Celebrating 15 Years of Virginia Living!

We’ve cooked up some delicious meals in the 15 years since the inaugural issue of Virginia Living, if we do say so ourselves. Here’s a look at 7 of our readers’ favorite recipes.


2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening and/or bacon drippings
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and/or bacon drippings. Add milk to make a stiff batter. Form into desired shape with hands and place in a greased skillet. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees (or over a campfire) 20-30 minutes. 

Serves 6

Lobster with Ditalini Pasta

For lobster: 1½- to 2-pound lobster

In a large pot with a strainer or steamer basket, bring 2 to 3 inches of water to a rapid boil. Place lobster in steamer and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from steamer, let cool and remove meat from shell. Reserve shell for use in sauce.

For sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup diced yellow onions
¼ cup diced carrots
¼ cup diced celery
1 tablespoon diced garlic
2 tablespoons diced shallots
reserved shell from cooked lobster
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 to 3-inch piece of orange peel for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the lobster shell and stir well. Add the flour, mix well, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Add stock, salt and cayenne, then simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 cups, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

For the pasta: Approximately 6 ounces fresh ditalini pasta

In a large pot, cook the pasta in well-salted boiling water for approximately 1 minute or until al dente. Drain, then mix with sauce and serve all with lobster. Garnish with orange peel.

Serves 2

Steak Oscar

¼  pound lump crab
¼ cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons Duke’s mayo
3/8 tablespoon Old Bay
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon parsley
pinch cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons pecorino romano
cheese, grated
dash Texas Pete
4 4-ounce tenderloin steaks
sea salt
cracked pepper
olive oil

Mix all ingredients, then gently fold in crab. Roll steaks in olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. Grill to desired doneness. Top steak with crab. Broil until slightly caramelized, approximately 2 minutes.

Serves 4

Swordfish with Calamarata Pasta

¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup dry white wine
1½ pounds swordfish steaks, cut into cubes
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet, add tomatoes and garlic, then cook over high heat until tomatoes soften, stirring often. Add the scallions and capers and mix. Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then remove and keep warm. Season the swordfish with salt and pepper and sear on both sides in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

For the pasta: 1 pound fresh calamarata pasta

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta about 1 minute or until al dente, stirring often. Drain and return to the pot and keep warm. Mix the swordfish with the sauce and pasta and garnish with all chopped herbs.

Serves 6

Tempura Fried Oysters with Oyster Mayonnaise  

1 cup plus
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tablespoons baking powder
3 cups sparkling water
4 dozen shucked oysters neutral oil for frying (like canola) salt to taste

Heat cooking oil in a fryer or saucepan to 360 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients and divide in half (roughly 1 cup each). The tempura batter is delicate and will begin to break down after use, so only mix one batch of the batter at a time for frying.

Mix the first portion of batter with 1 ½ cup sparkling water. Dip oysters in batter and fry 2-dozen in batches of 6 each. Fry until light golden brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Mix up remaining batter and repeat to fry second batch of oysters.

Turnip and Apple Soup

1 1⁄2 pounds turnips, washed, peeled and diced
1 pound tart apples washed, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium onion diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 good sprig fresh thyme
2 stalks of parsley with leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider

Melt butter in a large pot and sauté onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the turnips and apples and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the coriander, salt and apple cider and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock with the sprig of fresh thyme and 2 stalks of parsley.

Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the thyme and cool. Purée and strain. Add salt and pepper to taste, reheat and serve. Garnish with red, yellow and green apple slices and turnip and tarragon leaves.

Serves 6

Virginia Diner Peanut Pie

½ pound crushed salted peanuts
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs
½ cup flour
1½ cups Karo light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 unbaked pie shell

Mix eggs, flour and sugar. Then add syrup and peanuts. Add melted butter last. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 ½ hours, or until center is firm.

Serves 6 to 8

Read the Stories

Cornpone Versus Cornbread
New Oyster Cult
Pasta Perfect
Pulling Up Roots

If you would like to purchase a back issue of Virginia Living, click here to visit our e-store.

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