicken recipe I have not yet decided on.

                        BTW: Our fish monger has a restaurant in his establishment and I suspect he has Cajun Catfish on the menu and made some extra for the market. I'm not willing to think that the catfish was not a daily catch and therfore Needed the marinade.....It certainly tasted fresh.

                      3. Hi Gio. Another one similar to this is Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose.
                        I got it the same time I got Bon Appetit Y'all and it's good, too. You may want to go to Amazon and check it out.

                        1. This book appeals to me. Just ordered from Amazon. Thanks.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: margshep

                            Great! Maybe we'll start a thread on that one next. Haven't cooked from it yet, but have tagged a LOT of recipes.

                            1. re: margshep

                              margshep - I see you're from Canada. You like Southern cooking?
                              It's interesting to me because I'm a life-long Southerner. I have always loved Southern food and now am enjoying what these fabulous Southern cooks are doing with it.
                              I (and my family) always thought I'd move to another country (probably Europe) to live, but I just want to stay in my southern home on the bayou. Well, stay in it sometimes...
                              we travel a LOT.

                              1. re: bayoucook

                                I have always considered southern cooking the ultimate comfort food. Spent about a year in N'Orlins.

                                1. re: margshep

                                  You certainly got the "real" of it in N'Orlins. We live about 1 1/2 hours from there,
                                  go frequently (husband's from there).

                            2. Pork Chops with Dried Plums, Ch.4, Beef Pork Lamb, Pg. 84

                              Well y'all know that dried plums are really prunes, don't you...?
                              The recipe calls for 1 - 8 to 10 oz. bone-in 3/4" chop per person and let me tell you that's a lot of meat! I used 2 chops but made the full sauce recipe. The chops are seasoned with salt and pepper and placed in a hot skillet with 1T canola oil. Cook till browned on both sides - about 7 minutes - place on a warm platter and set aside.

                              For the sauce:
                              Using the same skillet the chops were cooked in and the pan drippings, sauté 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic "till fragrant." Add 12 dried, pitted, halved dried plums and combine with garlic. Add 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth and 1 t chopped fresh thyme. Raise the heat and reduce the sauce by half. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the record, I use Tellecherry peppercorns.

                              To serve: Pour the sauce over each chop.

                              Ms Willis suggests a side dish of polenta but since I had some leftover Jasmine rice I made Mai Pham's fried rice recipe and a simple mixed vegetable stir fry. All in all a very tasty. flavorful meal. That sauce was excellent!!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                Thank you! I tried this last night and it was as close to *eyes rolling back* good that I can achieve. (There's something about food made by someone else that makes it taste better.)

                                1. re: jaykayen

                                  You're Welcome! I'm so glad you liked this recipe. I'm a little behind with reporting but wait till you hear about the Pan Fried Pork Chops with Pan Sauce..... Molto bene....y'all.

                              2. Thanks for posting this thread Gio, old Southern Cooking is of special interest to me.
                                I reserved the book from my library and can't wait to try it out!
                                I was just looking through River Road Recipes this morning!

                                18 Replies
                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  River Road Recipes?? What? A cookbook I haven't heard of? LOL

                                  You're welcome ChefC. I hope you like what you see in BAY'A. So far, so good for us.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    baton rouge junior league! get it here (and the second one, as well). http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Searc...

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I Googled for it yesterday. Do you have it? Do you like it? I have 3 of Chef Paul's books and have only cooked from one so far. Do I really need another southern cookbook? Oh, and I also have Frank Stitt's book, "Southern Table", too. I'm running out of time.....

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I LOVE RIVER ROAD RECIPES!!! mine must have 500 bookmark stickies. (ok, maybe i exaggerate a little). but... it looks like a porcupine, i swear!

                                        (chef paul, as in prudhomme? the river road food is different. it is home cooking southern style -- not really cajun or creole focused).

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          OK... That's good to know. I'll see if my library network has it before I commit
                                          to yet another southern cookbook. Should that be a capital S?

                                          (Yes... as in Prudhomme.)

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            no capital s. unfortunately ;-). but one does say, the South.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              I'd have River Road for what seems like decades and it is well used.
                                              Let us know how you like it. Another two I love are Charleston Receipts and Come On In.

                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                i agree that charleston receipts is also a "must have". i also like "come on in." the problem is, i get so hungry reading all these wonderful recipes, and cannot possibly make them all!

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Me too! And Come On In even made me teary here and there with the little stories told there. My go-to Marinated Shrimp (p. 21) is a staple, as is Oyster Artichoke Dip (39), the Chilled Shrimp Dill-Cucumber Bisque (43), the Creamy Greek Salad Dressing (74), and the pimento-cheese recipes on 221. Looking through it just now, I see several (many) tagged recipes to make, so I'm keeping it out. So much food....so little time!

                                            2. re: alkapal

                                              A porcupine? Why I think there might just be a recipe in that book for porkypine!
                                              This book is a gem, I use this book for cole slaw, bbq sauce,jambalaya, De Luxe chicken A LA King, Shrimp Fricasee, BBQ lima beans, taffy tarts and the 1958 Louisianna Yambilee Prize winning recipe for Yam Pecan Pie was the start of me making the best Sweet Potato pie ever, I like mine better, but this one is a prize winner so... that's just a few. Every time I look at this book I find another recipe that I missed and try, or I put my own twist on it. Its the most used cb book in the house I think (well one of them!)

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                Are you talking about "Charleston Receipts" or "Come on In"?

                                                Gevalt! I haven't even started cooking from BAYA and I'm thinking of buying another book?!? I think I need an intervention!

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Me JoanN?

                                                  No River Road Recipes,is by The Junior League of Baton Rouge, its a composite of recipes from The River Road, from Baton Rounge along the Mississippi River to New Orleans, a section famous for its good cooking. ( I'm reading the foreward!) Or Creole cooking.
                                                  Not a book by professional chefs or cooks, mainly family recipes from that area.

                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                    and Charleston Receipts is by The Junior League of Charleston, so lots of low country cooking in there - one of my faves, too.

                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                      Really I didn't know about that book. Is it so vastly different than the River Road book that I need it?

                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                          yep. charleston receipts is low country vs. the river road's baton rouge southern home cookin'. different.

                                                          you. must. have. both. books. even if just to compare. charleston receipts is historic, too. ;-).

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            cool, thanks, I'll get it then. I love the history that goes along with the recipes.

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              I've really enjoyed reading Charleston Receipts as well - I picked up a copy from the early Seventies over Christmas.

                                    2. Just received my copy of Bon Appetit Y'All (boy that was fast shipping!!!)
                                      Have not cooked anything yet of course, but I can tell you.....THIS IS MY KIND OF FOOD....!!!!!
                                      Has this ever been COTM? If not, I hereby nominate it. :-)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: margshep

                                        I may have nominated it, I'll check...I think we should, if not!

                                      2. Just nominated it for COTM (deadline is April 7) for May. Join me?

                                        1. Yo, Gio. Since this is your very own outlaw thread, why, shucks, it ain't limited to only "a month of good eating" as you say in your post. This could run forever!

                                          PS: What happened to your hat?

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: yayadave

                                            April Food.... Er, I mean Fool.

                                            Looks like we have a runaway renagade. I had no idea this book would cause such a sensation. Seems like we hit a soft spot. Who knew Southern food would be so enchanting.

                                            Please don't tell me I need to buy River Road Recipes. Never mind. I already know the answer. OOOXXX

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              There seem to be new ones available on Albris. DO NOT ask me how I know. There must be a twelve step program for this cookbook acquisitiveness affliction.

                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                But,.there are FOUR River Roads cookbooks!
                                                RRR1, the original
                                                RRR2, is Cajun
                                                RRR3 is a compilation of Creole & Cajun.
                                                RRR4 has celebratory menus and recipes for special occasions.
                                                Oy Vey!

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  And I'm sure the boxed set will look just lovely on your shelves. ;->

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Well, Alkapal is helping the whole situation by adding a reason to buy Charleston Receipts into the mix.

                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                      >>>>Alkapal is helping the whole situation<<<<<

                                                      ....like moths to the flame.....

                                                      1. re: yayadave

                                                        oh yeah, like you need any encouragement!
                                                        Exactly like I am, I react just like my dog Missy used to when she heard the leash rattle.

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        Maybe the first blush of ardor is wearing off, but I'll bet the first one is all you really need unless you're opening "The Great Lousianna Grub Shack" in Boston.

                                                        That might just mean you can take a look at Charleston Receipts.

                                                        TeeHee

                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                          Nope, the "first blush of ardor" is not wearing off. I've just had an extremely busy few days here. I won't be cooking from BAYA every night - just a few times a week. Right now that Saltimbocca looks good. Yesterday I picked up some nice country ham at the farm where we shop and a lovely turkey breast. Wonder if I can do a swap out using the turkey for the chicken. Also the sugar snap peas and sno peas and new spinach were in... so I'll try to find something in the book which helps me utilize one or two of those ingredients. Now I'm sorry I didn't get the beets.....

                                                          Believe me, no way do I have or ever had, any aspirations of opening a restaurant.

                                                2. Hey Bayoucook, I think it was you who recommended "Who's Your Momma, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux" on another thread. Was that you, and how would you compare the River Road books to it? And if you're familiar with the River Road cookbooks, which of the 4 Gio mentioned would you recommend?
                                                  (RRR1, the original
                                                  RRR2, is Cajun
                                                  RRR3 is a compilation of Creole & Cajun.
                                                  RRR4 has celebratory menus and recipes for special occasions.)

                                                  Sorry to hijack the BAYA convo, but I'll make it up to ya, its on its way from half.com!

                                                  11 Replies
                                                    1. re: yamalam

                                                      No problem, Yamalam!! OK to discus other Southern cookbooks here.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        gio, i'm sure glad you're back to your red self!

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          I missed this earlier so I'll say Thanks now! Didn't like the blue me, huh? I told you it was April Fool.....

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            gio, i saw that! LOL! i intentionally "misread" your post to reply, "don't be so hard on yourself."

                                                            your blue avatar made me think of "red roses for a blue lady".... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oyk99...
                                                            <i can still hear it from my dad's 8-track player on top of the picnic table while we were camping at fisheating creek campground in florida! also can still hear "el paso" from marty robbins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn3JB5... >

                                                            ~~~
                                                            topical: the cookbook you feature seems to have lots of recipes that are not southern. is the premise that this is how southerners cook frenchified food -- or italian classics? <because this cookbook i don't have....>

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              alkapal, do you mean Bon Appetit, Y'all?

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  While there are plenty of traditional southern recipes in there, I'm very comfortable with the not-so-southern ones b/c they're so familiar I guess.
                                                                  Down here there's plenty of blending of traditional South mixed with our Spanish and French culture, and since the seventies, Vietnamese, and since Katrina, Mexican has come to life. Shopping here is SO much different than it used to be. I can pretty much find any ingredient I need, and I love it. But is the cookbook as southern as River Road and others like it, no, definately not, we're in total agreement!

                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                    i'll see if i can check out a copy from the library to get a better idea of what's in there.

                                                      2. re: yamalam

                                                        Hi yam. No, it wasn't me, but it could've been! Got to check that out.
                                                        BTW, I have only the original River Roads and I've really enjoyed it. It's not new or different to me b/c I love near the region, but it's a gotta have cookbook.

                                                      3. Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Ch. 7: Grits, Rice, Pasta and Potatoes, Pg. 163

                                                        Potentialy a great side dish. Four ingredients for the sauce plus sliced sweet potatoes seasoned with course salt and FGBpepper. I used 2 large sweet potatoes and halved the sauce recipe but I'll give the full amounts here.

                                                        In a buttered casserole dish place the rounds of peeled sweet potatoes.
                                                        Into a large sauce pan put 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 4 T unsalted butter, 1/2 cup Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark), and 2 T maple syrup (I used Grade B. Cane sugar is an alternative). Combine well and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Pour the sauce over the potatoes as soon as it comes to a boil. Put the casserole into a pre-heated 350F oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Every now & then baste the potatoes with the sauce.

                                                        This was a little too sweet for my taste but DH loved it. I only used 1/4 cup of brown sugar, but then I generally prefer less sweet food. Nevertheless, the dish was lovely if you like the flavor of bourbon infused sweet potatoes. Or Bourbon in general. LOL

                                                        I had intended to make Chicken Saltimbocca but DH didn't like the idea of ham wrapped turkey, which is what I was going to swap for the chicken. So we roasted a turkey breast and served steamed Brussel sprouts along with the potates..

                                                        5 Replies
                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            Sure. Maker's Mark Kentucky Bourbon.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              I've always heard of the value of using good ingredients, but really, Gio, Maker's Mark fo da sweet potatoes!?!

                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                I know, I know... but it was all I had and no time or inclination to get anything else. I tell you the potatoes were raised to the Nth degree! Besides, it was only little bit. A shot maybe....

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  exactly. i mean, how much does one use? not enough to make a dent, imo.

