Crafty in the kitchen

Local chefs and restaurants share a few of their favorite recipes.

No matter your skill level, when it comes to cooking and baking, these recipes from some of the Lowcountry’s favorite chefs and restaurants will guide you through, step by step. Take a look and see what you can create in the kitchen next. 

Get sticky with it 

Charlie’s L’etoile Verte says its caramel cake recipe is best served with Hilton Head Ice Cream Company’s caramel flavored ice cream, but a nice quality vanilla ice cream would work just as well.

Charlie’s L’etoile VerteSimple Southern caramel layer cake

Ingredients (cake) 

3 1/2 cups flour

3 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cup milk

Ingredients (icing) 

2 sticks butter

2 cups dark brown sugar

2 cups light brown sugar 

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups 4x powdered sugar

Directions [1] For the cake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake rounds. [2] Begin by sifting the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a small mixing bowl, blend the eggs, milk, and vanilla together. [3] Next, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a stand-up mixer using the paddle attachment. Alternate combining the wet and dry ingredients in three additions; scrape the bowl between each addition. [4] Divide the batter into the three pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. [5] For the icing, blend butter, brown sugar, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally to avoid burning, bring the mix to a rolling boil, making sure that all the sugar granules have dissolved. [6] Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Beat in the 4X powdered sugar until the icing is to the consistency to spread. If the icing gets too hard, you may add canned milk to thin. [7] Next, assemble the cake by pouring a layer of caramel icing between each thin layer of cake and then icing the entire cake. Place in refrigerator to set.

Let’s get crackin’ 

Elevate your lobster dish with this recipe from Lulu Kitchen. The ginger-carrot emulsion brings a whole new flavor to play around with.

Lulu KitchenLobster crepes

Ingredients (filling) 

3 1/4 cups lobster meat

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 tablespoon finely minced shallots

1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients (crepe) 

1 cup flour

Pinch Kosher salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

1 tablespoon minced chives

Ingredients (ginger-carrot emulsion)

Juice of 3 carrots

1 tablespoon ginger juice

2 tablespoons heavy cream

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Ingredients (pea shoot salad)

1/2 cup pea tendrils

Lemon oil

Pinch minced shallots

Kosher salt

Directions [1] Small dice the lobster meat. Do not use claw tips. Cut off, zip lock, and freeze for further use. Mix together with the remaining filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until use. [2] For the crepe, mix flour and salt and make a well in center. [3] Whisk eggs and milk and pour into well. Whisk together; then whisk in butter until incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and blend in chives. [4] Using a non-stick pan, brush pan with small amount of butter. Over medium heat, add just enough batter to coat the bottom. Swirl to make as thin as possible. [5] Cook until just released, flip, and cook for 10 seconds. Set on tray with parchment paper between each crepe. [6] For the ginger-carrot emulsion, place juices in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Remove first layer of foam. [7] Simmer for 12 minutes, reduce to 3/4 cup. Do not skim again. [8] Add cream and reduce by 1/3. [9] One at a time, whisk in cold butter. Add next one after each is incorporated. [10] For the pea shoot salad, toss ingredients together right before plating. [11] To plate, preheat oven to 275 degrees. [12] Spoon 1/4 cup filling into crepe and fold crepe under itself. Place on non-stick tray with folded side down. Place in oven for 4-5 minutes, just to warm. [13] Spoon emulsion onto plate and spread into circle. Center warm crepe onto sauce and top with pea salad. 

Keep your eyes on the pie

Add a seafood twist on this ultimate comfort-food dish from The Salty Dog Cafe. Customizing the dish with your favorite fresh fish will keep the flavor opportunities endless.

Salty Dog CafeSeafood pot pie


1 pound of your favorite fresh fish

16 scallops

20 medium peeled and deveined shrimp

1/4 cup diced shallots 

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup diced carrots

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup diced pimentos

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

4 ready-made puff pastry toppings

1 egg

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

Directions [1] Make a roux by melting butter and whisking flour for 2-3 minutes until light brown. Set aside. [2] In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute shallot, carrots, celery, corn, and pimentos for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. [3] Whisk in the roux a little at a time until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. [4] Take a large sheet of puff pastry and cut it into 2 inch strips and lattice them together like a basket. Brush with an egg wash and bake on a sheet tray at 350 degrees until golden brown. Set aside. [5] Saute 4 ounces of fresh fish, 4-5 scallops, and 5-6 shrimp in a little butter until cooked. Add some of the pot pie sauce and bring up to temperature. Place in a deep bowl and top with puff pastry. Yields 4 servings.

Lime feelin’ good

If you’re craving a sweet pie as opposed to savory, this refreshing, citrusy recipe from The Salty Dog Cafe should do the trick. 

Salty Dog CafeHomemade key lime pie


1/2 cup pecans

2 1/2 cups graham crackers

6 eggs

The zest of 4 limes

3 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk

1 1/3 cup Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice

Directions [1] Toast 1/2 cup of pecans at 300 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then puree in food processor. [2] Puree enough graham crackers to make 2 1/2 cups. Mix pecans and graham crackers with 1/2 cup of melted butter until well combined. [3] Place 2 cups of pie crust in a lightly greased pie pan. Build up the sides pressing firmly. Add rest of crust to fill the bottom. [4] Mix together all the remaining ingredients until thick and smooth. [5] Place in pie shell and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Yields 1 pie. 

Make it pop

Whatever your age, who doesn’t love popcorn chicken? This recipe from Berkeley Hall takes a beloved meal to the next level with flavors from barbecue sauce, Indian butter sauce and more.

Berkeley HallSpiced popcorn chicken 


1 diced chicken breast

2 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar 

4 cups water

2 cups buttermilk

4 cups flour

12 large kale leaves, ribs removed

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons barbecue sauce

Directions [1] Dissolve sugar and salt in water. Add chicken and let soak for two hours. [2] Remove chicken from salt water and cover with buttermilk. [3] Add fried chicken spice mixture (see recipe) to flour and mix. [4] Remove chicken from buttermilk and toss in seasoned flour. Remove from flour and place on tray for 15 minutes. Toss in flour again and deep fry. Drain fried chicken. [5] For barbecue spice kale, toss kale with barbecue spice (see recipe) and canola oil. Lay in single layer on sheet pan and bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes or until crisp. [6] Place chicken butter sauce (see recipe) in center of plate and spread fried chicken around sauce. Garnish with kale chips and pickled cauliflower (see recipe on the right). 

Pickled cauliflower


4 garlic cloves, halved

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 head (2 pounds) cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

3 teaspoons kosher salt

3 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions [1] Divide garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and dill evenly between two jars. Fill to top with cauliflower florets. [2] In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour into jars. If needed, top off with water. Refrigerate for 2 days before using. 

Indian chicken butter sauce


1/2 cup butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped

1 medium tomato, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 chicken broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions [1] In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until onions start to brown. [2] Add the tomato, jalapeno, fenugreek, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook until the jalapeno is soft, about 10 minutes. [3] Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. [4] Remove from heat and let the sauce cool for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. If you have an emulsion blender, you can use that to puree the sauce in the pot instead and you don’t need to wait for it to cool. [5] Return the sauce to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and tomato paste. Simmer for another 5 minutes. [6] Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or allow the sauce to cool for about 2 hours, and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Fried chicken spice mix


5 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon thyme

1 tablespoon coriander

3 tablespoons granulated garlic

1 tablespoon paprika

Mix all ingredients.

Barbecue spice


2 tablespoons paprika

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoons thyme

Combine all ingredients.

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