Monday, August 7, 2017

06 August 2017







Summer in Canton just keeps getting better. I had the honor of being the guest emcee at the August First Friday, and it was epic. The band, Atlanta Rhythm and Grove, was off the chart, and everyone had a great time. During the evening, I had so many positive conversations about the positive momentum in the City of Canton, and the sense of community has never been stronger. You can feel the excitement in the air, and it's only getting better. The collective effort of our Main Street Board, City Staff and Volunteers are to be commended on their efforts and hard work. They never cease to amaze me.

Saturday began as usual with a trip to the Canton Farmers Market. We got there early, but so did the crowds. Everyone was looking for the top picks of local produce, baked goods, seafood, beef, farm eggs, natural products and so much more. Whim-Wham Art Farm had already sold out of bagels by 9:30, but that is nothing new. However, we were able to snag some tomatoes, basil, flowers and hummus from their table. Our fearless market leader, Micki Farley, was taking the day off, but of course she was there shopping and supporting the vendors. When we bumped into her, she told me about some amazing pizza crust by Good Things Baking Company, and she had the last one put on hold in my name. It's good to have friends in high places! I bought the sourdough pizza crust and a homemade baguette, and both were amazing! Our haul also included okra, lady peas, hydroponic arugula and micro greens, potatoes, local clover honey and fresh-picked blackberries. It was a banner day at the market.

Our dear friend and artist, Steve Martin, visited us from Blue Ridge on Saturday afternoon. It had been a while since we saw him last, so it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up. We had a delicious lunch at Steep Tea House and, of course, ran into other friends there. Speaking of Steep, Lyn Moye had live entertainment during First Friday, and we were fortunate to hear her perform a song with the acoustic duo. She sang one of my favorite songs, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and it was incredible. I never knew she had such an amazing voice. I highly recommend you check out Steep the next time she has performers since she told me she always sings one song. You won't regret it.

After Steep, we spent some time relaxing in the cement pond at One Britt. Jeff took some time to visit Meghan and Ryan Quinlan's house warming as well as their son Nolan's first birthday party. I hated to miss it, but it gave me some time to reminisce with Steve, one of my oldest and dearest friends. Later in the afternoon, I made some tapas from the sourdough pizza crust and other items from the Farmers Market. The pizza crust is out of this world, especially when topped with tomatoes and basil from Whim Wham and our own back yard.

Sunday was a relatively quiet day. It began with Jeff's delectable pancakes. He has really mastered the art of breakfast. Afterward, we took a long, 5 mile walk from One Britt to Etowah Park to hit the trail to Heritage and back home on the sidewalk system. It's a very nice walk, even when it is a bit warm, but it gave us an opportunity to walk off the pancakes! After taking a plunge in the pool to cool off, we headed out to round up the few provisions for Sunday Supper that we did not get at the Farmers Market. We are attempting to eat a lot less meat, so I made a simple tomato sauce for spaghetti and a caprese salad from our backyard tomatoes and a beautiful yellow variety from Whim Wham. For dessert, I was ecstatic to put the first figs from our tree in a rustic fig tart. I served the Good Things baguette with the spaghetti, and it was perfect in every way.

After dinner, our good friend, Gary Mullet, joined us for the world premiere of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. Gary has long been fan of this series, but I had never indulged in his guilty pleasure. However, this one caught my attention because it had a cameo by my star crush, Olivia Newton-John. We really enjoyed the absurdity and rip offs of various entertainment and cultural references, and it was nice to spend some "guy-time" with Gary after his recent knee replacement. His recovery has gone very well, and luckily, the stormy evening did not include any sharknados in Canton.

Once again, I am feeling much gratitude for another fulfilling weekend in our small town. I have always used the word "blessings" with trepidation, but I am finally understanding the meaning. While we have so much negativity, anger and sadness that surrounds us every day, it is reassuring to take time to count our blessings, big and small. After all, challenges are an opportunity to explore our capacity for grace in the face of adversity.

Wishing you grace and gratitude in the week ahead.