                                                        1. Going to try Crispy Fried Asparagus this w/e. Store has it on sale for 1.74. See recipe on page 7 - asparagus is precooked, wrapped in proscuitto or ham, dredged, then fried.
                                                          Can it NOT be addicting? Do I need a dipping sauce of some kind?

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                            i roasted some asparagus wrapped with bacon. what i learned:
                                                            1. bacon needs to be par-cooked to get sufficiently done.
                                                            2. asparagus roasts in like 5 minutes.

                                                            my experience may lend some insight for your frying of the (battered?) bacon-wrapped asparagus. bottom line: pre-cook bacon so that asparagus is not overdone.

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              thanks, I will - may do half with country ham and half with bacon.

                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                slice the country ham as thin as prosciutto?
                                                                btw, a thought just occurred to me: light hushpuppy-battered country-ham-wrapped deep-fried asparagus. more healthful than a corn-dog. maybe.... LOL!!

                                                          2. I've been eyeing Mama's Crawfish Etouffee recipe, but am scratching my head about finding 2 pounds of crawfish tails, cooked. Anyone seen these in any stores (outside of Louisiana)? Would Whole Foods carry this?

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              i don't know, but call don's specialty meats in louisiana. 1-337-234-2528 or 1-337-896-6370 -- if you are needing some down home andouille. or boudin blanc. ask about crawfish. like i said, ask.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Frozen crawfish is always available here, thankfully. You could always sub shrimp.

                                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                                  I was sort of thinking I might go that way (shrimp) if I couldnt' find the crawfish. And if I don't find it at WFs, I might try calling Don's, although I'm guessing having just that sent to me would be fairly cost ineffective. Thanks to both of you.

                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Great news - I found frozen crawfish at WFs. Now a question about this recipe (the etouffe, p. 130). In her headnote she starts off with "etoufee is a succulent, tangy, tomato sauce ..." and then when you look at the recipe there isn't any tomato in the ingredients list. Is this a misprint, mistake, or am I just reading more into the bit about the tomato sauce than I should be?

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    I don't have the book in front of me but my understanding is that the word etouffe means "smothered." Not necessarily a tomato based sauce, but rather a roux... a dark red-brown roux.

                                                                    Edit; Sometimes it's just the holy trinity (onions, bell pepper, celery) and spices cooked down....

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Thats what I had thought too, it was her headnote that confused me, since it uses the phrase "tomato sauce."

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        That's the way I understand it, too, Gio. I'm looking at the page now, and she does say tomato sauce. Then later she says "'The word etouffee' comes from the French etouffer (to smother), and that's it exactly: rich and tender crawfish tails smothered in a spicy blanket of flavorful sauce'". Hmmm.

                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                      try costco, I know i've always bought my crawfish there, but it may just be the area

                                                                    3. Mama’s Angel Food Cake (page 250)

                                                                      I cleaned out my freezer a couple of days ago and discovered I had more than 2 dozen egg whites. One angel food cake, comin’ up.

                                                                      I made this more or less as written. I used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean because I was lazy. And I got interrupted while adding the sugar to the egg whites so there is either 1/8 cup more or 1/8 cup less than called for. I made this in a bundt pan because I don’t have an angel food cake pan and was fully prepared to have hunks of cake instead of a whole cake when I unmolded it. But after a rather heavy hand with a thin spatula, it umolded much better than I expected.

                                                                      Very delicious cake. Love the addition of a bit of almond extract. Is that common? I’ve never made angel food cake before. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten homemade angel food cake before. The texture is more dense than store-bought (even after sifting the flour 4 times!), but still very light. She suggests serving it with a Bourbon Crème Anglaise which uses 6 yolks (the cake has 12 whites) and I’m sure it would be terrific, but I didn’t need either more whites or the additional calories. During the summer I sometimes make a lo-cal strawberry shortcake with angel food cake, sliced and macerated strawberries, and sweetened yogurt cheese. This would be a perfect base for that.

                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        I'm so sad I haven't been participating in cooking from this book. Everyone seems to be enjoying it so much, but I just really worry it's going to be too rich for me. But, it sure is great reading!

                                                                        Anyway, JoanN--can you talk a little more about how you freeze eggs whites--what kind of container you use, how you defrost them, what applications they work in, etc. And, can you do it the other way, freeze yolks?

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          I just toss my whites into whatever container is readily available--deli plastic, zip-lock baggie. Sometimes I just take a container of already frozen whites out of the freezer and dump fresh ones on top. I know many people freeze them in ice cube trays so they know just what they've got. But I go by measurement. One egg white is about 1 ounce. So for this cake I put the frozen whites in the fridge overnight then poured out 12 ounces the next morning. I haven't yet found any recipe that doesn't work with frozen whites. They whip as well as fresh so meringues are no problem. Neither are egg white omelets.

                                                                          Yolks are a little trickier. They tend to get gelatinous when frozen. To keep that from happening you should add about 1/8 teaspoon of salt or 1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar to every four yolks. You need to be sure to mark them, though, since you'll want the salt for savory and the sugar for sweet.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            Fascinating as always. Thank you JoanN!

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                            Regarding the angel food cake. Wow! JoanN, I always knew people named Joan were inventive as well as brilliant. The idead for the shortcake sounds fab. We're actually getting some pretty good strawbs in the market in the past couple of weeks. Guests are coming for dinner on Saturday night and bringing BBQ (the kind with sauce and lots of grease) and this shortcake sounds like the perfect dessert. I will probably use low-fat Greek-style yoghurt for the "whipped cream".

                                                                            Thanks again.

                                                                          3. Made the Crispy Fried Asparagus (p.7) last night. Decided to buy the proscuitto since I wanted to pick up some pate as well. Pre-cooked the asparagus earlier in the day.
                                                                            Y"ALL this is too delicious for words! All I added was a tiny pinch of cayenne. Made kind of a remoulade dip for them, but guests overall liked them plain. A little messy to make, but that won't stop me from doing them again soon - while asparagus is in season.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                              Hey there - Wanted to say thanks to Gio for cooking from my book! I love, love, love reading the reports. I also like the freedom of playing with the recipes. Recipes shouldn't be a ball and chain.

                                                                              The saltimbocca is off the charts good. Not too sure how it would be with turkey, but worth a shot. One of my real favorites is the chicken fricassee. I found this on google alert. Thanks so much once again.

                                                                              Best VA

                                                                              1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                hey virginia! welcome to chowhound. i think it is great that you have weighed in here. please, don't be a stranger! gio is one of chowhound's best. and many of us here on chowhound, especially us southerners, love to talk about southern food, and its evolution.

                                                                                best regards!

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  alkapalo'mine, many thanks for your kind words!

                                                                                2. re: virginia willis

                                                                                  Thank you so much for chiming in here, Ms Willis. Your book has inspired me and opened my eyes and palate to Southern cooking as I have never experienced it even though I have travelled through the south over the years. I wish you every good luck with all your future endeavors and hope you continue to catalogue your Southern heritage. These recipes and stories need to be preserved.

                                                                                  1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                    Wow Virginia, this is great! It's an honor to have you join us. LOVE the cookbook. Have had it since June 08 and it's getting battered. Hope you'll be a regular on here.

                                                                                3. Tonight DH & I made the Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce and the Green Beans with Tomatoes but I'm too flummoxed to even type the report right now.... I'll catch y'all in the mornin'. Just know that it was Ab. Fab.....

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Gio - that's what I had planned for tonight - well, I thought of making the Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar (105) again - gonna buy a chicken any way, looking forward to your review - I know it was delicious.

                                                                                  2. Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce, Ch. 6: Gospel Birds and Game Birds, Pg. 110

                                                                                    This was a Great tasting chicken !! As usual I used an organic, free range bird from a local farm. If you haven't been able to buy an OFR chicken try to do it. It makes all the difference.

                                                                                    Season the cavity of the chicken with herbes de Provence, bay leaves, salt & pepper. Quarter a lemon, squeeze the juice into the cavity, then stuff in the lemon quarters as well. Tie the legs together with butcher's twine and rub unsalted butter all over the skin. Season with S & P. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and place in a preheated 425F oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350F. Roast for 15 minutes then into the pan put a chopped carrot and chopped onion. Baste the bird every now and then and roast for about 30 - 45 minutes.... till the juices run clear when the meaty part of a thigh is pierced. Remove the chicken and place on a warm platter - tent to keep warm. Do the same with the vegetables.

                                                                                    For the sauce:
                                                                                    Place the roasting pan on the stove top and remove all but a few tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Turn the heat to medium, and add 2 "finely" chopped shallots and cook for about 2 minutes - till the shallots are soft. Add 1/2 c white wine and reduce by half. Add 1 1/2 c chicken stock, turn the heat to high...scrape the pan to make sure you get all the tasty bits incorporated into the sauce. Carve the chicken and add all the juices to the roasting pan. Turn the heat to medium and whisk in 1 T unsalted butter.
                                                                                    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

                                                                                    Make this chicken! It's very easy and Oh So flavorful. Ms Willis doesn't say what to do with the veggies and I was going to have DH add them to the sauce after mashing them - but I forgot. (He's getting very good at these pan sauces....)

                                                                                    1. Green Beans with Tomatoes, Ch. 5: Vegetables, Pg. 187

                                                                                      This is a very nice side dish to just about any main dish. I thought it was rather Greek in feeling due to the feta and kalamata olives called for in the recipe. I did have to sub a very good chevre for the feta, though...

                                                                                      For 4 - 6 servings trim 1 1/2 lb. fresh string beans and cook them for about 3 minutes in boiling water - till " crisp tender." Ms Willis was you place the beans into a colonder then put that into an ice water bath to stop the cooking and keep the green color - but DH drained them into the colander and quickly ran cold water over them at the sink. Into the same pot (after draining all the water out) heat 2 T EVOO and 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic and cook "till fragrant." Add the cooked green beans, 1/2 cup pitted/halved/oil cured black olives, 2 cored/seeded/chopped tomatoes, 1 T fresh chopped oregano and the feta. Toss to coat and cook till "just heated through." As usual, taste and adjust seasoning if nec.

                                                                                      Lovely dish and very flavorful. I've made variations on this theme in the past and always like to have another take on a classic dish.

                                                                                      I so wanted to make the Mayonnaise Biscuits - but you know me... I tend to fade after prepping and supervising 2 dishes. Thank goodness DH is helping me in the kitchen these days. I couldn't do it without him. I'll get to the MBs sooner or later.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        Thanks, Gio - wow, don't blame you for fading out. I've made the biscuits several times and they're my go-to biscuits now. Decided to make the fricassee tonight b/c I need to use up some items, but def gonna try the two you cooked. I have some mushrooms about to go over that I'm going to add to the dish.

                                                                                        Isn't it great that Ms. Willis herself is here?! (Thanks to you.)

                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                          I was so excited last night when I saw Ms Willis' name on that post - I couldn't think straight. Imagine saying I've travelled through the south but didn't eat southern food. DUH! (>.<) How very nice of her to read through the thread and comment.

                                                                                          I love her statement,
                                                                                          "Recipes shouldn't be a ball and chain." That was really very generous of her, I thought.

                                                                                          I have the Fricasse recipe on my list to try. . Good luck with it tonight!

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            I was pretty taken aback too!

                                                                                            I really want to try the fricasse; what kind of red wine vinegar are you both planning to use? I looked at my local grocery store *and* at WFs but didn't see anything especially great looking, and since she says to make sure it is very good vinegar, I'm a little nervous. Any ideas/thoughts on this greatly appreciated. I think what I have in my pantry right now is just that usual italian grocery store stuff.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              I used a grocery store vinegar - didn't have a full cup so added some good Balsamic. It was delicious. I was thinking of using all Balsamic this time, but will buy more red wine vinegar today. I've copied this recipe and put it in my recipe keepbook. I do that with loved recipes so if we have to run from a hurricane I can just grab that notebook and RUN.

                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                Thanks bayoucook - that is great news. I've been letting the vinegar thing hold me back, but I really want to make this.

                                                                                                Yikes, hope you never have to run with that recipe notebook!

                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                Hi LLM,
                                                                                                I have 2 RW vinegars in my pantry at the moment. One is Pastene and the other is a more expensive one whose name I forgot. I thought it was a Colavita product but I can't remember and I'm not any where near my kitchen now. I'll probably use the "nicer" one for the fricasse. I tend to use the Pastene for simple salads and the other one for more "elaborate" use.

                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  Thanks Gio. Given that I can't seem to find anything nicer right now, and that bayoucook had good luck with the regular old stuff, I'm going to go ahead and try it that way, although maybe I'll see if I can find the time to get to the fancy foods store in the next week ...

                                                                                                  So many recipes, so little time!

