Liquid +Temperature +Love. = Success. Really. Poaching is one of the easiest methods for cooking meat. It is a technique that once mastered makes so many recipes elegant and worry-free. EVEN FISH.
"Oh, sure, sure. You make it look so easy, Camine."
Because it is... When I arrived at the market, I had planned to make almond dusted baked cod, but the cod at the market smelled fishy. Which, fresh fish should have no smell at all. Do you understand? There should be no odor other than a briny freshness. (Yes, I should do a blog just on choosing fish. Stand by!) So, then I had to keep looking. And when I saw this exquisite trout in the case, which was firm, and perfect, and FRESH, I thought how lovely it would be to poach it. Plus I already had coconut milk in my cart.
Then I got all geeky and excited about flavors, (because coconut milk is such a great flavor vehicle.) So I decided I would add some mint and basil, and the perfect curry. And then sear some orange peppers with shallots, and... boy that butter lettuce or gorgeous! (By the way, found these filets and more at Sprouts in Ballantyne in Charlotte NC. Awesome place!)
Frequently, when I "experiment," I summon friends over to help sample my first-time creations. We just about fell off our chairs this was so astonishingly balanced and surprisingly complex. So much of that is because moist-heat cooking like poaching keeps dryness from entering the equation. The fat in the coconut milk holds on to the food, and emulsifies all the good stuff, offering a luxurious sensation of flavors you can't resist.
Just a couple inches below this gorgeous photo of simmering, steaming loveliness is your happy place to download or copy the whole shabang. Look good? Luckily all the "details" are in the recipe. Like the addition of the wilted shallots and orange pepper, and how starting with a little melted butter makes you a star. And why tri-color quinoa is as fun to say as it is to eat...and...and...
Mint, Curry, Coconut Poached Trout
Serves 4 / Click Here to Download Printable Version
4 fresh trout filets, with skin on. About 1.25 to 1.5 lbs
4 T each finely chopped fresh basil, and fresh mint leaves
1 13.5 oz. can full fat coconut milk. (Lite can be used but it won’t work as well.)
¾ t high quality curry powder. I used Penzeys brand
Juice of ½ a lemon, or about 2 t
¾ orange pepper cut into thin strips
½ small shallot cut into thin slices
2 T grape seed oil, or other light, high-heat oil
3 T salted butter
Appx 2 t kosher salt and 1 t black cracked pepper
1 ½ C cooked tri-color quinoa
Prep the trout by cutting through the middle of the skin holding the two opposing filets together, if connected. Pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Empty the coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate the fat and milk together if it has separated. Microwave for about 30 seconds to warm. Add about 2 T of the chopped basil, 2 T of the chopped mint leaves, the lemon juice, the curry powder, and a generous ½ t of salt and about ¼ t black pepper. Whisk well. Stir and set aside.
In a large metal sauté pan, heat the oil to shimmering. Add the shallots and orange pepper and then lower heat to medium high. Stir until shallots are wilted and barely begin to brown. Remove and set aside. While pan is hot add the butter. When melted add the trout, skin side down to sear. Starting with the skin side down will make it easier to flip the fish. When you see a slight bit of opacity on the outside edges of the flesh of the fish, after about 2 minutes, gently flip the fish over with a long and wide spatula so that each filet stays intact. Lower heat to medium high, and add all but about ¼ C of the coconut milk mixture. (That’s just how it worked out! I didn’t need more…If you are adding additional filets and cooking for 6, you can use all of the herb-curry-milk mixture.) Let the fish poach in the liquid for about 4 minutes.
