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Thyme features tastings from ‘A Time to Plant’

March 20, 2012


Ann Bell, owner of Thyme at 402 Lampkin St. in Starkville, is hosting a unique event Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the 2012 Everything Garden Expo. Chef Daniel Weldon from the Central Station Grill, winner of last year’s the Starkville Area Arts Council Forks and Corks fundraiser, will be doing a cooking demonstration at Thyme using recipes from James Farmer’s cookbook “A Time to Plant.” Copies of the book will be for sale at Thyme.
Bell said she is looking forward to the opportunity to host a local and well-loved Starkville chef at her store.
“We are very excited to have Chef Daniel Weldon cooking from some of the different menus in James Farmer’s cookbook,” Bell said. “He is preparing items chosen from the spring, summer and fall menus and we can’t wait to see him use his talent.”
Bell said tastings will be available of the dishes Weldon is cooking.
“I believe he’ll be answering questions during the demonstration, too,” Bell said.
Bell said Weldon will be using cookware and products available in Thyme, some of which will be discounted for the event.
Weldon said he enjoys cooking for people and is happy for the chance to participate in the event.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Weldon said. “I’ve actually got one of our cooks, Leonard Smith, coming with me to help. We’ve been planning on the event for a while.”
Weldon said he’s been looking through the book and has picked some things he thought looked fun and interesting.
“I plan to add some of my own flair to each recipe,” Weldon said.
Weldon said he appreciated picking from the seasonal menus since that keeps in form with how he likes to cook.
“I like using seasonal ingredients, both at The Grill and at home,” Weldon said. “I like the idea of showing people how to cook something that they probably already have the ingredients for –– fruits, vegetables and herbs that are grown locally.”
For spring and summer, Weldon said he kept to light and citrus accented dishes.
“I will be answering questions while I cook,” Weldon said. “I plan on going step by step on each of the recipes and giving out tips where I can.”
Weldon said he’ll be bringing recipe cards so people can look at the recipe as he cooks and take notes.
“I’m going to try to make it where the recipes I’m showing the participants can easily be brought back to their homes so they can try it themselves,” Weldon said.
Three of the recipes Weldon has chosen to demonstrate Thursday are listed below. For more information, call Thyme at 662-323-5979.

Lemon Vinaigrette
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. finely chopped rosemary
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together and season further to taste.

Farmer’s Skillet Corn
4 cups whole kernel corn (cut off the cob)
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3-4 small jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and minced
3 slices think-cut bacon
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
5-6 basil leaves, for garnish
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

On medium heat, render and brown the bacon in an iron skillet. Once bacon is browned, remove from drippings and set aside.
Saute onion in the bacon drippings until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
Add corn, mixing onion and drippings into the kernels. Cook 5 minutes, continually tossing. Add jalapenos and stir 2 more minutes. Corn should still be crisp and not mushy.
Reduce heat to low and add cream or half-and-half, stirring into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Allow cream to bubble and thicken a bit, then serve the dish hot, garnished with crumbled bacon and basil leaves. The heat will release the basil’s essence and lend a slight herbal note to the dish.

Sweet Potato Souffle
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (approximately 3 cups)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
1 T. fresh orange juice
Pinch salt

Candied Pecan Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flower
1/2 cup butter

Combine all the ingredients for the souffle.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Alternatively, to bake in orange shells, slice oranges in half and remove the pulp. Fill halved oranges with sweet potato mixture and bake as above.
Meanwhile, mix Candied Pecan Topping ingredients. When the potatoes have baked for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and spread nut mixture over souffle or sprinkle over orange halves. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the pecans have browned.

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