I recently bought a new cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavour by brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee.
I’ve been quite impressed by what I’ve found while paging through it, and I already tried a couple on New Year’s Eve 2009, which were both fabulous.
Here are the two I tried:
• Applejack Punch: This cocktail was super-simple to make, as it it only requires mixing apple cider (we used apple juice) ,grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, brown sugar, dark rum and Calvados (a type of apple brandy) in a pitcher, then pouring the mixture over crushed ice, garnishing each drink with a dash of Angostura bitters and club soda (we used ginger ale instead.)
• A dessert/cocktail that is made by blending premium chocolate ice cream with cognac and peppermint Schnapps to a milk-shake consistency in a food processor.
Here are some of the other recipes I’ve got my eye on to try:
From the cocktails and coolers section:
• Strawberry Wine Coolers: make your own version of the concoction, with two variations: honeydew and tangerine.
• Watermelon Margaritas: I can’t think of anything better for a summer party — blending up watermelon, and adding fresh lime juice, tequila blanco and Triple Sec or Cointreau.
• Ginger Lemonade: The old favourite, with a twist of fresh ginger and honey.
• Peach Iced Tea: This iced tea goes beyond merely using tea for flavour, it actually uses the liquid taken from blended fresh peaches as well.
• Spiced Rum-n-Cokes: This innovative-looking cocktail, which would probably be lovely on a winter’s eve, is made by sticking whole cloves in orange peel, then submerging the peel into wood-aged rum. This is allowed to marinate for two hours; the orange peels are discarded, then the rum put into glasses and topped with cola.
From the snacks and appetizers section:
• Cheese Relish: Check out this easy-looking, delicious combo. In a bowl, combine grated Swiss cheese, banana peppers from a jar, sour cream, dried chile flakes, pepper, salt, fresh chives and capers. Voila! Let that sit in the fridge for a day to let the flavours increase, then serve with crackers.
• Eight Simple Fresh Pickles: This array of simple pickles, which can be ready after chilling in the fridge for just one hour, include Carrot Pickles with Shallots and Dill, Watermelon and Onion Pickles, PIckled Grapes with Rosemary and Chiles, Zucchini and Onion Pickles and Lemon and Cucumber Pickles.
From the soups section:
• Creamy Sweet-Onion Soup: a combo of sweet onions, white wine, cream and chives.
• Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary: I’m always on the lookout for new varieties of the familiar and delicious butternut squash soup theme, and this certainly looks promising, with the addition of fresh rosemary, diced ham and buttermilk.
From the salads and cold sides section:
• Cherry Tomato and Soybean Salad
• Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts: This salad comprised of red and green cabbage, spinach and peanuts also uses the unusual addition of a segmented lime, something I’ve never seen before.
• Curried New Potato Salad: This recipe livens up the old summer standby with the addition of curry powder of garam masala.
• Red Rice Salad: White rice turns red thanks to the use of tomatoes and red wine vinegar, and the salad is seasoned with fresh chives and basil.
From the hot sides section:
• Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin: The brothers say this is their version of their hit pimento-cheese tea sandwiches in a dish, and it looks delicious, with the key ingredients being Yukon Gold potatoes, red chile flakes, a jar of roasted red peppers and extra-sharp cheddar cheese.
From the main dishes section:
• Skirt Steak with Parsley Sauce
• Pan-Fried Trout with Lemon and Herb Stuffing
• Crispy-Skin Salmon with Buttermilk-Mint Sauce
• Duck Breasts with Raspberries and Rose Wine
From the desserts section:
• Jasmine Tea Ice Cream