Hot off the presses! Tasty new cookbooks have been crossing my desk; here are three I enjoyed.


Cheeseburger in paradise? Maybe that's enough for her famous singing brother Jimmy, but not for Lucy "LuLu" Buffett. Her new cookbook, "Gumbo Love," offers the culinary best from Key West to New Orleans. She has lived in many of the places covered and owns restaurants in two (LuLu's in Destin, Florida, and Gulf Shores, Alabama). Her delish entrees of brisket and chicken pot pie are below.


"America the Great Cookbook" presents an intimate glimpse into the lives of food celebrities. The just-released book is edited by Joe Yonan, the two-time James Beard Award-winning Food & Dining editor of The Washington Post. Personalities featured include Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Jose Andres and TV's Carla Hall, owner and chef of Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen in Nashville, whose popular side dishes are below.


Ken Haedrich, whose recipes have been described as "the perfect balance of simple and sophisticated," is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including "Home for the Holidays," and a winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award. His new book, "The Harvest Baker," celebrates the fresh-picked flavors of fruit, herbs and vegetables. His fabulous desserts are below.


Gumbo Love
Recipes for Gulf Coast cooking, entertaining and savoring the good life
By Lucy Buffett
Published by Grand Central Life & Style




Beer-Braised Beef Brisket
With Cumin and Garlic

I was reading one of my cooking magazines on a plane to Key West to give a big 60th birthday party for my favorite friend, Bobbo, and I had still not figured out what I was going to serve. There was a photo of a delicious-looking brisket in the magazine, and I thought, "What a great idea to go with my usual seafood entrées." Of course, I don't think I'd ever cooked brisket for a crowd, but no worries, that is my MO - entertain a bunch of guests I don't know all that well and cook something I've never cooked before! Lucky for me, the brisket was beyond delicious and the favorite of the young fellows. I served it with King's Hawaiian rolls and let the guests make their own little brisket sliders with white horseradish sauce. This brisket keeps beautifully and rewarms easily.


One (8- to 10-pound) beef brisket, untrimmed
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet yellow onions, sliced vertically
One (12-ounce) bottle beer or honey ale


Rinse the brisket and pat it dry. If it's extra fatty, trim off a little of the fat, but not too much. With this brisket, you want the fat to make the delicious cooking juice.
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, brown sugar, mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and olive oil, mixing well until it has the consistency of a wet paste.


Slather the paste over the brisket so that it's fully coated on all sides, both ends, and in all crevices. Wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. When you're ready to cook it, pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit until it reaches room temperature, about 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.


Scatter the onion in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Carefully unwrap the brisket and place it on top of the onion. Pour the beer or honey ale into the pan over the onion. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 5 to 6 hours.


I usually check it at 5 hours. The brisket should be juicy and falling apart. At this point, if you'd like it to have a crispy top, turn the oven to broil, remove the foil, and brown the brisket under the broiler.


Otherwise, I usually cover the brisket and put it back in the oven for the additional hour, where it will brown but not as crisply as if you'd broiled it.


Place the brisket on a shallow serving platter and let it cool slightly. Cut it or pull it apart and spoon some of the cooking juices from the pan over the brisket. Serve with the cooking juices in a bowl alongside.


To rewarm the brisket later, just put the brisket back in the pan with the cooking juices, cover and warm it up in a 250- to 300-degree oven for about an hour. By that time, it makes a great day-after sandwich.


Note: I often use a disposable aluminum turkey roasting pan, especially if I'm taking the brisket as a potluck dish.


Serves 12 to 15



Rustic Chicken Potpie

My non-cooking mother fed my siblings and me a lot of fish sticks, TV dinners and chicken potpies. Those convenience foods were lifesavers for her, as she was a working mom who went back to work when I was six weeks old, which was unusual for a mother in Mobile, Alabama in those days. Of the three frozen meals, it was the chicken potpie that I always looked forward to. When I started to cook, I wanted to know how to make that dish on my own. I've perfected the filling over the years, and I like it seasoned with fresh tarragon. Some days I will make my own dough for the crust, but most of the time I'm happy to use a good frozen pastry, because I'm all about easy and good.


