Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cookbook Contests

The Tony Chachere's Tailgating Recipe Contest (read about that here) started out as a fun way to promote Square Table cookbook for the Arts Council, (where I work if you haven't picked up on that by now), but now I've realized that it's the best kind of free publicity. Square Table ended up have five different spots on the CSS sports channel (that's not including commercials), was on their home page for 5 months, and was posted on all kinds of different web forums! Square Table would absolutely blow up your Google feed on this subject. 

Back to my point, working for a non-profit organization does not leave me with a lot of budget to promote a cookbook. It challenges me to write stories for our local newspaper or come up with give-aways or contests as a chance to promote the cookbook. 

This is where I need your help. 

I'd like to enter a recipe from Square Table in the "Taste of Home" recipe contest. Winners and runners-up get their recipes mentioned IN THE MAGAZINE. How fabulous is that? 

I want you to suggest a recipe to me out of Square Table that you feel is the best. It can be any recipe, dessert, appetizer, main course... you name it. I want you to tell me why it's the best in a sentence or two. Include a picture too, if you have one!

Post your comments below or email me

Why you should help me:
Every Square Table cookbook profit goes towards supporting the arts in Oxford. That means free art classes, dance workshops, the Oxford Art Crawl, sponsorships into local festivals (ex: Film Festival, Music Festival, Double Decker Arts Fest), you name it-- if it's art related, we most likely support it.

If you don't own a copy of Square Table, then you can order one from

And while I've got your attention... tell me which Square Table dessert you think is the best:
Bourbon Chocolate Cake?
Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie?
Mocha Velvet Torte?
Hoka Cheesecake?

Your feedback is important to me! Let me know! Thanks!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Treat Yourself on V-Day

Hello, lovebirds and single awareness day appreciators. This day of love comes once a year. Some of you will get dolled up and have dinner with your sweetie, some may wallow in your loneliness at home watching Sleepless in Seattle, and the others are either bashing the couples that are in love, or they just don’t care. Either way you see it, I hope you’ll let the people around you enjoy their day together.

Personally, I don’t need a day of love to be thankful for the people I have in my life; love is all the time. That’s why it’s all about the chocolate, babe, or some equally luscious dessert. The rich, smooth, and intense chocolate dessert of my choice comes from Square Table Cookbook. Mocha velvet torte is my ultimate delight. Time stands still when you take your first bite. There’s nothing better than tantalizing your taste buds with a concoction of chocolate, coffee, and Kahlua. Since you’re using Kahlua anyway, you might as well make yourself a white Russian cocktail to wash it down with.

So, if chocolate is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Mocha velvet torte amazing-ness, in my mouth, is the only way I want to remember Valentine’s Day. Cheers.

Mocha Velvet Torte

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup coffee
½ cup Kahlua
1 and ½ cups sugar
2 and ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 and ½ cups unsalted butter, melted
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache, in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat, bring cream just to a simmer. Turn off heat and add chopped chocolate. When chocolate has melted, whisk to blend. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

For torte, preheat oven to 225 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan and line bottom with greased waxed paper. In a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, bring coffee and Kahlua to a simmer. Add sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Set aside. Position metal blade in food processor bowl and add chocolate chips. Process until chocolate is finely chopped. Pour hot coffee mixture through food chute with processor running. Pour melted butter through food chute with processor running. Add eggs through food chute one at a time, pulsing after each until blended. Add vanilla and pulse to blend. Open food processor, scrape down sides and stir mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake until slightly firm, about 2 ½ hours. Cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife along pan edges, release spring form pan sides, and invert onto an 8-inch cardboard circle.

On a rack over a shallow pan, pour ganache over torte, covering top and sides. Chill 8 hours before serving.

16 servings

My Valentine this year, Mo. He looks pretty awesome in a red bow tie. 

If you like this recipe, tweet to YACoxfordarts and one lucky tweeter will be chosen for a prize from the Arts Council! Maybe even win your very own copy of Square Table Cookbook! 

*Permission to use the Mocha Velvet Torte recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council; Square Table Cookbook is a community cookbook and a fundraiser for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and can be ordered on their website

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Can YOU Help YAC?

All of the responses on facebook have really overwhelmed me with extreme gratitude, appreciation, and with honor. I am so thankful for my position at the Arts Council, and that I get to live in this community. Furthermore, it has come to my attention that we all want to help YAC, and you may be asking yourself- How can I help?

How You Can Help YAC:

1) Become a member of the Arts Council. Supporting the arts in Lafayette County ensures you have access to the arts visual art exhibits, community events, workshops for children, and live productions. Your donation provides the Arts Council with the ability to support new arts projects. Through the Powerhouse Community Arts Center and your donations, the Arts Council fosters new art groups like: Art to Go, a service that provides art classes for both the young and adult; Hinge a new modern dance company whose first production sold out; Oxford Fiber Arts Festival, Mississippi's first and only fiber art festival, which drew over 500 visitors; and of course many, many more.