To serve place a bit of the quinoa on the plate. I recommend a bit of a bowl-type plate like a bistro plate, because the sauce is thin and you don’t want it running away from the food. You want it floating there under the fish. Now place a filet on top of the quinoa, and then top with a serving of the peppers and shallots, dividing what you cooked evenly on all plates. Ladle the sauce that is in the pan over the fish letting it puddle at the bottom. Then garnish with the rest of the chopped mint and basil. -- Serve with a Pouilly-Fuissé, or dry Rosé.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2018. All rights reserved
As a young girl, my mother schooled me in the fine art of bow tying. "One should also be able to do it behind one's back." She cooed. A conquered talent which even today gives me great satisfaction. Now, when I'm leaning over the stove I'm confident those behind me view my neatly tied apron with a smile, insuring my wardrobe is in perfect harmony with my food. (Watch the video below, so you can learn, too!)
I know it doesn't matter. No one writes blogs about people who can't tie a perfect bow. Still, it's important to me. And it's important to this recipe.
But before I launch into my first culinary meme, let's talk about what we use to tie bows: The ribbon. A simple adornment, ribbon-weaving is known to have been established near St. Etienne, France in the Loire Valley as early as the 11th century. That means there have been mothers teaching bow-tying for almost a millenia. That makes mentioning it, and basing my recipe upon its sinuous and delicate form, that much more valid.
Enter the carrot. Simple, brightly colored, and tuberously honest. Now, enter the vegetable peeler. Why, beautiful ribbons can now be found everywhere! Their ability to adorn transcending the parlor and dress shop to arrive upon your plate. That's some serious harmony.
You can see the colorful nature of this dish. And because the ribbons of carrots are so thin, it cooks evenly along with the asparagus and the tomatoes, gently yielding to the increasing "poof" of the puff pastry. The result is simply gorgeous. And very, very tasty!
I have a thing about hearing a gasp from guests when I first show them my food, and again when they bite into it. Clearly, dazzling with ribbons is just in my nature. Thanks, Mom. <3
Carrot Ribbon and Asparagus Savory Tart
Serves 4 to 6 / Click here to download printable version.
2 large carrots. You want carrots with girth.
8-10 thin asparagus spears cut into 2” pieces, cut on the angle 8 - 10 small cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ C sweet white onion sliced very thin
½ C grated parmesan cheese
3 -4 T good olive oil
1 ½ t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped finely
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a vegetable peeler, create long, wide ribbons of trimmed and peeled carrots until you have about 2 C of ribbons. Add them to a bowl with the asparagus, onion, and tomato. Add 2 T good olive oil and the pepper. Toss.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the just barely thawed square of puff pastry to double its size. About 10” by 20”. Score a 1 inch border around the edge taking care not to cut all the way through. Arrange the vegetables on the puff pastry inside the scored area, evening out the vegetables so it all looks even. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden and good through. You want a good thin crust. When you remove drizzle the remaining 1-2 T of oil on top. Sprinkle with the kosher salt. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Cut and serve.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2018. All rights reserved.
I have a few rules when creating a recipe. One of them is the food I make has to offer at least one surprise in the mouth. Familiar tastes, sure, but it needs a kind of U-turn if you will from what you expected. There is nothing more exciting to a chef, or a wanna be chef, than seeing the person eating your food raise their eyebrows in surprise and exclaim, "...now that is really good! What's the other flavor I'm getting? ....(nom, nom...) yah..really good."
Enter the sweet, easy to peel, pass-me-another-section-please mandarin orange.
Those cute little fruits are just my passion this season. Aside from their beautiful shape and color, I find myself thinking of ways I can use them in just about every kind of food there is. It's not difficult, really something orange, or orange flavor fits every ethnic expression, from appetizers, to main course foods, to desserts. And in this case I love using citrus fruits to make vinaigrettes. Zingy yet sweet vinaigrettes. Like the one in this Quinoa salad that uses Olive Crate's Honey Balsamic Vinegar, and Penzeys Singapore seasoning. Looking for a U-turn? This one is full of it. Click to read the ingredients of the Penzeys seasoning, and you'll want some NOW.
If you Google benefits of orange oil, you get all kinds of exciting results. It claims to be an anti-inflammatory, an antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, tonic, sedative, and a cholagogic substance. (Yeah, I didn't get that last one either. No worries...pass me another mandarin section, please..)
