Every summer when things heat up in Charleston and our events slow down, Greg and I pack up the pups and make the 12-hour trek to our home state of Pennsylvania. Greg grew up about two hours from where I did, and this trip he was fortunate enough to spend a whole week at his father’s, where he was able to fish, golf and spend some quality time with his dad! Meanwhile, Charlie and Savannah (our two fur babies), and I stayed at my parents’ home in the hills of Muncy, PA.
Food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a “farm to table” household, long before the term became so trendy. My paternal Grandfather was a potato farmer, maternal Grandfather a dairy farmer, and my father has a whole sale tree business. He also farms field corn and soybeans. My parents have always had a garden, which they pick from to freeze and can everything from Green beans and Sweet Corn, to Blueberry Jam. My parents also raise a cow to butcher and chickens for farm fresh eggs. There was no processed food in my home growing up, which is most likely what drew my attention to learning how to cook at such a young age.
With so much fresh produce available to me and with more time on my hands than normal, I decided to treat my parents and 90-year-old Grandparents to a garden-inspired Sunday Supper. After all, they were my biggest supporters over six years ago when I was a crazy 26-year-old who quit my job and moved South to start my journey of starting my catering company – it’s the least I can do!
I headed down to the garden to gather my vegetables. So many beautiful tomatoes, green beans, peppers, herbs, onions, purple potatoes, squash. The sweet corn is perfectly mature enough to pick!
I found some lump crab meat in the refrigerator and some Bishop family raised, grass fed NY Strip steaks in the freezer. With all this delicious inspiration, my menu was created!
We started the meal with a rich and creamy Crab and Corn Bisque, which I’ve included a recipe for below.
The next course, a Fried Green Tomato and Arugula Salad with Pickled Peppers, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction.
For the main course, we grilled NY Strip Steaks with a red wine herb sauce, and the most delicious Garden Vegetable Succotash, a sauté of green beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onion, and garlic.
I’m not a huge fan of baking and pastry.. All the measuring of ingredients and precise instructions are enough to drive any savory chef insane! However, I found the cutest little corn bread pan I ever did see and knew I just had to incorporate this into the dinner! So, I made corn bread, which also allowed me to incorporate the sweet corn into one more element of the dinner.
For a sweet finished we enjoyed my Poppop’s favorite, a peanut butter pie trifle.
My mom has quite the green thumb, and I was able to pick some gorgeous flowers for to create a few centerpieces.
To say that they all enjoyed the meal would be an understatement! The best part however was not the cuisine, but the company. When living so far from home, it’s not every day that I get to enjoy a dinner with my parents and grandparents. Sunday Supper’s and the memories created by food and family are truly a part of all those little things in life that we all can cherish for a lifetime.
I hope y’all get the opportunity to make the recipe below, the soup was definitely the star of the show!
Summer Crab and Corn Bisque
Serves 8 – 10
1 Medium Onion, Small Dice
3 Stalks Celery, Small Dice
2 – 3 C. Fresh Corn, par boiled, off the cobb
1 ½ T. Minced Garlic
3 T. Vegetable Oil
1-pound lump crab meat
¼ C. Butter
¼ C. Flour
2 C. Milk (bring to room temperature)
1 ½ C. Heavy Cream (bring to room temperature)
3 C. Seafood or Chicken Stock (bring to room temperature)
1 T. Tabasco Sauce (more to taste)
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of Two lemons
1 t. Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper
3 Scallions (Garnish)
Mise en place
(French term for getting all of your ingredients and tools prepared before starting to cook)
-Small Dice Celery and Onion
-Scallion Confetti Garnish- Slice the green part of the scallion length wise. Then on a bias slice thinly and place in ice water. You will see the scallion start to curl, creating the confetti effect. Set aside.
-Pick through crab meat to make sure there are not any shells
-Measure out all other ingredients
Step 2: Gather a captive audience
Step 3: Cook
-Heat oil in large pot on stove on medium heat.
-Add onion and celery to hot oil, season with salt and pepper and stir
-Once transparent, about 8 minutes, add minced garlic
-Add butter to pot
-Once butter has melted, whisk in flour to create a medium-darkcolored rue (think wet beach sand color and consistency)
-Slowly whisk in milk, then heavy cream. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until dairy has thickened.
-Stir in the stock. Allow to simmer on medium low, stirring occasionally and careful not to scorch bottom of pan.
-Add Corn, Worcestershire Sauce, Lemon Juice, Smoked Paprika, and Tabasco Sauce . Continue to simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes.
-Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste. If too spicy, add more lemon juice. Add more tabasco sauce for more heat.
-Fold in Crab Meat
-Simmer and re-taste. Make any adjustments to taste.
-Simmer on low to desired thickness. I simmered for another hour. This really helps to build more flavor. You can refrigerate and reheat to serve. When entertaining its best to make as much as possible in advance so that you can take time to freshen up before guests arrive and be the host and not the cook when the guests arrive!
-Garnish with Paprika and Scallion Confetti. Serve and Enjoy!