Rubbed Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman
Benefiting The Fresh Air Home

My secret to the best beef tenderloin in the world involves pork!

Rubbed Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 (3-pound) tenderloin of beef, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prep the tenderloin by rubbing the outside of it with the bacon fat and seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Bring a large oven-proof skillet to blazing hot oven high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear all sides until a rich brown. Then place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook until the temperature resisters 130°F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part. Remove the tenderloin from the oven to rest.
To make the balsamic drizzle: remove tenderloin to a cutting board and place the skillet with the renderings over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens.
To serve, slice the tenderloin and serve alongside Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

 

Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped white chocolate
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the 1 teaspoon salt to the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter just until the butter has melted. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the hot cream mixture and the white chocolate. Using a potato masher, mash the potato mixture to your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the strawberries and thyme.

Strawberries, Spring, Dinner Party, Flowers, Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life

Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan, and Caramelized Lemon

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman

I could just eat a bowl of the croutons with dressing, but adding greens makes me feel better about myself. My go to summer salad.

Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan, and Caramelized Lemon
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large piece of ciabatta with crust
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 lemon
6 ounces arugula (preferably wild, about 10 cups packed)
3 ounces aged Parmesan cheese, shaved into strips with vegetable peeler

 

Make Croutons:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rub crust of bread with garlic clove and tear bread into medium-sized chunks. Place bread on baking sheet and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and bake until golden and crisp (about 10 minutes). Cool and set aside.

Caramelize Lemon:
Cut lemon in half and place flesh side down in a skillet over high heat. Cook until caramelized on the bottom.

Make Salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add arugula. Toss with juice from lemon and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the croutons and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and toss.

To Serve:
Transfer the salad to individual bowls or a serving bowl and add remaining Parmesan cheese and croutons over top.

Strawberries, Spring, Dinner Party, Flowers, Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life

Sweet Pea Soup

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman
Benefiting The Fresh Air Home

When the spring peas make an appearance, my go to dish to make is this soup. Really, there is no soup easier, more beautiful and more delicious. The strawberry garnish is everything!

Sweet Pea Soup
Serves 6

What you need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts), roughly chopped
1 sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Pea shoots for garnish (optional)
Sliced strawberries for garnish (optional)
Chopped chives for garnish (optional)

What to do:
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter, leeks and onion. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent and leeks are tender (about 5-10 minutes). Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the peas and honey, then cook for 3 minutes, until the peas are tender. Remove from heat and add the mint. Salt and pepper to taste.

Working in batches, place 1 cup of the soup in a blender, place the lid on top and puree on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent hole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full. Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed.

Just before serving, warm soup over low heat and stir in yogurt. Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with pea shoots, sliced strawberries and chopped chives.

Strawberries, Spring, Dinner Party, Flowers, Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life

Grove Point dinner by Libbie Summers, Spring, Strawberries

Kool-Aid Pickles

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

If you have ever stopped at a roadside market along a Southern highway, these pickles are no stranger to you. Pickles floating in jars of a brightly colored brine are normally lined up at the cash register. These Kool-Aid pickles may seem odd at first, but once you bite into one you’ll appreciate the sweet and sour flavors. Let me just warn you, because no one warned me, your fingers may just turn the color of the pickle you’re eating!

Red Kool-Aid Pickles
yields 1 (90-ounce) jar

What you need:
1 (90-ounce) jar of whole dill pickles
4 packets Kool-Aid (I prefer cherry—it’s just how I roll)
2 cups sugar

What to do:
Drain the juice from the pickle jar and discard, leaving the pickles inside.

In a medium pitcher, combine the Kool-Aid, sugar, and 4 cups water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour enough of the Kool-Aid mixture over the pickles in the jar to completely cover them. Put the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks before eating.
pickles, Kool Aid, Southern Foods, Sweet and Vicious Cookbook, Libbie Summers,

 

 

Chewy Chocolate Bread

Words and recipe by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Model: Anne Chaddock Donegan
Supergirl costume by Jessica Duthu

I live in a neighborhood of seventeen houses and twenty- two children (the odds are against me). I’ve tested this recipe on many of my adult neighbors and they love it, but it was the children who seemed extra-excited and intrigued by the large, round chocolate loaf. One curly- yellow-haired girl in particular would punch through the crust with her #ngers when she thought no one was looking and scoop out a chunk of the soft chocolate center to eat. The young girl’s name is Anne Chaddock, and she is a supergirl who runs the neighborhood fueled by my Chewy Chocolate Bread! 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Chewy Chocolate Bread, Bread Week

Chewy Chocolate Bread

(loads of chocolate but barely sweet)
yields 1 loaf 

Ingredients:
1⁄2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄3 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal, for dusting
1⁄2 cup good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar, mixing with your finger until the yeast is dissolved. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam. With the mixer on low speed, add 1 1⁄4 cups room-temperature water, the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix just until the dough is blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at warm room temperature for 8 hours (I like to do this overnight).

Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel that has been dusted with cornmeal. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a liberally floured work surface and pour the chocolate chunks over the top. Sprinkle with more flour before folding the dough over itself a few times to evenly distribute the chocolate. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet. Dust the top of the dough ball with cornmeal, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rise about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place a heavy cast-iron (or ceramic) 6- to 8-quart pot with a lid in the oven to heat until the oven comes to temperature.

Carefully remove the heated pot from the oven and place the dough in it (seam side up or down—it doesn’t matter). Don’t worry if it looks like a hot mess; it will bake up beautifully. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cover the pot and return it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until the loaf is a gorgeous dark brown and gives a dull sound when thumped. Let the bread cool before eating.