Photography by Katera Siegel, Melissa Latin and Camine Pappas
I arrived before the crowd to a quiet and clean kitchen. During these few private moments without the noise of pans, tools and tripods, I unloaded my ingredients and put on my new apron. Like a professional athlete whose rituals are vital to winning I believe in mis en place. I believe in respecting my food. I believe in making everything the best it can be.
"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.
The kitchen we would shoot in belonged to a good friend who had recently remodeled, and was generous enough to allow us to take over her space. it was still February so the light was low and natural, casting a glow of anticipating across the peppered granite countertop and reflecting softly off the haint blue walls. Chosen for its size, its layout, and the off-white antiqued cabinets that would surely help showcase the fresh and bright ingredients, the stage was set perfectly for a day with friends and good food.
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.
As the business of cooking was underway, the conversation hummed, the tasting spoons began to pile up in the sink, and we realized that by the time this was published it would be warm and the perfect time for fresh vegetable pasta. No more winter!
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.
You see the care we all took in photographing our day -- the love in which we created the dish and the pride we embodied when plating the meal -- soon gave way to hunger. However we acted like homeless people when it came time to dig into our creation. It was like family-meal, everything center stage and forks shamelessly grabbing a bite of salmon crowned with heaping mounds of pesto, then skewering stacks of heirloom carrots, fennel and asparagus, then dipping each in the bottom of the bowl to sop up all of the vinaigrette and pesto. And, oh, the moans of pleasure!
As quickly as the day started it was over. I was scrubbing the floors, wiping the stove, and covering the last remaining scones realizing that all that remained was for the RECIPE to be published. Just for YOU! ENJOY!
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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 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.