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New cookbooks feature Southern dishes, seafood, pies

TITLE: In a Snap! Tasty Southern Recipes You Can Make in 5, 10, 15, or 30 Minutes by Tammy Algood (Thomas Nelson Books, $24.99, 296 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Inside this cookbook, you'll find recipes perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert. The recipes are divided by number of minutes expected to prepare the dish, and within those chapters are a variety of recipes for all meals including appetizers.

FOR: Lovers of Southern food and anyone who wants quick recipes. These dishes take from five to 30 minutes. Those who like to entertain will enjoy the appetizer recipes, among others. Also perfect for those busy nights.

RECIPES: Turkey and cranberry sandwiches, stuffed hamburgers, seven-layer chicken and vegetables, hand-mashed turnips, Cajun shrimp and rice, cherry pecan Brie, country ham and peach salad, apple spiced tea, peanut vegetable stir-fry, homemade chicken nuggets, crunchy nut triangles, applesauce and golden raisin cookies, wok-seared spinach, grilled cheese and bacon on raisin bread, zippy chicken and gravy, buttermilk and Gouda grits, crawfish macaroni and cheese, individual peach crisps and mock "fried" okra.

TITLE: Fish — 54 Seafood Feasts by Cree LeFavour (Chronicle Books, $27.50, 266 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: If you don't cook much fish at home but would like to, there is a lot of good information about buying fish, cooking methods, food safety and more. Cooking fish can be intimidating and this book will help alleviate that worry.

FOR: Those who enjoy cooking fish at home, along with other seafood.

GOOD TO KNOW: Every recipe offers a fish substitution in the event you don't like the main selection for the dish. Plus, in the introduction, the author provides a listing of fish and other seafood you can eat in good conscience, meaning those varieties are sustainable.

RECIPES: Orecchiette with flaked Pacific halibut, charred romaine, sweet pepper and pine nuts, yellowfin tuna sliders with chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, cilantro rice and watermelon-queso fresco salad, fried spider sandwich with avocado and wakame-udon-sesame noodle salad, braised sablefish with pork belly, leeks, French lentils, shaved fennel salad and New Haven white clam pie and beet-feta salad.

TITLE: Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Pies & Tarts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99, 336 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: You know you can trust recipes from Betty Crocker and those in this new cookbook are no exception. If you like to bake and try new recipes, this cookbook is worth a look. What makes this cookbook special is there are year-round recipes, meaning there are pies and tarts that include ice cream for those hot days along with warm and comforting dishes. There are lots of options if you like to make something new for the holidays. Pies and tarts don't just mean sweet. There are savory, main-dish pies as well.

FOR: Bakers. Most of the recipes are easy and start with convenience foods but some are made from scratch. Many can be made fairly quickly too.

RECIPES: Sour cream and apple pie, coffee ice cream pie, chai cream pie, fresh blueberry cheesecake pie, apple harvest turnovers, pina colada tart, chocolate-cashew-cranberry tart, individual chicken pot pies, rustic meat and potato pie, lasagna pasta pies, strawberry marshmallow pie, summer's delight pie, elegant pear custard pie, dulce de leche-banana pie and pear tartlets.

>>Easy

Apple Spiced Tea

1 cup water

1 cup apple cider

3 whole allspice

3 whole cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 green tea bags

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided

Place the water in a glass dish and microwave for 2 minutes on high power. Add the cider, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and tea bags. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into mugs. Discard the spices and squeeze the tea bags. Stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar into each mug and serve warm.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: In a Snap! Tasty Southern Recipes You Can Make in 5, 10, 15, or 30 Minutes

>>Moderate

Chocolate-Cashew-Cranberry Tart

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

1 ¼ cups dark chocolate chips, divided

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries (1 ⅓ cups)

1 (9.25-ounce) container roasted cashew halves and pieces

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place pie crust in 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom as directed on box for one-crust filled pie. Press in bottom and up side of pan; trim edge. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned and dry in appearance. If crust puffs in center, flatten gently with back of wooden spoon.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips over hot crust. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Spread chocolate over crust. Refrigerate to set chocolate. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and whipping cream to full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with whisk until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low to just maintain a full boil. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and starts to turn a slightly darker caramel color. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and cranberries. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir in cashews. Spoon mixture evenly over chocolate layer.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and cashews are golden brown.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips and the oil uncovered on high 1 minute, stirring twice, until smooth. Drizzle over tart. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 2 hours. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Remove tart from side of pan. Store in refrigerator.

Note about serving: Top with a dollop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, if desired.

Makes 16 servings.

Source: Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Pies & Tarts

>>Moderate

Orecchiette With Flaked Pacific Halibut, Charred Romaine, Sweet Pepper and Pine Nuts

If Pacific halibut is not available, any flaky fish will be delicious here: Atlantic haddock, Pacific haddock, Arctic char, coho salmon or even a handful of sardines.

Kosher salt

2 to 3 heads romaine lettuce

1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and quartered

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces halibut fillet

1 pound orecchiette or any bite-sized pasta

2 tablespoons very good extra-virgin olive oil

Flaky or coarse salt and black pepper

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

¼ cup Italian pine nuts, toasted

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

Preheat your broiler to high and set the rack 3 to 5 inches from the heat source. Set a large pot of water to boil with 1 tablespoon kosher salt added to it. To prepare the romaine, ruthlessly pull the outer leaves off the heads, leaving only the crispest, most perfect inner leaves. Rinse the heads, still intact, under cool water and then shake dry. Put the romaine and bell pepper in a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Line a baking sheet with foil large enough for the romaine to fit in one layer. Crimp the edges up to catch the juice. Lay the romaine and pepper down on the foil. Run the fish around in any oil left behind in the bowl and place it on top of the romaine, skin-side up, if it has skin. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for 6 to 12 minutes until the fish is fragrant and has begun to yield its juices or the lettuce is black in spots — really! Use a spatula to remove the fish before the lettuce if the lettuce isn't blackened but the fish is done. Remove from the oven and cut the romaine crosswise. Cut the pepper into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the reserved water along with the extra-virgin olive oil, romaine, pepper and fish. Add a pinch of flaky or coarse salt and a generous grind of black pepper, taste and adjust for salt. Portion out into pasta bowls, finishing each serving with basil, pine nuts and Parmigiano.

Serves 4.

Source: Fish — 54 Seafood Feasts

New cookbooks feature Southern dishes, seafood, pies 09/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:50pm]

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