Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren

Monthly Archive: April 2013



April 2013



Engaging Your Senses – the Reveal

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous


In the February 20 post Engaging Your Senses, I recommended you try, as an exercise, to approach life with your senses more alert.  How have you done with this?  Did you consider what you can do or experience that engages each of the senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing)?

For me,  it’s food;  food engages all the senses.

It’s the snap of a bean or the sizzle of bacon, the silkiness of flour, the aroma of garlic and onion sauteing in butter.  I love how food can evoke a memory and not always for its smell.  You might be transported back in time by the sight of a particular food or its taste, or, really, for any of the senses it awakens.  When I’m contemplating something, I ask, “What’s its yumminess factor?”  For me, everything, not just food, has a yumminess factor to consider.  Perhaps I see life through food.  After all, and I’ve said it before, food is what connects us.  We absolutely must have it to thrive, even just to survive, but beyond the necessity of it, food serves as a unifier.

You can travel to another country where the spoken language is other than your own and connect with someone over food, whether it’s something sold in an outdoor market, from a food cart, or from a fine dining or casual eatery.  And, the connection might happen without uttering a word.  Food can be the language.


If you’ve followed my blog or been to my restaurant The Farmhouse at Serenbe, you know I’m all about fresh food prepared simply to provide maximum nourishment for the body and soul.  One of my favorite restaurants anywhere is le Relais de l’Entrecôte in Paris, and it’s not because they have a lavish or extensive menu of delicacies.  They only serve steak-frites (or steak and chips [fries]) with a delectable sauce and accompanied by a house salad.  That’s it!  It’s simple, nourishing, and perfectly prepared every time!

imagesHaving dined there several times, I know I will see, smell, taste, touch, hear, and experience an amazing meal there.  Those who visit the restaurant for the first time, and probably by recommendation, probably only expect to taste something delicious, with little thought to the rest of the experience, but assuredly, once there, the senses awaken; the experience is fulfilling on so many levels.

I subscribe to a mindset that when we are fully aware of our senses, we are more open to the beauty and grace around us.  When you engage each sense, how does that enrich your life?



April 2013



Chef Andrea Reusing Visits Serenbe

Written by , Posted in marie nygren, Recipe Articles, Southern Chefs Series, The Inn at Serenbe, Wholesome Wave

On a recent spring weekend, the Southern Chefs Series welcomed Chef Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill’s Lantern Restaurant to my kitchen.  What a weekend it was!


One of the most exciting aspects of the series for me is the exposure to the many talented chefs and the range of menus, flavors, and experiences they bring to their class.  It’s such a joy to have the opportunity to try different types of cuisine in an intimate class setting.  Sometimes we “travel” to other regions of the country through a guest chef’s chosen menu, and other times, I feel as though we boarded a plane and landed in an exotic locale.  We traveled far with Andrea and what a culinary journey it was!

Chef Andrea enjoying class.

Chef Andrea enjoying class.

Andrea’s menu was inspired and clever.  On Sunday afternoon, we prepared and then enjoyed warm paneer, kombacha and date salad with red watercress, vadouvan shrimp with spicy carrot puree and cardamon rice, and Louisiana tangerine sorbet with candied kumquat.  In Monday’s class, we prepared and happily consumed all night pot-au-fen (French beef stew) with spring vegetables in broth and crushed strawberry mess (see recipe below).

Kombacha and date salad with red watercress - it's gorgeous!

Kombacha and date salad with red watercress – it’s gorgeous!

We are having a fabulous time with each guest chef in the 2013 expanded Southern Chefs Series.  There are still spaces available in future classes.  Proceeds from this year’s series benefit Wholesome Wave.  Visit the Inn at Serenbe online for information on upcoming classes and call the Inn to register for Southern Chefs Series classes, 770 463 2610.

Crushed Strawberry Mess, Delicious!

Crushed Strawberry Mess, Delicious!

Crushed Strawberry Mess

Serves 4

For the meringue:
3 egg whites from jumbo eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
a pinch of kosher salt

For the strawberries:
About 25 very ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
3 to 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or to taste
2 pinches of kosher salt

For the cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or honey, or to taste
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds removed by scraping with a sharp knife

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with half the sugar at medium speed until they are foamy.  Beat in the remaining sugar, the cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt until the egg whites are shiny and stiff.  Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment to form 12 to 14 mounds, and bake for 30 minutes.  Continue to bake for an additional hour with the oven door slightly ajar.  When done, the meringues will be crisp and dry on the outside and tender and fluffy within.  (Serve within 4 hours.)

Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and salt.  Crush them with a potato masher or large fork until they are juicy and a spoonable consistency but still chunky.  Let the strawberries sit for 15 minutes before serving.

In the meantime, combine the cream, the sugar or honey, and the vanilla seeds and pulp in a medium bowl (save the vanilla pod for another use).  With a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream until it is thickened and softly set but not firm.  Whip the yogurt and fold together.

To serve, arrange the meringues, strawberries and juice, and the cream in layers on a platter or individual plates.