Andi Bedsworth with Art to Go working with kids in the "We Create" class

If you aren't a member of the Arts Council, but are a frequent visitor to arts events in the Oxford/Lafayette County community, I encourage you to become one today. Your membership and involvement with the arts is what makes our city thrive. Become a Member of the Arts Council

2) Make a donation to YAC's Endowment Fund. The endowment fund was created to ensure the Arts Council will always have sustainable funding and will be able to maintain the support of the arts in Oxford and Lafayette County.

To make a donation to YAC's Endowment Fund:
*Please specify that your donation is for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council 
Please make checks payable to:
Create Foundation
P.O. Box 1053
Tupelo, MS 38802

3) Attend Arts Events. Attendance is one of the best ways you can show your support. The Oxford Art Crawl is a free event on the 4th Tuesday of every month. It provides transportation to each location and it's always from 7-9 p.m. Art shows are always free admission and the Powerhouse is open Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you'd like to take a look around our gallery. Please do not limit yourself to just the Powerhouse: Southside Gallery, University Museum, and Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley are other wonderful facilities that deserve your support as well.

YAC's Holiday Ornament Auction is free to members of the arts council. Last year's ornament auction we had over 30 artists donate ornaments to support the Arts Council, and Jere Allen donated one of his works that we were able to raffle off! This year's Ornament Auction is Thursday, December 8, 2011- make plans to attend now!

FREE Movies and Concerts event at Avent Park - Summer 2011

4) Sign up for YAC's E-newsletter. This newsletter is more than a list of events being put on by the Arts Council, or events that are at the Powerhouse; we keep up with all arts events in the Lafayette County area. That means: art openings and receptions, art classes, dance classes, performances at the Ford Center, Theatre Oxford performances, community events, choral performances, Oxford Film Festival, and etc., etc. To get an idea of who else YAC supports-- click here.

To sign up for the Art Council's E-newsletter email me, Beth, at

Healthy Halloween, October 31, 2010

5) Get involved. Become a volunteer for the Arts Council. By helping YAC with one of our events- whether it's taking tickets at the door, setting up for an event, or helping with the Double Decker Arts Festival- it ALL makes a difference! And there are other wonderful arts organizations that you can get involved with too: Theatre Oxford, Oxford Artist's Guild, and Vox press... to name a few.

To become a volunteer for YAC, email:

Dave Woolworth at Vox's event "Noise"

6) Talk. If there's something you think the Arts Council is doing that you love- tell someone about it. Tell a friend, a neighbor, and encourage your community members to be involved. I would argue that one of the best ways to make friends in this town is by attending any social art event.

Thanks again for all the continuous support you've given the arts council. My final thought was inspired by Gandhi's quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Remember that if you want something to change, you are the only person that can make it happen. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Let Tony Chachere Put Some Hotty in your Tailgate Experience

     When you think of fall- what sounds come to mind? I imagine myself walking down a sidewalk and enjoying the crinkling and crunching sounds of leaves beneath my feet. Footsteps are more audible now from further distance with boots and heels coming back into our wardrobe for the chillier days. The cheers and uproar of laughter echo all over on a college football game day. All of this happens for me in The Grove at Ole Miss; which has been voted the top tailgate location in all of college football. 

Game Day at Ole Miss

      Nothing makes a day of tailgating better than a good recipe to share with friends. This year I turn to my favorite cookbook, Square Table, as it’s part of the Tony Chachere Tailgate Recipe Challenge. With all the hype in tailgating, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate Tony Chachere seasoning into recipes. Specifically recipes that are easy to duplicate, but still are delicious and appreciated for more than just something you can only eat at breakfast while tailgating. I found my ideal recipe called “Bacon Tomato Cups” in Square Table Cookbook.
     “Bacon Tomato Cups” is an easy, adaptable recipe that I recommend keeping on hand for any tailgate or party occasion. Proportions stay the same, but this recipe allows room for interpretation. I highly suggest adding some Tony Chachere to give it that extra little kick of “woo” for those early morning grove experiences.  This recipe along with many other tempting southern dishes is in Square Table.  The cookbook is featured as part of the Tony Chachere’s Tailgate Challenge which invites football fans to vote for their favorite tailgate recipe. After you receive the compliments for making “Bacon Tomato Cups” at your tailgate party, I hope you will make sure Ole Miss keeps their tailgating legacy by voting for the Square Table recipe in the contest. Please vote for Ole Miss and Square Table’s recipe at

Square Table Cookbook give-aways are here and here. Check it out. Not to mention, love these blogs.

