Back From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime

   My friend Phil Potempa writes these encyclopedia-sized cookbooks based upon growing up on a farm and his years—still counting—as a food and entertainment columnist, currently for the Chicago Tribune Media Co. Well, his latest, Back From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime Vol. 4, is no different. I didn’t weigh it but it’s hefty and thick with 576 pages. Chocked full of recipes, photos, and anecdotes, the book is a compilation of Phil’s food and entertainment columns that takes us from growing up on the family farm in La Pierre, Indiana to hanging out with celebrities and everything in between such as local baking contests, chef interviews, chili cook-offs, ethnic celebrations, and readers’ favorite recipes.

“There are a lot of ways to read these books,” Phil tells me, noting that some people tell him they go straight to the index and look up the celebrity names while others leaf through the book, stopping at recipes that look interesting and still others are intrigued by stories of Potempa’s farm relatives.  After all, who could resist recipes with such names as “Granny Wojdula’s Nine-Day Sweet Pickles,” “Jim Nabors’ Mom’s Split Green Pea Soup,” “Bob Hope’s Favorite Chicken Hash,” or “Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake,” which implies that Blondie must have had several recipes for cakes made with pink Champagne.  Now that’s really drilling down on an ingredient.

San Pierre, for anyone—and that’s most of us—is a small dot on the map consisting of less than 200 people according to Wikipedia. It’s where the Potempa still spends time with his family (he also has a place in Chicago) and is the center of Indiana’s mint growing industry and where the North Judson Mint Festival is held every year. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Services third nationally for spearmint production and fourth for peppermint production. Much of their mint ends up as oil and is sold to Wrigley, Colgate Palmolive, and Proctor & Gamble for use in their products. In other words, when you brush your teeth with a spearmint flavored toothpaste it might have come from San Pierre which is some 50 miles away.

  Asked what his favorite story was, Potempa names Phyllis Diller, a housewife from Lima, Ohio who hit it big as a comedian in her late 30s and had a career that continued on until her death in 2012 at age 95. Her schtick included donning a fright wig for wild blonde hair, downplaying her good looks with bad make-up, and, with a cigarette in a long holder, cackling out jokes about her life including her poor domestic skills. She was considered the first woman stand-up comedian and like Joan Rivers, another first in the field, was expected to make fun of herself to be successful.

              “One of her lines was that she used a smoke detector as a way of timing her dinners, when it went off, she knew the food was ready,” recalls Potempa. “In actuality, she was a great cook.”

  Indeed, Diller opened a food production business, though as far as I can figure she only sold cans of her chili which came in three varieties—beef, chicken, and vegetarian. But don’t look for it in the grocery store and even Amazon doesn’t carry it as her food company is closed now. But the recipe for her chili is a popular search item on Google and is included in Potempa’s book.

   The two both shared a love of cooking and Diller helped Phil with his first From the Farm cookbook.

              Describing her as his first celebrity interview, Potempa says that over the years when she was performing in Northwest Indiana or the Chicago area she would invite he and his family to attend her shows and then visit her backstage afterwards.

              “She was really a friend, I’ve been to her home and it was so wonderful to see my cookbooks in her fire red kitchen,” says Potempa about one of his visits to her home in the tony Brentwood, California city near Los Angeles.

Strong Bow Inn

              Another fav story was told to him by his good friend Russ Adams, a 1978 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, who worked at the Strongbow Inn, a Valparaiso Restaurant that was started by Adams’s grandparents on the site of their turkey farm and for more than 75 years was a favorite stopping point for dinner no matter what time of year. Adams recalled when Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda came into the kitchen to see what was going on. He’d ordered a turkey sandwich and told Russ to “load it up! And make it like you’re making it for your brother.”

              Russ also told him about the time his Grandma Bess was at the hostess stand sometime in the late 1950s and came face-to-face with a portly man waiting to be seated, who looked very much like Oscar winning actor Charles Laughton. When Bess mentioned how much he resembled the famous actor, he told her, in a very cold and stiff English accent: “Madam, THAT is because…I AM CHARLES LAUGHTON.”

              Interestingly, Colonel Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, frequented the Strongbow Inn whenever he was in Northwest Indiana visiting his key local fast-food franchises says Potempa. Popcorn King Orville Redenbacher of the popcorn powerhouse ate there every year when he’d return home. In all, the restaurant served more than 250,000 pounds of turkey a year but one of the most requested recipes from the place that Phil received was for their Blue Cheese Dressing.

              Phil wrote in one of his columns that he never expected to get the dressing recipe with its secret combination of ingredients because the Strongbow Inn restaurant used to bottle and sell their dressing in their lobby waiting area, displayed on a rack near a small freezer where a frozen version of their signature turkey pot-pies and gravy could also be purchased. But with its closing that changed and the recipe is below as are several others.

Phyllis Diller’s Chili

Serves six

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (chuck is good)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped (see note)
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 or 3 dashes tabasco sauce or to taste
  • 1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) cans s & w kidney beans, undrained
  • Garnishing – if desired
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, breaking it up, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

While the beef is cooking, peel and chop onion. Set aside. Core and chop bell pepper. Set aside. Peel and mince garlic cloves. Set aside.

Once the beef is cooked through, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Stir in the seasonings and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the chili until it begins to thicken slightly, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the kidney beans with their juices. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.

Adjust to taste.

Peggy’s Easy Beef and Noodles Supper

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
  • 2 quarts water (divided use)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons mixed seasoning blend, like Mrs. Dash
  • 6 teaspoons beef bouillon paste (or equivalent using cubes)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag of Amish egg noodles (grocery shelf variety, not frozen)

Heat oil in bottom of a large soup pot and lightly brown beef and onion. Add 1 quart of water and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and celery, beef base and seasoning blend and add remaining 1 quart of water and simmer 1/2 hour. Finally add dry noodles and cook according to instructions, about 1/2 hour. More water can be added as needed during cooking time.

Makes 10 servings.

Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake

Makes 18 servings.

Cake:

  • 1 (16.25-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cups pink champagne
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 or 4 drops red food color

Pink Champagne Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 3-3/4 to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pink champagne
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 or 4 drops red food color

For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry cake mix and champagne in a large bowl; add oil, egg whites and food color and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Lightly grease and flour the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch shiny aluminum pan. Note: The baking temp has to be adjusted for glass, dark or nonstick pans or alter baking times and pan prep according to the directions on the cake mix package.

Pour cake batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, cream butter with an electric mixer in a medium bowl and gradually add the rest of the frosting ingredients, beating at medium speed until the frosting is of a smooth consistency. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake.

Decorate as desired, including possible garnish with pink and white sugar crystals.

Forbidden Apple Cake

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 sticks Imperial margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups unpeeled apples, cored and diced (a firm, slightly tart baking apple is best)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup golden raisins (can be soaked in 1/2 cup good rum for one week for a “sinful” addition)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting.

