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Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook's Corner and from Homeby Bill Smith
Synopses & Reviews
You expect to hear about restaurant kitchens in Charleston, New Orleans, or Memphis perfecting plates of the finest southern cuisineandmdash;from hearty red beans and rice to stewed okra to crispy fried chicken. But who would guess that one of the most innovative chefs cooking heirloom regional southern food is based not in the heart of biscuit country, but in the grain-fed Midwestandmdash;in Chicago, no less? Since 2008, chef Paul Fehribach has been introducing Chicagoans to the delectable pleasures of Lowcountry cuisine, while his restaurant Big Jones has become a home away from home for the cityandrsquo;s southern diaspora. From its inception, Big Jones has focused on cooking with local and sustainably grown heirloom crops and heritage livestock, reinvigorating southern cooking through meticulous technique and the unique perspective of its Midwest location. And with The Big Jones Cookbook, Fehribach brings the rich stories and traditions of regional southern food to kitchens everywhere.
Organized by region, The Big Jones Cookbook provides an original look at southern heirloom cooking with a focus on history, heritage, and variety. Throughout, Fehribach interweaves personal experience, historical knowledge, and culinary creativity, all while offering tried-and-true takes on everything from Reezy-Peezy to Gumbo Ya-Ya, Chicken and Dumplings, and Crispy Catfish. Fehribachandrsquo;s dishes reflect his careful attention to historical and culinary detail, and many recipes are accompanied by insights about their origins. In addition to the regional chapters, the cookbook features sections on breads, from sweet potato biscuits to spoonbread; pantry put-ups like bread and butter pickles and chow-chow; cocktails, such as the sazerac; desserts, including Sea Island benne cake; as well as an extensive section on snout-to-tail cooking, including homemade Andouille and pickled pigsandrsquo; feet.
Proof that you need not possess a thick southern drawl to appreciate the comfort of creamy grits and the skill of perfectly fried green tomatoes, The Big Jones Cookbook will be something to savor regardless of where you set your table.
"The Southern delicacies of Crook's Corner restaurant are well known to the students and residents of Chapel Hill, N.C. Now Smith, the chef there for 15 years, has assembled a quirky and compact selection of his favorite dishes for the rest of the world to ponder. Perhaps because Chapel Hill is a college town, the book is broken into four seasons starting with fall (though it's puzzling to find Scalloped Potatoes in autumn, Mashed Potatoes in spring and not a single spud in winter). Smith previously worked at another North Carolina spot, La Residence, and there exists an undercurrent of fine French cuisine that gives his recipes some sophistication. The cultural mix is readily apparent and exciting in his Two- (or Three-) Bird Pt: in one of the few instances where liquor benefits a liver, duck and chicken organs are flavored with a jigger of Wild Turkey. The French influence is subtler in Turtle Soup, based on a dish from Babette's Feast and requiring two pounds of ground turtle meat. Of course, such pomp and circumstance can carry one only so far. Smith's summer ends with a blissfully redneck Really Good Banana Pudding, laden with half-and-half and vanilla wafers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Crook's Corner is a landmark in North Carolina and beyond. "Bon Appetit" called it " a legend." "Travel and Leisure" described it as " country cookin' gone cool." A reviewer for the "Washington Post" said, " I have yet to eat an average meal at Crook's Corner— the food is consistently outstanding, sort of nouvelle down home." And "Delta Sky" rated it " the best place to eat in Chapel Hill, in North Carolina and possibly on earth."
It's that good, and it has sustained its reputation since 1982, when legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, author of three popular cookbooks, opened the restaurant with partner Gene Hamer.
For more than a decade now, Bill Smith has presided over the kitchen, bringing his creative cuisine to an ever-growing, always enthusiastic crowd who have come to associate dining at Crook's with good company, great food, and a belief that every meal is reason for celebration.
