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The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, & CSA Farm Boxes
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2011 Festival Authors > Southern Recipes

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Jamie (iansfan) | 14 comments Mod
–by Susan

I’m so excited that we have such good Cookbook authors/chefs coming to BOOKMARKS Festival of Books this year! We have three great chefs who combine their Southern flavors with their culture and heritage to create delicious food. You’ll get to see all of them in the new Food for Thought venue which will be in a tent on Trade Street, outside Finnegan’s Wake between 6th and 7th Streets.

I love Sheri Castle’s book The New Southern Garden Cookbook. It’s all about using the local, fresh fruits and vegetables that we love in NC! My favorite part of the book is how it’s organized. There is a chapter for each vegetable and fruit. Personally, if I forget I have something in the frig, it can go bad really fast.

Now I list on my kitchen chalk board all the veggies and fruits I have on hand. I look at the list every evening and figure out what might be good for dinner.

This is a great way to use Shari’s book. If you have a bunch of beets or a head of cabbage, just check out that chapter and find something you like. And any proteins Sheri uses are in the chapter with the vegetable used in the recipe.

I love to cook but I had never canned until last summer. My friend Diane talked me into making peach chutney on the 4th of July, so we went to the Sandy Ridge Road farmer’s market, bought everything we needed, and descended on her kitchen in Kernersville. We had a blast! Cutting, chopping and talking the whole way through. It really turned out great, too. Plus we had some terrific Christmas presents to give!

So when I got Sheri’s new cookbook, I noticed she had a Sassy Pepper Jam recipe. She explains that it has a lot of the peppers in it, that’s why it’s a jam and not a jelly. With this jam, there is no coloring required because the peppers were all red, even the jalapenos. I bought beautiful red sweet peppers, some long red sweet peppers plus the jalapenos at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in downtown Winston-Salem. One recipe makes a quart (or 4 half pints) and it’s refrigerated for up to 3 months, so there is no messing with a water bath. (That’s a deal breaker if I’m doing it by myself.)

It was very easy; I was done in no time. I put half in a half pint jar for my friend Diane and the rest went into a quart jar. It is more liquid than jam but that could have been just my lack of jam-making skills, but the flavor is out of this world. I took all of the seeds and membranes out of the jalapeno so I got the wonderful flavor without any heat. I’ve tested it out on crackers with co-workers, and with my family with cream cheese and crackers. It was a huge success both times. I’m so pleased how good it is. I think next time I’ll try it with pork…that should be great.

With this recipe, it said to try it with her Corn Fritters. So I whipped up the Corn Fritters the next day and they were very good, but with some of the jam on them, they were simply divine. I never would have thought to pair them together, but that’s what makes Sheri the expert cookbook author.

I highly suggest The New Southern Garden Cookbook to anyone who wants some new recipes that pair Southern flavor with fresh ingredients.

Sheri Castle will be speaking in the Food for Thought venue at BOOKMARKS Festival of Books on Saturday, September 10th, from 11:30am-12:30pm.

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