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Causing a stir: feast on four new cookbooks that share rich culinary memories.

Spring is frequently associated with the urge to clean and organize. Perfectly situated between our gray winters and smoking-hot summers, spring's arrival also inspires outdoor gatherings and long, lingering meals often eaten on a back patio or screened porch. Plump, colorful produce and garden-fresh herbs do their part to make this time of year an optimal season for cooking. The South has a long history of food-oriented traditions. One includes preserving recipes by passing them down, along with their history and backstories, through generations of cooks. During this ideal season for trying new dishes and recalling old favorites, four new cookbooks share prize-winning secrets and recipes for all to enjoy.

THE PINK PALATE: SASSY RECIPES FOR THE SPIRIT & SURVIVOR IN YOU

By the Waiting For a Cure Fund. Hardcover/ three-ring, $25. Available at gift shops and Main Street Books, Hattiesburg; 601/584-6960; www.visitmainstreetbooks.com.

When Mississippi artist Lissa Ortego was asked to create artwork for The Pink Palate, she found inspiration from seven breast cancer survivors. One night, she had a dream about bowls of pink ribbon-shaped pasta, which later became the whimsical cover for the cookbook.

The recipes inside are just as creative and colorful as the cover. Each dish submitted by a breast cancer survivor is indicated with a pink ribbon symbol, reminding us that cooking for a cause can be a powerful thing. Fun titles, like Texas Tornado Cake and Knock You Naked Brownies, replace the same old boring recipes with sassy alternatives.

Cookbook proceeds will be used to help the Waiting For A Cure Fund, a Mississippi-focused program to benefit breast cancer patients, as well as the Deanna Favre HOPE Foundation. In the book's foreword, Favre, who is a fellow breast cancer survivor and wife of NFL star Brett Favre, dedicates the cookbook "to all of the brave women and their families who have been on a very powerful physical journey and have faced the pain of an emotional recovery from breast cancer."
BROWN SUGAR BRIE WITH NUTS

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly
 packed, divided
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped, divided
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 (14-ounce) round brie
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Crackers, apples, or pears

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together
1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup pecans,
and bourbon. Place puff pastry sheet on
a lightly floured surface, and roll out fold
lines. Spread pecan mixture in a 5-inch
circle in center of pastry. Place brie on
top of mixture. Wrap pastry around brie,
pinching to seal tightly. Place on a foil-lined
baking sheet, folded side down.
Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown.
Cool for 10 minutes.

Combine cream, butter, remaining 1
cup brown sugar, and corn syrup in a
small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium
heat, whisking occasionally. Cover
and boil for 1 minute. Uncover, and
continue to boil for 3-4 minutes without
stirring. Mix in remaining 1 cup
pecans. Cool, then spoon around warm
brie. Serve with crackers, apples, or pears.
Yield: 8 servings.


Dawn Gillis

Breast cancer survivor

Cookbook committee chairman

BEST OF THE BEST FROM BELL'S BEST COOKBOOK

By TelecomPioneers of Mississippi. Comb-bound paperback, $16.95. Quail Ridge Press, 800/343-1583, www.quailridge.com or www.bellsouthmspioneers.org.

Best of the Best from Bell's Best shares innovative culinary creations for a good cause, while reminding us how far we've come since the avocado green coil-corded rotary dial phone.

TelecomPioneers of Mississippi compiled favorites from four classic Bell's Best cookbooks to create this collection of the most popular time-tested recipes. Each section's title page reveals a tidbit of telephone history, beginning in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell introduced the first phone at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and ending with the 1983 launch of the cellular system.

Volunteers submitted their personal best recipes to create the previous Bell's Best collections. A wide selection of Mississippi classics fill this book with treasured dishes, including Friendship Tea, Marinated Greek Salad, and the service organization's own Pioneer Shrimp Boil Shrimp Sauce--a favorite from its annual shrimp boil.

The popularity of the Bell's Best series has helped the Pioneers launch community projects across Mississippi. "Funds raised from the sale of these books have built Habitat homes, provided playground maps to schools and parks, enhanced educational opportunities, and supported health-related issues," says Bellsouth-Mississippi president John M. McCullouch.
MARINATED GREEK SALAD

2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup ripe black olives, pitted
3/4 cup green salad olives
12 cherry tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) bottle Italian dressing
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

Combine all ingredients except cheese;
refrigerate overnight. Just before serving,
add cheese. Yield: 6-8 servings.


