Thursday, April 18, 2013

Celebrating Lilly Pulitzer’s Colorful Life with her Latino Shrimp and Corn Bisque



Today I’m celebrating the colorful life of Lilly Pulitzer with her recipe for Latino Shrimp and Corn Bisque. As you may know, Lilly died earlier this month at the age of 81 at her home in Palm Beach.

Lilly Pulitzer’s name is synonymous with Palm Beach and her famous colorful summer shift dress. Her life was filled with color and fun and it all started with an orange juice stand. When Lilly was 21 she eloped with Peter Pulitzer from New York City to the sun and sand of Palm Beach where Peter owned orange groves. In the shadows of Peter’s groves in 1959-ish, Lilly opened a juice stand. An heiress herself who married young into the wealthy publishing family, she designed a sleeveless shift dress from colorful printed cotton to disguise the juice stains on her clothing and Lilly Pulitzer the clothing label was born.

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Lilly’s classic shift dress shot to fame when her old schoolmate from Miss Porter’s school, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, was photographed wearing a “Lilly” while on vacation. Rose Kennedy, Jackie’s mother-in-law, also had her own beloved “Lilly” shift. After the First Lady appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1962 wearing a “Lilly” shift dress, the brand’s popularity took off “like zingo.”  To quote her obituary in the New York Times, “Lilly Pulitzer created a look that proved to be so popular it would become a mark of membership for old-money families at play for more than five decades. Her vividly flowered house dresses became known, in the shorthand of the rich, simply as Lilly’s.

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As a matter of fact, I have a couple of Lilly’s in my own wardrobe. For the ladies, let me share a little warm weather secret - shifts are so much cooler and more comfortable to wear than shorts when it’s hot. I consider them to be a staple in my summer wardrobe and believe me when I tell you I know hot because we lived in the tropics for years. Several of my favorite Lilly styles are on my Pinterest board “Fashion Looks I Love.”



Lilly is almost as well-known for her entertaining and food as she is for her fashion. She had a knack for turning the art of living well into a kind of informal elegance with an attitude of “affluence at ease.” Parties, decorating, food, and fashion have been part of her life in Palm Beach since she arrived there in the 1950’s. And she shares this in both of the delightful books, Essentially Lilly – A Guide to Colorful Entertaining and Essentially Lilly – a Guide to Colorful Holidays. Follow Lilly as she shows us how to incorporate her unique Palm Beach easy-tropical-style-of-entertaining into our daily lives all the while the celebrating the good times with our own family and friends with Lilly’s yummy-good food.  Lilly’s recipe for Latino Shrimp and Corn Bisque is the recipe I’ve chosen today to celebrate her colorful life. The original recipe did not call for mussels or oysters. They are our addition and may be left out if you wish to authenticate Lilly’s original bisque. I’ve shown pictures of both ways.



Lilly Pulitzer’s Latino Shrimp and Corn Bisque with Mussels & Oysters
Adapted from Essentially Lilly – a Guide to Colorful Holidays – serves 8 as a first course or 4 for a light lunch with a salad

1 ½ pounds medium sized (26 to 30 count) shrimp with shells, preferably wild caught
3 cups bottled clam juice
2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 tablespoons (1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small rib of celery with leaves, finely chopped
½ cup diced chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus additional for garnish if desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 to 12 freshly shucked oysters, optional
12 – 16 cleaned mussels, optional
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Peel and devein shrimp, reserving their shells. Coarsely chop some of the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate. Bring the shrimp shells to a boil in one quart of water over high heat along with the clam juice, parsley, thyme and peppercorns. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to blend their flavors. Strain and reserve their liquid.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, red pepper and garlic, then cover and cook until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the mixture with flour and stir well to incorporate. Whisk in the reserved shrimp shell liquid, a dash of Tabasco sauce, sherry and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until lightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

The soup may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and then cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat to simmering over low heat. Stir in reserved shrimp, corn, oysters, mussels and heavy cream and cook just until the shrimp turn opaque and mussels open, about 3 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open, then season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of extra cream if desired. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve hot.



