Seaweed Soup with Scallops

Words, Recipe and Photography by Chia Chong
Styling by Libbie Summers
Wine Pairing by Grapefriend 

I think it’s true that we always crave the taste and smell of our childhood.

Growing up in a tiny village by the sea in Malaysia, the sea was my backyard. Most of my neighbors were fishermen or fishmongers or had some ties with the sea. My family spent many happy afternoons foraging for baby clams, periwinkle or whatever shellfish that was in season. Lately, at my home in Savannah, I often find myself making this seaweed soup just so my kitchen would smell like the ocean of my childhood.
Soup Recipes, Seaweed Recipes, Chinese Food, A food-inspired life, Food Photography, Food Styling
Ocean in a Bowl- Seaweed Soup with Scallops
serves 4

1 big generous handful of shaved katsuobushi (smoked dried bonito)
1 8×8 inch sheet of dry konbu seaweed*
1 small handful of dry wakame seaweed, cut into 1 inch*
8 dried shitake mushrooms
2 spring onions
Kosher salt and white pepper
8 scallops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon mirin
1 small handful of fresh White Beech Mushrooms (optional)
2 cups prepared steamed rice (optional)

Rinse konbu and wakame under running water. Set aside. Soak dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes, drain, cut and remove the stem (you can slice the mushroom thinly if you prefer). Roughly chop white part of the spring onions for soup stock, finely chop the green part for garnish.

In a 3-quart soup pot over high heat, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Stir in katsuobushi and turn off heat. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Remove katsuobushi with a strainer squeezing the excess liquid from the katsuobushi back into the pot before discarding. Return liquid to a boil, add the konbu to the pot, turn off heat and let it steep for another 10 minutes. Remove konbu, it may be saved for later use in seaweed salad (stay tuned for recipe). Add shitake mushrooms, white beech mushrooms and white part of spring onion, simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add wakame and simmer for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a sauté pan till hot. Add oil, sear scallop 2 minutes on each side until brown, drizzle with mirin half way through. Remove scallop from pan and set aside.

To Serve: Divide soup among 4 serving bowls. Add seared scallops to each bowl and garnish with green part of spring onion, serve hot. Serve with steamed rice on the side to add to the soup if desired.

Chia’s note: I sometimes like to switch out the scallop for squid or shrimp, or crack an egg to the soup at the end of cooking. The soup goes well with steam rice or soba noodles.

*Dry seaweed, dried shitake mushrooms and katsuobushi can be found in any Asian grocery store.
Soup Recipes, Seaweed Recipes, Chinese Recipes, A food-inspired life, Libbie Summers, Chia Chong, Food Photography, Food Styling

Wine Pairing:
Txakoli (pronounce cha-co-LEE) is an awesome wine from northern coastal Spain, where the salt air actually infiltrates the grapes. It’s fantastic with shellfish in general, and this seaweed soup and scallops dish would make a fine friend of it as well. It’s like drinking the ocean, if the ocean were wine. And who hasn’t dreamed of that?


Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Shot on a cutting board burned over a fire. Bowls from Home Goods, Vintage glasses from Habersham Antiques Market, Fabric from Fabrika Fine Fabrics, Bamboo spoon from Libbie’s collection.




Pucker Up Chicken

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Cedric Smith

This. Chicken. Is. EVERYTHING.
A full meal in one pan with plenty of zesty juices to sop up with crusty bread.

Pucker Up Chicken
serves 6

1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 whole lemons, 2 juiced and one sliced, divide
3 whole oranges, 2 juiced and one sliced, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
Flake sea salt (I use Maldon)
Freshly ground black pepper
12 pieces (about 5 lbs.) bone-in skin on or skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
12 fingerling potatoes

•Preheat oven to 400ºF.

•In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

•Place chicken, sliced onion and fingerling potatoes in a roasting pan with sides large enough for them to lay in a single layer. Pour olive oil mixture over and use your hands to toss to coat. Tuck lemon and orange around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with salt and pepper.

•Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, or until chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs.

Styling Props to:
Enamelware dishes: Vintage and some new sourced at Cohen’s Retreat
Necklace: By Repeat Offfender
Knife: Cut Brooklyn
Always Chambray Shirt: J Crew

Citrus Grilled Fish with Warm Fennel Slaw

Recipe by Brenda Anderson
Words and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography and Fish Cleaning by Chia Chong
Wine Pairing by Grapefriend 

I’ve cleaned more than my fair share of fish while cooking aboard sailing yachts, and I’d still rather have someone else do it. So Chia did…in record time (the proof is at the end of this article).

