Recipes and memories from my trip to Hilton Head Island, SC.
How do you know when it's summer?
I grew up in the 60's near the Pacific Ocean in sunny SoCal. I loved the pungent aroma of orange blossoms, and the smell of the pepper trees after it rained. It was especially fragrant in mid June when the parched hillsides were beginning to peak with brown grasses. That's when my sisters and I, as little girls, were most restless.
When my parents could no longer tolerate the desert heat, they would put us in the back seat, load the station wagon with food and towels, and head out on the I-10 freeway towards the continent’s edge. California beaches, here we come!
It was a beautiful sight. Purple and blue hues stretched out to the horizon as the cool water spun seaweed into knotted piles. We made sand castles, followed crabs, and chased the tide and foam all day long... until the sun dipped too low to cast a shadow. And then we went home.
I remember how much sand we took home with us as well. I could always feel it in the lining of my bathing suit no matter how much I moved to get comfortable. I remember seeing it spill out onto the bathroom floor from our suits as our mother prepared us for our evening bath. And, I loved to save some of the granules, and place it in a bag next to my bed.
That’s when I knew it was truly summer.
These days, now that I live close to the eastern shores -- with Hilton Head Island being one of my favorite destinations -- my cue that summer has arrived is now heralded by the drone of the cicadas and the shriek of the tree frogs after sunset.
All of this points to the fact that SUMMER is the best times to cook amazing food. The access to local produce, and the long, sunny days just inspire me to create fresh and easy meals. I love food seasoned generously, food with color and textures that excite, and food I can serve outside while I take in the vibrant colors of the hibiscus flowers, the honeysuckle and gardenias. One could get lost in the epic scale of a magnolia flower. But since they fade in a day or two, I will take my chances and dive right in.
I don't ride in the back of a station wagon any more. And I miss giggling with my sisters. And while I'm not fond of sand in my git-a-long, I will still gather some of the white stuff and sift it through my fingers, always saving some for another day.
RECIPE: Baked Halibut with Bing Cherry Shallot Sauce,
Cheese, Artichoke, Tomato & Olive Pizza
Yes, you want lots of salty cheese. No, you don't need pepperoni to make it amazing. My favorite pizza features San Marzano tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, onions and basil. I use parmesan, pecorino, and mozzarella cheese...with abandon. I put the crust on an oiled sheet pan which makes it so crispy and good! And then you decide on the ingredients that make you happy!
Sausage, Pepper, Peas and Pesto -- And PASTA!
Chicken with Baby Bellas, Port Wine
and Cream Sauce over Rice.
Quick Pecan Chocolate Chip Dessert Bread/Muffins
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/4 C oil
3/4 C cream
1 T vanilla
1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 C pecans
3 T maple syrup
2 T butter to grease baking dish
Serve with a drizzle of honey and whipped cream!
Potato Pepper Thai Soup
A bag of potatoes and some coconut milk was the inspiration for this hearty soup. And it doesn't need any meat to feel and taste so satisfying.
Russets, red pepper, gorgeous purple asparagus and sweet onion swim happily in a sauce of olive oil, butter and the coconut milk. Flavored with fresh ginger, curry powder, a little thyme, and a sprinkling of cilantro, try this no-meat dinner as soon as you can!
When nothing makes sense, food comes to the rescue. (A little hot and spicy pineapple salsa helps, too!)
If I'm the one that brought you that perfect bite of food, (like this really good meal you see here,) I feel like I have super powers such as time travel, or total recall. It makes me feel like Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men, or Erin Brockovich when you look at me and say, "that was amazing."
RECIPE: Sesame Grilled Pork Loin with Pineapple Salsa and Curried Pureed Parsnips
1/3 C white sweet onion diced
1 stalk celery diced
¾ C canned pineapple chunks cut into small pieces
2 T flat leaf parsley rough chopped
3 T pineapple juice (if canned was used)
1 T light oil
3 T rice wine vinegar
½ t salt
½ t white pepper
½ t red chili pepper flakes or more to your liking
1 t black sesame seeds
4, 4 ounce boneless pork loin chops
1 t sesame oil
1/3 C mango habanero sauce
3 C cut up parsnips
1 ½ t good curry powder, like Penzy’s “Curry Now” blend
1 t unsalted butter
2 t heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste for the parsnips
Boil the parsnips until tender. (I don’t peel them. I like the color and texture of this with the skin on.) When soft, drain. Add the butter, curry powder and cream. Using a fork begin to break down the soft parsnips. Continue to do so until they appear almost pureed, like mashed potatoes. Taste and add salt and white pepper to your liking. Can add a bit more butter if they appear too dry.