This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend everyone.




47 comments:

  1. A gorgeous soup! It looks absolutely scrumptious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh my, Sam, you have really made my day!! Your photos are so beautiful and what an interesting story you write. I absolutely love your napkin and plate and this soup is just waiting for me, isn't it? Thank you for a very enjoyable post. Susan

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  3. How nice! Just compels to go to the beach!

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  4. It looks great..I love shifts..I wish they looked better on me..and shorts well forget that noise:)
    Love your presentations..and Sam..the little leaf plate? I used it last night! I made sushi and set the sauces on it..:)I like using our wicker tray too ..it reminds me of Florida..Going to see your Pins:)

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  5. Oh my! I wish I could sit down to that soup and discuss Lilly with you!! My mother adored Lilly's creations and my sisters and I followed her lead. When it's hot, I prefer a shift to shorts, making that transition when we lived in Charleston. The soup looks so delicious in your perfect setting.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  6. This recipe sounds wonderful! Will have to try it. My mother sewed alllll our summer clothes in the 50s and 60s and she used this pattern one summer to sew shifts for my sister, me and my Mom. She used left over curtain material with huge flowers that was avocado green with gold back ground! I have to find that picture!! AND - we loved it!!

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  7. What a fascinating woman she was! I agree - shifts are so cool and figure flattering!

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  8. Good Afternoon Sam, To my shame I had never heard of Lilly until she passed away and I started reading about her on blogs. Who would have thought, a clothes line would begin, by creating a colourful shift dress to hide orange stains..... amazing. I wore shift dresses in the 1960's with cut aways sleeves. I think I shall take your advice and make myself one for this summer.
    Thank you for this recipe it sounds so lovely and something I will try.
    Best Wishes
    Daphne

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  9. The Bisque looks delicious and the plates are so pretty and colorful. I heard about her death, and frankly, I did not know who she was until then. But without knowing, I always loved those designs. Now I can give the credit where credit is due. I am glad you did not put those dreaded codes in for us to fill in; sometimes I refuse to leave comments where I have to do that. Thanks.

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  10. It has been interesting to hear about the history of the Lilly line. It is a story unfamiliar to me since I suppose I am not a fashionista, but, I do enjoy not only lovingly designed clothing but good food as well.

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  11. Looks fantastic Sam - thick, rich, and chocked full of goodies. We make a somewhat similar Shrimp Corn Chowder, but I really like the flavor and visuals provided by the oysters and mussels. It's now on the must try list.

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  12. Lovely, informative tribute to Lilly. The soup looks delicious. I like the idea of adding mussels and a bit of tomato paste. I'm going to make this soon.

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  13. This looks so delicious! And I have recently discovered that wearing sun dresses and skirts are infinitely more comfortable than shorts, and I wonder why I didn't figure that out sooner.

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  14. My kinda of recipe and I love Lily.

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  15. What an interesting life she had! I love your tribute to Lilly and her shrimp and corn bisque looks as delicious as her designs were beautiful and vibrant.

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  16. The soup is pretty and I enjoyed reading about the Lilly clothing.

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  17. What a fun tribute and pretty and flavorful soup Sam! I've been considering switching back to skirts in the summer for the last couple years and you may have just convinced me:@)

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  18. My mouth is watering, Sam. The soup looks fabulous!

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  19. I never owned a Lilly, though I lived in Naples for years. I have always loved her colorful prints. The bisque looks delicious Sam.

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  20. She was married to Enrique Rousseau, a Cuban and one of my parent's good friends. That is where the Latin connection comes from. She often served Cuban food at her parties and although I don't have her cookbooks I am sure her recipes are spot on. I will have to try this one.

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  21. OTRA COSA INTERESANTE QUE HE DESCUBIERTO GRACIAS A TÍ!!!
    Unas fotos coloridas y con personalidad.
    MIL GRACIAS AMIGA!!!
    Conxita :)

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  22. I am making this Sam. Great recipe, great post.

