“If I eat something good, I want a recipe,” said author Johnnie Gabriel, who owns the popular Marietta bakery and restaurant Gabriel’s.
This newest cookbook that follows her book “Second Helpings” is a compilation of more than 100 old and new Southern classics. The cookbook, with a forward by her cousin, Paula Deen, is full of wonderful photography featuring step-by-step photos of the 35 most common dishes.
“(The cookbook) is primarily Southern classics, some of my mother’s recipes, some I had to recreate, some from Gabriel’s and some from friends,” said the Marietta resident.
“I get invited to the nicest homes. When I have a good meal, I will just ask for the recipe straight up,” she said.
The book preserves traditional Southern classics.
“Our Southern dishes have caught on because they taste good. We’ve been doing garden-to-table forever,” said Gabriel, who is known as Atlanta’s “Cake Lady” for her delicious award-winning cakes and desserts.
The cookbook also delves into new Southern classics such as roasted broccoli and chicken picatta.
“I feel like we are constantly in the process of creating new Southern classics. Southerners love anything that tastes good,” she said.
“Southerners have adapted to good food from other places like the Southwest. What constitutes Southern food is good food, and things that we grew up eating and can grow ourselves. Good food, fresh food, indigenous to this area — that’s Southern,” Gabriel said.
Part of being Southern is not only food but also the family.
“Cooking as a family is something we can tap into. I love the idea of families cooking together — not just for memories but the character building part, the sense of accomplishment, the time well spent away from the television and away from an electronic device. We need some time together and it’s a good excuse to get your kids in the kitchen,” she said.
Throughout the book, Gabriel shares heart-warming stories about the cooks who have contributed their recipes.
“(The cookbook) is just full of good recipes. I have put my feet under some really good tables in Cobb County. I have some friends that are really good cooks. It’s nice to share these recipes,” she said.
The book sells for $24.99 and is available at Gabriel’s, 800 Whitlock Avenue, Suite 135, Marietta, and wherever books are sold.
Makes 8-10 servings.
3 (1-pound) cartons of fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
¾ cup of sugar or to taste for sprinkling over strawberries
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped*
¼ to 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Six to eight hours before serving the shortcake, put the strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Cover and refrigerate. A sweet strawberry juice will accumulate in the bowl.**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Pour the milk into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and warm. When the butter melts, remove the pan from the heat.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs until they begin to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well. In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and mix on low. With the motor running on low, add the warm milk mixture and mix to combine.
Pour into the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes and turn out onto wire rack to cool.
While the cake is cooling, pour the cream into a large, chilled bowl and begin to slowly whip the cream with an electric mixer. If you like the cream slightly sweet, slowly sprinkle ¼ to 1/3 cup powdered sugar over the cream. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until the cream will hold a soft peak.
To assemble the shortcakes, cut the cake into 9 equal pieces. Slice each piece horizontally and place the bottom pieces on serving plates. Spoon the berries and juice over the bottom pieces. Place the top slices off center of the berries and spoon more berries and juice over the top pieces. Top with fresh whipped cream. Stand one strawberry slice up on top of whipped cream.
*You can substitute canned or frozen whipped cream, but I highly recommend freshly whipped cream for this dessert.
**This process of slicing fruit and sprinkling with sugar is called macerating. The sugar causes the fruit to “give up” its natural juices and let the fruit soak in it. This maceration process can be done with sugar alone or with an alcohol, such as Gran Marnier or a wine, or other juices for the addition of another flavor.
— From How To Cook Like A Southerner