Elizabeth Heiskell offers up advice in her new cookbook

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Known as the "Debutante Farmer," Oxford's own Elizabeth Heiskell is a well-known voice of entertaining in the area.

Her popular monthly feature in Southern Living Magazine called What Can I Bring? is a hit with fans, and now you can get all of her best advice in her new cookbook.

She shared an excerpt from the cookbook with us here on Live at 9.


Winter Salad

This salad was born because I was so sad that summer had come to an end. I was craving a panzanella salad in the worst way but refused to make it with winter’s mealy, watery tomatoes. I made this salad for one of the first parties I catered in Oxford. It was a huge hit and helped put us on the map!

Serves 8 Hands-On 25 minutes Total 1 hour, 25 minutes
1 (10-ounce) loaf rosemary or garlic ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 small (about 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
4 medium beets (about 1 1⁄2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about
4 cups)
3 medium turnips (about 1 1⁄4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about
3 cups)
4 medium carrots (about 3⁄4 pound), peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup Versatile Vinaigrette (page 112)
4 cups loosely packed arugula, mixed greens, or mizuna
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the bread cubes with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until dry and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Toss together the squash, beets, turnips, carrots, pepper, and remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil and 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt; divide between 2 rimmed baking sheets, and spread in an even layer. Bake at 400°F until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks, about 20 minutes.
3. Toss together the bread cubes, roasted vegetables, and Vinaigrette in a large bowl until combined. Let stand 10 minutes.
4. Place the arugula on a platter; top with the roasted vegetable mixture, and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Twinkie Cake

This exceptionally creative recipe could have been conceived only by my great-aunt Joy. My great-aunt was an amazing storyteller, and I loved to listen to her talk. One of my favorite stories was about the first meal she cooked for my great-uncle. They were newlyweds and she so wanted to impress him. She decided to make chicken curry, green beans, and a lime congealed salad on an iceberg lettuce leaf. When she served Uncle Herbert, he said, “It’s all different shades of green.” He asked Aunt Joy if she color-coded all her meals! I will never forget her telling this story, laughing so hard tears were running down her face. It’s a miracle that from such humble beginnings she would become one of the best caterers and entertainers in Laurel, Mississippi. Her parties were legendary. This cake elevates a gas station staple to new heights.

Serves 15 Hands-On 20 minutes  Total 2 hours, 20 minutes, including 2 hours chilling
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
3 large egg yolks
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
2 1⁄2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 (1.35-ounce package) Twinkies
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

1. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH until melted, about 90 seconds, stirring every 20 seconds. Gradually whisk in the egg yolks.
2. Beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed increasing to high speed when the mixture begins to thicken, until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add the chocolate mixture, beating on medium-high speed until completely blended, 3 to 4 minutes. (The mixture will look grainy at first but will become smooth as you beat it.)
3. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with butter. Cut the Twinkies in half horizontally. Line the bottom of the dish with half of the cake layers; cover with half of the chocolate mixture. Top with the remaining cake layers and remaining chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans. Cover and chill until set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares; top with the sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Excerpted from What Can I Bring? by Elizabeth Heiskell. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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