The next best thing to actually living on an island paradise is being able to bring a bit of paradise home. Bob and Melinda Blanchard shared their own “paradise found” in their book A Trip to the Beach, the true story of the couple’s adventures as they escaped civilization to open a restaurant on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Now in At Blanchard’s Table, the couple extends the celebrated warmth and hospitality of their acclaimed restaurant, and its delicious menu, to our homes. The happy result is a cookbook that’s as much a pleasure to read as it is enjoyable to follow.
Writing with the same humor and charm that made their first book such a success, Bob and Melinda share recipes drawn from their New England roots, their early years in the gourmet food business, and their life in the Caribbean. At Blanchard’s Table is a delectable collection of more than 160 recipes perfect for get-togethers of family and friends, illustrated with glorious photographs that reveal how lucky they are to have homes in both Vermont and Anguilla.
Although the Blanchards’ restaurant gets rave reviews for the food, Melinda was never trained formally as a chef, so her recipes are for true homemade meals that are appealing and easy. Caribbean-influenced dishes like Calypso Chicken with Lime, Grilled Lobster Anguilla Style, and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp are complemented by New England–inspired fare such as Vermont Cheddar Soup, Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops, and Vermont Picnic Ham Baked in Dark Beer.
Sections include Casual Starters, Soups, Salads and Dressings, Seafood, Meat, Pasta, Vegetables and Sides, Desserts, and Drinks. Throughout the book, there are dozens of mini-recipes that allow people in a hurry to toss together just a couple of ingredients for a quick and tasty dish. The Blanchards also offer expert cooking tips, as well as more delightful stories about some of their favorite Anguillians.
With simple, eclectic, and flavorful recipes—along with sound cooking advice, charming anecdotes, and the same warmth that made people fall in love with A Trip to the Beach—At Blanchard’s Table is truly a pleasure to cook from and nearly as enchanting as an actual trip to the beach.
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Blanchard’s was just about the first Caribbean Island restaurant I ever dined at without saying afterward, “That was really good—for a Caribbean restaurant.” Bob and Melinda’s place is good for anywhere. The welcome is warm, the ingredients fresh, and the flavors are at once sophisticated and accessible. I’d want their cookbook just for the desserts, and would turn the page right to the White Chocolate and Apricot Bread Pudding—a dish I order seconds of whenever I’m at Blanchard’s. —Danny Meyer, coauthor, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe
Any two people who have managed to combine lives that are as richly lived in places as different as Vermont and Anguilla have my attention! The recipes that Bob and Melinda Blanchard offer here are very tempting and very doable. Some are true Vermont, some are true Caribbean, but occasionally ingredients merge, just as the book includes photographs of Jersey cows and New England farmers’ markets alongside island boats and beaches. Somehow it all works, and I think it’s because of the heart that the Blanchards give to all the worlds they’ve lived in. —Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
What a delicious story! At Blanchard’s Table is honest home cooking with stylish flair and a great tropical background. These wonderful recipes obviously come from Melinda’s love for cooking, and the pictures of Bob and Melinda’s restaurant give the food a true sense of place. I’m glad they’ve shared their paradise with us. —Allen Susser, chef/owner of Chef Allen’s and author of Allen Susser’s New World Cuisine and Cookery