The Menu:

- Spaghetti with SimpleTomato Sauce

- Caprese Salad

- Good Things Baguette

- Rustic Fig Tart


The Recipe – Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

- 2 - 28oz cans good quality San Marzano tomatoes

- 1 sprig fresh basil plus more leaves for finishing

- 1/2 tsp crushed red paper

- pinch sugar to reduce acid

- salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Place the olive oil and crushed garlic in a dutch oven or medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat the garlic and press with a spatula to release flavor in the oil. Swirl oil to incorporate, around 2 minutes. Do not brown the garlic.

When garlic is fragrant, add the tomatoes and stir into the oil and garlic. If using whole, unpeeled tomatoes, crush them with a wooden spoon or tomato masher. You can also used chopped tomatoes for the sauce.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the whole basil stem, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper – stirring to combine. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

When sauce has thickened and oil begins to separate a bit, remove basil stem. Off heat, stir in reserved chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste.

This simple tomato sauce is great with pasta, pizza or any other place you may use marinara.

Monday, July 24, 2017

23 July 2017









You say tomato; I say festival! I had a wonderful time serving as a judge for the 9th Annual Tomato Sandwich Festival on Saturday at the Canton Farmers Market. I have been honored to judge past competitions, but this year's crowd was quite impressive. Hats off to Roy Taylor for conceiving this wonderful idea and for managing it for the past nine years. Roy's passion for Canton, and all things sustainable, is indicative of Canton's character and charm, and we all benefit from his engagement.

We didn't have any green tomatoes in the competition on Saturday, but if we did, they stood a good chance of being fried naturally. Saturday was, by far, the hottest day of Summer this year, and everyone was commenting on the extreme heat. After the Farmers Market, we ran a few errands and decided it was too hot to do anything other than swimming in the cement pond at One Britt. Even the pool was the warmest it has been all year, but the water was refreshing, and a couple of friends found their way over to chill – as best they could. Unfortunately, I was suffering from a lot of sinus issues and had to go inside later in the afternoon. Summer colds and sinus infections are the worst, but binge watching TV in your PJs with the AC turned down low enough to make the windows sweat sure puts things in perspective.

We don't have much time to watch TV these days, so we began a marathon on Friday night with the new Netflix series, "Friends From College." Anyone who has a close group of college friends, or even a small tribe of best friends, can relate to this comedic drama. It is akin to a modern day soap opera, but the characters are interestingly neurotic. We completed the first season tonight and look forward to the next one. During my convalescing on Saturday night and Sunday, I discovered another Netflix series called, The Ranch. It took me a couple of episodes to get into it, but it is engaging and very funny. While the opening sequence shows scenes from Ouray, ColoradoThe Ranch is actually filmed on a sound stage in front of a live audience in Burbank, California. The first time I heard the audience laugh, I was a bit confused until I realized it was being filmed live. I find this throwback method very interesting, and it just makes the show more intriguing. The series stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Debra Winger and Sam Elliott. Of course, you can never go wrong with Sam Elliot, and he does not disappoint as a crotchety old rancher. I highly recommend The Ranch and look forward to finishing the first three seasons.


My sinus woes continued on Sunday, and I didn't feel like doing anything but sleeping or laying around. I decided to take control of the situation by cooking some old-fashioned chicken soup for Sunday Supper. Yes, it was brutally hot outside, but I needed chicken soup to heal. I threw on some clothes and a ball cap, then headed out to get the supplies. I love rosemary, so I used some from the herb garden to make Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup. I used the leftover herbs to make some Rosemary Parmesan Cream Biscuits. Let me tell you, if the chicken soup didn't make me feel better, those biscuits made me forget everything else. They were divine and paired perfectly with the soup. Jeff harvested a few tomatoes and the world's tiniest beets from our raised garden, and I made a simple vinaigrette for a salad. The beets were small, but the flavor was highly concentrated and delicious. Earlier in the day, Jeff had also found the last Farmers Market peaches from Pearson Farms in the refrigerator and decided to bake a peach pie. It turned out great, and we enjoyed it, "hotted up," with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
I think the chicken soup helped my allergies, but I am hoping for some rain this week to clean the Summer air. In the interim, I turned in on Sunday night with visions of tomatoes still dancing in my head.






