Fan Fare

1 Aug

Hard to believe tailgating season is almost upon us! LSU and Southern both begin on September 3rd, and high schools even sooner. Today’s book is one fans will enjoy even if the game is only on TV.  Fan fare : a playbook of great recipes for tailgating or watching the game at home (641.578 M825f) is by Debbie Moose, a food editor and reporter from Raleigh, N.C. She has brought together more than 100 recipes for kickoffs, bowl games, hot streaks and overtimes.

Elizabeth’s Baked Hush Puppies

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 egg whites, beaten

1/2 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno chilies, or more to taste

Cocktail sauce for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat mini-muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray (you need 24 muffin wells).  In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir well.  In a medium-size bowl, combine the egg whites, milk, and vegetable oil.  Stir well.  Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture and combine until just blended.  Stir in the green onions and jalapenos.  Spoon about one tablespoon of batter into each muffin well. Bake until the hush puppies are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool, the pop them out of the wells.

*You can bake these one day ahead and reheat them at the tailgate, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on a corner of the grill.

More titles to try:

Football food (641.5973 L418f)

Gameday gourmet (641.578 J68g)

Let the big dawg eat: a collection of Bulldog tailgating recipes (641.578 S654L)

The tailgater’s cookbook (641.578 J62t)

The tailgating cookbook : recipes for the big game (641.578 S634t)

Thanks to all who participated in our Adult Summer Reading Club this year!

Go Jags!  Geaux Tigers!


Staff Favorite-Lidia’s Italy

29 Jul

“Mary B. –My favorite cook book is Lidia’s Italy by Lidia Bastianich (641.594 B326Lid). She has great, easy and quick risotto recipes.”

This is a beautifully photographed culinary tour of Italy, based on the PBS TV series. It is divided into chapters by regions of Italy, showcasing specialties from the ten places Lidia loves most. A book for both cooks and the armchair tourist, there are 140 recipes,  even the simplest of which looks delicious.

Spaghetti with Crushed Black Pepper and Pecorino Cheese

Salt for pasta water

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, or more to taste

1 pound spaghetti

1 ½ cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano, or more to taste

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil. Grind the peppercorns very coarsely, preferably crushing them in a mortar with a pestle or in a spice grinder.   Warm up a big bowl for mixing and serving the pasta—use some of the pasta water to heat the bowl, if you like. Cook the spaghetti until al dente.  Quickly lift it from the pot with tongs, let it drain for an instant, then drop it into the warm bowl.  Immediately scatter a cup of the grated cheese and most of the ground pepper on the pasta, and toss in quickly.  As you mix, sprinkle over spoonfuls of hot water from the cooking pot to moisten and amalgamate the pasta and condiments—add more pepper or cheese to taste.  Serve right away, while the spaghetti is very hot.

Crazy for Casseroles

28 Jul

Casseroles can be a mainstay of family dinners, and they don’t have to be the high sodium “open a can of soup” type.  The library has lots of cookbooks for one dish meals that use fresh ingredients and more modern convenience foods. Casseroles are easy to shop for and simple to prepare, not to mention satisfying to eat.  Try the following from Crazy for Casseroles by James Villas (641.821 V726c).

Texas Hash Casserole

1 pound ground beef chuck

2 large onions, sliced

2 medium-size green bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (juices included)

1 cup raw long-grain rice

2 teaspoons chili powder

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 1 ½ to 2 quart casserole and set aside.  In a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, break up the ground beef and cook, stirring, till the meat falls apart and loses most of its red color, about 8 minutes.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic and stir till the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes plus their juices, the rice, and chili powder, season with salt and pepper, stir well, and cook about 5 minutes longer, stirring.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared casserole and bake till crusted on top, about 45 minutes.

More titles to try:

Bake until bubbly (641.821 W948b)

The best skillet recipes (641.77 R561c)

Dinners in a dish or a dash (641.555 A547d)

Perfect one-dish dinners (641.82 A548p)

If It’s Not Chocolate, It’s Not Dessert?

27 Jul

Well, there are those who prefer other desserts, but we just have to mention the many cookbooks focused on chocolate that are in the library. Here are some of the most recent titles in the catalog:

Small-batch baking for chocolate lovers (641.6374 N163s) Trying to control portions and not overindulge?

Intensely chocolate : 100 tantalizing high cacao content recipes that offer the ultimate in chocolate flavor (641.3374 B655i) Love dark chocolate?

 Chocolate cakes : 50 great cakes for every occasion (641.8653 K65c) Does your ice cold glass of milk need a companion?

If those don’t tempt you, of course there are many more dessert cookbooks on our shelves. Today we want to highlight The devil’s food: a dessert cookbook (La 641.86 C624d) by Baton Rouge author Holly Berkowitz Clegg. There’s more than just chocolate to be found here, but plenty enough to satisfy.