Note: Seal rum-soaked raisins in a glass container at room temperature for one week, ahead of time. If using the rum version, omit cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 10-inch bundt or tube pan with non-stick cooking spray. Beat oil with margarine. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apples to flour mixture and stir a few times to coat. Add raisins and nuts, if using, to egg/oil mixture. Stir flour/apple mixture into egg/oil mixture until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 75 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes, invert onto cake plate. When completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar. Makes 10 slices.

Strongbow Inn Bleu Cheese and Garlic Dressing

Makes 5 cups

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • Cheesecloth and string
  • 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese

Prepare a piece of cheesecloth cut into a small square.

Combine salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and garlic, wrap in cheesecloth, fasten, and tie. Use a mallet or rolling pin to slightly pound the contents of the tied cheesecloth.

Place the cheesecloth bundle in a large quart-canning jar. Pour 1 cup of the cider vinegar over the spice bundle, seal jar and allow spices to steep overnight on kitchen counter.

Remove spice bundle, squeezing out excess liquid before discarding bundle.

Add three cups vegetable oil to vinegar mixture to fill jar and drop in the crumbled bleu cheese.

Store dressing in refrigerator and stir well before serving.

Philip Potempa can be reached at pmpotempa@comhs.org or mail your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, Ind. 46374.

This article originally appeared in the Herald Palladium.

Dorie Greenspan suggests a classic July 4th dessert: Atlantic Beach Pie

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

Cheryl Day’s take on the Bill Smith classic is a make-again (and again) recipe writes Dorie Greenspan in her July 1 bulletin. Here Dorie shares a great recipe from Day’s new cookbook for Atlantic Beach Pie that she describes as perfect for Fourth of July. I, for one, am definitely going to make this for the upcoming holiday.

Almost as enjoyable as the pie is Dorie’s background on the dish—and Dorie, you weren’t the only one who had never heard of this pie. I hadn’t either so at least there are two of us. Dorie also introduces us to a new cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. Now here’s one I am most likely the only one not to know about Day or her Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia as Dorie has long been a big fan.

Since July 4th is coming up, I’d better cut to Dorie’s bulletin and the recipe for the pie. Please let me know what you think. Also, be sure to subscribe to Dorie’s newsletter. It’s the best and it’s free. I mean, really, what’s there to lose? Well, of course, your waistline but hey, save your calories for all the good things Dorie has to offer.

Here we go.

From Dorie Greenspan:

We just wrapped up choux month in Playing Around // xoxo Dorie — look at what we baked together! If you’d like join the group before the next project launches, click here to subscribe.

Bonjour! Bonjour!

Am I the last person on the planet to discover the joys of the Atlantic Beach Pie made famous by Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic restaurant that featured fresh, seasonally-focused Southern cuisine. I’m thinking I might be. I’m also thinking I might not have ever come around to it had Mary Dodd not mentioned how much she loved the recipe for it that’s in Cheryl Day’s newest cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking.

I might be slow on the recipe front, but I’ve been a Cheryl Day fan for a long time. Cheryl, who founded and owns the Back in the Day Bakery with her husband, Griffith, in Savannah, Georgia, is one of the country’s most important voices in Southern foodways – one of its most beloved too. She is a bestselling author, the co-founder of Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice, a legacy baker and an inspiring speaker – it was marvelous to hear her at the Cherry Bombe Jubilee this year.

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

 It was funny that when Mary said the name of the pie, I thought that there was a Maida Heatter recipe for it – but I was wrong. Maida Heatter didn’t publish a version, but a million other people did. It’s cherished. And even if it weren’t as great as it is, it would be easy to have a soft spot for it because of the story that spins around it. I loved hearing Katie Workman on NPR/All Things Considered talk about the first time she had the pie – she called it an OMG, “When Harry Met Sally” experience.

THE SHORT SALTY BACK STORY

You can get a fuller telling of this story in a bunch of places – I love how Margaux Laskey wrote about it in The New York Times (subscription) – so I’m just going to tell you the part I like most.

While the name “Atlantic Beach Pie,” is Smith’s, he doesn’t claim the dessert as his own, saying that it’s served all over East and North Carolina, where it’s called Lemon Pie. Growing up, his mother – and evidently everyone else’s mom, too – was convinced that if you ate dessert after you’d eaten seafood, it would kill you. The one exception was citrus – life could go on after a citrusy sweet. And so, this lemon pie was the specialty at fish places along the coast.

And what a pie – it’s a quirky one.

Photo courtesy of Mary Dodd

SALTINES, LEMON JUICE AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK – WHODDA THUNK?

Everything about this pie is beachy, especially it’s saltiness. The press-in crust – which could be made from graham crackers, and I read that it was in many places – is made from crushed saltines, butter and sugar. It’s thick and salty-sweet and fun. The filling, which was traditionally lemon, but which can be a mix of lemon and lime (or why not all lime?), is satiny and jiggly, slip-through-your-teeth smooth and reminiscent of lemon-meringue pie – gets its shimmy from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. (Remember how Jessie Sheehan used sweetened condensed milk in that terrific recipe for potato-chip and pretzel fudge, and called the canned milk her BBF – her Baking Best Friend?)

As for the topping – as near as I can tell, it was meringue, until it wasn’t. (Meringue makes sense, since you’re using yolks for the filling and will have whites left over.) Bill Smith opted for whipped cream and Cheryl Day, (scroll down for her recipe), went for whipped cream tanged-up with buttermilk – a genius partner for the sweet filling. (Hold onto the recipe – it’s a nice way to get the flavor of crème fraîche when you can’t get crème fraîche.) In some recipes, the pie gets a grating of lemon or lime zest, and in many it gets a light shower of flaky sea salt. The constant is the see-saw sweet-salty balance. Oh, and the life-saving power of citrus.

PIE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC

Maybe I could have searched all over Paris and nabbed Saltines, but when you want to bake a pie, you want to bake a pie. I was going to go with a graham-cracker base, but I found some crackers that did the trick. They weren’t salty enough, but that was an easy fix. And just because I could, I topped the pie with little meringue stars straight from the supermarket shelf. I love a country where you can buy meringue ready-to-go.

 Would this be a good Fourth of July dessert? Yes? Good for a picnic? Yes? Good for a weekend brunch? Also yes. It’s an over-again recipe – a dessert you’ll make over and over again.

Happy weekend to all. I’ll see the members of the Playing Around club back here on Tuesday – that’s when I’ll tell you what the project for July is (so excited) – and we’ll all be back here together on Friday. Sweet, sweet wishes to everyone.

 BILL SMITH’S FAMOUS ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

•            Adapted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day

•            Click here for printable recipe

Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Angie Mosier.

