I am THRILLED with this book! This book is huge! I opened it half an hour ago and devoured the first 65 pages immediately and had a hard time putting it down. I don''t want to eat it all up at once :) This book is that good! Part diary, part memoir, part family and...
I am THRILLED with this book! This book is huge!
I opened it half an hour ago and devoured the first 65 pages immediately and had a hard time putting it down. I don''t want to eat it all up at once :) This book is that good! Part diary, part memoir, part family and regional history which provides a very personal framework for this North Carolina recipe book. Although calling this a mere recipe book does not do it justice! It is so much more than that.
Some recipes (Stewed Fresh Butterbeans, Watermelon Rind Pickles) are an homage to tradition but of course Vivian has also gifted us with many recipes that have her distinctive modern twist (think Fried Green Tomatoes with Curried Peach Preserves & Whipped Feta or Boiler Room Butterbean Burger) this book is an incredible gift to the food obsessed and to the A Chefs Life obsessed! The best thing about it is that after I have read it cover to cover I get to pore over it again and again as I cook everything! I will post updates as I cook through the book. I have previously made her Blueberry BBQ sauce and (although the smell is well, lets say, rather distinctive as it''s cooking) it is wonderful! So I have high hopes for ALL of the recipes in this book.
Vivian has imbued this book with her signature honest, down to earth, relatable "best foodie friend that I don''t actually know" storytelling style that fans of her show are familiar with, and like me were no doubt hoping would carry over into her first book. Yes, Vivian fans, this is everything you hoped it would be! Vivian at her finest! As you read it (if you are anything like me) you will hear every word in Vivians voice :)
Each chapter is dedicated to an ingredient. With a highly enjoyable story about each ingredient, then a wonderful short story/description of each recipe.I have provided the chapter list, with each featured ingredient. After which I have provided a sample of one or two of the recipes in that chapter.
Ground Corn - Moms Cornpone, Charred Spring Vegetables wtih Creamy Scallion Dressing and Hushpuppy Croutons.
Eggs - Warm Banana Pudding, Stewed Tomato Shirred Eggs wtih Ham Chips
Turnips -Slow Roasted Beef Short Ribs wtih Herb-Scented Turnip Puree and Turnip Gremolata, Turnip Root and Green Gratin.
Watermelon - Bacon Wrapped Watermelon Rind Pickles, Spreadable Coconut Cheesecake with Ginger Infused Melon and Salted Peanuts.
Oysters - Roasted Oysters with Brown Butter Hot Sauce and Bacon, Oyster and Clam Pan Roast wtih Bacon Fat Toast
Pecans - Butter Baked Turkey with Pecan Cranberry Relish adn Warm Sorghum Viniagrette, Speice Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Crumble
Beans and Peas - SHrimp Succotash Salad, Refried Field Peas with Cheesy Grit Fritters and Celery Cilantro Salad
Figs - Fig & Honey Bourban Slush, Baked Figs & Goat Cheese with Carmelized Onions and Pecans, Whole Fruit Fig & Lemon Preserves.
Blueberries - Blueberry BBQ Chicken (of course) Blueberry Rosemary Breakfast Pudding, Cream, Tangy and Sweet Blueberry Dressing
Sweet Corn - Fresh Corn Roasted in Chicken Drippings, Grilled with Bacon Mayonnaise and Pecorino Romano, Frogmore Steam.
Cucumbers - Cool Cucumber Crab Dip, Big N''s Sour Pickles,Miso Flounder wtih Cucumber Noodles and Gingered Collards
Tomatoes - Tomatoes in Jars, Cocktail Tomatoes with Brown Butter Scallops, Tomatoes and Rice.
Rice - Scarletts Chicken and Rice, Sprouted Hoppin'' John Sald with Hot Bacon Viniagrette, Cast Iron Cooked Red Rice and Softshell Scampi
Sweet Potatoes - Grandma Hills Candied Yams, Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherds Pie, Sweet Potato Pie
Summer Squash - Assorted Squash Pickle Salad, Squash and Fontina Casserole Pudding, Squash and Cilantro Crumble
Sausage - Air-Dried Sausage Biscuits, Baked Pimento Cheese and Sausage, Stuffed Butternut Bottoms
Peanuts - Boiled Peanuts, Fried Mullet with Peanut Romesco, Big Bone-In Pork Chops with Pickled Peanut Salad
Okra - Fried Okra Hash, Shrimp and Grits with Gumbo Sauce, A Pickle Plate for Everyone.
