When the weather starts to get steamy I reach back to my southern roots for recipe inspiration. OK, so I was born and raised in Florida and most people don’t consider that southern, but it was Tallahassee which is basically southern Georgia.
In their cookbook,Simple Fresh Southern Knockout Dishes with Down-Home flavor, the Lee brothers show us how to make traditional southern food that is actually healthy for you.
They start their cookbook out with a nice introduction and beautiful pictures that get your mouth watering and then lead right into cocktails and coolers. Beautiful, colorful fruit inspired drinks with and without alcohol. I’m sitting here at my counter and right next to me is a watermelon and I think it just found its purpose, watermelon margaritas! They add a southern flair to traditional drinks like celery juleps and spiced rum-n-cokes.
Once you have your drink in hand you begin to dive into the food. Southern food, especially Charleston, South Carolina where the Lee Bros. hail from is big on seafood and shell fish. Their starters are full of mouth watering dishes made with crab, shrimp and clams. Then they ease you into soups and delicious, fresh salads.
One of my childhood favorites has always been ambrosia, not the healthiest of dishes when made with marshmallows, canned fruit and mayo. The Lee brothers have an Easy Ambrosia comprised of all fresh ingredients and NO mayo.
I’m rushing now to get to the main dishes because when going through the book I stumbled upon a brilliant idea. Caesar salad with catfish “croutons”! I love Caesar salad but I’m not a fan of croutons made with hard bread that tears up the roof of my mouth. These little bites of fish, breaded and pan fried are amazing. You could do this with any white fish cut into chunks. I absolutely love it.
The cookbook is rounded out with a chapter on desserts (I’m suspicious of any cookbook that isn’t). With the peaches coming into the market I’m looking forward to trying the cornmeal drop-biscuit peach cobbler (biscuits and peaches, you can’t go wrong) and the banana pudding parfaits.
I’m off to heat up leftovers for lunch, somehow I don’t think it is going cover what my taste buds are craving right now.