Monthly Archives: March 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Appetizers and Snacks
Roasted-Red-Pepper-Dip

Photography by Todd Stone
Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese
  • 1 cup Wicker & Whisk Homegrown Herb Dressing
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix cream cheese and dressing together with a mixer until smooth. Gently stir in peppers and black pepper. Serve with toast points, crackers or an assortment of fresh vegetables.

Zesty Asparagus

Side Dishes
  • 1 pound tender fresh asparagus
    asparagus

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Wash and dry asparagus. Cut off bottom 1/2-inch of stems to remove tough parts. In a large bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together. Add asparagus to bowl with the other ingredients and toss them well to coat with the mixture. Spread asparagus on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

 

Pimento Cheese Grits

Side Dishes
  • Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter Photography by Todd Stone

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

    1 cup course ground grits (I use Gayla’s Grits from Shaw Farms)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces mascarpone
  • 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces mild Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup diced roasted red peppers

In a large pot bring grits, broth and butter to a boil. Boil for one minute, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. Turn heat to simmer, and stir in cheeses and peppers. Once cheeses are melted, remove grits from heat and serve.

Cornbread Salad

Salads
  • 5 cups cornbread, cooked and cubed
    Cornbread Salad

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

  • 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup Vidalia onion or sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green and yellow bell pepper
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  •  1/2 cup sweet pickle relish with juice

Layer cornbread, tomato, onion, peppers, bacon and cheese in a bowl. Mix mayonnaise, milk and pickle relish together and pour over top. Toss together just before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled. This family favorite makes a beautiful presentation when layered in a glass bowl. 

Sweet and Savory Quail

Food
  • Quail

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

    4 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 12 ounces water
  • 1/2 cup Key West lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 quail breasts (I use Manchester Farms Quail)
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 cup Wicker & Whisk Port Wine Mustard

Brew tea in the water and allow it to cool completely. Add lemon juice to tea. Arrange quail in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour chilled tea mixture over quail breasts and marinate them overnight in refrigerator.

To make the sauce, mix marmalade and mustard together. Cover mixture and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Remove quail breasts from marinade and pat them dry. Sprinkle quail evenly with salt and pepper. Grill quail over medium-hot coals about 8 minutes per side. Arrange quail on a platter and serve with mustard sauce.

Bacon Brittle

Food
  • Bacon-Brittle

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

    1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix sugar and syrup in a quart-size microwavable bowl. Microwave sugar and syrup mixture on high for 4 minutes. Add bacon to mixture, stir and microwave for 3 additional minutes. Add butter, vanilla and pepper; stir well. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add baking soda and stir until foamy. Pour onto heavily greased cookie sheet and allow it to spread on its own. DO NOT SPREAD IT! Let brittle sit out and completely cool, then break it into pieces. Store in airtight containers. Note: Microwave wattages vary. You may need to adjust cooking times.

Bourbon Chocolate Bread Pudding

Food
  • Chocolate Pudding

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

    6 regular-size croissants
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, of 13th Colony Southern Bourbon – 95 proof
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Tear croissants into bite size pieces and place them in a large bowl. Heat cream and butter over low heat. Once butter has melted into cream, the chocolate chips can be stirred in the mixture. Continue to stir until they are melted. Remove pan from heat and allow chocolate mixture to cool slightly. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Stir the cocoa, sugar, salt and bourbon into eggs. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture slowly so as not to scramble the eggs. Pour mixture over croissants and stir in pecans. Be sure to mix all ingredients well. Pour pudding into six large ramekins that have been greased well with butter. Cover ramekins and place them in refrigerator for 8 hours. Uncover ramekins and bake puddings at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. If desired, serve with fresh whipped cream.

Paddle Extra-“oar”-dinaire

A & E
BENDERDINKER Paddle Extra-“oar”-dinaire

Photography by Addie Strozier

It’s a paddle, a concert and a festival all in one. It’s the fifth annual Benderdinker.

