Southern Supper Book Club: “Big Lies in a Small Town”

Southern Supper Book Club: “Big Lies in a Small Town”

It’s National Book Lover’s Day and my book club party planner is here! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Big Lies In A Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain and these recipes from my cookbooks.

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I must admit, I was captivated by this book from the first sentence. After all the main character’s first name is Morgan.

Her surname is Christopher (name of my middle son) and her boyfriend’s name is Trey (name of oldest son). There’s a Jon in there somewhere, I’m sure!

The extra pull is that the novel is set in my adopted state of North Carolina jumping back and forth from the early forties and to the present. But it is the writing that really captures the reader. You feel like the characters are your peers. You find yourself dancing in a time warp while you are cheering for the heroine(s).

This is my next pick for our Super Supper Book Club. Gather your readers, give them the title and dole out the recipes for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal.

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit; she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

  • After a year, you get your hands on a cell phone for the first time. Who do you call? 
  • Was it brave or crazy for Jesse’s family to aid Anna?
  • Does Morgan ever come to accept that alcohol is a problem for her, or does she simply comply with her parole requirements?

My Southern inspiration for this Super Supper Book Club menu is Jesse’s family’s Sunday dinner. I take the liberty of substituting Anna’s least favorite vegetable (collard greens) with my delicious recipe for Swiss chard. I exchange corn on with cob for creamed corn. In place of stewed tomatoes liberated from the family’s root cellar, I substitute slow roasted cherry tomatoes.

The author didn’t mention a dessert, but I bet the farm, there was strawberry shortcake somewhere, sometime on Sundays. My swaps are allowed, because all these recipes are rooted in my love of the South. Lest there be controversary during the discussion, keep those paintbrushes close to allow everyone to express themselves.

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Super Supper Book Club Menu: “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain

Fried Chicken Basket

Sunday Best Dishes, page 71

Creamy Smashed Parmesan Potatoes

Sunday Best Dishes, page 280

Braised Rainbow Chard

Canvas and Cuisine, page 124

Old-Fashioned Cream Corn

Fresh Traditions, page 208

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Traditions, page 205

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@helloimnik?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Hello I'm Nik</a> on Unsplash

Southern-Style Strawberry Shortcake

Canvas and Cuisine, page 331

Explore Jorj's Cookbooks

7 Cookbooks and Counting!
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Asparagus! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Asparagus! In The Kitchen With Jorj

Join Jorj In The Kitchen!

Learn the secrets to delicious asparagus!

Join me in the kitchen and learn how to master asparagus for your next meal!

I will show you my best tips to making the most tender asparagus, from how to buy ’em, to how to prepare ’em, and finally how to serve ’em THREE DIFFERENT WAYS!

The Art of The Fresh Market

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New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Strawberry Field Recipes: Easy Whipped Cream Cake

Strawberry Field Recipes: Easy Whipped Cream Cake

Strawberry Recipes for Desserts

You can just never have too many strawberries! Pick too many and turn excess into opulence with this luscious strawberry whipped cream cake.

I hope there are strawberry fields forever because the strawberries that you harvest from their growing green vines are the reddest, ripest, juiciest, sweetest, most flavorful berries you are ever going to eat.

Add the wonder of youngsters plucking for the first time, and you have a moment to remember…forever.

When you get to the farmer and he weighs your overfilling baskets and you find out you have collected eighteen pounds of strawberries, the wonderment retreats just a bit.

Until the lightbulb goes off and you’re able to prolong the day by making EVERYTHING strawberry. 

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake

The cake is simple. I start with a box of white cake.

The recipe calls for 3 egg whites. If you have the time, you can beat these and fold them into the batter for a fluffier cake. Pour into 2 round (or square cake pans).

Chop about 4 cups of strawberries and sprinkle them with just a bit of granulated sugar. Let these sit while you bake the cake. When the cakes are cooled, use your electric mixer to whisk together a block (8 ounces) of cream cheese with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar.

When blended, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 1 ½ heavy whipping cream. Continue mixing on high speed until the frosting comes together to form stiff peaks. Assemble the cake by placing one cake onto a platter. Spread a layer of frosting on the cake.

Use a slotted spoon to sprinkle chopped strawberries on the frosting. Cover the strawberries with another layer of frosting. Place the second cake on top and slather the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.

Spoon the remaining strawberries over the top. Chill the cake in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Here’s the recipe for some really FUN ice cream!

 

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Recipes for Desserts

Serves:

4 to 6

Ready In:

30 minutes ‘til it’s ready to go into the ice cream machine

Ingredients

1 ½ cups half and half

1 cup granulated sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups chopped strawberries

Directions

Stir together the half and half, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl until pale and frothy. Continue whisking while you slowly pour about ½ cup of the hot half and half mixture into the eggs. This “tempering” of the eggs will prevent them from scrambling. Pour the egg liquid from the bowl back into the pan and place it on the heat. Continue stirring until the liquid thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes more. 

Place a bowl into a larger bowl that is filled with ice cubes. Pour the thickened custard from the pan through a fine-mesh strainer (or colander) and into the bowl. This will catch any solid pieces. Whisk in the heavy whipping cream and continue whisking until the mixture is cool. 

Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding the chopped strawberries at the end of the cycle. Serve soft, right from the machine, or transfer to an air-tight container and place into the freezer.

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Lots of CHIPS! Easy Chocolate Chip Recipe Ideas

Lots of CHIPS! Easy Chocolate Chip Recipe Ideas

Chocolate chips are meant to be celebrated! Enjoy this deliciously chocolatey morsel with this quick and oh-so-easy recipe to treat yourself.

Can you believe it’s National Chocolate Chip Day! Yay o yay!

Since chips are one of the things that are always in my pantry, I’m so happy to celebrate this deliciously chocolatey morsel. There are soooooo many dishes that use chips, I can hardly decide which ones are my favorite.

Here are just a few:

Shall we start with the hallowed cookie? Chocolate chips are the favored add-in for chocolate chip cookies. But don’t stop there.

Any chip works,  as do nuts and dried fruit.

Mini-chocolate chips are perfect in coffee-dunking biscotti.

Chips are great on an ice-cream sundae bar.

Let’s mix these chips into brownies and bread, like chocolate chip banana bread.

Sprinkle a handful of chips into your homemade trail mix or bake them into your granola bar.

Just a few chips add a great bit of fun to your dessert bread pudding.

Ohhhh, and you can melt chips into things.

I once won a chili cookoff when I added dark chocolate chips to my chili base.

You can make a super mole sauce by adding in some chocolate chips. Chocolate and spice are everything nice!

Melting chocolate chips produces a rich chocolate fondue or a fabulous fudge sauce. Speaking of fudge sauce.

How easy is this?

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a deep pot over low heat.

2. Add 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk.

3. When the butter melts and the mixture is warm, remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2 cups of dark chocolate chips.

The result is a richly, chocolatey mound of chocolate fudge sauce that you can use to top ice cream, smush in between two cookies, spread onto a pretzel, or just dip your finger into when you need a dose of chocolate. It’s all good!

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Go Nana Bananas!

Go Nana Bananas!

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When you want something homemade to gather grandkids around the kitchen…

Join me in the kitchen for more memories and recipes with our featured ingredient: BANANAS! 

I will show you how to whip bananas into delicious homemade delights, from breakfast (or anytime!) bread to donuts and finally my one-of-a-kind Banana Pudding Ice Cream!

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The Art of The Fresh Market

Grab the book that contains my favorite travel adventures, with inspired original artwork by artist Susan Fazio.

New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

mardi gras king cake donuts

Need a Mardi Gras party food idea? Make Fat Tuesday delicious with this twist on traditional King Cake, from Jorj’s kitchen to yours!

Skip to Recipe

Twelve short days after Christmas is Three Kings Day (also known as the Epiphany).

This date marks the official beginning of Mardi Gras which last until the first day of Lent. Most of us don’t celebrate the entire season, after all, there are other holidays in-between!

So many Mardi Gras celebrations are left for the two weeks before Ash Wednesday.

My Mardi Gras memories settle themselves in my Grammy’s kitchen on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday.

My sweet, itty bitty Polish grandmother would create the most delicious pillowy donuts that day. Hot from the frying oil they were doused in powdered sugar and lasted just moments before we popped them into our mouth.

Traditional Polish donuts known as packzki are rich and filled with cream or fruit. My Gram filled hers with grape jelly. But she saved the unfilled donuts for us to gobble up. 😋 

I’ve made jelly-filled donuts before.

I’ve even made pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze.

This year, I’ve decided to make King Cake donuts to celebrate the season.

These are big, fluffy, light-as-air donuts doused in a sugar glaze and sprinkled with traditional colors of the season, purple, yellow, green, and gold sprinkles.

Want some?

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Jorj’s Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts

Servings

Makes about 9 large donuts plus holes

Ready In:

15 minutes for dough
15 minutes to cut out
2 hours to rise

Good For:

Dessert
Parties
Breakfast

Ingredients

For Donuts

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (you can substitute with instant)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For Glaze:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons half and half or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles (green, yellow purple and gold!)

Jorj’s Mardi Gras King Cake Donuts

Place the flour, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, and nutmeg into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk the milk, butter, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and rest for 5 minutes. Change the paddle attachment to a dough hook and beat until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Dump the dough into a bowl sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Turn the dough to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The dough is doubled in size when you stick your finger into the dough and the indentation stays.

Roll out the dough and use a donut cutter (or round biscuit cutters) to cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place these onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place into the warm place and let rise until doubled in size again, about another 30 minutes.
Heat oil to 350° in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Only let the oil fill the pot one third up the sides so that when it bubbles up it won’t overflow.

Fry the donuts in batches. Don’t overcrowd the oil. We want them to swim in the oil… not drown! Fry until they are golden on one side and then carefully flip so that they are golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the donuts to a rack set over paper toweling to drain.

Whisk together the sifted confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and cream. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze. Return to the rack and douse with sprinkles.