"Anytime anybody is having a baby or getting married, they want me to host their shower because I prepare such delicious spreads," Crystal says, giving credit to her Pink Plaid cookbook, a gift from her sister. This London, Kentucky-based family photographer turns to cooking and baking as a form of self-expression. She's always looking to try new recipes or perfect old ones -- like the quintessential Southern biscuits her grandmother baked. "Cooking," Crystal says, "is how I show people how much I love and care for them."
Pumpkin-Pecan Bread: Autumnal in character -- but delicious year around -- this loaf of deep ochre deliciousness is even more wonderful when served with a schmear of rich cream cheese. Try it toasted, too.
Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken: Don't fret over the amount of salt in this brine -- it makes the chicken utterly divine. Be sure that when brining, you use a non-metal dish. Zipping plastic bags work wonderfully for brining as well.
Icy Cranberry Margaritas: Sure, these fantastic, frost sippers are a must for the holidays, but red is a good color in any season. Once you try these tangy cocktails, you'll find yourself whipping them up all through the year.
Cherry Cobbler: The only thing that could make this old-time, homey dish of comfort any better is a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Do serve the cobbler still warm and cozy from the oven -- everybody will love you for it.
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce: Thrifty cooks have transformed leftover bread into delightful puddings for centuries -- and won rave reviews for doing so. Cube and freeze less-than-fresh slices of bread until you have enough to make a batch. With this sensationally-rich sauce, you'll have a luxurious dessert for next to nothing.
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