My Verdict: The Beach House Cookbook
Cookbook Reviews / June 22, 2018

Here’s my verdict for The Beach House Cookbook: Easy Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent by Mary Kay Andrews. To Read: Yes, if you are on or near a beach. Andrews writes popular novels, and she has some entertaining family stories to go along with each menu, which is how this book is organized. There are just a few descriptive sentences to introduce each recipe. Unlike a lot of cookbooks, there are no “cooking tips” or “essential tools” types of chapters. It might have been nice to have ideas about shopping and preparing to cook while on vacation. The most detailed recipe, including both the story to go with it and recipe instructions, is in the epilogue of the book, and it’s for biscuits. Not something I can see myself making while on vacation, but maybe that’s why it’s at the end. To Look At: Yes, there is a gorgeous photo for every recipe, with some family and beach photos thrown in for fun. If you are not at the beach, this book will certainly make you wish that you were. To Cook From: Probably, the recipes that I made were quite simple and didn’t even necessarily involve cooking. Personally,…

The Beach House Cookbook: Easy Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent
Cookbook Overviews / June 18, 2018

No, I do not have a beach house, but a girl can dream. I do spend a lot of weekends at my mom’s lake cabin, and we vacation with friends at the beach fairly regularly. So to get some ideas for vacation cooking, I wanted to check out this book. The Beach House Cookbook: Easy Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent is written by author Mary Kay Andrews. Andrews’ romance and mystery novels are New York Times bestsellers, whhich is how she got that beach house. This book is full of southern-inspired recipes (her beach house is in Georgia) to feed a crowd. The recipes are presented as menus, such as Low Country Boil, Beach Picnic, and Souper Supper. I am a sucker for menu ideas. I like that someone else has made all of the decisions for me, from what to drink to what to serve for dessert. In reality, I don’t think I actually ever follow any of these menu ideas verbatim. Regardless, The Beach House Cookbook contains lots of inspiration for summer cooking, so I look forward to trying out a recipe or two and reporting back later in the week.

My Verdict: A New Turn in the South
Cookbook Reviews / June 12, 2018

I got a little behind with this cookbook, but here is my verdict on A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson. To Read: Only if you are a foodie. There is a lot in here about using the right ingredients that you should order from a special place in Georgia or whatever. That is great, and I’m sure the items recommended taste wonderful. If you are just a home cook on a budget, like me, you may not have the option to pick the most expensive ingredients. I didn’t think there were a lot of interesting stories or super important cooking tips, so I would not bother reading the whole thing. To Look At: Not particularly. There are some photos for the recipes, but not for all. The photography, by Rinne Allen, is pretty muted and more artistic than instructive. The food in the photos did not jump off the page like they do in some of the other cookbooks I have reviewed. To Cook From: Yes. The two recipes I made were excellent. The directions are clear with enough information to keep the recipes from being too complex, but enough information to make it…

Bonus Recipe: Deviled Eggs
Recipes / June 8, 2018

Deviled Eggs Serves 6 8 eggs (2 extra in case of peeling trauma LOL) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon white vinegar 1/2 teaspoon smoked hot paprika Pinch of cayenne 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 1 tablespoon lemon juice About 12 hours before you cook the eggs, pull them out of the fridge, and lay each egg on its side in the carton. This will center the yolks for cooking. Place the eggs in a heavy pot, cover by an inch with lukewarm water, and heat on medium high. Bring to a boil and then add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the teaspoon of white vinegar. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Prepare an ice bath by filling a medium bowl half with water and half with ice to cool the eggs. When eggs are done, place them in the ice bath and let cool completely. Gently crack the eggs by rolling them against a counter. Place the eggs back in the water to soak for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to peel the eggs. Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Pry…

Shrimp with Andouille & Hominy Grits
Recipes / June 7, 2018

My husband and I both lived in Louisiana for a little while, long enough to become big fans of Cajun food. When I asked him to pick a recipe from A New Turn in the South, it was no surprise when he picked this dish. It was a surprise to how well it turned out. Shrimp with Andouille & Hominy Grits Serves 4 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup hominy grits 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter 1/2 cup minced sweet onion 1/4 cup celery stalks, minced 1/2 pound andouille sausage, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes 1 garlic clove, chopped 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers 2 plum tomatoes, diced 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 cup tomato juice 1/2 cup clam juice 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley 1 tablespoon lemon juice In a saucepan, combine 3 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the grits. Place on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring with a wisk. As soon as the water boils, reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook the grits, using a wooden spoon to stir every 5 minutes for an hour. Stir in 2…

This Week’s Cookbook: A New Turn in the South
Cookbook Overviews / June 4, 2018

A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson is a cookbook that I’ve had for awhile now and barely used. It does have a good deviled egg recipe (which I will share later), but there wasn’t much else in it that really jumped out at me. I decided to give it a closer reading, and I got a little annoyed because the author seemed to have some real hipster tendencies. Of course a lot of cookbook authors (especially chefs), like to talk about how you have to use the best (read: expensive and hard to find) ingredients, but Acheson even chastises people who buy cut up cauliflower at the grocery store. I mean, I probably wouldn’t buy that because of the cost,  but I really doubt cauliflower tastes any different if it’s cut up at the grocery store or at your house. And if you are eating cauliflower, I would say that’s a win. Anyway, I was complaining about this book to my husband. He picked it up and started reading out loud recipe titles that were appealing to him, so I decided to give this book another try. Hugh Acheson is the chef…

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