For best friends Audrey Bromstad and Savannah Bock, quarantine yielded a bountiful harvest through their new cookbook, Our Kitchen: At Home
Our paths must have crossed a hundred times browsing the aisles at Tybee Market, grabbing a bag of boiled peanuts from Davis Produce, eating pecan waffles at the Breakfast Club or riding the tide on our paddleboards up and down the Back River in summertime.
But it wasn’t until we found ourselves in Zaragoza, Spain, on a study-abroad program that we actually, finally met. A mutual love of food and deep connection to our homes of Savannah and Tybee Island (despite being some 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean) instantly bonded us. These passions have remained a large part of our friendship ever since.
In March of last year, we both unexpectedly landed back at home in Savannah. We had always talked about compiling the recipes that we created together, and quarantine allowed us the time to do it. With all the darkness surrounding the pandemic, we found light by embarking on the adventure of testing, writing and photographing Our Kitchen: At Home, a project we’d otherwise only dreamed about.
The recipes we offer are inspired by fresh, local produce and seafood, as well as the flavors we associate with growing up in the Lowcountry, like tomato sandwiches. It’s crave-worthy anytime, anywhere, but a tomato sandwich simply feels most right to us when we’re sticky and crusted with salt after a long day spent in Tybee’s creeks.
This idea of the deep emotional connection between food and place — even just between Savannah and Tybee Island — ultimately forms the basis of our cookbook and is the reason why we decided to format the book the way we did: not by appetizers, entrees and desserts, but rather in two distinct sections, one for downtown and one for Tybee.
Our Kitchen: At Home also includes our market basics list, which features obvious necessities alongside several unique ingredients that may feel foreign to the “traditional” Southern kitchen. Tahini, for example, can be used to create a creamy salad dressing or paired with a humble can of garbanzo beans to make a luscious hummus; it can also serve as a fat in baked goods, adding a subtle nuttiness. Hibiscus flowers, when brewed like tea and stirred together with a generous squeeze of honey, transform into a thick nectar so delicious and refreshing that we think it should be considered the new sweet tea.
We’ve traveled the world together, and the flavors we fall in love with on those journeys are well represented in this cookbook, becoming new staples in our kitchens, wherever we are. Still, it all circles back to Savannah.
A menagerie of seeds and nuts come together to make this hearty and delicious loaf of bread. Our version is adapted from a recipe by Sarah Britton of My New Roots.
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. flax seeds
1/2 c. raw almonds
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
2 tbsp. chia seeds
4 tbsp. psyllium husks (available at most health-food stores, like Brighter Day Natural Foods
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8.5 × 4.5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides with olive oil.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Add the honey, olive oil and water, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, and press down firmly to remove any air bubbles. Cover the loaf, and let it rest on the counter
for at least 2 hours before baking.
Bake in the loaf pan for 40 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan, place it directly on the oven rack, and bake for another 40 minutes. Turn the oven off, but keep the loaf in the oven until it has cooled completely.
Toast thick slices of bread and enjoy with a slather of nut butter, honey or jam. You can also use this bread as a base for sandwiches, like the Tybee Tomato Sandwich at right.
While traveling through Greece, we were introduced to the frappé, an iced coffee topped with a sweet, whipped, instant coffee cloud. This recipe serves four, so share with friends or prepare to be over-caffeinated.
4 tbsp. instant coffee
4 tbsp. coconut sugar
4 tbsp. boiling water
4 c. iced coffee
Your choice of milk, if desired (we like cashew milk)
In a bowl, whisk together instant coffee, coconut sugar and boiling water for several minutes until thick, pillow-like peaks form.
Pour iced coffee into a glass and add milk, if using
Spoon the whipped coffee mixture on top of the iced coffee
Tybee tomato sandwich
With the crunchy, toasty texture of the bread, big juicy slices of Davis Produce’s “killer tomatoes” and the perfect ratio of mayonnaise to salt and freshly cracked pepper, this simple tomato sandwich is one you’ll crave all summer long.
Bread, sliced and toasted (we love it with our seed bread)
Summer tomatoes, sliced
Freshly cracked black pepper
Thinly sliced yellow onion (optional)
Slather toasted bread with a generous layer of mayonnaise. Add sliced tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with onion, if desired.
Cold miso noodles with miso-tahini dressing
Packed with umami, this dish, which serves four, is the ultimate crowd-pleaser: crunchy, colorful, fresh and ideal for a dinner party. To up the ante, top it with a pile of spicy pickles — the recipe is available on page 25 of Our Kitchen: At Home.
5 bok choy, halved
1 lb. rice ramen noodles
3 tbsp. sesame oil
Miso-tahini dressing (see recipe)
4 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 medium purple cabbage, thinly sliced
Leaves from 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Add the bok choy and simmer for 1 minute, removing with a slotted spoon and placing in a bowl to cool.
Bring the remaining water to a boil, add noodles and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until al dente. Strain the noodles into a colander, and run cold water over them until completely cooled. Transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl and toss with sesame oil.
Toss the noodles with a generous coating of the miso-tahini dressing. Arrange the bok choy, carrots and cabbage on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with scallions, cilantro, cucumber slices and sesame seeds.
1/2 c. tahini
1/4 c. water
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp. white miso paste
1 tbsp. peeled, minced ginger
2 tbsp. maple syrup
3 cloves peeled, minced garlic
1 medium jalapeño, chopped and added to taste
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. The dressing should be pourable but not runny. If too thick, add one extra tablespoon of water at a time. If too thin, add one extra teaspoon of tahini at a time.
Refrigerate until ready to use.