Bacon Tomato Cups

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
½ small onion, chopped
1 10-ounce can refrigerated flaky, layered biscuits

Optional add-in: ½ teaspoon Tony Chachere

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, basil, bacon onion, and ½ teaspoon Tony Chachere’s seasoning. Separate each biscuit into 3 layers. Press each layer into a lightly greased miniature muffin tin and fill with tomato mixture. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Makes 24 servings

*Permission to use the Bacon Tomato Cups recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Square Table Cookbook is a community cookbook and a fundraiser for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and can be ordered on their website 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Square Table Recipe is a Finalist in Tailgate Cook-off Competition

College football is competitive both on and off the field.  Nowhere is this truer than in the SEC. Every ounce of energy expended by football players on the field is matched off the field by fans with tailgate parties that are legendary.  Tony Chachere is looking for the best tailgating recipe from the SEC schools. Representing the University of Mississippi is a recipe from Oxford’s most recognized restaurant found in Oxford’s most popular cookbook; Square Table: A Collection of Recipes from Oxford, MS.

Square Table Cookbook has recently been recognized for one of their recipes becoming a top 12 finalist in the 2011 Tony Chachere’s Tailgating Cook-off Competition. So I heard about the competition from my boss and just thought, why not send in a recipe? 

I wanted to submit a recipe that represented the restaurants in town, but also highlight how serious tailgating is during Ole Miss Football season. The recipe is found in the Square Table cookbook, a collection that highlights both traditional tailgating fare and recipes from the restaurants in Oxford. 

Ole Miss Groving at its finest

The Catfish and Tasso Savory Cheesecake from City Grocery’s appetizer menu has the honor of being one of the best recipes in the SEC. The contest, put on by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and sponsored by Tony’s Chachere seasoning, commenced April 1, 2011 and recipe submissions ended June 15.

The twelve finalist recipes will be displayed at from 5 pm CST on August 19 through Friday, November 11. During the final judging period, the general public will have the opportunity to view and vote on their favorite finalist. At the conclusion of the Final Judging Period, the top three finalists with the highest number of votes will be declared the “Cook-off Champions”. The Grand Prize Winner and Cook-off Champion with the most votes will be announced November 18. The three Cook-off Champion recipes will be featured in SportsNite this November or December (the “Cook-off Feature”).

So if you get a second, take a moment to vote for the recipe that serves Oxford best; vote because it goes to supporting City Grocery & the Arts Council. VOTING STARTS AUGUST 19th! (Don't worry I'll remind you.) 

Check out their website-- this is also where you'll be able to vote:

If you would like to get a copy of this recipe and the other great recipes found in Square Table you can order the book through the Ole Miss Alumni office or directly from the Arts Council online at

My best friend, Christine & I supporting our Rebels during a football game

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oxford Burger Blog

Did I mention that my friends and I started a burger blog? Not just any burger blog, an Oxford Burger Blog. This is our summer project-- to try every burger in Oxford, specifically sit down restaurants that do not have drive-thrus.

"To begin, we needed to come up with standard judging criteria. In an effort to be consistent, we have created score sheets to take to each restaurant to judge their fare. Burgers will be judged in five categories: style, taste, content, satisfaction, and price. Each category is worth five points, adding up to 25 points for overall score." --quoted from Oxford Burger Blog

Meet the Judges!

Jill Jill- when she's not being America's every day badass she likes to listen to Chris Carrabba and bite into a good slab of meat

Gregster- When he's not wooing ladies with his french accent and quoting lines from Camelot he likes to enjoy a burger with a Heineken

And then there's me, Beth. When I'm not being attacked by parrots with obscure names I often like to promote red meat as nature's candy

To join us on our adventure, visit:

Jingles in June, definitely OK

Oxford Rhythm Revival is Back- Saturday, June 18th!

     When you think of June in Mississippi what comes to mind? Summer, friends, and music; and that’s why we’re eager to welcome back the Oxford Rhythm Revival music festival. A perfect evening to spend with friends hearing live music scheduled on four different stages on the
Oxford Square,
and a $20 all-venue pass gets you into all the shows.
      Last year’s surprise attraction at the Rhythm Revival was the Jingle Contest. Because it was so popular this contest has now become an annual feature to the festival. The Jingle Contest is a competition for songwriters to write the best jingle about one of the sponsors of the Oxford Rhythm Revival. Last year’s submissions ranged from original compositions to humorous parodies. Eric Carlton, Jamie Posey, Gin-Gin Carlton, and Rosamond Posey won the inaugural contest last year with their Rossini inspired jingles for Square Books. Anyone can sponsor the Oxford Rhythm Revival, but you must sponsor to be eligible for a jingle.
      Songwriters will perform their jingles Saturday, June 18 at 7:00 pm at Soulshine Pizza.  First prize artist of the Jingle Contest will receive a $300 cash prize and a chance to perform for Music in the Hall this fall. The judges for the competition will be Jim Dees and Mary Lou Williams. If you can not perform your jingle live on Saturday, you can submit a recorded version.
     To become a participant in the jingle contest or to become a sponsor of the Oxford Rhythm Revival email Ferriday at Businesses must be a sponsor to have a jingle written about them with a $100 minimum sponsorship. If you have any questions regarding the jingle contest please contact Daniel Morrow at

For more information on the Oxford Rhythm Revival visit: