New cookbooks features Southern dishes, seafood, pies

Special to the Tampa Bay TimesOctober 8, 2013 

Here’s what you need to know about whether three new cookbooks are worth your money:

“In a Snap! Tasty Southern Recipes You Can Make in 5, 10, 15, or 30 Minutes,” by Tammy Algood (Thomas Nelson, $24.99, 296 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: You’ll find recipes perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert. The recipes are divided by number of minutes expected to prepare the dish, and within those chapters are a variety of recipes for all meals including appetizers.

FOR: Lovers of Southern food and anyone who wants quick recipes. These dishes take from five to 30 minutes. Those who like to entertain will enjoy the appetizer recipes, among others. Also perfect for those busy nights.

RECIPES: Turkey and cranberry sandwiches, stuffed hamburgers, seven-layer chicken and vegetables, hand-mashed turnips, Cajun shrimp and rice, cherry pecan Brie, country ham and peach salad, apple spiced tea, peanut vegetable stir-fry, homemade chicken nuggets, crunchy nut triangles, applesauce and golden raisin cookies, wok-seared spinach, grilled cheese and bacon on raisin bread, zippy chicken and gravy, buttermilk and Gouda grits, crawfish macaroni and cheese, individual peach crisps and mock “fried” okra.

“Fish 54 Seafood Feasts,” by Cree LeFavour (Chronicle, $27.50, 266 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: You’ll find a lot of good information about buying fish, cooking methods, food safety and more. Cooking fish can be intimidating, and this book will help alleviate that worry.

FOR: Those who enjoy cooking fish at home, along with other seafood.

GOOD TO KNOW: Every recipe offers a fish substitution in the event you don’t like the main selection. Plus, the author provides a listing of fish and other seafood you can eat in good conscience, meaning those varieties are sustainable.

RECIPES: Orecchiette with flaked Pacific halibut, charred romaine, sweet pepper and pine nuts, yellowfin tuna sliders with chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, cilantro rice and watermelon-queso fresco salad, fried spider sandwich with avocado and wakame-udon-sesame noodle salad, braised sablefish with pork belly, leeks, French lentils, shaved fennel salad and New Haven white clam pie and beet-feta salad.

“Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Pies & Tarts” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99, 336 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: You know you can trust recipes from Betty Crocker and those in this new cookbook are no exception. If you like to bake and try new recipes, this cookbook is worth a look. What makes this cookbook special is there are year-round recipes, meaning there are pies and tarts that include ice cream for those hot days along with warm and comforting dishes. There are lots of options if you like to make something new for the holidays. Pies and tarts don’t just mean sweet. There are savory, main-dish pies as well.

FOR: Bakers. Most recipes are easy and start with convenience foods, but some are made from scratch. Many can be made fairly quickly.

RECIPES: Sour cream and apple pie, coffee ice cream pie, chai cream pie, fresh blueberry cheesecake pie, apple harvest turnovers, pina colada tart, chocolate-cashew-cranberry tart, individual chicken pot pies, rustic meat and potato pie, lasagna pasta pies, strawberry marshmallow pie, summer’s delight pie, elegant pear custard pie, dulce de leche-banana pie and pear tartlets.

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