Summer. Summer. Summer... The season where shivering is banished. When the northern hemisphere is alive with glowing, powerful warmth. I love it when the whole countryside groans in moisture as the tree frogs and cicadas sing their song of sweltering joy. And, I love how the last bit of summer heat makes grapes burst into perfection. Corn begin to plump. And tomatoes grow into the best food ever.
I’m sharing two simple and delicious recipes that make tomatoes the star. First the exquisite gift of my new go-to garnish: Candied Heirloom Tomatoes. To start with, those three words just bring joy to my heart, and then secondly there are so many options for this crowing bite of flavor.
The "candied" part is due to slow roasting with brown sugar and rosemary on top of thick tomato slices. It makes them indispensable.
Stir these into soups. Put them atop a chunk of artisan bread with cheese or meat and you have the best appetizer ever. Crown a pasta, or just pop them in your mouth without a second thought. Yes, they're THAT good.
How did I begin? Using firm, sweet, and brightly colored heirlooms from your favorite farmer’s market will give you the best results. And nice thick slices help you preserve the shape of what the tomato was before you perfumed and roasted it into amazingness. Sugar and heat are about as magic as the words “bibbity-bobbity-boo!” when it comes to creating deliciousness. And in only 30 – 40 minutes you have something that helps you understand why heat and summer can be your best friend.
Next is the recipe for the most colorful salad possible. It mimics one of our favorite Italian starters but in salad form. Picking from all sorts of heirloom tomatoes, using the freshest mozzarella, and even FRESHER basil, all topped with a lemon vinaigrette will make you wish summer would never end.
In hindsight, I should have made the largest batches possible of my Caprese Heirloom Tomato Salad because resisting the urge to eat mounds of this salad are futile! Perfectly sweet, tart, tangy, and fresh are the winning combinations for the perfect summer, and the perfect summer food.
Keep scrolling to read and download both of these sweet perfections.
RECIPE: Candied Heirloom Tomatoes
A Selection of small and firm heirloom tomatoes of various colors
2 T light oil for each 6 tomatoes
1 ½ t kosher salt and ½ t cracked black pepper for each 6 tomatoes
4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
½ t of brown sugar to top each slice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Carefully shave the top and bottom off each tomato so they stay upright. Cut each into 1 inch slices. Toss them with salt, pepper and oil. Place each on a cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with a bit more kosher salt. Nestle sprigs of rosemary around the tomatoes to perfume them while roasting. Dot each slice with the brown sugar. Roast for about 30 minutes or until sugars caramelize and tomatoes are shriveled. Remove with small spatula to try and maintain shape. Cool. Use to garnish everything from pasta, to steak, to chicken, to bruschetta!
RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
Summer is nearly over and I have a quarrel with her.
I think she may have cheated me out of a few weeks of pleasure.
Ninety days, or one quarter of a year, ought to feel equal in some sense of the word to say, spring, which is an explosion of excess, renewal, and leisure, drawing out the passing seconds the same way a new leaf bursts forth from a barren twig: SLOWLY.
Or winter, now that is a season! She is a master at playing with the notion of time. During the entire cold expanse of it all you are counting the days until you see the first blossom, shivering underneath your thermals as you yearn for the warmth you had cursed just a few months before.
And so time belongs to each of us differently.
Summer may have gone quickly but I did what I loved. And even with time and her steady metronome of turning our present into the past, and with only 3 weeks remaining until we all begin dreaming of hot cider and stews, my wish is that every season is filled with good memories, good people, and good food.
“Time” to go cook.
