It’s Summertime here in Williamsburg, and today we’re bringing you three recipes that are perfect for the season and come with a little colonial history. No need to stoke the fire, let’s head to the kitchen and get started!
First up, let’s talk about Creamed Celery. It may sound odd, but this dish is actually referenced in the Williamsburg Cookbook as part of the menu from the original King’s Arms Tavern. Traditionally, this is more like a casserole of celery with butter, cream and flour, sprinkled with pecans and breadcrumbs, but we’ve found a more updated take on this colonial offering.
This is a recipe for Cream of Celery Soup (by Elise Bauer)
It’s a light, flavorful take on traditional creamed celery with leeks, onions, and garlic that is a delightful way to start a summer meal:
3 Tbsp butter, divided into 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
5 cups of chopped celery, and 1 1/2 cups of diced celery (from one large bunch of celery or two small bunches)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup of cream
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish
Sauté onions, leeks, 5 cups of chopped celery: Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a thick-bottomed 4 to 5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the diced onion, the leeks, and 5 cups of the chopped celery.
Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.
Add stock, bay leaves, salt, then simmer: Add the chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot. Taste for salt and add salt. (If you are using unsalted butter and unsalted stock, you will need to add more salt than you expect, if not, maybe just a little salt will be needed.)
Increase heat to bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Braise remaining celery to soften: While the soup is simmering, prepare the extra celery that will be added later to the soup. In a separate small sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter on medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups diced celery to the butter.
Ladle 1/2 cup of the simmering stock from the soup pot into the sauté pan. Simmer on low for 5 or 6 minutes to soften the celery. Set aside.
Purée soup: Remove the soup pot from heat, let cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender, filling the blender no more than a third full at a time (keep your hand on the lid so the hot liquid doesn’t explode). Return the puréed soup to the pot.
Stir in the cream and the braised diced celery.
Taste for salt and add more if needed. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives or parsley to serve.
Virginia has always relied on the Chesapeake Bay for plenty of fresh fish, mollusks, and crabs. Blue Crabs in particular were quite a big part of Virginia’s farming and eating traditions during its formation and throughout its history (you can read all about it and the Chesapeaks Blue Crab Fishery here ).
Today no summer party in Tidewater feels complete without an element of the sea, so try these Old Bay Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Peppers (from Ali at Home and Plate)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs Parmesan and herb flavored
1/2 red pepper roasted and diced
4 green onions diced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1 pound lump crab meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix together all the ingredients well, using your hands if necessary. Shape into eight patties. Be sure to refrigerate the crab cakes for about 30 minutes before cooking. It helps to keep them together while cooking.
Using a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the crab cakes to the pan when hot. Fry them flipping once until golden brown on each side, for a total of about 5 to 6 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges or cocktail sauce.
Finally, here’s a refreshing sweet drink bursting with citrus flavor. During the 18th century, you could find a treat known as an Orange Cream, a beverage made from oranges, water, sugar, and eggs. English author Hannah Glasse included her recipe in a collection entitled “Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”, which was revised in the United States in 1796.
Here is a recipe for an Orange Julius, a more modern take on this classic fruit concoction. (by Kelli Foster)
Makes 2 drinks
1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitutes, check package for equivalence)
1 1/2 cups ice
Blend the milk and vanilla: Pour the milk and vanilla in a blender and pulse until combined.
Add the frozen concentrate: Add the frozen orange juice concentrate. Blend until fully combined with the milk.
Add the sugar and ice cubes: Blend until cubes are crushed and mixture has thickened. If things end up a little thick, just add a tablespoon of water and mix once again.
Pour and enjoy: Pour the drink into glasses. Serve with a straw and sip your way to blissful happiness.
We hope these help bring a little colonial flair to your summertime fare and help you soak up this beautiful Virginia season. From all of us at the Fife and Drum Inn, happy cooking!
Tried any of these recipes? Comment below and share!