Friday, May 23, 2014


Spicy Boiled Peanuts with Still Pond Sangria

By Doc Lawrence

. Baseball and the weather are almost in tandem on this holiday weekend. Our Atlanta Braves are beginning to sizzle and the thermometer is climbing. Fans down here call this a perfect combination.

Not so fast!
Still Pond Georgia Sangria

What about food and drinks? Many sports enthusiasts mistakenly think that tailgating is relegated to college football season. “If you have been to a single Braves game here in Atlanta,” says Frank Spence, a former Braves executive, “this myth is exposed.” Grills everywhere with smoke pluming up towards a blue sky. Tables set with plates of food and glasses of good things like burgers, smoked sausage, barbecue, baby back ribs and delightful desserts. And drinks.
TP is a Braves Coach

One of the joys of tailgating before going into Turner Field includes creative snacks and nothing snacks better down here than boiled peanuts, a delicacy that has been around since the Great Flood.

Chef Lara Lyn Carter, whose cooking show on Albany, Georgia’s WALB-TV is as hot as Freddie Freeman’s bat, shares her wonderful recipe. “I named it after Braves’ legend Terry Pendleton, the Braves’ first base coach.” Fans remember “TP” as the National League's most valuable player during the 1991 Miracle Braves season which culminated in one of history’s most exciting World Series. “The spiciness,” says Ms. Carter, “works perfectly with glasses of refreshing Still Pond sangria. And, everything is all-Georgia!”

While waiting on friends to join up for the pre-game feast, it’s o.k. to serve the spicy peanuts and pour some sangria. Remember to open some bottles of Coca-Cola for the kids. (Keep everything Georgia.)

Chef Lara Lyn Carter at the Grill

The tailgating light just turned green and it’s time to celebrate. Go Braves!


3 lbs. green boiling peanuts
3 large limes
4 large jalapeño peppers cut in half
6 cloves of garlic peeled
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. celery salt
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. paprika
6 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup coarse salt
Put peanuts in a large stock pot and cover them with water. Zest the limes and add the zest, juice and peel to the pot. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring the peanuts to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 4 hours. Be sure to stir the peanuts every 30 minutes and add water as needed to keep peanuts covered.
After 4 hours remove the peanuts from the heat and allow them to sit in the pot for 8 hours. Drain the peanuts and remove the remains of the peppers, garlic, and limes. Rinse the peanuts and drain them well. Store them in the refrigerator.


The wine punch originated in Spain, but here, deep in Dixie, we call it our own after having made it even before the Civil War. Few wines make better Sangria than the rich, delicious Muscadine from Still Pond Vineyards in Arlington, Georgia.

4 bottles Still Pond Plantation Red Muscadine Wine
1/2 cup Tupelo Honey
1 tsp. lime zest
1 bottle club soda
2 cups vodka
Juice of 1 lemon

Father’s Day Gift:
Southern Thymes Shared (Pelican Publishing 2014) is loaded with original recipes, creative wine pairings plus wonderful stories. Not your ordinary cookbook. Dad will treasure this. Availble now on and bookstores everywhere.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Jazz and Blues at The Trolley Stop Cabaret

By Doc Lawrence

Dynamite Duo, Theresa Hightower (L) with S. Renee Clark
It was Saturday night and showtime in Stone Mountain. The Trolley Stop Cabaret at the renowned Art Station presented a sizzling two hours of jazz, blues, Broadway show tunes along with some surprise popular music classics through the combined talents of Theresa Hightower and the virtuoso pianist, Atlanta’s acclaimed S. Renée Clark. Entertaining a jam-packed house, the duet sounded more like a full band with high-energy interpretations of songs made famous by Dinah Washington, Frankie Valle, Gloria Gaynor, Ruth Brown and Hank Ballard and The Beatles.

An established superstar vocalist who has been the main draw at Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead for two decades, Ms. Hightower displayed amazing versatility with her selection of songs and unusual ability to sing romantic standards followed by upbeat dance numbers. Ms. Clark, no stranger to theater audiences with her piano arrangements for “Mahalia” and other musicals, is on par with greats like Errol Garner, Gene Harris and Nina Simone.

Quite a bargain with a modest cover charge that would set a patron back a hundred bucks in big city nightclubs.

 Towards the end, Theresa Hightower led the crowd in a journey back to the dances of the 60’s and 70’s including “The Twist,” “Mashed Potatoes,” “The Jerk” and one back breaker, “Four Corners.” Yes, many found the temptation to dance irresistible and the evening soon wound down with some nostalgic numbers.

I left knowing that the last time I had that much fun in a club was in New Orleans.

The Trolley Stop Cabaret cranks up again in June. See for details. I’ll see you there.

Saturday, May 17, 2014



Midwest Book Review, a highly respected major trade publication, is featuring “Southern Thymes Shared” in their May issue! Here’s an excerpt:
Great Gift For Home Chefs
"Southern Thymes Shared is an indulgent collection of original Old South recipes paired with excellent choices of wines of world wide fame. Scrumptious examples of Southern cuisine are presented in accessible recipe format with frequent inspiring color photos of finished delicacies. An example of a typical menu and recipes is found in the chapter on Easter Dinner, page 35. Here are home recommended recipes for Glazed Ham, Three-Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese, Spring Peas with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions, Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter, and Coconut Cake, paired with several delightful wines including Chateauneuf-du-Pape, from the Rhone Valley of France, Donelan Cuvee Moriah, a California Syrah, or Albarino from Galicia, Spain.

