It was a roasted green bean recipe with sesame dressing Brown Sugar Kitchen that made me a huge fan of tanya holland. This seemingly simple dish was so surprisingly delicious, like everything else I made from the book, that I became addicted to it. I was delighted to find her new book Tanya Holland’s California soul, of which I received a review copy, was also packed with great ideas. This new book tells the stories of several Black California culinary entrepreneurs. Holland turns to these manufacturers to source the finest, freshest ingredients for their California-style cooking. I particularly enjoyed reading about Black Cowboys in California, as well as Antoine Ellis and Cedric Jefferson, who run Compton Farms that offer beef, chicken, sausage, and eggs. Four chapters of recipes correspond to the seasons and reflect their local sourcing throughout the year. There are salads, main dishes, breakfast dishes, vegetable side dishes, breads and sweets for every season. I’m already looking forward to the summery pizzette made from cornmeal dough with grilled beefsteak tomatoes, red onions and whipped goat’s cheese. Our local tomatoes will be here before you know it. Until then, the smoked trout spring salad with lemon and mint vinaigrette with broad beans and asparagus is perfect. Also in the spring chapter, the buttermilk muffins with cinnamon cardamom crumbles sound fantastic. It’s also nice to see a good range of plant-based recipes such as: I haven’t gotten to the mustard-grilled quail from the winter chapter, but I think this dish could cross the seasons, as could the Dungeness Crab Beignets. However, I feel like I should wait for fall, for the fresh gingerbread cupcakes with molasses buttercream and the Red Velvet beet bars with brown butter and sour cream frosting. I was tempted by several of the baked goods in the book, but the first one I made was the Pimento Cheese Popovers.
The pimento cheese was made first. As I often do, I mixed plant-based “dairy” with regular dairy. I grated grass-fed cheddar and used plant-based cream cheese. I also used Truff Hot Sauce with a little truffle flavor for the first time and was immediately hooked. These ingredients were mixed with Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, chopped jalapeno, onion, garlic, pickles and I added chopped pickled jalapenos. For the popovers, the pan should be heated in the oven while the batter is being prepared. Milk, eggs, salt and flour are all that is needed for the dough. It was whipped until fluffy. The popover pan was removed from the oven, each cup brushed with oil, and the batter added. A spoonful of allspice cheese was placed in each cup. The popovers were baked at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes and then at 350 degrees F for another 15 minutes. When they came out of the oven, they were removed from the pan and a small hole was cut in the bottom of each to allow steam to escape.
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