GOOD TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START

The crust: For the fun of it – the saltiness, too – you should try the pie with Saltines. But if you can’t find them or don’t think you’ll like them, jump on the graham-cracker-crust bandwagon. You can use a food processor to crumble the crackers, but it’s easily done by hand, and you won’t have a machine to clean when it’s over. Cheryl says: When you make your crumbs, be sure to leave a little texture, rather than making a fine dust. Make sure your butter is super-soft because you’re going to smush it with the crackers to get a pressable mixture. (Mary melted and cooled the butter. I smushed it. Good both ways.)

The citrus: Cheryl goes with all lemon juice and some others, including Food 52, suggest all lemon, all lime or a mix. Mary made hers with all lemon and I went with some of each. (I’m a well-known sucker for lime.)

The topping: The allure of Cheryl’s Buttermilk Whipped Cream is great – also it’s such a smart way to add some tang to a sweet dessert. But thrift suggests meringue (some history does, too). And no one would turn down straight-up whipped cream. Mary made the buttermilk cream and loved it. I used store-bought meringues because I could. You don’t need me to tell you that you should do what you’d like.

 My store-bought meringues

The finishing touches: Cheryl’s pie is gorgeously pristine – I love how she covers the top with beautifully piped little rounds of that ethereal cream. But grated zest is a possibility as is a few shiny pieces of flaky sea salt here and there.

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the piecrust

•            About 60 saltine crackers from about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 sleeves of crackers (190 grams) to make 2 1/2 cups crumbs (see above)

•            3 tablespoons granulated sugar

•            6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 113 grams) very soft unsalted butter

For the pie filling

•            One 14-ounce (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk

•            4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

•            1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

•            1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (or see above)

For the whipped cream

•            1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

•            2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

•            A pinch of fine sea salt

•            1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

To make the piecrust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Have a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan at hand.

In a medium bowl, blend together the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and mix with a fork (or your fingers or a combination of both) until the crumbs are moistened.

 Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes, just until golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

To make the filling: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Place the baked piecrust on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk the condensed milk and egg yolks together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, whisking until combined.

 Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the filling is puffed up at the edges and the center no longer looks wet but still wobbles slightly when jiggled; it will continue to set as it cools.

Cool the pie on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours, or overnight.

To make the cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Add the buttermilk and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks. Use immediately.

STORING: The pie can be refrigerated, loosely covered, for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Angie Mosier.

PLAYING AROUND: I’m guessing that you’ll find lots of ways to use the salty crust and the excellent sweet filling separately and together. I think the crust would be terrific with a chocolate pudding filling and I think the filling would be terrific as a pudding. Of course you could make the pie in a different shape or size, play around with different toppings or just go straight to the freezer and scoop some ice cream over it. I think you’ll have fun with this one.

 New to XOXO Dorie? You can find an archive of past newsletters here.

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  You can find more recipes in my latest book BAKING WITH DORIE.

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“Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits: 85 Personal Favorites from the Red Rocker”

Looking for a last minute Father’s Day gift? Consider this.

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sammy Hagar recently released his first cocktail book – and it’s everything needed for a home bar. Sammy knows that some of life’s greatest memories are made over cocktails, and “Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits: 85 Personal Favorites from the Red Rocker” chronicles Sammy’s storied life with drinks inspired by that journey – from the laidback beaches of Cabo and Hawaii to the dazzle of Hollywood and Las Vegas. Priced at $29.99 for hardcover and $19.99 on Kindle, this book covers everything from tools of the trade and glassware to bases and purees. And it has a forward written by Guy Fieri. For recipes from the book, see below.

The cocktails are made with Sammy’s award-winning spirits, Santo Tequila ReposadoSanto Tequila BlancoSanto Mezquila and Beach Bar Rum, which are available for purchase on each website or at local retailers – you can check each site for more info about where to buy each spirit.

Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.

Hagar, who is not only a legendary rocker but also a spirits entrepreneur also has introduced Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co. with a line of ready-to-drink (RTD) top-shelf sparkling rum cocktails in a can. 

Hagar’s award-winning Puerto Rico-made Beach Bar Rum steeps island flavor into the cocktails, which come in four playful twists on classic flavors: Tangerine Dream, Pineapple Splash, Island Pop and Cherry Kola Chill. Made with all-natural ingredients and sweetened with agave, each flavor is under 130 calories and five grams of sugar per can. 

The four flavor profiles with Sammy’s descriptions are:

  • Tangerine Dream – A refreshing blend of tangerine and vanilla cream; the classic Creamsicle.
    • “There’s nothing better than a Creamsicle.” 
  • Pineapple Splash – The slight sweetness of pineapple, followed by the kick of jalapeño.
    • “I like it sweet, with some Jalapeño heat!” 
  • Island Pop – The fruity flavors of cherry, pineapple, and citrus, pack a Hawaiian punch.
    • “That classic Hawaiian style punch!”
  • Cherry Kola Chill – That classic soda fountain flavor of cherry cola with a hint of spice.
    • “My take on that classic Cherry Cola vibe.” 

A celebration of beach life, Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co. supports charities behind beach and ocean clean-up initiatives.

Sammy Hagar LIVE:  Check Sammy’s tour dates here – if your dad’s a mega fan you can give him tickets to any one of shows, all held in outdoor amphitheaters through the end of summer, and you can even ship him a four-pack of top-shelf sparking rum cocktails to take with him in a cooler. 

Buy online at http://sbbcco.com/ and at major retailers, grocers, big box stores, restaurants and bars in California, Nevada and Texas now; Florida in June; and additional states coming soon.  

Recipes

Santo Sunrise (featuring Santo Mezquila)

  • 1½ ounces Santo Mezquila
  • 4 ounces fresh orange juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Splash of Blue Curacao
  • Garnish: Half wheel orange slice

In a tall glass filled with ice, add the mezquila, orange juice, grenadine, and Blue Curaçao. Stir well and garnish with a fresh halved orange wheel.

Guava Martini (featuring Santo Blanco Tequila)

  • 1½ ounces Santo Blanco Tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce guava juice
  • Garnish: Fresh lime wheel, dusted in Tajín

In a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and add the tequila, pineapple juice, and guava juice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wheel dusted in Tajín.

Kir Royale (featuring Sammy’s Red Head Rum)

  • 1 ounce Sammy’s Red Head Rum, divided
  • 4 ounces chilled champagne
  • Garnish: Fresh lemon twist

Add half the rum to a chilled champagne flute. Slowly add the chilled champagne until ½-inch from the top. Top with the remaining rum. Garnish with a fresh lemon twist.

Da Kari (featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Platinum Rum)

  • 1 large piece fresh pineapple, rind removed
  • 2 ounces Sammy’s Beach Bar Platinum Rum
  • ½ fresh lime, squeezed
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup
  • Rim: Lime and cane sugar
  • Garnish: Fresh lime wedge

Run a fresh lime wedge around the rim of a chilled martini glass. Then roll the moistened rim in cane sugar and set the glass aside. In a cocktail shaker, add the pineapple. Using a muddler, gently (yet firmly) muddle the pineapple. Then add the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.

