It’s hard to define Libbie Summers’ work. Depending on the day, she is content producer for corporate brands, cookbook author, food stylist, recipe developer, lifestyle and fashion maven, hawker of custom sugar sprinkles, and even private chef, event planner, and occasional motivational speaker.
“I’m a maker of a kind of modern nostalgic home,” Summers says. “I show how hostessing and cooking can be creative gifts.” She does that through example, by illustrating new ways to pair flavors, new ways to consider your role as host, and even new ways to look at something that you might have seen your whole life, such as a pecan.
“They are beautiful to look at, that striade of black on the shell,” she explains. “I like to honor the beauty of them start to finish, and in recipes, they not only add a really wonderful pungent flavor, but also a textural bite.
Beyond the plate, though, she encourages people to consider the scene for the meal, the event, the evening. “Use what you have. We can forage through our own homes for inspiration, though our memories to come up with a theme. I call it foraging for a good time.”
Although there are few who can weave party and gathering magic like Summers, take a page from her book and imagine the setting in which you might gather friends to enjoy these two veggie-forward dishes. Maybe it’s an impromptu weeknight gathering on the screened-in back porch, a birthday dinner, or even weeknight around the table, enjoying everyone home and sharing their day's adventures. Now what do you have around that could make that scene just a little more fun, a little brighter, a little more special? That’s the beginning of living the Libbie Summers way -- building a creative life with a little dose of magic for the everyday.
Crispy Potatoes with Pecan Dressing
from Libbie Summers, Savannah, Ga.
Chef’s note: Trust me, this Pecan Dressing will be your go to side dish topper. Roast up any of your favorite vegetables and spoon a little of this nutty magic over.
2 pounds small waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
½ cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 cup olive oil, divided
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
¼ cup golden raisins
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flake, more if you like heat
1 cup whole-fat plain yogurt
½ cup chopped mixed herbs (I used parsley, dill, chives and basil but use whatever you have on hand), divided
Coarsely ground black pepper
To Serve: Smear yogurt sauce over a large plate or platter. Top with crispy potatoes. Spoon Pecan Dressing over and garnish with remaining herbs. Serve while potatoes are hot!