Southern cooking has always been on-trend, but with the recent national obsession of focusing on local, homegrown ingredients, the region’s rich farming heritage is blooming like never before. Add a Greek connection to the mix with Tasia Malakasis— cookbook author, tastemaker, and owner of the award-winning and nationally lauded Belle Chevre goat cheese company based in Alabama and her new release is sure to make waves.
Tasia reinvents Southern comfort foods with these bright, fresh ingredients in her new book, Southern Made Fresh. By melding her affinity for crisp flavors as well as the memories of her grandmother’s table, Tasia has created more than 175 recipes that break the stereotype of heavy Southern cuisine and redefine the meaning of comfort food.
These inspired, seasonally-driven recipes boast an unexpected elegance and light touch, but they never skimp on Southern soul. When it comes to cooking, Tasia only has two rules in the kitchen: taste everything and have fun. It’s that same gregarious spirit that guided Tasia in writing Southern Made Fresh, and filling its pages with warm hospitality, abundant flavors, and all the comforts you would expect from a book so deeply-rooted in the spirit of the South.
“I call myself an Alabama Greek, Tasia told The Pappas Post. “That always confuses people because they think that all of the country’s Greeks are in New York and it just isn’t true. Greeks in Alabama? You bet!”
With ingredients that are only a farmer’s market away, Tasia has simplified farm-to-table cooking by proving that flavor can be found in the simplest of ingredients. Now home cooks can bring those humble Southern flavors to their kitchens by starting and ending their days with Tasia’s vibrant recipes and menus for weekend brunch, cocktail parties, and hearty Southern feasts in the garden.
Tasia’s passion for food was borne from her Southern grandmother’s kitchen with her big pot of “chicken n’ dumplins” on the stove simmering just for her, and from her Greek step-mother’s intense and determined desire to love her family from the bounty of the kitchen.
“Both cultures cherish food as the central part of gatherings of any kind— from birth to death and everything in between including just popping by unannounced. I have never been in a Greek’s home or a Southerner’s home where I wasn’t offered, repeatedly and insistently, something to eat or drink,” Tasia says fondly when talking about her joint Greek-Southern heritage.
About the book:
The “Good Morning, Sunshine!” chapter includes recipes like Mushroom & Green Onion Scramble for a quick weekday breakfast, or more leisurely dishes like Baked French Toast with Banana Brûlée and Grits with Red-Eye Gravy for weekend brunch.
Even if we can’t go back to the days when Southern women elevated the ladies’ lunch to an art form, there’s no reason to not indulge in “Noonday Comforts” like Radish Tea Sandwiches and Vegetable Soup with Pecan Pesto.
“A Nibble Here and There” is brimming with Tasia’s picks for simple, yet elegant snacks to have on-hand or whip-up in a flash. Learn the ways of Southern hospitality with nibbles like Cranberry-Pistachio Cheese Logs, Okra Fritters, and cocktails like The Alabama Shake.
Like any true Southerner, Tasia knows that putting a premium on lovingly-crafted refreshments is a must. She’s dedicated a whole chapter, “Sips, Shakes, and Shines,” to drinks including Rum Chillers, Ginger Mint Juleps, and festive Peach Moonshine.
There’s nothing like the warm feelings of a Southern “Supper,” especially when you’re using Tasia’s recipes for Peanutty Braised Chicken, Fig & Pork Stuffed Acorn Squash, and Root Vegetable & Sirloin Pot Pies.
It’s never a Southern meal unless it ends with a little “Something Sweet” like Rhubarb Galette with Chevre Cream or decadent Peach Fried Pies.
By updating the flavors she remembers from her childhood, Tasia has created a delightful ode to those memories and happily shares them with the world using the pages of Southern Made Fresh. It is also why she writes in the book’s introduction, “That’s what I want to celebrate in Southern Made Fresh – my deep appreciation for the South, its wonderful food, and the people who prepare it and share it with love.”
CONTEST! To celebrate the release of her new book, author Tasia Malakasis wants to hear from you! In the comments below, share a food-fusion of your own or your family’s that celebrates the food cultures you love the most. Like Tasia shares her Greek and Southern heritage, she’s curious to hear how you blend your Greek food heritage with that of your adopted country, or another favorite cuisine. Tasia will select her favorite on April 15th and the winner will receive a signed copy of her new book! (*Comment must be posted on The Pappas Post website and NOT on the Facebook page)