                                                                                        2. Finally got a chance to cook from the book.

                                                                                          Vidalia Onion Quiche (p. 63). I cheated and used a store bought crust, and I think it hurt the end results a bit - had to cook longer because it was a deep dish crust. Aside from that we enjoyed this. The vidalia onion confit is heavenly. I made that the day before to let the flavors develop and had a hard time not just spooning it straight into my mouth. Husband loved the quiche, I thought it was fine but not the best I've ever had. To go with this I made

                                                                                          Arugula with Roasted Pears and Goat Cheese (p. 39). I subbed other lettuce for the arugula since my husband just refuses to eat arugula. We LOVED this. One of the best salads I've ever made. Beautiful, incredibly tasty, just absolutely heaven. I used a local goat cheese; was reluctant to add the honey, but it was the perfect touch.

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            That looks so good, will add it to my list. My fricassee came out great last night again - added the mushrooms that I needed to use and we liked that a lot. I added a squeeze of tomato paste and a pinch of brown sugar while reducing the sauce b/c it seemed more vinegar-y than last time. Absolutely delicious. Fun to play with recipe.

                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                              Thanks bayoucook - I was thrilled with the salad. And smart saves on the vinegar chicken. I really, really want to try that one.

                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              It just occurred to me that ramps might be a good sub for arugula. Probably because someone just gave me a bag. Can you get ramps in your neck of the woods?

                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                If I'm organized enough to get to the farmer's market I can, assuming they're in season (they aren't quite yet, are they?). I do think that would be a lovely sub, but the lettuce was perfectly nice too.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  I don't know their season, but my neighbor just came back from some mountain side in West Virginia with a bunch. I'm thinking of beans and greens and some rice with ramps. Eggs, too.

                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                    If they're up and ready in WVa, then they're surely ready around here in Chapel Hill (notice how I bring up where I live right after the Tar Heels win it all?).

                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                Looking very tasty, LLM!! I'll have to try both of those recipes.
                                                                                                For the next 10 days DH will be restricted to low fiber meals. However, it's surprising what we can put together to adhere to Dr.'s orders. Some of which will be from BAY'A....

                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  Thanks Gio! All because of you, I have to say. I don't think I'd heard of the book before you mentioned it.

                                                                                                  I had the low-fiber rules in February, and was so worried about how on earth I'd get through it, but it really wasn't so tough.

                                                                                              3. Hushpuppies, p. 213 and Fingerling (New Potato) Potato Salad, p. 48 (Pictured with Chicken-fried Trout from Fish Without a Doubt)
                                                                                                Loving this book so much! I love the stories she tells... they remind me of my relationship with my mom, grandma, and great grandma, even though we're not Southern! :-) Anyway, we can't get Vidalias yet so I used red onion in the potato salad, but that was the only change. We loved it so much with the red onion though, I'm not sure I would change that next time. This will be my go-to potato salad from now on! I might even add dill next time, because I do think it would go well. Neither of us were crazy about the hush puppies, but I'm not quite sure where we went wrong. They just weren't very tender... I think my cornmeal might have had too large of a grain to it. I might try again with a finer grained cornmeal.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                  I have that potato salad on my try list - so happy to hear it was a big success.

                                                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                    I'm always looking for a new potato salad recipe. Could you paraphrase? I'm not allowing myself to buy any new cookbooks but this one is sounding really good!

                                                                                                    1. re: ChrisKC

                                                                                                      I keep forgetting when I have the book in front of me, but I haven't forgotten you completely! Don't worry!

                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                        Great! I was starting to think you weren't gonna answer :,)

                                                                                                        1. re: ChrisKC

                                                                                                          And, I remembered! :-)

                                                                                                          Fingerling (or red bliss) Potato Salad

                                                                                                          3 1/2 lbs. fingerling or red bliss potatoes, halved (in the book picture, the fingerlings are halved lengthwise- I used baby yukons)
                                                                                                          1/2 cup white wine vinegar
                                                                                                          3/4 cup mayo
                                                                                                          3/4 cup sour cream
                                                                                                          1 T. Dijon mustard
                                                                                                          salt and pepper
                                                                                                          1 Vidalia onion, chopped (I used red)
                                                                                                          1 stalk celery, finely chopped
                                                                                                          1/2 cup chopped parsley

                                                                                                          Cook the potatoes in salted, boiling water- start with cold water. Drain well and drizzle with the white wine vinegar (do not breathe in deeply whilst doing this! ;-) Set aside to cool. Combine mayo, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the dressing with the potatoes, onion, celery, and parsley. And that's it! Simple and very tasty!

                                                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                            Thank you so much. Sounds really yummy! Maybe I'll make it for tomorrow, I'm thinking to maybe grill some burgers (looks like the only day it might be nice enough!)

                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                              Katie, I did make the potato salad and following your lead, I also used baby yukons and red onion. Everyone loved it. It is definitely a case where the sum is better than you think the parts would be. I think it is partially the texture of the potatoes, but the dressing is fantastic. Probably because of the vinegar as Virginia says in another post. I think this will be my new go to potato salad!

                                                                                                      2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                        "I might try again with a finer grained cornmeal."

                                                                                                        Was researching hush puppies and came across your post, Katie. I had just been reading about them in Jean Anderson's "A Love Affair with Southern Cooking." She says, "You must use a floury, stone-ground cornmeal when making hush puppies. Those made with granular meal will fly apart in the hot fat." Yours certainly don't look as though they flew apart, but perhaps a more finely milled cornmeal is indeed the answer. In Jean's ingredient list she calls for "sifted stone-ground cornmeal (preferably white)."

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Yes, I've since researched it some more and that was the conclusion I've come to as well. I haven't looked for it yet, but I've been told that I won't find it in stores here- that I'll have to mail order it.

                                                                                                      3. Stuffed Flounder for Mama (page 134)

                                                                                                        Made this with pollack and some crab meat (not jumbo lump) that was in the freezer (not quite as much as the recipe called for so my proportions were a bit off). Pollack isn’t as thin as flounder so I had to make some adjustments in timing, too. With those caveats, I made the recipe as written.

                                                                                                        You cook onion, celery, and garlic and mix it with panko, eggs, parsley, sweet paprika, a pinch of cayenne, and s&p. The fillets are topped with the crab mixture and a pat of butter and baked. It was very, very good. I think it would be even better with flounder, but I don’t eat that anymore unless I know it was caught with a hand-held fishing rod. And I wouldn’t go out and pay what a pound of jumbo lump crab costs just to make it. But I think the flavor and most of the texture was there with inexpensive frozen crab meat I had bought at an Asian market and I’d definitely make it again if I again had inexpensive crab meat on hand.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          That sounds and looks delicious, Joan. It was not on my to-make list but now I think it might be something I'd like especially since you subbed pollock which is plentyful here.

                                                                                                          Did you see that Vrirginia Willis herself was here a few nights ago? What a treat!

                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            A treat indeed! Good thing we're enjoying the book. It would have been a tad embarrassing if the reports had been mostly negative. But if so, I guess she' d have just lurked and kept her presence a secret.

                                                                                                            I must thank you, Gio, for turning me on to "Bottomfeeder." Quite an eye-opener. And I thought that as a scuba diver I was knowledgeable about these issues. I learned so much. And it made me even more appreciative of the fisherman who sells at my neighborhood farmers market. I know I'm buying local, line-caught or trolled fish.

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              You're welcome! It took me several months to get the book and plow through it , taking notes along the way. I had no idea that the fishing industry and the ocean environment were in such dire straits. I now carry the Monterey Bay Seawatch booklet with me when shopping for fish.... or call ahead to my fish monger to see if he has what I want.

                                                                                                              BTW: I admire your ability to scuba dive. That's something I wish I had done...

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                Yay! Gio! I have been carrying the Monterey Bay pamphlet with me, too. I also printed out several copies for my friends and relatives. Luckily, here in the SFBArea we have several markets which tell us where and how fish were caught. Very helpful. Berkeley Bowl even lets us know if it was frozen at sea or after returning to port.

                                                                                                        2. Chicken and Dumplings (p. 236?)

                                                                                                          My husband got in from work about 5 minutes before this was ready, and he said "Wow, it smells incredible around this house - everyone is going to be jealous." And definitely the flavors were very nice, especially on a cool (for us) night. But for some reason my dumplings didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. I feel like maybe I didn't mix them well enough or maybe too much, but they were too dense/heavy for my taste. Husband said "that is the nature of dumplings" and gulped down a huge second helping.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            It looks delicious! Maybe they'd be lighter if cold milk was added? I don't know.
                                                                                                            But what matters is that they tasted good and look good.

                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                              This was my first attempt at dumplings, so I really don't know what it was that was wrong (if anything). She has you add warmed milk and butter to the dry ingredients - is cold the norm?

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                I think Hub-Bub is right. You weren't making light southern biscuits. I'll bet she has a good recipe for those. Maybe you could use the left-overs for biscuits and chicken gravy. With peas.

                                                                                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                  I've never made biscuits either (hanging head in shame). I just figured I should follow the recipe in the book, never having made dumplings before. If I knew a better recipe for dumplings I'd be a lot more likely to make this again.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    That recipe must be fine, looking at the pic and your getting compliments.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                      I already bought all the ingredients for this, so I will be making it soon- I'll let you know how my dumplings turn out.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                        Thanks - I'd really like to hear how it turns out.

                                                                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        Hey there - It's VA. There are other kind of dumplings, too. The rolled out ones cut into strips? I am sorry mine were too heavy. Couple of thoughts: what kind of flour? Is your baking powder ok? Did you make the smallish balls? You could make a simple biscuit dough and roll them out and cut into strips, too.
                                                                                                                        Thanks so much for trying my recipes! I love hearing how things are going. The good and the bad! It makes me a better writer. Thank you. Best VA

                                                                                                                        1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                          virginia, it's very exciting that you're participating! thanks!!

                                                                                                                          1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                            A million thanks for your insights and comments, Virginia. They make us better home cooks. Did you know your book is up for our May Cookbook of the Month (COTM) cook along?

                                                                                                                            Here's the voting thread:
                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6107...

                                                                                                                            Good luck, y'all!

                                                                                                                            1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                              Aside from the dumplings, believe me, this was a hit in our house, but thank you so much for your comments. I used all purpose flour, but my guess is that mine is bleached (calls for non-bleached). This was my first dumpling attempt ever, so I really don't have anything to compare it to. My baking powder is new (maybe a month?), and I've had good luck with it in baking. Perhaps my dumplings were too large - they were (oh boy, hard to come up with a size on something like this) mostly about the size of the top part of my thumb, some maybe bigger.

                                                                                                                              Again, this was a hit in my house, I'm just very picky with my own cooking. And the pear goat cheese salad was one of the best salads I've ever made (or had dining out).

                                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                          I don't know. I make light, buttery dumplings but I take a shortcut: Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix, milk, minced scallions, a pinch of thyme and poultry seasoning, some black pepper and cut up bits of good butter go in last.
                                                                                                                          When they're done, they have little buttery pockets in them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              Made me hungry. Don't forget, she started with a biscuit mix.

                                                                                                                    2. Crab Dip, p. 12

                                                                                                                      I didn't have as much crab as called for, but it was still very good. Really easy to put together. My only complaint was that it didn't make a whole lot, but then it was just for the two of us, so not a big deal. We used toasted sourdough for dipping, and I really liked it with the crab. We'll probably use the leftovers like we normally do for crab dips- spread on a toasted bagel with roast beef!

                                                                                                                        1. Chicken Fricassée with red wine vinegar (found the recipe on amazon.com)

                                                                                                                          So I've been lurking on this thread with interest but not participating as I don't have the book and you can write what I know about southern cooking on the back of a postage stamp. But I found the chicken recipe on the internet, and as Ms Willis said it was one of her favourites, I had to try it.

                                                                                                                          The recipe is very easy. I jointed a free-range chicken (barely 3 pounds as that's all they had at the store) and browned it in butter and vegetable oil. Remove the chicken and pour off most of the fat, then add 4 cloves of crushed garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add a cup of red wine vinegar - I used balsamico rosso as I was reluctant to use my stellar cabernet sauvignon vinegar - a tin of chopped tomatoes, thyme, parsley, a bay leaf and a cup of chicken stock (didn't have any parsley). Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 30-45 mins. As my chicken was small, it took a little less time than this.

                                                                                                                          Then remove the chicken to a serving dish, and reduce the sauce for five minutes or so. I served it with purple sprouting broccoli (I am so happy this is in season again) and some ciabatta rolls.

                                                                                                                          The verdict - very good. We loved the tangy sauce, and the bread was the perfect vehicle for mopping up all the tasty juices. The chicken was very tender, and I can imagine this would also be good served with couscous, or mashed potatoes, or even rice.

                                                                                                                          So I may not know much about the Deep South, but I do know a lot about France, and this is very similar to a couple of recipes in Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells, which is one of my favourite cookbooks. In fact I might try one of them to compare.

                                                                                                                          Thanks Virginia for a great dinner!

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                            gg: Yes, it is similar to French dishes. My husband's favorite dish of all time is Poulet au Vinaigre. One question - is the balsamico rosso a bit sweet as regular balsamico is?

