Saturday, August 8, 2015



“Babies squalled as August crawled
Past old folks in the shade
The weather vane was stuck
And white oak creek would drop
When dog days came around.”

               “Dog Days” by the Atlanta Rhythm Section

Braves From Seasons Past
ATLANTA-It’s sizzling here in the deep South, quite normal for August. Dog Days, a name that has ancient roots, means more that high heat and humidity. According to Nashville native and former Braves front office executive Frank Spence, “this is a time to slow down, gather friends and survive the elements through leisure.” Baseball and the Braves, Spence says, “help us adapt to the weather. We don’t give in.”

With many of the familiar players long gone now, the future of the Braves as a competitive team seems cloudy to puzzling, but these are mere distractions. Fun comes in all sizes and shapes and down here it embraces food and drink. The tailgating feast is an open-ended variable welcoming friends and strangers with delicious dishes well beyond hot dogs and burgers.

TV Celebrity Lara Lyn Carter
TV celebrity chef Lara Lyn Carter, star of Georgia Public Broadcasting's hit show "Thyme for Sharing," is a devoted Braves fan and her tailgating menu for the home series with the Miami Marlins is crafted with Dog Days in mind. With the spices in her hot wings, try a chilled bottle of Riesling from Germany. Not sweet mind you, but fry enough while not masking the fruit is this noble wine. The 2013 Dr. Losen Red Slate Riesling Dry, Mosel is near perfect.

This is Braves alumni weekend which would have been called the “old –timers” reunion not long ago. Getting ready for the delicious pre-game picnic allows time to walk around the outside perimeter of Turner Field and ponder the statues of  Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron. Phil Niekro and Ty Cobb. Baseball, we are reminded, will always be America’s pastime.

Hot Wings with Spicy Mustard Dipping Sauce
               From Lara Lyn Carter
3 lbs. chicken wings
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Canola oil for frying

Cut the wings at the joint to remove the tips. Marinate chicken for two hours in the buttermilk. Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large paper bag. Remove the wings from the buttermilk and drain. Toss the wings in the bag with the flour mixture to coat. Heat one quart of canola oil in a cast iron skillet to 350 degrees. Fry the wings in batches for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

For the Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. Creole mustard
2 tbsp. jalapeno pepper jelly
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with the wings.

Salted Whiskey Caramels
 16 oz. box light brown sugar
 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 stick margarine
2 tbsp. whiskey
1 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Mix the brown sugar, evaporated milk, and margarine together in a heavy pot. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture over low heat until the margarine melts. Turn the heat up to medium/high and continue stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the whiskey. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and beat until the mixture cools slightly and becomes the consistency of icing. Add the nuts and mix until just blended. Pour into a buttered 8x8 pan and sprinkle with the salt. Cover the caramel with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut the caramels into squares.

NOTE: Down South Today debuts soon.

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