German Chocolate Pie

1 (4 ounce) package German sweet chocolate

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup pecan halves

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

In top of a double boiler or in microwave, melt chocolate and butter.  Set aside.  In mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and flour until well blended and light.  Gradually add chocolate mixture, mixing well.  Add pecans and vanilla.  Pour into a buttered 9 inch pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Filling will be soft, but will set while cooling.  Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled.  Top with whipped cream.

Staff Favorite-Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen

26 Jul

Eula Mae Dore worked for the McIlhenny family of Tabasco sauce fame.  She cooked first in the company commissary, then later for the family, preparing food the way her grandmother had taught her. They say she was very reluctant to put together a cookbook, because she never used written recipes, or even measuring cups and spoons. After a lot of persuading, she and food writer Marcelle Bienvenu captured her delicious dishes and passed them on to us. Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen (LA 641.597 D695e)  is arranged according to the season and special events, and there are stories of her life on the island. Mrs. Dore’s kindness and generosity come through on the page, and the recipes are easy to use. Don’t worry that they will be too spicy either, because she uses Tabasco sauce in moderation. I like using her recipe for cooking butter beans. They are very good without using any salt meat.-Dianne L.

Garden Butter Beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1/4 cup seeded and chopped green bell peppers

1/4 seeded and chopped red bell peppers (skip and just use green if you don’t have a red pepper)

1/4 cup seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes (I don’t always do this, skip if you want to)

1 pound baby limas, fresh or frozen

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 ½ cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco brand pepper sauce (or what’s to your taste)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg yolk and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (I skip this and mash a few beans for thickener)

Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, limas, and garlic, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the water, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

(Garlic clove should be tender by now so just mash it against the side of the pot and stir in.)

Add the salt, sugar, Tabasco, and black pepper, and stir to mix. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

(If using the egg yolk:)

Take the egg yolk, and with the tips of your fingers, grab the white nodule that is located around it, slip the pocket off, and let the yolk fall into a small bowl.  Beat the yolk, then add the flour and beat again to blend.  Add 1 tablespoon of liquid from the bean pot and whisk to blend.  Slowly add the mixture to the pot and stir.  Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and serve.

Staff Favorite-Great Cookies

25 Jul

Carole Walter makes it easy with Great cookies: secrets to sensational sweets (641.865 W231gc). Do you want a sure-fire recipe for Snickerdoodles? Biscotti? Lemon Squares? Walter has her best versions of these and other cookies from around the world. She has been teaching baking for twenty years, and her clear instructions will give you the secrets to great results. My son loves the Toffee Nut Squares, but my favorite is Snickerdoodles.—Dianne L.


2 ½ cups flour, spooned in and leveled

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 ¾ cups sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Strain together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and vegetable shortening on medium speed until lightened in color, about 2 minutes.  Add 1 ½ cups of the sugar in a steady stream and mix for another 2 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until blended after each addition. Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the cookie sheets. Divide the dough in quarters.  With lightly floured hands, shape each quarter into a log.  Slice each log into 12 equal pieces and roll into small walnut-size ball.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar with the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Working one piece at a time, place each ball in the mixture and briskly rotate the bowl in a circular motion to coat the dough evenly with the mixture.

Place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Toward the end of baking, rotate the pans from front to back.  (A shorter baking time will make these cookies chewier, while longer baking results in crispiness.)  Remove the cookies from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Transfer with a thin metal spatula to wire racks to cool.

Also by Carole Walter:

Great cakes (641.865 W231g)

Great pies & tarts (641.865 W231gr)

Great coffee cakes, sticky buns, muffins & more (641.815 W231g)

Summertime Grilling

22 Jul

Has your backyard grill been going all season long? Perhaps we should say all springsummer instead, since these seasons run into each other in Baton Rouge. The library has a wealth of titles on grilling to help you out. Some of these zero in on technique, but Soaked, slathered, and seasoned : a complete guide to flavoring food for the grill (641.76 K18s) takes another approach. Author Elizabeth Karmel  shows us great ways to add flavor to grilled foods through brines, marinades, sauces, glazes, rubs, butters and much more.  Venture out from the usual tomato based sauce and try something new, like this tangy sauce from Alabama. She recommends slathering it on chicken or grilled asparagus.

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish (not cream-style)

1 lemon, juiced

In a large nonreactive bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Brush it on food 5 to 15 minutes before the cooking time is finished or dunk your hot-off-the-grill food in a bowl of the sauce like they do in Alabama.  If desired, serve extra on the side.

Other titles to try:

Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue! (641.76 R149p)

Taming the flame: secrets for hot-and-quick grilling and low-and-slow BBQ (641.578 K18t)

Weber’s way to grill : the step-by-step guide to expert grilling (641.578 P986ww)