Specifications:

  • Sold in four-packs
  • 12 oz/355 ml
  • 5.5% ABV
  • A QR code on every can reveals a special video message from Hagar, himself. 

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List. https://www.grubstreet.com/2022/06/2022-james-beard-chef-and-restaurant-award-winners-full-list.html

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen

Whether he’s in the hood or in an international city, Snoop Dogg says he’s got to eat and over three decades of performing around the globe, the famous rapper has learned to adapt dishes from what he grew up eating as well as recipes he’s discovered on the road. He shares these in his cookbook, Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen.

Snoop Dogg’s OG Fried Bacon Sandwich

Interestingly, the book, released  in 2018 is again topping the charts spurred by his ultra-cool appearance and performance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show as well as his current Corona Beer commercials. According to a recent article in Rolling Stone magazine,  the book hit the Top Ten of Amazon’s bestsellers list, was Number One on Amazon’s celebrity cookbooks list, topping even newer releases from the likes of Rachael RayQueer Eye’s Antoni Porowski and the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

Billionaire’s Bacon from Snoop Dogg’s From Crook to Cook

Plus, we love how he hangs with Martha Stewart, appearing on her show Martha Knows Best as well as the co-hosting the long running TV series Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg. Courtesy of VHI

As Snoop Dogg, who by the way has 44 million Facebook followers and 74 million on Instagram, says “You know it’s blazin’ up in my kitchen. I’m takin’ the cookbook game higher with a dipped and whipped collection of my favorite recipes, ya dig?”

OG Fried Bologna Sandwich

SERVES 1

  • 3 slices bologna
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • Barbecue potato chips, as many as you want

Place the bologna on a cutting board and cut one slit from the middle to the edge of each slice.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Swirl the skillet to cover the bottom

completely. When the skillet is hot and the foam has subsided, add the bread. Lightly toast for about 2

minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer to a cutting board and spread the mustard on one slice of

bread.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the bologna in a single layer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until

the edges are golden and crisp. Flip the bologna and top each slice with the American cheese. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the cheese starts to melt.

Place the fried bologna and cheese on the toasted bread slice without mustard and top with as many

chips as you and your sandwich can handle.

 Close the sandwich, placing the other bread slice, mustard-side down, on top. Go to town.

Billionaire’s Bacon

SERVES 4

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon

Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the top third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a wire rack on top of the foil, and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Lay the bacon slices on the rack. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bacon.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking. The bacon is done when it’s crispy and glazed.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool the bacon for 5 minutes on the rack. Serve warm.

Reprinted from Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen by Snoop Dogg with permission from Chronicle Books, 2018. Photographs © Antonis Achilleos and Heather Gildroy.

The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors

“My cuisine has always been at the intersection of food and culture,” said Chef Deborah VanTrece, owner of the Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in Atlanta, Georgia. “Having traveled the world as a flight attendant, I experienced how different cultures have their own versions of what we would call ‘soul food.’ My approach to cooking revolves around taking a modern, global approach to soul food, combined with the food I grew up eating with my family. THE TWISTED SOUL COOKBOOK will take you on a journey around the world right from your kitchen.”

Across chapters filled with vibrant photography, her book offers 100 recipes for dishes ranging from fresh salads and sides, generous entrees, exciting seafood, rich desserts, and brilliant as well as practical pantry staples to amplifying everyday cooking, including dressings, relishes, preserves, and sauces. An engaging teacher and storyteller, VanTrece shows home cooks the way to use techniques both simple and sophisticated to ensure a delicious outcome every time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chef Deborah VanTrece opened the acclaimed Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in 2014, and since then, the award-winning soul food restaurant has appeared on numerous Best Of lists, including features in the New York Times, Bon Appetit, NPR, Eater, Essence, Thrillist, Buzzfeed, Kitchn, and Food & Wine, winning acclaim for her mastery of imported cooking techniques and delicious globally informed cuisine.

She is included in 2020’s Tasty Pride: Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community; this is her first cookbook.

RECIPES

Grandma Lue’s Spinach Rice

  • 3 cups cooked white rice, chilled
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 lbs fresh baby spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup chopped marinated artichokes
  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease a deep casserole or 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the cold rice and beaten eggs.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the celery, peppers, onions and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the spinach is wilted.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan and garlic. Cool for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese has melted and all of the ingredients are well combined.

Add the spinach-cheese mixture to the rice. With a wooden spoon, stir in the black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.

Spoon into prepared baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Bacon-Praline Macaroni and Cheese

  • 6 cups elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tbsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups milk, warmed
  • 6 oz cream cheese, diced
  • 12 oz. American cheese, diced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz applewood-smoked bacon (8 to 10 slices), cooked and crumbled

Praline topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or pecan pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Transfer the cooked macaroni to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the seasoned salt, white pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Sprinkle half of this seasoning mixture and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the macaroni and toss to combine.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes, until it makes a light roux. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the milk. Once all the milk is incorporated, cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the sauce reaches a simmer. Add the diced cream cheese and American cheese in batches, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the remaining shredded cheddar cheese and turn off the heat. Add the remaining seasoning mixture and stir well. Quickly whisk in the eggs until they are incorporated.

Country Captain Chicken Stew

This classic dish shows the influence of the Indian spice trade throughout the ports of the old South,’ says VanTrece about her recipe for a dish that dates back centuries.

  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp duck fat or unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (3 to 4 medium)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5-oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut rice noodles:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 (8.8-oz package rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, tossed in a little vegetable oil to prevent clumping, and chilled for 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup toasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, sprinkle the chicken pieces with the seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder and white pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours to marinate.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, melt the duck fat. When hot, add the chicken pieces and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer to a platter and set aside.

Spring Pea, Bacon, and Radish Salad

“This dressing is so universally loved, it doesn’t need an explanation,” write VanTrece in the recipe’s introduction. “The extra herbs just add a notch to the flavor factor. It’s not only great for salads, you can use it atop salmon, fried green tomatoes, or as a dip for chicken wings.”

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen peas (thawed, if frozen), blanched and drained, then chilled
  • 6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus additional leaves for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and ground white pepper

In a large bowl, combine the peas, bacon, radishes, red onion, chopped fresh mint, and lemon zest, toss gently with the mayonnaise and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with whole mint leaves. Serves 6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 195 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 8 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 12 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 324 milligrams sodium.

Buttermilk Dressing

“This dressing is so universally loved, it doesn’t need an explanation,” writes VanTrece. “The extra herbs just add a notch to the flavor factor. It’s not only great for salads, you can use it atop salmon, fried green tomatoes, or as a dip for chicken wings.”

Buttermilk Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and pepper and process until smooth. Pulse in the fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, and chives until just combined. The dressing should be creamy but with a pleasing texture from the herbs.

