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The Lee Bros Simple Fresh Southern

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Saturday, 17 April 2010
List of viewable recipes from "Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern" by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern by Matt Lee and Ted Lee (Clarkson Potter, 2009) is a 2010 James Beard book awards finalist in the American Cooking category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie James Beard Finalists' Guide.

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern! - details

ImageTruth be told, on the surface, Southern food seems like a bother. I imagine long cooking times, lots of butter and cream, and bacon in most everything. Well think again. The Lee Brothers have presented a new face of the South and it's fresh, fast and easy but still retains the flavors you'd expect.

Many of the recipes in The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, have about five ingredients or less. There are cocktails and beverages like the amazing Ginger Lemonade, which combines fresh lemons, fresh ginger, honey and a pinch of salt to make a most refreshing drink that can be mixed with bourbon or tequila, if you desire. The brightness and clean flavor in the lemonade is something you'll find in seafood and soups and salad recipes.

There are some rich dishes too, such as the Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin, but I have found myself drawn to the simplest preparations such as the Radish Butter, a smart twist on the French tradition of eating radishes with salt and butter. While I think of the South as the land of bacon and lard, there are a ton of vegetarian dishes in the book. The salads and sides with dishes like Cherry Tomato and Soybean Salad, Carrot and Turnip Salad with Dill and Field Pea Salad with Gingered Beets and Lemon make me long for Summer picnic weather.

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern! - details

Radish Butter

From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor by Matt and Ted Lee. Copyright © 2009 Clarkson Potter.

Serves 6 

Time: 10 minutes

This simple veggie spread will knock you out first with its speckled-magenta beauty. Then you'll be impressed by how it synthesizes the old-school delight of peppery, cool radishes from the garden, dabbed with a dot of good butter and a pinch of salt. Spread it on rye toast points, unsalted crackers, celery sticks, endive leaves, or crunchy romaine hearts.

We got the idea for radish butter from our Nashville friend Mindy Merrell, the co-author, with her guy, R. B. Quinn, of Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather. For folks who call themselves "cheater chefs," they sure don't skimp on anything, and they come up with ideas that are simple and original and damned delicious. We think you'll agree "clever chefs" is more like it.

1/2 pound round red radishes, trimmed, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, completely softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
About 24 thinly sliced rye toast points, toasted slices of French bread, water crackers, 2-inch celery sticks, endive leaves, or romaine heart halves

Put the radishes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the radish is chopped into very fine dice, four or five 3-second pulses. Transfer the contents to a length of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper towels and wring out the excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of the butter. With a rubber spatula, cream the radish and butter together, adding more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable mass. Transfer the mixture to a 2-cup ramekin or bowl, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately. (The butter will keep, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to let it soften. Sprinkle the salt and freshly ground pepper over the radish butter before serving).

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

The registered Project Foodie user that leaves the most memorable or creative comment below will win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern.  Keep the comments clean and relevant - tell us what attracts you to Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern and/or what you feel makes this book award-worthy and we'll select one to be the winner of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern.

Please note that you must be registered to enter this giveaway and upon winning provide a US postal address for us to ship Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern to.  We'll announce the winner on May 2nd.

If you have not yet registered with Project Foodie, please take a moment to do so right now--it's absolutely free; and we promise never to share your email address with spammers or other unsavory types.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 April 2010 )
southerncooker (Registered) 2010-04-21 12:00:51

I'm true southern in every since of the word. I grew up on southern cooking and learned to cook from some of the best southern cooks ever.. my Mom, Dad, Grands and several Aunts and Uncles. Heck, even my husband and kids taught me a thing or too. But I bet I could learn a few more things from these southern brothers. I'd love to have a go at this cookbook to see if they can teach this old dog a new southern trick or two. I wish them well in winning a much deserved award for this southern cookbook.
iced_coffee (Registered) 2010-04-21 21:58:22

My family is from Louisiana and Alabama, so southern cooking is in my blood. I live on the west coast now, and it's hard to find good southern food! If I want it, I have to make it myself. If I could, I would eat friend chicken, macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie every day of my life. But since that's not a possibility, I love the idea of lightening up traditional southern dishes. I've spent years making version after version of my family's favorite soul food recipes in an attempt to make them healthier. It's practically a hobby at this point. This cookbook looks fantastic!
alagwc (Registered) 2010-04-22 12:42:09

Not Southern at all, unless you count southern China! I am a Chinese-American girl born and raised in the Bay Area with an unhealthy obsession with pimento cheese and deviled ham. Really, all things remotely related to ham. I have been hearing about the Lee Brother books for ages and I like that they are showing us that Southern cooking is not all things fried and heavy, and may even include vegetables!
sifuerst (Registered) 2010-04-22 18:10:27

I'm a Northerner who married a Southerner and need to measure up to Mom's Cooking. Save my marriage, teach me to cook Fresh Simple Southern!
Lovin' the radish butter!!
jettrash23 (Registered) 2010-04-22 22:42:57

This recipe is a new obsession at the moment. So simple and amazing, I slather mine on a toasted onion bagel. Yummers! I'd love to experiment more with this book.
Simple for Starter
tigerfish (Registered) 2010-04-23 02:48:52

I have not cooked a single Southern dish before. This must be a real starter for me cos the book starts the title with "Simple"
ktbug418 (Registered) 2010-04-23 06:54:51

I'm from Boston, which is about as Northern as you can get - if you saw our third grade history textbook you'd agree. But now I'm living in the middle of North Carolina. Now I know there's some serious debate as to whether or not North Carolina is actually the South, and I don't have an answer. But I do know that there's a barbecue shack around the corner, biscuits are ubiquitous, and the flavors here are different. I find the idea of fresh Southern flavors (and learning to create them!) totally exciting. RTP has some up-and-coming world-class restaurants that sound like they really embody the spirit of this cookbook - fresh local ingredients that create traditional flavors in new and unique ways. I would love to learn more about this and join in on the deliciousness!
And the winner is...
pam (Publisher) 2010-05-01 14:50:47

What wonderful passion for Southern food! In the end, sifuerst you grabbed our attention with your please to save your marriage - congratulations you've won a copy of The Lee Bros Simple Fresh Southern!
alikhan (Unregistered) 2015-11-23 23:38:48

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
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