Since entertaining and lifestyle expert B. Smith is in town, we jumped at the opportunity to chat with her for a few minutes about her latest ventures and the upcoming holidays.
Smith's latest cookbook, "B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style" (Scribner, $35, 336 pages) hit bookstores this month.
She'll be signing copies at Borders Bookstore at 2339 Fair Oaks Boulevard at 7 p.m. tonight.
Q: Tell us about this new cookbook. What treasures does it hold for home cooks?
A: We have three restaurants and the one in Manhatten (B. Smith's New York City) is influenced by international recipes, but we also had people requesting southern food, so there are lots of southern dishes on the menu. We decided to share some of the restaurant recipes. One is fried green tomatoes, another one that people really like is braised black eyed peas soup ... Our collard greens are in there.
Follow the link below to read more from B. Smith.
Q: What else have you been up to?
A: We're working on a new venture with the food suppliers for the military to have some of our recipes served to the troops. Our poblano corn chowder is one of them. My dad was in the military, he was a first lieutenant, and the book is dedicated to him. I'm really proud to be a part of making people feel good out there in the field. Food, letters from home, photographs. These are the types of things that troops need to boost their morale.
Q: What is your favorite style of cooking?
A: My favorite style is really comfort food, but I try to do it lighter, healthier. I have a fried chicken recipe in the cookbook, but I also have a buttermilk baked chicken. Not everybody is challenged by food, but I like to have a little bit of something for everyone. I'm all about great flavors. I even gave up the recipe for my bourbon street bread pudding.
Q: Who do you look to for culinary inspiration?
A: I look globally as well as historically in our country. And I think this book is an updated version of favorites. I took Paul Prudhomme's turducken and made it into a roulade instead of a de-boned turkey, stuffed with a de-boned duck stuffed with a de-boned chicken. I have recipes for three different dressings in the cookbook, including one for a whole wheat dressing ... That lighter and healthier theme is something I try to keep running throughout the book. I have a recipe for bananas foster sundae and bananas foster light sundae.
Q: What will be on your Thanksgiving table this year?
A: I like the whole table, but the sides are very important to me and I try to make them interesting. This year, I'll be adding brussels sprouts. I have a recipe for brussels sprouts with brown sugar and pecans - it gives it a new twist.