Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Real Women Eat recipes from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook!

Cupcake here with a some reminiscing and a critique for you! As a little girl I loved to sit in the kitchen and watch the women of my family cook (well actually my cousins told me I was too little to play with them so I found my refuge in my grandmothers kitchen!). From these women I learned that food and being fed was another expression of Love, the same as a hug or a kiss may do for others - homemade biscuits and fried pork chops did for our family. A recent loss of one of these great women had me reflecting on cooking and food and family and what is all means. I am blessed to be surrounded by Real Women - who eat and cook and love with unbridled passion. We laugh, talk, unbutton our pants and dive in for seconds; together, each knowing that love was put into every dish; a hug in every bite, a kiss with every spoonful. I miss my Aunt Ducky and will always remember the half sandwiches she would sneak me before dinner when I was a child and I will forever believe that REAL chicken and dumplings must be yellow! Thank you to my aunt and all the women who have helped teach me that Love and Food go hand in hand!
Now on to the critique!
I, Cupcake, think this is a beautiful cookbook. It has loads of great pictures, mini - dictionaries on fruit, sugars, onions and even chocolate (if there had just been on on bacon...). The index (one by ingredient and one by subject) were easy to navigate. There was also a cool list of menus in the back as well.
I found it very interesting during this critique the lack of talking. I have developed a theory, the better the food the more your mouths stay shut! So when there is more eating and less talking, the better the food! I was having to pry out any thoughts about the dishes from my Real Women, but there mouths were always full of another bite! We began our evening with mini Tomato Basil Sandwiches - they were very yummy but we all agreed that they could have used more basil than the recipe called for. Sweet Jeanette also pointed out how good these tasty little sanwiches would be at an Afternoon Tea. Then we had our salad course by SSaucy. Strawberry Salad with Cinnamon Vinegrette. WOW! It was awesome! Light and refreshing, excellent flavorful dressing and we ate it all. Cleaned the bowl ! Saucy also said it was easy. Easy plus flavorfull, yep that gets 5 Spoons from our crowd! Next were the Mini Beef Wellingtons with the side of Florentine Stuffed Onions. D-licious made the Wellingtons and she didn't disapoint. The meat was moist and very tender. The only drawback was the gravy. It was a litte too salty and I would reccomend putting it on the side and using it sparingly. D-licious did say that the prep was time consuming but not difficult and that there were a lot of left over ingredients (interestingly we did not find any of these "leftover" mushrooms she spoke of, perhaps they made them into her tummy before we arrived for dinner!). After I ate my Beef Wellington, I could do nothing but sigh and rub my belly! It was good! My dish was the stuffed onions. Tasty but needed more salt than the recipe called for. Also the prep time listed with the recipe was WAY off. 19 minutes...HA! It took me quite a while to get the onion's centers scooped out and the cooking of the spinach and melting of the cheeses all took longer than expected. However they turned out well. Even one of our pickier eaters said this dish is good for a person who doesn't like onions. It was a nice light accompaniment to the heavier dish of Beef we had. And finally DESSERT! Oh dessert, how I do love thee! Sweet Jeanette did a great job with her Mystery Pecan Pie. It was half pie, half cheesecake and a whole lotta good! We did notice a bit of a sinkhole in the center of the pie but looks did not deter from taste. It was actually very light and not as rich as other pecan pies. Sweet Jeanette also said it was easy and who doesn't love a recipe that lets you use store bought crust! Thank you Pillsbury!
And so we begrudgingly left the dinner table with full tummies and warm hearts. We were happy and satisfied....what more can you ask for from a dinner?! Poor D-licious was lost in a "food coma"! I personally think this cookbook deserves 4 Spoons. I wish the prep times had been a bit more accurate and the seasonings more plentiful. But we will see what my fellow Women think in there posts!

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