The New Southern Table, for Summer

NewSouthernTablecoverOrder a copy of The New Southern Table, on Amazon. Each chapter depicts a quintessential southern ingredient — okra, collard greens, peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and more — and the recipes are a jazz riff on those ingredients, inspired by my own travels and cuisines around the world. The book’s photography is my own, too. Great to have on hand as summer approaches and farmers markets become bountiful.


Squash Tempura with Soy Lime Dipping Sauce

fried_zucchiniHere’s an outtake image from The New Southern Table — one that didn’t make it into the book. This recipe celebrates the simplicity of fresh Southern vegetables when cooked quickly and eaten right away, and was inspired by a trip I took to Tokyo when working on the book. Get a copy of the book for the recipe!


Decatur Book Festival Demo and Signing

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Tomorrow I’ll be at the Decatur Book Festival near Atlanta for a cooking demo and book signing. Excited to cook Chicken, Corn, Squash, and Poblano tacos from the summer squash chapter of The New Southern Table; it’s a Mexican-inspired take on summer squash so prolific on farms and in gardens all over right now. If you’re nearby and don’t have big Labor Day weekend plans (other than the festival itself), come by and say hello!


Fourth of July on the Gulf of Mexico

gulf_shrimp (1 of 1)This week I’m down in Seagrove Beach, Florida for a book signing and for a Fourth of July vacation, after signings and cooking demonstrations in Asheville, NC, and Birmingham, AL.

I’ve been coming to the same house down here on the Panhandle (affectionately otherwise know as L.A., or Lower Alabama), since I was born. It has changed a lot (it’s no secret anymore), but I always love being back here for a feeling of nostalgia I get nowhere else.

Several of the recipes in The New Southern Table are inspired by summers here, like these Shrimp and Corn Fritters. They’re like hushpuppies laced with little bites of shrimp and vegetables, and take me back (in an updated way) to the dive seafood spots we relied on before the throngs of vacationers arrived.


New Southern Table Events and Signings Update

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.56.03 AMI’m back in Charleston after trips to Asheville, NC, where I signed books and served my butterbean hummus (which was consistently met with wows and moans, if I may say so), at the Mother Earth News Fair , and Atlanta, Ga, where I signed books and gave a brief talk at The Atlanta History Center, an amazing organization in Buckhead. This week I’m back in Charleston, and next Thursday, May 1 I’ll be talking about the book, and showing a slide show of food and travel shots at The Charleston Library Society’s Wide Angle Lunch Series. Get tickets here if you’re in the area. The talk is titled “Southern Staples in a Global Kitchen,” there willl be boxed lunches inspired by my book from Butcher and Bee, and I’ll be signing and selling books there, too. Stay tuned for more events!


Lowcountry Live Cooking Demo

Had a great time cooking and talking about the cookbook on the set of Lowcountry Live recently. Host John Bruce made it easy, and fun.


Cookbook Update: The New Southern Table

Last week, I got the first advance copy of my cookbook, The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited, in the mail. Just like that, a book was born.

Overall I was ecstatic. The cover looks great, the interior pages are hefty and glossy, and the photography, which I did myself, looks better in the book than it does digitally. The book feels refined and understated, and I think it’s going to do great.

The publisher will have the first copies in hand at the end of January, and it will start to ship to bookstores all over the country shortly after. It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for shipment March 1.

Leading up to publication, I’m planning a tour of speaking engagements, cooking demonstrations, parties, and book signings from Florida, throughout the Southeast, and up to Washington, DC. If you know of any venues that might like to host a demonstrationg or signing, like bookstores, cooking stores, and retail outlets, I’d love it if you’d email me at and let me know.


The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited

After a few final tweaks, we’ve arrived at the final cover of my upcoming cookbook. It’ll be published by Fair Winds Press in the spring of 2014. Each chapter is a quintessential Southern ingredient — okra, sweet potatoes, squash, pecans, etc. — and the recipes are informed by classic Southern cooking, but also by different cuisines and cultures that also cook with those same classic ingredients.

The book’s pretty much complete (I did the photography, too), and now it’s gone into design and production. I just got the first pages for review and editing today, and it’s coming together beautifully. Thanks for your support, and please stay tuned for more updates by following me on twitter @BrysStephens.



Watermelon Ginger Granita

It’s Labor Day weekend, and it’s hot. Here’s an easy dessert from my upcoming cookbook, The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited, for a Watermelon Ginger Granita that you can just about make with your eyes closed.  A granita is a frozen dessert made with water, fruit purée, sugar and other flavorings, and varies in texture from chunky to smooth. Likely originating in Sicily, granita are simple to make with just a freezer and a fork, refreshing in hot climates, and easily adapted to accommodate a wide range of ingredients. This simple version is a great way to use up leftover watermelon and punctuate a late summer meal. The ginger gives the granita a burst of spicy heat, and the acidity of the lime juice balances out the watermelon’s sweetness.

Watermelon Ginger Granita

1/3 cup (115 g) honey
1 teaspoon minced or grated peeled fresh ginger
8 cups (1.2 kg) seedless watermelon chunks (about 21/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice

Combine the honey and ginger in a small saucepan and warm over low heat about 5 minutes, or until the honey softens and becomes infused with the ginger.

Combine the honey and ginger mixture, watermelon, and lime juice in a food processor, and purée until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours or overnight.

Pour the chilled mixture into a casserole dish and freeze, periodically scraping the mixture with a fork to loosen, about 4 hours, or until granita consistency.

Yield: About 1 quart (800 g)


Peninsula Grill: Served with Style

Here’s a belated look at the cover of my most recent cookbook co-writing project. I had the opportunity to work with Peninsula Grill Chef Graham Daily and writer Melissa Bigner on the book, and my role was working with Graham in the kitchen to help develop, write, and test the book’s recipes. It was a challenge translating restaurant-style dishes to recipes for the home cook, but I think we succeeded. The reviews have been all positive, especially here in Charleston. It was great experience working with Graham, Melissa, and photographer Peter Frank Edwards on the book, and good preparation (along with my previous testing and writing projects) for my own cookbook, which will be published in spring 2014.