Organic olive oil cooking spray
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
Seasoned salt
Lemon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 package small pearl onions (2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup white wine or sake
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
1 egg white, slightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside.


Place all the chicken pieces in a metal baking pan. Generously season the chicken with seasoned salt and lemon pepper. Add 1 cup of the broth. Bake for 1 hour, basting and turning the chicken every 20 minutes, until most of the broth and the chicken juices have reduced to golden brown drippings.


While the chicken is baking, in a medium saucepan, bring 2 to 3 cups water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Remove and discard the onion skins and set the onions aside.


Run hot water over the peas in a strainer until they're thawed. Drain completely. Place in a bowl and set aside.


Once the chicken is done baking, remove it from the pan to cool (keep the oven on). While the pan is still hot, add the wine to deglaze the baking pan, whisking and scraping all the chicken bits from the bottom of the pan and stirring them into the wine. Pour the drippings into a measuring cup and set aside.


Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces (do not shred). Set aside.


In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped sweet onion and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and sauté until the onion just begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.


Add the celery and carrots. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the butter and stir until it's melted. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the flour begins to brown slightly.
Add the remaining 3 cups broth and the cream. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens, then add the reserved liquid from the chicken drippings.


Add the oregano, thyme, tarragon, white pepper, turmeric and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together. Add the pearl onions and thawed peas and gently stir. Gently stir in the chicken and parsley.


Sprinkle flour over the counter or a marble pastry slab and roll out the pie crust dough to fit the 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer the chicken mixture to the prepared baking dish. Drape the pie crust over the dish, crimping the sides. (I like mine very rough and rustic.)


Brush the top of the pie crust with the beaten egg white. Use a knife to make a few thin slits in the crust to release the steam as it cooks. Place the potpie in the oven on a low rack and bake for 30 minutes.


Move the potpie to a top rack and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the pastry is golden brown.


Serves 6


Excerpted from the book "Gumbo Love" by Lucy Buffett. Copyright © 2017 by Lucy Buffett. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style.


America the Great Cookbook
The food we make for the people we love from 100 of our finest chefs and food heroes
Edited by Joe Yonan
Published by Weldon Owen




Mac 'n' Cheese

By Carla Hall

A native of Nashville, Hall blends her Southern upbringing and classic French training for a twist on traditional favorites.



6 ounces clarified butter
1 1/2 cups minced sweet yellow onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
6 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp white Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1pound dried mini macaroni


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


In a saucepan, heat the clarified butter over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.


Add the flour, whisk to combine and continue to cook until the flour flavor is cooked out, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika and dry mustard and stir well into the flour mixture. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute more.


Pour 1 cup of the milk into a small bowl. Stirring continuously, add 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture to the milk to temper the milk and flour. Return the temper mix to the saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining milk, whisking continuously until all is incorporated and smooth. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5-8 minutes.


Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Stirring continuously, slowly add a small amount of the milk mixture to temper the eggs. Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan over medium heat, whisking continuously to prevent curdling or lumps. As soon as all the egg mixture is whisked into the hot milk mixture, remove the pan from the heat.


Quickly mix together 1 cup of each of the Cheddar cheeses, add to the saucepan and stir in. Season with the salt. Add the dry macaroni to the sauce and mix well.


Transfer to a 9-by-11-inch baking dish and spread evenly. Mix together the remaining Cheddar cheeses and sprinkle over the top. Bake until bubbling and golden, about 30 minutes, then serve.


Makes 6–8 servings



Collards 'n' Potlikker

By Carla Hall

In addition to serving as a judge on Food Network's "Halloween Baking Championship," Hall is a co-host of ABC's daytime talk show "The Chew." She's perhaps best known as a competitor and fan favorite on Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars.



1/4 cup olive oil
2 sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
5-6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups water, plus extra as needed
4 1/2 pounds collard greens
Relish for serving (optional)


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and cook for another 2 minutes.


Add the vinegar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer the potlikker until the vinegar mellows and the flavors develop, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the collards. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll up lengthwise, cut the roll in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin strips (1/4-inch chiffonade). Wash the greens well, until free of sediment.


