So many people ask me, "What cuts of chicken do you like best?" That's like asking a mother which of her children she is most fond of. The answer would of course be, "I love them all for different reasons!"
There are those who say you must eat chicken breast only. Others who love noshing on a good fried chicken leg. Wings are certainly king during football season. But what about thighs? To me they're the unsung hero of chicken recipes because they bake so evenly, work with and without skin, and are just so danged cute. That's why this first recipe is all about the thigh.
Juicy plums lend the perfect texture and acidity to a sauce that is good enough to drink! And so easy. The natural sugars in the maple syrup reduce down to the perfect color and consistency to cover the meat like a sticky caramel wrap on a state fair apple. Wow.
T round out the dish, add your favorite vegetables. I decided to boil some potatoes and carrots, mix them with butter and salt and pepper, and fold in some fresh rosemary. DELISH.
RECIPE: Sauteed Chicken Thighs with Plums
Carolina summers are wrapped in moist and sticky mornings, and decorated by the explosion of blossoms on Crepe Myrtle trees. There are lizards jumping along sagging Kudzu vines, marsh birds stepping through the shallow waters of high tide, and butterflies are everywhere.
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,
and Sea Salt Roasted Zucchini
3 T light olive oil
3-4 t sea salt
1 t cracked black pepper
Sprigs of fresh thyme
1 T honey
Zest of 1 lemon
2 t fresh lemon juice
½ small shallot, sliced thinly
1 ½ C Bing cherries, pitted and sliced into chunks
¼ C honey balsamic (recommend Olive Crate’s brand)
2 large zucchini sliced into ¾ inch slices
Arrange fish in roasting dish, rub with about 2 t olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining sea salt and pepper. Lay a small slice of lemon on each filet, and the sprigs of thyme. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about8-10 minutes.
Place zucchini on a large baking sheet. Toss with a bit of the oil and sea salt, being generous with salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Serve sauce over fish, and with roasted zucchini.
RECIPE: Oregano Crusted Baked Chicken over Pasta
with Roasted Peppers and Artichoke Hearts
with a Champagne Vinaigrette
3-4 C cooked pasta (or more if you desire)
1 C bottled marinated artichoke hearts
1 large yellow pepper
10 San Marzano tomatoes halves
¼ white sweet onion sliced
½ C plain breadcrumbs
1 t dried oregano
¼ C champagne vinegar
Squirt of yellow mustard
3 T light oil
¼ C fresh grated parmesan cheese
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T unsalted butter
On a large baking sheet toss the cut tomatoes, onion and pepper with a little oil and some salt. Spread out on pan and nestle thyme leaves around and on the vegetables. Roast on 425 for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the champagne vinegar, 2 T of the oil, a bit of salt and pepper and a squirt of yellow mustard. Whisk to incorporate and set aside.
In a small square glass baking dish, coat the bottom with about 1 T of light oil and spread around. Arrange chicken in dish and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumbs, the dried oregano and then generously salt and pepper the breasts. Roast at 375 for about 35 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees F.
To plate, toss the al dente pasta with the vegetables, discarding the thyme. Then add the bottle of artichoke hearts with liquid, and the parmesan cheese. Toss well. Place a helping in a pasta bowl, nest a cooked portion of chicken on top, drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve.
In fact many things that are meant to be over quickly ARE MOST DECIDEDLY NOT.
For instance, mammograms: Like time standing still. Waiting for the light to turn green: Might as well knit a sweater. And making it through Thursday: Epic in it's scale of sluggishness.
So, given these examples of time warping, I submit there is only one way to make the leap past Thursday, and that is with a good, hot, rich and spicy sauce so it carries you through with a smile.
Okay, we're almost there. Add a few stalks of beautiful purple asparagus, and some salty peanuts, and you have created a Camine Bling Meal in no time.
Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Thai Peanut Sauce over Lavender Couscous
and Purple Asparagus.
Side Dish Secrets
6 large purple asparagus stalks, cut lengthwise
1/3 C Trader Joe’s Soyaki Marinade
3-4 T soy sauce
1 ½ T Sriracha sauce (can add more if desired for more heat!)
2 T honey
A heaping T peanut butter (I used creamy, you can use chunky if you prefer)
2-3 T sea salt
¼ t black cracked pepper
2-3 T light oil
4 T chopped salted peanuts
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
To serve, mound a serving of the lavender couscous on a plate, place a thigh on the top, and then arrange a few stalks of the asparagus on top of that. Ladle sauce over it, sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.
But today, things changed. My friend Vicky, (who is now my landlord since we've moved in during the construction of our home,) asked me if I wanted some company while I work in my little office niche.
"How about some White Dog Therapy?" she happily suggested. "Someone to keep you company as you create!" What an awesome idea, I thought. And soon Duncan was leaping up the stairs to the bonus room to help me feel, well, "inspired."
Next, big, warm, dark, honest eyes are absolutely essential to being desired. I often wonder if he gets tired of having everyone say, "Awwww! You are the most beautiful dog, ever!" I doubt it...but I wonder.
But the kicker, that "I am a wise dog and I know all," strategy for getting people to do whatever you want, is to cuddle at the feet of said person and cuddle like there's nothing else on the planet you need to be doing. (Sans chasing squirrels.) I can tell you, it works for me.
Sounds like a perfect day to me.
RECIPE: Mexican Chicken Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts
½ lb chicken breasts, skinless, cut into small chunks
¾ C corn, canned or frozen/thawed
1/3 C red onion, chopped finely
1 6.5 oz bottle marinated artichoke hearts
1 4 oz can Ortega chiles, drained and diced small
1/3 C sundried tomatoes in oil, cut into large chunks
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 T of taco seasoning mix
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T light olive oil
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the corn, onion and Ortega chiles, and a little salt and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and the taco mix, and keep the pan on medium and sauté until chicken is about halfway done, for about 3 minutes. Add the marinated artichoke hearts, oil and all, and the sundried tomatoes. Nestle the rosemary on top and let simmer for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is done. Add a little salt and black pepper. (The artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes are very salty, so you only need enough to balance the flavors.) When pasta is ready ladle the pasta in with a large spoon. It’s okay if a little of the pasta water gets added. Toss and serve with a bit of cracked black pepper on top and crusty bread!
Yes, awful. And after 8 years it's even ickier because I'm getting older. That shrieking sound of a tape gun will echo in my head for months to come. So, only soft sounds for me until I stop quivering.
But now I am happy to report, it's done! We're out. We're closed!!! And all of our stuff is PACKED into 3 storage units until we finish our small cottage. Now... what to do during the transition? ---- COOK!!!
And in the meantime I know that what endures is nourishment. Especially nourishing others...my favorite thing. Because we are staying with friends, who have been gracious enough to open their home and tolerate having roommates until we transition into our trailer and construction begins, cooking lots of food will be easy.
- Pizza, for starters, at our new digs, when we brought over the first load of personal items.
- Pasta made quickly with pesto I had previously frozen because my food processor was packed.
- A lovely sauteed chicken with mushrooms and port wine sauce because I love showing off.
- The easiest and quickest chocolate pecan cake because it was 10:00 pm and I was STILL hungry.
- And finally, a delicious Thai soup with potatoes, peppers, a little bit of curry and ginger and gorgeous basil.
READY? Let's eat!:
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!
Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for 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
Maple Bourbon Plum Sauce
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