Cookbook Club-The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

Matt and Tedd Lee, wow!  Cookbook club last night was fantastic.  We cooked from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook and in a few words, it rocked.  This is the first book from the quirky and cute Lee brothers, James Beard award winning as a matter of fact.  They draw on their Charleston, S.C. roots and their urban lifestyle in Manhattan to create a cookbook that is as much about their musings as it is about the recipes.  This is the kind of cookbook you read cover to cover, transporting yourself to the deep south and tasting deliciousness on every page. 

We were a smaller than usual group at Emily’s last night but managed to leave with our belly’s more than satisfied.  Kelly kicked the night off with three tasty nibblers that set the mood perfectly.  She made Spiced Pecans (utterly addictive), Cheese Straws (buttery with a perfect kick of heat), and Pickled Shrimp (the *best* pickling spices ever).  She presented them together-don’t they look great?

Emily not only hosted us but she made three dishes as well!  The first was Crispy Fried Okra-these were amazing-the kind of amazing you need to walk away from or you’ll eat the entire dish.  

For dinner, Emily pulled out the stops with the Oven BBQed Picnic (pork) Shoulder that you could cut with a fork-molasses, vinegar, and smoked paprika made for sauce perfection.  She served it with Hot Slaw a la Greyhound Grill-really more like braised red cabbage but the perfect crunchy bite with that succulent pork.    CC rounded out the meal with the classic Hoppin’ John.  Made with homemade pork stock, the simple combination of ingredients has such depth of flavor-I can see eating this dish as a meal on its own. 

I took on dessert and made the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  This version had not only cocoa and plenty of red food coloring but a tablespoon of fresh orange zest too.  I’m generally not a fan of chocolate and citrus together but the chocolate flavor is so mild here it really lets the orange do its thing.  I promise I have a pre-cut picture of this cake that is much better than this one (it was quite beautiful, if I may so so myself)…I’ll get it up here soon.

All in all we loved every dish.  The recipes worked perfectly and we found very little we would change (and trust me, we are a critical group).  Thank you Matt and Ted.
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