Similar elegant menu suggestions with paired vintages are included for a variety of special Southern traditional dining experiences. Here will be found elegant recipes and menus for seafood, holidays, fiestas, fish fries, barbecue, coastal fare, fall traditional meal menus, hunt suppers, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. All fare is authentic Southern cuisine skillfully adapted for an informed critical palate. The photography is inspiring and elegant as are the cosmopolitan wine suggestions for each menu. Enhanced with 33 color photos, "Southern Thymes Shared" is a sensation for the senses, inviting readers to share in a sophisticated, delicious, grand variety of gourmet experiences from different famous Southern traditions. You won't want to miss it.”

This review also appears in the Cengage Learning, Gale interactive CD-ROM series "Book Review Index" which is published four times yearly for academic, corporate, and public library systems, as well as major bookstore buyers across the country.

“Southern Thymes Shared” makes a wonderful gift for any occasion.. The cover is one of the most beautiful among all cookbooks and looks great on a coffee table.

The cookbook is available now at and bookstores everywhere.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Georgia’s Legendary Theresa Hightower,
By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA. Few song stylists anywhere compare in talent and vocal range to Atlanta’s Theresa Hightower. If you find yourself still enchanted by the recordings of Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, there’s an evening not to be missed here at Art Station’s Trolley Cabaret. Almost at the base of the mighty monolith, Art Station, a performance venue, art gallery and intimate cabaret, continues to be the epicenter of visual and stage excellence in this region.  The cabaret, a new venture with a bright future is another part of their cultural commitment.

For two decades Theresa Hightower has packed the house at the Ritz Carleton Buckhead in Atlanta carrying on a jazz tradition that began there with jazz pianist/singer Freddy Cole.  Her sets were notable for variety and all the while audiences were reminded of Dinah and Ella. The award-winning singer combines her performance schedule with movies, television and charitable endeavors, earning her a large and enthusiastic following.

Art Station’s creator and tireless managing director is playwright, artistic director and visionary community leader David Thomas. With deep roots in Georgia’s arts community beginning as Director of Grants for the Georgia Council for the Arts, Thomas conceived, wrote and directed From My Grandmother’s Grandmother Unto Me, performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, which toured the United States and was featured in the Cultural Olympiad of the Winter Olympic Games in Norway.

Art Station is a storehouse of creative energy and boundless vision. The highly popular cabaret debuted just over a year ago and remains one of the top places in the state offering live music by virtuoso singers like Ms. Hightower

There are two performances Saturday, May 17.

For reservations:

Monday, May 5, 2014


Baseball, Buster Burgers and French Wine

By Doc Lawrence

Georgia Native Buster Posey
ATLANTA. Almost by definition, Tailgating is an extension of Southern hospitality. It’s customary to share food and drinks with strangers, especially when they are fans of the opposing team. The final score is important, of course, but making friends with the “enemy” makes the experience more wholesome. And the Braves series with the San Francisco Giants was one of the best opportunities to practice what we preach.

Buster Posey, the Giants’ superstar catcher, has been the National League’s Rookie of the Year and MVP and wears World Series Championship rings. He’s a Leesburg, Georgia native and former All-American baseball star at FSU. The parking lots at Turner Field were teeming with Posey’s admirers and friends. The goodwill was contagious. Baseball stands alone as a gentle, family friendly game and it was easy to smile and greet Posey’s fans.
Chef Lara Lyn Carter at the Grill

Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s home in Albany is a short drive from Leesburg and before reaching stardom on WALB-TV, she got to know Buster Posey’s mother.

“I remember Buster's mom Tracy while I was a young mother,” Chef Lara Lyn said..  “She was the director of the First United Methodist Preschool and Mother's Morning Out program. My oldest child was a toddler and attended the program. Tracy was a wonderful lady who was involved with her children and their activities.  She was quite a person for me to look up to.”

“As a baseball mom, I love spending time watching my sons play and treasure the time together!

Here’s a delicious delight from the grill celebrating the young Major League Baseball All-Star from South Georgia:

Buster’s Stuffed Burgers

          By Chef Lara Lyn Carter 
For the Burgers
2 lbs. ground round
4 large bakery style buns
For the Pimento Cheese
¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
¼ cup pepper jack cheese grated
1 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Divide the beef in to 4 equal portions and shape into a ball. Press a “well” or hole in the center of the ball. Combine all of the ingredients together for the pimento cheese. Divide the pimento cheese evenly and stuff the mixture into the hole of the burger. Form the burger to seal off the hole and keep the cheese mixture in the center. Gently pat the burger into patty form. Grill the burger over high heat to sear the burger and keep the cheese mixture from coming out. Cook the burgers evenly on both until desired doneness and enjoy!

Wine: A chilled Rosé from Provence is wonderful with this. Old World wine paired with a Deep South delight.

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT: Sunday is Mother’s Day. Southern Thymes Shared, the beautiful hardcover cookbook with wine pairings from Pelican Publishing  makes a wonderful gift that truly looks great on a coffee table. Available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.