I love magic. The kind of magic that happens in nature, and the kind that happens in your oven. Especially when it involves puff pastry and the fantastic flavors of fall. And that means combining apples, sage -- which is easy to grow, hearty, sweet, and peppery with a decidedly organic tang -- and the ever-controversial mushroom. Olive This! is genius in my opinion for carrying an oil with such perfectly balanced flavors. Their Wild Mushroom Sage Olive Oil lends itself to so many meals. But when used to sauté mushrooms and apples that will be baked atop a savory tart, it finds its way into our hearts!
Before I get down to the recipe directions, allow me to segue for a moment. Because you know how much I love to teach, as well as cook.
Mushrooms are, in my opinions, routinely abused by home cooks. Not on purpose, mind you. No one is intentionally cruel to their food. But you need to understand the basic tenets of mushrooms if you’re going to elevate them to BLING status. The remedy? Don’t crowd them in the pan (or they will steam instead of sear, making them rubbery. Blech.). Make sure the pan is super-hot. Don’t be afraid to cook in butter. Salt them at the end, not the beginning. And cook them until they’re brown. They are FULL of water, so it takes patience to cook them down. Oh, also you don’t need to wash them before using unless you pulled them out of the ground yourself.
Mushrooms are fungi. They are commonly thought to be the absolute first and oldest life form on earth. A recent documentary on mushrooms states they are neither plant nor animal. And they come in many varieties that offer a huge choice of flavor profiles. The Baby Bella mushroom I use in this recipe has a nutty, creamy, and mild flavor. It browns nicely, and it one of my go-to ingredients!
Armed with all this geeky knowledge, it is time to put on our aprons. And although easy to assemble, I will walk you through some fool-proof tips for success.
RECIPE: Mushroom, Sage, and Apple Puff Pastry Tart, with a Honey Mustard Sage Cream Sauce
Serves 4 - 6 | Click to download a printable PDF of this recipe
12 oz. sliced baby bells mushrooms
1 large, sweet apple like Fuji or Gala, peeled and small diced
4 T OliveThis! Wild Mushroom Sage oil divided
1+ t kosher salt and more for sprinkling before baking (A also used a coarse pink sea salt for garnishing the tart before cooking.)
1 T thinly sliced (julienned) fresh sage leaves
6 large fresh sage leaves
5 T butter divided
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
SAUCE – Mix all well with whisk and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
2 T yellow mustard
4 T mayonnaise
1 T OliveThis! Wild Mushroom Sage oil
3 t white wine vinegar
2 t heavy cream
2 T honey
1 heaping T fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley
Heat a large saucepan to high. Add 2 T butter and 2 T mushroom sage oil. When oil is hot add the mushroom. Let them sit for a bit and sauté and begin to brown. You need a pan large enough that the mushrooms can almost sit in a single layer. Once they start to brown add the apple. Toss and move around in the pan until apples are soft and mushrooms are brown. Remove, put in a bowl, set aside to cool about 20 minutes. You can do this up to 3 hours ahead if you like.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Roll out the puff pastry to a large square than can fit on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. About 11” by 11”. Score around the outside of the pastry so there is a ½” border. Don’t cut all the way through. Just enough so that you have a nice crust. This indentation is important for the look of the tart. Arrange apples and mushrooms even over tart but keeping inside edge you just scored. Drizzle with the rest of the sage oil; about 2 T. Top with the sliced sage leaves. Add about one teaspoon of the pink sea salt dusted on top of the tart. While oven is preheating put the tart in the freezer for 5 MINUTES. NO MORE. Then put in preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are very brown. Let the tart edges get brown so the middle pieces aren’t soggy. While tart is cooking melt the rest of the butter, about 3 T butter to a small saucepan. When hot add the sage leaves. Let sizzle on each side in the butter for about 20 seconds. Remove. Set aside. And use to garnish the tart.
Serve with honey mustard sage cream sauce on the side or drizzled over the tart pieces!
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2020. All rights reserved.
-- RECIPE BELOW -- This is like the freshest crudité platter in your mouth, with a bright kick from the most amazing apple balsamic vinegar. The addition of one simple ingredient elevated this delicious cold soup to a show-stopping explosion of flavor. The addition of honey, and nutmeg as well as a small bit of cream stirred in right before serving and your guests will never stop talking about how imaginative and masterful you are in the kitchen.
We’re at the jumping off place for entering autumn. It’s that time of year when nature exhales a breath of cool air, painting weary green trees with bold reds and oranges. We begin to crave hot soups, knobby sweaters, bonfires, and early sunsets. And it’s when the apple reaches its apex of availability and flavor.
For some the apple is the symbol of man’s beginning, an edible catalyst between innocence and knowledge. Cultivated since the 17th century the Gravenstein Apple, this month’s featured ingredient, is known for its creamy white flesh. Honey-scented with a crisp, smooth texture, they are perfect for cider, or dried fruits. And guess what, they absolutely sing in a sophisticated but VERY easy gazpacho made with roasted broccoli, apples, and fresh ginger. (I also added a bit of honey and fresh nutmeg for excitement.) But although fall’s arrival is imminent, we’re NOT quite there yet. However, I have good news. There is a way to serve your guests a first course that bridges the gap between your love of Indian summer’s sticky nights and fall’s chilly tingle.
