Monday, July 14, 2014

FARMERS MARKET FUN

It’s Stone Mountain Fresh!

By Doc Lawrence

Smiles with Freah Peaches
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- Rey Martinez makes Cuban sandwiches with the same skill and gusto as you experience in Miami’s fabled Little Havana. “The secret,” says Martinez, who also owns and operates Rey’s Cuban CafĂ© in nearby Loganville, “is fresh Cuban bread, the right ingredients and the process,” a technique that employs pressure toasting that seals in the remarkably delicious flavors.  His Cuban food is one of the growing number of new vendors that increase each week at this latest version of the neighborhood farmers markets.

Rey Martinez Makes A Real Cuban
Honey with Love
With around five million visitors pouring into the adjacent state park, the Historic Village of Stone Mountain’s Market will likely grow all the way to the season’s end which may go into October according to one city official. And, why not? If there is one activity that will usually bring out the best in everyone from locals to tourists it is food.

Heirloom tomatoes are in season. If you haven’t had a sandwich with an heirloom, you haven’t lived the good life. The late Georgia columnist Lewis Grizzard advised using only white bread and real mayonnaise. No argument there..

Heirloom Friendship
The array of products now range from local honey to artisan goat cheese, blueberries,, home baked cookies, and now white peaches from Georgia’s PearsonS Orchards.

Take a few bucks from the piggy bank and grab a free parking space in the village. I’ll see you there near the Cuban sandwich sign. That’s where I get Tuesday dinner.

NOTE: The Stone Mountain Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays beginning at 4 p.m.

Friday, July 11, 2014

ART STATION SCORES AGAIN


MARVELOUS MUSICAL IN STONE MOUNTAIN

By Doc Lawrence

Music Fills the Air at Art Station
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA- Tony Award winner Kenny Leon years ago said that nothing compares with the magic of the live stage performance. “We all breathe the same air, and something good deep inside is released.” Art Station, the highly respected center for theater in the Historic Village of Stone Mountain just opened their new production, "The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns," which takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School graduation. There, we meet the Wonderettes, a four girl singing group with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts. Delightful characters Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy entertain the audience as they celebrate graduation with their fellow classmates and teachers, preparing for their next step towards what they hope is a bright future.

Then comes act two as the musical play zooms ahead ten years where the girls perform as bride and bridesmaids to celebrate Missy’s marriage to her Mr. Wonderful. Songs are pop classics that remain on the oldies but goodies list everywhere including  “Rock Around the Clock,” “At the Hop,” “Dancing in the Street,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” plus a grab-bag of 25 more. Wonderetes, hailed as “delightful and nostalgic” by Broadway World, works with the audience who join in all the fun on this musical journey down memory lane.

Yes, breathing air that propels good music is a big part of the enjoyment of this summertime treat at Art Station.


NOTE: Shows are Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8:00, Sundays @ 3:00, with an additional Wednesday Matinee, July 23, 10:30. More information: www.artstation.org

Thursday, July 3, 2014

SOUTHERN THYMES SHARED TAILGATES

With Our Braves On The Fourth!

 By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA- Fourth of July celebrations Down South really should include our Atlanta Braves. The post-game fireworks are more fun here at Turner Field and the connection between baseball and the American Spirit is inescapable. What became America’s pastime was popularized during the Civil War. Heroes like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and Atlanta’s own Hank Aaron fit perfectly with songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “God Bless America,” making the 7th inning stretch more than just a tradition. It’s a way of life deeply ingrained in our soul.


This is a day for food, drinks, family, and friends with a whole lotta joy. What to prepare and serve on this special day of celebration, baseball and tailgating? With Chef Lara Lyn Carter, the answer is always easy and natural. “Keep everything Georgia,” she says. “My own sauce is made with Georgia ingredients and with three boys and a husband, cheering the Braves and America is a family tradition. This sauce has some extra backbone because I included Rye Whiskey from my close friends at 13th Colony Distillery, just up the road in Americus.”

13th Colony Sauce
Chef Lara Lyn Carter
(From Southern Thymes Shared,
By Lara Lyn Carter and
Doc Lawrence, Pelican Publishing 2014)

3 tbsp. canola oil
1 Vidalia onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. 13 th Colony Southern Rye Whiskey
Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic together until tender. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Jim Sanders was the “Father of Fine Wines” in Georgia and his J Sanders label French wines are sold exclusively at Sherlock’s in the Atlanta area. Jim loved good food particularly ribs and Brunswick Stew. A few chilled bottles of his Beaujolais Village will pair beautifully with barbecue of any kind, especially when Chef Lara Lyn’s 13th Colony Sauce is used generously.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

NOTE: Southern Thymes Shared, the wonderful cookbook, presents Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s recipes along with her wonderful stories that honor family, friends and the culinary heritage of he South. Each dish is paired with a careful selection of Old and New World wines.  The collectible cookbook is available on Amazon.com, at local bookstores and the Museum Gift Shop at Monticello.

