'True Blood' Cookbook Serves Up Bloody Good Bites

Celebrate the HBO vampire show's season finale with hoecakes and chicken-fried steak

Photo: Alex Farnum

True Blood fans worried about going through withdrawal after the season finale Sunday can cope with their vampire blues in the kitchen: A new cookbook, True Blood: Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps, featuring food inspired by the fantastical HBO show, is out Aug. 29 – and People.com has an early look at some of the recipes.

Marcelle Bienvenu, a culinary school teacher and cookbook author in Louisiana, developed the Southern-style recipes for the book with help from the producers of the vampire saga.

“I like the references they make to food on the show and I’m happy that the referenced food is authentic,” says Bienvenu. “Developing and testing the recipes was a great adventure.”

The cookbook has cocktails inspired by the show’s vampire bar Fangtasia, Southern staples served at Merlotte’s and home cooking favorites like Lettie Mae Daniel’s Hoecakes and Jessica Hamby’s Chicken-Fried Love with Gravy.

“Chicken-fried steaks and hoecakes are popular Southern dishes – delicious pancakes served with pure cane syrup and tender pieces of beef, battered and fried. What can be better than that?” says Bienvenu.

Perhaps enjoying the food while watching what happens to Sookie (Anna Paquin), Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and the rest of the Bon Temps?

Check out the recipes below that have been adapted from True Blood: Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps

Lettie Mae Daniels’s Holy Hoecakes
Makes: 8 hoecakes, 2 to 4 servings
4 slices bacon
1 cup white cornmeal
½ tsp. salt 1¼ cups boiling water Cane or maple syrup

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels; reserve for another use. Heat 2 tbsp. bacon drippings over medium-high heat until very hot; reserve remaining drippings.

2. Whisk cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in boiling water until mixture is smooth; set aside.

3. Spoon 2 tbsp. cornmeal mixture into skillet; gently flatten mixture with back of a spoon into a 4-inch circle. Repeat process with additional batter, cooking hoecakes in batches 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer cakes to a platter; cover and keep warm. Add reserved drippings to skillet as needed to cook remaining cakes. Serve with cane or maple syrup.

Jessica Hamby’s Chicken-Fried Love with Gravy
Makes: 4 servings
2 cups, plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Ground red pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups vegetable oil
4 (6-oz.) cubed steaks
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 ½ cups milk

1. Whisk 1½ cups flour, 1½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. black pepper and ¼ tsp. red pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk eggs and buttermilk in a second shallow bowl. Coat each steak with the egg, then the seasoned flour mixture.

2. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat to 350 . Fry steaks in batches in hot oil 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden; transfer to paper towels, cover and keep warm.

3. Combine melted butter with ½ cup, plus 1 tbsp. flour in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat whisking constantly 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is smooth and light brown. Gradually add milk to skillet; whisk mixture over medium-low heat 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and thickened. Season to taste with salt and peppers. Serve immediately over chicken-fried steaks.

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