The Menu:

- Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup 

- Micro Beet, Spinach and Tomato Salad

- Rosemary Parmesan Cream Biscuits

- Homemade Georgia Peach Pie


The Recipe – Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:


4-6 Chicken Thighs or 2-3 Breasts

1 Bay Leaf

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white onion, peeled dice one half

3 medium carrots, one halved for stock and two peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, one halved for stock and two sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups homemade chicken stock or good-quality from store

3-4 stalks fresh rosemary

6 ounces wide egg noodles

2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken used for stock

salt and pepper to taste





Directions:






Place chicken, halves of carrot, celery and onion into a stock pot. Cover with 8 cups of water, add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done.






When stock is done, remove chicken, bay leaf and vegetables, then pour stock through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solids. Skim any fat from the top of the stock and set aside. Once chicken has dried, remove skin and bones, then shred chicken into small pieces and reserve.


Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and celery and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the carrots are slightly softened. Add garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.






Add the reserved chicken stock, or packaged stock, and stir until combined. Gently stir the rosemary into the soup, and continue cooking until it reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.





Once the broth is done, remove the rosemary then add the egg noodles and chicken, stirring to combine. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the egg noodles are al dente. Add more chicken stock if desired. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.




Monday, July 17, 2017

16 July 2017







With a hectic work schedule, lots of City business and ongoing home projects, Summer seems to be flying by this year. With the high heat and humidity last week, it's clear the "dog days" have arrived, even though our weather has been more tropical this year. The pop-up thunderstorms are unpredictable but offer a brief respite from the heat. Who knows what August will bring, so we need to make the most of this bountiful season in the South.

When it comes to the unpredictability of Summer storms, we came close to having a rain-out of Canton's very first Summer Concerts in Brown Park on Saturday. This is an excellent new event sponsored by Canton Main Street, and Speedy Smith with Speedy Productions handles all of the set up and equipment. Speedy is a Canton treasure and is always on hand to run the sound and technology for First Fridays, Concerts in Brown Park and countless other city events. He is definitely one of the most dedicated and hard-working guys in town, and we greatly appreciate his heroic efforts.

On Saturday, the forecast was calling for 70%–100% chances of rain until around 5 PM. The concert in Brown Park was scheduled to begin at 5:30. Speedy and his team had everything set up, but I, and many others, were convinced the event would be cancelled. Whether divine intervention or just Speedy and Main Street's steadfast determination that the show would go on, the clouds and rain cleared in time for John Michael Rose to take the stage as the first act at 5:30. The crowd was slim at the beginning and seemed stunned the weather had taken a turn for the better, but the John Michael Rose band left no doubt Canton was in for a treat. Some of you probably recall the days when John and his band were regulars at Downtown Kitchen's live music upstairs on Friday night. It was great having him back in Canton, and his rocking blues seemed to beckon more concert attendees as his set progressed. People began walking down to the park to see what was going on, and attendees got the word out on social media. By the time the second act, the Dashcrackers, took the stage, the crowd had grown to a respectable size, and they were there to have fun and enjoy the outdoor concert. The final act, TouchFire, brought even more people to Brown Park, and they closed the night out in style. All in all, it was a magical night, and I was, once again, so proud and thankful to be a Canton resident. We are hoping for better weather for the next Concerts in Brown Park on August 19, so mark it on your calendar now! You won't regret it, unless you don't attend.