                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                              No - as far as I can tell it's just like regular wine vinegar. It's just what's stocked in Lidl (German supermarket which doesn't offer any choice but is super-cheap and good quality if you pick and choose).

                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                              YAY! It is one of my favorite dishes. So glad you enjoyed this. Best VA

                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                Chicken Fricasse with Garlic and Red Wine, Ch. 5 Gospel Birds and Game Birds, Pg. 105

                                                                                                                                My turn for the Fricasse. it *was* very good, as Greedygirl mentioned above.. The sauce has a wonderful sprightly flavor that brings out the great taste of the chicken. We loved it.
                                                                                                                                These recipes are so easy to prep It's been a real pleasure to cook from this book.

                                                                                                                                I served the Buttery Braised Endive as a side.

                                                                                                                              2. Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Mama's Barbecue Sauce,
                                                                                                                                Ch. 4: Pork, Beef and Lamb, Pg. 81

                                                                                                                                This was a tasty and succulent dish which we liked very much. It was an easy recipe to execute and the sauce was wonderfully tangy and sweet.

                                                                                                                                1. Mama's Barbecue Sauce, Pg. 285
                                                                                                                                I halved the recipe.... we loved this sauce and I can see using it on chicken and other meats as well.
                                                                                                                                Unsalted butter, ketchup, finely chopped sweet onion, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, Dijon, brown sugar, Kosher salt & FGBpepper are all combined in a saucepan, brought to the boil, then simmered for about 30 minutes. Once again, taste for seasoning and add more S & P if necessary. Ms. Willis says it will last for months covered in a fridge and indeed we do have some leftover which I'm sure will be gone by the end of the week.

                                                                                                                                2. One pound of pork tenderloin is trimmed of the silver skin and extra fat, seasoned with salt and pepper then seared brown in a hot oiled skillet. The searing till brown is essential because the meat is then put into a foil prepared roasting pan, covered with 1 cup of the sauce, sealed tightly then baked for for 30 to 40 minutes. Our roast was 1.38 lbs so we left it a little longer. Still, that's really a quick roast.

                                                                                                                                To serve: Remove the pork to a bowl and shred with forks. Add some of the sauce, taste for seasoning then pile the meat into hamburger rolls. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

                                                                                                                                This was a very nice, easy Saturday night meal. I served it with the Fingerling Potato Salad.... nothing like carb overload. But, it was DH's choice so I gladly acquiesced.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  odd to use a lean tenderloin for pulled pork, imo. i just made a marinated tenderloin yesterday, and it was so lean.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                    Yes, Mr. G thought so too, Alka. But the pork is covered with the sauce, and the foil package is sealed so that the meat steeps and stews in the sauce. It turned out not exactly meltingly tender but a bit chewy and with very good flavor. Ms Willis advises to toss the juices left in the foil but DH pouredwhat remained into a separate little container and it sits in the fridge next to whatever's left of the sauce. I don't think there's very much fat to worry about and after I take a good look, I'll probably combine the two.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      PS. It's not the fat I am worried about -- it's the excess moisture making the pulled pork too watery. If you try the recipe again, give it a pull with a fork. If it doesn't start to pull into shreds, just leave it in the oven for a few more minutes.It really should pull easily apart. Best VA

                                                                                                                                      PS Check out my recipe for Deviled Eggs if anyone has leftover from Easter weekend. It's in the book, and I posted it on my blog.

                                                                                                                                      http://virginiawillis.wordpress.com/2...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                        Thank you so much for offering your comments, Ms Willis. All your clarifications and explanations will help us interpret your recipes to the fullest and thus enjoy the wonderful dishes you have written about. I do intend to make the pulled pork again, but please know that although the meat didn't fall apart, it did shred very well and we loved it!

                                                                                                                                        Congratulations for starting your blog. I have subscribed to it and am looking forward to reading more about Southern cooking. Lovely photography as well!!
                                                                                                                                        The deviled eggs are now on my list to make ASAP.... I've never used butter as one of the ingredients.... that's an brilliant addition.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    Gio - I'm going to make this tonight, and the potato salad (I have red bliss too). It's just what I want after the indulgences of yesterday. I want my pork very tender so may cook longer, and that bbq sauce looks wonderful. Will report back.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                      Made cole slaw instead - just craved it. The bbq pork and sauce were delicious.
                                                                                                                                      DH had seconds (he usually isn't wild about vinegary bbqs). I cooked the pork for an hour; it wasn't a pork loin but a pork roast, about 1 1/2 lbs. Made half the bbq sauce recipe and it's all gone. Want to make another batch to keep in the fridge.
                                                                                                                                      Another keeper.

                                                                                                                                  3. Fingerling Potato Salad, Ch. 2: Salads and Slaws, Pg. 48

                                                                                                                                    Although this recipe calls for fingerlings, the alternative is red bliss, which I used, sliced in half. The potatoes are cooked in a large pot of salted water till tender then drained well. While still warm they are placed on a baking sheet and drizzled with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar. Set aside to cool while the dressing is made.

                                                                                                                                    Dijon, sour cream (I used low fat), and mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe's organic), are combined in a large bowl and seasoned with S & P. When the potatoes are cool add to the bowl of dressing along with a chopped sweet onion, finely chopped celery, and parsley.. Carefully mix the potatoes with the dressing taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

                                                                                                                                    What a really nice potato salad this is! I'll be making this dressing again and again, especially with the fingerlings, which I love. . Although I have made mayonnaise many times in the past, I can no longer have raw eggs. I can just imagine what flavor freshly made mayo would bring to this dish.

                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      Hey there - VA here! Hope you don't mind me popping in. It's the vinegar! I love that salad. It's also good with chopped egg in it. Mama made her potato salad yesterday. Hope you had a good weekend! Best VA

                                                                                                                                      1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                        We LOVE for you to pop in, please do so as often as you can!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                          I love that you're "popping in".... Nuff said...LOL

                                                                                                                                          We did have a good week-end. What's better than a Holiday dinner with family who are a bunch of fantastic cooks?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                            Gio, ya' skunked me again with this book.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                              Well - are ya cookin' or just readin' ? ???? ??

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                Made paska for Easter contribution. Is that in this book?

                                                                                                                                                When all the top-notch cooks show up, I'm readin'. Ain't no fool!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                  Ukrainian Paska bread??? Er...... no.... but.... there are scones, biscuits and all sorts of tasty bits. Some of her recipes are listed on her web site:
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.virginiawillis.com/recipes...

                                                                                                                                                  Check it out....

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    I took a leaf from your notebook and put that on my Bloglines list.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              i still say there should have been more lime curd between the layrs of the coconut cake, but are cooks ever happy with their food?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                                                LOL.... well, It certainly smelled good and it was picture perfect. Remember how two people dug into that slice ooohhhing and aaahhhhing along the way?

                                                                                                                                        2. French Toast Casserole, p. 71
                                                                                                                                          This was very, very good! I was slightly afraid that it would be more like a bread pudding than a french toast, but it was everything french toast should be... firm on the outside, spongey on the inside. It was so easy too, and great to be able to make it ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                          Grits with Corn and Vidalia Onion, p. 156
                                                                                                                                          Again, this was just so good! We had the french toast casserole, the grits, roasted asparagus, frozen fruit cups, and lacquered bacon- everything was fabulous, but most everyone agreed that the grits were the best thing on the plate! Grating the onion was definitely the way to go- made them oniony, but did not have that crunchy texture. The corn really brought out the flavor of the grits too.

                                                                                                                                          I just can't believe how motivated I am to cook from this book... it's been a long time since I've been this motivated!

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                            Good to hear about the French Toast Casserole, Kattie Nell. DH LOVES French toast and I hardly ever make it for him. I'm thinking breakfast for dinner one day this week with some wonderful spicy sausages which are waiting to be cooked. One of her slaws might work it's way in there as well.

                                                                                                                                            Next on my list, tho, is the butternut squash soup for tomorrow night.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                              Best french toast and grits I've possibly ever had! I'm going to have to check out the book from the library and give the grits recipe to my mom. Are there any cornbread recipes in there?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Erinmck

                                                                                                                                                Wow, that's saying a lot, coming from a Southern girl! ;-) There's Buttermilk Cornbread, Cheddar Cornbread, Cornmeal Focaccia, Corn Spoonbread, and Crunchy Corn Muffins!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                  ;o) That's a whole lot of cornbread!! I will have to give some of those a try and send some recipes to my parents. They're always trying to find a new one!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                Katie - You have NO idea how happy that makes me. It's what I call a "carrot". Seriously, not to be overdramatic, but it can be hard sometimes. Hearing what y'all are doing, cooking from my book, liking my book, just talking about my food and recipes. It makes me so incredibly pleased. I thank you all! Best VA

                                                                                                                                              3. Winter Squash Soup With Sautéed Apples, Ch. 10, Soups and Stews, Pg. 233

                                                                                                                                                What a lovely soup this is....full of luscious flavor and the sautéed Granny Smiths were a terrific addition. I used butternut squash but when I make this soup again, and I will, I'll "reach past the standard varieties.....for something new," as Ms Willis suggests. You need a large Dutch oven for this.

                                                                                                                                                First make a bouquet garni with 3 sprigs of Italian parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme, 10 whole black peppercorns. Peel, seed, and chop 3 pounds of squash. Then melt some butter and when it's foaming add a chopped shallot, carrot and celery and cook till soft. Add the bouquet garni, squash and 3 cups chicken stock, then season with salt & pepper. Bring this to a boil then turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.

                                                                                                                                                In the meantime, peel core and dice 2 Granny Smith apples and sauté them in a skillet with a bit of butter, a sprig of thyme and salt and pepper. Cook till slightly caramelized.

                                                                                                                                                When the squash is tender, remove and discard the bouquet garni. Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender puree the soup. I left it rather course and chunky which is an alternative. Add 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. One half cup of heavy cream is optional at this point. To serve ladle into bowls and garnish with the sautéed apples. DH added a dollop of low fat sour cream in the middle of the bowl and it was the perfect touch.

                                                                                                                                                We loved this soup! It is very tasty. I can see it as a first course, pureed till very smooth, for Thanksgiving dinner which I have already made a note of on my calendar!

                                                                                                                                                1. Buttery Braised Endive, Ch. 8, Vegetables, Pg. 185

                                                                                                                                                  I've made plenty of endive dishes in the past and this one is right up there with the best of the best. Basically it's a simple braise under parchment paper:
                                                                                                                                                  The endives are halved and placed cut side down in a skillet. Lemon juice, butter, a bit of sugar, and chicken stock are added and seasoned with salt and pepper. The buttered side of a round of parchment paper is placed over the endives and the pan is covered with a tight fitting lid. This is simmered till the endives are tender.

                                                                                                                                                  Now here is where I had to deviate from Ms Willis' recipe. She calls for the endive to be put into a buttered baking dish, cut side down, and sprinkled with
                                                                                                                                                  a mixture of 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese and 1 cup of breadcrumbs... then broiled for about 3 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Well, last night my broiler went on strike and would not light. So I simply grated the cheese onto the endive in the skillet and heated till the cheese was melted.

                                                                                                                                                  But you know.... It was not bad at all. We missed the crunch, but all the flavors were there and the dish was very tasty. It was a nice compliment to the tangy Chicken Fricassee.
                                                                                                                                                  Because my

                                                                                                                                                  1. Slightly off-topic, but here's a funny article by a British journo about food in the Deep South. I particularly like the anecdote about Air France trying to find a receptionist who could pronounce "France" correctly. They finally found one who didn't say "Frayance", only to have her answer the phone on her first day in the job with "Air France, can I help y'all".

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/...

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      That was a funny read GG. LOL at his interpretation of English grammar. "Deeply Imperfect".

                                                                                                                                                      I now know that Lurpak is a dairy company - and when he has "a shmear of Lurpak" on his asparagus he uses butter....

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                        Lurpack = ubiquitous Danish brand of butter. Often used as a subsitute word for butter.

                                                                                                                                                    2. My copy just arrived and I gave it a quick thumb-through. It is a LOVELY book and I can't wait to really go through it page-by-page. My initial reaction, however, was a bit of a chuckle... The first few receipes I chose to read made me say, "Yep! That's just how I do it!"

                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure to find inspiration to revisit old favorites and also try a few new ideas. The Corn/Gits/Vidalia Onions photo immediately grabbed me! That will be on the menu soon, as we are just getting the first beautiful spring Vidalias here and it won't be long until the S. FL sweet corn arrives.

                                                                                                                                                      And, since we've had such a long, cool Spring, I may grab a pint of Apalach oysters to try that oyster stew or the oyster casserole.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                                        So glad to hear from you, onrushpam! Also, I'm very interested to read that the new Vidalias are appearing in the south. So far I've had to do with an onion labeled "sweet" here in Massachusetts. It's been OK but I'm waiting to see the Real Vidalias. Cook on and please let us know what you think of Ms Willis' recipes.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                          The Vidalias we are getting right now are the very young spring onions, with their green tops still attached. What a treat they are!

