a James Villas tribute and a giveaway

Bacon, Gruyere Mac & Cheese

Note: This drawing is now closed. The prestigious James Beard Foundation awards only come around once a year. I try not to dwell on things like awards too much, but when one of my authors’ cookbooks wins, I can’t help but feel good. That was Friday night, in a room crowded with friends and colleagues. I sat with James Villas as they announced the finalists for the American cookbook category. Up until that last moment, Jim was still insisting Pig: King of the Southern Table had no shot at taking the prize. Well, he won. Yay! So just for fun, I spent Mother’s Day cooking from Jim’s many other great books, starting with this Gruyere-Bacon Mac & Cheese from Bacon. (Yes, he wrote a whole book about the stuff.) It’s a decidedly grown-up mac & cheese, the kind of food I wouldn’t mind eating every single day if I could.

Shrimp-Potato Bisque

Next up (actually, we ate this first) is a Shrimp and Potato Bisque from The Glory of Southern Cooking. My copy of this book is so weathered from use, it surprises me I haven’t tried making this recipe before. Most bisques I’ve made are pureed and smooth, but this one, as you can probably see, is quite chunky with loads of potato and onions. Soup doesn’t get much better than this.

Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake

Here comes dessert. It was hard to resist scooping into this Lemon and Coconut Pound Cake from the classic My Mother’s Southern Desserts while it was still hot. Fortunately I had more cooking (and chatting with my mom) to distract me.

Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake

Look how beautifully it turned out of the pan. Actually, it was just a bit too underdone on one side, even if you can’t see it in the photo, but I prefer pound cake that way — super moist. As the recipe headnote says, this cake is so good, it doesn’t need anything else like fruit, whipped cream, icing, etc. It’s perfect all on its own.

James Villas cookbooks

There are the books. But the drawing is for Pig: King of the Southern Table. So if you’re still reading, live in the U.S. or Canada and would like to be entered to win, just post a comment.

23 thoughts on “a James Villas tribute and a giveaway

  1. I would love to win this cookbook! I am a southern girl, so I can’t pass up an opportunity to add an award-winning southern cookbook to my collection. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on the win, how exciting! I can never get enough versions of Gruyere mac ‘n cheese, so please let me throw my hat into the ring. 🙂

  3. All three dishes look amazing but I’m definitely going to have to check out that cookbook dedicated solely to Bacon!!!! 😉

  4. Nicely done! Was your mom happy? I wonder what my brothers would make for my mom? . . . RESERVATIONS or scrambled eggs. She’s lucky to have you.

    I made a zillion cheese blintzes w strawberry rhubarb compote for my mom. Never made them before. It only took three early morning trips to the supermarket to finally get the amount of filling to equal the amount of blintze wrappers I made.

  5. I’m a Southern girl by birth (Tennessee), so I can fully appreciate the glory of a naked, well-crafted pound cake. But I’m really intrigued by the texture of that bisque, looks fantastic.

  6. Those books sound fantastic, and your pictures are gorgeous (and are making me very hungry!). The Lemon and Coconut Pound Cake looks amazing… I may have to get my hands on that book … 🙂

  7. The only book I’d ever heard of was Pig:king of the south, I looked through it at my library and am hoping it’ll be among the cookbooks I have in my new apartment! 🙂 I’ll definitely check out his other books too since I love southern cooking!!!

  8. You are making me hungry. Mac and cheese for lunch with a little pound cake for dessert sounds perfect.

  9. *swoon* Will you throw in the recipe for the Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake if I win? Because I think I just dies a little. All the other pics were gorgeous and tempting, but that cake… oh YES!!!

    I’ve had Pig on my Amazon wishlist since before Christmas and no one’s gotten the hint yet.

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