Monday, July 7, 2014
06 July 2014
Yes, I know! It has been several weeks since my last post, but the last six weeks have been hectic – to say the least. I have been traveling for work, and Summer shows no signs of slowing down. June began with a very busy and successful NeoCon in Chicago, the world's largest trade show for commercial furnishings. Grant Design Collaborative had three clients and two showrooms at the event, and everyone was very pleased with the results. My entire team was on the scene to ensure another flawless showing at my 30th NeoCon, and I was even inaugurated into the SABAYH Society (Steak as Big as Your Head) at Gene and Gorgetti's with my good friends Brian Graham and Michael Vanderbyl. It was an exhausting and memorable trip.
I returned home from Chicago for less than a week before departing to facilitate a new client's brand experience workshop in Quebec. The client was located about an hour and a half South of Quebec City in Saint-Georges. The local scenery was beautiful, but I did not have a lot of time to enjoy the sights. However, the session went very well, and I enjoyed the meeting. I flew back very early on Friday morning and landed in Atlanta around noon. I immediately drove to Savannah to join some of my fellow Canton City Council members and our Mayor for the Georgia Municipal Association's (GMA) Annual Convention. On Saturday, I attended an all day session on Economic Development, a topic of passion for me. Most of it was very interesting, and it is always great to hear new ideas that may help the City of Canton reach its potential.
I was really looking forward to slowing down last weekend and, especially, to attending a family reunion in Dalton on Saturday. However, I slowed down more than intended with a stomach bug that landed me in bed for most of the weekend. I did rally long enough to attend the reunion, and it was great seeing the relatives on my mother's and grandmother's side. There was a lot of great food that I could not fully enjoy, but the fellowship, stories and wonderful memories soothed my soul for a few hours. Luckily, Jeff stepped in on Friday night to make my dad's secret family BBQ sauce to adorn Angelfire7's delicious pulled pork, and he even baked my mom's infamous jalapeño cornbread for the event. I moaned a few directions to him on Friday night, and he did a great job.
The past week was spent trying to catch up at the office and preparing for an important Council Work Session on Thursday. Once that was done, it was full speed ahead in preparation for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. As in years past, our dear friends Steve and Amado visited us on the Fourth for a laid back celebration. We floated in the pool for most of the day and tried to catch up on the details of our busy lives. Jeff and Cory spent the afternoon working in downtown, along with the Main Street board, for the First Friday celebration and annual Independence Day parade. The events were very well attended, and everyone had a blast. Thanks to the Main Street Board for volunteering their time and hard work on a holiday! Once they got back, I made some pimento cheese sandwiches for pool snacks, and we relaxed for a little while longer. For dinner, I made bacon wrapped hot dogs, BBQ chicken breasts, caprese salad and matchstick fried okra. Everyone enjoyed dinner, and later we walked down to the new park to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display sponsored by Canton Tourism. When we returned home, we enjoyed a refreshing frozen Strawberry Delight dessert that I had made earlier in the day. It was a very relaxing and fun day.
On Saturday, we stopped by and did a little work on our plot at the Victory Garden East. After that, we ventured over to Autumn Hill Nursery to get some new Caramel Cora Belles for the Side Porch planters. From there, we skirted over to Cherokee Market's amazing new location in Lathemtown. They are still working on the interior, but they are fully stocked and selling farm fresh produce from the front porch of the old general store. Lisa had just returned from the farmers market, and we scored some beautiful yellow and red tomatoes, plump blackberries, silver queen corn and a watermelon. Most of these fresh items were used in tonight's Sunday Supper. While it was sad to drive by the former location at the doomed Bell's Store, it is inspiring to watch Lisa and her gang resurrect and bring new life to the old general store in Lathemtown. Cherokee Market is going to be bigger and better than ever!
Sunday began with an early morning visit to Starbucks, followed by a few hours of work at the office. In addition to some client work, I spent a couple of hours reviewing the preliminary 2015 budget figures for the City of Canton. We will be meeting over the next couple of weeks to finalize the figures and, hopefully, move forward in a positive and effective manner. After working for a few hours, I returned home to begin preparing Sunday Supper. I began by baking a cobbler with the fresh blackberries from Cherokee Market. It was my first attempt at this version, and it was delicious! For the entree, I modified an interesting Southern interpretation of Chicken Cordon Bleu. I pounded some free range chicken breasts to about an 1/8 inch thickness and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper. I then blanched some kale from the garden for a couple of minutes, squeezed it dry and chopped to place on top of each breast. I topped the kale with some grated parmesan and two thin slices of ham. I rolled the chicken up tightly, placed a sage leaf on top of each and secured with a toothpick. I browned the chicken rolls on all four sides and placed in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. While the chicken was baking, I used the skillet to make a sauce by adding a half cup of chicken stock and some lemon juice and let reduce a bit. I then thickened the sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and a bit more stock. At the end, I added two tablespoons of butter off heat. I served the sauce over the chicken, and it was very tasty. For sides, I utilized the produce from Cherokee Market to make a Caprese salad and truffled silver queen corn.
There's nothing better than sharing a great summer supper with dear friends, and there's no place like home!
- Chicken Cordon Bill – Free Range Chicken Rolls with Kale, Parmesan and Maverick Ham
- Fresh Silver Queen Corn with White Truffle Oil
- Red and Yellow Caprese Salad
- Blackberry Cobbler ala Mode
Truffled Silver Queen Corn
- 4 ears of fresh silver queen corn
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt
- white truffle oil to taste
Directions: Shuck corn and cut kernels just before cooking. Scrape cobs to remove corn "milk." Melt butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add corn and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add kosher salt to taste and a drizzle of white truffle oil (a little goes a long way). Mix well, and serve immediately.
Southern Blackberry Cobbler
- 1 stick Butter
- 1-1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Self-Rising Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 cups Blackberries
- lemon juice
Melt butter. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl and whisk in milk. Mix well. Pour in melted butter and whisk together well. Butter a baking dish.
Rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Taste the blackberries for sweetness and adjust sugar accordingly. Add 1/2 cup sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice to the berries and mix well. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter, distributing evenly. Pour any accumulating juice over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle an additional teaspoon or two of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or warm with ice cream.