Marinate the pork loin chops in the sesame oil and habanero sauce for at least 20 minutes while you’re making the salsa and the parsnips. Grill them to medium or about 165 degrees inside. Serve with the salsa over the parsnips and garnish with parsley.
Creating a meal is not unlike the above description. Except my process usually begins standing in front of my open fridge gnawing on a piece of aged cheese. (For inspiration, of course.) while contemplating how I will mix flavors and textures into my latest bling masterpiece. Most of the time I don't have a grand example to mimic. In fact my entire cooking portfolio is dominated the kind of inspiration based solely on what's left in the cupboard and veggie drawer.
Not always easy but ALWAYS FUN. In this case I have taken three familiar comfort food combinations and added some new twists.
Now, nearly every cook has a personal recipe for stuffed peppers, dumplings, or pork stir fry, so when something more elegant is just too elusive they have familiar flavors to fall back on. Those mainstays are the core of today's post.
1. Take my first featured recipe, a vegetable sausage casserole topped with a creamy mushroom sauce and cheddar biscuit dumplings. Looks like something straight out of "Betty Crocker's most loved recipes" list. I wish she was around to try my version. She just might add it to her repertoire.
RECIPE: Spicy Sausage, Carrot and Red Pepper Casserole
with Cheddar Biscuit Dumplings
1 red pepper diced finely
4 medium carrots diced finely
½ C white onion diced finely
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
½ C milk
2 ¼ C Bisquick Baking Mix
½ C grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 C milk
1/4 C chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of paprika
RECIPE: Ginger Ramen Noodle Pork Stir Fry
1 large carrot cut into large julienne
1 large celery stalk sliced
1/3 C chopped white onion
1 t fresh thyme leaves
1 package Ramen Soup Mix Chicken flavor
1 t Singapore seasoning (Penzy’s)
2 T soy sauce
½ t sesame oil
3 T light olive oil
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 egg, beaten
2 T salt and ½ t black pepper
2 T fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley to garnish
1 t hot chili flakes*
Cook the ramen noodles without the packet, drain, and add a little cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
In a hot saucepan, add half the remianing olive oil and the carrots, onion, and celery and add a little more salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are starting to soften. Now add the pork and a little more oil and stir until pork is done, about 3 minutes. Add the fresh ginger and keep stirring. Add the rest of the soy sauce. Now add the ramen noodles, being careful not to add the extra water. Toss and add the seasoning packet from the ramen mix. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. Now add the beaten egg around the outside and let it set for a about 20 seconds to cook. Now taking your spatula, blend the egg in to all the mixture.
Serve topped with fresh parsley.
*We love it spicy so you can add the hot chili flakes when you add the seasoning packet. More or less to your taste.
For the main course I used the smaller mini peppers, in multi colors. (They're SO MUCH CHEAPER than the big ones, prettier, and taste the same!) And stuffed the peppers with ground lamb and other exciting ingredients like golden raisins, fresh mint, rosemary and coriander powder. A quick garlic yogurt sauce and you not only have all the textures and temperatures but something that almost smiles back at you.
Just stuff. Just stir. Just GET COOKING!
RECIPE: Minted Lamb Stuffed Mini Peppers
with Coriander Roasted Potatoes and Garlic Yogurt Sauce
and a San Marzano Red Lettuce Salad with Buttermilk Dill Dressing
1 lb ground lamb
1/3 C chopped white sweet onion
¼ C golden raisins
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
3 t chopped fresh mint divided
½ t ginger powder
2 t coriander powder divided
1 t paprika
2 T cream
3 T plain bread crumbs
5 T light olive oil divided
Several sprigs of rosemary
16 tiny potatoes, about 1 ½” in width
6 C purple lettuce
½ pint San Marzano tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
1/3 C buttermilk
1 t tobacco sauce
½ t dried dill
¼ t garlic salt
1 t fresh lemon juice
Zest of half a small lemon
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish
For the yogurt sauce to serve with the lamb combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest, 1 t fresh mint and some salt and pepper. Combine and set aside.