RECIPE: 5 Spice Candied Peach Personal Galettes
Sprinkle of cracked black pepper
2 T light brown sugar
Dusting of raw sugar
3 T heavy cream
1 package pie crust mix for 1 crust
3 large peaches, unpeeled
4 T butter
RECIPE: Ling Cod with Butter Braised Oyster Mushrooms over Honey Thyme Sweet Potatoes
1.5 lbs fresh ling cod, patted dry and brought to room temperature
2 ½ C thinly sliced oyster mushrooms (Make sure they’re dry before cooking
1 ½ C Cipollini onions
3/4 C (12 T) salted butter
Several sprigs of fresh tarragon
3 T light oil
A few slices of fresh lemon
Sea salt and black pepper
Fresh lemon juice to drizzle at end
Fine parsley micro-greens to garnish
¼ C good chicken stock or white wine
3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 – 3 ½ C, diced small
1/8 C honey
3 T salted butter
3 T heavy cream
Several sprigs of thyme tied together
Salt and pepper to taste
In a 12” saucepan, melt 4 T of butter and when hot and foam on butter begins to recede, add the onions. Let sear until partially caramelized. Remove from pan. Add the other 4 T butter and the mushrooms while the pan is very hot. Cook until browned and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Now, put the fish in the oven. While it is cooking you can now add the onions back in to the saucepan with the mushrooms, and season generously with salt and pepper and then deglaze with the stock. When reduced by half add the last 4 T of butter and turn to low. Let simmer until ready to plate.
METHOD SWEET POTATOES:
Bring 10 C of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and nestle the thyme on top. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme. Drain, and add the butter, honey, cream, and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork to make rustic potatoes or use an immersion blender to puree. Do not over mix with the blender or they will be gummy. Serve under the baked cod with the mushrooms and onions.
RECIPE: Roasted Mini Peppers Stuffed with Chicken, and Cheese with a Green Goddess dressing.
Click here for printable version.
4 T good olive oil
1 C chopped fully cooked grilled chicken breasts (prepackaged) I used an organic choice from Publix
½ C fresh grated asiago cheese
2 heaping T mayonnaise, or enough to bind the cheese
2 t herb seasoning. I used World Market Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 t kosher salt and ½ t fresh cracked pepper
¼ C green goddess dressing to garnish
Storms, laughter, nourishment, and beauty. My Girl's Weekend at Grand Beach was all of these and more.
"Yes, Tricia. I will be there for our Beach Girl's Trip!" I had said last fall, quickly answering a heartfelt email from my lifelong friend who needed to gather all of her most special women together for a rendezvous at the water's edge. The condition was I wanted to be the chef for the whole weekend. I wanted to nourish all these friends; these women who have been my safety net for almost 30 years. She accepted my terms without hesitation.
As you might guess, I set about getting the lay of the "kitchen," so to speak. Locating the tools, arranging the food, and reviewing the handwritten menu I had scrawled only the day before so everything was poised for perfection.
I love a 180 degree shift in food planning. It is my favorite thing to create a meal on the fly. Taking stock of our food inventory for the weekend, which included a few stand-by items, I knew I could put together our feast that night with just a few extra groceries. So after heading to the local market, I purchased some lovely ground turkey, and the ladies bought a few more bottles of wine, along with a bag of perfect Yukon potatoes. Nada decided she would make her famous crepes for dessert, and we were all salivating by the time the first appetizer was served.
Then, while it was simmering, I was summoned to the dining room. It was there I would experience the biggest surprise in a long time. I was presented with an apron, signed by all, as a thank-you for nourishing them during our trip. I was so honored, so caught off guard, so danged excited! Ladies, we all know it. Nothing is stronger than a tribe of true friends!
After a trip to Three Oaks, MI for Bourbon tasting and shopping, we settled into our last night of food. Since we felt stuffed, I decided on a meal that represented our affliction by serving spinach and artichoke stuffed chicken breasts, and a colorful side of brandy roasted root vegetables.
As approach the end of this food journey, we close with a satisfying frittata, served with beautifully ripe fresh fruit and some of the remaining scones. Simple, flavorful, and celebratory. An apt closing for a culinary week that will long be remembered.
Thank you ladies for your honesty, your willingness to be sous chefs, for keeping my wine glass full at all times, and for letting me bind our memories to nourishment and love.
Over and out. Kitchen empty. Hearts full!
"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!)
