Staff Favorites

Coffee Caramel Nut Tart

Do you love the taste of coffee? Then you’ll understand why Maxwell House coffee drinks and desserts cookbook (641.865 M465.7a) is a staff favorite. The recipes are easy and the results are delicious. The following recipe is highly recommended.

Coffee Caramel Nut Tart

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped

4 cups toasted pecans or almonds

Melted semi-sweet chocolate for drizzling on the dessert (optional)

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the crumbs, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until well mixed. Press the mixture onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Stir the cream and instant coffee in a large microwavable bowl until well blended. Add the caramels. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Stir until the caramels are completely melted. Stir in the nuts. Spoon the mixture into the baked crust. Spread the top evenly with a knife.

Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm.  Cut into slices to serve. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.

Mexican Cornbread#2

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1 can (17 oz) cream style corn
1 and ½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 to 5 jalapeno peppers, chopped, seeds removed
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1 to 1 ½ cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Beat eggs, add buttermilk or sour cream, add can of corn and then add oil. Combine dry ingredients and sift into mixture. Add other ingredients. Pour into greased 9”x9”x2” pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes in preheated 400 degree oven. Cool.–Turnip greens in the bathtub (LA 641.5 H319t)
*recipe calls for yellow corn meal; I use white or half and half

K’s Cajun Seasoning

1 (26 oz) box salt (or Lite Salt)
3 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons Accent (optional)
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons red pepper (Cayenne)
2 tablespoons chili powder
Mix all in a large bowl or coffee can. Fill a shaker for daily use; store remainder in tightly covered container.
**Recipe notes say this will enhance all it touches and is not as peppery as commercially packaged seasonings–The little gumbo book (LA 641.813 M154L)

The Classic Mediterranean Cookbook

My favorite library cookbook is The Classic Mediterranean Cookbook by Sarah Woodward (641.591 W912C). Not only does it contain recipes representing various countries bordering the Mediterranean (e.g., Spanish tapas, Italian gnocchi, Turkish stuffed eggplant), but many of the dishes include photos of the ingredients arranged around a photo of the finished product. There is also a nutritional information chart at the back. The recipe that I most want to make is the Coca Mallorquina, a Majorcan-style pizza topped with white onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, sweet paprika, salt, black pepper, and olive oil, instead of sauce and cheese.—Michael B.

Totally Hot!

If you like hot or spicy food, and you like to explore international cooking, this book’s great. All the recipes incorporate hot peppers but, despite the title, this book isn’t just about the heat — it’s really an international cookbook that explores the cuisine of countries that use peppers on a regular basis.
Totally Hot! (641.638 G657t) Presents entrees, sauces and side dishes — every recipe you’ll need to create a whole meal. And not all the recipes are hot. You might find that an entrée recipe isn’t spicy but some of the side dishes are. Or the entrée is the spicy recipe and all the sides are mild and help tone down the entrée. Plus, Totally Hot! gives you a hotness guide for each recipe to let you know if you might want to tone down the heat or kick it up!
Not sure about hot peppers? Not a problem! There’s an introductory section on the history of spices and why hot peppers are hot. There’s also an illustrated pepper chart to help you identify pepper types at the grocery.
All the recipes in Totally Hot! are well written and easy to follow. If unusual techniques are used in a recipe, there is an explanation of how to do that technique. There are introductions to the different regional cuisines that explain the hows and whys of the use of peppers in that cuisine — and that discuss regional food traditions. You get a little cultural education and great food!! What could be better?
So cool off your summer with some hot dishes from all over the world. Check out Totally Hot!
PS — Fave Recipes:
Z’hug Sauce (p 39) good seasoning for lots of things
Saag Aloo (p 73) tasty spinach dish from India
Trey Ang (p 126) Cambodian grilled fish dish . Yum.

Makhani Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast or 3 pounds chicken thighs, boneless

For Marinade:
1 cup yogurt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon hot red pepper

For Curry:
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 large hot green peppers
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander powder

For Butter Masala:
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1 cup onion, sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala

For Garnish:
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1 medium tomato, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garam masalaCut chicken into 2-inch cubes. Mix marinade together and pour over the chicken and refrigerate for 4 hours. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet. Sprinkle cumin seeds, add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Remove chicken from marinade and add to the skillet. Cook until brown. Add sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, and green peppers. Cook until tomatoes are soft and chicken is coated. Cook chicken fully on medium heat, turning frequently. Do not add any water. Add leftover marinade, 2-3 tablespoons at a time to prevent sticking. Use all the marinade, continue to cook until chicken is tender and oil separates from the curry. Add red and black pepper, coriander, cumin powder and mix well. Remove chicken from the pan. Add 2 cups of water to the leftover curry in the skillet and reduce to half. Pour over chicken.

