GOLDEN – About three years ago, Pearson Davis joined a cooking club for kids called Raddish. Each month, she receives a box in the mail with culinary lessons, three to four new recipes to try and the tools needed to make the recipes.
“I try to make as many of the recipes as possible, but some just don’t sound appetizing to me,” said Pearson, 12. “But I have started making recipes I’ve never heard of before.”
Pearson is the oldest of LeeAnn and Martin Davis’ three children. The family lives in the Fairview community in Itawamba County, near Golden. LeeAnn Davis homeschools her children and works two days a week in Tupelo for Mississippi University for Women’s nursing program. Martin Davis is the principal at Itawamba Improvement Center.
“Raddish has been so helpful to her,” LeeAnn Davis said. “She looks forward to getting it in the mail each month.”
If the month’s theme is juicing, Pearson will get a juicing tool in her box; if it’s doughnuts, there might be a doughnut mold; for pasta, a ravioli maker press is enclosed.
“I cook dinner once a week, maybe two times a week,” Pearson said. “Sometimes it’s a Raddish meal; sometimes it’s getting frozen pasta out of the freezer and adding stuff to it.”
Pearson has been interested in cooking since an early age. At first, she’d help her mother add ingredients to dishes. Eventually, she graduated to boxed cake mixes and brownies.
“I like to make things from scratch,” Pearson said. “When I make a cake, I still use a box mix, but I add to it – add a twist every now and then. I love making desserts. I can’t stop myself from doing it.”
Pearson’s grandmothers and great-grandmothers have been influential in her cooking journey, but the pre-teen isn’t afraid to strike out on her own and try something new.
“We had all these onions, so I decided to try to make onion soup,” Pearson said. “I was in a small room with the door shut, chopping all these onions and crying my eyes out. My mom came to check on me, saw me crying, and said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘Nothing, Mama. I’m just trying to make onion soup.'”
In the fall of 2021, Pearson, who is wrapping up her sixth grade year, joined the youth group at her church, which had planned a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Pearson wanted to pay her own way, so she started making candles to raise money.
“If I sold 40, I’d have enough money to go,” she said. “Mama posted it on Facebook, and we sold over 500 candles before Christmas.”
Her business, Humble Roots Candle Company, became official in 2022, and her candles are available at Porch Swing Pickings in Fulton.
“I started with five scents,” she said, “but I’m about to start making some new ones.”
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call (662) 678-1581 or email them to [email protected]
1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) whole chicken
1 onion, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
Red potatoes, quartered (optional)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Place salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Place chicken in a roasting pan, breast-side up. Remove giblets from center cavity. Pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle 1/3 of salt mixture inside chicken cavity. Sprinkle the rest over the breasts, legs, wings and thighs.
Smash and peel the garlic; insert whole cloves inside chicken along with thyme and rosemary sprigs.
Arrange onion, carrots and potatoes, if using, around the chicken. Drizzle melted butter over chicken and vegetables.
Roast chicken at 400 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes, until it reaches 165 degrees internally. Let chicken rest 15 minutes before slicing.
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled
1 (25-ounce) bottle sparkling peach juice, chilled
2 (750 ml) bottles sparkling white grape juice, chilled
2 cups pear juice from 2 cans pears in natural pear juice (reserve the pears)
Combine pineapple juice, peach juice and grape juice to a large punch bowl or pitcher. Drain the cans of pears and add juice to the punch. Stir to combine.
Place punch in the refrigerator to chill. When ready to serve, cut the reserved pears in chunks and halve the strawberries. Thread the cut fruit onto small skewers. Freeze the fruit skewers to serve as frozen fruit kabobs with the punch.
MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE
1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups chicken broth, divided
Place apricots, onion and garlic in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine chicken, turmeric, coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sear chicken in pot until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken. Add apricots, onion, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add garbanzo beans to the pot along with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot, turn heat to low, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Place remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add couscous. Cover and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve with chicken.
MINI TAMALE PIES
1 pound chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups masa corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup diced mild green chiles
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Place chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 28 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken and cool 10 minutes.
Grease muffin tin with cooking spray.
Combine masa, baking powder, remaining 1/3 cup oil and 2/3 cup broth in a large bowl until a soft dough forms. Divide dough evenly among muffin cups, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into each. Push dough flat on the bottom and up the sides, pressing into a cup shape. Set aside.
Shred cooked chicken and place in a bowl. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 cup broth, garlic powder, green chiles, cheese and corn.
Divide chicken filling evenly among tamale cups, placing about a heaping 1/4 cup into each. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes in pan, then gently remove with a butter knife. Sprinkle cilantro on top of cups.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, whisk egg until smooth. Add milk, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, onion powder and allspice, and whisk to combine. Add ground beef and pork, mixing meat into mixture thoroughly with your hands.
Shape meat into 1-inch balls. Place balls on a greased foil-lined baking sheet and bake 12 minutes.
While meatballs are cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking frequently until golden brown. Add beef broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, whisking occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
Add meatballs to the gravy. Serve over cooked pasta, if desired.
7 UP BISCUITS
1/3 cup melted butter, divided
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into the bottom of a cast-iron skillet.
Combine Bisquick, sour cream and 7 Up in a medium bowl until a sticky dough forms.
Dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough out. Add flour to your hands and the top of the dough. Roll out or press dough out with your hands to about a 1-inch thickness. Cut dough in circles using the floured rim of a coffee mug or cookie cutter and add to the cast-iron skillet.
Bake biscuits at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. If you want a more golden brown color, broil biscuits for a few seconds. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes.
While biscuits cool, brush remaining butter on top of biscuits and serve. Makes about 10 biscuits.
CHEESY SAUSAGE MUFFINS
1 pound ground pork sausage
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can condensed cheese soup
Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and cool.
Combine sausage, baking mix and shredded cheese in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Stir together soup and water; add to the well, incorporating it into the sausage mixture just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filing to the top of the cups.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
Whisk sugar, oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl. Stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.
Divide batter among a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, filling each about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugars, eggs, vanilla and butter. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the dough until smooth and well-mixed, about 1 minute. Fold in chocolate chips.
Using a tablespoon, drop cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned.
KEY LIME TARTLETS
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Place graham cracker sheets in a plastic bag and seal. Use a rolling to finely crush the crackers into crumbs.
Place crumbs in a small bowl with melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix thoroughly. Evenly distribute crumb mix among a 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper liners (about 2 tablespoons each). Press to make a firm crust; set aside.
Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to a medium bowl. Discard the whites. Zest 2 of the limes. Measure 1 tablespoon zest and add it to the yolks.
Cut the 4 limes in half and juice them. Measure 1/2 cup lime juice and add to egg yolk mixture. Add condensed milk and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to mixture and whisk to combine.
Divide the lime filling among the muffin cups (about 3 tablespoons each). Bake the tartlets at 350 degrees until set, about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours. Serve topped with whipped cream.