GOLDEN – About three years ago, Pearson Davis joined a cooking club for kids called Raddish. Each month, she receives a box of culinary lessons, three to four new recipes to try, and the tools needed to make the recipes.
“I try to make as many recipes as I can, but some of them just don’t seem appetizing to me,” says Pearson, 12. “But I’ve started making recipes that I’ve never heard of.”
Pearson is the oldest of three children born to LeeAnn and Martin Davis. The family lives in the Fairview community in Itawamba County, near Golden. LeeAnn Davis is homeschooling her children and works two days a week in Tupelo for the Mississippi University for Women’s nursing program. Martin Davis is the director of the Itawamba Improvement Center.
“Raddish has been so helpful to her,” LeeAnn Davis said. “She looks forward to receiving it in the mail every month.”
If the theme of the month is juicing, Pearson gets a juice tool in her box; if it’s donuts, there can be a donut shape; for pasta, a ravioli pepper is included.
“I cook once a week, maybe twice a week,” Pearson said. “Sometimes it’s a radish meal, sometimes it’s taking frozen pasta out of the freezer and adding stuff to it.”
Pearson has been interested in cooking from an early age. First, she helped her mother add ingredients to dishes. She eventually graduated to cake mixes and boxed brownies.
“I like making things from scratch,” Pearson said. “When I make a cake, I still use box mix, but I do add one – 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 a big influence on 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 make onion soup,” Pearson said. “I was in a small room with the door closed, chopping all these onions and crying my eyes out. My mom came to check on me, saw me crying and said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘Nothing, Mom. I’m just trying to make onion soup.'”
In the fall of 2021, Pearson, who was completing her sixth grade, joined the youth group at her church, which had planned a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Pearson wanted to pay for herself, so she started making candles to raise money.
“If I sold 40, I’d have enough money to go,” she said. “Mom posted it on Facebook and we sold over 500 candles for Christmas.”
Her company, 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 make new ones.”
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, PO Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call (662) 678-1581 or email [email protected]
HERBS ROASTED CHICKEN
1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) whole chicken
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
Red potatoes, quartered (optional)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Put salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Remove viscera from the middle cavity. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the salt mixture into the chicken cavity. Sprinkle the rest over the breasts, legs, wings and thighs.
Crush and peel the garlic; insert whole cloves into the chicken, along with sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
Arrange onion, carrots and potatoes, if using, around the chicken. Drizzle the melted butter over the chicken and vegetables.
Roast chicken at 400 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes, until it reaches 165 degrees internally. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.
1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled
1 (25-ounce) bottle of sparkling peach juice, chilled
2 (750 ml) bottles of sparkling white grape juice, chilled
2 cups pear juice from 2 cans pears in natural pear juice (keep the pears)
Combine pineapple juice, peach juice, and grape juice into a large punch bowl or pitcher. Drain the cans of pears and add juice to the punch. Stir to combine.
Place the punch in the refrigerator to cool. When ready to serve, dice the reserved pears and halve the strawberries. Thread the sliced 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 stock, divided
Place the 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 of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sear the chicken in the skillet until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over. 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 stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Place remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 1 1/2 cups stock in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add couscous. Cover and let stand for 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 cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup chicken stock, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup diced mild green chiles
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 28 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Grease the muffin tin with baking spray.
Combine masa, baking soda, remaining 1/3 cup oil, and 2/3 cup stock in a large bowl until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough evenly between the muffin cups, placing about 1 heaped tablespoon of dough in each. Flatten the dough on the bottom and along the sides and press into a bowl shape. Put aside.
Cut cooked chicken into pieces and place in a bowl. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 cup stock, garlic powder, green chilies, cheese, and corn.
Divide chicken filling evenly among tamale cups, placing about a heaping 1/4 cup in each. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then carefully remove with a butter knife. Sprinkle coriander over the 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
Beat the egg in a large bowl until smooth. Add milk, breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, onion powder, and allspice and whisk to combine. Add ground beef and pork and mix the meat into the mixture well with your hands.
Shape the meat into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown. Add the beef stock and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream.
Add meatballs to the gravy. Serve pasta cooked over, if desired.
7 ON COOKIES
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 out the dough with your hands to about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles using the floured rim of a coffee mug or cookie cutter and add to the cast iron skillet.
Bake the cookies at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. If you want a more golden brown color, toast the cookies for a few seconds. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
While the cookies are cooling, spread the remaining butter on the cookies and serve. Makes about 10 cookies.
CHEESY SAUSAGE MUFFINS
1 pound ground pork sausage
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can of condensed cheese soup
Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain and let cool.
Combine sausage, baking mix, and shredded cheese in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Stir soup and water together; add to well and add to sausage mixture until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased muffin cups and file to the tops 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 semisweet chocolate chips
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
Beat sugar, oil, egg, milk and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl. Stir into the flour mixture until just moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.
Divide the batter between a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, each about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add sugars, eggs, vanilla and butter. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the dough until smooth and well blended, about 1 minute. Fold in chocolate chips.
Use a tablespoon to drop cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned.
IMPORTANT LIME TARTLETS
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Place the graham cracker leaves in a plastic bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to grind the crackers into crumbs.
Place the crumbs in a small bowl with melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix thoroughly. Divide crumb mixture evenly into a 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper liners (about 2 tablespoons each). Press to make a firm crust; put aside.
Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to a medium bowl. Throw the whites away. Grate 2 limes. Measure out 1 tablespoon of zest and add it to the yolks.
Cut the 4 limes in half and juice them. Measure 1/2 cup of lime juice and add to the egg yolk mixture. Add condensed milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to the mixture and whisk to combine.
Divide the lime filling between the muffin cups (about 3 tablespoons each). Bake the tarts at 350 degrees until set, about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream on top.