This is Southern food like you’ve never imagined it, ingeniously mixing farm-to-table freshness with Southern traditions, along with homey Korean food. In Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, James Beard Award nominee, 610 Magnolia chef/owner, Top Chef contestant and Iron Chef America victor Edward Lee charmingly weaves stories of his life and his food with amazing, unique recipes. He draws inspiration from his Korean-American roots, growing up in Brooklyn and training in New York City, while fully embracing the food traditions of his adopted city, Louisville, Ky. (Bonus: Watch Cooking Channel’s web-only video of Chef Lee dishing on his culinary roots with G. Garvin)
Who knew Korean food and Kentucky cuisine had so much in common? Where Edward draws the closest connection, of course, is between Korean and Southern barbecue traditions — lots of smoky flavors that he channels into recipes like Grilled Kalbi and Pulled Pork Shoulder. And then there are the homemade pickles, from kimchi for every season to pickled peaches and jalapenos. Simple, inventive rice bowls and Southern staples round out this cookbook, and a chapter of Bourbon & Bar Snacks (Kimchi Poutine!) is tons of fun.
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Banana pudding sits high in the royal court of Southern desserts, and it doesn’t get much better than the classic recipe on the back of the Nilla wafer box. But sometimes it can’t hurt to experiment, and it’s not often difficult to find a line of folks ready and willing to try my latest spin. Two of my greatest hits are MoonPie Banana Pudding and Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie. Seriously, how bad can those be?
Not being able to leave well enough alone, I decided to give the recipe another go. This time I added brown sugar and bourbon to my vanilla pudding base, giving it a hint of butterscotch and a bit more grown-up appeal. And to further the recipe’s cocktail-lovin’ flare, I substituted in sweet and spicy gingersnaps for the usual plain wafers—my nod to the old Southern standby “Jack & Ginger.”
While most recipes for banana pudding call for a big trifle dish, I thought these would be best piled into my favorite cocktail glasses; the individual servings are perfect for your next adults-only dinner party, no I.D. required. Now the only thing left is to figure out how to get these down with a straw.
Continue Reading Bourbon Banana Puddings
Southerners can take just about any vegetable and improve upon it. We’ve been known to deep fry squash and call it a fritter, or toss sugar and eggs into sweet potatoes and call it a pudding. Take sweet summer corn for instance. We’ll cream it, can it or casserole it — you name it, we’ve made it.
It’s not because we don’t like our vegetables, either. There is truly nothing finer than fresh summer corn picked up from a weathered old farmer’s roadside stand, resting assured that it was plucked from his field mere hours before. Whether shaved raw into a salad or eaten straight from the cob, it just doesn’t get much better than that. But after a few weeks of this kind of bountiful eating — and many more months on the horizon — folks have to start mixing things up a bit. It only takes one too many tomato salads to get us doing what we do best. (Some people may say worst, but hey, what can you do?) After a long Southern harvest, heavy cream and butter start making that surplus of veggies in the garden look pretty darn enticing.
Continue Reading Individual Sweet Corn Custards
Texas Sheet Cake
There may be plenty of beauty queens in Texas, unfortunately this sheet cake isn’t one. But hey, it’s supposed to be about the inner beauty, right? Whether that’s the case or not, this classic recipe would still take home plenty of “Miss Congeniality” awards; it never fails to win over a crowd.
Texas sheet cake is an old Southern standby—some version of it is guaranteed to grace the table at almost any potluck, church picnic, or 4th of July celebration below the Mason Dixon. You can find a recipe for it in almost any community cookbook known to man. In the case of my old grade school’s tiny cookbook, I found three. (It often falls under many different names, but Texas sheet cake seems to be the most popular. I guess because it’s as big as Texas!)
This is my take on the cherished recipe I grew up with. The boy next door (who just so happened to be my childhood crush) loved it so much that my mother would often bake up an entire pan just for him. As I begrudgingly carried it over to his house, I always wondered what a girl needed to do to get one of her own.
As I’ve become a more experienced chef and baker, willing to attempt the most complicated of cakes, I still know with confidence this Texas sheet cake will withstand the test of time. Perhaps one day I, too, will have a daughter whose heart I can make go aflutter as she drops one off at a young heartthrob’s door. (And it’s funny now, how it all just started making sense.)
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Get ready to hit the road with host G. Garvin and watch him explore the best Southern eats Georgia has to offer, from smoking hot grilled ribs and creamy grits with shrimp to from-scratch blueberry pies.
Continue Reading Georgia Roadtrip With G. Garvin
During my hot childhood summers in Alabama, my dad would drive dusty county roads to get freshly picked produce from a farmer living out in the sticks. He sold his veggies straight out of the back of a beat up Chevy pickup, and he even wore dirty overalls and a wide-brimmed hat. His baskets were piled high with summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, okra, watermelons, peaches and plums. We’d ravage a giant bag of salty boiled peanuts on the ride home and then get straight to work on a batch of homemade peach ice cream. Not a bad way to spend those dog days.
But my crazy peach obsession didn’t actually reach its peak until I moved to sunny California. My former boss was the proud mom of an adopted peach tree outside of Fresno, and the last month of August turned into what one might call a peach free-for-all. My work duties for about a week or two entailed peeling, canning, pickling, baking and snacking on all of those delicious Elbertas. (Tough job, right?) During that time I mastered a fiery peach chutney recipe that still makes an annual appearance in my holiday gift baskets.
Now that I’m back in Georgia – a.k.a. the Peach State – I’m taking full advantage of this famous summer bounty. My current favorite way to enjoy peaches is sliced and served with a dollop of tangy goat cheese and salty prosciutto, piled high onto grilled sourdough and sprinkled with a rich, fruity olive oil. Oh my, my. But there’s only so many tasty ways to eat raw peaches before the pile on your counter starts to get a little too ripe. And then it’s time to make peach cobbler.
Continue Reading Georgia Peach ‘n’ Honey Cobbler
It was my mother who first introduced me to the wonders of old-fashioned bread pudding. I remember the night well. We were in a hip little college-town restaurant that served pub food with a Southern twist. At the time, my middle school diet consisted of chicken fingers and cheese sticks, and only chicken fingers and cheese sticks, so it’s a shock that I was even willing to try a bite. In fact, I was probably the only child ever forced to sample a dessert against my will. (Like I said, if it wasn’t deep-fried, I didn’t want it.)
She ordered the bread pudding before she even ordered her entree, telling the server she wanted it piping hot and swimming in extra sauce. The secret, she explained to me, is always in the sauce. I took one bite of that steamy, drippy dessert and my life was changed forever. Am I being a little dramatic here? Nope; it’s bread pudding we’re talking about.
I think we even ordered another.
Continue Reading Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding Recipe
Blue Cheese and Walnut Tea Sandwiches
“April showers bring May flowers.” At least that’s how the saying goes. Well down South, April brings more than just inclement weather. With it arrives a storm of baby showers, bridal parties and weddings. And because southerners have never needed an excuse to throw a party, you can guarantee plenty of invitations to arrive at your door.
I usually need a little culinary incentive to attend all of these soirées. The exchanges are quite often familiar ones — a little juicy gossip, the latest news and weather, maybe a game or two. Talk about thrilling! But there is always a pot-of-gold at the end of the “small-talk” rainbow, and that’s good food, and lots of it.
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Oh, the lowly country ham. The salty southern staple has faded in popularity over the past few years, but get ready people, because it’s making a comeback. With “local” and “artisanal” being all the rage, some of the South’s most respected ham curers have finally caught on to the trend.
Continue Reading Country Ham Antipasto