Tag Archives: Taste of the South

Valentines Day Desserts_featured

5 (Fairly) Easy Desserts to Impress Your Sweetheart on Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day DessertsWant to do something sweet (literally) for your sweetie? Whether you’re at ease in the kitchen or just learning your way around, try your hand at one of these heartwarming desserts.

You can earn a lot of brownie points for the effort put forth in making something homemade this Valentine’s Day.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in this month’s food and cooking magazines with recipes inspired by everything from the traditional sweet staple (chocolate) to the popular color of the season (red).

Even if you’re crunched for time or want to slowly test the waters, these five fairly easy Valentine’s Day desserts will help you impress your sweetheart with your thoughtfulness.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Pudding, Taste of the South: Pudding isn’t just for kids anymore, not with this dressed-up version topped with chocolate shavings and cinnamon sticks. You’ll have to use the stovetop to make this dessert—no instant shortcuts here—so if you can manage that, you can pull this one off. But, judging by the photo, it looks like it’s worth the risk.

Valentine Sorbet Sandwiches, Everyday Food: A lighter, heart-healthier version of the ice cream sandwich, this treat makes use of sorbet that’s store-bought for a time-saving bonus. The cookie part of the sandwich is made from scratch but isn’t too complicated for a curious or experienced baker to pull off. Some may want to have a store-bought backup just in case.

Red Velvet Cheesecake, Food Network Magazine: This incorporates (almost) all you need for a perfect night: chocolate, red velvet and decadent cheesecake. The magazine says this recipe clocks in at a little over 30 minutes of active preparation, but you’ll want to keep in mind that you’ll have to chill this treat for at least four hours before you can slice and serve.

Strawberry Jam Cake, Cooking With Paula Deen: This fresh confection is perfect for the person who’s not much of a chocolate fan. The light cake gets its berry flavor from strawberry jam spread between its layers, which are then topped with a frosting that incorporates fresh berries. This one’s a little higher on the difficulty level but definitely not impossible.

“Puppy Love” Cherry Crunchies, Every Day With Rachael Ray: You read that right. If the love of your life (at least right now) is your four-legged friend, remember him or her this Valentine’s Day with these dog biscuits flavored with dried cherries. Bonus points for using heart-shaped cookie cutters when cutting out the dough. But either way, your pooch will love you.

Saveur magazine March 2012

Southern Cuisine Gets a Big Nod from Gourmet Food Magazines

Saveur magazine March 2012 cover

http://www.magazines.com/product/saveur

We might be watching our waistlines, but Southern soul food is surprisingly on the up–even in gourmet magazines.

It seems the deep-fried, decadent and oh-so-delicious Southern staples like fried chicken and red velvet cake aren’t on their way out—even in today’s calorie-counting, carb-watching world. In fact, Southern cuisine is gaining even more respect these days, as several recent issues of magazines have placed it front and center on their covers. And it’s not just regional titles like Southern Living or Taste of the South.

Both Bon Appétit and Saveur—magazines well known for featuring exotic tastes and places—are jumping on the Southern bandwagon as well. Bon Appétit went so far as to dub the South “America’s New Food Capital,” and the entire February issue might as well have been a guide to what’s good below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Inside, the editors share five simple steps to making the best fried chicken (like the crispy drumstick featured on the magazine’s cover). And they’re talking real fried chicken—not the baked-because-it’s-healthier kind. Other Southern culinary phenomena include chicken and dumplings, deviled eggs, bourbon and, of course, barbecue. But why the obsession with Southern food, especially for those of us who haven’t grown up with it?

According to writer Kim Severson in one of the issue’s articles, the reason is because food is the great equalizer in the South. All you have to do to break the ice is ask a local the best place to eat. Not to mention it’s long been considered a source of comfort—and who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?

Saveur’s March issue got all sweet on Southern food as well with a picture-perfect slice of red velvet cake on its cover. Inside, it gets even better with recipes for lemon layer cake, walnut spice cake, caramel cake and coconut cake—along with the red velvet—each photographed up close in all their layered glory. (For a more grown-up take, turn to Bon Appétit’s coconut southern comfort layer cake.)

Both magazines tackle how to perfect these magnificent cakes. Saveur’s tips are of the general sort: Use cake flour, use refrigerated ingredients that are room temperature, mix the batter quickly and drop the pan before placing in the oven to remove any air bubbles. Bon Appétit shared a no-fail technique for slicing cake rounds into layers before frosting.

Though neither Bon Appétit nor Saveur tried to lighten up the Southern recipes they featured, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, with magazines like Cooking Light seeking out healthier versions of Southern foods, it’s no wonder this regional cuisine remains popular–even in a more health-conscious world.