My Mother's Southern Entertaining

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In the American South, entertaining is a very special art form, and in My Mother's Southern Entertaining, Jim Villas and his mother, Martha Pearl Villas, offer distinctive menus and more than 175 irresistible recipes to celebrate all sorts of seasonal occasions.

In My Mother's Southern Kitchen and My Mother's Southern Desserts, Jim revealed his mother's overall favorite recipes and cooking secrets. In this all-new collection, Martha Pearl now shares her ideas, procedures, and ...

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Overview

In the American South, entertaining is a very special art form, and in My Mother's Southern Entertaining, Jim Villas and his mother, Martha Pearl Villas, offer distinctive menus and more than 175 irresistible recipes to celebrate all sorts of seasonal occasions.

In My Mother's Southern Kitchen and My Mother's Southern Desserts, Jim revealed his mother's overall favorite recipes and cooking secrets. In this all-new collection, Martha Pearl now shares her ideas, procedures, and tips for the perfect party with twenty-nine complete menus. Meals for such traditional holidays as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are lovingly prepared with the Villases' typical flair and attention to detail. Shrimp and Grits, Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin, Country Ham Braised in Cider and Molasses, Holiday Bourbon Cake, and Southern Comfort Ambrosia can become festive must-haves in your family, too. And when it's not a holiday, there are plenty of other year-round occasions that call for good food and simple entertaining ideas, such as a Super Bowl blast, a graduation tassel celebration, a luncheon for the ladies of Martha Pearl's church guild, an elaborate bereavement buffet, and even a jingle bell party for tots.

Each tempting menu starts with a special libation (making a very strong case for the return of the punch bowl), then moves on to appetite teasers such as Curried Shrimp Paste and Tangy Pimento Cheese Dip. Martha Pearl's "receipt book" bulges with special casseroles (She-Jump-Up Pot, and Baked Country Sausage and Leeks Supreme), unusual salads and sandwiches (Football Broccoli Mold and Ribbon Loaf Sandwiches), baked goods (Prayer Bread and Cracklin' Biscuits), and luscious Southern desserts (Coconut Buttermilk Pie and Mixed Berry Cobbler).

Laced with lively family anecdotes, unique decorating and serving techniques, helpful down-to-earth cooking tips, and plenty of regional lore and history, this is a book about entertaining that also entertains in the gracious Southern manner.

Menus and recipes to celebrate all sorts of seasonal occasions.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
My Mother's Southern Entertaining is another wonderful book from the mother-son team who brought us My Mother's Southern Kitchen and My Mother's Southern Desserts. This is an indispensable book for the seasoned entertainer. As Jim Villas quotes his mother, "Honey, if I couldn't find a legitimate excuse to throw a party, I'd invent one."
Arthur Schwartz
Without as much as a glass of cheer in hand, Jim and Martha Pearl, son and mother, are the most entertaining people I know. Imagine what their parties are like with such superior victauls as Baked Country Sausage and Leeks Supreme—the ultimate buffet casserole—for a Super Bowl bash or Shrimp, Avocado, and Potato Salad with Horseradish Dressing for an Easter egg picnic. Or, for almost any occasion, one of Martha Pearl's famous 'congealed salads.' And how about one of mother's incomparable Southen desserts? Like Peach Cobbler, Benne Cookies, and Pecan Coconut Brownies, preceded by, say, Chicken and Ham Perloo, an indigenous rice dish of the Carolina Low Country, from where Martha Pearl hales. Now, about that glass of cheer...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688171841
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Villas was the food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine for twenty-seven years. He is the author of nine books on food and the good life, and his work has appeared in such national and international publications as Gourmet, Bon Appétit, the New York Times, and Esquire. He was born and bred in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he learned cooking at his mama's knee. He splits his time between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island, where he uses Yankee flour, much to his mother's dismay.

Martha Pearl Villas has always been actively involved in church work, various bridge and book clubs, and charity leagues. She is a needlepoint expert, but her true lifelong passion has been cooking for family, friends, and neighbors, numerous local organizations, and even a few professional chefs of world renown. Martha Pearl has cooked her Southern specialties on Good Morning America, the Food Network, and other national TV programs. She is one of the few cooks to be invited to conduct courses at the prestigious Cipriani Hotel Cooking School in Venice. Martha Pearl has two grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren and travels extensively with her son, Jimmy. She lives in Charlotte.

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Read an Excerpt

Shrimp and Grits

6Servings

Mother first tasted shrimp and grits (or, as they're often called in the Carolina Low Country, "breakfast grits") when we were staying at the old Francis Marion hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, many years ago, and she was so taken with the luscious dish that it soon became the highlight of our Resurrection breakfast. Although she's since been impressed with versions at both the Pinckney Cafe in Charleston and Atherton Mill in Charlotte that have tomatoes in the sauce, she still thinks there's nothing like this age-old classic made with the smallest shrimp possible and a little bacon grease. As far as I'm concerned, shrimp and grits is one of the most distinctive hallmarks of authentic Southern cookery--and not just for breakfast.

For the Grits

5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup regular hominy grits
2 tablespoons butter

For the Shrimp

2 pounds small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons bacon grease
2 small onions, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste

To cook the grits, combine the water and salt in a large, heavy saucepan, bring to a brisk boil, and slowly sift the grits through the fingers of one hand into the water while stirring with the other. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking till the grits are thick, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add the butter, stir till well blended, cover, and keep warm in a bowl till ready to serve.

To prepare the shrimp, place them in a large saucepan withenough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, let stand for 1 minute, and drain, reserving the cooking liquid in a bowl.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter and bacon grease together over moderate heat, then add the onions and green pepper and stir for 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and continue to stir till the mixture begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually add about 2 cups of the reserved shrimp cooking liquid and whisk briskly till the gravy is smooth. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and stir for 2 minutes, adding a little more cooking liquid if the gravy seems too thick.

Serve the shrimp and gravy over large spoonfuls of grits.


Kentucky Beer Cheese

About 5 cups

Supposedly created around the turn of the century in a Louisville, Kentucky, saloon and served with crackers at bars to any customer ordering a 5-cent lager, beer cheese is one of the South's greatest appetizer spreads. Over the years, Mother has added and subtracted all sorts of ingredients (onion, hot peppers, celery, chives, different mustards, a little Parmesan), so feel free to experiment--sensibly. And to transform the spread into a simple dip, just add a little more beer. Either way, the concoction is delectable and also ideal as a snack.

2 pounds extra-sharp aged cheddar cheese, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco Sauce to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lager beer

Shred the cheese finely into a large mixing bowl. Add the garlic, chives, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and salt and beat with an electric mixer till well blended. Gradually add the beer, beating till the spread is smooth. (To transform the spread into a dip, beat in about 1/4 cup more beer.) Scrape into a crock, cover tightly, and chill overnight.

Serve the spread with toast points, crackers, or rye bread rounds (or, as a dip, with raw vegetables).

My Mother's Southern Entertaining. Copyright © by James Villas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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