Benderdinker is no “oar”-dinary event. The winning combination of a leisurely paddle on the Savannah River, plus good music, good food and a fun-filled festival, add up to a great time for all.

Faithful ’Dinkers are familiar with the itinerary.  For the uninitiated, the playlist goes something (well, actually a lot) like this – (a) enjoy a leisurely six-mile paddle on the Savannah River; (b) listen to awesome musicians play on pontoon boats and sample foods from local growers at stops along the route; (c) stick around for more music, food and lawn games at the post-paddle Riverfest.

“Benderdinker grows every year,” says Kristina Williams, who founded the event. “I just want people to have fun, get outdoors, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the river.”

Paddlers can sample locally sourced food such as “branch mix” with Georgia peanuts, local pecans and Georgia blueberries; BBQ nacho shots and boiled or roasted peanuts. Water and sweet tea will be available as well.

For paddlers’ listening pleasure, country musicians Daniel Johnson, Me and Molly, Nick Brown and Jason White will pull double duty on water and on land. The Mason Jars, who have performed at Benderdinker in the past, will play at the festival only.

“We always have good musicians, but this year we have several Nashville recording artists,” Williams says.

Riverfest lawn games will include corn hole, giant tic tac toe, ladder ball, mini disc golf and bocce ball. If teamwork is more to your liking, then you can join a pickup sand volleyball game. Outdoor sports vendors will offer demos of their wares. Twisted Burrito will provide food at the festival, and thirsty festivalgoers – well, those who are at least 21 – can cool off with craft beer.

Proceeds from the event benefit Augusta Locally Grown and Benderdigger. Augusta Locally Grown gives residents the opportunity to purchase locally grown food at area farmers markets and from its online market. Benderdigger is a youth foodie program that teaches children how to grow, find, harvest and prepare healthy food.

Registration for the paddle is available online through Monday, April 25. Paddlers that prefer to do things the old-fashioned way (and avoid extra fees), can register in person at Escape Outdoors. Check-in will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, April 29 and 8-10 a.m. Saturday, April 30.

If You  Go:

What: Benderdinker 

When: Saturday, April 30; paddle launches 10-11:30 a.m.; Riverfest noon-5 p.m.

Where: Riverside Park at Betty’s Branch, Evans

How Much: $35 per vessel in advance; $40 per vessel day of event. Cost to rent a kayak or canoe is not included. Food, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase at the festival.

More Info: benderdinker.com

 

Port Wine Mustard Fondue

Food
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
    Port-Wine-Mustard-Fondue

    Photography by Todd Stone
    Recipe by Lara Lyn Carter

  • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown ale (I use Newcastle)
  • 4 tablespoons Wicker & Whisk Port Wine Mustard 

In a large bowl toss cheese and flour together. Heat fondue pot to manufacturer directions for cheese fondue. Pour beer into fondue pot and allow it to heat before adding cheeses. Whisk cheeses and mustard in with the beer until all of the cheese is melted and the fondue is heated thoroughly. Serve with assorted breads, apple slices and vegetables.

 

Magic Touch

A & E

Magic Touch ADAM TRENTAn award-winning magician offers no illusions — wait, yes he does — about his entertaining style

Self-taught performer Adam Trent is not your stereotypical magician.

“I’ve always thought that magic should be entertaining first and tricky second. I don’t want people to remember just the ‘tricks,’ but also the laughs and the memories that were made,” he says.

His shows are part magic, part concert and part stand-up comedy, and he will appear in Evans on Saturday, April 16. The 17-year veteran of magic and stage performance blends dancing and singing to his original pop music with innovative stage illusions, wit and emotion. In the past year, he has performed more than 300 live shows in 19 countries at venues including cruise ships, colleges, comedy clubs, theaters and civic centers. He also has appeared on the Disney Channel in a feature performance. 

