Wednesday, November 23, 2016


ATLANTA-The great feast that launches the holiday season showcases many aromas and tastes, a great part of what makes Thanksgiving dinner truly American. Wines have a big place in this dining equation, and, there’s no reason for unusual expense or risky experimentation.

The best way to assure satisfaction with your wine choices is to offer variety. That way, there is a suitable selection for everyone and you have successfully covered all preferences that can reasonably be anticipated.

Here are some recommendations.

One of the most versatile white wines produced from the noble grape. Forget the “too sweet” myth: Riesling can be bone dry or gently sweet. Look to Germany, Washington State or New York’s Finger Lakes for worthy bottles.

This can be anything from Champagne to domestic sparkling wine. They are all over the wine stores this time of year. Aim cheap and someone is going to feel terrible the next day. Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, Cremant from France or even a wonderful bottle of Gruet from New Mexico will be well-received by everyone. And what would make a better aperitif, anyway?

Not that overpriced Nouveau party wine that floods the market each holiday season, but the real thing. Perhaps our most versatile all-purpose red wine, everything on the dinner table will likely pair very well with this. Look for Beaujolais Villages, or even better, one of the Cru Beaujolais like Brouilly, Morgon, Fleurie or Moulin-à-Vent.
For those in the Atlanta region, the best bear the J.Sanders label, carried exclusively by Sherlock’s in Marietta, Buckhead and Decatur. Jim Sanders was Georgia’s first and most important wine retailer and his legacy remains in each bottle bearing his name.

Beaujolais is readily available at Whole Foods and retail wine stores everywhere and it’s always affordable..
Whether from Provence, Napa or Oregon, Rosé deserves to be served for Thanksgiving.. Margerum Riviera Rosé or Acrobat Rosé burst with flavor and aromas, balanced with moderate alcohol. Food friendliness is a given.

Having these opened and ready to pour according to what guests prefer is a festive alternative to offering a jug of weird red and white wine. For just a little more, you enhance the quality of the feast, making this a memorable Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner With Chef Lara Lyn Carter

Wine Pairings, Too!

By Doc Lawrence

Georgia's Golden Girl.
ATLANTA-It’s our noble American holiday, a celebration of family, friends and life centered on dinner table delights. Thanksgiving brings out the best in us. It’s our homecoming complete with food that whenever possible comes from our farms, prepared with new recipes and recollections of our mother’s cooking, dinners they more often than not prepared based on tradition and some heaven-inspired intuition.

Crowned by Canadian media with the appropriate title “Georgia’s Golden Girl,” and fresh from her whirlwind TV tour of Canada, Chef Lara Lyn Carter shares some of her original Thanksgiving recipes that will add even more magic to the big feast.

Wines have a hallowed place for Thanksgiving dinner. These should be American wines, which Lara Lyn and I paired in advance so you’ll have some guidance when you go shopping. Nothing extravagant; nothing cheap. Just delicious.


For the Turkey

1 fresh turkey
4 tbsp. butter at room temperature
2 quarts water
1-cup bourbon
1-cup sugar
6 peppercorns
6 whole cloves
Peeled zest and juice of 1 large orange
2 lemons cut in half
8 Earl Grey tea bags
Unwrap the turkey, remove all of the giblets and rinse the turkey under cold water. Pat the turkey dry. Fill a large stockpot with all of the brining ingredients and bring to a boil. Allow the brine to simmer for 15 minutes. Add 4 quarts of cold water to the brine and allow it to cool completely. Submerge the turkey in the brine and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the turkey from the brine; rinse and pat dry. Rub the butter on the skin of the turkey. Roast the turkey in a 350-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes per pound or until internal meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when placed in the thigh.

                                                            PEAR AND PECAN SALAD
5 pears halved and cored
½ cup toasted pecans toasted
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese


1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. maple syrup
Roast pears in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes to soften. Whisk vinegars oils and syrup together. Arrange pears on bed of arugula lettuces and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Sprinkle with toasted pecans and blue cheese.

 For the Cake
2 cups canned pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1-cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground clove
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
 Mix oil and sugar until blended, add eggs one at a time.  Add the pumpkin to creamed mixture.  Sift together the flour, spices, soda, baking powder and salt and add it to the creamed mixture.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour batter into a tube pan that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray and the bottom of the pan lined with waxed paper.  Bake the cake in a preheated oven @ 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan.

