Creative cookbook recipes


Story by Carly Schultz

Don’t dredge up the same old recipes and marinate in the familiar fare you serve every winter. Throw some new apps, entrees, sweets and sides into the mix that you can find in crafty cookbooks at local locations. From chicken to cakes, pancakes to pies and salads to seafood, whip up a mouth-watering menu for your family gatherings and garnish your table with gorgeous dishes sure to clarify your cooking cred.

Don’t move a mussel

Mastering seafood dishes can be a Hilton Head hurdle, except when
“Surf-Side Eating: Relaxed Recipes Inspired by Coastal Living” is sitting on your kitchen countertop. These recipes, curated by the expert food and drink editors at Ryland Peters & Small, walk you through easy, breezy break-of-dawn breakfasts to late-night desserts and help you prepare seafood staples like this mussel dish by Laura Santi, who adds a healthy kick of sake to the mix.

Sake Mussels

2 pounds, 3 ounces cultivated mussels, rinsed & scrubbed
1 cup sake
2 tablespoons umami paste
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 large, ripe tomatoes
Fresh fat-leaf parsley and chives, chopped, to serve

DIRECTIONS [1] Make sure the mussels are clean and any tendrils (‘beards’) are removed from the sides of the shells. Discard any that are open or open when tapped. [2] Mix the sake with the umami paste, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Place a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. When hot, add the mussels, sake mixture and tomatoes and cover tightly with the lid. Steam for 3–4 minutes. [3] When the mussels are cooked, the shells should have opened. Discard any mussels that are still closed. [4] Place the mussels and sauce in a serving bowl and scatter with parsley and chives.



Pie in the sky

For divine pies that taste like they were sent from heaven, try a recipe from “Pies, Glorious Pies: Brilliant Recipes for Mouth-Wateringly Tasty Pies,” by Maxine Clark. Master your pastry-making skills creating sweet and savory selections including this pecan pie with a secret not in its sauce, but in its filling with a beloved whiskey addition. Be careful not to overcook this piece of paradise.

American Pie Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
A good pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening, chilled and diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons ice-cold water

DIRECTIONS [1] Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and cut in the fat with two round-bladed knives until thoroughly combined (you can also do this in a food processor). [2] In a separate bowl, mix together the beaten egg, vinegar and water. Pour this wet mixture into the dry mixture and cut it in with the knives again. [3] Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth (or knead it in the bowl), then shape into a flattened ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and using in the recipe.

PRO TIP: The uncooked dough can be frozen in flattened balls, ready to thaw and roll out as required.


Jack D’s Pecan Pie

½ quantity American Pie Crust
2 ¾ cups pecan nut halves
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups black treacle or molasses
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons Jack Daniel’s whiskey
2 tablespoons plain/ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS [1] Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the pie plate, then chill for 30 minutes. Prick the base all over with a fork, then line with baking parchment or kitchen foil and baking beans and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. [2] Remove the foil and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out the pastry. Leave to cool. [3] Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Chop half the pecan halves finely, reserving the remaining half for decoration. [4] In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs lightly until pale and frothy. Whisk in the treacle or molasses, melted butter and whiskey. Stir in the flour, nutmeg and salt. [5] Scatter the chopped nuts evenly over the pastry base, then pour in the treacle mix and level the surface. [6] Arrange the remaining pecan halves over the surface of the pie in concentric circles, starting at the center and working outwards. [7] Set the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35–45 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is just set in the middle. Cool for up to 15 minutes before serving as the filling will be very hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Our Georgian neighbors with the Junior League of Savannah baked in some history about their city’s 24 picturesque squares amidst 140 scrumptious recipes in “On the Squares, Savannah Style: A Cookbook Celebrating Georgia’s First City.” The 176-page culinary colossus showcases modern Southern cuisine dishes, cooking tips and beverage and condiment suggestions. Founded in 1926 the Junior League of Savannah champions volunteerism, leadership and superlative baked goods, including this delicious cake made with a sprinkle of pink and a dash of fruity essence.

