Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews

Summer is coming and most are ready for vacation days and breezy, family meals.  Mary Kay Andrews, beloved author of southern charm novels, has created a cookbook for just such scenarios.  As a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrews knows a thing or two about the topic and has created a book that is gorgeous to look at and full of recipes that feature fresh ingredients.

The book is organized by time of year with chapters such as Summer Solstice Dinner, Lazy Weekend Brunch, After A Day At The Beach and Souper Supper.  Each chapter contains recipes for a full meal.  For example, the Summer Solstice Dinner has recipes for James T's Secret Iced Tea, Zucchini Vichyssoise, Beyond The Grave Chicken Salad, Tomato Pie, Ritualistic Pimento Cheese and Trailer Trash Dessert.  Each recipe has a short blurb from Andrews explaining how she uses the dish or cooking tricks she uses preparing it.  One of the first dishes I'll be trying is Corn And Crab Chowder.   This one looks delicious.

Very few of the soups I make hew closely to a written recipe—especially when we’re at the beach, where I might not have all the ingredients my recipe calls for on hand. This corn and crab chowder is a good example. Sometimes I leave the potatoes out if I don’t have any. Sometimes I substitute cream or whole milk for the half-and-half, and sometimes I use frozen corn—I like the kind that comes frozen in a tube—but in the summer, I prefer to use fresh corn. I do always use crab; usually claw meat, since in a soup you really can’t distinguish lump from claw. And I love the deep flavor the shot of sherry adds at the end. If you like a thicker chowder, whisk 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons half-and-half and stir it into the soup at the end, before adding the sherry. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra as needed
2 slices bacon
2 large shallots, minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
6 small red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 8 ears)
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 lb. crabmeat, picked over
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives for garnish
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the bacon, and cook for 8 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, and reserve the drippings in the pot. Chop the bacon.
2. Sauté the shallots and bell pepper in the bacon drippings for 3 minutes, or until tender, adding more oil if there aren’t enough drippings. Add the potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crabmeat and cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, stir in the sherry and salt and season with the pepper to taste. Garnish with the bacon and chives. Serve.

With Mother's Day coming up, this would be a great selection for the cook on your list.  Any cook would be excited to read and use these recipes by one of the South's greatest treasures.  

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