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Susan and Ted Axelrod

Susan and Ted are a writer and photographer team who met while working for a magazine — Susan reviewing restaurants and writing food features, Ted photographing them. When Ted left the magazine for a freelance career, they launched their blog, Spoon & Shutter in 2010 as a way to keep doing what they love, together. After many years in Northern New Jersey, they are thrilled to be living in Maine, where Ted's clients occasionally include restaurants and food businesses. When they're not working, cooking, rehabbing their old farmhouse or hanging out with their two cool dogs – Ella and Dixie – they're having a blast exploring this spectacular state. To reach Susan, email saxelrod [at] or follow her on Twitter: @susansaxelrod To reach Ted, email ted [at] or follow him on Twitter @TedAxelRodPhoto .

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Spoon & Shutter with Susan and Ted Axelrod
Posted: April 30, 2014

Favorite recipes from our Moms’ kitchens for Mother’s Day

Joan Axelrod and Leigh Sherrill. Both photos, Facebook

Our mothers are both amazing women: Independent, strong, adventurous and inspirational. They’re also both good cooks. What better tribute from Spoon & Shutter for Mother’s Day than to feature a signature recipe from each of them! Happy Mother’s Day Leigh and Joan!

Susan’s mother – Leigh Davidson Sherrill:

  • Fiercely competitive on the tennis court and at the ping-pong table
  • Voracious reader
  • Passionate about social issues
  • Gifted gardener
  • Tireless traveler
  • Baker of first-class pies
  • Energetic community volunteer

Chocolate Angel Pie is my mother’s go-to special occasion dessert. My father requests it instead of cake for his birthday every year, as did one of my brothers when he lived at home. A short lists of ingredients and a few simple steps results in something sublime – nut-studded meringue crust filled with fluffy chocolate mousse. My mom uses an 8-inch pie dish, so the edge of her crust stands in taller peaks; I used a 9-inch dish so mine wasn’t quite as dramatic.

Chocolate Angel Pie

Chocolate Angel Pie

Serves 6

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I much prefer pecans)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 4-oz package sweet baking chocolate (my mom always uses Bakers brand)
3 tbsp. water
1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy throughout. Add sugar, 2 tbsp. at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Then continue beating until mixture will stand in very stiff peaks. Fold in nuts and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Spoon mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass or ceramic pie pan and make a nest-like shell, building up the sides about 1/2 inch above the rim of the dish.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm but not browned. Cool.

For filling: Place chocolate and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cool until thickened, then add 1 tsp. vanilla. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold in chocolate mixture. Pile into the cooled shell and chill about 2 hours before serving.

Ted’s mother – Joan Greenfield Axelrod:

  • Full of zest for life
  • Possessed of (or by) a zany sense of humor
  • Generous of spirit
  • Loyal friend and cheerleader
  • Caring about her community and making a difference
  • Lover of dogs
  • Organic food advocate

Until she sold her oceanfront house a couple of years ago, summers meant as much time as possible spent on Long Beach Island at the Jersey Shore (LBI is nothing like the show!) Along with sun, sand and surf, days at the beach often included my mother’s fresh flounder sandwiches. Despite being an accomplished cook and this recipe being a simple one, I am never able to accurately replicate my mother’s version.

Fresh flounder sandwich

Mama Joan’s Fish Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches

About 1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh flounder or fluke (1 large piece per sandwich)
2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced, (adjust the amount to your taste)
olive oil
salt and pepper
half a lemon
4 fresh hard rolls (for those who do not live on the East Coast, this is a kaiser roll)
ripe tomatoes
leaf lettuce like Boston or red bibb
tartar sauce

Sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet or other heavy saute pan, heat olive oil and add the garlic. Just before the garlic starts to brown add fish. Cook over medium-high heat without moving the fish for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. Turn the fish over, squeeze juice of half a lemon over it and and cook on the other side until it starts to flake apart.

Serve the fish on the hard rolls with tomato slices, lettuce and plenty of tartar sauce. Don’t forget the pieces of browned garlic!

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