For the Icing
1 stick of butter
1 cup of dark brown sugar
¼ cup milk
1-¾ cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Add the milk and stir until it returns to boiling.  Remove the mixture from heat and let cool.  When mixture has cooled, add the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is creamy.  Spread icing on top of cake and let it drip down the side of the cake. 


Miracles from Oregon. 2014 King Estate Pinot Noir should be opened, ready to pour alongside Acrobat Pinot Gris (2014) and to round everything out, a bottle of Rosé of Pinot Noir. These allow guests to make choices and no matter their preference, each glass will be delicious, drawing a few enthusiastic approvals. Why not encourage them to enjoy all three?

Monday, November 14, 2016


By Doc Lawrence

He’s published 30 novels since A Time To Kill in 1989 and still churns out thrillers that don’t shy away from institutionalized injustice and unfairness in the criminal justice system. The Whistler (Doubleday 2016) is set in the Big Bend and Panhandle of Florida with a spellbinding saga of a hopelessly corrupt, high-rolling Florida judge who has been living off bribes from an organized crime syndicate that literally purchased her in order to take over the gambling operations of a casino on an Indian reservation.
Along with the crooked judge, the tribe’s poor but innocent members have prospered. A tribal leader has been framed in a bogus murder trial presided over by her honor and is awaiting execution at Florida’s infamous Raiford Penitentiary in rural Starke. Two good people, Lacy and Hugo work for a state commission charged with exposing bad apple judges. A complaint is filed against this party-girl judge that they, unaware of the perils that await them, investigate.

Grisham, who has a very sophisticated palate, takes readers on the chase for justice with stops for fresh Florida seafood-very plentiful in the area-with wines like Sancerre from the Loire Valley of France that pair very well with legendary Apalachicola Oysters.

There is a murder and a budding love story. A key witness goes missing. But Grisham, true to all his previous works, doesn’t need to fluff a good plot with gratuitous bedroom scenes. Although the barriers seem at times insurmountable, determined well-intentioned people seeking justice provide thrills that only a strong heart can handle.

The Whistler displays quite a bit of knowledge about locale. Florida State University and Tallahassee have a role along with a mythical Indian tribe that reminds me of one actually in the Panhandle, the Muscogee, a bona fide tribe recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior. The highlighted cities on the Gulf Coast confirm that Grisham has done some traveling and feasting in the area.

John Grisham is not only a top-selling author but also an effective social critic. A lawyer himself, he understands the unconscionable harm of a broken criminal justice system and throughout his career has refused to let big money in towers of power off the hook.

The Whistler makes you anxious to read his next book. Evildoers hiding under black robes beware. Sinister power brokers plotting nefarious schemes high above a major city should tremble.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Buster Holmes Restaurant Cookbook

By Doc Lawrence

NEW ORLEANS-“Just had the best damn collard greens in my life,” he told me while getting a sidewalk shoeshine in front of the Cabildo beside New Orleans famous landmark, Jackson Square. Bill Owens, a sports broadcaster for FSU, knew his way around restaurants and never one to ignore a recommendation, I revisited Buster Holmes Restaurant on Burgundy, a street close enough to walk over for lunch. Red beans and rice, corn bread, a beer and high-energy juke box music.

While Buster Holmes Restaurant closed its door many years ago, delicious memories remain. My personal loss was lessened after learning later that there was a cookbook produced by Buster. The first, in 1980, was followed by three editions; the most recent, The Buster Holmes Restaurant Cookbook-New Orleans Handmade Cookin’ (Jackson Square Press, Gretna, La. 2016) includes an introduction by Poppy Tooker.

My memories are as rich as Buster’s roux. The first venture was before racial segregation ended.  I came to town with an R.O.T.C drill team to march in a Mardi Gras parade and had a free place to stay at Tulane and a little spending cash. My first strip shows, walking into bars that sold me booze at age 17 and actually meeting girls from other countries thrilled an innocent kid from Atlanta, but the fun was yet to come.

My first visit to Buster Holmes Restaurant introduced me to red beans and rice and Jax beer. Like Louis Armstrong, Woody Allen, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Irma Thomas, Ray Charles, Harry Connick, Jr., Pete Fountain and a legion of regular diners, you learned this was food that couldn’t be easily duplicated at home. .

Food writing and cookbooks have deep roots in this country and African-Americans for too long have been shortchanged. Their cooking contributions are bedrock. I am overjoyed to find Buster’s cookbook, an affirmation of all that his diners loved.

If you are fascinated by unfiltered core recipes with names like roast suckling pig, egg jambalaya, bull head gravy, Manny’s spoon bread and perfect country fried chicken, and if you find that food and cooking origins enrich your own cooking and eating experience, you need this book.

