Monday, June 20, 2016

20 June 2016

The past two weeks have been very hectic. I was in Chicago June 10-15 for my 32nd NeoCon, the world's largest trade show for commercial furnishings and materials. It's always great to see so many colleagues, and Grant Design Collaborative's work for Decca Contract and Elan furniture was well received. As always, our team did great work, especially our Creative Director, Matt DeFrain.

I flew back late on Wednesday night, and we had a Council meeting on Thursday. Although exhausted, it was great to be there for the official adoption of the new Master Plan and LCI update for downtown and the River Mill district. It was such an honor and privilege to chair this initiative with my fellow Council member and friend, Sandy McGrew. The new plan features a lot of great initiatives to change the trajectory of downtown, and we hope to expand our long term plans for other areas of the city. The Mayor, Council, City Manager and city staff collaborated in an effective and productive manner, and the only thing more exciting than the plan itself will be the implementation efforts. To see the final plan, visit

After work on Friday, we celebrated Jeff's dad's birthday at their family farm in Jasper. It was a perfect Summer evening, complete with grilled steaks, twice baked potatoes and homemade ice cream. On Saturday morning, we ventured over to the Canton Farmers Market to stock up on some great items. As usual, we returned home with a great haul of farm fresh eggs, everything bagels, onions, garlic, homemade soap, crushed red pepper, corn, purple potatoes, pork rinds, pecans and even a fresh garlic skate compliments of Rustic Roots! After a late breakfast at Keithsburg Cafe, we were off to Atlanta to attend an opening reception of the Mad Men exhibit at MODA. The exhibit featured fine art from many advertising and design professionals working in Atlanta in the 70's and 80's, and our dear friend, Steve Martin, had three amazing paintings in the show. It was great seeing so many friends and colleagues, especially those that I had not seen in many years. We had a wonderful time and visited Krog Street Market on Sunday for a late lunch. This redevelopment project is so inspiring, and it includes a lot of great restaurants and food stalls. We even ran into some Canton friends, the Walker-Bundas: Rob, Kandace, Atlas and Indy.

Needless to say, we did not make it back to Canton in time to cook Sunday Supper, so I used a lot of our Farmers Market items to prepare a "Meatless Monday" Supper. I made buffalo cauliflower sandwiches and served them on the delicious Whim Wham Art Farm bagels. I roasted the purple potatoes from Rustic Roots with local onions, garlic, rosemary and chopped garlic skate. I also roasted the first corn of the season as another side. It was a filling and satisfying vegetarian dinner after a busy Monday.

The rest of the week will also be busy, and I leave for the GMA Annual Conference in Savannah on Friday. Along with other city leaders, I look forward to this gathering of Georgia's elected officials. It is always educational, inspiring and a good opportunity to hear what other cities are doing to advance their communities. Of course, I hope to enjoy a couple of good meals with friends while in Savannah. Until next time, eat local and be kind to one another.

The Menu:

- Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches

- Roasted Valdosta Yellow Corn

- Roasted Purple Potatoes with Onions, Garlic, and Rosemary

The Recipe – Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches


1 whole cauliflower

1/2 C low fat milk

1/2 C water

3/4 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tbsp butter

1/2 C Frank's red hot sauce

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and preheat oven to 400.

Cut cauliflower in half and then cut 2, 3/4 inch steaks from each of the sides. Trim off leaves at the base, but leave most of the stem in tact.

Mix the flour, milk, water, spices, and seasoning into a bowl and whisk until combined. Transfer mixture to a wide shallow baking dish that will hold the cauliflower steaks. Dredge the steaks in the batter, coating well in all the crevices. Place the battered cauliflower steaks onto the lined baking sheet, and bake for 25 mins.

Just before the cauliflower is finished baking, melt the butter and whisk into the hot sauce. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Dredge the cauliflower steaks in the buffalo sauce to coat evenly. Return to the lined baking sheet for 20 mins at 450.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread some ranch or blue cheese dressing on both sides of a toasted bun, and lay the cauliflower steak on the bottom. Add red onion slices, lettuce, and tomato slices, if desired.
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