Sandlapper Society

Winter 2008-09

Wintry Dinner at Abingdon Manor

Living and working in Miami, Florida, for 25 years, Patty and Mike Griffey spent many wonderful vacations exploring the nearby Caribbean islands. The couple rarely stayed in large hotels, preferring to seek out small, gracious inns on less developed islands such as St. Kitts, Eleuthra and the Abacos. Along the way, a dream of one day opening a place of their own began to take shape. “I’ve always loved to cook,” Patty says, “but visiting those inns really made me want to be able to entertain like that on a regular basis.”

The search began in late 1994. Eight months later, the Griffeys had found their ideal spot: a lovely 10,000-square-foot mansion in the charming Pee Dee town of Latta. “We knew right away that it was perfect because it didn’t just have the right amount of space, but had absolutely wonderful scale and gorgeous details,” Patty observes of the 1905 home.

The fun part was developing the recipes and menus that would become the hallmark of the property. “I’d taken cooking classes and entertained for years, but that was for 6 or 8, not 20 or 25,” explains Patty. “But what became apparent were the opportunities that presented. Suddenly, instead of buying pasta, it made more sense to make it myself. I also had access to private food purveyors instead of the grocery store.” Tweaking recipes she had used for years, creating new ones while all the time maintaining a commitment to fresh flavors, seasonal produce and stunning presentations, Patty soon was cooking up five-star cuisine for the inn’s guests.

Shrimp in Pernod Appetizer

Serves 4, can be doubled.

1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons Pernod (anise-flavored liqueur)
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat butter in a skillet and add shrimp and shallots. Cook 3-4 minutes shaking and stirring and tossing the shrimp until pink all over. Add Pernod and stir. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a warm platter. Add the cream to the skillet and cook over high heat about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper, return the shrimp to the skillet and cook until heated through.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

6 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 onion, chopped coarsely
1 1-pound bag red lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder, depending on taste

Mix all ingredients in stockpot and bring to boil; simmer partially covered for 40-45 minutes. Purée with stick blender until smooth. Mix in olive oil and curry powder. Purée again. Cool and then divide into containers. Serve hot. (May be frozen if you’re preparing ahead.)

Caesar Salad

7 garlic cloves
3/4 cup real mayonnaise
4 canned, rolled anchovy fillets with capers, drained
2 tablespoons fresh-grated Parmesan, plus some shaved for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 loaf of French bread (a baguette works best)
Hearts of romaine lettuce—approximately 3-4 pieces per serving

Mince 3 garlic cloves in processor. Add mayonnaise, anchovies with capers, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and process to blend. Transfer to medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Make croutons: Trim the crusts from the French bread and cut into 21/2-inch thick slices. Carefully hollow out each slice, creating bread rings. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over low heat. Cut remaining 4 garlic cloves in half. Add to skillet and cook until garlic is golden brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove garlic from skillet and discard. Add croutons, turning to brown evenly. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

To assemble salad, place a large spoonful of dressing in center of serving plate and spread to form a circle. Put crouton in center of dressing. Place 3-4 lettuce leaves upright in crouton. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese. (Use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese.) Wine pairing: Chateau Moncontour Vouvray (France).

Grapefruit & Campari Sorbet

Serve this refresher between salad and main course.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups red grapefruit juice
1/4 cup Campari (an Italian liquor)

Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add grapefruit juice and Campari. Chill about 1 hour. Freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Individual Beef Wellington with Bourdelaise Sauce

1 5-6-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 3-4-inch steaks

Sauté steaks in butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread paté on one side of steak and place paté side-down on puff pastry sheet. Fold corners up and seal. Brush with egg wash and bake in hot (425-degree) oven for 10-12 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Place Bordelaise sauce on plate and top with Beef Wellington.

Paté Ingredients

1/4 pound chicken livers
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dry Madeira wine
1/2 cup duxelles (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons soft white breadcrumbs

Brown livers and chopped shallots in butter. Add Madeira and simmer for 3 minutes covered. Purée liver, shallots and duxelles in blender or food processor. Add breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet. Season and cool.

Duxelles Ingredients

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shallots, chopped

Sauté in butter until moisture from mushrooms is evaporated. Season with salt/pepper. Can multiply recipe, as it freezes well.

Bordelaise Sauce Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter or margarine2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small bay leaf
4 peppercorns
2 tablespoons flour
2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley, if desired
Dash ground thyme, if desired

Melt butter in saucepan. Sauté onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf and peppercorns in butter ’til tender. Add flour; cook until golden brown. Gradually add beef bouillon and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Strain to remove vegetables before serving. Add parsley and thyme. Serve warm.

Parisienne Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds large white potatoes, peeled, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using a 3/4-inch round or larger melon ball cutter, scoop balls from potatoes. In heavy skillet with lid, heat the butter and olive oil. When light brown in color, add potato balls and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, shaking the pan or stirring every 5 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown and tender in the center.

Carrots Vichy

5-6 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped parsley

Place all ingredients into a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over high heat until carrots soften and sugar begins to caramelize. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Wine pairing: Errazuriz Maximano Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile).

Poached Pears with Amaretto Cream

1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
6 small firm pears such as Bosc, cored from bottom with stem intact
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Amaretto
6 Amaretti cookies, crumbled

In a medium-sized, nonreactive saucepan, combine the wine, water, bay leaf, lemon zest, 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pears. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the pears are tender. Baste the pears with the liquid several times during cooking. Transfer the pears with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool. Put the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar begins to foam around the edges. Continue to cook without stirring until it turns dark brown and caramelizes. At the same time in a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of heavy cream over low heat. Very carefully, stir the hot cream, a little at a time, into the caramelized sugar. Stir in the liqueur, then transfer to a bowl to cool completely. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the remaining cup of cream to soft peaks. Fold in the liqueur-flavored cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stand the pears upright and spoon the chilled cream over them, and sprinkle with the Amaretti crumbs. Suggested liqueur: Disaronno Armaretto.