Makes about 4 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 23 calories (percent of calories from fat, 70), trace protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace fiber, 2 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 75 milligrams sodium.

Aunt Lucille’s 7UP Pound Cake

About this recipe, VanTrece writes, “This is a pound cake, and the only cake I can ever remember my Aunt Lucille ever making. For me, it will always carry cherished memories of celebrations and good times. This is the kind of recipe that reminds you how good old-fashioned cakes were (and can be). Definitely use 7UP for this recipe because it has a high level of carbonation that helps the cake to rise, and gives it a brighter, fresher lemon-lime flavor than other sodas.”

For the pound cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted, divided
  • 3/4 cup 7UP, divided
  • For the 7UP glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons 7UP
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray (see note above).

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the flour one-third at a time and mix on low speed, alternating with 1/4-cup portions of the 7UP, mixing well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and lift the pan off of the cake. Let the cake cool on the rack.

While the cake cools, make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, 7UP, and lime zest until smooth.

Using a 6-inch wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cooled cake. Slowly spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it run into the holes and over the surface.

Set the cake aside for 10 minutes before serving to let the glaze absorb into the cake and give it a lightly lacquered finish.

The cake can be made well in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic, and frozen for up to 4 months. It will keep moist and can be pulled out to thaw several hours before serving. It’s great served alone or with ice cream or fresh fruit compote. Serves 12 to 16.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 12: 598 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 6 grams protein, 89 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 25 grams total fat (15 grams saturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 36 milligrams sodium.

All the above recipes and images are excerpted from The Twisted Soul Cookbook by Deborah VanTrece. Copyright © 2021 Deborah VanTrece. Photography by Noah Fecks. Published by Rizzoli. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved

Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories

Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories

Jocelyn Delk Adams, who created the popular blog Grandbaby Cakes, has written a cookbook full of amazing desserts, spinning off on some of her favorite memories such as her Red Velvet Cake With Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting based upon the popular ice cream treats, adding her own Grandbaby Notes to help make baking even easier.

As a child, Adams and her family would routinely embark on the ten-hour journey from their home in Chicago to Winona, Mississippi. There, she would watch her grandmother, affectionately nicknamed Big Mama, bake and develop delicious, melt-in-your-mouth desserts. From blooming tree-picked fruit to farm-raised eggs and fresh-churned butter, Big Mama used what was readily available to invent completely original treats. Adams treasured the moments when her mother, aunt, and Big Mama would bring her into the kitchen to let her dabble in the process as a rite of passage. Big Mama’s recipes became the fabric of their family heritage. Grandbaby Cakes is Adams’s love note to her family, thanking those who came before and passing on this touching tradition with 50 fantastic cakes

“I’m Jocelyn Delk Adams,” writes founder Adams on her blog, noting that her Grandbaby brand was inspired by her grandmother and shares classic recipes in a modern and accessible way.

“I hope to inspire a new generation of bakers and cooking enthusiasts to learn kitchen skills and not feel guilty about enjoying dessert,” she continues. “At an early age, I loved visiting Mississippi to watch my grandmother, or Big Mama Maggie as my family affectionately calls her, bake. Big Mama bakes cakes that literally have her neighbors lined up around the block waiting for a taste. She not only invents (yes, she developed all of her own recipes) the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth desserts I’ve ever tasted, but she also infuses them with so much love.”

Dreamsicle Punch Bowl Cake

SERVES 18–22

CAKE

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1½  cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

ASSEMBLY

  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 pints orange sherbet, slightly softened, divided
  • Orange slices, for garnish

FOR THE CAKE

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Liberally prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick method of your choice.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and shortening on high speed for 2 minutes. Slowly add the granulated sugar. Cream together for an additional 4 minutes, until very pale yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed and slowly add the flour in 2 batches. Add the salt. Be careful not to overbeat. Add the vanilla and orange extracts. Scrape down the sides, bottom of the bowl, and mix the batter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Let cool to room temperature. Lightly cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap so it does not dry out.

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM

Clean the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk attachment. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to get them nice and cold.

Remove the bowl and whisk attachment from the refrigerator. Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.

Turn your mixer down to medium-low speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, turn your mixer speed back to high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

TO ASSEMBLE

Cut the cake into bite-size (½-inch) pieces. Place ½ of the cake pieces in a trifle bowl, so that the bottom is fully covered. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the orange juice. Using a spatula, spread 1 pint of the sherbet on top of the cake pieces. Top with ½ of the whipped cream. Repeat the process, using the remaining cake pieces, then a drizzle of the remaining orange juice, followed by the remaining sherbet, and then the rest of the whipped cream. Garnish the top of the cake with the orange slices. Serve.

André’s Buttered Rum and Candied Sweet Potato Crumb Cake

SERVES 20–24

GRANDBABY NOTES

If you want to save on ingredients, pick up some pumpkin pie spice and use 1½ to 2 teaspoons in place of the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

To make sure your egg whites will whip to stiff peaks, be careful when separating your eggs. Egg whites can be quite finicky, so the slightest amount of fat from the yolk can throw off the process.

STREUSEL

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CAKE

  • 4 large eggs, whites and yolks separated, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, roasted, peeled, and mashed
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

BUTTER-RUM SAUCE

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 2 tablespoons water

HOW TO ROAST SWEET POTATOES

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, then rub each with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Individually wrap each potato in foil and place them all on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 55 minutes, or until they are nice and soft. This time will vary based on the size of your sweet potatoes. When you can easily squeeze the sweet potatoes and the insides are tender, they are done.

FOR THE STREUSEL

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Slowly whisk in the melted butter, letting it coat the dry ingredients until crumbs are formed. The mixture will seem wet, but this is normal. Pinch pieces together to form more crumbs. Set aside.

FOR THE CAKE

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Liberally prepare a 9 × 13-inch baking pan with the nonstick method of your choice. (I recommend the parchment method described on p. 17.)

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped egg whites to a small bowl and place in the refrigerator.

Clean your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Beat the granulated sugar and oil on medium-high speed until combined. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the sweet potatoes, hot water, and vanilla extract and beat for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed and carefully add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Mix the batter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Remove the egg whites from the refrigerator and gently fold them into the batter.

Pour ½ of the batter into the prepared pan. Cover with ½ of the streusel. Repeat with the remaining batter and streusel. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out moist but mostly clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Poke the top of the cake in various locations with a toothpick. Lightly cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap so it does not dry out. While the cake continues to cool, prepare the sauce.

FOR THE BUTTER-RUM SAUCE

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the granulated sugar, butter, rum, and water to a boil. Once at a boil, whisk until the sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. When the sauce can thickly coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the warm cake. Serve at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams, Agate Surrey, 2015.

Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes

I remember the first time I heard the word victuals. It was uttered by Jed Clampett—only he pronounced it as “vittles”–on that great TV series from The Beverly Hillbillies+ which ran from 1962-1971 and told the story of a family who had moved from Appalachia to, well, Beverly Hills, California.  The Beverly Hillbillies, now in syndication, is televised daily around the world and the word victual, which means “food or provisions, typically as prepared for consumption” has become a go-to-term in the food world with the rise of interest in the foods of the Mountain South region of our country. The joke at the time was that the Clampett were so out-of-step with all the wonders of Beverly Hills and that included their use of the word victuals. But the joke, it seems, may have been on us as we deal with the overabundance of processed foods and yearn for authenticity in our diets. You know, like victuals,

In her book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes (Clarkson Potter 2016; $16.59 Amazon price) winner of James Beard Foundation Book of The Year and Best Book, American Cooking, author Ronni Lundy showcases both the heritage and present ways of southern cookery in this part of the United States and also shares the stories of the mountain. Lundy, a former restaurant reviewer and editor of Louisville Magazine, highlights such roadways as Warrior’s Path, the name given by English settlers to the route used by the Shawnee and Cherokee traveling for trade, hunting and, at times, to prepare for battle. Describing the towns, villages and hamlets along these routes, Lundy shows how an amalgam of immigrants some willing (Scots, Germans) and some not (African) brought with them foodways and how they merged with other ethnic groups and the foods available in the region.

The author of ten books on Southern food and culture, Lundy’s book, Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken, described as the first first regional American cookbook to offer a true taste of the Mountain South, was recognized by Gourmet magazine as one of six essential books on Southern cooking. Lundy also received the Southern Foodways Alliance Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.

To gather the stories, recipes, traditions, and foodways, Lundy traveled over 4000 miles through seven states. Along the way, she did a lot of stopping and eating. Each chapter in her book delves into an identifying food of a region or its heritage–think salt, corn, corn liquor, and beans. And, in many ways, reconnecting to her own roots. Born in Corbin, Kentucky, she remembers shucking beans on her aunt’s front porch.

“They taught me how to break the end and pull the string down and break the other end and pull the string back on the bean,” Lundy says. “I would watch them thread it up on a needle and thread, and they would hang that in a dry place in the house…We developed these things, like drying beans for shuck beans, or drying our apples so that we could through the winter make apple stack cakes and fried apple pies. We’d have dried beans on hand, cure every part of the hog.”

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Bacon & Orange Sorghum Vinegar

“Delicious root vegetables love the cool of both spring and fall in the mountains. Gardeners love the twin harvest,” Lundy writes in the introduction to this recipe. “The root cellar is where such vegeta­bles were stored in plenty of mountain homesteads, although some folks kept them in baskets and bins in a cool, dark place in the house. In fact, folks with larger houses might close off “the front room,” as the living room was more commonly called, to conserve on heat when the weather got cold. That room might then become an ad hoc fruit and vegetable cooler.

“My mother kept the Christmas fruit in the front room until company came, but not vegetables. We ate them too fast then—boiled, buttered, and salted or eaten raw with salt. Today I make this lovely salad first in the spring, then again as autumn splashes the hills with the colors of the carrots and beets.”

Serves 4

  • 3 medium yellow beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 3 medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see below), to taste
  • Drizzle of bacon grease, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wrap up the yellow beets in a large piece of aluminum foil. Do the same with the red beets, and place both packets on a baking sheet. Roast until the beets are tender at the center when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, toss the carrot pieces with the oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt. Roast the carrots for about 25 minutes, until tender and caramelized.

When the beets come out of the oven, carefully open the packets to release the steam, and let the beets cool. Once the beets have cooled, gently rub the skins off and cut the beets into wedges.

To assemble the salad, lay the red beet wedges on the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Lay the roasted carrots on top, and then the yellow beet wedges. Throw in the sliced radishes and red onion. Break up the bacon slices and scatter the pieces on top. Season with salt and drizzle with the orange sorghum vinegar. Toss ever so gently. Give it a taste and determine if a drizzle of bacon grease is needed. Serve.

Orange Sorghum Vinegar

Makes ¾ cup

  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Pour the vinegar into a small glass jar with a lid. Add the sorghum and shake or stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and shake or stir to combine. Use as directed in recipes, and store any that’s left over, covered, in the refrigerator.

Sumac Oil Flatbread with Country Ham & Pickled Ramps

makes two large flatbreads (serves 4 to 6)

“In early mountain communities, one farmer might own a valuable tool or piece of equipment that was made available to family and neighbors as needed,” writes Lundy in the introduction of this recipe. “There was often a trade involved, although more fre­quently implicit rather than directly bartered. If you were the man with the sorghum squeezer and mule, you could expect to get a couple of quarts from your neighbors’ run. If you loaned a plow, you could count on borrowing the chains for hanging a freshly slaugh­tered hog. Or when your huge cast-iron pot was returned, it might come with several quarts of apple butter.

“With a little of that same sense of sharing, Lora Smith and Joe Schroeder invested in a traveling wood-fired oven for their farm at Big Switch. In their first spring back in Kentucky, it rolled over to a cou­ple of weddings, as well as providing the main course for the Appalachian Spring feast. Joe says plans are to take it to a couple of music festivals down the line to both share and perhaps sell enough pizzas to pay the gate.

“Music makes a good metaphor for what happens in this recipe. Lora adapted a fine flatbread recipe from acclaimed chef and baker Nick Malgieri for the crust, then added some local color. In the way that European mandolins and violins were transformed by new rhythms and melodies into something purely mountain, the use of sumac-scented olive oil, tangy country ham, and pungent pickled ramps makes this a dish that tastes distinctly of its Kentucky place.

“If you have access to a wood-fired oven, bake away there according to how yours works. The direc­tions here are for a home oven.

“The flatbread slices are even better when topped with a handful of arugula, mâche, or another bright, bitter green that has been drizzled with Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see recipe above).”

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 6 ounces country ham, sliced about ¼ inch thick and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ cup Will Dissen’s Pickled Ramps (page 000), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Sumac Oil (recipe follows)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix.

Combine the yeast with ¾ cup of the warm water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add this mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine; then let the processor run continuously for about 10 seconds, or until the dough forms a ball. You may need to add up to another ¼ cup of the warm water at this point if your dough is not coming together.

Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Move the rested dough to a floured work surface and flatten into a thick disk, then fold the dough over on itself. Do this several times. Return the folded dough to the oiled mixing bowl (you might have to oil it again first). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.

Sprinkle a floured work surface with a little cornmeal. Transfer the risen dough to the surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece of dough at a time, gently press it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, aiming for a roughly 10 × 15-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with second half of the dough.

Pierce the dough all over at 1-inch intervals with the tines of a fork. Divide the country ham evenly between the two portions of dough.

Bake the flatbreads until golden and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes, switching the baking sheets’ positions about halfway through cooking.

