Carolina on My Mind

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When our friend Angela entertains guests on her home turf—the beautiful and vibrant Charleston, South Carolina—she channels centuries of Southern hostesses and does hospitality proud.  Perchance, on steroids.

Over our three-and-a-half-day adventure through the culinary arts of her kitchen (and the general environs, which are no slouch either, in case you were wondering), we basked in her genial warmth, delighted in the company of her charming parents and reveled in the warm comfort of sumptuous food—both fancy and down-home traditional—while packing on the pounds for winter during the apogee of beach season.

We arrived ravenous after our 8-ish hour road trip from D.C., upon strict orders not to eat after 3 p.m.  Welcomed with a cocktail, we were ushered into the kitchen where home-grown tomatoes were already sliced and final preparations for the Southern chicken pie (the flaky biscuit topping, yum) were under way. But first: a sublime, smokey, silky creamed poblano soup. (I didn’t poll the crew, but this cold-warm slurp of perfection topped the ticket for me, a sucker for smoked chilies.) And dessert? Red velvet cake.

Not an hour into our tenure in South Carolina, and we were in stomach-stretching mode. Over the course of the long weekend, we sampled the glories of the garden, the delights of local restaurants, the ridiculous bounty of farmers’ markets, the marvels of the sea and Angela’s regular one-upping of her own alchemy—to the point that we asked where the Food & Wine camera crew was and whether we should change into sundresses and floppy hats. I offer, as Exhibit 1, the homemade gazpacho and shrimp salad sandwiches for our trip to the beach, packed into a cooler!

Here’s a taste of the menu:

Chilled Cream of Poblano Pepper Soup

Southern Chicken Pie

Salmon Salad Sandwiches

Bacon and Spinach Quiche

Feta and Green Onion Quiche

Slow-Cooker Mustard Pork BBQ Sandwiches


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