A red-tail hawk family lives nearby. Each morning at first light, they soar and screech reassuringly: All is well. These recipes honor the joys of patio dining with added nostalgia. Apalachicola, Dog Island, Panacea and Spring Creek were stops along the way where fresh food, robust cocktails, fine wines filled the dinner table. The Gulf waters were but a few feet away.
“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3: 12-13:
Apalachicola Artichoke & Oyster Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 pint Apalachicola oysters (reserve 1/2 cup liquid)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Dash cayenne pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/4 cup sherry
Fresh thyme leaves
In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; add green onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly, until combined. Gradually add chicken broth and oyster liquid. Add bay leaf, thyme and cayenne and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add oysters, artichokes, and parsley; cook until oysters curl around edges, about 10 minutes.
Stir in half-and-half and sherry and cook until thoroughly heated. Remove bay leaf before serving. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves, if desired.
Panacea Greek Salad
1 head romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
ground black pepper to taste
In a large salad bowl, combine the Romaine, onion, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese.
Whisk together the olive oil, oregano, lemon juice and black pepper. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.
Dog Island Grouper Burger
1-pound fresh grouper fillet, rough chopped
1/2 pound fresh Georgia peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp Whole grain mustard
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 Whole grain, freshly baked buns
Thin sliced red cabbage.
Spring Creek Tartar Sauce, see recipe
Add the shrimp to a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Roughly chop the
grouper into pieces the size of a dime.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped Grouper, Shrimp paste, salt, pepper, onion, bell
pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, and mayonnaise and fold gently to distribute the
ingredients evenly. Divide the meat into four equal sections. Shape each portion into a
patty. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook the burgers for
4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 150°F. Place the cooked
burgers on top of the whole grain rolls, then top with red cabbage and Tartar
Spring Creek Tartar Sauce
1-cup low fat mayonnaise
1 cup Greek style yogurt
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup fresh basil, leaves picked off of stems
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves picked off of stems
1-cup fresh Mexican tarragon, leaves picked off the stem
1 cup fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped cornichon or dill pickle
1-teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
In a food processor or blender, add the fresh herbs, spinach and lemon juice, then
puree. Add the mayo and yogurt and puree to incorporate the herbs. Pour this mixture
into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, and
cayenne. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Famous Dave’s Bread Pudding with Praline Sauce
I first met Dave Anderson, known coast to coast as Famous Dave, at the Jack Daniel’s International Barbecue Competition in Lynchburg,Tennesse where we served together on the team of judges. A Choctaw and Ojibwe Indian, Famous Dave is the quintessential self-made man. His highly popular sauces and condiments fill supermarket shelves. Famous Dave’s restaurants dot the American and Canadian countryside, testaments to his renown in the world of food. Enjoy this dessert: a recipe he created.
1 loaf Cinnamon Swirl Bread
2/3 cup Golden Raisins
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 cups Milk
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Vanilla Extract
8 Eggs beaten
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Famous Dave’s Praline Sauce (Recipe Below)
Coat bottom and side of a 2-inch deep (very large) baking dish heavily with butter.
Tear bread (including ends) into 1-inch pieces.
Mix with raisins and spread it evenly in the prepared dish; be sure to turn as much of the crusts side down as they tend to burn easily
Whisk sugar, milk, whipping cream, vanilla, eggs and cinnamon until blended.
Pour over bread mixture.
(You can skip this step if you like) Place baking dish in a 4-inch deep baking pan. Add water to reach halfway up side of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour in 325°F oven.
Remove from water bath and let stand until completely cold.
Spoon into dessert bowls, warm in the microwave and drizzle with warm Famous Dave’s Praline Sauce.
Famous Dave’s Praline Sauce
2 cups unsalted Butter cubed
1 1/2 cups chopped Pecans
3 pounds Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Heat 1 cup butter in large saucepan until melted.
Add pecans and mix well.
Bring to a boil. Cook until pecans begin to change color. (Mixture will foam over, so use a large saucepan.)
Add remaining butter and mix well. This will cool the pecan mixture and stop the cooking process.
Remove from heat.
Combine brown sugar, whipping cream and cinnamon in a saucepan and mix well. (Do not beat after you add whipping cream, just mix.)
Cook over low heat until blended, stirring constantly; increase heat–but be sure NOT to let it boil.
Cook to 230°F on a candy thermometer.
Stir in pecan mixture.
Add sour cream and vanilla and mix well.
Remove from heat.
Top with whipped cream and add a scoop of ice cream.
Sir Verde’s Wine Suggestion: The waiting is over: it’s time for Rosé. 2019 Villa Wolf Rosé Pinot Noir. Aperitif? Manhattan’s, of course.
Be happy. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.