Thursday, March 10, 2011

BOOK OF THE MONTH - America I AM - Pass it down Cookbook

Stacked in corners, propping tables up and even dogeared marked in the bathroom you will find my cookbook collection peaking out from every corner in my house.  I decided to do a book of the month with the hopes of  surpassing Oprah's status ... joke!  Since I have never been "formally" trained in cooking, I thought I would give you a glimpse of some of the reading materials that helped shape my "cooking style".

This month's "book of the month" is: America I AM - Pass it down Cookbook.

I had the fortune to interview celebrity chef and Food Network star Chef Jeff last month while he was in Washington, D.C. promoting his new book AMERICA I AM: Pass it Down Cookbook.  Chef Jeff is extremely engaging and passionate about the effort that went into the book.

The Pass It Down cookbook is a collection of African American influenced recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.   From Stuffed Quail with Cranberry Glaze to Rufus Estes' Hominy Cake, these rich-in-heritage recipes are as eclectic as they are delicious. They are joined by inspirational stories of up and coming chefs and a do-it-yourself menu sections where you can record your own recipes to pass down.


I love my family, but unless it's Thanksgiving, I rarely cook with them.  Pass It Down inspired me to put "life" on pause and take time to reconnect with the most important thing in life: Family.  We have our own "pass it down" recipes but we made a few of the recipes in the book.

We decided on a meal of:

Ron Dupart's (A Top Chef competitor) Jicama Slaw
Denise Pines' Spaghetti Creole
Aunt Unise's Crack Cornbread (Our family recipe)
Momma's Bread Pudding

The Jicama Slaw is a refreshing Haitian inspired cold salad. The crunch from the jicama, smooth twang from lime and taste bud refresh from cilantro all work well to explode a Caribbean sensation in your mouth.

The Spaghetti Creole is a very straight forward delightful dish.  Denise Pines (the recipe author) professes her own "lack" of cooking skills. She is proof that it doesn't take a culinary degree to make good food.  Her recipe is a savory blend of bayou origin ingredients.

Aunt Unise's "crack" cornbread  has been a coveted recipe for years.  I am not sure if Aunt Unise would approve of me sharing her time tested recipe, but I am sure you will.  Be prepared for the cult-like following that will ensue.

Aunt Unise's Crack Cornbread

1/2 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
4 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 (15 oz. can) creamed corn
1 (14 oz, can) of condensed milk
1 (8 oz.) container of sour cream
1 (14 oz.) bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 stick of melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk together vegetable oil and eggs in large bowl.  Add in the cornbread mix and stir until there are no lumps.  Add melted butter and stir until blended.  Add in corn, milk, sour cream and mix until you have a smooth mixture.  Add in cheddar cheese and mix until blended.

Spoon cornbread mixture into greased muffin tins, iron skillet or loaf pan.  Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Top with a pat of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Dessert was a very tropical spin on traditional bread pudding called Momma's Bread Pudding.  The great thing about Pass It Down is you can change recipes to your own personal preference.  Personally, I do not like coconut, so I left it out of the pudding and added bourbon bananas.  YUM!

For the full recipes and many more, pick up your copy of Pass It Down today.You can get your copy of America I AM: Pass It Down Cookbook at your local bookstore.  They are also on Facebook under "America I AM - Pass it Down Cookbook -

When you get your copy of the cookbook be sure to let us know which recipes you like the best.  And share your stories here or on our facebook page

See you in the kitchen....Bon Apetite!

1 comment:

  1. I loooove Jicama. I usually just eat it with hummus or in a tequila drink, but I've been meaning to make a salad out of it.