After the concert, we came home and watched an interesting movie about the life of poet Emily Dickinson. Yes, I can't escape my passion for literature over thirty years since earning my BA in English from Berry College. Cynthia Nixon, from the Sex in the City series, seemed an odd choice to play the famous poet, but her performance was quite stunning. I've always been haunted by Dickinson's verses, but the movie put her life and melancholy into context. As a period piece, the movie was somewhat tedious yet captivating at the same time. In addition to portraying her life story, the background narrative included readings of her poetry to frame each scene. Hearing the readings, in the context of the movie's intriguing cinematography, brought Dickinson's words to life in a hauntingly beautiful manner. I recommend the movie for tried-and-true poetry and literature fans, especially on a rainy and stormy night. Perhaps it's time for another night of poetry readings on the Side Porch at One Britt? Yes, I geek out from time to time.

Speaking of geeking out, I woke up on Sunday morning thinking about corn. Since we were in Atlanta on Friday night and Saturday, I did not get to shop the Canton Farmer's Market this weekend. I have also been thinking about eating less meat for a while, and I figured Summer was the ideal time for this endeavor given the abundance of fresh, local produce. Maybe that's why I had "corn on the brain," but I was determined to prepare a vegetarian Sunday Supper from as many local ingredients as possible. I posted on Facebook, asking where I could find some local sweat corn and immediately got a few sources. Since it was Sunday morning, some of them were not possibilities, but Becky Buice and Scott Burns came through with the win. Becky had commented to ask Scott Burns if Great Scott Farm's stand was open, so I called them to inquire. The contact listed was actually one of the farmer's personal cell phone, and Scott Burns answered my call. He was out of town, but said he would call to ask them. He called back, saying the farm stand was open, and I ventured over to Ellenwood Drive, off of Univeter Road, to find a perfectly charming table of fresh produce, including corn, on a table under a tree. The produce was in baskets with hand written pricing, and there was an honor system with a dropbox to pay. I was overjoyed by this idyllic setting, especially when I spied some just-picked tomatoes on the table as well. Feeling drunk with my foraging, I planned tonight's Sunday Supper around those ingredients.

For the main course, I used the farm-fresh local corn to make a simple, but delicious, corn chowder. To accompany the chowder, I baked a "pone" of cornbread with some fresh cornmeal in the freezer from Liz Porter's Buckeye Creek Farm in Woodstock, incorporating some jalapeños from our raised garden at One Britt. For starters, I used the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from Great Scott to make a caprese salad. Our friends, Cory and John, have an unbridled herb garden this year, so I used some of their purple and green basil in the salad as well. For dessert, this meatless Sunday Supper called for a homemade banana pudding, and I used my mother's recipe with great success. It was like taking a bite out of my childhood memories, and the satisfaction was more voluminous than the mile-high Southern meringue.

For me, it has been a weekend of living in the now. It sounds cliche, but I find great pleasure in my surroundings and everyday experience. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of work and personal challenges, but we have to stop and taste the corn from time to time. As Emily Dickinson would say, "Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough."




The Menu:

- Simple Corn Chowder from Local Yellow Corn

- Caprese Salad with Great Scott Heirloom Tomatoes and Woodland Basil

- Iron Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread from Buckeye Creek Farm Cornmeal

- Old Fashioned Banana Pudding from Mama's Recipe


The Recipe – Simple Corn Chowder


Ingredients:


2 tablespoons butter


  • 4 scallions, white bulbs only, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups fresh yellow corn kernels – reserving two corn cobs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth, homemade or organic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives or scallion greens for garnish

Directions: 


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the scallion, bell pepper, and celery and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, two cups of the corn, reserved corn cobs broken in half, bay leaf, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the corn and vegetables are simmering, use a blender to puree the remaining two cups of corn with the milk. Stir puree into the Dutch oven and add the black pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove corn cobs and bay leaf, and garnish with chives or scallions.








Monday, July 3, 2017

02 July 2017










It has been a rainy but relaxing holiday weekend. Jeff was in Orlando for a conference, so I had some rare alone time at home. I loved every minute and spent a lot of time in the kitchen, watching movies and enjoyed the first dip in the pool this year. I am hoping for dryer weather for Independence Day so we can spend more time in the pool and for the 4th of July celebration and fireworks by the City of Canton. 