The good news is, what I did create here met all my criteria. Yummy, blingy, (meaning danged gorgeous on your plate,) exciting flavors, and healthy as well. And since another benefit might be fighting Alzheimer's, you'll never forget to make this dish again and again and again... and again.
RECIPE: Singapore Quinoa Salad with Butternut,
2, 12 oz. pckgs Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage (use only 6 of the 8 links, sliced thin)
3 large celery stalks, sliced thin
1/3 C white onion sliced thinly
1 very large sweet potato peeled and cut into small cubes, about 2 ½ C worth
2, 15.5 oz. cans corn, drained
2, 15.5 oz. cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz. can petit diced tomatoes, plain, with liquid
4 C chicken stock, low sodium (not bullion, or make your own)
½ C orange juice
¼ C packed light brown sugar
3 T oil
4+ t Cajun seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste, about 3 t salt and 2 t pepper +/-
1 bay leaf
4-5 stalks fresh thyme
1 C jasmine or other white rice
Italian parsley to garnish
2. Greek Lemon and Chicken Soup
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, finely sliced
1 large leek, finely sliced
5 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/3 cup dry jasmine rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 teaspoon +/- finely chopped fresh dill
3 cups loosely packed spinach, stems removed
2 C shredded rotisserie chicken
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Cracked black pepper, for serving (optional)
1 t Horlacher’s seasoning
Whisk together lemon juice and eggs in medium bowl. Slowly pour in a ladle of hot broth into egg mixture, adding another 3 or 4 ladles, whisking constantly. Then pour egg mixture back into pan, stirring with whisk. Add dill, spinach, chicken, and salt; allow spinach to wilt and soup to heat back up, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired. Serve.
3. Mediterranean Curry Beef
and Butternut Squash Soup with Kale
3 C butternut squash
6 C chicken stock
2 T olive oil
1 C julienned kale
¼ C red onion rough chopped
2 t fresh thyme leaves
2 t fresh rosemary leaves
1 heaping T grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ t curry powder
½ t Cinnamon
½ t ground Cardamom
½ t Coriander powder
¼ t cumin powder
1 t cornstarch
4. Spicy Maple Baked Bean and Hamburger Soup
3 celery stalk chopped (about ½ C)
2 large carrots chopped (about ½ C)
½ large white onion (about 1 C)
1/3 C packed brown sugar
¼ C red pepper jelly
1 heaping T Horlacher’s seasoning
1 C water
2 t salt 1 t pepper
1 28 oz can Bush’s maple, bacon baked beans
1 28 oz can Bush’s original baked beans
2 T oil
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Pigs, in fact are not indigenous to the US, even though they've been around for quite awhile. They were first introduced in the 1500’s to what is now the southeastern U.S. by Spanish Explorer, Hernando DeSoto. I'm not sure the Spanish like the way we assume we "own" the idea of pork. But maybe around a table we could just agree we've both made the most of it.
Try this easy appetizer and see if you can't fill up your table with other folks yearning to get in touch with their Southerness.
Chipotle Ginger Seared Pork Belly Bites
1/3 C chipotle mayonnaise
3 T sweet balsamic like cranberry or pomegranate
2 T candied ginger diced into very small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T light olive oil
You can use hot sausage but I didn't want to overpower the other delicate flavors. You, of course may be all about overpowering, And I think you should just embrace it! In fact my favorite part about the South is the myth of being genteel. Just saying, don't get between a Southerner and her pork. Forks will fly!!!
Apple, Sausage and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash
with Orange Simmered Brown Rice Medley
4-5 T lite olive oil
½ lb mild Italian breakfast sausage
1 large Fuji apple cut into cubes
1/3 C craisins
¼ C thinly sliced sweet onion
1 C brown rice medley
1 1/3 C orange juice
¾ C chicken stock
¼ C white wine
3 C fresh spinach
2 T fresh thyme leaves
½ t high quality curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste.
