Monday, July 27, 2015

26 July 2015
















What a week! On Wednesday, I became a Great Uncle, once again. This time around, my darling niece, Kelly Keaton, delivered Sweet Caroline via an emergency C-Section around 7:30 pm. After some scary and anxious conditions, both are finally home and doing well. Caroline is adorable, and Kelly and her husband, Josh, are going to be wonderful parents. Congratulations to both of them, and I just wish my late sister, Stacy, were here to hold her beautiful granddaughter. I guess it will be my job to spoil her enough for both of us!

On Saturday, I had the distinct honor of being one of the judges of the annual Tomato Sandwich Festival at the Canton Farmers Market, so I hit Cannon Park bright and early to do my shopping. What a great selection of wonderful produce, fruits and handmade items! I came home with farm eggs, ground cherries, sage, parsley, potatoes and even a "Locally Grown" Onesie and Burping Cloth from Whim-Wham Art Farm. My bounty also included okra from Great Scott Farm, bacon from Joyful Noise Acres, two varieties of heirloom peaches from Pearson Farm, and of course, a delicious cup of coffee from Cup Up! The Farmers Market is truly at the height of the season, and it was great to see such a crowd out supporting our local farmers and Main Street program.

After hauling my items home and doing a couple of chores, I returned to the gazebo in Cannon Park to join my fellow judges, Mayor Gene Hobgood and Rep. Mandy Ballinger, for the Tomato Sandwich Festival. As usual, Roy Taylor did an excellent job with this event in celebration of our local community gardens, and there was a great turnout. We judges a nice variety of tomatoes and homemade bread. After the winners were announced, attendees lined up for all the tomato sandwiches they could eat. Events like these and the people in our community that volunteer for them are just more reasons why I love Canton so much.

Sunday began with breakfast at Keithsburg Cafe and lots of work around the house. After a little time cooling off in the pool, I began to put my Farmers Market purchases to good use in the preparation of Sunday Supper. I was really fascinated with the ground cherries from Whim-Wham, and my research revealed they are an obscure and almost forgotten seasonal gem that are in the same genus as tomatillos and same family as tomatoes. They are small, covered in a husk and savory with a slight sweet taste. It was really fun experimenting with them, and I used them in two dishes: heirloom tomato and ground cherry salad with basil olive oil and Smoked Hawaiian Sea Salt and in my dessert – a sweet corn and ground cherry muffin, grilled Pearson peaches and marscapone cheese with agave nectar. Both were interesting and delicious, one savory and one sweet. For the protein, I celebrated my Grand Niece by making Pulled Chicken with "Sweet Caroline" vinegar BBQ sauce. Jeff made some awesome dill zucchini pickles with the squash from the Victory Garden, so I served it with the BBQ. The sides included okra chips and roasted potatoes with sage and garlic. The locally-sourced Sunday Summer struck the perfect note on the Side Porch at One Britt, enhanced by the late July musings of the Cicada Symphony.

Here's to the promise of new life, tomato sandwiches and the farmers who feed us.


The Menu:

- Pulled Free Range Chicken with Sweet Caroline BBQ Sauce and Dill Zucchini Pickles

- Heirloom Tomatoes and Ground Cherries with Basil Olive Oil and Smoked Hawaiian Sea Salt

- Okra Chips

- Roasted Potatoes with Sage and Garlic

- Sweet Corn and Ground Cherry Muffins, Grilled Peaches and Marscapone Cheese with Agave Nectar


The Recipe – Sweet Corn and Ground Cherry Muffins with Marscapone Cheese and Agave Nectar

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

Kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 1/2 ears)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons honey


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk, agave nectar and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then fold in the corn kernels and ground cherries, if using. (You can leave them out and just have sweet corn muffins.)

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let the corn muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the agave nectar. To serve, split the muffins in half and toast with butter (optional). Top with the marscapone mixture and grilled or fresh fruit, if desired.




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