When I was young, I was very active in theater. I was one of those wacky people who actually looked forward to all that greasepaint and the corseted costumes each week. I knew every actor's lines in addition to my own, and the strike parties were a BLAST.
I minored in theater in college, and I'm pretty sure that even today, many decades later, my drama episodes are Oscar-worthy. (If Ron were here, he'd agree with a raised eyebrow or two.) Seriously, though, I approach life 'in character,' because all the world is a STAGE!
When it comes to cooking we spend a lot of time showcasing the stars: Filet Oscar, Boeuf Bourguignon, Chicken Milanese...and so forth. But everyone knows that the star shines more brightly if surrounded by the perfect supporting cast! That's why you'll find my website includes not only the headliners, but also the supporting dishes as well. From the smallest appetizer, to easy rice dishes, to inventive salads, I believe in the whole shabang!
Take these roasted potatoes. I gave them some extra love and a fabulous costume by slicing them with a mandoline, and arranging them in a beautifully undulating circle with equally pampered golden beets. When you ladle an herbed olive oil and some tart vinegar over them, they are positively show-stopping.
Now, take a look at this salad that is already looking for it's OWN agent it's is such a rising star. But for my purposes, I was thrilled to showcase this charismatic dish on my table before all that attention went to it's little seedy head. By choosing only the most beautiful grape and heirloom tomatoes, and topping it with slices of the best mozzarella cheese, this rustic caprese salad is going to win not only your tastebuds, but garner a food Golden Globe as well. -- There isn't one, you say? WELL THERE SHOULD BE.
I hope he next time you're ready to prepare a menu and nourish your loved ones, you'll remember to spend a little extra time on...the extras! RECIPES below!
RECIPE: Herbed Roasted Potatoes and Golden Beets
Serves 8 / Click here for a printable version
4 large Yukon potatoes peeled and 4 small golden beets peeled and sliced thin with a mandolin
Dash of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t dried or fresh oregano
¼ C olive oil
2 T flavored oil, like Tuscan
2 T butter, salted
Arrange thin slices together and in a circle inside a baking dish or oven safe skillet, alternating every 10 slices or so. Arrange any way you fancy! You can also use some red beets and orange beets for color. Ladle the oil, salt, pepper, and herbs over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the paprika. Dot butter around and on top of the vegetables. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, or until the beets are softened.
Note: Make sure that if you soak the potatoes and/or beets in cold water to preserve them between prep and roast, that you DRY THEM COMPLETELY.
RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
Serves 6 - 8 / Click here for a printable version.
1 pint red grape tomatoes
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes
2 medium multi-colored heirloom tomatoes
2 stalks celery diced
1 ½ C arugula
¾ C white shoe peg corn, thawed
½ yellow pepper cut into long strips
6 or 7 very thin slices of white sweet onion
1/3 C basil chopped
½ lb fresh milk mozzarella cheese cut into 1/8 inch slices
1/3 C fine olive oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t kosher salt, ½ t black pepper
2 T white sugar
In a very large serving bowl add the grape tomatoes that you’ve cut in half, heirloom tomatoes that you’ve cut into large chunks. Add the yellow pepper, celery, onion, and the corn that you’ve drained and patted dry. Add the arugula. Cover with a wet paper towel and store in fridge until ready to finish and serve. No more than 3 hours.
Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar together well. When ready to serve, add the basil to the salad cut chiffonade style. Then and add the dressing and toss all together until dressing coats the salad. Then place the slices of mozarella on top, add a little salt and pepper, and serve.
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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.