Collards - Collard Kraut, Twice Baked Collard Potatoes, Collard Dolmades with Sweet Potato Yogurt.
Peaches - Perfect Peaches with Almond Pesto, Canned Peaches, Jalapeno Peach Chicken, Peaches and Cream Cake
Rutabagas - Riutabaga Relish, Rutabaga with Black Eyed Pea Samosas with Cilantro Buttermilk, Stewed Rutabagas
Apples - B&S Applejacks, Apple Pie Moonshine, Lentil Apple Soup with Bacon, Charred Carrots with Apple Brown Butter Viniagrette
Beets - Pickled Beets, Hot Pink Lemonade, Chocolate Orange Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Walnut Icing.
Muscadine Grapes - Grape Hull Preserves, Mulled Muscadines with Whipped Feta Toast, Muscadine Braised Chicken Thighs.
That is just a small selection of the recipes in each chapter. Each featured ingredient has a number of traditional and also inventive Vivian riffs.
Another reviewer commented that he/she was disappointed with the photos. Firstly, in the first 65 pages (that is as far as I have read) only a couple of dishes aren''t photographed and I am impressed with that. Secondly, it seems that the recipe book trend lately is leaning towards stiffer, more textured paper. I think the photos are best described as rustic, which I think suits the style and tenor of this book. I am including some snapshots of a couple of pages from the book so you can see what you think (trust me, they look better in real life than in my snaps but it gives you an idea) I love the photos, I love the recipes and I especially love Vivians stories and I am going to be obsessed with this book for a very long time! I will be buying additional copies as Christmas gifts this year.
If you are reading this Vivian, thank you! You have obviously put your soul into this book. It is truly wonderful! I can''t wait to start cooking these recipes!
Since I first posted my review I have made the following:
- Turnip Roots and Greens Gratin. I am not a huge fan of bitter greens myself, but the creaminess of this two cheese + cream gratin won me over. I will definately make this again.
-Sage Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin. I used brown mustard seeds which added a bit more bitterness than I think was ideal. Vivianne didn''t state which type to use but next time I make this I will use yellow mustard seeds. The instructions for the tenderloin were perfect. It resulted in an extremely tender, pink in the middle tenderloin just like the picture and the sage honey with cider vinegar added a floral-tart bite which was perfect with the pork.
Blueberry BBQ Chicken. Be prepared for the smell of the Blueberry BBQ Sauce while it is cooking, because to me it is a bit rank when its cooking (although my husband said it smelled delicious, I thought it smelled like socks, LOL). But the end result was delicious and jammy with an acid bite from the vinegar and not at all socky! Perfect with chicken or pork!
-Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Pomegranite with Blue Cheese Honey Vinaigrette. Refreshing with the crunch of the apples, tartness of the Pomegranate seeds, and the mint and lemon added freshness which was rounded-off by the creamy blue cheese dressing.
-Horsey Arugula with Muscadine Vinaigrette, Parmesand and Pecans. I made this to take to Thanksgiving with the dressing on the side. I couldn''t buy Muscadines (I am in the Southwest) so used black grapes. It was lovely but I did add additional lemon as I like my salads tart-sweet and this would have been a bit too sweet for me otherwise. The Vivs Addiction Pecans are wonderful. I made two batches in two days because we kept eating them and I had to hide them from the family so I would have enough for the salad.
Butterbean Hummus with Charred Okra and Marinated Peppers. Something about using butterbeans instead of Chickpeas in this hummus gives a creamy, whipped, much lighter result. I don''t know how or why! We have been really enjoying this fluffy hummus and I have made it at least three times already. I didn''t make the Okra but I would recommend making the garlic confit and adding the marinated peppers. Delicious!
-Blueberries and Cucumbers with Pistachios and Yoghurt. Oh wow! This is a LOVELY salad. Seriously make this. It is light, fresh, crunchy, sweet and creamy. I will make this again and again!
-Fried Green Tomatoes with Curried Peach Preservers and Whipped Feta. Ok, I didn''t have any peaches so I didn''t make the peach preserves this time, but I used this recipe for the sesame breader for the tomatoes. It was terrific and I can''t wait till summer so I can make this with the Peach Preserves.
-Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Beet Tzatziki. We eat a lot of lamb, and I do marinated lamb on the grill regularly and often use rosemary and balsamic so this was a no-brainer for me. I also regularly make beet hummas or beet salads or beet dips. So nothing particularly new here. But I thought I would try Viviannes beet Tzatziki. I really liked the chunkiness of this beet salad, and the honey was a new addition for me. I would make this again.