Mint, Curry, Coconut Poached Trout
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
Broccoli & Tomatoes with a Mandarin Orange Vinaigrette.
3 C butternut squash, cubed
¼ C sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 ½ C cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
½ C golden raisins
1 ½ C riced broccoli (from package), or blanched broccoli cut into very small pieces
4 T grape seed oil or other light oil divided
3 t salt/1 t black pepper (to taste)
Zest of one mandarin orange
Juice of 2 mandarin oranges, appx 1/3 C divided
1 - 2 t Singapore seasoning (Penzeys) I used 2 but I like it spicy.
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T honey balsamic vinegar, (I ALWAYS use Olive Crate brand!) or other sweet vinegar
Note: Can add cooked chicken or shrimp to make a main course meal if desired.
PLUS 4 delicious munchy recipes for game day...
But today I must focus on the game. The Super Bowl, that is. And I have some thoughts about what all those words mean. Clearly something is lost in translation. And since everything is about food for me, I thought I share not only a few game day recipes, but also my interpretation of football terms.
(If you're looking for all football terms, click here!)
Scoop and score: That moment when peel your bread dough out of the bowl in one handful after rising and it is perfect in every way. (see photos above for clarification.)
Failed pass attempt: What happens when I carelessly toss eggshells from a distance into the trash, because I'm too lazy to walk them over 3 more feet. No first down for me.
Completion percentage: How I rate the success of my souffle-making prowess if one doesn't fall when removed from the oven. Hint. Mine is rising steadily. Heheheh...
Direct snap: The sound made when you crack the wrong bone while cutting up a whole chicken. And the sound you make when your head explodes because now both legs have been ruined.
Field goal: The best green salad ever!!!
Hash marks: Duh...those little criss cross indentations I place across each peanut butter cookie before baking them.
And finally -- Icing the kicker: Clearly they left out a word. Icing "is" the kicker when you make sugar cookies and know there's still something missing. #iwishthenflcouldspell
In spite of your horror at reading my glossary of confusing football terms, I present a few of my FAVORITE football foods for your culinary line of scrimmage!!!
Artichoke Spinach Dip Bruschetta With Seared Sweet Pepper
Click here to download printable version.
1 5.3 oz. container Greek yogurt
1 can small artichoke hearts, drained thoroughly, and chopped
1 C finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 heaping T mayonnaise
1/8 t thyme leaves
1/8 t rosemary leaves
½ t crushed red pepper flakes
½ C cooked spinach, all moisture pressed out, chopped
3 1/8” slices of white onion, diced small
Juice from one lemon divided into 1 teaspoon and 2 teaspoons
1 large orange sweet pepper cut into long strips
1 T canola oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1/8 t allspice
In a large fry pan, heat the 1 T oil. Add the peppers and let sear on high heat. When there is charring on the peppers and they become a bit soft, add a bit of salt, and black pepper, then the lemon juice (first) and then the vinegar. Then sprinkle lightly with allspice. Let cook until lemon juice is reduced. Remove from pan and let cool in a bowl.
In another large bowl, combine yogurt, artichoke hearts, spinach, cheese, mayo, herbs, lemon juice, onion, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, (you don’t really need a lot of extra salt, as the parmesan cheese is salty, as are the chokes.) Add more mayo if it needs to be more moist. It should be VERY gooey and moist. Combine. Place all ingredients in a small casserole dish. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until edges are brown. Serve by spreading warm dip on bread and then topping with cool orange pepper slice.
Chicken Salad and Fig Wraps
Goat Cheese Stuffed Baked Jalapeno Bites
Take that to the end zone!
Sausage Spinach Puff Pastry Wheels
Topped with Jalapeno Jelly
you'll have them watching you instead of the game!
Click here to download the printable version.
½ C cooked chopped spinach, all water squeezed out. (I use the frozen kind. It is quicker.)
