Back in October, I reviewed the Southern Living 5 Ingredient Weeknight Meals cookbook (see here). At the same time, I was also sent their Super Fast Southern cookbook to review. You guys may remember that I’m a native Southerner – southwest Louisiana to be exact – and my husband is from Arkansas, so calling a cookbook “Southern” sets the bar pretty high in our house.
While these aren’t all classic Southern dishes, there are definitely a lot of pluses to this cookbook and enough truly Southern-inspired dishes to keep things interesting. I love that the table of contents are all photographs of the dishes, so it’s quick and easy to look for something that looks interesting. Like the 5 Ingredient cookbook, there are some handy general tips articles like “10 superfast secrets.” There’s also several sections (sorry for the blurry picture) with an original recipe plus a few minor tweaks for new dishes. I particularly loved the red pepper jelly-brie bites in the snacks section, with blue cheese, goat cheese and feta variations. It made me want to throw a party!
The more classically Southern dishes include hot water cornbread, maque choux and pan fried okra (I LOVE okra). I was intrigued by the black eyed pea cakes. They were really easy and a nice twist on our usual New Year’s black eyed pea tradition.
15 oz can black eyed peas, undrained
2 garlic cloves, pressed
6 oz package buttermilk cornbread mix
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1.5 tsp Chipotle southwest seasoning mix
– Coarsely mash the peas with a fork. Stir in garlic and remaining ingredients. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter for each cake onto a hot lightly greased griddle. Cook cakes 2 minutes or until edges look dry and cooked; turn and cook 2 more minutes.
These were a nice of change of pace for black eyed peas, although next time I’d make them smaller (maybe a scant 1/4 cup batter?) so they weren’t so thick. As much as I enjoyed these the first day, I admit I really appreciated them as post run snacks for the rest of the weekend because they were portable, good at room temperature and a nice mix of protein and carbs.
The black pepper honey ham biscuits and shrimp butter are still on our list to try when we’re up for an indulgence.
The desserts were where things got really fun. I loved the idea of topping pie filling with a sugared biscuit cutout with fun cookie cutter shapes for a quick and easy shortcake.
Oliver and I had a blast making the little mini-banana puddings, layering individual serving of sliced bananas, pre-made pudding (gotta love the pudding cups) and Nilla wafers. It wasn’t quite the same as my mom’s classic banana pudding, but for a weeknight it was a fun dessert with Oliver!
Of course, the most Southern and indulgent dessert in the book is the deep fried Moon Pie. If you aren’t Southern, you may not even know what a Moon Pie is and I’m not sure I’d be able to find them in Nebraska. It’s this layered cookie/cake thing with slightly stale wafers and stale marshmallow filling, covered in chocolate. I don’t love them, but I have to say the deep fried version looks tempting!
If you’re looking for cookbook that is purely and truly Southern, this might not meet your needs, but if you’re looking for approachable recipes with a Southern twist, definitely check this one out! Everything is straightforward and doable for the average home cook, with lots of pictures and tips to make things even easier.
Somebody gets to check this out for themselves! Just like last time, you can enter by leaving a comment below and I’ll choose a winner with the random number generator. I’ll leave the giveaway open through next Tuesday (1/20/2015). This would be a great way to find new Southern treats before Mardi Gras. 🙂
Disclosure: Just like last time, I was given the book to review and the opportunity to pass a book on to one of you guys but I wasn’t otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own. Thanks!