Mary W. Bryant Capitol Life Member Book 2

MORE CULINARY KUDZU: RECOLLECTIONS & RECIPES FROM GROWING UP SOUTHERN

By Keetha DePriest Reed. Paperback, $13.95. Pelican Street Press, www.pelicanst.com.

Keetha DePriest Reed may dislike plain grits, hot summers, and playing softball, but her collection of essays and down-home dishes is as Southern as it gets. Things she loves include autumn, sugar cookies, family reunions (a recently acquired taste), percolated coffee, winter holidays, and gumbo. A writer and longtime cook born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Reed describes memories and culinary delights from her native region in this second installment of her Culinary Kudzu series.

"Food is a powerful link to family members and friends, certainly to memories," she writes. Reed's narrative weaves through the recipes with just the right amount of sentiment and spiciness. Nostalgic tales of deep-fried turkeys ("a job for the men-folk that gets them out of the recliners and actually doing something to contribute to the meal") and the straightforward appeal of state fair cuisine will make fellow Southerners smile in recognition of our guilty pleasures.

A section at the back lists Reed's favorite Southern places, Web sites, and books. While her recipes are waiting-to-be-dog-eared classics, her addictive, blog-like stories are to be enjoyed in one sitting.
CHICKEN PIE

1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) chicken
Water
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water
1 stick butter
4 eggs, boiled and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease
a 9 x 13-inch dish, and set aside. Cook
chicken in enough salted water to cover
until tender, but not until meat falls off
bones. Remove chicken from bones, and
set aside; reserve broth.

Make a dough with flour, salt, shortening,
and ice water. Roll out about half
of dough. Cut into long strips to line the
sides of the greased dish. Place half of
chicken pieces over bottom of pan. Cut
half of butter over chicken, then top
with egg slices and salt and pepper. Add
remaining chicken pieces. Pour chicken
broth over chicken.

Roll out remaining dough; cut into
strips, and place over top of chicken.
Place remaining butter over top of pastry.
Bake until lightly browned.


SWEETS: SOUL FOOD DESSERTS & MEMORIES

By Patty Pinner; photography by Sheri Giblin. Paperback, $16.95. Ten Speed Press, 800/841-2665, www.tenspeed.com.

Patty Pinner shares stirring memories and prized family recipes in this wonderful collection of tempting desserts. Vintage family photographs and entertaining anecdotes give this book a unique feel, like a friend displaying her family album while filling you in on all the juicy secrets. The scrumptious pictures of heavily iced cakes and glistening cobblers will have readers abandoning their diets and cramming their pantries with sugary staples.

Pinner's memories are just as rich as the recipes she shares; she remembers in detail each candy-coated work of art from her childhood along with vivid details of her lively upbringing. Pinner's grandparents, "Pop" and "My My," along with their four daughters and youngest son, left Mississippi for Saginaw, Michigan, in the late 1940s. Pinner reflects on My My's coveted specialty: delicious desserts. "The cakes of my childhood were big, rich, and wonderfully moist, and they required the approval of all the women in the family before they were inducted into our family's collection of cherished recipes."

Pinner says her grandmother adjusted to the "Great Up North" through the satisfaction of baking. "As it had been in the South, the church soon became an important part of My My's social life. And just as quickly, her food baskets--especially those holding her desserts--became as popular as they had been in Mississippi," she writes.

Pinner discloses treasured dessert techniques as well as the story behind each one, giving the book a personal touch. Sweets not only commemorates Pinner's family recipes, it also celebrates one African-American family's history in the process.
MY MY'S BROWN SUGAR
POUND CAKE

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
5 eggs
lie teaspoon baking powder
3 cups cake flour
1 cup milk
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and
lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.
Combine brown sugar, sugar, butter, and
shortening in a large bowl. Cream until
mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one
at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another large bowl, sift together baking
powder and flour three times. Add flour
mixture to butter-shortening mixture, alternating
with milk, beginning and ending
with flour mixture. Stir in pecans and
vanilla extract. Stir until well combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake
for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into the middle of the
cake comes out clean. Transfer cake to a
wire rack; let cool in pan for 15 minutes,
then unmold onto rack to cool completely.
When cool, spread Maple Icing over top
and sides, and transfer to a serving dish.

MAPLE ICING:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple-flavored extract

Blend together cream cheese and butter
in a bowl. Stir in confectioner's sugar;
mix well. Add vanilla and maple-flavored
extracts. Mix until smooth.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:HOME PAGES
Author:Moffett, Jennifer Barnes
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:1697
Previous Article:Dish It Out.
Next Article:Where in Mississippi is ... Columbia? Good things are cooking in one of the state's oldest settlements.
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