In the Kitchen with Brys Stephens
This past summer as we were winding down the last days of summer, we visited our favorite family destination WaterColor, Florida. While there, we stopped for lunch at a new and fun (read family friendly) gathering spot along scenic 30-A called The Hub. After eating, a stop in the general store/bait and tackle shop yielded not only a cute and comfy souvenir t-shirt but a wonderful cookbook titled The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited. Yes, I did judge a book by the cover but I am so glad I did, as it since become a favorite addition to my recipe book collection.
Written by cookbook author, freelance writer, restaurateur, and consultant Brys Stephens, this cookbook is a treasure-filled collection of recipes with chapter after delicious chapter devoted to Southern staples such as sweet pecans, potatoes, okra, peaches, peas and greens. That being said, these are not your mother or grandmother’s quintessential, generational Southern recipes. Though the Alabama born-and-bred author based much of the book around his “growing up” years and influences in Birmingham, AL, he also infuses his years of extensive travel and food experiences from around the globe. The recipes marry these varied influences and ingredients in perfect harmony in recipes such as Purple Hull Pea Tabouleh, Indian-Spiced Okra with Chickpeas and Peanut Chicken and Vegetable Stew.
Do yourself a favor and get a copy. In the meantime, get to know Brys a little better…
First food memory:
Lunch at La Colombe d’Or in St. Paul de Vence, in the south of France. I was 12, the meal was a steak, green beans, and mashed potatoes, and I was completely in awe of how delicious it tasted, even though I had had the same dish many times before. What a difference great quality ingredients, and the hands of a great cook, can make.
Five ingredients always in your fridge:
Fresh herbs, fresh vegetables like broccoli, soy sauce, miso paste, Dijon mustard
Five ingredients always in your pantry:
Canned beans, quinoa, kombu, curry powder, red chile flakes
What are some of your go-to items you like to serve at a cocktail party?
My go to hors d’oeuvres are cheese, good thin neutral crackers, really good olives, charcuterie, and dried fruits.
What would you want for your last meal?
I’d probably like to have a spread of fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood cooked many ways, like shrimp, oysters, crab, and scallops.
Dream guest list of three people for a dinner party and why?
My wife Zoë and two step-daughters Daisy and Isabella, because we always have fun culinary adventures together.
Arabesque by Claudia Roden
Microplane graters of all shapes and sizes
Right now it’s Local Natives, but I love Jason Isbell’s last two albums especially
Culinary destination and why?
As I write this I’m in San Miguel de Allende, which is full of great discoveries. I hope to visit many, many more places with diverse culinary traditions in my lifetime
Leave a Comment