½ C 2% small curd cottage cheese
1/3 C fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, divided
½ t salt, ¼ t pepper
1 and 1/3 sheets of puff pastry
2 T flour
½ C warmed green jalapeno jelly
Beat the second egg in a small bowl, set aside. Roll out the puff pastry, attaching 1/3 panel of the other puff pastry sheet to make the one sheet. Press seams so it won’t tear. Sprinkle with flour and roll it out to about 10% bigge,r or so that it is about 12 inches tall by 16-18 inches long. Spread the cheese spinach mixture atop the dough, spreading out to edges but leaving a 1.5” lip on each of the long sides for sealing and rolling. Then sprinkle with the cooked sausage. Starting from one end, carefully roll the whole thing lengthwise, meaning that the finished roll will be 12 inches long. When you get to the end, brush the inside width of the reveal with the egg wash, and seal well. Form carefully with your hands so everything is bound together but not squished. Cut into 1” wheels, using a sharp serrated knife for ease of cutting through the stubborn spinach. Should be 12 wheels.
Arrange on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Don’t overcook!
Serve atop a swirl of heated jalapeno jelly. Seriously, awesome!
If I can't reach for a pan, I will reach for my voice. If I can't reach for my voice, I will reach for whatever the journey provides me.
I suppose we all have times in our lives when the rhythm of things is lost, or at the very least, suspended. We find ourselves, looking out the window to capture a quick view of the path ahead, only to find we're only on a completely different journey. Feeling that whatever distance we've traveled was wrong, we immediately get busy fixing it! But it wasn't wrong. No journey is wrong.
So now, at the peril of trying to create the perfect message, something that usually keeps me from finishing a message in a timely fashion, I will keep this short. Will this post include some photos of my food and a couple recipes? Of course. Will it stir your soul and transform you? That is up to you, I'm realizing. Mine is only to share whatever journey I'm currently experiencing, and always hoping that of where I am helps awaken something in you, I'm on the right path after all.
Quick Brownie Bites with Chocolate
Amaretto Buttercream Frosting
Chicken with Apple Bacon Gravy and White Turnips
Over Cardamom Rice Topped with Pea Shoot Salad and Chili Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 small Fuji apples cut into thin slices
6 slices of thick cut bacon
½ C chicken stock
¼ C white wine such as Pinot Gris
¼ C white onion, chopped finely
2 C pea shoot micro greens
3 T julienned red pepper
2 T chili balsamic, such as Olive Crate brand
3 T plus 2 T mild olive oil such as Kores Olive Crate brand, divided
½ t coriander powder
½ t cardamom powder
Pinch of good cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t corn starch mixed with ¼ C water
4 T butter
½ C jasmine rice and ¾ C water
Slice apples and toss them with 1 T oil and set aside.
Thoroughly wash and trim the white turnips, cutting all but 1 ½ inches of the green off. Slice in half lengthwise, toss with 1 T oil, and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet, dot with butter, bake in 425 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Right before serving toss the pea shoots with the 2 T oil, chili balsamic, a little salt and pepper and the red pepper. Set aside for no more than 10 minutes.
Bring water, rice, cardamom, cinnamon and about ½ T salt to a boil, then cover, put over very low simmer and cook 10 minutes with burner on simmer and 10 minutes without heat. DO NOT remove lid. Keep lid on until you serve.
Pat chicken dry and set aside. Make sure meat is nearly at room temperature to insure even cooking. When ready, heat 1 T oil with the bacon drippings to very hot. Add the chicken lowering heat right away to medium high and sear on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil. Deglaze pan with wine, let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the stock, the apples and about 1 to 1 ½ T salt and about 1 t pepper, along with coriander powder. Let simmer for about 3-4 minutes while apples soften. Then return the chicken to the pan, and let simmer for about 4 minutes or so until chick is done. Don’t overcook. Add the bacon, stirring in at the last. Add the slurry of cornstarch and water at the end to thicken sauce. Serve over the rice and top with the pea shoots, and arrange roasted turnips on the side.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2017. All rights reserved.
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
Mini Pepper Poppers
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