Friday, November 12, 2010

Cook Club: Bon Appetit, Y'all




HIGHEST SCORING DISHES: Amanda's Vidalia Onion Confit with Garlic Toasts and Jackie B's Green Beans

For September/October Cook Club, the lovely Amanda picked out Bon Appetit, Y'all by Virginia Willis. Here's a little bit about why Amanda picked this cookbook: "The book I chose for this month's cook club is Bon Appetit, Y'all by Virginia Willis. Virginia Willis is a native Southerner who was French trained as a chef, and all of her recipes have heavy influences of both cultures. I adore Southern culture and cooking, so this book seemed like an obvious choice! :) My parents introduced me to this cook book over a year ago, and they love it!" The list of dishes looked AMAZING to me -- it was so hard to pick out dishes to make. And I was very happy with my selections! Thanks Amanda for leading us this round!


Amanda's Vidalia Onion Confit with Garlic Toasts
Score: 5
This recipe was super easy to put together and very straightforward. I actually made it the night before to allow the flavors to develop,and was so glad I did! The only problem I ran into was the availability of vidalia onions...they were nowhere to be found! After a call to my mother, the gardening guru, I learned that vidalia onions are more of a "summer onion"(who knew?), so I had to settle for yellow onions. My mom swore that these were acceptable substitute, and she was right! The dish was flavorful, and was only enhanced by blue cheese--per the author's suggestion. I will definitely make this again, either as a starter, or as a condiment with pork or chicken.  (Anjali's thoughts: 4.75!  So yummy, loved the blue cheese with the onions.  Simple!).  

034Anjali's Mama's Sausage Pecan Balls
Score: 4.0

So this was actually Stephen's recipe, but Amanda accidentally sent it to me and I TOTALLY stole it. ;) Again, another simple appetizer recipe for all the fabulous parties I attend. (in my dreams) One tip for the recipe. I attempted to make the batter without the food processor and failed, but once I did put it in the food processor, it came together beautifully. Use your tools! Otherwise, it was simple and yummy!  I felt they were a little dry but the other guests did not feel that way.  You know me, I like hot sauce with everything. ;)

(Jackie's note: I was jealous that someone grabbed this before I could!  I definitely will want to make this too...)

Anjali's Heirloom Tomato and Olive Tartines
Score: 4.5

Thought this would be a good, easy appetizer recipe to have under my belt.  It was so simple! I was really surprised to see the addition of thyme and rosemary, but I LOVED them in the tapenade! They really cut the strong flavor of the olives, which I feel often scares people away from anything olive-related.  This had a really mild, rich flavor and was so simple to make.  Will definitely make this again!

Amanda's Thyme Toasted Pecans
Score: 3.5
Virginia Willlis was correct about this recipe...the fragrance is amazing when all of the ingredients are combined with the warm toasted pecans. Unfortunately, they were not very flavorful. I still love this recipe, and will make it again, just with more pepper, salt, and thyme!

035Lisa H.'s Pimento Cheese
Score: (by Anjali) 4.5 


Jackie's Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Score: 3.75
I've always wanted to make my own ribs and what is more perfect than a Southern cookbook to try out a ribs recipe?  This dish was actually a lot of fun to make... and the smell of the ribs was AMAZING while they were cooking.  The ribs were sweet (use lots of napkins!), but lacked depth in flavor.  Still tasty though.  I think next time I would maybe add a bit more salt or maybe hot sauce? 

Jackie's Country Captain Chicken
Score: 4.5

IMG_8140I hadn't realized how prevalent curry flavors were in the South until I did some research on Country Captain chicken!  And this does not disappoint.  I used boneless skinless chicken breasts here -- Ms. Willis suggests cooking the chicken for a shorter period of time if using boneless skinless breasts... which I tried, but the chicken was still not cooked enough.  I think next time I would cut the breasts down in a size so they are all the same size and would cook quicker!  The chicken is coated in flour with a bit of a paprika kick and the coating gets browned a bit at first to give the chicken a nice taste.  Then the chicken is piled into a pot with tomatoes, golden raisins, peppers... yum.  Mr. J LOVED this dish and happily ate it for dinner for days to come.  Definitely will make again!


Jackie's $20,000 Rice Pilaf
Score: 4.5

Amanda sent this recipe to me to go with my Country Captain Chicken and I am sure glad she did!  When I was growing up, I always loved when my parents made for me rice with "vegetable sauce"... or rice with some chicken broth that had vegetable cooked in it.  And this reminded me of that.  Unlike other rice recipes I've tried, this one was cooked in the oven.  After toasting the rice a bit on the stove, the pot goes into the oven for the rice to cook up in chicken broth.  Yesss, yummy chicken broth.  It takes no time at all, the rice was super fluffy and very flavorful.  I could have actually just eaten the rice by itself. 

Jackie B.'s Green Beans
Score: (by Anjali) 5

038Anjali's thoughts: this was possibly the biggest hit at the party. FIVE POINT OHHHHH :)


036Amanda's Cheddar Cornbread
Score: 4
In my opinion, cornbread is generally pretty amazing. Cornbread with cheese? Even better! The recipe was very easy to throw together, and had a great flavor. I liked that the recipe used buttermilk instead of milk, which makes the flavor a little richer. I usually make cornbread with shortening, and this recipe recommended butter, which was equally yummy! This definitely isn't a substitute for regular cornbread, but it will be nice to have something different every once in awhile.


041Lisa H.'s Pecan Brownies
Score: (by Anjali) 3.5

Thanks so much to Amanda for heading up this round!!