April 4, 2013

My Favorite Cookbook

My favorite cookbook so far has to be At Blanchard's Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook.  Let me tell you the story of how this came to be.

In 2006 my parents moved to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, the most beautiful place I've seen so far.  My mom was a bit hesitant about leaving her family and friends and moving thousands of miles away, so I wanted to get her a little going-away present to cheer her up.  I searched online for something Anguilla-related and came across this cookbook.  I knew she could appreciate a cookbook that came from the tiny island where she was about to live. I sent it with her not expecting to hear much of it again, except that every time I would talk to her on the phone she would say "Michelle, I made another recipe from Blanchard's cookbook.  It's awesome! I can't wait to make it for you when you come visit!" I ended up trying a bunch of the recipes each time I was there, and it quickly became my mom's -- and my -- favorite cookbook.

Why? The recipes are so simple, yet so delicious.  The photographs feature bright and colorful food that leave your mouth watering, as well as the people and landscapes from the island that transport you to this amazing place.   The recipes are intertwined with stories about Anguilla and the folks that run the restaurant (from which the recipes are based), and that makes it feel very personal.  Moreover, the recipes are just plain delicious.  I haven't made a bad recipe from it yet.

A sampling of what's inside:

Blanchard's Corn Chowder
Quick Seafood Stew with Tomatoes and Herbs

Chocolate "Cracked Coconut" with Homemade Coconut Ice Cream

More recipes include...
Baguette Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Mascarpone, and Basil
Spicy Coconut and Sweet Potato Soup
Chicken and Green Bean Salad with Kalamata Olive Dressing
Potato Salad with Lime and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Orzo Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, Feta, and Chili-Lime Vinaigrette
Sweet-and-Sour Swordfish with Onions, Raisins, and Tomatoes
Calypso Chicken with Lime
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Rosemary
Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Capers, and Olives
Island Rice with Cumin and Coconut
Light-as-a-Cloud Lemon Mousse
Coconut Cheesecake

Bob & Melinda Blanchard decided to open Blanchard's Restaurant in Anguilla after wanting to try something new.  They sold almost everything in their hometown of Vermont and uprooted to Anguilla to live out their dream.  Read more about their inspiring story here, or read about it more in-depth in their inspirational book Live What You Love: Notes from a Passionate Life.

Bob & Melinda Blanchard
Source: www.blanchardsrestaurant.com
Anguilla Photos: A Musing Mamma
Food Photos: Ben Fink via www.blanchardsrestaurant.com

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