I came home from work on Friday and began preparing some dishes for a neighborhood gathering on Saturday night at the beautiful home of Mike and Jamie Morgan. They have done a wonderful job restoring the former Jones home on East Main Street, and they were gracious enough to host a nice crowd from the neighborhood for a BBQ. Some of my favorite people were in attendance, and so many of them are great cooks. Mike's BBQ was delicious, and Jamie made some amazing cobblers and homemade ice cream for dessert. Everyone brought side dishes, and no one left hungry! I decided to try my hand at pickling some shrimp for the event. This was my first attempt at making Pickled Shrimp, and they turned out great. I found some cool gallon glass jars with lids, and the presentation was nice as well. They are relatively simple to make, and you can add any spices or vegetables you want to the brine. I had several requests for the recipe, so I am including it in this week's post. Since I had not tried the shrimp before, I was a little nervous about the results, so I baked a cauliflower gratin as a backup. Everyone seemed to enjoy that dish as well. 

Saturday morning began as usual with a trip to the Canton Farmers Market. There were over 58 vendors there, and the crowd was huge. In addition to the great produce. local beef and pork and fresh baked goods, the market also hosted a watermelon eating contest this week. It was a real slice of Americana, and everyone had a good time. After the cookout on Saturday night, I came home and watched a wonderful documentary, "Eating Alabama." The movie follows the lives of a young couple who moved back to their home town in rural Alabama and their decision to only eat food produced locally for one year. It was really eye opening and showcased the lack of working farmers these days. Their journey began with a real struggle, but they ended up growing a lot of produce in their own front yard. The movie was beautifully filmed, and the filmmaker was a great story teller. I highly recommend the movie.

Sunday began with wonderful everything bagels and fresh farm eggs from Whim-Wham Art Farm. I am addicted to their bagels, as well as everything they grow and bake. Before the rain set in again, I was able to enjoy the first time in the pool, or as we call it – the cement pond. Jeff has adopted the pool as his pet project, and he did a great job opening and cleaning it this year. He didn't get home from Orlando in time to enjoy it, but we are hoping for nice weather on Tuesday. However, he did enjoy a hearty home made dinner for tonight's Sunday Supper. I used some beautiful pasture raised filet mignon's from Hill Valley Farm in Ellijay and leftover pickled shrimp to make a surf-and-turf entree. I bought the filets, as well as some heritage pork, at the Canton Farmers Market last week. Hill Valley is there every weekend, and I highly recommend their products. I also made a buttermilk ranch dressing for a simple wedge salad and baked potatoes as a side. On Sunday morning, I baked some delectable garlic popovers, and we enjoyed them with the meal. 

It has been a wonderful, and filling, weekend, and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in Canton, Georgia. Happy 4th of July, y'all!


The Menu:

- Surf and Turf – Local Pan Seared Filets with Pickled Shrimp

- Baked Potatoes

- Wedge Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

- Garlic Popovers


The Recipe – Pickled Shrimp with Vegetables

Ingredients:

Brine:

2 cups rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. red chili flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water

Shrimp and Vegetables:

  • Baby carrots, peeled
  • Green beans
  • One Vidalia onion, sliced
  • One lemon, sliced
  • One orange, sliced
  • Few pepperoncini peppers
  • Okra pods
  • 2 lbs. boiled shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails on

Directions:

For the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove brine from the heat and cool slightly.
Pack all the vegetables and shrimp, in alternating layers, into a large glass jar or airtight container with lid. I used around a dozen of each vegetable, but just add any produce you like. Pour the warm brine into the jar to cover shrimp and vegetables. 
Cover tightly and let cool before refrigerating overnight, or a minimum of 12 hours. Serve chilled, from jar or in a large bowl. 
NOTE: Use fresh, gulf shrimp if you can find them. If not, simply buy large cleaned and deveined frozen shrimp. Thaw them in some cold water for 25-30 mins, then dry them before adding to brine. If you boil the shrimp, don't boil them too long, or they will get mushy in the pickling brine. 


