Sunday, November 1, 2015

01 November 2015

After a week in Las Vegas, it's very nice to be home. We traveled with Jeff's parents and had a great time. Several of our Canton friends joined us for a few days, including Rick and Elaine Roberts, Cory Wilson, John Clark, Jennifer Dunn, Luanne West, and Tom and Betty Roach. Rick, Elaine, John and Cory came out to see Olivia Newton-John's residency show, Summer Nights, at the Flamingo. I've been an adoring fan since I was seven years old and bought my dad her "Let Me Be There" album for Fathers Day. Once he played it, I took it back and have been a fanatic ever since. It's been 44 years since her first American hit song, a cover of Bob Dylan's "If Not for You," and she is still going strong. She is in excellent voice and still looks beautiful, and her show alone is worth the trip to Vegas. She nailed every high note and mesmerized the audience with her rendition of "Send in the Clowns." In fact, she was so entertaining, Jeff and I returned on Friday night to see her again! We also got to see Elton John at Caesar's Palace and David Copperfield at MGM. Both of those shows were also great.

Of course, we had some excellent food in Las Vegas. One of my all time favorites is Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks & Stone Crab, and we had dinner there on two nights. I enjoyed a wonderful filet the first time and the largest King Crab claws I've ever seen on the second night. The King Crab are only in season two weeks out of the year, so that was a real treat. Of course I also had some Stone Crabs at both dinners since they also recently came into season. However, I did show some restraint by only having their Key Lime Pie the first time around. In addition to Joe's, I introduced the Browns to one of my only fast food favorites, In-n-Out Burger! It's always on my list in Vegas or whenever I am in California. In addition to the typical Vegas activities, we also spent a day at Red Rock National Park. The natural splendor is somewhat alien looking but dramatically beautiful.

We returned home on Halloween night, and I was bummed that I missed the last Canton Farmers Market. I made a comment on Facebook about my longing for one last baked good from Whim-Wham Art Farm, but low and behold, Mary Fischer-Mullins made a house call to leave a couple of their heavenly Cinnamon Rolls at my front door! I was very grateful for her generosity, and the gesture made my night. With the rainy weather today, I decided to make a pot of chili for Sunday Supper. I intended to bake cornbread to accompany the chili but opted at the last minute to make some Bacon and Chive Hoecakes from some Rocking S Farms cornmeal. It was the perfect choice, and we devoured all six of them.

This week will bring the municipal elections on Tuesday, and I am hoping for good results. It will also bring another trip out of town to meet with a client in Detroit, followed by an overnight trip to Chicago next Sunday. In spite of the hectic travel schedule, I am truly thankful for the business, great food, good friends and, oh, those summer nights that warm my heart in Fall.

The Menu:

- Savory Beef and Red Bean Chili

- Bacon and Chive Cast Iron Hoecakes

The Recipe – Bacon and Chive Hoecakes


3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup bacon grease (optional)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/2 cup crisp bacon, finely chopped
Vegetable oil, combined with some bacon grease if desired, for frying


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

Combine buttermilk, water, bacon grease, sour cream and slightly beaten egg in a small bowl. Blend well until just combined.

Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients, and mix just until a thick batter forms. Stir in chives and bacon, but don't over mix.

Heat oil and bacon grease in a cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium heat. Use about a quarter cup of batter for each cake, and cook them as you would pancakes. Fry on one side for about three minutes or until crisp and golden brown, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes. Add oil as needed, to avoid sticking, and place the hoecakes on a paper towel lined plate to absorb some of the excess oil. Serve warm.
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