Add the sliced greens to the potlikker and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 50 minutes; add extra water as needed. The greens should be cooked but retain a little firmness to the bite (al dente). Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Serve hot, garnished with relish if desired.


Makes 6–8 servings


From America the Great Cookbook edited by Joe Yonan; published by Weldon Owen. Copyright ©2017 Weldon Owen. All rights reserved. Used with permission.



The Harvest Baker
150 sweet & savory recipes
By Ken Haedrich
Published by Storey




Sweet Potato Pound Cake With Maple Syrup Glaze

Tender, sweet potato–moist and faintly spiced, this pound cake is pretty enough to grace your most elegant cake plate and down-home enough to serve at a wood-cutting party or tailgate event. There's a bit of autumn (the sweet potatoes) and a bit of springtime (the maple syrup) in every bite. And don't forget that maple syrup is a harvested food, so it's right in tune with your harvest baking. Turning on the oven just to bake the potatoes is a bit of a pain, so plan ahead and put them in the oven earlier in the week at a time when you're already using it.



Butter for the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup sweet potato purée
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
Maple Syrup Glaze (recipe follows)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Adjust your oven rack so it's one position below the middle. Butter a 12- to 14-cup one-piece tube pan and dust it with flour.


Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg into a large bowl. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter and oil in a separate large bowl. Using an electric mixer - a stand mixer, if you have one - beat on medium-high speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sweet potato purée. Continue to beat until evenly blended.


Beat half of the dry ingredients into the liquid on low speed, until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the buttermilk on low speed. Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend them in on low speed, until the batter is evenly mixed. Stir in the pecans.


Turn the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spoon. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a tester inserted deep into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for a good hour, until the cake is barely warm. Invert the cake out of the pan and onto a serving platter.


Spoon the Maple Syrup Glaze over the cake and allow to cool.


Makes 16 servings



Maple Syrup Glaze


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
cup pure maple syrup
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


Combine the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Gently heat the mixture until the butter melts, then whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Use right away.


Makes about 2/3 cup



Pecan-Crusted Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

This is pretty much a pumpkin cheesecake with a thinner profile. Baking it in bars means no fiddling with springform pans and water baths. But it's not so much the shape of these that you'll find memorable, it's the flavor - a pecan-studded crust, with a rich, spiced pumpkin filling and sweetened sour cream top. Nothing says autumn quite like these. If you're looking to dress up a plated presentation, drizzle a little caramel sauce over the bars.


Butter for the cake pan
cup pecan halves
cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin purée, canned or fresh
cup heavy cream
Sour Cream Topping
1- 1/3 cups sour cream
cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9- by-9-inch cake pan. Combine the pecans and brown sugar in a food processor; process until finely chopped.


Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the graham cracker crumbs and salt. Mix briefly, then stir in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly - hands work best - adding a few drops of water if needed, so the mixture barely holds together when you squeeze it in your palm.


Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan and just slightly up the sides. Bake on the middle oven rack for 8 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly. Set the oven to 325 degrees.


Using an electric mixer (hand-held is fine), cream the cream cheese and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one a time, beating on medium speed after each addition. Mix the flour and spices in a small bowl; add to the cream cheese mixture and beat again. Beat in the pumpkin and cream on medium-low speed, just until everything is evenly blended.


Pour the filling over the crust, tilting the pan so it covers the crust evenly. Bake on the middle oven rack for 45 to 50 minutes. When done, the outer edges of the filling will have a drier look than the center and may be slightly puffed, but barely so. This isn't a filling that rises dramatically, if at all. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly.


Combine the sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan. Heat very gently, stirring nonstop until it reaches a pourable consistency. Pour over the pumpkin filling, immediately tilting the pan to spread out the sour cream.


Cool thoroughly, then cover the pan with foil; refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving. These are very creamy bars, best eaten with a knife and fork.


Makes 12 to 16 servings


Excerpted from The Harvest Baker, © by Ken Haedrich, photography by © Johnny Autry, used with permission from Storey Publishing.