Monday, June 30, 2014

STONE MOUNTAIN FARMERS MARKET

FARM FRESH FOOD IN THE VILLAGE

By Doc Lawrence

Michel McKinley (L),  Susan Coletti (C) and Pat Wheeler
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-The season’s first local grown heirloom tomatoes quickly sold out. Peaches just hours from being picked in Pearson Orchards in middle Georgia were bagged and headed home for that special recipe cobbler or homemade ice cream. Farmers Markets, once just local produce stands, have been cropping up in the Atlanta region for a few years and now one of the newest is making a statement in the historic Village of Stone Mountain.

Mechel McKinley, the city’s Downtown Development executive director said the market was “a great idea that benefits the city and something new everyone can enjoy.” She addedthat with so much tourist and bicycling traffic generated by Stone Mountain Park’s continuing popularity, the city’s new market is a natural stop off for visitors.

Dekalb County is no stranger to these havens of freshness. Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market near Decatur lays claim as the largest indoor market of its kind on earth. And it just launched a 100-acre expansion. The City of Decatur has a well-established popular street market and the list goes on.

Smoked Goat cheese with Horseradish is Hot Item
Stone Mountain’s market has a bunch of advantages. First, it is highly accessible, located in the parking area on Main Street. Then, there’s all the stunning history. The old train terminal survived the Battle of Atlanta. The March to the Sea began in the area. There is even a monument to “Sherman’s Neckties” at the end of the market space.

Art Station, a center for live theater and cabaret plus a gallery of original art is a block away and shopping at places like Sassy’s can yield some handmade jewelry, collectible books or one of resident Olivia Thomason’s heralded paintings.

Fresh food is the draw at the market. Artisan cheeses, herbs, a variety of fruits and vegetables and pastries come with good conversation. There’s no charge for friendly chats.

Stone Mountain’s market has a very bright future. Where else in America can you climb landmark granite mountain and after the trek, go shopping nearby and come home with a bag of delicious heirloom tomatoes?

The Farmers Market in Stone Mountain Village is every Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m. Parking is free. More information: www.stonemountainvillage.com


Olivia Thomason (left) Buys Vegetables from Circle M Farm

Saturday, June 28, 2014

FEAST THE FOURTH

Jim Sanders Georgia Brunswick Stew

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA. He was the unchallenged “father of fine wine” not only in Atlanta but the entire Southeast region. A French-trained chef, Jim Sanders stayed true to his Southern roots, producing a cookbook pairing the great dishes of the South (his recipes) with the great wines of France. No counterpart exists today.
Brunswick Stew with Barbecue Ribs

Each July 4, Sanders served his barbeque pork along with his treasured recipe Georgia Brunswick Stew, something he learned during his childhood days in Covington, Georgia. It is the traditional accompaniment to genuine Deep South barbecue and his recipe is credible.

INGREDIENTS:

1 four-pound baking chicken
4 pounds ground pork
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1-tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup red wine, preferably Rhone style
3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings 
36 ounces tomato juice
4 ounce tomato catsup
3 cups cut corn
Kosher salt and black pepper

PREPARATION:
Boil the chicken until it is very tender, cool, de-bone and chop the meat finely. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, braise the pork until half done. Add half the chopped onions, one chopped garlic clove, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to braise until the meat is well browned, stirring every few minutes to break up any lumps and combine with chicken. Add the tomato juice and catsup and simmer for 11/2 hours. Add the rest of the chopped onions, another chopped garlic clove and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt and spoon off the fat before serving.
Jim Sanders Wines are Spectacular

WINES:

Beaujolais goes well with Brunswick stew. It does not fight the spices and it has a lot of refreshment value. Otherwise, fairly heavy red wines like Cotes du Rhone complement the spice and flavors nicely as do several Italian reds like Chianti, Bardolino and Montepulciano.

NOTE:
Over three decades, Jim Sanders taught thousands in his wine classes in Atlanta, a rich mixture of governors, members of Congress, physicians, Georgia Supreme Court Justices and regular men and women of Atlanta. Although a product of the Deep South, Jim was more French than anything. After World War II, where he was wounded five times in the Pacific campaigns, he went to France, bicycled the countryside and found his passion in wine and food. He learned to cook in Lyon and Paris and met Armand Cottin, president of Labourie-Roi and through this brotherly friendship, developed his own cuvee of 179 Burgundies garnering numerous awards. Each day, in the rear of his retail wine shop in Atlanta’s Buckhead, Sanders served most anyone who came in wonderful dishes he prepared along with pours from countless bottles of perfectly paired wines. There was no charge.

Jim’s wines, all under his JSANDERS label, are sold exclusively in Atlanta’s Sherlock’s retail wine shops.

On the eve of his death in 1999, Jim Sanders entrusted me with his priceless wine notes, lectures, stories and recipes.

              Celebrate America and enjoy the Fourth of July!


