Virginia Willis’s legions of fans love her knack for giving classic French dishes a down-home Southern feel and reimagining homey Southern favorites en français.
In Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Willis builds on her signature style, offering 150 soul-satisfying recipes and accompanying each with a new preparation technique, fresh presentation style, or creative recipe variation that transforms an already wonderful dish into an all-out show stopper.
In her hands, a cozy Kale Omelet becomes sophisticated brunch fare when it’s baked in a sourdough boule; rich Gruyère Flans elevate a rustic red wine-infused Roasted Tomato Soup; and Spiced Skirt Steak with Shallot Marmalade is enhanced with just a few simple changes into a gorgeous roulade. Peach Dijon-Crusted Pork Tenderloin goes from elegant continental entrée to the pride of Dixie when it’s cradled between Chive Cornmeal Griddle Cakes, and a country dessert like Sweet Biscuits with Stewed Blackberries is kicked up a notch when served topped with Blackberry Fool.
Throughout Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Willis paints a vivid portrait of growing up in Louisiana and Georgia, sharing tales of close family and friends — and unforgettable food — along with vignettes from her years living in and visiting France, drawing you in with vibrant accounts of cooking and eating at the famous Burgundy restaurant La Varenne.
Whether you choose the Basic or the Brilliant approach, this bounty of Southern flavors dressed up with time-honored French techniques delivers meals that will keep you and your kin coming back for more.
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The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
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