Remove to racks and let cool slightly. Divide the ramps and sumac oil evenly between the flatbreads, and serve.

sumac oil makes about ¹⁄³ cup

Native people gathered the crimson berries of the sumac plant (not the noxious, poisonous white-berried variety, of course) to dry and grind them into a powder that gave a delicious lemony flavor to fish cooked over an open fire. They and the settlers who followed also used the sumac to make a drink akin to lemonade. You don’t have to gather berries and make your own; you can buy good-quality ground sumac at almost any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market and some natural foods stores.

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use immediately.

Slow Cooker–Roasted Pork Shoulder

“Thrifty homesteaders knew how to cook all cuts of the hogs that were slaughtered in the winter,” writes Lundy. “The shoulder, slow-roasted with fat and bone, produced a richly textured, deeply flavored meat worth smack­ing your lips for. Modern mountain cooks use the slow cooker to create the same effect that roasting in a woodstove, kept going all day for heat as well as cooking, once provided.

“I buy pork from one of several producers in my neck of the Blue Ridge who pasture their pigs and process them humanely. They also tend to raise her­itage pigs that naturally come with more fat, and the cuts I favor reflect that. The last roast I cooked like this weighed about 3½ pounds at the market with a top fat layer about an inch deep. I trimmed that fat to ½ inch and the roast was then about 3 pounds.”

Serves 4

  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-pound pork shoulder or butt, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rub the salt and pepper into all sides of the roast, including the top fat. Place a heavy skillet over high heat and as it is warming up, place the roast in the skillet, fat side down. The heat will render enough fat for browning the rest of the roast without sticking. When there is enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan well and the fat on the roast is turning golden brown, flip the roast over and brown the next side.

Brown all sides of the roast. This may entail using tongs to hold the roast to brown the short edges, but it only takes a minute or so and is worth it since it will intensify the flavor. You may also need to spoon some of the rendered fat out of the skillet as you are browning—the point is to sear the meat, not deep-fry it.

When the roast is browned all over, place it in a slow cooker. Carefully pour off the grease from the skillet. Add ½ cup of water to the skillet and deglaze it. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and sorghum, stirring to dissolve the syrup. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker.

Peel the onion, quarter it, and break apart the sections. Scatter the pieces around the edge of the roast in the pot. Cover, and cook on the high setting for 30 minutes. Then turn to low and cook for 4 hours.

The pork roast will be well done but meltingly tender when the inner temperature is 165°F. Remove it from the pot and allow it to rest under a tent of foil while you make the sauce.

Strain the pan juices to remove the onion pieces. Degrease the juices and pour them into a small pot set over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with ½ cup of water to form a slurry. When the juices in the pot begin to bubble, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to whisk as the mixture bubbles for about a minute and thickens. Remove from the heat.

To carve the roast, begin on the side away from the bone to yield larger, uniform pieces. Pass the sauce on the side.

Buttermilk–Brown Sugar Pie

“Pies were the Mother of Invention because neces­sity required that they be made from whatever was on hand. In the summer there was no dearth of fruit that could be gathered—often by small children who would eagerly do the work for just reward later.,” writes Lundy. “In the winter dried apples, peaches, and squash could be simmered into a filling for the hand or fried pies beloved in the region. Vinegar pie was as tasty as, and easier to come by, than one made with lemon, and apple cider could be boiled to make a tart and tangy filling. Buttermilk was enough to turn a simple cus­tard filling into a more complex delight. And using cornmeal as the thickener in these simple pies added character as well as flavor.

“My cousin Michael Fuson introduced me to brown sugar pie. It was his favorite, he told my mother when his family moved from Corbin to Louisville and he began spending time in her kitchen. “Well, honey, then I’ll make you one,” she said. That my mother could make brown sugar pie was news to me. Mike was as generous as a homesick teenaged boy could be and allowed me an ample slice before consuming the rest on his own. It was, I thought, one of the loveliest things I’d ever eaten. But then I made a version of my own with buttermilk instead of cream, and the sum of these two pie parts was greater than the whole of all pies put together.”

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • Single unbaked pie crust (use your favorite recipe or 1/4 batch of Emily Hilliard’s Pie Crust below)
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup very finely ground cornmeal*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the crust in a 9-inch pie pan and refrigerate it while making the filling.

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the melted butter. Add the dry mixture and stir vigorously until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. When all is well combined, pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set (no longer liquid, but still tender to the touch).

Allow the pie to cool until just barely warm before slicing. I like to drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of buttermilk over my slice.

Emily Hilliard’s Pie Crust

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork and knife, cut in the butter. Make sure pea-sized butter chunks remain to help keep the crust flaky.

Lightly beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the ice-cold water and the vinegar.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine using a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Be careful not to overmix. Use floured hands to divide the dough in half and then form into 2 balls. Wrap each ball tightly in plastic wrap. Let them chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling out.

Note: if you cut this recipe in half, it will work for a two-crust pie.

The above recipes are reprinted from Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes. Copyright © 2016 by Ronni Lundy. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland

Chef Tanya Holland offers up more than 80 recipes that made her California-based Brown Sugar Kitchen restaurants such standouts that are easy to cook at home in her new cookbook, Brown Sugar Kitchen. There’s lots to choose (and lots of color photos as well) from including Caramel Layer Cake with Brown-Butter-Caramel Frosting, Bourbon & Chili Glazed Salmon, and Jerk Baby Back Ribs with Pineapple Salsa.

Like her entrees and desserts, Holland’s side dishes are wonderful and perfect for home chefs.

Roasted Green Beans With Sesame-Seed Dressing

Serves 6

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°F and set a rack to the top position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with

parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, oil, vinegar, tahini, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Add the  green beans and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and black pepper.

Spread the beans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until tender  and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons Creole Spice Mix (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prick each sweet potato several times with a fork and put on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Cut each sweet potato lengthwise into 1-in /2.5-cm wedges.

Arrange wedges on one layer on the baking sheet and season with salt, the olive oil, and the Creole Spice.

Mix. Bake an additional 5 minutes, then flip the wedges and bake another 5 to 7 minutes, until crisp and slightly browned.

Arrange the wedges on a serving platter and serve immediately.

Creole Spice Mix

Makes about 1½ cups

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika

In a small bowl, stir together the salt, herbes de Provence, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, and paprika until thoroughly combined. (To make ahead, store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.)

Andouille Gougères

Makes about two dozen gougères

“Gougères are sophisticated cheese puffs and are the appetizer of choice in Burgundy, France, where I went to cooking school,” writes Holland in the introduction to this recipe. “They’re made from a base known as pâté à choux, a very elementary dough and one of the first I learned to make. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy French name. Pâté à choux is easy to master and versatile too. It’s the foundation for many famous pastries including éclairs and cream puffs, and as you see here, it also comes in handy for savory treats. For this Cajun-inspired version, I decided that a crumble of spicy andouille might just put them over the top.”

