As a middle-aged, first-time bride who found herself in possession, unexpectedly, of a little Federal house in downtown Charleston and a husband who occasionally murmured “I married a Yankee” to strangers, I was particularly nonplussed by what passed for seasons in the low country. It did not escape my notice, for instance, that the shift to standard time—its shortened days and rapidly advancing twilight—was autumn’s lone indicator. Fast-forward thirteen years and many states northward, this spring I experienced a late-breaking tailspin when the eagerly anticipated hour of extended daylight arrived amid lashing wind and snow—and lingered in various unpleasant permutations through the weeks ahead. “Spring forward” brought nothing more than an extra hour of lighted winter and the stunning visual clarity that she was still with us.
My March lament bled into April.
Hey, Spring, remember? Half of life is just showing up.
A click on each image will take you to its recipe.
Caribbean Coconut-Scallion Rice
This pan-cultural phenom has been on our greatest hits of the future list for a time now. We could have gone Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan or Thai in pursuit of seasoning accents and ingredients, but chose, instead, to hop a quick flight to the Caribbean. Coconut rice, island style, features an improbably subtle set of flavors lapping around in coconut milk, then absorbed into Carolina Gold. So superb is the mouthfeel, so quietly exotic the flavor, this is a rice you’ll want to gulp by the spoonful. But try to hold off—and enjoy it with this fantastic whole red snapper instead.
Whole Roasted Red Snapper
Coconut rice might have risen from the mists of antiquity with one mission: to cavort with fish and shellfish. Indeed, it performs its mission with such finesse that choosing the best pairing can become something of a chore. We selected Whole Roasted Snapper with garlic and fresh herbs, a simple conceit in which fish and rice perform a kind of flavor call and response. The technique of frying whole herbed fish then roasting it to rustic outer crispness with tender moist flesh beneath creates a warming combination of sweet fish and vibrant herbs that evolves with each bite. Needless to say, this preparation would be excellent on a grill—we were simply unequal to the task of shoving snow off ours.
Maybe you haven’t thought of cheesecake in years. Maybe the leathery restaurant slab redolent with walk-in odor is the last you remember. Maybe only cheesecake remorse remains. Personal history aside, consider this particular cheesecake from a fresh perspective: its pastry, wrought from our superb graham flour, is crisp and impactful with a buttery toffee finish and appealing granularity; its amply endowed dairy-rich vanilla filling and seek-but-you-won’t-find lemon accents is not overly sweet, and its texture runs creamy-dense at the crustline to dreamy-creamy in the center. All this . . . and no water bath required. It is a recipe you will want to make more than once. No deli-throwback— we're calling this a modern classic.
Pineapple has its prickly side, skidding along a curve between deep perfumed sweetness and the sting of a tart retort. This lovely pie plays both edges, planting an electric “ting!” on the tongue followed with a statement of satiny richness. Pretty sexy. By the time the snappy bottom crust gets involved, you watch, helplessly, as the fork you’re holding takes another dive toward the filling. Yes, a good fruit pie has a sweet, slippery, luscious appeal. And this one is as pretty as a forsythia in bloom!
Essential All-Butter Pastry 2.0
By the way, in working on the pineapple pie, we tweaked some pastry elements, resulting in a technique and performance that was much to our liking. The pineapple pie has its own custom-scaled pastry, but the Essential All-Butter Pastry submitted to an upgrade, as well.