Wash and pat dry the lettuce and tear into small pieces. Slice the tomatoes. For the dressing combine the buttermilk, 1 T oil, the tobacco sauce, about ¼ t kosher salt and a little black pepper, the dill weed, the lemon juice and garlic salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside and dress cold salad right before serving.
Wash the tiny potatoes and pat dry. Place on a baking sheet. Add 2 T oil, 1 t coriander, the paprika and sprinkle with kosher salt. Toss all to combine. Heat oven to 425 and cook for about 15 minutes or until soft.
For the lamb, combine the room temperature ground lamb with the onion, raisins, rosemary, 2 T fresh mint, ginger powder, 1 T coriander powder, egg, cream and bread crumbs. Then add about 1 -2 t kosher salt and some black pepper. Combine well. Spoon the lamb into the pepper cavities mounding on top just a little. Lay a sprig of fresh rosemary over the top, and a drizzle of oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Remove and cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
To plate, put a large mound of the yogurt sauce on the plate, top with the potatoes and three of the small peppers. Then a bit of salt on top and some fresh parsley to garnish.
Not so with this quick and flavorful Minestrone Soup. Full of vegetables and heart healthy fats, every spoonful will make you feel good about eating something hearty. Coming together quickly with lots of ingredients in a can or easy to chop, it's the perfect weeknight indulgence.
If you're wanting a Dutch Oven of your own I suggest you run right out and get one! (After you read my entire post, of course...), Le Creuset being one of the most popular makers of Dutch Ovens, but almost any brand will make this soup just as SOUPER...
Here's where the Dutch Oven makes you a rock star. It allows you to do everything well, especially caramelize the meat leaving bits of flavor that you then scrape up when you add stock. Then just roll that goodness into the rest of the broth. It's a foolproof way to please everyone that love to eat. (Yes, everyone.)
RECIPE: Weeknight Amazing Minestrone Soup
¼ large white onion diced
½ large russet potato diced
2 carrots diced
1 large celery stalk diced
1 15 oz. can petit diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
4 C water with 2 Knorr beef bouillon cubes dissolved
3 T tomato paste
½ C uncooked Ditalini pasta
1 t paprika
1 ½ t dried oregano
1/3 C chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 C chopped fresh basil plus one big sprig
Parmesan cheese to garnish
3-4 T good olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste (see METHOD for guide to seasoning and when)
Add more oil to the pot, about 1 T or more if needed. Don’t worry about the brown spots. They’ll come up when you deglaze with the beef broth. Now add the onion, potato, celery and carrot. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minute or so. Season with about 2 t salt and 1 t black pepper. Now add about 1 C of the beef broth and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the bits into the liquid. Cook for about 2 minutes. Now add the tomato paste and stir, the paprika, oregano, the 3 cans of ingredients liquid and all, and stir. Let it get hot and reach a low boil. Now add the rest of the beef broth and let simmer at a low boil for about 10 minutes covered with the lid askew. After 10 minutes add the ½ C of pasta, stir and let bubble on medium low with the lid again partially covering, bubbling for about 15 minutes or until pasta is done. Now add the sprig of basil and about half the parsley. Let cook on medium low for another 2 minutes to season the soup. Remove the basil.
While the soup is cooking, shred or chop the chicken breasts and set aside. When done, ladle the soup into bowls. Add the chicken on top, sprinkle with more fresh chopped basil, and a little parmesan cheese. SERVE!
"They're going to publish MY RECIPE!" I nervously whispered to myself, setting out the maraschino cherry scones I had baked the night before as a treat for my collaborators. This was a milestone that I wanted to remember. This is why food is the ultimate connector. This is what the power to nourish is all about.
Soon Melissa Latin, the Food Editor and Katera Siegel, Photographer, would arrive and we would begin to cook and assemble April's "Culinary Creations" feature for the Lake Norman Lifestyle Magazine. Moments after Melissa, Katera and I said hello, our other collaborators arrived: Jim Seidel, owner of The Carolina Fish and Food Market in Ballantyne and Ellen Stevens, owner of She’s Pesto.
