Written By Aubrey Jones
While America’s recent economic situation may be holding Cary families back from eating at their favorite restaurants, the Deen brothers don’t think the size of a wallet should keep families from eating a delicious meal.
Jamie and Bobby, the sons of the Southern Food Network star Paula Deen, have released their third cookbook, Take It Easy, for those who want to save time and money in the kitchen. They were in town recently to sign copies of the new book at the Cary Barnes and Noble.
“The forefront of the cookbook is the economy. Not many people are eating out and need to eat at home,” stated Bobby. All of the recipes featured in Take It Easy are just that: easy. And there is no need to search high and low for special ingredients.
“You can go to the grocery store down the street and find everything you need for these recipes,” he said.
“Our recipes are a collaboration. We don’t have a Rolodex full of recipes sitting around the kitchen; we had to dig deep and think about things we ate growing up, things mom would make us.”
Although Jamie and Bobby have been able to experience food from all across the United States thanks to their Food Network show, Road Tasted, Southern food continues to be their favorite. “We have the opportunity to travel the country, and the South is the only place that has its own subdivision of food. Southern food has so much tradition, and each family in the South has their own recipes to pass down. It’s comfort food and it’s good food,” Jamie explained.
After two seasons of Road Tasted, Jamie and Bobby decided to end the show because of Jamie’s expanding family. “After my wife, Brooke, and I had our son, Jack, I realized it was too hard. I needed to be closer to my family,” stated Jamie.
Having a baby changed not only Jamie’s career path, but also the way he and his wife ate. “When Jack came along, I liked to see where his food came from. I started cooking at home more,” he said. “It’s a whole new world cooking for a toddler, and it’s fun to find new things he likes to eat.”
The end of Road Tasted doesn’t mean the end of television for the brothers; they have just signed another contract with Food Network. “We’ll be working with mom on her show, and we have some more ideas in the works,” Jamie continued.
When asked about working with Paula, they remembered when they first started Lady and Sons, the family restaurant in their hometown of Savannah, Ga. “When I worked in the kitchen, she was always behind me and every plate had to be perfect,” said Jamie. “She was incredibly hard on both of us,” added Bobby, “but as hard as it is to work with our mom, it’s been great to see how much of an inspiration she has become to women.”
“Mom is tough because she is focused and didn’t want to fail,” Jamie explained. “Failure at work meant life failure to her.”
While the brothers were growing up, Paula juggled many different jobs, from a banking job to a small wallpaper business.
At first, the brothers thought Lady and Sons was just another small business that their mother was starting from their home.
“I was 18 when we stared this business, and I never fully believed its success until about 10 years in,” Bobby said. The Deen family went from seating 48 in their home to 100 seats at the restaurant, and now Lady and Sons seats 350 people. About half a million people walk through the door every year, and the restaurant has become a tourist destination.
After attending Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, Jamie began working at the restaurant with hesitation, but quickly warmed up to the idea of the business. “At first I felt like I was trading what I wanted for the family business, but when I got older, I realized it was such a great opportunity,” he said.
Considering that the brothers love to entertain at their homes in Savannah, the restaurant business now seems like the perfect job for them “We have great friends and I live in a great house on the water. It’s perfect for grilling and entertaining as a bachelor,” stated Bobby. “Everything is based around food. Every time we’re with our friends we always begin by talking about what we are going to eat,” he said.
After realizing the possibilities of the Deen brand, both have enjoyed the success. “The biggest surprise is being on the television, seeing our book at bookstores and traveling. I see things that I thought I would never get to see with this job,” Jamie said.
Their six-week book tour comes to an end in November, and they plan to enjoy the holidays in Savannah and close the restaurant for a few days to take some time off from work and be with their families. Food may be important to the Deen brothers, but family is what keeps them together.
For more information on the Deens, visit www.foodnetwork.com.
Deen Brothers’ Take it Easy Recipes:
Real Easy Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1-pound pork tenderloins
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh apple cider
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet with a lid or in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the tenderloins with the salt and pepper. Sear the tenderloins until brown on both sides, 3-5 minutes per side. Add the apple cider, vinegar and thyme and simmer, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning once after 10 minutes or more, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150 degrees.
Transfer the pork to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Put the skillet with the cider juices on the stove over high heat and cook until the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, 5-7 minutes. Slice the pork and serve with sauce spooned over it.
Homey Pot Roast with Root Veggies
1 5-pound pot roast, rinsed and patted dry salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of potato soup
1 bay leaf
Season the roast generously with salt and pepper. Place the parsnips, potatoes and onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the soup and 1 cup of water and stir well to combine. Add the bay leaf. Place the roast on top of the vegetables.
Cover and cook on high, turning the meat occasionally, for 8 hours, or until the meat is tender and shreds easily with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve the roast along with the vegetables.
Baby Buttermilk Biscuit Pizzas
Serves 4-6 kids
1 12-ounce can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups shredded mozzarella (8 ounces)
4 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni rounds (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Divide the sauce evenly among the biscuits, top with a pinch of the oregano, then layer the mozzarella, pepperoni (if using) and Parmesan cheese.
Bake until biscuits are golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Allow the pizzas to cool slightly and serve warm.
Quick Braised Chicken with Rosemary and Potatoes
2 teaspoons salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 pounds chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (or just use one or the other)
1 pound small new red potatoes cut into eighths
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In small bowl, whisk together the 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and rosemary.
Place the chicken in a large broiler-proof baking pan and season with the additional salt and pepper. Add the potatoes to the pan. Pour the rosemary mixture over the chicken and potatoes and toss to coat.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and transfer to the broiler. Broil, 4 inches from the heat, for 5-10 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pricked with a fork. Serve hot, with the pan juices spooned on top.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Malteds
4 scoops chocolate ice cream (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup malted milk powder
Place ice cream, milk, peanut butter and malted milk powder into a blender and pulse to combine.
Divide the mixture between two tall glasses and serve with straws.
For more recipes, look for The Deen Bros. Take it Easy at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.