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Cabin Cooking with Shannon for August

Pan Seared Rock Fish with Cream Corn, Sauteed Asparagus and Garlic Butter Tomatoes 

Cabin Cooking with Shannon for August

My affection for food started at an early age when my Mother taught me and my brothers, “you don’t have to like it, but you must try it.” I often turned my nose up but usually trusted her and tried it anyway, and learned to appreciate all types of foods from all over the world.

Several years later, my affection for food turned into a deep love affair when I was going through a breakup and living alone in a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs of New Jersey, with only an air mattress, an old television and limited kitchen supplies to my name.

I never expected that cooking would be therapy. But I started to cook. I made the things I loved – pasta sauces from scratch, seafood feasts, breakfast for dinner, homemade brownies and cookies – and didn’t care when I messed something up because the only judge was me.

Since then, cooking has become one of the peaceful moments in my day.  And over the past couple of years, visiting Virginia State Parks and going on an early morning run to take photos of nature's beauty have also become my peaceful place.

Sunrise at Claytor Lake State Park

Fog on the water early morning at Claytor Lake State Park

A couple of photos I snapped while on an early morning run at Claytor Lake State Park

Being able to combine the two -- my love for food and my love for Virginia State Parks -- reminds me of how lucky I am.

When thinking of what recipe to prepare when visiting Westmoreland State Park, I called my friend Ken Benson, the Park Manager there, and he quickly told me where to shop and what to buy. “You’ve got to visit Bill at Faunce Seafood and get some fresh rock fish.”

We did just that and headed to Faunce Seafood, which is only minutes from Westmoreland State Park. Faunce is a local favorite that is not only known for fresh seafood and crab but also for their customer service, which I experienced and agree is top notch. I met the owner’s son, Little Bill, and he kept me smiling like I was part of the family.

Then we found another local gem – Garner’s Produce, a family owned and operated farm – where I found some amazing heirloom tomatoes that I had been searching for all morning.

“What you cooking this time?” My friend Geno asked, while giving him a tour of the park with hopes of turning this city boy into a nature buff. “Pan seared rock fish, creamed corn, asparagus and garlic butter tomatoes,” I replied. “Oh I can’t wait!” His response led me to believe he was hungry, so back to the Potomac River Retreat, the beautiful, resort-like lodge on the Potomac, we went.

Here’s what you need for the dish:

This dish will take 30-45 minutes to prepare. Don't forget to wash your hands after handling the raw fish.

Cream Corn:

4 ears of corn on the cob

3 tbsp butter

½ cup light cream

1 tbsp flour

2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Salt to taste


Pan Seared Rock Fish:

4-6 three to four inch fillets of Rock Fish

1 garlic clove per fillet of fish, whole

A bunch of thyme

1 tbsp butter per fillet of fish

Sea salt


Sauteed Asparagus:

1 bunch of asparagus

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste


Garlic Butter Tomatoes:

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

2-3 tbsp butter

2-3 assorted heirloom tomatoes, cubed

Salt to taste


To learn more about Westmoreland State Park, and to see me prepare the dish, check out the video below.

Enjoy! Until next time...

Thank you to Faunce Seafood, located at 2811 Cople Highway, Montross, VA, 22520. And Garner’s Produce, located at 22645 Kings Highway, Warsaw, VA 22572. 

Published: 08/13/2014

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