Friday, December 04, 2009
The Lee Brothers came to the Crescent City Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago, selling signed copies of their new cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern. They're truly delightful guys, and we had a nice conversation about the joys of okra - I need to try eating it raw on really hot summer days. A true Southern cook can talk about okra for a very, very long time. I mean, good lord, lookit how wholesome and friendly they look. How the heck could you not buy their cookbook? They sure roped me in.
As for the book? Total keeper. I cooked it from a bunch during the week of Thanksgiving and will be posting pictures soon. It's a great varation on their first cookbook, which was, as you may remember, a delicious but very heavy-dish oriened treatise on Southern cuisine. The recipes in this book are much more focused on uber-fresh ingredients and recipes that can be slapped together in about an hour or so: great to have around when you're sick of cooking the same goddamn thing over and over and over.
We had a few other doings at the Market. Gabrielle at the Uptowner owner and local chef Greg Sonnier gave away samples of his gumbo, in an effort to support his ailing friend, Ray Brandhurst. The gumbo was perhaps the best damn stuff I'd ever had. I tracked him down and asked whatever he'd done to it to make it so good, and he filled me in.
The trick? A whole smoked turkey. He made stock out of the carcass and used the dark meat in the gumbo (along with the usual seafood and sausage suspects), producing a smoky, earthy, down n' dirty flavor. It tasted exactly like BBQ gumbo, with an alluring smokehouse flavor. The other trick? Sonnier does his roux in the oven. Sounds obscene, but judging from this gumbo, it's a fantastic idea. Hopefully my dad and I can get some turkey parts, fire up the smoker, and try to replicate this over the holidays. It's too good to let it pass me by.
Gorgeous winter greens. Collards, kale, Asian greens, mustard greens, you name it, they got it. Along with scallions, broccoli, and other delights.
Blue crabs, always a beloved staple around here. These folks bring them in live and put the disgruntled little beasts into crates during market-time. This would be the view inside one of the aforementioned crates.