On the Sunday following their departure, feeling a little melancholy they could only stay two days, I decided to mix and bake the beer bread mix they had given us, carried carefully to our door from their home in Petosky, MI. Once baked and half the loaf consumed with butter and honey I knew the rest would help me create an indulgent and elegant breakfast, which echoed the flavors of fall. With a rich but deeply flavored syrup of pumpkin butter, real maple syrup and a splash of good brandy, these buttery squares fetched a lot of MMM's, and OOooh's when I topped them with pecans.
After recovering from our food coma, and while frittering away a warm, perfect autumn afternoon, dinner time rolled around and quite frankly, we still felt like a little spoiling. I already had some ground sirloin in the fridge and some other fresh ingredients in the produce drawer that inspired a burger that just might become one of our new favorite quick meals.
Mixing some jalapenos, red pepper, garlic, fresh grated ginger and splash of sesame oil, I further tenderized the patties by adding some freshly chopped bread crumbs (from that ever-yummy bear bread loaf and about 30 seconds in my handy miniature food processor,) and an egg, along with the requisite salt and pepper and pan seared them. Melting smoked mozzarella on top was amazing, as the umami goodness of the cheese was a perfect accompaniment to the acidic bite of the ginger. Topping it with one of my favorite bottled sweet chili glazes, there was hardly time to snap a picture before we all got our chins greasy. Download my Ginger Jalapeno Burgers and try them yourself!
Want more, okay, tons more photos to enjoy! Check out the slide show below!!!
Check out the how-to photos in this slide show below, and all the fun family photos!
At about 2 a.m. Friday night I conceived this crazy idea that I could create a beautiful round tower of deliciousness for dinner. I've been watching my Culinary DVD's that I got for my birthday and its giving me all kinds of ideas that I have no business thinking. I am a good Au Pif cook ("by the nose," or by feel as the French call it) and even though my daughter insists my disasters are so few and minor they don't need mention, I still am more of adventurer than a professional.
It started while my husband was a few feet away, in the garage, putting new batteries into one of his electric cars; a Zenn to be specific. I could see it would take him awhile so I started in on creating the dish that had awakened me about 12 hours earlier. I knew the tower would have to hold together, it needed to be colorful, and I wanted to use the leftover shredded roasted chicken and pan drippings. I was dying to try a pesto I had seen assembled on TV, and there was an eggplant languishing in the fridge. And so the stage was set.
Often when he passes by, things are unassembled and a bit messy. He usually just smiles and asks what step I'm on. This time I was thoroughly entertained by his unfamiliarity with one of our most beloved vegetables.
"What's that?" My husband inquired.
"Eggplant. Pretty, isn't it?"
"Never knew it looked like that. Interesting..." and he was back outside.
I decided that the topping should be a cold vegetable salad so I started with tomatoes (blanching and then peeling them and then de-seeding them before adding to the eggplant, which is I have learned is a simple tomato concasse,) and then the eggplant which I diced and then quickly tossed with lemon juice and a bit of oil to keep it from turning brown while I figured out what to do with it. A quick saute and some apple cider vinegar and garlic and then in the fridge it went.
Next was the pesto, a parsley pesto to be exact. Chopping Italian parsley along with garlic, capers, lemon and olive oil and then whirring it all into a beautiful green mixture that would go into the potatoes and serve as a garnish was so fun!
After boiling the potatoes and mixing in the requisite butter, milk, sour cream and salt and pepper I rough mashed them with a fork and then blended in about a tablespoon of the pesto. It was the perfect light green color. And by improvising with the measuring cylinder I got from Pampered Chef that I thoroughly coated with oil on the inside, and tamping down each of the ingredients with the pestle so it was snug and tight, soon my masterpiece emerged!
I think I will try this technique in the future. In the meatime, enjoy the recipe for all the levels, and don't forget a squirt of lemon juice on top. It really makes it tres magnifique!!!
Get the simple recipe for all these elements by clicking here.
It IS healthy! Well, it was until I added butter and marshmallows. Introducing the ultimate midnight snack:
It's like a nervous tick. It's late at night, you know you're about to go to sleep, yet to need to stuff your face with something. These are never moments of clarity. Choosing a wise snack is all but impossible during the yawning, yearning munchie phase. And yet, I was able to compromise and create something that is healthy but gooey. Ta-dah! Mission accomplished.
These TEAM CHEERIO MARSHMALLOW TREATS with TRAIL MIX PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING are made by simply using Team Cheerios instead of puffed rice cereal in your favorite marshmallow treat recipe. Then take your favorite trail mix, add a few more chocolate chips (mine was homemade, using dark chocolate chunks,) warm it in the micro, add several heaping tablespoons of smooth peanut butter to the trail mix, and spread on top of the Cheerio mixture. Crunchy, sweet, even a bit fruity when you bite into a raisin, and always a fave with peanut butter.
I know. Brilliant!!! Well, cooking is never stupid. Eating at midnight maybe. Enough said.
There was a day when roaming the mall was fun. Yeah, I know. It's not fun anymore is it. Crowds, vendors trying to slather you with European wonder lotion, and one too many athletic shoe stores to name just a few of the reasons I've given it up for good.
There's no significant void in my life in its absence. I still get exercise, I can shop online when Belk has a sale, and the escalator is still running, running, running; even as we speak. (That's sort of comforting.) What I do miss was that moment of weakness when you just had to have one of those soft, buttery, salty pretzels.
Say no more. I discovered and tried a recipe for HOT BUTTERED FLUFFY PRETZELS, posted by fifteenspatulas.com (One of the best food blogs EVER,) which, as she predicted, tastes EXACTLY like those good old mall pretzels. Although I have a new found respect for those 14 year-olds that could flip, twirl and place a perfectly shaped pretzel on the sheet. (It's kinda hard, actually!) I realize that alas, I am much happier baking these at home.
These beauties are easy, work JUST as the recipe states, and will certainly eliminate the last of any regrets you may have about abandoning yet another 90's habit: THE MALL.
Long ago, before TV dinners were deemed bad, before we wore helmets when riding bikes, and before anyone talked about GMO's I had a very small list of foods I wouldn't eat. There wasn't a good reason. I wasn't protesting, allergic or trying to use my choice as leverage to stay up late. Picky I wasn't, and I would try almost everything....except pears.
I know that's random. Pears are so harmless! So friendly!! We refer to faces as pear shaped, diamonds as pear shaped, even tushies as pear shaped. It is definitely something that I should have liked! Maybe it was the mushy texture. Or what I perceived as a perfumed taste. Whatever the reason, I steered clear of them for the longest time.
That is not the case today. They're one of my favorite foods!!! When I'm digging into a pear the event is usually accompanied by audible sounds of joy. Try them on cereal, or toast. Atop ice cream, as beautiful champagne colored jam, even when they're cubed and crammed into a can of fruit cocktail they're still cute.
The other day while browsing one of the local Farmer's Markets, I happened upon a gem of a pear, the Stark Crimson. If I could, I'd skewer this variety with wire and wear them around my neck, they're so pretty, so regal, and so SWEET. And that stem! It is something out of a romance novel; like the rudder of a sailing ship, the cane of a Hobbit or even the fencepost in a Twain novel. I guess I'm trying to say it is just plain amazing. That's why I couldn't wait to create a fabulatistic dessert to showcase its charms.
My PORT WINE POACHED CRIMSON PEARS WITH SOUR CREAM AND BROWN SUGAR came together in less than an hour and I'm definitely making this for my next dinner party. Whatever your stance is on pears, I know one thing, wear a helmet because you'll have to wrestle all the guests for the first amazing bite!
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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.