No taste like home with new cookbook

A collection of “hometown” flavors comes in “Southern Living: No Taste Like Home” by Kelly Alexander.

Stories take this cookbook through 20 Southern cities, speaking of the history and hometown flavor of each, including recipes from locals, famous chefs or celebrities from the area and even stories about the music, attractions and what makes the area zing.

The book is divided into six chapters: The Heart of Dixie, Cajun Country, Big Bold Texas, The Piedmont & The Mountains, The Bluegrass Bourbon and Barbecue Trail and The Coastal South.

The Heart of Dixie covers Atlanta, Decatur and Athens, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Oxford Miss. Recipes include Tandoori Fried Chicken from Top Chef All-Stars’ Richard Blais, Coca-Cola Cake, Buttermilk Chess Tarts, Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce, Fried-Green Tomato Stacks, Sweet Potato Cornbread and more.

Cajun Country covers Lafayette and New Orleans, La. Recipes include Fried Oyster Po’ Boys with Jalapeno Mayonnaise and Avocado from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp, Crawfish Pies from Duck Dynasty’s Kay Robertson, Cafe au Lait Pecan Pralines and more.

Big Bold Texas covers Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Recipes include Beef Fajitas with Pico De Gallo, Lime-Cornmeal Cookies, Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Brisket, Avocado Soup and more.

The Piedmont and The Mountains covers Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Asheville, N.C., and Charlottesville, Va. Recipes include Roasted Banna Panna Cotta with Bourbon Caramel from chef Ashley Christensen, Peanut Soup, “Jefferson” Virginia Ham Pasta, Grilled Rainbow Trout with Mushroom Stuffing, Soup Beans and more.

The Bluegrass, Bourbon and Barbecue Trail covers Louisville, Ky., and Memphis and Nashville, Tenn. Recipes include Kentucky Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bourbon Vinaigrette, Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches, The Fat Elvis, Nashville-Style Hot Chicken, Chicken and Dumplin’s from Loretta Lynn and more.

The Coastal South covers Baltimore, Maryland, Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Georgia nad Miami, Fla. Recipes include Fried Soft Shell Crab Benedicts, Charm City Chocolate Cake from Duff Goldman of “Ace of Cakes,” Lowcountry Red Rice, Georgia Peach Deviled Eggs, Cubano Sandwiches and more.

I made several dishes out of this great cookbook. For one dinner I made Cajun-Baked Catfish and Creole Potato Salad. The catfish baked in the oven still had a crispy texture, a nice heat behind it from the spices and everyone, including the picky youngest enjoyed it. I halved the recipe for the Creole Potato Salad and still had plenty leftover for several days. The red potatoes boiled in shrimp and crab boil seasoning, giving it a different flavor and the cajun seasoning gave it more flavor but not too much heat.

Everyone who ate it loved it and I’ve gotten requests for the recipe.

I also made Peanut Butter Mississippi Mud Brownies one day. These brownies are swirled with a peanut butter mixture, then topped with melted marshmallows and peanuts. You can add more chocolate on top, but I thought it was sweet enough already. My kids helped make this and had no problems following the instructions. My coworkers eagerly ate these up, although they thought I was potentially trying to make their blood sugar levels go through the roof. These are VERY sweet -grab some coffee or milk to enjoy with them!

“Southern Living: No Taste Like Home” is published by Oxmoor House. It is $27.95.

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