Recipes and Stories

2 October 2015: Walter Dasher’s Port-Braised Short Ribs

October 2, 2015

Tags: Autumn Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Walter Dasher, Braised Short Ribs, Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

Walter Dasher's sublime Port-Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Mashed Potatoes, photographed by John Carrington in the dining room of the historic Battersby-Hartridge House
The first days of fall in Savannah were actually almost like fall—cooler, low-humidity, and believe it or not, even a few turning leaves—just enough to really tease the senses and get our palates primed for fall flavors.

This being the Georgia Lowcountry, of course, the weather was soon back to hot and steamy. Now, a tropical storm bringing rain by the gallon is running up against a cold front bringing the cooler temperatures—the perfect weather for indulging an autumnal palate.

It’s just the kind of weather for braised short ribs, (more…)

24 July 2015: Chicken and Corn Chowder

July 24, 2015

Tags: Corn, Corn Chowder, Chicken and Corn Chowder, Seafood Chowder, Classic Southern Cooking, Savannah Cookery, The Savannah Cookbook, Soup

Savannah Chicken and Corn Chowder, photographed in the dining room of the Historic Green-Meldrim House by John Carrington Photography
25 July 2015 Chicken and Corn Chowder

A lovely compensations for the intense, wet heat that settles over Savannah each summer like a warm wet blanket, is fresh sweet corn. And a popular, if a bit ironic, way of having that corn is in chowder, a rich yet simple soup that has been a fixture in Savannah for at least a century.

Recipes for it have been turning up in community cookbooks since the end of the nineteenth century, (more…)

13 July 2015: Vidalia Sweet Onion Season

July 13, 2015

Tags: Onions, Stuffed Onions, Vidalia Sweet Onions, Classic Southern Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Elizabeth Terry

Vidalia Sweet Onion stuffed with sausage and pecans. Photography by John Carrington Photography
No one who has spent more than five minutes in an American kitchen needs to be retold the story of Vidalia Sweet Onions. Most of us know how a low sulfur content in the soil and warm, damp growing season conspired to produce an unusually sweet, moisture-rich bulb that became one of the earliest regional American food products to be protected by law.

What you may not know is that because they’re so juicy, they mold and rot more easily than other onions and therefore don’t keep as well. (more…)

5 August 2012: Maharaja’s Burra Peg

August 5, 2012

Tags: Champagne cocktails, Maharaja's Burra Peg, The Savannah Cookbook, Historic Cocktails, Chatham Artillery Punch

Mahraja's Burra Peg, photographed by John Carrington
When the weather turns lethally hot in August, it will surprise no one who has ever been near Savannah to learn that a popular local prescription for relief is both old fashioned and alcoholic: the champagne cocktail. Though the popularity of these concoctions peaked in the 1940s and 50s, their roots go back at least to the late eighteenth century, when champagne punches were popularized by the likes of England’s Prince Regent George IV. (more…)

4 August 2012: More Summer Tomatoes

August 4, 2012

Tags: Tomatoes, Green Beans, French Beans, Savannah Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Classical Southern Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Summer Cooking

Young Green beans, which often go by their swanky French name, "haricots verts"--in fresh tomato sauce -- photography by John Carrington, from The Savannah Cookbook
While summer tomatoes are still at their peak, indeed, overflowing in some home gardens, here is another lovely thing to do with them.

I submit this in response to the persistent myth that Southerners historically had no subtlety with the vegetable pot: it comes from a late nineteenth century Savannah manuscript. (more…)

3 August 2012: Seafood-Stuffed Tomatoes

August 3, 2012

Tags: Fresh Tomatoes, Shrimp, Crab, Seafood, Classical Southern Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Lowcountry Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, The Texas Cook Book

Savannah Seafood-Stuffed Tomatoes, from The Savannah Cookbook; photography by John Carrington
Fresh tomatoes, sweet shrimp, and delicate blue crab have a great affinity for one another, so it is no surprise to find any two of them combined in the pot wherever they all thrive, but especially in the tidewater regions of the Deep South. There’s Crab and Tomato Stew, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp and Tomato Pie, Seafood Gumbo—as many variations as there are coastal cooks. One of the loveliest and simplest ways of combining them, however, is when ripe tomatoes are used as a delicate casing for what amounts to a shellfish gratin. (more…)

22 June 2012: Sherried Shrimp

June 23, 2012

Tags: Classical Southern Cooking, The Savannah Cookbook, Historical Savannah Cooking, Sherried Shrimp, Connie Hartridge, Shrimp

Elizabeth Malone Smart's Sherried Shrimp, from the Savannah Cookbook, photographed in the Battersby-Hartridge House by John Carrington.
While researching material for The Savannah Cookbook, one hot, rainy late-June afternoon (the kind that makes Savannah’s pavements steam and its air take on the heavy, sticky quality that has earned summers here the nickname “hot mayonnaise season”), I found myself in the wide, double-drawing room of the handsome Greek Revival Battersby-Hartridge House. While the outdoors was steamy and damp, the room, with its generous windows, lofty ceilings, and many tall mirrors, was airy and cool. (more…)