A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Table

Oct 17 2019

by Rebecca Gemes

Caroline Kinney, Libbie Summers, Cheri Leavy, Peter Dale, Lisa Ellis

Recently, in an Athens home filled with history, 40 guests dined under a whimsical canopy of purple papier mâché bush beans and made a food-inspired memory. Brought together by what, though? The connections made through The Southern Coterie.

Past sponsors and alums, the beloved chef Peter Dale of Athens restaurants (and past sponsor Maepole!) and talented Libbie Summers of Yum Yum Smile Shop, prepared a beautiful wine dinner to celebrate Libbie’s launch of her Culinary Salon Apron Collection. A lover of bringing people together, out-of-the-ordinary crazy ideas, and collaborating, co-founder of The Southern C, Cheri Leavy, hosted this magical night in Athens. Enjoy the delectable recipes and seeing the #tscsummit alums who attended the dinner for a night showcasing the art of #connectcollaboratecreate!

The Southern Coterie blog: "A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Tablet" by Becca Gemes (photo: Danielle Hulsey)

Photography by: Danielle Hulsey

Food by: Chef Peter Dale – The National // Seabear // Condor Chocolates // Maepole

Design by: Libbie Summers – Yum Yum Smile Shop // Red Velvet Partners

Presented by: Rapport with Cheri Leavy – Bulldawg Illustrated // guide2athens // The Southern Coterie // The Southern C Summit

Venue: 255 Milledge (Hardeman – Sams House)


The Southern Coterie blog: "A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Tablet" by Becca Gemes (photo: Danielle Hulsey)

serves 10

“This is a refreshing and sympathetic lemonade!”

Libbie Summers

1/2 cup lavender simple syrup
8 cups sparkling or still water
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups (16 ounces) Cathead Vodka
Splash of Creme de Violette (Cheri’s fave new liqueur)
Garnish with basil for a bit of an earthy kick, just a single tiny leaf floating, not some gross gratuitous branch.

Silver Queen Corn Bisque

serves 4

“I love this soup because it’s just as good served chilled on a hot day as it is warm on a cold night. If you’re not a fan of coconut, replace with half and half or heavy cream. Corn and shellfish are a wonderful pairing and really say America to me. I like serving shrimp poached with Old Bay in the bottom of the bowl, but crab or lobster would be delicious and deluxe garnishes, too. And if you can’t find silver queen corn, yellow corn will do just fine.”

Chef Peter Dale
The Southern Coterie blog: "A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Tablet" by Becca Gemes (photo: Danielle Hulsey)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 ears Silver Queen corn (about 4 cups)
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and celery and sweat until the onion is translucent. Add the wine and cook for one minute, stirring occasionally. 

Add the corn kernels and cobs, potato, stock, bay leaf and thyme. Break the cobs in half if they are too large for the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until potatoes and cooled through. 

Remove pot from heat. When cool enough to handle, remove cobs and bay leaf. Add coconut milk and stir well. Purée (including thyme) in a blender until the soup is smooth. For an extra silky texture, pass through a fine mesh chinois. If soup is too thick, add additional stock or water to thin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

If serving warm, return soup to the pot and heat through until hot. If serving chilled, refrigerate until cold. For serving, aerate soup in a blender or with a handheld immersion blender. This will create a light and airy texture. 

Ratatouille Dressing

The Southern Coterie blog: "A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Tablet" by Becca Gemes (photo: Danielle Hulsey)

serve with fish, chicken or lamb

“The great Provençal vegetable dish, ratatouille, can certainly stand on it’s own. But by adding extra olive oil and vinegar, the dish becomes a versatile make-ahead accompaniment to fish, chicken and a cold glass of rosé. Cooking each ingredient separately helps each vegetable reach their appropriate doneness. This process was inspired by the great Melissa Clark of The New York Times.”

Chef Peter Dale

3 garlic cloves
2 medium red onions, cut in half, then cut into 1/4″ slices
2 zucchini, cut into 1/4″ rounds
1 large Italian eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes (skin-on)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
2 large tomatoes
2 bay leaves
red wine vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350°.

