Review: Denise Gee’s Southern Appetizers

I’m a big fan of all flavors Southern. That’s why I picked up Denise Gee’s Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers. Now, truth be told, I didn’t get the book thinking about tablescapes or entertaining a crowd. Me, I’m after the food. But, that being said, this book has a lot more than just recipes. There are tips for planning for parties and being the perfect host. The book is well-written, clear, easy to follow, and packed with fantastic photos.

From there we get into the food, starting with the easy-to-eat handheld dishes. There are recipes for all of the classics, such as deviled eggs and finger sandwiches. The fanciful cheese straws looked so great that I made them that day. They came out fantastically!

Next up are spreads, including, of course, a great version of pimento cheese, Anita’s favorite. From salsas, to dips, to great spreads for crackers, this section of the book has great recipes that really are not difficult to make at all. I bookmarked a good many of the pages in the spreads!

The next part of the book is a bit more serious. It’s the grab a plate, some utensils, and sit-down-and-eat section. There is lighter fare, such as salads, tarts and soups. But then there are also (my favorites) meaty dishes. Wings, riblets, brisket, and baked ham, for example. And the peppered beef tenderloin just makes me drool. It is on my short list of dishes to make, along with the crawfish beignets

Next up: the drinks. And lots of awesome drinks. The book covers everything you need to throw a party, and that means drinks too of course.

This brings us to the last chapter, party themes. Denise Gee does all the work for you, whether you want to throw a New Year’s Eve get-together, a Mardis Gras-themed event, or just having a casual tailgating party. Every recipe you need for the party is listed, all designed to work together in a cohesive theme.

All in all I was quite happy with Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers. I found it easy to follow, with accessible recipes and with great photos. Many of the dishes make me think of a great Sunday brunches or get-togethers in the South. My only wish is that there were more pictures because they really were fantastic.

Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers rates high on my ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Review: Todd-Michael St. Pierre’s The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook

I absolutely love po’ boy sandwiches. That’s why I bought Todd-Michael St. Pierre’s The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook. So I could sit here and drool over every great po’ boy, from the classic to the fancy Vieux Carré (pecan-crusted trout with a meunierè sauce). And, in between recipes I get to read interesting stories about the history of the po’ boy and it’s importance in New Orleans’ history. And of course, there’s a recipe for homemade po’ boy bread, an absolute must if, like me, you can’t find proper po’ boy bread where you live.

Every po’ boy in The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook sounds insanely delicious. I’ve only begun my journey of making as many of them as I can, and I couldn’t be happier. Once you start making them you can’t stop, either. And make sure you keep your po’ boy real and get a bag of Zapp’s chips to go with it.

One of my favorite things about po’ boys is the remoulade sauce. You can find many variations on the usually mayonnaise-based sauce in and around New Orleans, and you’ll also find several variations in The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook. I usually make a good-sized batch of remoulade and keep it on hand for other things, such as hamburgers or wraps.

The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook rates high on my ‘Mater Rater, with the exception that I really, really wish it had more pictures so I could drool more. The pictures (and artwork) in the book are quite nice, though, so don’t let that minor point deter you from picking up a copy of this great cookbook.

'Mater RaterFor more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Review: Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison’s Smoke & Spice

If Kindle books had spines, my copy of Smoke & Spice would be worn out, torn, and used up. Cheryl and Bill Jamison’s book is one of those books that you must own if you have a smoker or grill. No matter if you are new at it or have been cooking for 30 years or own far too many grills like I do, you will learn something from this book and you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again.

Smoke & Spice covers everything you need for great grilling or smoking. Starting with dry rubs (I use the Southern Succor rub often) and marinades and the like, then covering various meats and ending with vegetarian dishes and appetizers (or as they are often called, cook’s snacks, since if you’re manning the grill, you’re the first to eat!). The book is also full of great anecdotes and hints and tips, but like me, you’ll find yourself bookmarking recipe after recipe. I have to admit, I also have a hardcopy of an older version of the book that has post-it notes hanging all over the place, along with annotation after annotation that I’ve made over the years.

Many of the recipes you’ll find in Smoke & Spice are great starting points for making your own variations. For example, the Southern Sop is a great mop for smoked pulled pork, but when I’m making pork on my Char-Broil Big Easy (which doesn’t infuse any smoke into the meat), I substitute smoked salt for regular salt to add a little smoke flavor. You can and will spend hours ‘tweaking’ the recipes to make them your own.

Smoke & Spice will up your game, from beginning to end, no matter what kind of grilling or smoking equipment you use. It is worth every penny and then some and is one of the most useful references there is.

Smoke & Spice scores high on the ‘Mater Rater scale.

'Mater RaterFor more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.