Cookbook Clarifications and FAQs

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Dear Readers,

Now that my cookbook is out, I have had some frequently asked clarifications and questions come up in regards to a few of the recipes. I decided to create this very blog post so that all of my answers can be organized in one place for efficiency.

Since the book’s release, a few errors have been brought to my attention. These will be updated for the 2nd edition printing. That said, I wanted to inform all of you that even though every recipe was tested, some of the updates and feedback slipped through the cracks, which I address below. I sincerely apologize for this!

I truly hope that this page helps all of you and allows for your cooking experience to be informed and fun. If you have any other questions or concerns, please submit them to me here and I will add them to this page. Feel free to leave a comment below, as well!

Thank you!

Timothy Pakron

clarifications & Corrections

Scalloped Root Casserole (page 221)

The roots should be sliced 1/16th of an inch, not 1/4th of an inch. I’ve had people tell me it still works at 1/4th of an inch but it takes longer to cook.

Gumbo z’Fungi (page 151)

For this gumbo, I call for a homemade mushroom stock. The printed recipe calls for 12 ounces of dried shiitake mushrooms when it should be 2 ounces. Yikes! That would be an insane amount of mushrooms. I also forgot to mention when to incorporate the chopped mushrooms into the recipe. They should be added in step 7 when you add the broth and bay leaves.

Sweet Onion Soup (page 130)

Again, the mushroom stock should be made with 2 ounces of dried mushrooms, not 12.

My Father’s Hash Browns (page 51)

In the headnote I mention using shallots but they are not listed in the ingredients. They are optional and if you’d like to use them, add ‘1 small shallot, chopped’ to the onion mixture and cook accordingly.

Creole Spice Blend (page 250)

I’ve had some readers ask how much of the ‘Creole Spice Blend’ to use in the gumbo recipes. You use the whole batch on page 250 for each gumbo recipe.

Mama’s Pralines (page 243)

In the headnote, I mention using vegan butter while recreating the traditional recipe. After testing it, my Mama and I decided that because vegan butter has water, this made the pralines too liquidity. Because the coconut cream is so rich, we decided that the recipe didn’t even need the butter! Therefore, the recipe is correct as is with no vegan butter.


How many recipes are gluten-free (out of 125 recipes)?

Totally Gluten Free: 82

Gluten-Free Friendly : 20
By subbing gluten free bread for the sandwiches or croutons, crust for desserts, sorghum flour for gumbo roux.

I can’t find any okra for the gumbo recipe? Can I still make it? What could I replace it with?

Yes, you can make the gumbo without okra. If you cannot find fresh okra, try looking in the freezer section of any grocery store. Frozen okra isn’t the best to use, but it will work in a pinch. You might be surprised to find it! If you still can’t find any or you simply don’t like okra, try subbing chopped zucchini and squash with a few handfuls of spinach. The soft spinach will help thicken the stew while the zucchini and squash will bulk it up. It should still be absolutely delicious!

I made the ‘Skillet Cornbread’ on page 63 and it was delicious but crumbly. Is this how it’s supposed to be?

Yes! Since there already is a more fluffy cornbread containing wheat flour in the book, I wanted to have a more dense and solely cornmeal based cornbread for a more classic and gluten free option. This inevitably makes for a more crumbly cornbread. Do remember not to over mix the batter, as this will make it even more crumbly. I also recommend serving hot and straight out of the skillet.

Your gumbo is amazing but it makes a lot! Can I halve the recipe?

Yes, I know it does! LOL. And honestly, it’s just the way my Mom taught me how to make it. Of course you can halve the recipe, but I think if you are going to go to all the effort to make this recipe you should just make the full batch. It keeps well in the fridge for leftovers and it freezes beautifully. It’s also a lovely gift to give to someone!

Can I use the ‘Hummingbird Cake’ batter on page 239 to make cupcakes?

Yes! The batter works perfectly for a 12 well cupcake pan. You can also use the batter to make round cake layers (I’ve seen this done on Instagram) and also mini-cupcakes (I personally love doing this)!

For the ‘Salisbury Steak’ recipe on page 190, there are no mushrooms listed under the ‘Mushroom Onion Gravy’- are they missing?

No sweetheart, they are used earlier in the recipe when the steaks are cooking. You make the gravy with them after the steaks are removed from the skillet and they are browned and delicious along with the onions. Look on page 192 and you’ll see 1/2 pound of sliced cremini mushrooms listed.

Should I cover the slow cooked red beans on page 169 when they are cooking?

I actually don’t cover my red beans. That way, the brothy liquid evaporates and cooks down. More water is added if needed to achieve a thick gravy texture.

For the sweet potato casserole (page 214), the marshmallows ballooned up without browning. Any tips for making the marshmallows brown for the sweet potato casserole?

Make sure to only cover the sweet potato mash with the marshmallows and not to stuff too many in the dish. This will make them overflow while baking! If they are ballooning too much without browning, simply remove from the oven and let them deflate a bit. Crank up the heat to 400 degrees F and pop back in for a few minutes to brown. Although risky, you could pop the casserole under the broiler but please watch very carefully!

My biscuits/cornbread didn’t rise and become fluffy! What went wrong?

I’ve had this happen to two readers now. Upon further investigation, each reader came to realize that their baking powder was expired! To avoid this, I recommend buying baking powder in small amounts so that it is replaced often. If you’d like to test your baking powder, simply add a teaspoon to a cup and pour over 1/3rd a cup of hot water. If it bubbles, you are good. If nothing happens, it’s old!

When you make biscuits, do you use soft wheat flour? Or do you get same results with other kinds of all purpose flour?

I’ve used both a standard AP flour and also a soft wheat flour for my biscuits and I would say that the results are great for either. But I would say that when using White Lily Flour, which is a soft winter wheat, the biscuits are a bit fluffier and softer. That’s my preferred flour for biscuits, cakes, and cookies. For bread recipes like bagels or focaccia, I prefer to use King Arthur’s bread flour.

You call for red wine in your gumbo recipes, what kind do you recommend?

I like to use a bold and dark red wine, like a Malbec, but you could also use Merlot or a Cabernet.

How long will the shiitake bacon last in the fridge?

Honestly, because most of the moisture is cooked out of the mushrooms and there is so much salt, it should last for a good while- I’d say a week max (probably longer but just to be safe). One other trick is lay it back out on a sheet pan and pop into a preheated oven (350 degrees F) to crispy it back up! Not too long though, only a few minutes. My question for you is how do you have any left over? Mine doesn’t last more than a few hours!