Trent is one of the youngest international award-winning magicians in history, and U.S. News & World Report named him one of “The 10 Most Influential Youths in the Nation.” 

Tickets can be purchased online at augustaamusements.com or by calling (706) 726-0366.

If You Go: 

What: The Futurist, Adam Trent 

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16 

Where: Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center

How Much: $40

More Info: augustaamusements.com

It’s a Wrap

People

Steve WalpertAfter five decades in the performing arts, the director of Fort Gordon’s entertainment program directs his last show on the dinner theatre stage 

The walls of Steve Walpert’s office at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre tell their own story. Covered with playbills, newspaper articles, photographs, show posters and awards, they speak of a rich career in the arts spanning five decades.

And as the curtain opens on “The Drowsy Chaperone” on Friday, March 4, it signals the closing of one big chapter of Walpert’s life. 

While Walpert officially retired as the director of Fort Gordon’s entertainment program on December 31, he is working as a temporary employee for the next few months, and “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be the last show he directs on the dinner theatre stage.

“As I get closer to retirement, a lot of people have said some very nice things about what I’ve done in my career. But I never forget that those things all stem from the opportunity I was given as a young soldier back in 1970,” he says.

BE MY BABY POSTERTheater and the Military
Walpert’s love of theater was sparked at the age of 8 when he was cast as a witch in his school’s Halloween radio production. During his school years, he explored theater as well as music and sports. The son of a World War II Army special services big band director, Walpert always dreamed of a career that would marry his love for theater and the military.

In 1970, while the young second lieutenant was stationed at Fort Gordon, he stumbled upon a rehearsal at the Fort Gordon Performing Arts Center. There he met his mentor, Claude Astin, who founded Fort Gordon’s music and theater program, and Walpert realized that his dream could come true.

“Astin was a brilliant man,” says Walpert. “He was very knowledgeable and very talented. 

Walpert didn’t stay at Fort Gordon long during his first stint. The Army sent him to the Southeast Asia Pictorial Center, where he directed a few films. Once he got out of the Army, he worked with his father in California for a couple of years producing events with entertainers at resort venues.

SOC SEC KAYSTEVEHe returned to Fort Gordon in the late 1970s.

Walpert says there have been numerous highlights to his career including moving into the current dinner theater facility in August 1991 with the production of “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

“The building we’d been in was condemned,” he says. “It was a World War II-era building, and we had to find another building.” 

The current performing arts center is a former movie theater, which was underutilized at the time. He promised he could pack the house, and he did.

PlaneMatchmaker and Mentor
Greg Goodwin remembers that first production in the new theater well. 

“It brought Judith (his wife) and I together. . . . She was my first stage kiss,” says Goodwin, who played Huck Finn in “Big River” and is playing the part of Underling in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He considers it an honor to be part of Walpert’s first and last shows in the current building. 

Over the years, Goodwin, who managed the Imperial Theatre from the late 1990s into the early 2000s, has appeared in numerous shows at Fort Gordon and with other theater groups such as the Augusta Players.

“Steve is so well-respected by people. I love working with him. It’s wonderful to see how he molds young talent,” he says

Walpert’s wife, Betty, calls her husband one of her mentors. She is the award-winning drama instructor at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, but she met her husband more than 30 years ago while working at dinner theater. 

She was a stage manager, and he was a director.

“Watching him was better than any advanced directing class,” she says.

He knows how to place a character on stage and help with the development of that character. Also, he has a knack for movement, especially physical comedy, and has a clear vision for each of the plays he directs. 

“He’s been great. He’s come in several times (at Davidson) when I’ve had trouble with a scene,” his wife says.

Creative Type SteveAsset to the Community
Davidson isn’t the only place outside Fort Gordon’s gates where Walpert has been involved in the arts. He’s a past president and board member of the Greater Augusta Arts Council and a founder of Arts in the Heart of Augusta. He served on the executive committee of Leadership Augusta and helped found Youth Leadership Augusta. He has produced several plays tied to Augusta’s history including directing “Coming to the River,” a play written in honor of the city’s 250th birthday in 1992. 