Much like the no-frills restaurant, Buster Holmes is a modest publication, devoid of color, heavy enameled paper or a fancy cover. Like so many culinary treasures (church fundraiser cookbooks come to mind), the pages sparkle with authenticity. And, because I’ve not only enjoyed some of these dishes at Buster’s but also tried them at home, I’m overjoyed to say that the thrill is there in every bite.

The Buster Holmes Restaurant Cookbook is an American original, an heirloom. Like jazz and the blues, here’s an essential part of our heritage. What a wonderful holiday gift for a cook.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dr. Ruth Dazzles

Art Station's Triumphant Season Opener

By Doc Lawrence
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-Audiences will remember Judy Leavell as the steel magnolia in Art Station’s acclaimed production of Mama Makes up Her Mind. Her return to this stage in Becoming Dr. Ruth, An Unexpected Journey, portraying America’s most popular sex educator, is a resounding testament to the power and majesty of live theater.

Everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer – from her career as a pioneering radio and television sex therapist. Few, however, know the incredible journey that preceded it. From fleeing the Nazis in the Kindertransport to Switzerland, to joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a sniper, to her struggle to succeed as a single mother newly arrived in America, Mark St. Germain deftly illuminates this remarkable woman’s untold story. Becoming Dr. Ruth is filled with the humor, honesty, and life-affirming spirit of Karola Ruth Siegel, the girl who became “Dr. Ruth,” America’s most famous sex therapist. Many recall Dr. Ruth Westheimer as America’s grandmotherly sex therapist.
Becoming Dr. Ruth also recounts her sobering and heroic life even before her 1980s fame, when she was a German Jewish refugee and Holocaust survivor during World War II, and then a gun-toting Israeli pioneer.

Dr. Ruth is revealed as a practical woman deeply steeped in wit and hard-earned wisdom, with strength of character that allowed her to survive and triumph over unconscionable loss to craft a career that through humor and wisdom brought happiness to millions of fans.

Fairly described as a comedy, Dr. Ruth pricks the soul and conscious, reminding the audience that once civilized Germany embraced a monster who early on sent SS goon squads to collect Jews including Ruth’s father.

There are moments of rollicking humor juxtaposed with tenderness and sadness. Life has such swings and Ms. Leavell, brilliantly directed by David Thomas, interprets everything flawlessly. Her version of Dr. Ruth is very near to the Dr. Ruth millions saw with Johnny Carson and David Letterman

Go see Dr. Ruth. It’s your opportunity to master the highly useful “Westheimer Maneuver.”

Runs through Nov. 20.; (770) 469.1105

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Golden Girl's Media Cooking Tour

Toronto-It’s not just the peaches that the State of Georgia is known for, but Emmy-award winning TV host and Chef Lara Lyn Carter. Known as Georgia’s Golden Girl, this sweet and savory, and sophisticated, Southern Chef is Georgia’s go-to authority for all things southern cookin’. For one week this month-November14th-19th-she’ll be sharing some of her southern specialties with Canadians as she embarks on her first and very historic Canadian Media Tour.
Lara Lyn with Guy Fieri at South Beach

Bringing Southern elegance and charm to the modern kitchen, Chef Lara Lyn will be sharing her unique recipes, marrying good ole southern cooking with wine, whiskey and bourbon pairings. Just don’t ask her to serve anything in a mason jar!

On the heels of receiving her first Emmy-award this spring for her syndicated television show Thyme For Sharing, and riding the success of her popular cookbook, Southern Thymes Shared, Lara Lyn’s Canadian visit will be just in time for fall’s cool temperatures; she’ll be sharing her favorite comfort foods to warm your belly while teaching how folks down South create a welcoming atmosphere for friends and family. They call it southern charm for a reason.

Taking a break from entertaining dignitaries, and demonstrating her cooking secrets from coast to coast at food and wine festivals—including the Telluride Wine and Food Festival in Colorado and the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami—Chef Lara Lyn will be showcasing her culinary skills live on Toronto’s #1 Breakfast Show, Breakfast Television; on CTV’s News at Noon in Kitchener-Waterloo; and on CP24’s Breakfast Show. She will also be hosting a 30-minute Facebook LIVE segment with Diply—the #1 Viral video platform, then recording some new foodie videos for their Delicious by Diply series. More media appearances will be announced.

