Monday, August 27, 2012

Get to know a cookbook author

I got to sit next to cookbook author Cathy Marshall-Essix who shared stories about her big, close family. This Houston area nurse from Birmingham, Ala. is beautiful, engaging and makes you feel good about yourself. Then I read her book and I think I’d feel pretty good about being at one of these family dinners.

“Cathy’s Family & Friends Cookbook” is a spiral loaded with 150 recipes from several cultures. A portion of proceeds will help Children Across America and help find a cure for cancer. The author is founder of Dougie’s Kids Inc. named after the son she lost in a motorcycle accident. If you want to hear her speak, or get your hands on one of these books, e-mail her at

Now, here are a few of her offerings:

Curry Crab

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 tablespoon allspice

3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

½ teaspoon habanera or Scotch Bonnet pepper, finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

2 cups coconut milk

1 cup water

1 pound lump crabmeat

1 cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Grilled naan and hot sauce for serving

In a large skillet or wok, heat canola oil. Add onion and cook over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes. Add spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, pepper, thyme , salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring often. Pour in coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring until liquid is reduced by 1/3 for approximately 15 minutes. Stir in crabmeat and let sit for approximately 3 minutes once heated through. Stir in the cilantro and serve with naan and hot sauce.

By Cathy Essix

Tonya’s Key Lime Pie

2 Key Lime yogurts

½ container Cool Whip

1 graham cracker pie crust

½ cup lime juice

Whip the Key Lime yogurt and the Cool Whip together well. Our into pie crust and refrigerate for approximately 45 minutes and serve. May garnish with whipped cream and lime slices

By Laonya Strugas

Lemon Quick Pie

1 small can frozen lemonade

1 small can of Eagle condensed millk

1 container Cool Whip

1 graham cracker pie shell

Mix can frozen lemonade, Eagle condensed milk and Cool Whip together. Pour into pie shell. Freeze for 2 to 1 ½ hour and serve.

By Janice Williams

Babies have it good now

I just became a Greek yogurt fan a few years ago. Now babies can get the good stuff with Plum Organics blends in resealable on-the-go pouches of wholesome flavor. Yes, I’ve been eating baby food again for you, readers. I can join in the Plum slogan, “All for Yum!”

Babie’s budding palate can enjoy cherry-sweet corn, raspberry-spinach and green bean-pear combos blended into Greek yogurt. You won’t be afraid of reading the ingredients listing. I had spoonfuls of each flavor, then I blended each into banana smoothies for myself. Parents, and grandparents, should be impressed.

Asian twist to barbecue

Sometimes kids have issues with vegetables. It was a sweet and sour Chinese sauce that got me to ask for more. As an adult, I can douse a little San-J on any vegetable I want. The line, headquartered in Richmond, Va., features amazing Japanese-inspired sauces, dressings, brown rice crackers and more to make it easy to travel across the globe for dinner.

Now makers are encouraging cooks to extend the barbecue season by marinating meats in San-J’s Asian BBQ, Teriyaki, Orange, or Sweet & Tangy Sauce. “You won’t find any questionable ingredients on their labels. Plus, all San-J sauces are gluten free and certified kosher,” the company reports. Look for recipes such as Szechuan Guacamole to Polynesian Kabobs and Asian Country-Style Ribs at:

They’re making it easy to go gourmet, but I’ve done something easier still. I cooked up a big batch of Jasmine rice and simply have a stir fry flavor of the night. Polynesian Glazing and Dipping Sauce gave my carrots personality. These are great to keep on hand.

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