“He’s an extraordinary asset to Augusta. He’s had such a role in developing different programs and supporting new arts ventures,” says Barbara Feldman, executive director of Storyland Theatre. “I can’t imagine Augusta without Steve doing Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre.”

Feldman has worked with Walpert in a variety of ways. She and her husband, Jack, have appeared in numerous dinner theater shows including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “1776.” And Walpert appeared in Storyland’s production of “The Frog Prince” a few years ago. 

Walpert’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He and the program he’s built at Fort Gordon have received numerous awards at the highest levels of Army entertainment.

Among the awards he’s received include the Irving Berlin Award for Programming Excellence and Best Army Entertainment Program Award in 2005, the American Association of Community Theatre’s David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award for distinguished and lasting achievement in the field of community theatre in 2006, James T. Martin Award for Individual Excellence from the Army Entertainment Division in 2002 and the Greater Augusta Arts Council Arts Professional of the Year in 2006. 

For Walpert, however, it’s not the awards that have made the most impact. It’s the relationships he’s made and the people he’s met along the way who have supported him and the entertainment program. 

“I love the work I do. I love working with actors and soldiers,” he says.

Many times, people will come to him years after the fact and tell him their small part in a show decades before gave them a confidence boost or opened a door into a world they’d never experienced. 

As he steps down, he looks forward the tradition of Army entertainment growing.

The Army program dates back to the 1950s, ”when a very determined lady named Margaret ‘Skippy’ Lynn convinced Army leadership that the performing arts could be a vital quality of life and self-development part of the Army Recreation Program,” says Walpert. “And it’s been that way right up until now. I hope that an enlightened Army leadership will continue to recognize the importance of this program and that it will move forward, enhancing the lives of the military and civilian community for a very long time.”

Walpert may not be directing plays at Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre after March, but he doesn’t plan to leave the arts world entirely. For now, though, he’s keeping those projects under wraps until he can work out the details. We can hardly wait to see what’s next.

 By Charmain Zimmerman Brackett

Face the Music

A & E

Women of IrelandIrish eyes and rock ’n’ roll fans will have plenty to smile about with these coming musical attractions

From Celtic music to rock ’n’ roll nostalgia, the Jabez will be jammin’ this month as Augusta Amusements presents its March lineup.

On Thursday, March 3, “Women of Ireland,” a 20-member touring company of Irish performers, will take the stage with other world-class musicians, singers and dancers. A guest of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra during a 12-week tour of North America in 2009, the group has toured the United States every year since. 

While fans of the Eagles still might be mourning the untimely death in January of founding member Glenn Frey, they can honor the late performer’s legacy when 7 Bridges presents “The Ultimate Eagles Experience” on Friday, March 4. The tribute band re-creates the experience of an Eagles concert from the band’s most prolific period. 

Music lovers can enjoy another blast from the past when the one-man show, “One Hit Wanderer,” written and performed by Sha Na Na co-founder Henry Gross, comes to Evans on Friday, March 18. The veteran singer, songwriter, recording artist, actor and comedian will take an autobiographical look back at the pursuit, realization and subsequent demise of his rock ’n’ roll dreams. 

The performances start at 7:30 p.m. at Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. Tickets, which are $37.50 for “Women of Ireland,” $35 for 7 Bridges and $43 for “One Hit Wanderer,” can be purchased online at www.augustaamusements.com or by calling (706) 726-0366.

Deviled Eggs

Appetizers and Snacks
  • Deviled Eggs1 dozen eggs
  • 4-6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash white pepper
  • Paprika for garnish

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain pot and fill with cold water and ice. Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard and cayenne and stir with fork until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites or fill a pastry bag and pipe into egg whites. Garnish lightly with paprika. Makes 24 halves.