Brunswick Stew Historic Marker




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SOUTHERN THYMES SHARED IN TENNESSEE


HISTORIC WINE DINNER

“A wonderful book honoring the culinary legacy of Thomas Jefferson.”

NORMANDY, Tennessee. “Thomas Jefferson would be very proud,” David Hazelwood declared at the conclusion of a highly successful wine dinner. Southern Thymes Shared, the cookbook with wine pairings that follows Jefferson’s dining tradition of serving fresh Southern food with Old and New World wines, inspired the gourmet event. Hazelwood, who has read many scholarly books about Thomas Jefferson, added that the evening at Corner Mill, the gourmet restaurant on the Duck River in Normandy, Tennessee, had “historic implications.”
Celebrating with David and Claudia Hazelwood (holding book)

Prior to the five-course dinner, Southern Thymes Shared was introduced to the public at large and dinner guests with co-author Doc Lawrence on hand for signing and personalization. Speaking before a packed restaurant, both Hazelwood and Lawrence elaborated on the recipes and the wine selections. “Every wine,” said Mr. Hazelwood, “came from a respected Southern winery.” The wines hailed from producers like North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville to Natchez Hills Vineyard in Hampshire, Tennessee. But it was Louisiana’s Ponchartrain Vineyards just north of New Orleans that claimed the evening's favorite, a delightful white wine, Roux St. Louis.
Doc Lawrence Signing a Book

Each course was prepared by Cortner Mill Chef Mason Heath and connected deliciously to many of the original recipes created by Lara Lyn Carter in Southern Thymes Shared. “We met with Chef Mason along with other knowledgeable friends and came up with a menu that was true to the spirit of Southern Thymes Shared,” said Hazelwood. He added that the wines were chosen according to compatibility with the flavors of each dish.

“This All-Southern wine dinner happened because of this wonderful cookbook,” Hazelwood observed. “Our evening of food, wine and good cheer honored Jefferson’s living culinary legacy.”

Owned by David and Claudia Hazelwood, Cortner Mill Restaurant, once an important 19th century gristmill, sits beside the roaring waters of the Duck River where the food connection remains. Today, diners enjoy gourmet dishes with wines where local farmers originally came to have corn ground into cornmeal and grits. A short distance away is the Hazelwood’s resort, Parish Patch Farm & Inn, a popular tourist and corporate conference destination acclaimed for its beautiful natural surroundings and superb amenities.

NOTE: Southern Thymes Shared (Pelican Publishing, Gretna, LA 2014) is available on Amazon, at local bookstores and the Monticello Museum Gift Shop in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Friday, June 13, 2014

BRAVES TAILGATING




FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND CELEBRATION

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA. It’s not your ordinary parking lot. On the hallowed grounds just outside Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, the picnic baskets are open, the grills hot, coolers are full and space-from card tables to the bed of trucks- is set aside for Tailgating. This weekend has something extra special:  We are honoring Dad. Baseball fans and Fathers seem to fit nicely.

Braves Star Evan Gattis
Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball brings generations together. My father, at 95, lives in Tennessee now and regularly watches the Braves on television. Early memories of growing up in Atlanta include watching Eddie Mathews play for the minor league dynasty Atlanta Crackers just before the third baseman and future Hall of Fame member became a Braves legend.

Before all the chopping and chanting begins, let’s get the Tailgating soiree underway. Chef Lara Lyn Carter, along with her three boys and husband is a Braves fan. And she is devoted to her father. A special treat for Father’s Day? We decided to share a wonderful and original hot weather dish that salutes a young man who has quickly become a fan favorite, Evan Gattis. He’s from Texas and you’ll enjoy the taste the connection.

This is margarita weather. Mix those cocktails before leaving home and for goodness sake use fresh juice and natural ingredients instead of that hideous garbage called pre-mix. Limes, oranges and Agave nectar are plentiful this time of year. Tequila? Your choice. No distilled spirit deserves more respect for being 100% natural.

        “Gattis gotta have it” Chicken Burritos
                    By Chef Lara Lyn Carter
4 large boneless skinless chicken breast cooked and shredded
1 can of cream of chicken soup
Chef Lara Lyn Carter
12 ounces sour cream
½ cup milk
8 ounces Pepper Jack cheese shredded and divided
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded and divided
1 4.5 can of diced green chilies
8 large flour tortillas
In a large bowl combine the chicken, soup, sour cream, milk, half of the Pepper Jack cheese, half of the Monterey Jack cheese, and the chilies together. Dividing the mixture evenly among the tortillas and roll them up. Arrange them in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake the burritos covered with foil at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover the burritos and top them with the remaining cheese. Return the burritos to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes






                                                                                    Don Julio Blanco Margarita
   (Serves eight Braves fans)
18.75 oz.
Don Julio® Blanco Tequila
3.75 oz.
orange liqueur
11.25 oz.
Fresh lime juice
7.5 oz.
Agave nectar to taste