A Food-Inspired Life, Libbie Summers, Citrus, Fish Recipe
Grilled Fish with Warm Fennel Slaw
serves 4 

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
Flake sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, can sub kosher salt
1 (2 pound) fresh fish, gutted, cleaned and dried
1 lemon
Fennel fronds for garnish, optional

In large sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add fennel, lime juice, vinegar, anise seed, ginger and garlic.  Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often  until the fennel is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside while grilling fish.

Preheat a cleaned and oiled outdoor grill to high heat. Rub the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the fish and liberally salt and pepper. Place the fish on the hot grill and cook until the skin no longer sticks to the grill, about 10-12 minutes (BE PATIENT, do not force the fish to move….just wait). Turn over and cook on the other side for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with foil for 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon over fish and serve whole topped with the fennel mixture. Garnish with fresh fennel fronds is desired.

Wine Pairing by Grapefriend:
Fennel is a weird food to pair with wine, like the friend you love but just don’t know what guy to set her up with. The strong anise flavor can overpower most wines, although when cooked that flavor mellows out making it easier to match up. Most people recommend pairing it with Sauvignon Blanc, and with the bright lime and ginger in this recipe a clean citrusy one from California would be delicious. But even more perfect would be a Vermentino, which comes primarily from Sardinia. I’m not a huge fan of most Italian whites, but the light citrus and minerality in this wine goes amazingly with fish and would be a good complement for the fennel too.

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Wooden bowl sent to me from a carver in the Ozarks area of Arkansas. Table is an old weathered wooden table. Whole cooked fish is laying on an old panel to a kitchen cabinet door. Tongs are vintage silver from Habersham Antiques Market. Dressing is in a mid-century creamer.


Lemon Shrimp Salad Sandwich with Honeysuckle Mayonnaise

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

I may have just upped the ante of a GOOD Shrimp Salad Sandwich by adding a smear of honeysuckle mayonnaise and making it a GREAT Shrimp Salad Sandwich.

Shrimp Salad Sandwich with Honeysuckle Mayonnaise
serves 4

What you need:
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, peeled, roughly chopped and chilled slightly
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 heaping tablespoons honeysuckle mayonnaise or more depending on how wet you like your salad, (recipe to follow), can substitute regular mayonnaise when honeysuckle is not in season
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh arugula
8 slices toasted bread

What to do:
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the shrimp, zest, juice, onion, parsley and mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted bread with arugula. Cheer wine optional.

Honeysuckle Mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup honeysuckle blossoms, roughly chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, add egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and salt. Whisk until well combined and bright yellow (1 minute). Whisking constantly, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil a few drops at a time (it’s important not to rush this step, the oil must be fully incorporated after each addition of drops). This step normally takes about 5 minutes. Still whisking constantly, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a slow steady stream until mayonnaise begins to lighten and thicken (usually 8 to 10 minutes). Stir in chopped honeysuckle blossoms. Mayonnaise will hold for 2 days when covered and refrigerated.
Shrimp Recipes, Best Sandwiches, A Food-Inspired Life, Libbie Summers, Lemon Shrimp, Libbie Summers Recipe

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: (top image) Surface is an old bread board. Arugula in an old strainer I picked up in Montana, plates and bowls from Habersham Antiques Market, orange handled spoon is Guzzini, trivet under bread plate is a piece of birch wood. (middle image) shot on salvaged wood that I white washed, glass from Anthropologie, pate knife was a gift from a friend. (bottom image) Yellow gingham is a piece of fabric, cheer wine in the glass!

How To Roast A Turkey

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Teresa Earnest 

It’s really not that hard to have the perfect Thanksgiving star!
Turkey Roasting, Thanksgiving, Libbie Summers, Cooking a Turkey,
1. Start with the best bird you can afford…I always try to go organic and locally farmed.
2. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed. Click HERE for tips and times on safely thawing a turkey. Remove turkey from refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.
3. Preheat oven to 450° F. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels.
4. Place turkey breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep. If you don’t have a roasting rack, use crumpled up aluminum foil in a circle under the turkey or roasting vegetables work great too, like carrots!
5. Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. (Tucking the wings will help stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving).
6. Rub room-temperature butter all over the turkey (I like it thick) and then salt and pepper generously. Don’t forget to salt and pepper the cavity of the turkey! Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the pan.
7. Reduce heat in the oven to 350º F and place turkey in the oven.
8. The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty (un-stuffed) cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking. Plan on the 13-minute-per-pound rule, but start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.
9. Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door (don’t let that heat out!), and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the pan liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Basting with pan juices cools the surface of the turkey and slows down cooking, which in turn keeps the breast meat cooking at close to the same rate as the legs and thighs.
10. Your turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast or stuffing.
11. Let turkey stand a minimum of 15 minutes before carving.