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  23. I am glad that it is Sam writing this because for a minute I was trying to picture Meakin wearing a Lilly (ha ha).

    Wow, that is a vibrant bisque and it does represent the spirit of the Lilly.

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  24. so sad to hear about Lily:( beautiful dish!

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  25. Absolutely beautiful soup. And I love those dishes. I somewhat collect leaf dishes, so you might find that one missing if I ever visit your home. ;) And I learned something from all of this. I don't think I've ever heard of her, her shifts and her entertaining. I agree about those dresses in the summer, however I'm so hard to fit and hardly ever find a dress I like. Size 12 on top, size 8 for pants.

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  26. I had no idea Lily was also a chef and entertainer, and I love how the colors of the dish pop, just like her beautiful clothing designs!

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  27. The bisque sounds delicious -- as does the steak salad of the previous post!

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  28. This recipe is right up my street. Yes, I agree shifts are so much cooler than shorts. Have a good day Diane

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  29. The bisque looks delicious - and so beautifully colourful!

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  30. What an interesting post! I knew of Lily Pulitzer, but didn't know about her background. The bisque looks delicious, but the presentation really wows me! I LOVE that palm leaf plate and those napkins are just gorgeous. Do you happen to have a source for either? Both would go very well with my, thus far minimal, but ever-growing collection for Fitz & Floyd "Cape Town" dinnerware.

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  31. Dear Sam, I loved learning about the origin of this simple and elegant style. I do agree this is much cooler to wear in the hot weather. The bisque sounds delicious. Blessings, Catherine xo

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  32. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been a guest at one of Lily's parties! Her bisque looks amazing, and I think I like it with your additions! I will certainly be making this when we are at the cottage in Maine when I can get the freshest of fish.

    I've always been a huge fan of Lily's prints, I think she was very creative, but I think she was also "held back" like so many women of her generation. I believe if she were coming up today, she'd be a force to be reckoned with in the business world.

    Don't you wish you could have bought one of her dresses from the juice stand for $22.00 when she was starting out!

    Have a wonderful week, and thank you for your kind words on my post.

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  33. I had no idea about Lily and her shift! Just love the tales and information. Also loving this bisque - lately Sam - you post and I cook. This will be no exception.

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  34. I never knew the full Lily story. Thanks so much for the recipe and history.

    Wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

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  35. This looks so delicious. Your presentation is wonderful. Love the fish plate.

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  36. Fashion and food go together like a hand in glove-Beautiful.

    Velva

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  37. What an interesting story about Lily Pulitzer! She did, indeed, live a colorful life! Her soup looks divine, and I would leave your addition of mussels and oysters in the final version! They make it extraordinary!

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  38. A colorful soup that certainly matches her life and style. It sounds terrific.

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  39. saying latino shrimp and corn bisque makes my mouth water and my stomach growl! What an exciting and wonderful combination of flavors! I know this one is going to be a hit in my house

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  40. this looks great love the dresses and fun plates

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  41. I could really get into this trend...fashion meets food is an inspired idea Sam!!

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  42. I've already commented on this once, but I had to comment again to tell you that, based on this post, I checked out both Lilly Pulitzer books from the library and am enjoying them so much. I have found loads of new recipes to try and am inspired by both text and the colorful pictures. Thanks! :-)

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  43. I started making this last night (it looks delicious AND beautiful!) but got stumped - the directions call for adding heavy cream, but heavy cream isn't listed in the list of ingredients. How much needs to be added?

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    Replies
    1. Sarah,
      Many apologies for the omission of the cream in the recipe and thank you for pointing it out. It calls for 1/2 cup, plus additional for garnish if desired. I'm so sorry for any inconvenience.
      Sam

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    2. Sarah, I tried to answer your question by email as well, but you are set up as "no reply." I sincerely hope you see this. Thanks again for visiting My Carolina Kitchen and I apologize again for the omission.
      Sam

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  44. Thank you so much, Sam, I got it just in time! I'm about to go put the finishing touches on the bisque right now :-)

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Sam