By Karin Glendenning
Community News Writer
Sandra and David Kesler love to entertain and now have a new space where they can host a large group of friends. They added the outdoor room, which is covered with a high, vaulted roof and open on the sides with a large mountain stone fireplace and short stone walls on three sides, to the rear of their home where their deck once was. Furnished with dark brown wicker furniture and an iron table and chairs, it is a tranquil spot to relax as well as roomy enough to seat a crowd.
The Keslers have lived for years on a quiet street in Old Towne where they raised their three children, now grown. Involved in church and community activities, they enjoy big family gatherings as well as smaller, more intimate dinner parties.
The couple just returned from a family beach trip where Mrs. Kesler said they cooked most evenings. “We take turns cooking at night.” She said, adding that her children and their spouses have turned out to be great cooks.
“Will loves to grill and smoke things. Scott cooks more gourmet food and Ann, who lives in Philadelphia, cooks more northern dishes,” she said.
Originally from South Carolina, Mrs. Kesler said that her cooking has evolved to what it is today. She grew up having Beaufort Stew (aka Low Country Boil) and lots of seafood dishes. “I don’t cook those things often here, and now try to cook lighter,” she said, but added that her family dined on Barbecued Shrimp while at the beach.
“To me the challenge in cooking is to have something really good and tasty that is also healthy,” she said.
Mrs. Kesler said that many of her recipes are sentimental favorites that she has collected over the years. For example, the pound cake included below came from her sister. The other recipes she shares with readers today are ones her family favors.
2 cups butter
2 cups olive oil
3/4 cup Worcestershire
6 tablespoons pepper
4 lemons, sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
4 teaspoons salt
8 pounds medium or jumbo raw shrimp, unpeeled
Heat butter and olive oil in saucepan. Add Worcestershire, pepper, lemons, Tabasco, garlic, paprika and salt. Mix thoroughly and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Divide shrimp between 2 Dutch ovens and pour heated sauce over each batch. Cook over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp begin to turn pink. (Shrimp may be prepared up to this point and refrigerated overnight.) Bake uncovered at 450 for 10 minutes, turning shrimp once. Serve in a soup bowl with French bread on the side for dipping in the sauce. Serves 8.
ALMOND BRANDY SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE
1 and 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 to 3 tablespoons brandy
Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour 1 Bundt pan plus 1 loaf pan (or 3 loaf pans). Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream. In separate bowl, sift flour, soda and salt together. Add gradually to butter mixture, mixing well. Add vanilla, brandy and almond extract and mix well. Bake Bundt pan for 1 hour and loaf pan (s) for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cakes to rack to finish cooling.
RED POTATO SALAD
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 boiled eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley
3 pounds new potatoes, cooked and sliced
Combine first 7 ingredients and mix well. Stir in mayonnaise; whisk in oil. Pour over potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 6-ounce salmon fillets (1-inch thick)
Thyme sprigs, for garnish
Prepare grill or broiler. Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Brush honey mixture over skinless side of fish. Place fish on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray and cook 6 minutes on each side or until flaky. Garnish with thyme sprigs.
SCOTT’S PORK TENDERLOIN
4 to 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 and 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
1 cup red wine
2 to 3 tablespoons blue cheese or Gorgonzola
Mix first 5 ingredients and pour over tenderloin. Marinate at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450. Heat heavy iron skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until piping hot. Add canola oil or pat of butter immediately before adding meat. Sear on all sides, about 2 minutes. Put skillet in oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thermometer reads 155. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Deglaze pan with 1 cup red wine. Add crumbled blue cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tenderloin.
JOY WALKER’S SQUASH CASSEROLE
(Mrs. Kesler said she has been making this recipe for 25 years.)
2 pounds yellow squash
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Cook squash until tender in water with sugar. Drain, mash and drain again. Add onion to squash. Fold in eggs, and then add cornbread stuffing. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into buttered 2-quart casserole and top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbly.
MARINATED GRILLED VEGETABLES
(Mrs. Kesler said that though this recipe looks complicated because it is long, it is really just a variety of vegetables, marinated in a vinaigrette dressing and then grilled.)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry red wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Oregano and basil to taste
4 new potatoes, parboiled 15 minutes, halved
4 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
3 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 ears yellow corn, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 purple onions, cut into 3/4-inch slices
2 Portabello mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 green bell pepper, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Combine dressing ingredients in extra large bowl and set aside. Add vegetables to dressing mixture, tossing gently to coat. Let stand for about 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Remove vegetables from marinade, reserving marinade. Cook vegetables, covered with grill lid, over medium-hot coals about 12 to 14 minutes, turning once. Remove vegetables as they are done. Drizzle remaining marinade over cooked vegetables and arrange on serving platter. Sprinkle with herbs. Makes 8 servings.
E-mail Karin Glendenning at email@example.com