Smash 2 garlic cloves, reserve the 3rd. Spread each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Add the smashed garlic to the onion pan. Add 1 sprig rosemary and 2 sprigs thyme to each of the pepper, eggplant and zucchini pans. Sprinkle salt lightly over the vegetables. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to each of the pans and toss the vegetables.

Place all the pans in the oven, working in batches if they don’t all fit. Cook until vegetables are very tender and lightly browned at the edges. Occasionally stir the vegetables on the pan while cooking. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1-hour for the respective vegetables. 

While the vegetables cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and blanch until the skins split, about 10 seconds. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl filled with ice water. Working over a sieve, peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Save the tomato fresh and juices, discard seeds and skin. Roughly chop the tomato flesh and add to the juices.
Using a microplane zester, finely grate the remaining garlic clove. Add garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of salt to the tomatoes, and reserve.

When the vegetables are cooked, combine them in large roasting pan and add tomato. Mix well and cover generously (but don’t drown) with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place roasting pan in the over and cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are very tender and juicy. Remove bay leaves, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Add red wine vinegar to taste, you want a touch of acid from the vinegar but you’re not making pickles either. Add additional olive oil to make the ratatouille spreadable. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cool. Leftovers can be served on toasted baguette with feta or goat cheese. 


The Southern Coterie blog: "A Collaboration Set at a Dinner Tablet" by Becca Gemes (photo: Danielle Hulsey)

of frozen whipped cream, raspberry, pistachio, marshmallow, Yum Yum Smile Shop sprinkles and Condor Chocolates

“When I’m entertaining I like to make dessert well ahead of time and easy to serve. By the end of the meal, I’m too wiped out for a fuss. This recipe was originally inspired by the Lee Brothers “strawberry delight” recipe … but with some twists. Naturally, you’ll want to use Libbie Summers’ Yum Yum Smile Shop sprinkles and chocolate sauce from Condor Chocolates.”

Chef Peter Dale

1 oz. freeze dried raspberries
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup buttermilk, preferably whole
6 Tate’s Double Chocolate Chip Cookies cookies (3 oz.), crumbled to 1/2″ pieces
1 cup pistachios
1 pint fresh raspberries, washed
2 cups marshmallows, use colored if available
all the sprinkles
1 cup chocolate sauce, warmed for service

Line a 3-quart loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside. Pulse freeze dried raspberries in a blender until they become a powder, reserve.

In a large chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and salt until peaks begin to hold their shape. Fold in half-and-half, buttermilk, cookies, pistachios, fresh raspberries and marshmallows until evenly combined. The raspberries and marshmallows may float which is ok. 

Pour the cream mixture into the loaf pan. Lightly cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. After about 2 hours, use a large spoon to break up the frozen cream and fold the ingredients together. Return the pan to the freezer for another 1½ hours. Fold the ingredients again, and then freeze again for another two hours or more until fully set. 

To serve, turn the loaf upside down onto a cutting board. If the contents are stuck, drape a warm wet towel over the loaf pan to help loosen the terrine. Remove the plastic wrap and cut into slices with a warm knife. For a deconstructed look, break the slices into chunks and place on a serving platter or individual plates. Add sprinkles generously and top with warm chocolate sauce at the table. Eat right away!

True inspiration at its core, we hope these recipes spur you on to plan your own dinner party— so find a reason to celebrate… in collaboration with other #tscsummit alums!


Rebecca Gemes View More Blog Posts from this Author

Becca is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where she majored in Consumer Journalism with a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Personal & Organizational Leadership. Her passion lies in connecting with others to help them fulfill their greatest potential. At UGA, she spent her time investing in Cru, an on-campus ministry, and her sorority, Chi Omega, and worked on different areas of campus throughout her time. Now she works full-time for The Southern C, meeting and assisting all of the amazing creatives of the entrepreneurial south. Ways Becca finds joy? People, power walks, calling old friends for a catch-up, sand between her toes, and ideas— no matter how scary they may be. Calling Columbus, GA home but born and raised in South Mississippi, Becca love places and people that feel like home and believe there’s nothing sweeter than making other people feel the same way.

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