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There’s no telling how many times the question has been asked throughout the South, Could I get a copy of that recipe? Think of your favorite recipes. You know, the ones that you always take to gatherings and the ones that your family asks you to make again and again. Chances are good that they either were passed along from a friend or family member or came from a community cookbook.

The food section of Southern Living actually began as the ultimate community cookbook. In March of 1966 Southern Living published a small box in the magazine requesting reader recipes and since that time hundreds, sometimes thousands of them arrive in the office mailboxes and inboxes each month creating a grand recipe swap. Author Sheri Castle spent months going through every single one of these recipes––more than 45,000 in all––to put together the Southern Living Community Cookbook. This collection of must-have favorites brings the best hometown cooks, recipes, and stories together to create a book with good things to eat and timeless tales to tell.

So if you’re searching for an easy-to-make recipe to take to your next holiday party––try one of the most popular dishes from the book, Ashley’s Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves. You can substitute pepper jelly mixed with 1 ½ tsp. of chopped fresh mint for the strawberry preserves for a different flavor. Just be sure to take a few copies of the recipe with you––you’re sure to be asked for it.

 

Ashley’s Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves Makes 8 to 10 servings

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
  • ½ cup strawberry preserves

1. Stir together mayonnaise, hot sauce, and garlic. Stir in cheeses and pecans

2. Spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 4-cup ring mold with a 2 1/2-inch center. Tap mold gently on counter to remove air bubbles. Cover and chill 2 hours until firm.

3. Unmold cheese ring onto a serving platter. Discard plastic wrap. Fill center of ring with preserves. Serve with crackers.

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