This new cookbook has promise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Publishing a cookbook has long been a favorite fundraiser in the South. A system perfected by Junior Leagues across the south, it has now been picked up by garden clubs, youth organizations and various other clubs.

Buying this type of cookbook has many advantages. For one you usually support a group you like; secondly, you usually get some great recipes. Mainly because the ladies, and sometimes men, try to outdo each other. This results in their submitting recipes they have been hiding in their family cupboards for years or new and exciting recipes they have recently discovered and no one else has yet. Either way you win.

A new cookbook I recently received that meets this criteria is &uot;Variations and Improvisations,&uot; written by the Friends of KEDM 90.3 FM in Monroe, La. This organization was formed to support public radio in Northeastern Louisiana and Southeastern Arkansas, and the cookbook is part of their fundraising efforts.

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Available from Cover to Cover Bookstore for $19.95, this book is filled with delicious recipes. Here is a recipe that sounded particularly good to me.

Lemon-Rosemary Wafers

makes 2 to 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg white beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons minced rosemary

2 tablespoons finely minced

lemon zest

1 cup flour

Cream butter and sugar until light. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Beat in rosemary and zest. Mix in flour. Shape dough into a log about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove plastic wrap and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees until set and just beginning to turn golden on the edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool. (I’m thinking these would be delicious with a glass of red wine.)

If this next recipe is any indication the dessert section will also be a favorite

Irish Coffee Pie

makes 2 pies

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1 cup water

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/3 cups sugar

6 eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup Irish whiskey

1/2 cup Kahlua

2 cups whipping cream

2 graham cracker pie crust

Dissolve coffee in 1/4 cup of boiling water; add enough cold water to make one cup. Dissolve gelatin in coffee mixture. Whisk in 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Heat slowly until mixture is slightly thickened but not congealed, whisking occasionally. Add whiskey and Kahlua, and allow to cool.

Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Fold egg whites into coffee mixture. Beat cream until very stiff; fold into coffee mixture. Pour filling into pie crusts dividing evenly. Chill until set, at least 4 hours. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

Among others that I cannot wait to try are the Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodle Salad and Roasted Pork Loin with Lemon and Fresh Herbs. There is also a neat section called &uot;Five Minutes and a Cup of Mayonnaise&uot; that could prove to be invaluable.

Christina Hall is the lifestyle editor at The Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3549 or by e-mail at