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Beyond grits and greens. A new trend is emerging in Southern cooking today, combining traditional ingredients with a lighter touch

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This is an incredibly wonderful dish, especially at the time of year when there are no decent vegetables to be found. Celery and Carrots with Ginger Sauce 8 celery stalks, stringed, diagonally sliced 8 large carrots, diagonally sliced 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger 6 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup small, fresh mint leaves

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Melt butter in heavy pan. Add celery and carrots. Cover and cook over low heat until crisp but tender. Mix sugar and ginger and add to pan.

Stir mixture slowly and gently until well glazed and slightly brown. If mint isn't small and beautiful, chop coarsely, otherwise leave whole. Dish up, stirring in mint.

``For years,'' writes Dupree, ``Kate Almand and I have been comparing recipes and I believe she was born with a biscuit bowl in her hands as other people are born with silver spoons in their mouths.

``Kate hand rolls her biscuits, but a biscuit cutter is easier than rolling by hand.'' Kate's Sweet Milk Biscuits 2 cups of self-rising flour 1/2 cup shortening 1 cup sweet milk 1/2 to 3/4 cup self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Cut flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add milk. Stir together with fingers or a fork until mixed. Dough should be soft and wet.

Spread about 1/2 cup flour on a tea towel. Turn dough in flour a few times to lightly coat outside. Place floured towel over dough. Pat or roll towel lightly until dough is flattened out 1/2-inch thick.

Open towel. Dough should be smooth, coated with flour on outside, moist inside.

Cut out biscuits with a floured glass or cutter, without twisting. Place close together, sides nearly touching, on a greased baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven 10 minutes until light golden brown. Chicken With Pecans 1 3-pound chicken, cut up 4 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons oil 11/2 cups chicken stock Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup heavy cream 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or other fresh herb (optional)

Dry chicken well. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil together in large, heavy frying pan or casserole until sizzling hot. Brown chicken, skin side first, then turn and brown other side. Add chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to boil. Turn down to simmer, cover, and cook over medium heat without boiling until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to platter. Skim fat off liquid in pan and boil until reduced by half. Stir in cream. Saut'e chopped nuts in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in another small pan. Add to sauce. Taste for seasoning, add parsley, and spoon over chicken. Serves 4. Pecan-Topped Chocolate Pound Cake 11/2 cups butter 21/2 cups sugar 6 eggs 3 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour 11/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup milk 12 ounces chocolate chips, melted 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F., grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Cut out a piece of wax paper to fit into bottom, and grease and flour paper.

Beat butter in a mixer and add sugar gradually until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well.

Sift flour with baking powder, add to first mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in melted chocolate, blend, and then add pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into cake to see if it comes out clean after 11/4 hours.

When cake is done, cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to a rack, peel off paper, and cool completely.

Drizzle with extra melted chocolate and sprinkle on extra pecans. Serves 14 to 16.