Melt butter in clean heavy pan. Fry onions until light brown, add green onions and continue to fry until brown. Turn off the heat. Add paprika and garam masala, stir. Add cooked chicken and mix well. Remove to a serving platter. Garnish with cilantro, sliced onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle lemon juice, paprika and garam masala just before serving. Makhani chicken tastes better the day after. So make it a day in advance.–Saffrno to sassafras (LA 641.638 S128s)

Crawfish Etouffee

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds peeled crawfish tails (reserve fat)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups rice, cooked

In a Dutch oven, sauté the garlic, onion, and celery leaves in the butter. Add the fat, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice. Cover the pan and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes over low heat. Add the crawfish tails, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for 20 minutes. Add the parsley and serve over the rice.–La Bonne Cuisines (LA 641.597 B716a)

Fresh Apple Cake

1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

For topping:

1 stick butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canned cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix vegetable oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add apples and nuts. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together several times. Blend with sugar mixture. Add vanilla. Pour into tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (This makes a lot of batter. I usually make a bundt cake and a small loaf.)

Topping: Melt butter and sugar together. Add cream. Bring to hard boil; cool and add vanilla.
–Savory Secrets (LA 641.597 S268r)

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Mousse Parfaits

3 cups fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
One 8-ounce pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons full-fat (not low or non-fat) sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 whole graham crackers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Combine the blackberries, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and the lemon juice in a medium-size bowl, mashing about half of the berries to release their juices. Let stand, stirring a few times, to dissolve the sugar, about 10 minutes.
In another medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Wash and dry the beaters.
In a small bowl, using the mixer, whip the heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Gently fold into the cream cheese mixture, taking care not to deflate the cream. Divide the mousse among 4 sundae dishes or parfait glasses and spoon the berries on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, combine the graham crackers and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the melted butter to the graham crackers and pulse once or twice to combine. Sprinkle the topping on the parfaits and serve immediately–Icebox Desserts (641.86 C495ic)

Baptist Beans

(best when made a day ahead and reheated)

Cook green beans as usual (with plenty of bacon grease or salt pork **). My aunt always used canned beans and this recipe will work for 2 cans. Of course, you can use fresh or frozen…

Drain the beans when done.

While your beans are cooking, make the sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing (Kraft Zesty Italian was the household favorite)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons mustard
black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir the mixture until the butter melts.
Pour over drained beans.
Let cool and refrigerate overnight if you have time.
Reheat to serve.
The sauce is also good on broccoli and asparagus.

** Please note: if you’re health conscious and don’t want to use bacon grease or pork to flavor the beans, you could add some bacon bits when you serve — the pork flavor is an integral part of the overall taste.

–shared by Emilie Smart, Reference & Computer Services Coordinator:

My family is from North Louisiana so I didn’t grow up eating gumbo and jambalaya — I grew up eating chicken & dumplings & purple hull peas. Sunday dinner was often pork chops, sliced tomatoes & cucumbers, and green beans. My aunt had a great green bean recipe that was always a big hit at church suppers, so much so that we called it “Baptist Beans.” It’s not your typical mess of North Louisiana green beans — it’s special. And it’s so flavorful, even the jaded palates of South Louisiana Baptists deemed it delicious.

Super Simple Pumpkin Tiramisu

This needs to set up overnight, so start one day ahead.
Makes 8 servings.

1 ½ cups chilled whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 (3-oz.) packages halved ladyfingers
1/4 cup Frangelico
2 oz. crushed amaretti cookies

Beat whipping cream and sugar until peaks form. Mix mascarpone cheese, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla; beat just until filling is smooth; fold in whipped cream.
Line the bottom of a 9-in. diameter springform pan (with 2-¾ inch-high sides) with 1 package ladyfingers, overlapping and crowding to fit. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Frangelico. Spread half of filling over ladyfingers.
Repeat with second package of ladyfingers, remaining 2 tablespoons Frangelico, and remaining filling. Smooth with spatula. Wrap tightly in plastic, then foil. Chill overnight.
To unmold, run a knife around inside edge of pan. Release pan sides; sprinkle with amaretti cookies

Chicken in a Spicy Peanut Sauce

1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I use 4 thighs and just throw them in the pot instead of sautéing, oops)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper (I use black pepper)
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 red jalapeno peppers stemmed, seeded, and slivered (or half a red bell
2 green jalapeno peppers stemmed, seeded, and slivered
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I use chunky)
1/3 cup sliced green onions

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into bite-size pieces and season with salt, pepper and ginger.
In a skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the chicken with the peppers until the chicken has browned. Stir in the tomato paste and water; mix until blended. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of light cream. Adjust the seasoning to taste and sprinkle with green onions before serving. Enjoy!–Mother Africa’s table : a collection of West African and African American recipes and cultural traditions (641.596 W378m)


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.–Great cookies: secrets to sensational sweets (641.865 W231gc)

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.–
Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen (LA 641.597 D695e)

Lidia’s Italy

“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.


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