I can't tell you how glad I am it is springtime. I am one of those people who complain all winter, longing with absolute lucidity for the hot, steamy, long days of summer. This season of reawakening, of gardening bounty, and of colorful landscapes was surely my inspiration for this dish. When Melissa and I met to brainstorm, it didn't take us more than 3 minutes to know that the recipe would have bright flavors, and be punctuated with fresh local pesto and the most gorgeous scottish salmon I have ever seen.
"Let's include fresh herbs, lemon, and delicate pasta!" I urged, knowing that I was preaching to the choir. In my mind I was already assembling the ingredients; she writing the article in her head. It would be a cooperative effort at greatness on a plate.
ROASTED HEIRLOOM CARROTS, ASPARAGUS, ONION AND FENNEL OVER TAGLIARELLE PASTA WITH A LEMON, MINT AND PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE
Salmon with Pesto
Notes and Tips
Place 2 ½ C red and purpose carrots, and 2 C yellow carrots washed and cut into 1” cubes in a large bowl.
1 C cubed fennel bulb (about 1 bulb)
4 large garlic cloves cut into thirds
In another bowl add ¾ C large knob onions cut into large chunks and 2 C angled and thick cut asparagus spears. (You will add these to the roasting pan later in the cooking process.)
Toss each bowl of ingredients with 1 -2 T of extra virgin light olive oil and about 1 t kosher salt.
1, 8.82 ounce box of Cipriani Brand Tagliarelle pasta
Extra curls of lemon zest and chopped parsley to garnish. For plating, you can also garnish with any herb such as lavender or fennel fronds and a lovely slice of lemon.
Chop finely 1/3 C Italian parsley and ¼ C fresh mint leaves and 1 t fresh thyme leaves and set aside.
In an another small bowl combine ¼ C light olive oil, ½ C white wine vinegar and 1/8 C fresh squeezed lemon juice along with the zest of one large lemon, 1 ½ t yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ t cracked black pepper. Blend with whisk and then add the herbs in. Whisk well to incorporate fully. Add a pinch of sugar if too acidic. Inversely, add a bit more lemon juice if brightness is needed (Do this less than 30 minutes before serving so the vinegar doesn’t discolor the herbs.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Empty the bowl with the carrots, fennel bulb, and garlic on a large sheet pan, spread out evenly on pan. Place in hot oven and roast for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take out and add the bowl with the onions and asparagus, and toss to spread evenly on sheet pan. Put back in the oven and cook for only 10 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, remove and place sheet pan on top of stove to let sit for 10 minutes. Then using a spatula, remove from sheet and pan and place all the cooked veggies in a large bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water, nearly a gallon, to boil. Add the Tagliarelle and stir to loosen. Cook for NO MORE than 3 ½ minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. DO NOT RINSE. Immediately add about 1/3 of the vinaigrette to the pasta and toss. Now add all but about 1/3 C of the vinaigrette to the bowl with the vegetables and toss them, reserving some for garnish.
On a plate or wide pasta bowl add the pasta and arrange in a beautiful twisted stack. Now ladle some of the roasted vegetables along the edges creating a beautiful trail of color. Add additional spoonfuls of the vinaigrette that’s settled to the bottom of the bowl, gently on the top. Garnish with lemon zest and a little chopped parsley.
Serve warm or cold! Can top with a protein. I recommend a seared piece of salmon.
3-4 cubes of She’s Pesto cubes (Set out in bowl to thaw)
Heat an olive oil rubbed cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Prepare the salmon by rubbing each side with a touch of olive oil and salt/pepper. When pan is to temperature, place salmon skin-side down and allow to sear. Once skin has browned and becomes crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes, flip and brown the other side another 4 to 5 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the fish, you may want to place a lid on the pan for a few minutes to finish. Cook to medium, being sure not to overcook. Stir the pesto and place on top of finished salmon.
Chalk up one more reason for the bling cuisine, people. Chalk one up.
