Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lara Lyn's Georgia New Year's Dinner

~Doc Lawrence

Georgia’s Emmy winning chef, Lara Lyn Carter is an ambassador for all that is good in the Peach State. A mom, wife, daughter and community leader with deep Christian values, her recipes showcase the legendary kitchen traditions of her Albany, Georgia hometown.  Enjoy the holidays and all the wonders of the New Year!

Spicy Fried Chicken
 2 ½ pound chicken cut into frying pieces
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp. hot sauce (or more if desired)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
3 cups Crisco
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Allow the chicken to sit in mixture for 30 minutes. Put the flour in a large bowl or paper bag. Put the Crisco in a large cast iron skillet over medium to high heat. Coat chicken with the flour and cook in batches being sure not to overcrowd the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Cook chicken covered until good and crispy turning half way through cooking. The chicken will take about 25 minutes to cook depending on the thickness of the pieces. 

Mustard Greens
This Southern dish is another must on New Year’s Day. You have to eat your greens to bring you green money for the New Year. 
10 bunches of mustard greens washed and stems removed
Small (around 3 pound) Boston butt
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. of salt and pepper
Cook pork in large pot with enough water to cover meat. Cook over medium heat until meat falls apart.
Shred meat and add greens slowly to let them wilt into the pot. Add the sugar, salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium to low heat for 2 hours or until tender. After greens are cooked, taste them and add more salt and/or pepper as needed. Serve with hot pepper sauce! 

Crock Pot Black Eye Peas
Black Eye Peas are a year round part of the Southern dining table often paired with a bottle of hot sauce. On New Year’s Day, you have to eat your peas for luck in the New Year.
1 bag of dried black-eye peas soaked overnight in water
1 ham hock
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Drain peas and place in crock pot with ham, salt and pepper. Cover peas with water and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours until tender.

 Pecan Wild Rice
 This is a nutty combination with the nutty flavor of the wild rice and the pecans. This is also delicious stuffed in a bell pepper and topped with a sprinkle of parmesan.
4 cups of cooked long-grain wild rice (not instant)
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in skillet. Add the rice and toss to coat. Salt and pepper as desired. Mix in pecans and serve.

 Celebration Chocolate Cake
 Cakes don’t have to have elegant designs, they have to taste wonderful!
1 stick margarine
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
2 extra-large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. almond extract
Melt margarine, oil and water in a sauce pan. Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add margarine mixture blending well. Add buttermilk, eggs, and almond extract blending well. Pour in a greased 9X13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow cake to cool slightly before frosting. Cake needs to be a little warm when frosted.
1/2 cup margarine
3 tbsp. cocoa
1/3 cup half and half
3 ½ cups powdered sugar sifted
1 tsp. almond extract
1 ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
In a sauce pan, melt margarine, cocoa, and half and half together. In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, extract, and chocolate mixture beating well. Stir in pecans and spread over slightly warm cake.

Georgia Cider Bellinis
1 gallon natural apple cider
1 cup maple syrup
3 bottles Prosecco
Mix together and serve with rosemary sprigs .
 Serve in crystal flutes.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Santa Claus Comes to Stone Mountain

~Doc Lawrence

Liza Jaine and Jeff LeCraw Sparkle
On Christmas Eve, Karol (Liza Jaine), an exhausted social worker, is heading home from her office Christmas party. Along the way, she sees a homeless man (Jeff LeCraw) muttering and dirty. Karol offers the man leftovers from the party and continues to her spartan apartment equipped with a nightmarish digital burglar alarm. Karol is determined to enjoy a quiet evening devoid of anything resembling Christmas. Later, the homeless man breaks in and joins her. He tells the outraged Karol that he isn’t what she thinks, but is Santa Claus in all his glory. Is he lying? Does he need intervention? Should she have him arrested? 

Another Night Before Christmas, with book and lyrics by Sean Greenan and music by Leah Okimoto, entertains with a refreshing score, funny lines and a spectacular stage set that truly connects with the audience through the impressive talents and good voices provided by Ms. Jaine and Mr. LeCraw. The story resonates with those who ever believed in Santa Claus. 

Art Station Theatre delivers another holiday gem.

The two actors create some nice chemistry providing warmth through well-executed choreography, clever lines and strong, often powerfully emotional singing. From beginning to end, they offer an infectious performance. You’ll not soon forget some of the songs. One favorite  was “Kill Der Bingle.” You have to see the performance to appreciate it.

Another Night Before Christmas is a flawless Christmas show that appeals to all generations. It is an emotional and entertaining story, loaded with humor and at the end actually prompted some tears. More than holiday entertainment, it’s our opportunity to shed the “bah humbug” of the season and for two glorious hours celebrate the wonder and magic in knowing that Santa Claus is coming to town. 

Through December 17.
Art Station Theatre 
(770) 469.1105

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mountain Magic-A Dekalb Celebration

“It’s all right, to have a good time,
‘Cause it’s all right.”
                 Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

~Doc Lawrence

Mayor Pat Wheeler with husband Morgan
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-They gathered for a holiday party with Christmas joy in the air. On this magic evening there was added excitement. Georgia’s Bulldogs had just won the SEC Championship in nearby Atlanta and this decidedly partisan crowd was deliriously happy. How contagious smiles and warm greetings can be.

Marriott’s posh Evergreen Resort nests beside mighty Stone Mountain right in the middle of the hugely popular state park that attracts over six million visitors annually. There is a highly visible Christmas tree atop the big rock and the park vibrates with holiday events wrapped in decorations for the season. 

Time to party.

The soiree was hosted by the good leaders at Discover Dekalb, one of the names for the Dekalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, an agency that is on the ascendant. They have successfully communicated to those coming to Atlanta that this important part of the region called Dekalb plays a vital role in making Atlanta a renowned destination. Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Oglethorpe University occupy an exalted place along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Fernbank Science Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Decatur, the model city that is one of the great culinary centers of the Southeast. Add in the exciting diversity of the Buford Highway corridor and Dekalb radiates with diversity and adventure.
Liana Levitan (L) and Olivia Thomason

Mayors, judges, Congressmen, public officials, restaurant legends and tourism specialists joined high profile public supporters for filet mignon, Alaskan salmon and unlimited pours of good wine served seamlessly by the resort staff.

In the middle of everything, Atlanta’s Jazz Diva, the incomparable Theresa Hightower took the stage and performed classics accompanied by her outstanding band. Gracious, lovely and so talented, Ms. Hightower had the mighty mountain trembling by mid-evening.
Jazz Diva Theresa Hightower

Everyone was decked out in their finest gowns and tuxedos: It’s how we cerebrate down here. Familiar faces mixed in comfortably with political veterans like former Dekalb CEO Liana Levitan who was for the longest time the most prominent and powerful woman in Georgia government. Ever vibrant and enthusiastic, fans lined up for photos.

Among the influential guests was Karen Bremer, whose gourmet restaurants opened up Atlanta’s national surge into culinary prominence. Ms. Bremer now serves as CEO of the prestigious Georgia Restaurant Association.

Evergreen's staff was prompt and cheerful. No need to request more wine. A well-dressed smiling server with an uncorked bottle was always nearby. Could they read our mind?

Departing meant a short trip home to the nearby historic village While the party was for a few glorious hours, the priceless memories will last for a lifetime.

                                         Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!