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Pimento Cheese Spread

Makes 2 cups.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 8 oz. sharp Cheddar, grated

• 1/3 c. cream cheese, softened

• 2 oz. jarred pimento peppers, chopped

• 1/2 c. mayonnaise

• 1 tsp. red chile flakes

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1 tbsp. fresh chives, for garnish


In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients by hand to distribute evenly, then pulse in a food processor for about 30 seconds or until the consistency is even, working in batches if necessary. Garnish with fresh chives and serve with chips or toast points.

Salad Cups With Buttermilk Dressing

Makes 12 to 15.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 1 head butter lettuce, with leaves separated

• 1/2 c. chopped bacon, cooked

• 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1 avocado, sliced into strips, optional

• 1/2 c. Buttermilk Dressing (see recipe)

• 1 tbsp. chives, chopped


Assemble the lettuce leaves on a plate as the cups. Fill with the bacon, tomatoes and avocado. Drizzle with Buttermilk Dressing and garnish with chives.

Buttermilk Dressing

Makes 1 cup.

Note: For best results, make this in advance. From Amelia Rayno.

• 3 tbsp. mayonnaise

• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

• 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• Salt and pepper to taste

•1/2 c. buttermilk

• 1 tbsp. olive oil


Mix together mayo, mustard, chives, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, gradually add buttermilk and oil. For best results, chill for at least 2 hours.

Shrimp Hush Puppies

Makes 20 to 25.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 1 1/2 c. peeled and deveined shrimp

• 3 eggs

• 1 1/2 c. buttermilk

• 2 large shallots, diced

• 1 1/2 c. cornmeal

• 1 c. flour

• 1/3 c. sugar

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 tsp. baking soda

• About 4 c. oil (canola and peanut oil work)


Remove the tails from the shrimp, chop the meat into 1-inch-size pieces and set aside.

Combine eggs and buttermilk in a bowl and, using an electric mixer, whip mixture for about 1 minute. Add the shallots, stir and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix completely. Mix in shrimp pieces.

Heat oil in deep pot over medium-high. When oil has reached about 350 degrees — or a torn piece of bread bubbles rapidly when tossed in — carefully add heaping spoonfuls of the batter to the oil one at a time, and fry about 5 minutes, or until golden and floating. It may be necessary to work in batches. Allow to cool on a paper towel on a plate.

Cornmeal-Fried Chicken Drumettes With Hot Honey Mustard Sauce

Makes 10.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• About 4 c. oil (canola and peanut oil work well)

• 3/4 c. cornstarch

• 2 eggs

• 1/2 c. breadcrumbs (the rougher, the better)

• 1/2 c. cornmeal

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. paprika

• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

• 1/2 tsp. chili powder

• 10 skin-on chicken drumettes


Put the oil in a small but deep pot and heat to medium high.

Spread the cornstarch in a thin layer on a plate, set aside.

In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs, set aside to the right of the cornstarch.

Whisk together the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, salt, paprika, garlic powder and chili powder.

Spread in a thin layer on another plate, and set aside to the right of the eggs.

Working from left to right, coat each piece of chicken first in the cornstarch, then in the egg mixture, then the cornmeal mixture.

When the oil has reached about 350 degrees — or a torn piece of bread bubbles rapidly when tossed in — carefully add the drumettes to the oil one at a time, using metal tongs, and fry about 1 minute, or until golden and floating. It may be necessary to work in batches. Allow to cool on a paper towel on a plate.

Hot Honey Mustard

Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 1/2 c. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 c. grainy mustard

• 1/4 c. honey

• 1 tbsp. hot sauce

• 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir well.

Peach-Thyme Rum Smash

Makes 1

Note: This uses the official state fruit of Georgia. If you can’t find crushed ice, place a handful of ice cubes on a clean cloth napkin and fold over. Use a meat tenderizer to smash the ice in the crease of the napkin. From Amelia Rayno.

• 2 oz. white or barrel-aged rum

• 2 oz. peach nectar

• 1 oz. thyme simple syrup (see Note and directions below)

• 15 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish

• Crushed ice


To make simple syrup: Heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a pot over medium heat until the sugar dissolves fully. Add 14 sprigs of thyme (reserve remaining sprig for garnish) and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the thyme and allow the syrup to cool. You will use only 1 ounce of this.

To make the drink: In a shaker, combine rum, nectar and simple syrup with several ice cubes and shake well. Pour over a glass filled to the top with crushed ice, and garnish with the remaining sprig of thyme.


Lobster Roll Sliders

Makes 4.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 4 lobster tails, about 6 oz. each

• 2 tbsp. mayo

• 1/4 c. chopped celery

• 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped

• 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

•1 tsp. fresh chives, chopped, plus more for garnish

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 4 slider rolls

• 1 tbsp. butter, melted


In a steamer basket or colander placed over boiling water, steam the lobster tails, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes until the shells are red and the meat is opaque. Allow to cool, then remove the meat and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the mayo, celery, tarragon, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Fold in the lobster. Slice the buns in half vertically, and broil in an oven for a minute on each side or until toasted. Spread the butter inside, then carefully press your thumbs into the inside of the bread to make more room. Fill the cavity with the lobster mix; garnish with chives.

Best Clam Chowder

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: From Sam Sifton of the New York Times.

• 24 medium-size quahog clams, usually called ‘‘top neck’’ or ‘‘cherrystone,’’ rinsed

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1/4 lb. slab bacon or salt pork, diced

• 2 leeks, tops removed, halved and cleaned, then sliced into half-moons

• 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

• 1/2 c. dry white wine

• 3 sprigs fresh thyme

• 1 bay leaf

• 2 c. cream

• Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 1/4 c. chopped parsley


Put the clams in a large, heavy Dutch oven, add about 4 cups water, then set over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Clams that fail to open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or doubled-up paper towels, and set aside. Remove clams from shells, and set aside as well.

Rinse out the pot, and return it to the stove. Add butter, and turn heat to medium-low. Add bacon or salt pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pork has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from fat, and set aside.

Add the leeks to the fat, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and wine, and continue cooking until wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add enough clam broth to just cover the potatoes, approximately 3 cups, reserving the rest for another use. Add the thyme and the bay leaf.

Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits about the size of the bacon dice.

When potatoes are tender, add cream and stir in chopped clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let come to a simmer, and remove from heat. (Do not let chowder come to a full boil.) Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard.

The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it to a bare simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.

Beer-Battered Oysters or Scallops

Makes 24.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 3/4 c. flour

• 1/4 c. cornmeal

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1/2 c. beer

• 24 shucked oysters with their juices, or 24 baby scallops

• About 3 c. oil (canola and peanut oil work well)


Whisk together the flour, cornmeal and salt. Add egg and beer, mixing well.

Heat oil in deep pot over medium high heat. When oil has reached about 350 degrees — or a torn piece of bread bubbles rapidly when tossed in — carefully dip each oyster or scallop into the batter, drop in the oil and fry about 5 minutes, or until golden and floating. It may be necessary to work in batches. Allow to cool on a paper towel on a plate.

Berry Old Fashioned

Makes 1.

Note: This is a cocktail with a history almost as old as Boston’s, and it makes use of Massachusetts’ state fruit and New England’s colors. The frozen berries add more color and flavor to the drink than fresh do. From Amelia Rayno.

• 2 oz. bourbon

• 2 oz. cranberry-raspberry juice

• 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

• 10 frozen blueberries

• Fresh blueberry, raspberry or blackberry and orange peel, for garnish


In a shaker, combine the bourbon, juice, frozen blueberries and bitters with several ice cubes. Shake well. Pour over ice and garnish with the fresh berries and the orange peel.