One would think that Beaufort caterer Debbie Covington celebrates every moment of her life. She could very well be as happy as a lark in her professional kitchen. Never without a smile, I sometimes wonder if she ever tires of food. I have never seen her wipe her brow as if to indicate that a dish she has prepared is getting her down.
Debbie's second cookbook, "Celebrate Everything," released earlier this year, is full of recipes for all occasions. When you get down to it, no other cookbook is necessary.
The holidays are upon us, and I will be in the kitchen preparing dishes for my family. I am planning to begin preparing the Thanksgiving meal early, so when family finally arrives, I will have more time to hear stories from children and grandchildren. I've kept "Celebrate Everything" handy as I incorporate some of Debbie's dishes into our family traditions.
Our Thanksgiving menu is the same as the one used at all times in my household growing up. I will prepare the same, hoping I will remember to bring out the cranberry sauce.
Certainly we have so much for which to be thankful. When I count my blessings, I count Debbie and her cookbook and will share with others the tasty food.
PECAN PIE MUFFINS
These yummy muffins are delicious when served warm or at room temperature. Be sure to grease and flour your muffin pan. The muffins are slightly sticky -- just like pecan pie!
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine chopped pecans, brown sugar and flour in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Stir together eggs and butter; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Grease and flour a muffin pan. Spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire racks.
VEGETABLE SALAD WITH SPICY THAI VINAIGRETTE AND INDIAN-SPICED CASHEWS
This salad is also good as an entree -- just top it with roasted chicken or grilled shrimp
For the cashews:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 cups lightly salted cashews
For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or to taste
3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the salad:
1 bunch green-leaf lettuce, torn
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, halved and sliced
1 (6-ounce) package wide-style chow mein noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine egg white, brown sugar, curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir in cashews. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the nut mixture onto the prepared foil. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, spread the nuts evenly on the pan. Bake until nut are almost dry, about 15 to 18 minutes, stirring every five minutes to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients except oils. Slowly drizzle oils while whisking. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and lime juice, if needed. Set aside.
Combine lettuce and vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette to taste. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles and spiced cashews before serving.
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at email@example.com.