Sunday, June 18, 2017

18 June 2017







After a hot and busy week in Chicago for NeoCon, it was nice to get home. My return flight was six hours late due to severe weather, so I didn't get home until around midnight on Wednesday. I hit the ground running for client meetings on Thursday, followed by a long Council meeting that evening. Needless to say, I was happy to slow down and relax a bit over the weekend. Unfortunately, I have a touch of the annual NeoCon crud, but I managed to get some rest and even cook tonight's Sunday Supper.

I could barely breathe on Saturday morning, but I dragged myself out of bed to go to the Canton Farmers Market. It was packed, and as usual, there were some great vendors with lots of produce, breads and other foods and handcrafted edibles. I left the market with a great haul, including rosemary garlic bread, onion blossoms, onions from Whim-Wham Art Farm; Hard Neck garlic from Rustic Roots; elm ear mushrooms from Loud Mouth Farm; smoked porcini mushroom bacon salt from the Bear Hive; Georgia peaches from Pearson Farm; and beautiful local beef and pork from Hillside Farm in Ellijay. After an early lunch at R&M Hoagie Shop, I came back and crashed for most of the afternoon.

With a good night's sleep and a couple of cups of coffee, I was determined not to let my farmers market bounty go to waste. The kitchen was filled with a garlic aroma from the hard neck garlic, so I knew I had to use it in a dish. Plus, the garlic, along with the Whim-Wham onions, are in the allium family and are natural antibiotics, so they found their way into a simple arrabbiata sauce for an "angry spaghetti" entree. I packed the sauce full of garlic and even added some of the onion blossoms, my new favorite ingredient. For the salad course, I picked the last of our arugula from the raised beds at One Britt along with some beet greens, and I tossed them with some thinly sliced fennel bulb, olive oil and lemon juice. I chopped more of the garlic and added to some butter to transform the Whim-Wham bread into garlic toast. It may not cure my sinus infection, but at least I won't have to worry about vampires tonight! For dessert, I used the peaches to make an easy peach crumble and, of course, topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love making peach cobbler this time of year, but the crumble was a lot easier and healthier, and it tastes delicious.

So, with a full belly and grateful heart, I will turn in early tonight in preparation for another busy week. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy week ahead.


The Menu:

- Angry Spaghetti – Pasta with Arrabbiata Sauce

- Arugula and Beet Green Salad with Olive Oil and Lemon

- Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

- Georgia Peach Crumble


The Recipe – Georgia Peach Crumble

Ingredients:

Topping:


  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Filling:


  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds ripe, but firm, peaches cut into 1/2-inch slices

Directions:

Topping:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle.

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend the butter pieces into the dry ingredients until large clumps form and completely incorporated. Crumble the clumps into small pieces, then refrigerate the crumble while you make the filling.
Filling:

  1. Place the brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the peach slices, stirring until evenly coated.

  1. Transfer the mixture to a medium baking dish, and arrange it in an even layer. Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture evenly over the peaches.

  1. Bake until the topping is brown and crisp, about 20 - 25 minutes. Place the dish on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

     

Sunday, June 4, 2017

04 June 2017






Summer has arrived and not a minute too soon. We kicked it off in style in Canton at First Friday with a theme of "Summer Nights." In addition to the typical music, great food and classic cars, I had the honor and privilege to publicly launch the city's new brand and website. We have been working on this program for over ten months, and it includes a new logo, messaging and website. The logo was created by id8 from Marietta after a lot of public input from our citizens. They did a wonderful job and captured the unique spirit and natural beauty of Canton. The new logo features bold typography with an interweaving river graphic to represent the Etowah and connectivity of our vibrant city. The identity is fresh, fun, friendly and slightly unexpected – just like Canton. The First Friday crowd was treated to some new brand swag, and everyone has been very positive and excited about the new brand, and I couldn't be happier about the energy and direction we are headed as a city.

