Books That Cook

"Texas Ties was developed with the idea that food is more than simple nourishment for the body; it nourishes the spirit as it is prepared and shared with those whose company we enjoy." The "we" is the Junior League of North Harris County, and the sentence begins the preface to this cookbook, which covers everything from appetizers to desserts. Each chapter on food (Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Entrées, Complements, Brunch and Breads, Desserts, and Comfort Foods) begins with a personal testimony, whether it be an essay on changing seasons and the sights and smells of food for each or the basic premise of "Texas Ties"—"For me, the concept of ‘Texas Ties' touches on many areas as I consider the ties that join me to the people in my life," wrote Jennifer Little Harvey, who was vital in creating a focus for this cookbook.

Sprinkled throughout the 240-page book are tips and other words of advice the authors deemed valuable: "Keep guacamole from browning when prepared in advance by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dip. It's oxygen that browns the avocado, so the less air that gets to the surface, the better." But the real appeal of Texas Ties is the variety of recipes for dishes that don't appear that difficult to prepare, from Feta Cheese Torte and White Chili to Grilled London Broil and White Texas Sheet Cake. Here's a sampling of what to expect:
Kahlúa Fruit Dip
Texas Tortilla Soup
Romaine and Pine Nut Salad
Mustard-Crusted Beef Ribs
Bourbon-Spiced Pork Tenderloins
Gourmet Baked Beans
Amaretto Sweet Potatoes
Baked Apples and Cranberries
Traditional Pumpkin Bread
Fresh Lemon Mousse
Orange Caramel Flan
Hot Chocolate
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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