Rebecca Lang, a contributing editor to Southern Living magazine, has written a cookbook sure to be welcomed by anyone who loves Southern food, but doesn’t like spending a long time in the kitchen.
“With the same fresh food concept that my grandmothers lived by, I have mastered how to cook from scratch and still cook quickly,” she writes in the introduction to “Quick-fix Southern: Homemade Hospitality in 30 Minutes or Less” (Andrews McMeel Publishing Inc., $16.99, paperback).
And, the Athens, Ga., resident proceeds to let the reader in on her secrets. Her 178-page cookbook is filled with techniques and tips to help both the beginner and the experienced cook turn out Southern favorites faster.
The book, illustrated with warm-toned black-and-white photographs, opens with a chapter on “the basics of cooking quick in the South.”
It covers those ingredients that Lang recommends Southern cooks keep stocked in their kitchens, along with suggestions for equipment, tools and pans.
It also includes instructions for seasoning cast-iron cookware and provides basic recipes for making Southern Self-rising Flour, Buttermilk, Tangy Barbecue Sauce and Sugar Syrup.
Most of the book’s more than 100 streamlined recipes call for only a few ingredients, and none are complicated. They are divided into 10 chapters, beginning with breakfast choices such as Baby Vidalia Frittata and Tupelo Orange Smoothie and ending with Southern Sweets such as Grilled Brown Sugar Peaches and Real Fast Pralines.
Lang offers plenty of tips for easy cooking along with her recipes.
For instance, with her Honeyed Tomatoes and Ricotta recipe, she suggests spraying a measuring spoon with nonstick cooking spray before measuring the honey to keep it from sticking to the spoon. And, she notes in the Jalapeño Deviled Eggs recipe that older eggs are better for boiling because really fresh eggs are more difficult to peel.
The white part of fresh eggs tends to pull away with the shell.
At the back of the book are a list of sources for Southern foods, such as country hams and bacon; metric conversions and equivalents; and a listing of oven temperatures, which notes that a moderate oven equals 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 175 degrees Celsius and 4 for a British gas mark.
Here is a yummy recipe to try from “Quick-fix Southern.”