                                                                                                                                                      2. Gio,

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for starting this thread. Between what I read here and the runoff of Bon Appetit Y'All in the Cookbook of the Month nominations, I ran out and bought a copy.

                                                                                                                                                        As a middle-aged Northern "boy" with a yen to learn Southern cooking, it fits me like a glove.

                                                                                                                                                        The topper is that I am pouring through it on today's flights from Wisconsin to Florida and THEN turn around tomorrow and drive through Alabama on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                        Montgomery, AL Winn-Dixie, here I come.

                                                                                                                                                        Thanaks again and thanks to Ms. Willis for compiling a real gem. I'm sure it's going to compliment Chef Folse's Encyclopedia marvelously.

                                                                                                                                                        Cheers!

                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monch

                                                                                                                                                          You're Welcome, Monch. Glad you're going to join the fun. The ingredients are very easy to find, the recipes are really easy to put together, the cooking is quick and the end results so far have been wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                          Safe travels and safe home!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I would also like to thank you for turning me on to this book Gio. It is a delight.
                                                                                                                                                            Now all of you get your cute behinds up there and vote!!! We are losing 10-3

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                              Billie,
                                                                                                                                                              I'm not voting in this go-around. Cradle of Flavor should have its day and this BAY'A thread will still be here. As will the Ottelenghi thread and any number of spin off cookbook threads on the Home Cooking Board. Folks have their favorites and it's all good. For myself, I'm going to continue with the BAY'A and supplant the next month's menus with on-line Oseland's recipes I find. Many thanks to The Dairy Queen for posting the link to Oseland's site. That will be very helpful.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                Gio - would you publish the website here please? I'd like to see it.
                                                                                                                                                                Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                    Here's a link to my post with the Cradle of Flavor links. It's at the bottom of the May voting thread.

                                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6107...

                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Monch

                                                                                                                                                              I cracked as well after finding a relatively cheap copy on Amazon marketplace. I think I am probably the only person in the UK to own this book. I don't think you can even get grits over here!

                                                                                                                                                              Also - Vidalia onions - haven't a hope of getting those over here. Would Spanish onions be a good substitute or are they too strong? Red onions maybe?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                For grits you can likely just sub polenta. They are basically the same thing. As for the Vidalias, are there some sort of sweet onions there? I don't really think Spanish or red would give you the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                I think I'm going to cave on buying this book too. I've got a library copy now, but there are too many recipes I still want to try to copy them all (and believe it or not, husband still hasn't gotten a new printer cartridge).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                  I can't get any of these books in the library so I'm basically relying on you lot and your rave reviews! I don't think I had grits when I was in New Orleans a few years ago. I did have spoonbread though. I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes in this book.

                                                                                                                                                                  Mr GG was dismissive of southern food and especially grits when he did a road trip through the deep south more than a decade ago. But then he wasn't with me, and I don't think they made any effort to find good food. Plus his travelling companion was a vegetarian - hardly ideal!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                  When my friend from London first had a Vidalia here in the states he said it was similar to an onion he called SupaSweet that was available in London during the summer. I Googled and came up with a bunch of hits: http://www.google.com/search?source=i... Didn't check them all out, but maybe something there could help you track them down. Short of finding that, Spanish probably would be your best bet.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                    Can't say that I've ever seen a SupaSweet onion - maybe they never caught on! I can get white French onions which are quite mild, perhaps they'd be best? Never had a Vidalia onion so hard for me to say.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                      GG - do you have large white onions there? If so. they are a very mild onion. albeit not especially sweet as we know it, but those whites do not have that kick back bite that one thinks of about oinions.

                                                                                                                                                                      Edit: Oh I see you did mention white French onions. Use them - they'll probably be a good substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                3. So...the inevitable question for me...
                                                                                                                                                                  if you have (and love) The Gift of Southern Cooking (by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock) what does this book bring to your kitchen?

                                                                                                                                                                  As it goes, I also have the Frank Stitt book (because of this board, although I can't say I've cooked much from it, it is awfully pretty and I saw it on sale...) a few cajun books and Marvin Woods' The New Low-Country Cooking, along with some churchy/binder collections. Ms Willis' site looks great, but but but...you know what I mean.

                                                                                                                                                                  My library does not have the book to check out.

                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                    I have the Frank Stitt book too and only cooked one recipe from it which was entirely forgettable. I also have the Edna Lewis book which was a COTM a while ago and like it very much. This book by Virginia Willis seems to strike a different note, though. The recipes include those passed down from her mother and grandmother. This is the food she ate growing up, real home cooking but with a French influence she learned while in culinary school.

                                                                                                                                                                    I wish you had the time to thumb through the book in a local bookstore. But really the bottom line is, will you use another southern cookbook? I did and love it..

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                      I really enjoyed the Stitt's book, for what it's worth, and still cook from. Don't have any Southern books though, other than Charleston Receipts, which I've not cooked from yet.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                      I’m in total agreement with Gio. I bought Frank Stitt’s book and have hardly cooked from it at all. I have Edna Lewis (but only “In Pursuit of Flavor,” probably not the best choice) and “River Road Recipes,” (which relies more heavily than I’d like on canned foods). I’ve probably cooked more from Craig Claiborne’s “Southern Cooking” than any of the above. Everything I’ve cooked from BAYA so far has been wonderful, and that certainly encourages me to keep trying more.

                                                                                                                                                                      Why not see if anything in the link posted above (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6078... )appeals to you, give it a try, and see what you think. Not all of those recipes are in the book, but I’d be happy to go through the list and cull it for you if you’d like.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                        Other southern food books have been of very little interest to me but I'm excited by this book, much more so than I thought I would be. I think the addition of some New Orleans dishes and the whole French cooking bit give it an edge.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                          pitu, can you do an interlibrary loan? I think I might do this for BAY'A to see if it's a book I'm interested in. Perhaps you can do the same?

                                                                                                                                                                          I am reluctant to buy a Southern cookbook for fear it will rely heavily on fried food--I'm really trying to focus on lower-fat cooking... A lot of people are mentioning that BAY'A is different from other Southern cookbooks because it draws from French influences, which, unfortunately to me, means butter and cream, which isn't very encouraging.

                                                                                                                                                                          I did go out to Willis' site which has recipes specifically from the book. I printed out all 26 or so of them so I could really study them. I flipped through them and I'd say, about half are ones that either fit into my lower-fat cooking approach or seem like they can be modified to fit in. The other half of the recipes I think are pretty untouchable. But, half isn't bad, really! I have the feeling that summer and early fall is when the availability of various ingredients in Minnesota intersects with the availability of ingredients in the South, so I will probably try to have a crack at BAY'A in the mid to late summer.

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't really own any Southern cookbooks, except for W-S New Orleans, which I have more for sentimental reasons than actual cooking reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                            I found a site that has a short Q&A with Virginia Willis. May answer some of your queries.
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.cookthink.com/blog/?p=989

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for that. Yes, I've seen that and in fact, printed it out the same day I printed out the recipes from her website. Yes, she has backed away from the fried food, but she says she draws on French influences, and, yes, based on the recipes I saw on her website, about half won't work for me because they rely on too much cream and butter. Even if I reduce the amount, it's more than I can use. But, if you use only half of the recipes in a cookbook, that still leaves you with a lot of recipes you can use!

                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                I guess I won't suggest any Paula Deen books for you :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                                  HA! Good idea. It's possible that the recipes on her website aren't that representative (and that I might find more than half in the book that would work for me with some modification), and that's why I'm going to get my hands on the book when summer comes and I have more ingredients to work with.

                                                                                                                                                                                  200+ delighted posts from home cooking 'hounds is a very compelling argument to take a closer look at this book!

                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think there're only 3 or 4 fried recipes in the book; the only one I've made is the Crispy Fried Asparagus (p7). It really is a great cookbook and I've used it a lot. To me, it's pretty representative of deep South cooking, and being from the Mississippi Coast, I should know. Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                              I completely understand where you're coming from TDQ. Since I don't eat pork (and very little other red meat), I was reluctant to get a southern cookbook. I've been lucky because this hasn't been a problem at all with this cookbook. There are plenty of pork-free recipes. But I can see how if you're concerned about butter and cream this book might not be the perfect one for you.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, LulusMom, I think I'll have a look at it this summer anyway or try to flip through it at a bookstore or something before I completely rule it out. Everything sounds so delicious! And I love the premise of passing recipes down through generations...

                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Tonight's dinner was the Cornmeal-Crusted Grouper (pg 135) and Classic Cole Slaw (pg 35).

                                                                                                                                                                            I want to try the Grits/Corn/Onion recipe. But, today's visit to the Farmers Market yielded 5 fabulous ears of sweet corn and a basket of very ripe Roma tomatoes from Central FL (almost local) along with another bunch of the Spring Vidalias. So, I had to make Maque Choux.

                                                                                                                                                                            The fish (red grouper) was very, very good! I nearly burned it, having heated the oil on HGIH as instructed. Next time, I'll back my hot gas burner off a bit to Med-High.

                                                                                                                                                                            DH, who is a true lover of slaw, said he thought it was the best I'd ever made! I cheated with a bag of pre-cut slaw mix because it's just the two of us here and the market only had HUGE heads of cabbage. I could go back now and eat the leftovers! This just became my go-to slaw recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                            Next up will be the squash casserole... I have a little bag of the season's first summer squash waiting in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                            21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the report on the Grouper, Onrushpam! I was reading through the recipe last night and realize I've never seen grouper in fish markets up here. (Boston) I have to find a substitute fish, I guess because I really want to try that. Isn't that slaw terrific? It was one of the first dishes I made from BAY'A and it's now on my rotation list.

                                                                                                                                                                              I envy you having new summer squash. That casserole is on my list to make, but later in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, I went to the fish market planning to buy either Mahi-Mahi (Dorado) or black sea bass, because both are more eco-friendly than Grouper. But, neither of those was available. So, I got the Red Grouper. Another good option would be Tilefish or even Cod.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks... sadly, I've sworn off cod for the time being. I'm trying to adhere to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch OK list and the only fish that I could use would be tilefish which I had never heard of it before reading "Bottomfeeders." I'll ask my fish monger to suggest something. He's a stickler for in season, sustainable, etc. seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                  As a substitute for grouper, Willis recommends mahi-mahi, striped bass, or wreckfish (no idea what that is and don't think I've ever seen it). Seafood watch recommends Alaska pollock and farmed rainbow trout as the best substitutes for grouper. I think basa and catfish would work, also.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know what wreckfish is either. I hope it doesn't wreck your dish!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wikipedia isn't much help, except that it explains this fish likes to hang out in shipwrecks (hence the name). It sounds like it's very close, or even the same as grouper, which doesn't help much. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wreckfish

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                      According to Seafood Watch, the market name for wreckfish is sea bass:

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would guess that's black sea bass. But if you check the Latin names of wreckfish and black sea bass on Wikipedia, they're not the same. Arrrgh! This fish names thing is terribly confusing. I only recently found out from my fishmonger that basa is farmed catfish from Asia. Evidently, US catfish farmers didn't want the Asian imports called by the same name, so in 2003 Congress passed a law saying that imported catfish had to be called something else. And so, basa was born. You really can't tell the players without a scorecard.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Confusing indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        It makes it very hard to know what the "right" thing to do is, doesn't it? I mean, if people who hang out on internet food forums can't sort this kind of confusion, how does the average not-food-obsessed well-intentioned person sort it out?

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's strange that Willis recommended wreckfish specifically. Perhaps it's a kind of fish that's commonly available in the South?

                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                          "Perhaps it's a kind of fish that's commonly available in the South?"

                                                                                                                                                                                          You hit *that* nail on the head! Also from Seafood Watch: "The U.S. fishery for wreckfish operates in the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina . . . ."

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                      It just so happens that next week farmed rainbow trout is on sale at our local supermarket , of all places. Sometimes we get lucky!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. I don't see how Rainbow trout could be anything close to a substitute for Grouper. The Rainbow trout I've had is a freshwater fish, very strong in flavor and not anything like Grouper. (I grew up 10 miles from a state park where the big draw was flyfishing for Rainbow trout and never did learn to like it). Is there perhaps a saltwater trout also called Rainbow?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                                                                          I often buy steelhead trout, which is a rainbow trout that migrates between fresh and salt water. There are a number of different kinds of rainbow trout and they can vary greatly in flavor depending on their diet. Even if you don't like one variety, you might very well like another.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        farmed rainbow trout as a grouper substitute? ha ha ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                          Laugh all you want Alka but according to the Monterey Seafoodwatch Rainbow Trout IS an acceptable substitute for Grouper....

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                                                                                                                                                                          Scroll to the bottom: Recipe Alternatives.....

                                                                                                                                                                                          P.S. Don't forget there is now BAY'A Part 2 so the page will load faster...
                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616454

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                            isn't a substitute supposed to be similar? rainbow trout is not similar to grouper.

