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Basic to Brilliant, Y'all

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Basic to Brilliant, Y'all by Virginia Willis
Oct 04, 2011 | ISBN 9781607740698

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  • Oct 04, 2011 | ISBN 9781607740698

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“She’s just a brilliant cook, y’all.”
—The Austin Chronicle, 10/21/11

“This is a fabulous book. If you love authentic southern cooking prepared in a refined way then this is the book for you.” 
—, Family Kitchen blog, 10/5/11

“Virginia Willis is like the Southern cousin you wish you had.  . . Virginia’s latest book, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, is all about the “something extra special.”  Each recipe has a simple component–like the seared trout, and an optional brilliant flourish–like the topping of smoked trout salad. It’s what makes this cookbook a real keeper (even if you have other Southern cookbooks). The recipes are fresh and modern and reflect both Virginia’s Southern roots and her French training.”
—Cooking with Amy, 9/26/11

“As Willis demonstrates with this vibrant, informative guide to Southern cuisine, great cookbooks can offer a window into their author’s life. . . . By turns inspiring and appetizing, this work is a valuable resource for anyone interested in regional American cooking.” 
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW, 7/11/11

“The genius of Atlanta-based cookbook author Virginia Willis lies in her ability to weave together the distinct culinary worlds of France and the American South. . . . In this captivating book, she offers vivid tales from her life in food and a collection of mouthwatering recipes that can be approached two ways: basic and brilliant. Each basic recipe is followed by an endnote—often a clever presentation idea or recipe tweak—that lets you easily elevate the dish to brilliant so that it suits a special occasion. Whichever route you choose, chances are you’ll return to these recipes time and again.”
—Fine Cooking Magazine

“Virginia Willis could cook a memorable meal from a sock and some twigs. Whether she’s making southern food (her home turf) or French country dishes — or helping you get ready for company as she does in this treasure of a book, Virginia is someone you want by your side in the kitchen.”
—Amanda Hesser, co-founder of and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook

“A charming, gorgeous, and thoroughly practical guide to the best fundamental French techniques mixed with Willis’s uniquely American saucy Southern style. An instant classic.”
—Kathleen Flinn, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School 
“Virginia Willis is a natural teacher, a gift that shines in each of her carefully crafted and doable recipes. In Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Virginia gives us a fresh, bright, beautiful book that beckons us into the kitchen to cook—daily, 
happily, and very well.”
—Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table

“Virginia Willis creates a refined Southern cuisine in Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, bringing you into her world through the pages of this gorgeous and inspiring book. A fellow Southern chef, she blossomed during her years in France and New York and returned empowered with culinary knowledge. Virginia has hit a home run with this exciting and wonderfully articulate book. It is destined to become a classic for anyone’s culinary library—north or south of the Mason-Dixon line.”
—Frank Stitt, chef-owner of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, and Chez Fonfon

“Virginia Willis is amazing at putting that finishing polish on down-home Southern specialties that will fill your home with automatic hospitality.”
—Bobby Flay, chef-owner of Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, and Bobby Flay Steak

“Virginia Willis has married some of the most beloved Southern dishes with flawless technique. It is a match made in heaven. Home cooks who desire a collection of recipes for any day of the week will find just what they need. And those who want to put on some party clothes will be overjoyed! This book will spend plenty of time on my kitchen counter—and by my favorite reading chair. Really, y’all are going to love it!”
—Martha Foose, author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea
“Virginia Willis has done it again—created a totally unique, mouth-watering book of recipes, wisdom and charm. This is a book you will savor reading as well as cooking from.”
—Nathalie Dupree, author of New Southern Cooking

“As a busy mom, I truly appreciate Virginia’s Brilliant tips that accompany every recipe; many of them take only a few minutes more to transform ordinary family favorites to extraordinary, company-worthy centerpieces. From these tips, I’ve learned so many clever techniques, short recipes, and presentation ideas!”
—Jaden Hair, author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

Table Of Contents

Foreword  •  ix
Introduction  •  1
1. Fundamental Recipes
Chicken Stock  •  Beef Stock  •  Vegetable Stock  •  Seafood Stock  •  Shallot Vinaigrette  •  Garlic Confit  •  Mayonnaise  •  Crème Fraîche  •  French Pie Crust  •  La Varenne Sweet Pie Pastry  •  All-American Pie Crust  •  Quick Puff Pastry  •  Basic Crème Anglaise  •  Pastry Cream  •  Caramel Sauce

2. Starters and Nibbles
Southern Ratatouille  •  Butter Bean Croustades  •  Anne’s Roasted Pepper and Cheese Gratin  •  Pickled Vegetables  •  Shrimp Rillettes  •  Curried Chicken Wings with Peach Dipping Sauce  •  Sautéed Spiced Chicken Livers  •  Pork Terrine  •  Pigs in a Blanket Bites  •  Mini Country Ham Cheddar Biscuits  •  Apple Roquefort Turnovers  •  Black Pepper Cheese Shortbread

3. Salads and Slaws
Summer Squash Slaw  •  Southern Salad Macédoine  •  Summer Tomato Salad  •  Chilled Haricots Verts with Crème Fraîche  •  Celery Ribbons with Tarragon Vinaigrette  •  Arugula with Country Ham and Pecans  •  Mama’s Macaroni Salad  •  Endive and Roquefort Slaw  •  Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato and Green Bean Salad  •  Alabama “West Indies” Crab Salad  •  Warm Summer Shrimp Salad  •  Lentil Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