Palmetto Pink Cake


1 cup chopped strawberries
2 cups, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs 1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS [1] Combine the strawberries, 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl and let stand for a few minutes until the strawberries release their juice. [2] Heat the oven to 350°, then grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, tapping out the excess flour. Beat the butter in a mixer on medium-low speed. [3] Add the remaining 2 cups of sugar, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high and scrape down the sides of the bowl. [4] Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix just until combined. [5] Drain and reserve the liquid from the strawberries to use in the strawberry buttercream frosting. Gently fold the strawberries into the batter, then divide the batter between the cake pans. [6] Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cakes test done, then cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting between the layers, over the top and sides of the cake.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Strawberry juice reserved from cake recipe
Red food coloring (optional)

Milk, as needed

DIRECTIONS [1] Beat the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well, then add a pinch of salt. [2] Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. The consistency will become very thick. [3] Add enough strawberry juice to thin and flavor the frosting. Add a drop or two of food coloring, if desired. [4] If the icing is still too thick, beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

Beaufort local Debbi Covington serves up 148 recipes in “Celebrate Beaufort” that gives an inside look into her award-winning catering standouts cultivated specifically for her Lowcountry clientele. With a combination of natural ingredients and simple preparation, enjoy a rewarding culinary experience by dressing up your mixed greens via this refreshing Jean Ribault Salad recipe, along with a coveted red wine vinaigrette.

Jean Ribault Salad

INGREDIENTS (vinaigrette)

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 cups mixed salad greens
1 small bunch red seedless grapes, halved
1 medium red delicious apple, cut into cubes
1 (4-ounce) packaged salami, cut into thin strips
1 (8-ounce) container goat cheese crumbles

⅓ cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS [1] Whisk the vinegar, mustard, sugar and olive oil together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. [2] Place mixed greens in a large bowl and toss lightly, to taste, with red wine vinaigrette. [3] Top with grape halves, apple cubes, salami and goat cheese and garnish with toasted walnuts.


Chef Carol Hilker’s recipe for Buttermilk Blini Pancakes in “Lazy Day Brunches: Relaxed Recipes for the Morning” can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner when you add smoked salmon and a dollop of horseradish cream on top. Just one of this cookbook’s 65 recipes, these blinis will take your brunch to a whole new level and bedazzle your table, family, neighbors and friends.

Buttermilk Blini Pancakes with Salmon & Horseradish Cream

1 1/3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely snipped chives, plus extra for sprinkling
1/3 cup milk
1 cup crème fraîche
1 heaping tablespoon creamed horseradish
1–2 tablespoons butter, for frying

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS [1] To make the pancake batter, put the flour, baking powder, egg yolks, buttermilk, sugar and chives in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Season well with salt and pepper, then gradually add the milk until the batter is smooth and pourable. [2] In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whisked egg whites into the batter mixture using a spatula. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. For the horseradish cream, whisk together the crème fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. [3] When you are ready to serve, remove the batter mixture from the fridge and stir once. Put a little butter in a large frying pan/ skillet set over a medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and coat the base of the pan, then ladle small amounts of the rested batter into the pan, leaving a little space between each. Cook until the underside of each pancake is golden brown and a few bubbles start to appear on the top – this will take about 2–3 minutes. Turn the pancake over using a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown. [4] Serve the pancakes warm, topped with slices of smoked salmon, a generous spoon of the horseradish cream and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top. Sprinkle with extra-snipped chives.

For quick and easy recipes, “Sharing Food with Friends: Casual Dining Ideas and Inspiring Recipes for Platters, Boards and Small Bites” by Kathy Kordalis fits the bill of fare – especially this non-pastry chicken pie recipe sure to satisfy the pickiest of eaters and those searching for gluten-free options. It’s simple to make, but packs a punch in its presentation.

Chicken Pie topped with Potato & Thyme Crust


4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon flavorless oil
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons plain/ all-purpose flour (gluten-free if desired)
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons double/ heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg Sea salt

2 pounds, 3 ounces small Desirée potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
8 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS [1] Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pan, add the leeks, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes until starting to soften. [2] Add the chicken and cook gently without coloring for up to 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. [3] Pour in the wine and stir continuously, making sure the wine reduces and the sauce thickens. [4] Pour in the chicken stock one-third at a time, stirring continuously and making sure the sauce is thick and smooth before adding the next batch. [5] Add the bay leaf, cover the pan and cook gently for 1 hour. Stir in the mustards, cream and freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Add salt if needed. [6] Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the thinly sliced potatoes and boil for 12 minutes, remove from heat and drain well. Spread them out in a layer to allow the excess water to evaporate. [7] Place the chicken mixture into a pie dish (9½ inches in diameter) and carefully lay the potatoes on top of the filling, overlapping them slightly, like a pie top. [8] Brush the potatoes with a little melted butter, season with salt and pepper and top with the thyme. Cook in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes until cooked and golden brown.

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