How to make perfection happen in someone else's kitchen. Or . . . In search of the best breakfast ever!
We are here, my friend Anna and I with friends. We are here with family. We are here in this tiny kitchen, ready and willing to make a masterpiece.
Sensing the distance between us, we instinctively know when to move and when not to as we dance around from stove to sink and stove again. With spoons, pans and knives in hand, we plan our work carefully. Available space is at a premium and achieved only through the careful nudging of treasures as we opt for an inch or an outlet to stir, roll or fry. Aprons on, cats secured, old china set out on the dining room table it was the perfect day for a birthday brunch...in someone else's kitchen.
Perhaps you find yourself in this situation more often than not, and you make excuses when you cook saying woefully, "I can't guarantee the results because...I'm not used to YOUR kitchen."
Phooey. That is an inappropriate excuse. If one loves food and nourishing others, you can do your best to morph your style and your mood to whatever tools are placed before you. If you are cooking with love, IT WILL TURN OUT.
I love cooking with others. There is something so satisfying about everyone salivating and celebrating at once. We are all relying on each other's tolerance, and creativity level, and imagination to take over and mitigate what tools might be missing or worn. Smiling with glee as we realize you use what you have and get over it.
We find ourselves telling clever stories as we work through the smoky mist of bacon grease, breathing heavily because of the thin layer of flour that is EVERYWHERE. People arrive in streams, and most come into the kitchen to join us, even though there IS. NO. MORE. ROOM.
Young children come in to post art on the fridge. Guests hover over pans wishing they could take a bite. 10 year old daughters watch and ask, "What's this?" "Bourbon caramel sauce for the scones," I answer. "Whoa...." she gasps. And that's why it is okay that nothing is perfect.
I suppose some folks, in all fairness, are terrified that all this work will fail when everything is unfamiliar, that diners will gnaw and swallow without satisfaction. That dishes will be dirtied in vain. And so they take that fear with them, and fulfill their own prophecy of doom.
Don't be scared, I say. The sauce will feel it.
I think we existed in another universe that day, flitting about as though God himself would have to wait for our laughing, and experimenting to subside. We folded yogurt and herbs into fluffy eggs. We formed our hands around fresh and sticky local sausage. We drank lots of champagne. Everyone knew it: The cooks were making all the rules.
By the time we sat around the table and held hands in gratitude, forks poised and tongues ready, everything loaded onto heirloom platters and flea market dishes, the sun had settled into a nice little spot over the horizon. But it still shone brightly on our table. For us, the wine was flowing, the laughter genuine, and the food - well it was perfect.
RECIPE: Herb and Yogurt Scramble
Recipe Courtesy Mattie Porter / Click here for printable version
12 large eggs
3 T warm water
1 T chopped fresh sage, thyme and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T butter (or 2 T bacon grease if you have it)
¼ C thick Greek Yogurt (not low fat)
In a large glass bowl, beat the eggs and water briskly until incorporated. Add the fresh herbs. Heat a large saucepan to very hot and melt butter. Turn heat to medium and empty eggs into skillet, add salt and pepper. Turn gently but constantly with a spatula until they begin to thicken. You want to keep some air in them and not cook too long. Right before they’re done fold in the yogurt so that it still has creamy parts in the eggs and finish cooking. Serve and garnish with additional parsley.
RECIPE: Pecan Scones with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Makes 12 scones / Click here for printable version
2 C all-purpose flour
1 heaping T baking powder
1 cube/8 T unsalted butter
½ C sugar
1 ½ C heavy cream
2 t vanilla
½ t kosher salt
1 C pecans, rough chopped
Top with Bourbon Caramel Sauce*
Chill butter well, cut into ½ inch chunks and put in freezer. In another bowl, toss the chopped pecans with about 2 T flour.
In a large glass bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, massage the butter into the flour mixture until the size of large lima beans. Add 1 C of the cream and the vanilla and the pecans. With a large wooden spoon, begin to blend using large sweeping motions. Add the other ½ C to bring it all together. Dough should be moist but hold together as a dough. Empty out onto a floured surface, form into a disc with your hands, and then using a rolling pin flatten into a 9-10” circle. Cut into 12 portions. Place on a buttered baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Cover with sauce.
*Caramel Sauce Inspired by The Pioneer Woman:
1 C Brown Sugar, 1/2 stick butter (4 T), 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 T vanilla, ¼ t salt, 2 T good bourbon. In a saucepan add all the ingredients except the bourbon. Bring to a slow boil, lower heat just to keep it bubbling. Cook, stirring almost constantly for about 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Take off the heat and let it sit for about a minute and then add the bourbon. Stir in well, return to heat, let bubble for about another minute. Remove and cool. Or serve warm.
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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.