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2½ ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces andouille sausage, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, butter, and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium, and keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth, thick paste and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a large heatproof bowl.

If using a stand mixer, add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until the egg is incorporated and the dough is smooth before adding the next egg. (If mixing by hand, add 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until the egg is incorporated and the dough is smooth before adding the next egg.) The mixture should be very thick, smooth, and shiny. Stir in the Gruyère and andouille. (To make ahead, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Use a tablespoon to drop the dough into 1-in/2.5-cm rounds about 1½ in/4 cm apart on the prepared baking sheets. You should have about 2 dozen gougères.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top of each gougère with the egg wash.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 375°F/190°C, rotate the baking sheets, and continue baking until the gougères are puffed and nicely browned, about 15 minutes more.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Baked gougères can be frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 350°F/180°C oven for 8 to 10 minutes.)

Reprinted from Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland by Tanya Holland with Jan Newberry with permission from Chronicle Books, 2014. Photographs © Jody Horton

The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors

“My cuisine has always been at the intersection of food and culture,” said Chef Deborah VanTrece, owner of the Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in Atlanta, Georgia. “Having traveled the world as a flight attendant, I experienced how different cultures have their own versions of what we would call ‘soul food.’ My approach to cooking revolves around taking a modern, global approach to soul food, combined with the food I grew up eating with my family. THE TWISTED SOUL COOKBOOK will take you on a journey around the world right from your kitchen.”

Across chapters filled with vibrant photography, her book offers 100 recipes for dishes ranging from fresh salads and sides, generous entrees, exciting seafood, rich desserts, and brilliant as well as practical pantry staples to amplifying everyday cooking, including dressings, relishes, preserves, and sauces. An engaging teacher and storyteller, VanTrece shows home cooks the way to use techniques both simple and sophisticated to ensure a delicious outcome every time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chef Deborah VanTrece opened the acclaimed Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in 2014, and since then, the award-winning soul food restaurant has appeared on numerous Best Of lists, including features in the New York Times, Bon Appetit, NPR, Eater, Essence, Thrillist, Buzzfeed, Kitchn, and Food & Wine, winning acclaim for her mastery of imported cooking techniques and delicious globally informed cuisine.

She is included in 2020’s Tasty Pride: Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community; this is her first cookbook.

RECIPES

Grandma Lue’s Spinach Rice

  • 3 cups cooked white rice, chilled
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 lbs fresh baby spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup chopped marinated artichokes
  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease a deep casserole or 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the cold rice and beaten eggs.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the celery, peppers, onions and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the spinach is wilted.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan and garlic. Cool for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese has melted and all of the ingredients are well combined.

Add the spinach-cheese mixture to the rice. With a wooden spoon, stir in the black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.

Spoon into prepared baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Bacon-Praline Macaroni and Cheese

  • 6 cups elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tbsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups milk, warmed
  • 6 oz cream cheese, diced
  • 12 oz. American cheese, diced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz applewood-smoked bacon (8 to 10 slices), cooked and crumbled

Praline topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or pecan pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Transfer the cooked macaroni to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the seasoned salt, white pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Sprinkle half of this seasoning mixture and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the macaroni and toss to combine.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes, until it makes a light roux. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the milk. Once all the milk is incorporated, cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the sauce reaches a simmer. Add the diced cream cheese and American cheese in batches, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the remaining shredded cheddar cheese and turn off the heat. Add the remaining seasoning mixture and stir well. Quickly whisk in the eggs until they are incorporated.

Country Captain Chicken Stew

This classic dish shows the influence of the Indian spice trade throughout the ports of the old South,’ says VanTrece about her recipe for a dish that dates back centuries.

  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp duck fat or unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (3 to 4 medium)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5-oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut rice noodles:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 (8.8-oz package rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, tossed in a little vegetable oil to prevent clumping, and chilled for 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup toasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, sprinkle the chicken pieces with the seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder and white pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours to marinate.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, melt the duck fat. When hot, add the chicken pieces and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer to a platter and set aside.

Spring Pea, Bacon, and Radish Salad

“This dressing is so universally loved, it doesn’t need an explanation,” write VanTrece in the recipe’s introduction. “The extra herbs just add a notch to the flavor factor. It’s not only great for salads, you can use it atop salmon, fried green tomatoes, or as a dip for chicken wings.”

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen peas (thawed, if frozen), blanched and drained, then chilled
  • 6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus additional leaves for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and ground white pepper

In a large bowl, combine the peas, bacon, radishes, red onion, chopped fresh mint, and lemon zest, toss gently with the mayonnaise and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with whole mint leaves. Serves 6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 195 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 8 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 12 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 324 milligrams sodium.

Buttermilk Dressing

“This dressing is so universally loved, it doesn’t need an explanation,” writes VanTrece. “The extra herbs just add a notch to the flavor factor. It’s not only great for salads, you can use it atop salmon, fried green tomatoes, or as a dip for chicken wings.”

Buttermilk Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and pepper and process until smooth. Pulse in the fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, and chives until just combined. The dressing should be creamy but with a pleasing texture from the herbs.

Makes about 4 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 23 calories (percent of calories from fat, 70), trace protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace fiber, 2 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 75 milligrams sodium.

Aunt Lucille’s 7UP Pound Cake

About this recipe, VanTrece writes, “This is a pound cake, and the only cake I can ever remember my Aunt Lucille ever making. For me, it will always carry cherished memories of celebrations and good times. This is the kind of recipe that reminds you how good old-fashioned cakes were (and can be). Definitely use 7UP for this recipe because it has a high level of carbonation that helps the cake to rise, and gives it a brighter, fresher lemon-lime flavor than other sodas.”

For the pound cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted, divided
  • 3/4 cup 7UP, divided
  • For the 7UP glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons 7UP
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray (see note above).

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the flour one-third at a time and mix on low speed, alternating with 1/4-cup portions of the 7UP, mixing well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and lift the pan off of the cake. Let the cake cool on the rack.

While the cake cools, make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, 7UP, and lime zest until smooth.

Using a 6-inch wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cooled cake. Slowly spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it run into the holes and over the surface.

Set the cake aside for 10 minutes before serving to let the glaze absorb into the cake and give it a lightly lacquered finish.

The cake can be made well in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic, and frozen for up to 4 months. It will keep moist and can be pulled out to thaw several hours before serving. It’s great served alone or with ice cream or fresh fruit compote. Serves 12 to 16.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 12: 598 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 6 grams protein, 89 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 25 grams total fat (15 grams saturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 36 milligrams sodium.

All the above recipes and images are excerpted from The Twisted Soul Cookbook by Deborah VanTrece. Copyright © 2021 Deborah VanTrece. Photography by Noah Fecks. Published by Rizzoli. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved