Kings of Southern cooking fire up the grill
Brothers Matt and Ted Lee have made a name for themselves with their best-selling cookbooks.
They wrote "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook" and "Simple, Fresh, Southern" -- and on Thursday, The International Association of Culinary Professionals named "Simple, Fresh, Southern" best American cookbook of the year.
Their mail-order catalog, "The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalog," also put them on the culinary map.
Hailing from Charleston, S.C., Matt and Ted are true Southern Gentleman.
As "Chefs on a Shoestring" on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," they tried to make an early summer, farm fresh barbecue meal for four on our budget of just $40.
And, our "Shoestring" chefs are automatically entered in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition. The one (or in this case, ones, should Matt and Ted top the field!) with the lowest ingredients cost will be invited back to whip up the feast for our year-end holiday extravaganza.
What's more, viewers have a say in what our "Shoestring" chefs prepare as their main course - by voting via mobile phone on the following week's menu:
- Bibb lettuce salad with buttermilk lime dressing
- Tomato & Watermelon Gazpacho
- Skirt Steak with Parsley Sauce
- Blackened Potato Salad
- Strawberries and cream with a port sauce
Gazpacho: A refreshingly cold, summertime soup hailing from the Andalusia region in southern Spain. This uncooked soup is usually made from a pureed mixture of fresh tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumber, bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and sometimes lemon juice. Gazpacho can be a meal in itself, particularly when extra fresh vegetables such as sliced celery, green onion, cucumber and green pepper are added. Popular garnishes include croutons and diced hard-cooked eggs.
Okra: Ethiopian slaves brought the okra plant to America's South, where it's still popular today. The green okra pods have a ridged skin and a tapered, oblong shape. Although available fresh year-round in the South, the season for the rest of the country is from about May through October. When buying fresh okra look for firm, brightly colored pods under 4 inches long. Larger pods may be tough and fibrous. Avoid those that are dull in color, limp or blemished. Refrigerate okra in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Canned and frozen okra is also available. These green pods can be prepared in a variety of ways including braising, baking and frying. When cooked, okra gives off a rather viscous substance that serves to thicken any liquid in which it is cooked. Throughout the South, it's a favorite ingredient in many dishes, the best known being GUMBO, where it's used both for thickening and for flavor.
Skirt Steak: The term skirt steak refers to a cut of beef steak, from the plate. It is a long, flat cut that is prized for its flavor rather than tenderness. Sometimes a flank steak is used interchangeably with a skirt steak, but it is a different cut of meat. Skirt steak is the cut of choice for making fajitas. To minimize their toughness skirt steaks are either grilled or pan-seared very quickly or cooked very slowly, typically braised. Because of their strong graining skirt steak is sliced across the grain for maximum tenderness. To aid in tenderness and flavor, they are also often marinated.
Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho
- 1 jalapeno chile, preferably red
- 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks (3/4 pounds)
- 1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
- 1 pound tomatoes, cored
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
1. Roast the jalapeno over a gas flame until lightly charred all over. Using a paper towel, rub off as much of the blistered skin as possible. Trim the stem, remove the seeds, and transfer the chile to a blender. Add the watermelon and garlic and puree; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Score the tomato bottoms with an X. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds to loosen their skins. Transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to cool.
3. Peel the tomatoes and halve them crosswise. Working over a sieve set in a bowl, pry out the seeds. Press on the seeds to extract the juice, then discard them. Transfer the tomatoes and their juices to the blender and puree. Stir the tomato puree into the watermelon puree along with the vinegar and season the gazpacho with salt. Cover with plastic wrap, chill completely in the refrigerator and serve on a hot day.
For more of Matt and Lee's recipes, go to page 2.
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