                                                                                                                                                                                            to allude to a famous quote: "sir, i know mr. grouper; mr. grouper is a friend of mine. mr. trout, you are no mr. grouper."
                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                            i see from their underlying "report" on grouper that the monterey people need to update their data, too. grouper has been a big focus for enforcement and enhanced fishing restrictions in the gulf of mexico in the past few years. here is the most recent activity in this regard: http://www.outdoorcentral.com/fishing...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                              The word Substitute means a replacement, stand-in. Something used in place of another, not necessarily similar. In the case of Grouper the words used for the replacement read:
                                                                                                                                                                                              "Recipe Alternatives
                                                                                                                                                                                              Alaska Pollock and Rainbow Trout (farmed) are best choices."

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                gio, you then can substitute *anything* for anything *else*? it need not even be *similar*?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey - I haven't had a cuppa coffee yet.....LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think a replacement has to have some logical substitution qualities. If one replaces a player in a game the sub should know how to play the game, no? In my case, I've never seen Grouper in any market around here. Also, I'll probably never eat it because it's on the Avoid list. So I used the recommended substitution.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ok ok! go have some coffee. good idea for me, too. ;-).
                                                                                                                                                                                                    and sometime when you're down in sw florida, try yourself some good old fried grouper at a friend's house (where he or she has caught it personally, so you know it's real!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Living down here near the Gulf, I have very mixed feelings about the whole "avold list" thing. Where I live, there are no big commercial fising operations... just local fishermen trying to make their living the same way their fathers and grandfathers did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I buy grouper, snapper, tilefish, scamp, shrimp, oysters, etc., etc... but it all comes from the local "day boat" guys, not factory ships. The only "farmed" seafood I buy are clams from a guy at the farmers market. He has a little clam farm and brings them to the local growers market in big coolers once a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I want to support our local fishermen and shrimpers and will continue to do so. That's why I never buy fish or seafood at Publix. They import farmed shrimp from Indonesia!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: onrushpam

                                                                                                                                                                                                        onrushpam, I absolutely, totally, and unequivocally agree with you 100%.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Buy local Day Boat seafood in your neck of the woods ...er...water. All the seafood you mentioned is the kind of seafood we should be buying from our local fisherpeople. You're the Lucky one!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            my sister swears by this dumpling shortcut: cut pillsbury refrigerated biscuits in half (like splitting them as if you were going to butter them), put on top of your soup, cover, cook, et voilá!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Breakfast Strata with Country Sausage, Ch.3, Eggs and Dairy, Pg. 68

                                                                                                                                                                                        It was breakfast for dinner on a Saturday night at Casa G & G. This is a delightful tasty and filling dish. And, pretty enough to serve to guests. We liked it very much! There's a bit of a prep with the chopping of red and yellow peppers and a sweet onion and cubing the baguette. I did a medium dice with the veggies..

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's what happens:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Bulk country sausage is cooked in a skillet till almost brown. Then chopped yellow & red bell peppers and a sweet onion are added and cooked for 5-ish minutes. Two minced garlic cloves are added to the mix and all is cooked for another minute or so. Ms. Willis calls for 2 baguettes but mine was large so I only used 1. This is cubed. The third component to the dish is a custard made with 2 1/2 cups of milk, 6 eggs, 1 tablespoon each of chopped fresh sage and parsley, salt & pepper.... all whisked together.
                                                                                                                                                                                        To assemble:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Layer half of the bread cubes in the bottom of an oiled gratin dish. Top that with half of the sausage mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano. Then add another layer of bread cubes and then of sausage. Pour the custard over all. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 - 12 hours. We made this in the morning and baked in at night. Take the strata out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you're going to bake it to bring it up to room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Bake for 30 minutes then sprinkle another 1/4 cup of the grated cheese over top. Bake for an additional 30-ish minutes. Delicious!! Make it, you'll be glad you did. I must admit, however, that DH chile-head that he is sprinkled a bit of cayenne on his serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I served this with the Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Asian Dressing on pg.,38.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                          OK - translation needed. What is country bulk sausage and what could I use as a substitute?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            You live in the land of sausage, so I expect you can find something similar [and then maybe have to add the cayenne.] Here is a list of typical ingredients for country sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 pounds lean pork (shoulder/butt or trimmings)
                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 pound pork fatback
                                                                                                                                                                                            3 teaspoons kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                            1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                            1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled fine
                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 teaspoon cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                            1 teaspoon sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 cup water

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                              Land of sausage and kings! Lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                              What does the bulk bit mean - are they those funny square sausages without any casings you get for breakfast?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                Here in the States, especially at markets that make their own sausage, we can buy Italian-style hot or mild sausage by the pound. It’s sold in the same type of packaging that ground beef, pork, and veal are sold in. So, yes, it’s the same sausage you could buy in a casing, but it’s not what we would call a breakfast sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh I see - it's just loose sausage like you'd get in a butchers. Sorry for all the stupid questions but sometimes American cookery instructions leave me flummoxed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And answering questions is only fair return for the probably greater number we rely on you for when wading through the like of Hopkinson, et al.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              SMT may be entirely correct about her recipe for the country sausage but the next time I make this dish I'm just getting a spicy sausage, slitting the casing and pouring the innards into the skillet and using that. I was not entirely satisfied with the sausage mix I got from the market. Tasty but not enough oomph for DH. The rest of the recipe was OK, though .... It was delicious even for lunch the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Asian Dressing, Ch. 2, Salads and Slaws, Pg. 38

                                                                                                                                                                                            I love salads and slaws! If I had to eat only salads for the rest of my life I'd be happy. For this delicious slaw I used Ms Willis's dressing but my mix of vegetables.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The dressing is very nice indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                            Make the dressing first and set aside while you prep the vegetables.
                                                                                                                                                                                            In a small bowl combine: 1/2 cup mayo (her home made prefered, I used TJ's Organic).
                                                                                                                                                                                            2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon mirin ( I used sherry), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, juice of 1 lemon, 1 seeded and finely chopped small jalapeno.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's VA's vegetable mix:
                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 English cucumber peeled in stripes, 1/4 small head red cabbage, 1/4 green cabbage,
                                                                                                                                                                                            4 thinly sliced French breakfast radishes, 2 grated carrots, 1 thinly sliced red bell pepper, 2 thinly sliced green onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's mine:
                                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 red cabbage, 1/4 Napa cabbage, 1 thinly sliced medium bok choy , 6 thinly sliced radishes (whatever variety they were from the farm), 1 carrot shaved with a veggie peeler, 2 thinly sliced green onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                            When ready to serve pour dressing over vegetables just to coat. Sprinkle with salt & pepper then add 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds. (Must not eat seeds so couldn't use). Toss well. I could have OD'd on this slaw.....

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Fried Pork Chops with Pan Gravy, Ch. 4: Pork, Beef, Lamb, Pg. 80

                                                                                                                                                                                              After seasoning with course salt and freshly ground black pepper 3/4" Center-cut bone-in pork chops are dredged in some flour which is seasoned with salt & pepper plus a touch of cayenne and as per Ms Willis's variation some cornmeal was also mixed in for the crunch. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of canola oil but we used only a few tablespoons. When the oil is heated the chops are fried for about 4 minutes then with tongs are turned over and the skillet is covered. The chops are cooked for another 4 minutes over reduced heat. They are then removed to a warm platter and tented with aluminum foil to keep warm.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Pour off all but about 2 T fat from the pan then 2 T of the seasoned flour is added and a roux is made. 2 cups of chicken stock is added and cooked down to make the gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                              We liked this dish very much. The chops were tender and moist and the gravy was delicious. I served it with Tangle of Bitter Greens. Good combination!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                Just came across this while looking for another recipe. I haven't actually made the pork chops but have made the gravy more than once. I've always gravy phobic. After this, I won't ever be again. It's great.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Tangle of Bitter Greens, Ch. 8: Vegetables, Pg. 198

                                                                                                                                                                                                A very simple recipe, this, and very tasty. Any variety of greens may be used for this dish. I chose Kale. Wash, de-stem and slice the greens... discard stems. Make a paste with 3 cloves of garlic. Canola oil is heated in a skillet, the garlic paste along with the greens are added and seasoned with S & P. The greens are cooked "till slightly wilted." Taste and adjust seasoning is necessary. I love this simple way of preparing fresh greens of any kind!

                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In about six weeks, and for about six weeks, once my CSA gets rolling, I will desperately be in need of greens recipes. I shall try this delicious yet simple sounding recipe! Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're Welcome, TDQ!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are some recipes which are decidedly perfect for Summer. I'll be making the Summer squash casserole, there's a zucchini dish and a green bean & tomato something-or-other.... the okra, which I've never cooked with before. figures in a few which speak of warm weather to me. There's a lucious blackberry cobbler, I think it is, which I'm waiting to make as soon as berries hit the farm stand. Yaya Dave was right when he said, more or less, that this is book for all seasons.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think summer is when this book might work best for me in terms of availability of ingredients and your post above serves to confirm this. I can't wait!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just think of the holiday possibilities between now and next Easter. Might be the first thread to hit a thousand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's funny.... I already have the Winter squash soup down on my Thanksgiving menu and the bourbon baked potatoes. There are some corn bread recipes I haven't made yet....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                        TDQ, you may want to hang on to this recent thread, "Greens - how do you prepare them": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/611583 Tons of ideas, most delicious sounding and simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thought I'd like to hang on to it as well, but I'm getting a "can't find this page" error message. Any idea why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            There was a period after the link that was incorporated and tripped it up. I've edited my post above, and the link works now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Southern Minestrone, Ch. 10: Soups and Stews, Pg. 239