Some of the southern-style contemporary meals she’ll be creating are: Blue cheese and Fig Cheesecake, Bourbon Chocolate Bread Pudding , Cornbread Salad, Grilled Catfish with Sweet and Spicy Tartar Sauce, Southern Pear and Pecan Salad, Pimento Cheese grits, Bacon Brittle, Whiskey Bites, Southern Tiramisu (an Italian-Southern Fusion) and of course, the traditional favorite Shrimp and Grits.

Chef Lara Lyn’s passion for cooking and the use of sustainable, local products has led her to guest teach local culinary students and to launch a recipe development competition using local products for the culinary students at the request of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

More Information: Rania Walker, (416) 258.8953

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tailgating Down South: The Year of Grilling Dangerously Part IV

 Dog Island Grouper Burgers

By Doc Lawrence

Chef Joshua Butler
TALLAHASSEE-Legend has it that this city gave birth to hushpuppies, that fried cornmeal delicacy that accompanies seafood in the Deep South. Florida's capital city is built on rolling hills, with nearby plantations like Ted Turner's Avalon and majestic Pebble Hill. . The Gulf of Mexico is but a few mile south and Wakulla Springs still fascinates visitors with its crystal pure water and Hollywood connections beginning with the first Tarzan movies.

Old South. charm is omnipresent. The living is easy, the locals are friendly and generous and if you look for certain things, the diverse culinary heritage manifests: Native American, African-American, Spanish, Cracker, French all blended in food so truly American.

Dog Island Grouper Butler
The masses gathered here on a lovely autumn Saturday for football. I came for the food and good things to drink. Walking the parking lots outside Doak Campbell Stadium is a tour de force of everything imaginable with meat, fowl and seafood. Fresh, flavorful oysters are abundant. Barbecue has deep roots in the region. Game is standard tailgating fare. Grills, tents and table literally sit on the 500 year-old Spanish Trace, the first and oldest trading road in the New World connecting St. Augustine with New Orleans.  A brief visit to nearby Mission San Luis-a fully restored archeological marvel confirms wine cellars where Conquistadors and monks brought wines from Spain, the antecedents of Riojo we drink today.

There are recipe treasures galore here. The area is rich in muscadines, mayhaw, Pindo Palms, swamp cabbage and St. Augustine’s Datil peppers, a cultural treasue that finds its way into fiery sauces that do wonders for everything from Bloody Mary’s to gumbo.

Chef Joshua Butler got his start here preparing original wonders for three Florida governors. After cooking for presidents and first ladies, Hollywood stars and members of royal families, he relocated in Atlanta and worked stints with movie mogul Tyler Perry and country rocker Zac Brown. Joshua's tailgating recipes are new interpretations of Southern classics.


                Chef Joshua Butler
 1-pound fresh Florida grouper fillet, rough chopped
1/2 pound fresh Florida peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp Whole grain mustard
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 Whole grain, freshly baked buns
Florida Slaw, see recipe.
Tallahassee Tartar Sauce, see recipe
Add the shrimp to a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Roughly chop the
grouper into pieces the size of a dime.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped Grouper, Shrimp paste, salt, pepper, onion, bell
pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, and mayonnaise and fold gently to distribute the
ingredients evenly. Divide the meat into four equal sections. Shape each portion into a
patty. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook the burgers for
4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 150°F. Place the cooked
burgers on top of the whole grain rolls, then top with Florida slaw and Tartar

            Chef Joshua Butler
1-cup low fat mayonnaise
1 cup Greek style yogurt
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup fresh basil, leaves picked off of stems
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves picked off of stems
1-cup fresh Mexican tarragon, leaves picked off the stem
1 cup fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped cornichon or dill pickle
1-teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, add the fresh herbs, spinach and lemon juice, then
puree. Add the mayo and yogurt and puree to incorporate the herbs. Pour this mixture
into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, and
cayenne. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

   Chef Joshua Butler
1/2 head Napa style cabbage
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 pink grapefruits, sectioned
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons key lime juice
4 teaspoons raw Florida sugar
4 teaspoons Greek style yogurt
1-tablespoon fruity olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the vegetables in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. With a serrated knife, peel
the grapefruits and tangerines and cut out the segments removing the white pith. Cut the
sections into bite size pieces then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix the lime juice and the
sugar together until dissolved. Add the Yogurt and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour.


King Estate 2015 Pinot Gris from Oregon's acclaimed Willamette Valley scores big with Chef Butler's blend of flavors and textures. This is a wine that satisfies like it was specially crafted for sophisticated tailgating in any part of the country.