We were in Puerto Rico last weekend, so we missed the opening of the 2017 Canton Farmers Market. However, we visited bright and early this week and came away with some amazing everything bagels, farm eggs, golden beats and beautiful onion blossoms from Whim-Wham Art Farm. I also picked up some Georgia peaches, barbecue sauce and other fresh goodies. The Market features over 50 farmers and purveyors this year, and I look forward to more fresh produce and delicious local products.

This morning began with Parmesan scrambled farm eggs on Whim Wham bagels, and off to the grocery I went to gather the other ingredients for tonight's Sunday Supper. In San Juan, we enjoyed an incredible four-course menu at Marmalade, the top rated restaurant in old town. We had dined here before and couldn't wait to return. For my first course there, I had a fabulous golden beet and radish carpaccio with hearts of palm, goat cheese, grapefruit, almonds and avocado. The salad had a refreshing citrus vinaigrette, and the flavors were explosive. I have been thinking about that dish since we got home, so I decided to attempt to recreate it with the Whim-Wham beets. I wrote down the main ingredients at Marmalade, and I followed them pretty closely. I whipped some chévre goat cheese with local honey and made an almond grapefruit dressing. I used all of the other ingredients on the list but topped the carpaccio with the onion blossoms, and the salad was delicious. It was a taste of early Summer and colorfully photogenic as well. For the main course, I prepared a mojo marinated pork tenderloin with peach and habanero salsa, and I served it with an apricot and toasted pecan basmati rice. I found some jumbo fresh asparagus and steamed it and topped in lemon and brown butter. For dessert, I made a simple Strawberry Dream parfait with organic strawberries and organic whipped cream. It was a fun day in the kitchen with lots of opportunity to practice my knife and presentation skills.

After a very busy week ahead, I travel to Chicago next Sunday for my 33rd NeoCon, the world's largest trade show for the built environment. I always enjoy seeing so many friends, colleagues and interesting new furniture, textiles and other materials. In addition, I am sure I will partake in some of the Windy City's fine restaurants, but I will be filled with anticipation for the upcoming home grown tomatoes, more Georgia peaches and, my favorite, fresh cut okra from the Canton Farmers Market.




The Menu:

- Golden Beet and Radish Carpaccio with Honey-Whipped
  Chevre, Grapefruit, Avocado, and Onion Blossoms with
  Almond Citrus Vinaigrette

- Adobo Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Georgia Peach
   and Habanero Salsa

- Organic Basmati Rice with Dried Apricots and Georgia Pecans

- Strawberry Dream Parfait


The Recipe – - Adobo Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Georgia Peach and Habanero Salsa

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sorghum syrup or honey
1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
6 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
2 habanero chiles, finely chopped
2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 medium pork tenderloins
1 lb. ripe peaches, diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Flaky sea salt

Preparation:

In a glass baking dish or jumbo zip lock bag, combine the olive oil, 1/4 cup of the lime juice, sorghum syrup, bourbon, chipotles, all but 1/2 tsp. of the habaneros, and garlic. Add the tenderloins and coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Bring the pork to room temperature before cooking. Heat 2 Tbs, oil in heavy or iron skillet on med-high until shimmering. Remove tenderloins from marinade and dry with paper towels, removing any solids. Sear the pork on all sides until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to the preheated oven, and cook until slightly pink (around 30 minutes).

Transfer tenderloins to a cutting board, and tent with foil for 15 minutes.

Combine the peaches, onion, cilantro, remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. habanero chile to a medium bowl. Toss with 1/4 tsp. salt, and a little black pepper.

Cut the pork into 3/8 inch slices and fan on a serving platter. Sprinkle with sea salt, then spoon the peach salsa over the pork.

