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Six Southern cookbooks

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Southern Living The Half-Hour Hostess

Featuring Rebecca Kracke Gordon
(272 pp., $24.95, Oxmoor House)

Trying to throw together a party in a hurry? The Half-Hour Hostess put together by the editors at Southern Living wants to show you how. Rebecca Kracke Gordon, the test kitchen director at Southern Living, exudes Southern charm as she beams out from nearly every glossy section, calmly ensuring you that even though you feel frazzled, Calm, Tranquility, Cute Food, and Perfect Hair are just a step or two away. These are very simple recipes, reminders that with just a little bit of effort and vision even store bought cookies can be transformed into an eye-pleasing dessert. Chapter sections range from "Cozy Gatherings" to "Chic Soirées" to "Kidding Around" (parties for kids). Recipes give prep time and there's even the "Hostess Hit List" to help get your ducks in a row the day before the party so you can hit the ground running. There are easy recipes for nearly every holiday, too.

Mini Crab Cakes
From "The Half Hour Hostess"

Makes 16 cakes
Hands-on time: 15 min.
Total time: 30 min., not including sauce

1 (8-ounce) package fresh lump crabmeat, drained
3 whole grain white bread slices
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worecestershire sauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable cooking spray
Salt, to taste
Garlic-Chive Sauce*
Garnish: fresh chives, chopped

Pick crabmeat, removing any bits of shell. Pulse bread slices in a blender or food processor 5 times or until finely crumbled. (Yield should be about 1-1/2 cups.)

Stir together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Shape mixture into 16 (2-inch) cakes (about 2 tablespoons each).

Cook cakes, in batches, on a hot, large griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-low heat 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Season with salt to taste. (Keep cakes warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 30 minutes.) Serve with Garlic-Chive Sauce and garnish, if desired.

Note: Southern Living tested with Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread

Garlic-Chive Sauce

Makes about 1 cup
Hands-on time: 10 min.
Total time: 30 min.

3/4 cup light sour cream*
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3/4 teaspoon lemon zeal
1-1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill 20 minutes before serving.

*light mayonnaise may be substituted.

(Wait, there's more! click to the next page for more Southern recipes....)

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