How do you know if it's fast? When the words, "I think I'll make..." and "Honey, it's ready!" are spoken at almost the same moment.
Well, when it comes to dinner, I believe you can still have taste and beauty on a plate without spending hours prepping. The secret is seasoning, fresh herbs, and some good pre-packaged food. And....a trip to the store for cooked chicken breast. Yes, pre-cooked.
There's a huge difference, though, between good chicken and bad chicken at many supermarkets, so I encourage you to do some testing to find the one that fits your needs. I find that Trader Joe's has one of the best pre-cooked chicken breast strips out there. One package is enough to feed 4 people these two delicious recipes. (If you're ravenous, you might need a bit more chicken!)
Chicken, Apple and Broccoli Slaw with Cherries, and a Pomegranate Vinaigrette
3 C packaged broccoli slaw
1 sweet apple, cubed
¼ C Montmorency dried cherries or Craisins
Zest from one lemon
½ t coriander powder
3 T lite oil
3 T pomegranate balsamic
2 t honey
1 ½ t salt, ½ t pepper
2 t chopped fresh basil
Make sure you prep all your ingredients first. When you start cooking, this thing moves fast. Fast, remember? Fast!
Chicken with Mushrooms and Shallots in a Mustard Caper Cream Sauce over Egg Noodles
1 one lb. package egg noodles (I ended up using about ¾ of the noodles when cooked.)
¾ pint baby bells mushrooms, sliced
½ large shallot, thinly sliced
10 ounces plain Greek yogurt
4 T plain yellow mustard
2 heaping T bottled capers, drained
2 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ C white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc. Can substitute chicken broth.
3 t fresh thyme
4+ T light oil
1/3 C grated fresh parmigiana reggiano
½ t coriander powder
Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe takes no time at all, so you have to have everything ready: Cut the chicken into cubes, set aside. Slice the mushrooms and shallot and set aside. Grate the cheese, pull leaves off thyme, squeeze lemon juice and set all aside. Mix the yogurt, capers and mustard and set aside.
Bring a large sauté pan to high heat, and add about 1 – 2 T oil. Add the mushrooms and shallots, about 1 t of salt and ½ t pepper, and the coriander powder and sauté until the mushrooms are browned and the shallots have wilted. Now cook pasta.* While pasta is cooking, add the chicken, and stir just until chicken is very hot. You don’t want to cook the chicken any more than it is or it will dry out. Then add the wine and lemon juice to deglaze, and let reduce by half. About 4 minutes. Then stir and add the yogurt caper mustard sauce. Which will have thickened greatly. Blend everything and let simmer on low for about 2 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
Now drain the pasta and add about ¾ of the noodles directly to the sauté pan, then add the parmesan cheese, and stir to melt. Drizzle with another 2 T of the oil to moisten. Serve with a sprig of thyme.
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.
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
and a Bourbon Maple Glaze.
4 small ripe plums cut into crescents
½ C real maple syrup, not the sugary substitute
3 T good bourbon
1 T mild balsamic vinegar like Olive Crate
3 small new potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
3 carrots cut into small ½ inch pieces
1 T fresh rosemary minced or cut finely
2 T light oil
2 salted butter
3 t kosher salt, 1 t cracked pepper
Boil the carrots and potatoes in water and some salt, until soft but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Drain, add the butter, the rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat a large saucepan and add the oil. Add the chicken and generously season with salt and pepper. Sear the thighs until caramelized one side, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown the other side for about 2 minutes. Add the plums and stir, then add the bourbon mixture, lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce and plums are coated as they cook, and continue to cook until the chicken is done and the syrup has reduced and thickened. Serve all with the bourbon maple glaze on top and a flourish of fresh rosemary.
Oh who cares if I have a pitchfork and red cape in the kitchen. Especially when the recipe was so darned easy to make! Just combine the creamy ingredients, slather it on the chicken breast (Yes, it's all about white meat this time,) and bake! Roasted sweet butternut squash completes the beautiful plate and offers the perfect sweetness to the salty bite of the cheese and mayonnaise.