Kalamata Olive, Preserved Lemon* and Rosemary Angel Hair Pasta with Asiago Cheese
10 pitted kalamata olive halved or quartered
1 C grated asiago cheese
2 T garlic shoots (or roasted garlic if you have it)
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 T chopped preserved lemon -- or zest of 2 lemons and 1/2 t kosher salt
generous amounts of fine olive oil
Salt and white Pepper
Sprig of rosemary to garnish
*Preserved lemons are easy and provide an amazing acidic bite and power of lemons in an unparalleled way. Click here to get Ina Garten's recipe, the one I always use.
One thing I do believe in besides nourishing, is paying it forward. And that's why I developed this recipe to help show off some amazing Pesto hand made by a friend of mine, Erin Grier Stevens, the founder of She's Pesto in Charlotte, NC. Erin has the most delicious, homemade, all locally sourced and traditional Pesto. It is bright and clean, tangy and full of flavor. And the perfect topping for, of all things, beef stew. YUM. She and I are also being featured in the April Issue of Lake Norman Lifestyle Magazine, thanks to our friend Melissa Latin, the Food Editor for the Magazine. So we're pretty excited about the exposure about our respective businesses. But at the end of the day what I think we love most is good food. And we definitely both believe that's the currency of LIFE.
So, here's your invitation to pass the Pesto and the spoon!
RECIPE: Beef Artichoke Vegetable Stew with Basil Pesto
5 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 huge russet, cut into chunks
½ large sweet onion
2 T roasted garlic, mashed
1 14 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 beef bouillon cube
4 C water
1 ½ t good dried oregano
½ t coriander powder
1 t allspice
½ t dried thyme
½ t (or more to your liking) cayenne powder
2 T fig vinegar
½ C chopped flat leaf parsley
3 T oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste (see METHOD to guide you in when to season with salt and pepper)
1/3 C She’s Pesto for garnish
Place the oil in a hot, preheated deep Dutch oven pan and then add the beef. Sprinkle with about 1 t salt and ½ t pepper and sear until caramelized on all sides. Add the chopped vegetables and onion, add a bit more salt and all of the spices from oregano to cayenne and cook on medium until the carrots are translucent. Add the liquid and the roasted garlic. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes, or until beef is tender, stirring only occasionally. Add the artichoke hearts and the fig vinegar and half the parsley and let simmer another 5 minutes. Test and add salt if needed.
Serve with a dollop of pesto and garnish with remaining parsley.
Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.
Want to get spontaneous with me? It's pretty exciting. Let's all find out what happens when, "I Feel Like Cooking."
Apple Butter Walnut Spice Cookies
Apple Rice Salad
Artichoke Stuffed Chicken
Bad Experiments With Food
Bing Cherry Cookies
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Brown Sugar Chicken
Brown Sugar Pork Ribs
Cantaloupe And Oranges
Coffee Chili Steak Rub
Cognac Roasted Veggies
Cold Vegetable Salad
Cooking With Friends
Cooking With Wine
Cranberry Chocolate Cookies
Creamy Zucchini Soup
Enchilada Hand Pies
Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Granny Smith Apples
Grapefruit Pear Slaw
Herb Butter Roasted Chicken
Herbs De Provence
Lake Norman Magazine
Lemon Cream Sauce
Lemon Crumble Bars
Lime Ginger Honey Syrup
Mint Caper Salsa
Nectarine Spice Cake
No Bake Cookies
Orange Cheesecake Squares
Orange Rosemary Glazed Tri-color Carrots
Paula Deen Quick Rolls
Peanut Bean Sprout Fried Rice
Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Mousse
Pesto Mashed Potatoes
Pork Or Chicken Salad
Pork Ramen Stir Fry
Port Wine Reduction
Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake
Pumpkin Buttermilk Glaze
Purple Sweet Potatoes
Radish Fennel Salad
Rice-a-roni Beef Soup
Roasted Beet Salad
Rules For Dieting
Slow Roasted Chicken
Sour Cream Raisin Pie
Southern Fried Chicken
Speculoos Cookie Butter
Stuffed Puff Pastry
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweet Pickle Vinaigrette
Sweet Potato Pancake
Thai Peanut Sauce
Turkey And Ground Beef
Twisted Puff Pastry Rounds
White Wine Cream Sauce
Yellow Split Peas