                                                                                                                                                                                                      How could I not make this.....LOL It was perfect for a cold, rainy night in beautiful downtown Massachusetts. Although there is a list of vegetables for this hearty soup, any combination of fresh seasonal ingredients can be used to make a soup which will warm the heart and soul.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      VA's list: 2 onions.1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 2 large cloves garlic, 1/4 head cored cabbage
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 lb. green beans,1/4 lb. halved fresh okra, 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's what I used: 1 large Spanish onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks,1 bok choy, 2 diced Yukon Gold potatoes Various leftovers...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used my Batali Essentials Pot for this. All the vegetables are chopped then olive oil is heated in the pot and the onions, carrots, celery are cooked for about 12 minutes. The garlic is added and cooked "till fragrant." Four cups of water (I used chicken stock) cabbage and a piece of Parmigiana rind is added. Season and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Next: 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes are added and all the other vegetables you're using, for me it was left over kale, bok choy, petite pois, some left over asparagus...then 2 T each chopped parsley & fresh basil and some red pepper flakes to taste.....two more cups of stock and the whole thing is simmered til the veggies are "just tender." The recipe calls for 1/2 cup elbow macaroni but I had some left over ziti so I used that. This is simmered for a few more minutes. To serve: ladle into warm bowls, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with grated parm and enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This soup was super delicious. Since I didn't have any fresh Italian bread to serve along with it we had a small bowl each of Green Mountain Gringo tortilla chips. Some how everything went together very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I had to take mine back to the library on Monday! :-( I checked out "A Love Affair with Southern Cooking" by Jean Anderson and am enjoying that one as well. I've always been obsessed with soul food, but Bon Appetit Y'all has widened that to include all Southern cooking. And so the love affair begins for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jean Anderson is terrific! I have a few of her books and some of her recipes now set the standard for me. I don't think I've ever made a Jean Anderson recipe that didn't turn out exactly as it was supposed to. She tests her recipes thoroughly and writes instructions clearly. I wish that could be said of all cookbook authors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, good! This is my first experience with her, although I remember Sara Moulton mentioning that she uses her books for inspiration when she doesn't know what to cook. I've already marked a lot to try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am really, really loving this book- it's going to be a triple-renewal for me! I'm a little annoyed with myself because I bought another Southern cookbook sight unseen and I don't like it nearly as well! Wish I would have bought Love Affair instead. It has a ton of historical references and suggestions of other Southern cookbooks- both educational and dangerous! I HAVE to make the Bananas Foster Cheesecake and the Honeysuckle Sorbet, and soon! If y'all love Bon Appetit Y'all, you should check out Love Affair as well. On a side note, I am now the proud owner of a copy of Bon Appetit Y'all, thanks to my future SIL! Yippee!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                About a week ago, coincidentally just before heading off for a long weekend in Charleston to try some of these specialties in situ, a friend in the book biz gave me copies of both “A Love Affair with Southern Cooking” and John T. Edge’s “A Gracious Plenty.” In return, he asked that I cook dinner for him with recipes from the books. I’ve hardly had a chance to look at either of them yet, but that Bananas Foster Cheesecake is already on my list as a possible dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As a souvenir of Charleston I bought “Charleston Receipts” (how could I not?) and “Big Mama’s Old Black Pot,” a collection of Gullah recipes from a century ago and more. Just one week and I’ve tripled my collection of southern cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, good, I don't feel so bad! I bought River Road Recipes and The Heritage of Southern Cooking, in addition to receiving Bon Appetit Y'all! Heritage is the one that I wish I wouldn't have bought, but I did buy it used so it didn't set me too far back. What a nice friend you have!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I bought both "Bon Appetit Y'all" and "Love Affair" because of this thread and, while I like the former, I spent the weekend reading the latter cover to cover! Great book. I haven't cooked anything from it, but it's worth it just to read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Btw, I bought both from The Good Cook with the 4 books for $4 intro (which I've done several times). Looks like they've now gotten rid of the monthly Featured Selection, which was the most annoying part of joining. I also got "Southern Cakes" which looks great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They still have the monthly featured selection, just so you know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Really? I must have misinterpreted their email, though I can't find anything about the Monthly Selection on their website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just had to reply myself to not get the monthly feature a day or two ago. Monthly selection is up at a tab at the top of the main page.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They're currently offering memberships with no requirement of monthly cards returned, etc. and no auto shipments. You still have to reply re the monthly selection if your membership predates this change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just got this offer in the mail. (Once you've been a member, they never stop soliciting you to rejoin and get you 4 books for $4!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you have to pay tax and shipping on the four books? Lord knows, I need more cookbooks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep, and there's a commitment to buy another book or two during a specified amount of time. Here's the sign-up info: http://www.thegoodcook.com/ecom/pages...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to say, I wouldn't have been able to afford some of the gorgeous cookbooks I've acquired at times without their deals. I've generally quit as soon as I've fulfilled the commitment so I wouldn't have to kee dealing with those pesky return cards (or online alternative), but they might successfully lure me back sometime without them, as they did emily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmmm...anyone else with Safari having a problem getting past the cookbook selection stage on that site? First Safari says it can't validate the site's certificate and, if you plunge forward as I did, the site's landing page that it drops you on won't load. Does the site work better with PCs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just did a quickie test on Safari. When I closed out of the site certificate message it took me right to the sign-up page. Perhaps you just hit a temporary glitch?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Weird, thank you. Well, I just rebooted my computer and tried again and it worked. It seems that this is a great website to get newish books, although, it doesn't have a huge selection. I bought two cookbooks I've been dying to get, one I'm interested in but would probably never otherwise buy, and another I hadn't heard of before, but by an author I like. Funny how you're willing to take chances on buying a book that is nearly free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So? What didja get?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just reorganized my cookbooks and have at least five inches of space that are calling out to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I'm sure it's not that interesting, but I got Ellie Krieger's Food you Crave, a book on Scandinavian Cooking, Mai Pham's latest book (a pan Asian one) and then "Cooking Up a Storm" collection of New Orleans recipes "recovered" post-Katrina.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's what I was checking out--Mai Pham's latest. And if they'd only had her previous one as well, I'd have gone right ahead and signed up. Be sure to let us know what you think once you've had a chance to look it over. I haven't seen any reports on it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Will do! That book was two credits, so, I hope I don't regret it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, maybe I'm imagining it, but it does seem they give you access to a broader selection of books once you've signed up, but Flavors of Asia is still the only book by Pham they seem to have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OK, I'm very excited, my books arrived yesterday. I'd kind of forgotten about them, so it was a pleasant surprise. My only disappointment is that one of the books is a paperback and arrived with bent corners and the cover peeling off a little. I buy a lot of used cookbooks, so, this is something I'm used to. But buying a new book is such a rare thing for me, that I'm kind of sad it arrived damaged. I also know I'm too lazy to return it, etc. Oh well, it would cease being pristine the first time I cooked from it anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Just a little compilation to date for this thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RECIPES DISCUSSED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aunt Lee's Macaroni and Cheese, Ch. 7: Grits, Rice, Pasta, Potatoes, Pg. 166
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Classic Cole Slaw, Ch. 2: Salads and Slaws, Pg. 35
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mayonnaise according to her recipe on page 282
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pork Chops with Dried Plums, Ch.4, Beef Pork Lamb, Pg. 84
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Ch. 7: Grits, Rice, Pasta and Potatoes, Pg. 163
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mama’s Angel Food Cake (page 250)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce, Ch. 6: Gospel Birds and Game Birds, Pg. 110
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Green Beans with Tomatoes, Ch. 5: Vegetables, Pg. 187
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar page 105 -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Vidalia Onion Quiche (p. 63)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Arugula with Roasted Pears and Goat Cheese (p. 39)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hushpuppies, p. 213
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fingerling (New Potato) Potato Salad, p. 48
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stuffed Flounder for Mama (page 134)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken and Dumplings (p. 236?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crab Dip, p. 12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Mama's Barbecue Sauce, Pg. 81
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  French Toast Casserole, p. 71
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Winter Squash Soup With Sautéed Apples, Ch. 10, Soups and Stews, Pg. 233
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buttery Braised Endive, Ch. 8, Vegetables, Pg. 185
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cornmeal-Crusted Grouper (pg 135)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breakfast Strata with Country Sausage, Ch.3, Eggs and Dairy, Pg. 68
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Asian Dressing on pg.,38.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fried Pork Chops with Pan Gravy, Ch. 4: Pork, Beef, Lamb, Pg. 80
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tangle of Bitter Greens, Ch. 8: Vegetables, Pg. 198
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Southern Minestrone, Ch. 10: Soups and Stews, Pg. 239

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RECIPES MENTIONED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar page 105 -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken Saltimbocca with Country Ham page 112 - used Serrano ham (so good!!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fried Catfish Fingers with Country Remoulade page 129- loved as an appetizer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shrimp with Parmigiano-Reggiano Grits and Tomatoes page 139 –
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mama's Mayonnaise Biscuits page 206 - used Hellman's regular - yum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gulf Coast Oyster Chowder page 238 - have made twice, delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Potato and Cheddar Soup with Bacon Croutons page 241
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crispy Fried Asparagus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mama's Crawfish Etouffee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar (105)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  deviled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buttermilk Cornbread, Cheddar Cornbread, Cornmeal Focaccia, Corn Spoonbread, and Crunchy Corn Muffins

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OTHER BOOKS MENTIONED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  River Road Recipes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frank Stitt's book, "Southern Table"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Charleston Receipts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Come On In.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But,.there are FOUR River Roads cookbooks!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RRR1, the original
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RRR2, is Cajun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RRR3 is a compilation of Creole & Cajun.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RRR4 has celebratory menus and recipes for special occasions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who's Your Momma, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Gift of Southern Cooking (by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Marvin Woods' The New Low-Country Cooking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Edna Lewis “In Pursuit of Flavor,”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Craig Claiborne’s “Southern Cooking”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  W-S New Orleans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "A Love Affair with Southern Cooking" by Jean Anderson

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're outta control, y'all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You may be right....I'm gonna have a glass of Southern Comfort and think about it awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OMG.... and after tonight you can add MountaIn Trout, Braised Cabbage, and Country Remoulade.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We ARE outta control. Or is it just me?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And there's still Summer, Autumn and Winter......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, if you hadn't used the Makers Mark in the potatoes, you could use it as a relaxicant like billieboy is with the Southern Comfort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And there's still 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years ....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And out back all summer long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Makers Mark as a Relaxicant??? Huh? You crazy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Out back all Summer long".... I'll be comatose by July. I promise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I only used a little bit of MM.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comatose!! You'll miss all my experiences from BAY'A. My friends at Amazon e-mailed that it is on the way. And e-mails never lie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dave.... Many thanks to you for that compilation! I also like having a list of the other books mentioned. But.... whaddaya mean we're outta control? So much to eat so little time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the compilation yayadave. I think we're just getting started. And I'm about to go to Amazon and look up two of those cookbooks (dangerous!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Mountain Trout with Lemons and Capers, CH.: 6, Fish and Shellfish, Pg. 140

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was the most delicious fish dish, y'all. You must make it and see for yourselves...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although Mountain Trout was called for I used Rainbow trout. I don't know what the difference is but they're probably similar in flavor. I think. Anyway, season 2 butterflied trout about 12 oz each with salt & pepper then lightly dredge in about 1/2 cup seasoned flour. Heat canola oil and a bit of butter in a skillet, add the trout - skin side up - "cook till golden." Turn over and cook another 3-ish minutes or till fish firms up. Place on a warm platter and tent to keep warm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Add 1 T of butter, juice of a lemon, and 2 t rinsed capers to the skillet and stir to make a pan sauce incorporating all the luscious brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I served this with the Country Remoulade on pg. 286, the Braised Cabbage on pg. 178, and a spicy tomato and white onion salad of my own concoction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Meme's Braised Cabbage, Ch. 8: Vegetables, Pg.176

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We loved this version of a dish I make frequently. Cabbage is such a nutritious veggie and seems to be a good accompaniment for just about any main dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The recipe calls for bacon fat or unsalted butter but I had a piece of pancetta so I used that. 1 whole medium head of green cabbage is cored and thinly sliced. 1/2 cup of chicken stock, a sprig of thyme, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper complete the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            After I rendered the pancetta the cabbage was put into a pan and sautéed till just wilted. Add the stock, thyme and S & P. Decrease the heat and simmer till the cabbage is tender...about 20 minutes. Take out the thyme and serve. The slow simmer plus the thyme brought out the delicious flavor of the cabbage. I'm getting pretty good at slicing this vegetable very thinly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Country Remoulade, Ch. 12: Sauces, Condiments, Jams, Jellies, and Preserves, Pg. 286

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nice take on a classic French cold sauce. It really wasn't needed for the trout dish but I wanted to make it anyway. Another delicious recipe from Ms Willis!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, 1 finely diced celery stalk, finely diced scallions, a garlic clove finely chopped ( I pressed it), finely chopped fresh chives, hot sauce ( I used Sriracha), Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper are all combined well in a small bowl. It's best to refrigerate for an hour or so to marry the flavors. This makes a great dip as well as a sauce. Sooooo tasty served with the Mountain Trout even thought there was a pan sauce... !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Mama’s Sausage-Pecan Balls (page 13)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                These are her from-scratch version of the recipe on the Bisquick box, which she says is how her mother made them. I’m making these in advance for a party this weekend and tasted a few fresh from the oven. I hope my guests like them better than I. The flavor is quite good, although I wish I’d used the alternate spicy sausage instead of the mild, but they’re rather dry. Never had these before so I have nothing to compare them to, but I expected something more tender and perhaps even a bit juicy. And it’s entirely possible that it’s all my fault.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                First, she says the mixture, before being formed, is “very crumbly.” Mine was so crumbly I couldn’t get the dough to hold together. I put it all back in the food processor, added just a bit of cold water, and pulsed a few times. At least after that I could form balls from the mixture. Next, her instructions say to form 1-inch balls. Well, I started out doing that using a 1-inch ice cream scoop. But it became obvious after using up about half the dough mixture that my yield was going to be way more than the 3 dozen listed. So I started making them quite a bit larger. Even then, I ended up with nearly 70 balls, nearly double the amount. So something must be wrong somewhere. The recipe says to bake “until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.” Mine were only beginning to brown after 20 minutes so I gave them another 5. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have friends who just adore this kind of thing and I’d really like to try to make it work. Hate to just give up and go the Bisquick route. I hope someone else gives these a try and perhaps helps me get a sense of where I went wrong and how I can make it right