4. Eggs and Dairy     
Skillet-Baked Eggs with Mushrooms and Spinach  •  Perfectly Soft Scrambled Eggs with Grilled Buttered Toast  •  Tarragon Egg Salad  •  Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce  •  Kale Omelet  •  Vidalia Onion and Sweet Pepper Strata  •  Omelet with Herbs  •  Marinated Feta  •  Oven-Roasted Camembert with Garlic Toasts

5. Fish and Shellfish
Pan-Seared Georgia Trout  •  Poached Salmon with Herb Mustard Sauce  •  Whole Roasted Fish with Herbs  •  Oven-Roasted Crusted Fish Fillets  •  Fried Benne Shrimp  •  Grilled Shrimp “Gumbo”  •  N’awlins-Style BBQ Shrimp  •  Panfried Shrimp Po-Boy  •  Steamed Herbed Mussels  •  Seafood Jambalaya •  Creole Country Bouillabaisse  •  Grilled Soft-Shell Crabs with Lemon Gremolata

6. Gospel Birds and Game Birds
Chicken Breasts with Tarragon Velouté  •  Ruby’s Peanut-Crusted Chicken Fingers  •  Oven-Fried Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach  •  Grandmother’s Chicken  •  Deviled Chicken Thighs  •  Stewed Chicken in Peanut Gravy  •  Mama’s BBQ Chicken  •  Brined Roast Turkey Breast with Herb Pan Gravy  •  Roasted Lemon Cornish Hens with Thyme Jus  •  Crisp Roasted Duck with Peach Barbecue Sauce  •  Roasted Quail with Muscadines  •  Mama’s Fried Quail with Cream Gravy

7. Beef, Pork, and Lamb
Spiced Skirt Steak with Shallot Marmalade  •  NY Strip Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms  •  Mama’s Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy  •  Mama’s Spaghetti Bolognese with Venison  •  Grilled Entrecôte with Red Wine Compound Butter  •  Garlic-Stuffed Prime Rib Roast with Crispy Potatoes  •  Beef Daube Provençal  •  Sweet Tea–Brined Pork Blade Steaks  •  Pork Belly with French Market Red-Eye Gravy  •  Garlic-Studded Pork Roast in Milk  •  Spicy Carolina Pork Shoulder  •  Peach Dijon–Crusted Pork Tenderloin  •  Grilled Spiced Butterflied Leg of Lamb

8. Rice, Grits, and Potatoes
Low Country Risotto  •  Savory Rice Gratin  •  Wild Rice Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts  •  Nathalie’s Cheese Grits Soufflé  •  Sweet Potato Grits  •  Spiced Sweet Potato Mash  •  Yukon Gold Mash with Coarse-Grain Mustard  •  Parmesan Potatoes  •  Southern-Style Home Fries •  Gnocchi à la Parisienne  •  Pasta Gratin with Sauce Mornay

9. Vegetables
Asparagus with Blender Hollandaise  •  Glazed Spring Vegetables  •  Meme’s Yellow Squash Casserole  •  Grilled Okra Skewers  •  Okra Cornmeal Cakes  •  Green Beans with Buttery Peaches  •  Meme’s Green Beans with Potatoes and Ham  •  Jona’s Tomato Pie  •  Broiled Tomatoes Stuffed with Cornbread  •  Mustard Greens with Smoked Turkey Neck  •  Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin  •  Summer Vegetable Galette  •  Mushroom Ragout  •  Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon •  Pinto Beans with Side Meat

10. Soups and Stews
Tomato Consommé  •  Roasted Tomato Soup  •  Melita’s Sweet Potato Soup  •  Wild Mushroom Soup  •  Provençal Vegetable Soup  •  Split Pea Soup  •  High Cotton Brunswick Stew  •  Louisiana Duck Gumbo  •  Charleston She-Crab Soup  •  Meme’s Chicken and Rice  •  Spring Lamb Stew with Vegetables

11. Daily Bread
Sweet Peach Pancakes  •  Sweet Potato Biscuits  •  Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes  •  Mama’s Dutch Baby Pancake  •  Classic Crêpes  •  Nathalie’s Sally Lunn Bread  •  Savory Monkey Bread  •  Mama’s Sausage Swirls  •  Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins  •  Walnut Soda Bread

12. Desserts
Sweet Biscuits with Stewed Blackberries  •  Château du Fëy Cherry Clafoutis  •  Meringue Pillows with Strawberries and Cream  •  Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Mint-Blueberry Compote  •  French Beignets  •  Brown Butter–Pecan Tea Cakes  •  Wedding Cookies  • Mama’s Pecan Tassies  •  Skillet Blondie  •  Claire’s Dark Chocolate Cake  •  Bittersweet Chocolate Bread Pudding  •  Anne’s Cornmeal Cake  •  Dede’s Burnt Caramel Cake  •  Coca-Cola Cake  •  Pineapple Upside-Down Cake  •  Old-Fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie  •  Country Apple Tart  •  Michele’s Quick and Easy Fudge  •  Nut Brittle      
Acknowledgments  •  265
Index  •  267
Conversion Chart  •  277

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