A Taste of Tavares

If this month has you thinking about steaming hot soup and cinnamon-apple desserts enjoyed with family and friends, you’re not alone. The city of Tavares understands the importance of delicious food and friendly faces in November and cordially invites you to its annual Taste of Tavares event on the 12th. Held at the Elks Lodge on Dora Avenue, Taste of Tavares will feature live entertainment, a silent auction, and plenty of delicious fare to sample. In honor of the town’s culinary skills, Lake & Sumter Style asked four participating vendors for a sneak peek at their most sought-after recipes. Luckily for our readers, they obliged. Enjoy!


Green Apple Lobster Strudel

1cup Maine lobster

1cup green apple, small diced

1shallot, minced

1/3 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup red peppers, diced

11/2 tablespoons brandy

Salt and pepper to taste

1 box phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté lobster, apples, shallot, celery, and red peppers until soft. Add brandy and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

To assemble strudel, unfold phyllo sheets on a flat surface and cover with a damp towel. Lay one sheet of phyllo lengthwise and butter lightly, making sure to coat the edges. Repeat, placing the next sheet directly on top and continue until three sheets are buttered. Cut the sheets in half using a knife.

On each half of phyllo dough, fold the bottom two inches toward the center and coat lightly with butter. Place ¾ cup of lobster mixture in the center and spread evenly. Fold the right and left edge toward the center and lightly butter the remaining edges. Brush each strudel with butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Yields 8 servings.

Rum Flan

1 quart heavy cream

6 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

1¼ teaspoons vanilla

¼ cup dark rum

1/2 pound sugar


11/2 pounds sugar

1 cup water

1/3 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 8-ounce ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Put caramel ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil until light golden brown. Pour caramel into the bottom of ramekins and freeze until hard.

Bring heavy cream to a boil. Combine eggs, yolks, and sugar. Mix until light and frothy. Add rum and vanilla. Add heavy cream to the egg mixture slowly, being careful not to cook the eggs. Pour mixture into ramekins, and place ramekins in a deep pan. Fill pan with water halfway up the ramekins’ sides. Cook in oven for 45-60 minutes, until firm. Chill for two hours. Yields 7 servings.



Cherry Finale


2/3 pound margarine

3 cups sugar

41/2  cups plain flour

1cup chopped pecans


32 ounces cream cheese

2 boxes powered sugar

32 ounces Cool Whip

4 cans cherry pie filling

Melt margarine, add remaining ingredients, and mix until crumbly. Spread mixture into bottom of shallow baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees until light brown, 5-10 minutes. Do not overcook.

Mix together well-softened cream cheese and sugar. Add Cool Whip. Spread over cool crust and top with cherry pie filling. Cover and refrigerate. Dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Crab Cake Bake

1 pound crab claw meat

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups mayo

2 cups bread crumbs

2 cups celery, diced

2 cups onions, diced

Mix ingredients together well and place in 9-by-13 baking pan. Cover with Ole Bay seasoning, place sliced roasted red pepper on top sparingly, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, until golden brown. This may be served on toasted baguettes or stuffed in mushrooms.


Tavares Bread Pudding with Glaze


4 cups cubed bread (ends okay; best if bread is at least day-old)

1/2 cup raisins

2 cups milk (whole milk is best)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Note: May add another cup of chopped fruit (bananas, apples, peaches, etc.) and ½ teaspoon of complementing spice (ginger, cinnamon, etc.), and/or ½ cup of chopped nuts. If bananas used, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of ginger, no nuts. Add raisins to the bread in large bowl. Heat milk and butter in saucepan until butter has melted. Pour over bread and let stand for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, sugar, spices, and vanilla. Combine remaining fruit (if used) and egg mixture with soaked bread, and fold gently. Pour into buttered *8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 40–50 minutes until set in center.

*This recipe can be doubled in a 13-by-9 baking pan.


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coconut or plain rum

Combine sugars, butter, and whipping cream in saucepan. Cook over medium to medium-low heat until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and rum. (Be careful—mixture will bubble with vanilla and rum addition.) Return to heat and full boil.

Note: This amount of sauce/glaze will suffice for a double batch.

To serve, cut bread pudding into desired serving size and ladle warm glaze over cut pudding in pan. Let settle for a few minutes. Serve alone or with whipped cream or ice cream.


Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Tomato Salsa

2 whole garlic bulbs, unpeeled

5 tablespoons olive oil

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded

2 onions, chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 pints chicken broth (preferably homemade)

2–3sprigs fresh oregano, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 large tomatoes, halved and seeded

1 red pepper, halved and seeded

1 red chili, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Pinch of sugar

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place prepared butternut squash, tomatoes, red pepper, and chili on a cookie sheet. Wrap garlic loosely in foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add thyme. Drizzle the remaining vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast vegetables for about 20 minutes. Remove tomatoes and peppers, and set aside to cool. Return the rest of the vegetables to the oven and continue to roast until squash is soft (about 20 minutes). When squash is cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.

In a pot, sauté the chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until transparent. Add cubed squash and squeeze roasted garlic into pot. Stir into onions. Add the chicken broth, coriander, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, dice tomatoes, red pepper, and chili. Stir in two tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and pinch of sugar. Set aside covered until ready to serve.

Process the simmered squash, garlic, and onion mixture until smooth. Return to pot, season with salt and pepper, and stir in 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt until blended. Pour pureed soup into heated bowls, and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and the salsa.



Stuffed Chicken Creole

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons garlic

1 large onion

½ bunch celery, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper

5 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1quart chicken stock

2 pounds chicken breast

1/2 cup parsley, diced

1 teaspoon thyme

1 quart heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon basil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup sherry

2 tablespoons favorite hot sauce

Roux (4 ounces butter, ¼ cup flour)

2 links andouille sausage

1 cup jack cheese, shredded

In large stock pot over medium heat, sauté garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper in butter. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, spices, and stock. Simmer for five minutes. Add cream and thicken with roux. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add sherry and hot sauce. Butterfly chicken and stuff with sausage and jack cheese. Pan sear and oven roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

Black Bean Soup

1 can black beans

3 quarts chicken or beef stock

1carrot, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 links andouille sausage, grilled and diced

11/2 tablespoons tomato paste

11/2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons butter

Sauté carrot, celery, and onion in butter in stock pot. Drain black beans and add to pot with stock. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives.

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