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JoanN - it does sound like something went wrong somewhere; did you review the recipe? I haven't made that recipe but have had sausage balls for years and they're pretty moist. Maybe you're being too hard on yourself? How about something to dip them in, maybe a Come Back sauce or something?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Come Back" sauce. I love that. Is it called Come Back because you keep coming back for more? Or, does It keep coming back to You? LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Joan:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I must say the sausage balls certainly Look marvelous. I haven't done much reading in that first chapter yet. I shot directly to mains and sides. What kind of flour is used? Is it Bisquick? I'm going to have to take a look and see if I can make them this week-end. Personally I would automatically gravitate to the spicier sausages.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, it makes you "come back" to it again and again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Recipe calls for flour and baking powder, not Bisquick. The only way I've ever had it was with Bisquick, and prefer the spicier sausages as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I definitely followed the recipe as written. I nearly always do the first time I try something. And, yes, I am hard on myself. Got a reputation to maintain here. ;-) It may have been that my sausage (butcher made Italian) was too lean. Or perhaps I could blame it on my oven which has been acting up lately. It may have gotten too hot, although it was the right temp when I put them in. But then they would have browned more quickly than they did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Think I'll pass on the sauce and just give my guests more booze to add moisture and keep them from thinking about it. What recipe do you use for sausage balls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW Joan - they looked delicious. I use the Bisquick one with spicy Jimmy Dean sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry - meant to say Jezebel sauce - used the southern vernacular there -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My Grandma makes the Bisquick version and they are always moist. However, I've had ones that other people have made and they can be like rocks- not sure what the difference is. Grandma's love? ;-) I know she always insists on Oldham's bulk sausage. I would suspect that it's just not really your kind of thing, JoanN, but I don't know. Here's her recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sausage Snack Balls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 lb. Oldham’s sausage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 to 1 ½ cups Bisquick
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 cups (8 oz.) grated sharp cheddar cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mix all ingredients together and form into 1-inch balls. Bake 30 minutes at 350°. Serve hot. You may keep them warm in a crock pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I can be compulsive about some things. And when I make a recipe that’s been a standard for umpteen thousands of people for decades and it doesn’t work, it makes me nuts. So I decided to make them over again for tomorrow’s party (as though I have nothing else to do).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you Google “Bisquick Sausage Cheese Balls” you get 23,900 hits. I looked at maybe half a dozen. Then something clicked. The recipe that Katie Nell posted uses about half the Bisquick most of the recipes call for. And then I found this recipe http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/r... on the Betty Crocker site, checked out the reviews, and saw that many people said that if you use the full amount of Bisquick the balls turn out way too dry. Just like my first batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So for the second batch, I made the Betty Crocker recipe using 1/2 the amount of Bisquick. Couldn’t find Oldham’s sausage. Hell, I couldn’t even find Jimmy Dean sausage. So I made it with hot Italian sausage. Victory! I got the result I was hoping for. So at least I’m set for the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But this is going to continue to bug me for a while. First of all, Bisquick (which, would you believe, I’d never bought before) is nothing more than flour, baking soda, a bit of sugar, and a ridiculous amount of salt. So there’s absolutely no good reason to buy it again. I’ll go back to Ms. Willis’s from scratch recipe, but use the proportions in the rejiggered Betty Crocker recipe. And it might be that I over-chopped the pecans, making them a little too much like pecan flour. Maybe I’ll just leave them out next time. They don’t seem really necessary anyway. The BC recipe has about double the amount of cheese in Katie’s grandma’s recipe which I like. And I also like the additions of a bit of Parmesan and parsley and rosemary. Lots to experiment with here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Glad they came out like you wanted them to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let us know if any future experiments you have with this old faithful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm really happy to read your latest report Joan... but I have a question. Did you - does one need to use Crisco? Is there a healthier substitute??
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wanted to make these next week. But I'm not liking the Crisco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No idea why she has Crisco in the recipe. None of the others I read do. Yes, I used it. Didn't seem to help any; the mixture, at least before I added the water, was still way too crumbly. I would think the sausage and cheese has enough fat, no? The BC recipe I linked to above has a bit of milk in it. Don't know what that added unless it was just to moisten the mixture and make it easier to form the balls. Not sure what to suggest. Substitute vegetable oil for the Crisco? Milk? Just leave it out? Your guess is as good as mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The other recipes you refer to, Joan, were those from scratch with no Crisco, or did they use Bisquik? If the latter, well Bisquik already in effect includes Crisco, so I'm wondering if Willis's includes it because her ingredients - flour, baking powder, shortening - are just mimicking the effect of the Bisquik that is the "classic" base, and that's the reason for it. If the point is to have a biscuit-y effect, I can see why she'd call for solid shortening; otherwise I think veg oil would work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I've made a Bisquick mix from scratch before and you use shortening in the mix and then either refrigerate or freeze the mixture. I'm glad you were successful with your second batch, JoanN! I really liked the idea of pecans in the mixture, so I wanted to try the Bon Appetit Y'all version, even though I love my Grandma's version. We have them every Christmas morning with brunch... just wouldn't be the same without them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mistake. I read the Bisquick ingredients list much too quickly and completely missed the "partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      @KN: I liked the idea of the pecans as well. It could be that either I chopped them too finely or that the texture just got lost because my first batch of sausage balls was so dry. Perhaps it was just simply that I made them too small and they dried out during baking. I'll be most eager to read of your results if you do try the BAYA version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. A question about the Classic Cole Slaw (P.35)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I calls for ¼ cup of buttermilk. I hate to buy a quart of the stuff. What am I going to do with the rest? Pour it out because I will never use it all. I understand that you can make a quasi buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk. However......the recipe already has the juice of a lemon and also cider vinegar. Would it be acceptable you just add milk and forget the butter milk? How about some sour cream instead of milk?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Billy, I'd be tempted to use the homemade sour milk just because she has it in the recipe.....even tho there's already lemon jc and vinegar.... but that's just me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW: here's the recipe for a buttermilk subatitute for those who may need it:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To 1 cup of warmed regular milk add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 1/3 Tablespoons of cider vinegar. Stir well. Allow to sit for a while to thicken. Then use the exact amount required in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Gio. I will give it a try. I still like the idea of sour cream but will try it after I try her tried and true way. Again, thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you're having the cole slaw with fried chicken, you might want to make some buttermilk biscuits or use it in the "breading."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Are you sure you can't get a smaller container of buttermilk? I just bought a half pint for the banana muffins I made on Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never seen it in anything but quarts here, but to be honest, I haven't looked that hard either. Never have bought the stuff. Poring rain today. Will check tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you do have to get a quart, you could always make cornbread (it freezes well) or use it to soak chicken in before you pan fry it. Or homemade Ranch dressing if you like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or you could come to your senses and realize how delicious it is with a sandwich, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oak "President of Buttermilk Lovers League" Joan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's true Joan. I don't drink it plain, it's worse than that: I crumble still-warm cornbread into it and spoon it out. Mmmm good, especially with that butter-churn buttermilk. There is always buttermilk in my fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Chicken and Tasso Jambalaya, Ch. 8: Gospel Birds and Game Birds, Pg. 111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In her introduction to this recipe Ms Willis states that her mother cooked from the "River Road Recipes" 1959 edition and "Talk about Good" (Jr. League of Lafayette, 1967). I just thought that was worth noting given our previous discussion of the RRR books.... We absolutely loved the ultimate dish but had several issues with the recipe which I will note as I go along.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first thing to do is make the Homemade Creole Seasoning on pg. 287. There's a good bit of cayenne, salt, some ground white pepper, dried thyme and sage, black pepper, and a bit of onion and garlic powders. I have made various Creole seasonings in the past and this one is wonderful. I omitted the salt entirely and it was still very good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Since only 1 tablespoon is needed for the recipe there's a good lot left over for future use. You'll be glad there is, because it's nice and Spicy!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now for the main recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A skillet is recommended but I used a Dutch oven. Canola oil and butter are heated and chopped tasso is cooked just until it starts to brown and render fat ( I omitted the butter and used smoked {Black Forest} ham, the alternative). Boneless chicken thighs are cut into 2" pieces ( poultry scissors were perfect for this)...and added
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to the pot. Sprinkle this with 1 T of the Creole seasoning. All is cooked till the chicken begins to color then the meat is removed to a platter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chopped sweet onion, celery, and bell pepper are placed into the pot and cooked for about 7 minutes. Finely chopped garlic is added, then long grain rice which is stirred and coated with the oil and veggies. Four oz. of tomato sauce and 2 1/2 c chicken stock go in next and brought to boil. Because I had eliminated the salt from the Creole seasoning, I added 1 T to the pot at this point. I had read that it's better to season before the rice has cooked through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now - here's what's missing from the recipe: There's no indication that the meats are returned to the pot. We added the ham and chicken back in at this point. Plus: there's no indication at what temperature the oven is set so we preheated at 350F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, transfer the pot to the oven and bake, uncovered for about 45 minutes, or till the rice has absorbed all the broth. After stirring once DH decided the rice was getting too dry but was still very al dente. He added a little more stock and continued cooking for an additional 10-ish minutes. The pot is removed from the oven and allowed to cool slightly before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We both loved the flavor of this jambalaya! It is spicy, and that's the way we like it. I'll definitely make it again, but I think I'll use ham hocks or even pancetta. The Black Forest ham was salty and unevenly cooked; that's why I want to experiment with other meats. I have read that sausage or chorizo or andouille can be used as well. DH stands over the stove and makes sure he stirs when indicated in the recipe and pays close attention to the times mentioned then judges when things have rendered sufficiently. He's a stickler for detail in that regard. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and a delicious meal. I served simple tossed salad but used a sherry vinaigrette from Frank Stitt's book - of all things. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Definately use one of the sausages instead. Gonna try this soon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The reason I make my own spice mixtures is to leave out the salt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Store-bought ones are waaayyy too salty for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I want to control the salt in a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I make my own seasonings myself too. The recipe I have for Creole Seasoning has all Ms. Willis's ingredients plus dried oregano, basil and thyme. I never add salt to the seasonings, preferring as you do, to control the amount of salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really loved the Jambayla.... so I'll have to try it with one of the sausages too. I'm thinking spicy turkey or chicken sausages.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Grilled Steak Salad with Blue Cheese, p36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a pretty quick but luxurious main course salad that we loved. I made a few changes - baby spinach instead of rocket, and asparagus rather than green beans, as asparagus has just come into season here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You make a vinaigrette using half a cup of olive oil and three tbsp of balsamic vinegar (I halved the recipe) and remove 2 tbsp, which you brush onto your sirloin steaks before grilling. Toss the leaves with the vinaigrette, some cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and the green beans or asparagus in my case. Grill your steak to your preferred level of doneness, rest and slice across the grain. Pile the salad onto plates and top with the steak and some crumbled blue cheese - I used gorgozola piccante.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How could this not be good?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Chicken Saltimbocca with Country Ham, CH. 5: Gospel Birds and Game Birds, Pg. 112

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Finally got around to make this delicious dish. We both loved it. Very simple to prep and very easy to cook. Chicken breasts, after first gently pounded to almost 1/4", are topped with 4 fresh sage leaves and several slices of ham (I used prosciutto one of several alternatives.). These are placed on a baking sheet and refrigerated for 10 minutes. They are then placed in a skillet ham side down and cooked for about 5 minutes on each side. Removed from the pan they are tented to keep warm while the pan sauce is made. 1/4 cup each dry white wine and Madeira is added to the pan and brought to boil.scraping up all the fond at the bottom of the pan. 3/4 cup of chicken stock is then added and cooked for about 5 minutes till the sauce is reduced and thickened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The only issue I had with this was that in her intro notes, Ms Willis mentions that Herbes de Provence is used as an ingredient but they are no where to be found in the body of the recipe or directions. It really didn't matter, though, because the ultimate dish was very good. I'll definitely be making this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I served the Saltimbocca with roasted baby Yukon Gold potatoes, seasoned with S & P, Herbes de Provence and EVOO... and steamed asparagus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hi there - Thought I would pop in and say hello. Sadly, Gio, you found one of the typos in the book. As a matter of interest, the other ones are in the 20000 rice pilaf recipe (rice is never put into oven, only removed) and the jambalaya (chicken isn't returned and rice isn;t baked!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sigh. How many eyeballs looked at that? Those things happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Glad y'all are still enjoying. Wanted to share a link to my blog. I am suggesting my French Toast Casserole with Bourbon Creme Anglaise for a Derby weekend dessert!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Best VA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://virginiawillis.wordpress.com/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ms. Willis - sounds delicious - it's on my list for Sunday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh Ms. Willis..... thank you so much for explaining those directions! We really LOVED both recipes even though we misinterpreted them. I intend to make the Jambalaya again, definitely, and have had the 20,000$ rice on my list from day one. I'll write your notes on the appropriate pages so I won't forget. Your French Toast Casserole with Bourbon Creme Anglaise sounds absolutely decadant. I can't wait to make it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Have a super great weekend, and many thanks for visiting the thread again...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: virginia willis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I think you've caught ALL our eyes (and mouths and stomachs) with the French Toast Casserole with Bourbon Creme Anglaise. I want to make a batch and just retire to bed for the rest of the day with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Being brought up in an Italian home I had been cooking Polenta the old fashion way of 45 minutes with constant stirring etc. A local Italian know for her good cooking taught me a much easier way to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I merely bring the salted water to a boil. (3 Parts water to 1 Part Polenta) I then add the Polenta stirring constantly for three minutes. The Polenta should be bubbling like Etna at this time. I then pour it into a slow cooker and cook it on low for 4 hours while I do other things. It will form a crust which is very tasty and not wasted. I pour it into a baking pan and refrigerate it until I am ready for it. To make Polenta Genoase I merely place crumbled Gorgonzole on top and bake it. It can also be served immediately by pouring it onto a flat serface in the Abbruzzi way and pouring your favorite tomato sauce and sausage on top and serving it immediately. It can also be chilled cut into squares and grilled the Veneto way with a slice of asiago cheese placed on top after the grilling has been completed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Thanks so much for this awesome post Gio! I am so excited about this book! =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DishDelish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many thanks DD... There's another thread for BAY'A Part 2. We thought it would be easier to open a shorter thread after this one rose above 300 posts.... Hah.... Little did we know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's the link to Part 2:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616454

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Happy Cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Right on! Once again, thank you so much!! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DishDelish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hard to believe after this lively discussion that we have more food for thought for a COTM selection. I am new to Southern cooking (I'm a California girl, through and through) so this upcoming COTM will be a challenge for me. I am looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about - Y'all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, it is nice to see the Authors taking an interest in our comments.