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The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited Paperback – March 1, 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fair Winds Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592335853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592335855
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Sweet Potato Cornbread
Sweet Potato Cornbread
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Sweet Potato Cornbread

"This is one of my favorite takes on traditional corn bread. Sweet potato purée, when mixed in with cornmeal, adds a nice depth of flavor and nutritional integrity and a beautiful bright orange color. This is the base recipe, but the variations are endless: Try adding diced hot chiles, fresh herbs such as rosemary or chives, or grated aged cheese, or substituting sour cream or crème fraîche in place of the yogurt. "


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork and bake directly on the middle rack of the oven for about 1 hour, or until tender all the way through. Alternatively, cook the sweet potato in a microwave on high, turning over once, about 10 minutes, or until tender. Let the sweet potato cool slightly, then peel and purée either with a potato ricer or masher. You’ll need 1 cup (255 g) of purée. Butter a 9 x 9 x 2-inch (23 x 23 x 5 cm), or similar size, baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 cup (255 g) puréed sweet potatoes, eggs, buttermilk, and yogurt. Place the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, ginger, and cayenne pepper in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Add the butter to the food processor, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add this cornmeal mixture to the sweet potato mixture, stir until just combined, and pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until the corn bread is golden brown on top and a paring knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

  • 1 pound (455 g) orange-fleshed sweet potato (about 1 large)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk
  • 1⁄2 cup (115 g) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) lemon zest
  • 2 1⁄3 cups (322 g) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (11 g) baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (12 g) fine salt or table salt
  • 2 teaspoons (9 g) granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 10 tablespoons (143 g) cold unsalted butter, diced


"Brys Stephens's The New Southern Table has that hallmark quality of all truly great Southern cookbooks: It makes us want to get in the kitchen and cook sweet potatoes the first day we flip it open!" â?? Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors, The Lee Bros Charleston Kitchen

"Stephens does a great job of writing recipes that are both simple and easy to execute. Most of the dishes in The New Southern Table can be prepared on a busy weeknight with very little fuss. His palate is bold and upfront; expect lots of spice, lots of fresh herbs, and lots of flavor. It's easy to see why these ingredients captured his excitement." - Serious Eats Blog,

"In The New Southern Table Brys takes Southern staples and introduces us to his life's journey in food and its effect on the classics. His recognition of a host of cultures in and around the South, as well as from his travels, creates a delicious world view of Southern cooking. It is that fascinatiing twist and refreshing look into Brys's beloved Southern table that makes this cookbook a must-have in your home." â?? Chris Hastings, James Beard Award-Winning Chef of Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama

"You don't need to leave the South to find good produce. But to compose globe-straddling dishes such as watermelon-and-pistachio pudding, miso-dressed sweet potato salad, and okra-and-quinoa pilau, it helps. Veteran food writer and G&G contributor Brys Stephenshas done his fair share of traveling, from his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, to France and Italy to remote corners of Southeast Asia. All this bears fruit in his new cookbook, The New Southern Table, in which he layers international flavors with some of Dixie's most iconic ingredientsâ??okra, peaches, peanuts, and collard greens, to name a few." â?? Garden and Gun Blog,

More About the Author

Brys Stephens is an author, food writer, and photographer based in Charleston, SC. He has written for Bon Appetit, Garden and Gun, Charleston City Paper, and Charleston Magazine, and and is a founder of the food and cooking website

Brys's love of food and cooking takes form at the intersection of his deep roots in the South and his lifelong love of travel. From the pecan trees at his home on Sullivan's Island, to summers in Provence at a house on an herb-covered hillside, Brys has long been enamored with the world's culinary connections, and the influence of place and climate on our food.

After graduating from Washington and Lee University, Brys worked in marketing at an English-language city magazine in Paris. He continued his education at the Cornell photography program in Rome, where he undertook a four-month project photographing and cooking from markets throughout Italy and Sicily. He then apprenticed in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, with James Beard award-winning chef Chris Hastings in the kitchen of his restaurant Hot and Hot Fish Club.

Earning his JD / MBA from Wake Forest University, Brys spent two years in the wine business, working in PR for American Premium Beverage and in PR and viticulture for Napa's Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 14 customer reviews
Collards with Peppers, Currants, and Pine Nuts -- I didn't know collards could taste so fresh and light!
Stacy V
The author's simple style of combining classic southern ingredients with innovative flavor combinations makes for a welcome twist on familiar ingredients.
Todd Cammack
The recipies I have tried are excellent, the photography is superb, and the writing is not only well written, but also informative and entertaining.
R. Averett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hampton K. Stephens on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens has the most important characteristic of any great cookbook: It is as rewarding to browse and read while kicking back on the couch, without a pot or pan in sight, as it is to use in the kitchen as a guide to creating great meals.

Stephens takes fourteen classic southern ingredients -- okra, corn, peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and the like -- and, dedicating a chapter to each, gives the reader a demonstration of the full spectrum of their possibilities. The recipes at the front of each chapter, although original and interesting, tend to reflect more traditional uses of each ingredient in southern cuisine. With each subsequent recipe, however, the ingredients are used in progressively more unexpected ways, as traditional southern treatments often lead to recipes inspired by world cuisines.

Who knew that okra, native to Africa, is as prevalent in markets in the Mekong Delta as it is in farmer's markets across the American south? That field peas and peanuts were used mostly as livestock feed until the 20th century? The book is full of edifying factual nuggets like this. This cultural and geographic information that infuses the book makes it clear that Stephens did his homework, and this deep understanding of tradition is reflected in the quality of the recipes.

Like a jazz musician who must first master music theory and the classics before learning to improvise, or a poet whose free verse is only as good as her grounding in meter and rhyme, this book reflects the chops of a culinary artist whose knowledge of tradition serves as a solid launching pad for delicious flights of fancy, for a surprising, boundary-expanding tour of "southern" cuisine that leaves the reader with the distinct feeling that they have seen the whole world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nora Frenway on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful, informative cookbook that's perfect for everyday home cooking. Any southern cook (or fan of southern cooking) will recognize the bones of all these recipes, but the way they're interpreted here is smart and new. Southern cooking is always evolving, and this book nails that. On a practical note: As a parent of young children, I'm always looking for good *everyday* cookbooks, and this book has already found a spot on by-the-stove bookshelf. I've made six or seven recipes already, and all of them are keepers—even the pecan-habanero pimento cheese, which I (a pimento cheese purist) was prepared to write off. Old dog, new tricks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is not a traditional Southern cookbook with fried chicken, okra, shrimp and grits. Instead, it takes traditional ingredients like black eyed peas, shrimp, grits, okra and creates foods that are Mediterranean or Asian-inspired--or inspired by modern trends, such as crispy roasted collard greens, a play on kale chips.

One recipe in particular looked interesting--a quinoa pilaf with andouille and okra. A lot of the recipes seem Mediterranean like a black eyed pea, sausage soup with escarole--a play on the Italian white bean, sausage and escarole soup.

If you are looking for new ways to use traditional Southern components, this is for you. If you want traditional recipes, this isn't it. Think "Southern Fusion" and you'll have it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennis F Warren on March 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
This beautifully illustrated and superbly crafted book of recipes inspires the new southern cuisine. Not only are the recipes delicious and easy to prepare, their ingredients are simple yet innovative-- which I feel is the defining characteristic of the book. No more slow cooked collards rendered in ham hock fat-- Brys recreates the classic traditional southern ingredients with a fresh look and healthier approach. He's done us the favor of traveling the world and discovering that the fresh produce we look forward to in the southern United States are the same across the world in similar climates. He shares his findings with us in fantastically photographed cookbook that's easy to read, unpretentious, and simply delicious. The New Southern Table has already become my new southern staple.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kara on March 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a book, the production quality and creativity is stellar. Rich photos, crisp writing, and well-curated just-enough attention to detail abound in this book.

As a book of recipes, this is an amazing way to reinterpret Southern food. The recipes are organized by classic southern ingredients (e.g. rice, okra, pecans, etc.). This led to some surprises--pecan crusted pork chops next to oatmeal pecan cardamom cookies--that pushed some of my flavor ideas into new territory. The instructions are well-thought through and each recipe includes a short introduction that is a bit historical, a bit personal, and a bit like tasting notes for wine.

Here's a small window into how some of the recipes become new southern classics: the reinterpretation of greens (collards,, chard, and escarole) is much fresher than many classic ways to prepare the dish and soy sauce and rice vinegar bring a whole new fresh flavor to this classic.

Just love this book and am cooking my way through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael O'Rorke on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Delicious, worldly takes on classic southern ingredients -- I absolutely love how the book is structured, with chapters devoted to specific southern staples like okra, field peas, collards, etc. Southern food is sometimes underrated for how versatile it can be -- I've enjoyed both simple/classic comfort food, as well as very sophisticated southern menus my entire life. And it's refreshing to see a cookbook finally capture that range of recipes. The photography is also first rate -- and will leave you salivating for something to snack on almost immediately. Great book, don't pass it up.
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