Did you know that not only are Paula Deen and her sons great cooks, but Paula has a cousin in Marietta, GA that also has a restaurant/bakery/cookbook? I found Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel at my local library and had a ball reading through it.
She and her husband, Ed, started baking out of their home in 1989. Before long, they were so busy that Johnnie quit her day job and moved the business into a place of its own. She and her husband have been running Gabriel’s ever since. It is now a full service restaurant as well as a busy bakery. Her specialties range from cakes and cookies to soups and sandwiches.
I tried her Chewbilee cookies, coconut pound cake and pumpkin cookies. Some of them made it to the freezer for future meals, but most were eaten as fast as they cooled down. Although most of her recipes have been modified for the home cook, a few still contain large quantities of ingredients. I had to do my own math on the Chewbilees because frankly, I was not going to make a recipe that called for 8 sticks of butter!!! I am still anxious to try some of the other recipes I found, like her Parmesan Rice, Cherry Pork Loin and Cheese Grits with Pancetta.
Overall, this was a nice cookbook. Most of the recipes are for family favorites: macaroni and cheese, baked chicken, bbq ribs, chicken salad, minestrone, etc. A few are definitely Southern in nature, but anyone anywhere could find something fun and delicious that would suit their tastes. The baked goods in the back were what caught my eye.
Often, when I read a cookbook and the recipes inspire me to start thinking in terms of variations, I will keep the book simply for that reason. I put post it notes on pages and make notes of my ideas. This book was one of those. After reading through her four or five different pound cake recipes, I started having visions of a baking day filled with loaves of exotic cakes. One of these days, when time and family allows, I will fill my freezer with a dozen or so loaves of goodies.
Coconut Pound Cake
Author: Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp coconut flavoring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour tube cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and the butter.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk with the coconut flavoring.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for approximately 75 minutes or until the cake tests done in the center.
- Let cool 10 minutes and remove the cake from the pan.
note: I received no compensation for this review and all opinions are mine.