Summer Book club Brunch

Summer is teetering on the edge of Autumn soon it will be forced to say good bye for another year, so lets really enjoy the few weeks we have left and cast ourselves into a New England setting in between the pages of our Summer Book Club Brunch choice ” The Primal Place” by Robert Finch….

“…..This is a voyage of discovery, a personal odyssey into the nature of a single Cape Cod neighborhood. It is a rich portrait, beautifully drawn, of a landscape and a community whose essential character lies in their penetrating interface with the sea. But it is also an individual quest, a journey of the heart and mind in which the author seeks “entrance, or rather re-entrance” into “that vast living maze stretching out beyond my lines of sight……..”


…And what’s on the menu? Crab Cakes & Corn Salsa along with New England Clam Chowder of course!

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Traditional New England crab cakes

Makes 8 large or 12 small (appetizer size) crab cakes.


1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
3 shakes Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more to taste
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups panko (or breadcrumbs)
1 lb fresh lump crab meat, picked over to remove any bits of shell
Olive oil for frying

Tartar sauce, aioli mayonnaise, or cocktail sauce, for serving


In a small frying pan, sauté onion in butter until translucent. Remove from pan to a large bowl, and let the onions cool for a few minutes.

Stir in the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, Old Bay, black pepper and panko. Fold in the crab meat.

Form into 8 large patties, and place on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Film the bottom of a large (12-inch) frying pan with olive oil, and heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the crab cakes and cook, without moving, 5 minutes or until the bottoms are brown. Then turn and cook the second side, 5 minutes or until brown. Remove from the pan and let drain on a plate covered with a paper towel, to remove excess oil.

(Recipe from )

  • Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salsa

1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 ½ cups diced Roma tomatoes
¾ c. diced red onion
1 red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 ½ teaspoons minced jalapeno pepper
1 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together corn, olives, tomatoes, onion, red pepper, and jalapeno pepper in a large bowl. Gently fold in diced avocado, olive oil, lime juice, and salt.

  • Traditional New England Clam Chowder   


  • Preparation:
  • Oyster or saltine crackers, as needed
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste (optional depending on taste preference)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons dry sherry, or to taste
  • 3 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bacon slices, minced (this is optional for traditional clam chowder)
  • 1-2 bottles Bar Harbor brand Clam Juice
  • 3 6.5 oz. Bar Harbor brand canned Chopped Clams, juices reserved


  • Drain the clam juice from the chopped clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
  • Cook the bacon slowly in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more clam juice to adjust the consistency. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme.
  • Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the clams and cream in saucepan and simmer together until the clams are fully heated, about 5-8 minutes. (Bar Harbor brand Chopped Clams are fully cooked, ready to use)
  • When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and cream to the soup base. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the sherry. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowls with the crackers on the side.

         (Recipe from:

Are you hungry yet? Well, the menu is planned now lets see what we can do tablescape wise…..I always try to match the color scheme of the book we are reading, how did I do?

table 4
table 8
The table is set with vintage stoneware and my Lenox bowls with the Sailing Ships. A bit nautical and lots of earthy colors….While I entertain I will try to spend a few moments on the dunes, breathing in the salty air and digging my toes into the cold sand….Martha’s Vineyard – I am Soooo there!

Happy Sailing!

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  1. Beautiful table setting, Lois 🙂

    And congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming wedding! It sounds like it’ll be beautiful and really special.


  2. What a lovely setting and your menu sounded so delicious! I just joined a new book club and we’ll add this title to our list of possibilities. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh my goodness these crab cakes look amazing! I am so ready to try this recipe asap. I found your blog through the link party and am so glad that I did.

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