Bill Smith's recipes are marvelously uncomplicated: Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes with Sweet Corn and Lemon Beurre Blanc, Pork Roast with Artichoke Stuffing, Scallops with Spinach and Hominy, Really Good Banana Pudding, and Honeysuckle Sorbet. Structured around the seasons and inspired by the abundant local produce, these recipes reinvent classics of the Southern culinary tradition and offer up imaginative interpretations of bistro fare.
"Seasoned in the South" captures the flavors of the freshest seasonal foods and the spirit of one of the South's liveliest and most innovative kitchens.
Crook’s Corner is a veritable institution in North Carolina and the worthy recipient of much national praise. The New York Times called it “a nightly celebration.” Bon Appetit called it “a legend.” Travel and Leisure described it as “country cookin’ gone cool.” A reviewer for the Washington Post said, “I have yet to eat an average meal at Crook’s Corner—the food is consistently outstanding, sort of nouvelle down home.”And Delta Sky rated it “the best place to eat in Chapel Hill, in North Carolina and possibly on Earth.”
It’s that good, and it has sustained its reputation since visionary chef Bill Neal opened the restaurant with partner Gene Hamer in 1982. After Neal passed away, Bill Smith took over the helm and for more than a decade has brought his intuitive and inspired approach to cooking to an ever-growing crowd who’ve come to associate dining at Crook’s with a belief that every meal is reason for celebration.
Smith’s recipes are marvelously uncomplicated—the new bistro food of the South, showcased in dishes like Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes with Corn and Mustard Beurre Blanc, Cold Stuffed Pork Loin with Artichoke Spread, Scallops with Spinach and Hominy, and his signature dish, Honeysuckle Sorbet. Arranged by season, these recipes capture the flavors of the freshest foods and the spirit of one of the South’s liveliest and most innovative kitchens.
Paul Fehribach, arguably Chicagoand#8217;s foremost localist chef, articulates the history, cultures, and processes that make his southern heritage restaurant, Big Jones, a critical and popular success. His menu depends on the availability, quality, and pedigree of specific ingredients and practices, and his attention to historical and culinary detail is evident in dishes like and#147;Eugeneand#8217;s Breakfast in Mobile, circa 1930and#8221; and and#147;Reezy-Peezy, circa 1730.and#8221; Fehribach draws on his childhood in southern Indiana, as well as on his research, in laying out the many different cuisines of the south and their key techniques--including breaking down an entire pig.
This expanded edition of Bill Smith's acclaimed cookbook features seasonal menus, like Supper at the Beach, Fourth of July Picnic, A Christmas Eve Supper, New Year's Day Brunch, along with twenty tantalizing new recipes.
Crooks Corner has gained national renown since it opened its doors in 1982. The New York Times called it “sacred ground for Southern foodies.” Bon Appétit called it “a legend.” Travel & Leisure described it as “ country cookin gone cool.” A reviewer for the Washington Post said, “the food is consistently outstanding, sort of nouvelle down home.” And Delta Sky magazine declared it “the best place to eat in Chapel Hill, in North Carolina and possibly on Earth.”
For more than a decade, Bill Smith has brought his intuitive and inspired approach to cooking to one of the Souths liveliest and most innovative kitchens. Structured around the seasons and the freshest seasonal foods, Seasoned in the South offers up Smiths marvelously uncomplicated recipes— Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes with Sweet Corn and Lemon Beurre Blanc, Pork Roast with Artichoke Stuffing, and his signature dish, Honeysuckle Sorbet—the new bistro food of the South.
The new bistro food of the South is showcased in dishes like Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes with Corn and Mustard Beurre Blanc, Cold Stuffed Pork Loin with Artichoke Spread, Scallops with Spinach and Hominy, and Smith's signature dish, Honeysuckle Sorbet.
About the Author
Bill Smith has served as chef at Crook’s Corner for more than a decade. His essays have been featured in newspapers and on radio and television, and his recipes have been selected for 150 Best American Recipes and Food & Wine Magazine’s Best of the Best.
Lee Smith is the author of sixteen previous books of fiction, including the bestselling novels Fair and Tender Ladies and The Last Girls, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Also the recipient of the 1999 Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.&
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