Now, that's right. Take a bite. (Of chicken, silly! Not the apple!! Oh, you are confusing me with the serpent...) The tender chicken gets all jumbled together with that cheese, the bite of the spinach, and the lovely bite of fresh basil when it's cooked JUST RIGHT.
By the way, if you are dying for a carb, I also served a cold ravioli tossed with lemon basil goat cheese, a white balsamic, a little oil and salt and pepper. EEEZZZ!!!
RECIPE: Creamy Parmesan and Basil Crusted Baked Chicken
½ C grated parmesan cheese
½ C mayonnaise
2 T fresh basil chopped finely
½ t salt, ¼ t pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice, about 1 t
3 T panko break crumbs
1 small butternut squash cut into 1 inch chunks
6 C fresh spinach
4 T light oil
2 T light balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper for vegetables and spinach
Torn basil leaves for garnish
Pat the chicken breasts dry and coat with about 1-2 T light oil. Place in an oiled baking dish. Mix the mayo, cheese, ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper, parmesan, panko and chopped basil. Slather evenly over the breasts. Cook in a 375 degree F oven for about 25 minutes, or until the center of your chicken is about 170 degrees. Let sit for 3-4 minutes. Serve with torn basil to garnish.
What I don't have following me when I shop is a friend with a camera. Or a friend with a camera and an amazing eye. Or a friend with a camera and an amazing eye who actually likes following me around. As luck would have it, I had it ALL of things this day.
After I chose just the right Aji Dulce Peppers, the best Lemon and Basil goat cheese, and the most beautiful white sweet onions ever, we sat down to watch a cooking demonstrations, rubbed our fingers across the smooth texture of fresh eggs, and sampled some of the best vodka sauce I've ever tried and ended up using to cook with that night. (You have to check out Cannizzaro Famiglia!)
The medley of peppers were roasted and mixed into a vodka sauce which was then folded into beautiful, thin tagliarelle pasta. I love the thin, elegant but perfectly textured feel of these noodles.
The goat cheese ended up being folded into puff pastry with kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and some good olive oil for an incredible appetizer.
As all of you know, I treat food like jewelery. I adorn it, and let it adorn the evening. And just as Vicky followed me around the Farmer's Market that day, I will always follow food that makes the people around me squeal with delight at what I've put on their plate.
RECIPE: Roasted Pepper, Pancetta and Vodka Sauce with Tagliarelle
2 Chioggia beets, cut into chunks
¼ C pancetta
1 bottle of your favorite vodka sauce
1 box tagliarelle pasta
3 T light oil
1 large clove of garlic
1/3 small onion rough chopped
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, add 1 T oil and the pancetta. Cook until lightly browned but not hardened. Only takes a couple of minutes. Add the vodka sauce and all the peppers, onions and beets into the pan. Let simmer on low for about 15 minutes. While simmering cook the pasta according to directions, about 6 minutes. Ladle the pasta into the sauce mixture. Stir. Serve with torn basil.
RECIPE: Kalamata Olive, Sundried Tomato,
and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Wheels
4 ounces good goat cheese (I used lemon basil from the farmer’s market)
¼ C sundried tomatoes chopped
½ C chopped fresh Kalamata olives
Handful fresh basil
Salt and pepper
1 egg whisked as an egg wash
Roll out thawed pastry sheet to very thin, about 11 by 11 inches. Dot the top half with goat cheese. Then cover the other side with the Kalamata olives. Add sundried tomatoes to all and torn basil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Starting from the edge closest to you begin to roll the sheet, jelly roll style, carefully and evenly rolling it into a long log. Using a bit of the egg wash seal the end. Now using a serrated knife cut them into 1” thick slices. Places them evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Make sure the ends stay sealed with a bit of water or the egg wash. Arrange about 1 inch apart, no less. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Serve.
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