Monday, October 19, 2015

18 October 2015










Fall has definitely arrived, and it has been a beautiful, yet chilly, weekend. Most of the weekend revolved around the Black and White Prohibition Gala on Saturday. The event was a fundraiser for the Cherokee Arts Center, and it was held at the recently restored Cline House in Waleska, just across from Reinhardt University. Phoebe Maze did an amazing job with the restoration of this historic home, and the Black & White Ball committee's hard work resulted in a beautiful evening. Guests enjoyed prohibition cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, a live brass band and even a black jack table. Although the weather provided a very cool evening, the crowd was warm and charitable. Thanks again to the Gala Committee for all of their hard work, and thanks to the attendees for their support of the Cherokee Arts Center.

While Jeff was over at the Cline House for set up, I ventured to the Canton Farmers Market to see what I could find. The market runs through the end of October, but there are still some great vendors with autumn produce and interesting handcrafted items. My first stop, of course, was to visit and shop with my friends at Whim-Wham Art Farm. They had baked some delicious homemade bagels, in addition to other breads and cinnamon rolls. I also picked up some beautiful watermelon radishes, Serrano peppers, cilantro and pesto. My client, Mercier Orchard, was also there with a nice selection of apples, so I bought a bag of Stayman apples.

After visiting the Canton Farmers Market, I spent most of the afternoon catching up on the back episodes of the third season of "A Chef's Life," Vivian Howard's Peabody Award winning show on PBS. I really love this program and believe it is the best cooking show on television at the moment. I enjoy it even more after meeting Vivian at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival in March. She is very down-to-earth and approachable, and her recipes are fantastic. I intend to make a pilgrimage to her restaurant, Chef & The Farmer in Kinston, NC very soon. In addition to the food, I am interested in seeing, first hand, how her restaurant revitalized a small town. It speaks to the power of innovation and proves that any small Southern city can become a destination with the right mix of merchants and restaurants.

On Sunday, we enjoyed breakfast sandwiches on Whim-Wham everything bagels and made our way over to the Victory Garden. We picked the last few crops of the year, including radishes, red Thai peppers and some very, very young baby carrots. I spent the afternoon using a quick method to pickle the radishes from the garden, Whim-Wham's watermelon radishes, the infant carrots and added some of the Thai peppers for a little heat. I used the radishes and carrots in an incredible salad for Sunday Supper. While the quick pickled vegetable were fermenting, I used the cilantro and Serrano peppers from Whim-Wham to make homemade Cilantro and Serrano Fettuccine. I have a hand-cranked pasta maker, and the process is tedious but well worth the effort. If you haven't made your own pasta, I highly recommend it! I used the fettuccine in a Italian/Mexican fusion dish with marinated grilled chicken and avocados. After drying for around an hour, my homemade fettuccine turned out great. It was very rewarding
and therapeutic.

In addition to the pickled radishes and carrots, the salad featured mandarin oranges, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and crumbled goat cheese. I squeezed the juice of half an orange over the salad and drizzled it with a homemade dressing of shallots, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I must say this is one of the most delicious salads I have ever made or tasted. It was so fresh and the perfect taste of Fall. For dessert, I used the Mercier Stayman apples to make some apple rose tarts. It was easy and fun, and the apple roses turned out great. I found an old recipe for a caramel cream sauce to accompany the apple roses. While I was combining the three ingredients, – butter, brown sugar and evaporated milk – I remembered the sauce from my childhood. My grandmother made this caramel sauce, and one taste took me back to fond childhood memories. After all, that's what great food can do by evoking a taste of a special place and time and your life.

For many reasons, it was a special and memorable Sunday Supper and yet another enjoyable Fall weekend in my favorite small town,
Canton, Georgia!


The Menu:

- Fall Baby Lettuces with Pickled Watermelon Radishes, Infant Carrots, Pepitas and Goat Cheese

- Homemade Cilantro Serrano Fettuccine with Marinated Grilled Chicken and Avocado

- Apple Rose Tarts with Granny's Cream Caramel Sauce


The Recipe – Quick Pickled Radishes

Ingredients:

1 bunch radishes of your choice
¾ cup white wine vinegar
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons local honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 Whole Serrano or jalapeno pepper
½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
6 black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic


Instructions:

Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes and slice into very thin rounds with a sharp knife or mandolin

Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar with the pepper, garlic, peppercorns and mustard seeds.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey and salt. Bring brine to a boil, stirring occasionally, and pour the mixture over the radishes.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, but they are nice and crisp about 5 days after pickling.


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