Monday, May 8, 2017

07 May 2017









It's good to be home! After a month of renovations on One Britt to refinish all of the floors and paint the interior, we were finally able to move back on Thursday. Of course it was pouring rain and a Council meeting day, but nothing would deter us from returning home. After a thorough cleaning on Wednesday, the moving and restoration company did a great job and had all of our belongings back in place by 1 o'clock in the afternoon. They even folded our t-shirts, towels, and linens. Slater Floors did an amazing job on refinishing the hardwood and painting. I had a very particular finish in mind, and Richard Slater and his team kept working until they achieved the desired result. They ended up mixing a custom stain of two parts ebony with one part true black, and this created the perfect "brack" hue. I really love the deep dark chocolate color, and the woodgrain is still visible and lovely. The new floors give the house a totally different feel, and the paint is my favorite neutral color, China White by Benjamin Moore. We really appreciate everyone's kind comments as they followed our progress on social media. It was a fun way to document the process, and it was nice to get some outside perspective. Most of all, thanks again to our dear friends, Cory Wilson and John Clark, who allowed us to live in their basement apartment. It was nice to feel perfectly at home, and the hospitality was warm and inviting.

It was a busy weekend with getting settled back in and one of my favorite events of the year, Derby Day at the Rock Barn. This party is the largest annual fundraiser for the Cherokee County Historical Society. In addition to the ticket sells, they have a silent auction, pony pull and special Bourbon tastings. As always, Event Wise catering did a wonderful job with the derby-inspired food, and the CCHS Staff and Board are to be commended on one of their 14th Annual Derby Day – the best one yet!

Sunday was all about cooking the first Sunday Supper in the "new" house. After reading several articles on buttermilk roasted chicken, I decided to give it a try. I have wanted to cook this in the past, but I never remembered the chicken has to marinate in the buttermilk brine for 24 hours. While this requires patience, the outcome is totally worth the effort. The chicken has an excellent flavor with an
incredible caramelized color, and the brining keeps the chicken moist while roasting. To accompany the chicken, I sliced some fingerling potatoes in half and roasted them, along with some garlic cloves and thyme, for the last 30 minutes under the chicken in the roasting pan. This allows the potatoes to absorb all of the chicken flavor, and they are delicious. This is probably my favorite way to roast potatoes, other than frying them in duck fat, but the chicken fat is the next best thing. I also roasted some fresh Spring asparagus with some minced garlic, olive oil and a teaspoon of onion powder.

Even though we have been out of the house for a month, we went over every day to check on the work and to care for our plants. Jeff has worked hard to grow some organic arugula and radishes in our raised bed, and it was time to celebrate our move in with a fresh salad from the garden. The arugula was at its prime, and I added some of the young radish greens, thinly sliced radishes and a red apple to the salad. I made an apple cider vinaigrette dressing, and the combination was perfectly balanced with a undeniable taste of Spring. There is nothing more satisfying than picking fresh greens, produce or fruit from your own backyard and using them in your Sunday Supper.

There really is no place like home, especially when your home is located in Canton, Georgia! I hope your weekend activity and run for the roses was equally satisfying. Now, stop reading this blabber, and start marinating that chicken in some decadent Southern buttermilk!


The Menu:

- Buttermilk Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Thyme

- Chicken Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

- Asparagus with Garlic

- Garlic Bread

- Grilled Fresh Pineapple Rings Marinated in White Wine and Honey


The Recipe – Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Ingredients: 

One 4-pound chicken 

3 cups buttermilk

1 Tbs honey

1 Tbs hot sauce

1/3cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped

cloves garlic,  crushed

1 Tbs crushed black peppercorns

1 Tbs sea salt

Directions:


    1. Spatchcock the chicken by placing it breast side down and cut along both sides of backbone to remove. Turn chicken over and open it like a book. Press down with gentle pressure to flatten the chicken.
    2. Put chicken in a large plastic storage bag then add buttermilk, oil, honey, hot sauce, garlic, herbs peppercorns, and salt. Seal bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.
    3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then remove chicken from marinade and let excess buttermilk to drip off. Line a roasting pan with foil, then place chicken. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons oil. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 325. Continue roasting until well browned and until juices run clear, about another 20 minutes. Check chicken with instant read thermometer in thickest part to ensure it reaches 165 degrees.
    4. Remove chicken to a carving board and rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Drizzle each serving with pan juices from roasting pan.


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