But let’s get to the details! This month’s recipe features a Gravenstein Apple White Balsamic Vinegar from Olive This! It is a recipe easy to master, and one that will make you popular at any fall dinner party. So, why is this balsamic worth trying? Well, when I first tasted it, I wanted to just pour it into an aperitif glass and sip it all day long. There are notes of honey, with an herbal but cinnamoney kind of depth, a sweetness that isn’t too overpowering and the right acidity to be perfect for any vinaigrette or sauce. You could pour it over roasted figs and ice cream, topped with cracked black pepper! Blend it with honey and yogurt for the perfect fruit dip. Add a bit of it to some jam and slather it over a ham roast. I just can’t say enough about its versatility and beauty.
Now, to answer the burning question. Why blend it with broccoli? Well, when roasted, broccoli takes on another identity. It’s bright pops of green blossoms not only look pretty in this soup, but they also lend a fresh vegetal quality you’ll love. Also, I must say you can almost not overdo it with this balsamic. There is a LOT of the Balsamic in the soup. It takes center stage but dances so well with all the other flavors I’m certain I was predestined to make this soup and share the recipe with you.
I encourage you to give this a try. The first bite is unexpectedly yummy! Your first gazpacho is a bit of a milestone you need to experience as a cook, a hostess, and as a human. Sans the fig leaf and the serpent, just take one bite of this soup and you’ll never be the same.
RECIPE: Apple, Broccoli, and Ginger Gazpacho
Serves 4 - 6 (Can be easily halved) | Click here to download a printable version.
½ C Olive This! Gravenstein Apple White Balsamic Vinegar divided (it’s added Tablespoons at a time. See method for clarity.)
7 C cut up broccoli florets
2 large Granny Smith apples (4 C) peeled and diced into large chunks
1/3 very large, sweet onion large dice
¼ C olive oil
2 t kosher salt + ½ t black pepper (more at the end before serving if needed. SEE NOTES)
1 heaping T freshly grated gingerroot
3 C Swanson’s Chicken Stock (can use vegetable stock but don’t use sodium free)
½ t grated fresh nutmeg (can use from a bottle if you don’t have nutmeg pods to grate.)
2 T honey
Handful of freshly chopped Italian parsley to serve.
1 – 2 t of heavy cream for each bowl when serving.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss the cut apples, onion, and broccoli with the olive oil, 2 t kosher salt and ½ t black pepper. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until soft, about 25-30 minutes. Remove, let cool for about 30 minutes. Working in 2 batches take half of the cooled apple broccoli mixture and place in a blender. Add 1 ½ C of the Chicken Stock. Blend on mix until all incorporated. Remove lid and add ½ of the grated ginger, ¼ t of freshly ground nutmeg, 3 T of the Gravenstein Apple Balsamic Vinegar and 1 T honey. Replace lid. Now puree until smooth, about 20 seconds or so. Pour into a large pitcher. Now blend the other half of the cooked apple broccoli mixture repeating all the steps from adding stock, ginger, nutmeg, vinegar, and honey and then finishing by pureeing mixture. Pour into the container so all the soup is together. Cover, and chill for about 4 hours or overnight or until very cold.
NOTE: When ready to serve, remove lid, and stir well. Now add ½ t kosher salt, and 2 T of the balsamic vinegar. Taste to make sure it doesn’t need more salt. Stir well. Understand that as the mixture sits the flavors change. You often need to adjust flavors so don’t skip this step. Now place a serving in bowl, stir in a bit of the parsley and a teaspoon of cream if desired. Serve! GREAT with melted cheddar cheese toasts.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2021. All rights reserved.
Peach Chutney: A sweet and versatile condiment (perfect for fish...) that’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
And it's a dreamy crown atop my pecan crusted Cobi using the delicious Peach Balsamic Vinegar from Olive This! All recipes at bottom...
In the 2001 movie Legally Blonde, the stepdaughter of accused murderer Brooke Windham is a jealous, entitled, frizzy-haired and, in the end, guilty young woman. Her name is Chutney. And we all chuckled when we heard it, since it seemed like the right moniker for someone a little spicy but confused. They couldn’t have been more wrong about assigning that word to her character. The identities of chutneys are certain, bold, confident, and of course DELISH. Let me explain why.
According to an article in foodreference.com, the original chutney of India (Hindi: chatni) was usually a relish made from fresh fruits and spices. During the colonial era, the British took it home to their Island, and then on to to their other colonial possessions, including South Africa and the Caribbean Islands.
As far as a flavor profile, chutneys vary greatly. They can be fresh or cooked and are made from a wide variety of ingredients. They range in flavor from sweet or sour, spicy, or mild, or any combination of these. The consistencies range from thin to chunky and can be made with fruits or vegetables or both.
An erroneous notion would be to assume they are meant to be hot, or your idea of a smackingly-sweet and powerful curry flavor. With no offence to Major Gray, I would like to write reams on the misconceptions of curry and chutneys. But that’s for another blog post. In essence, they are the world’s perfect acidic food accompaniment, meant to enhance, brighten, and highlight other flavors. Think of pickles with hot dogs. Sauerkraut with corned beef. Limes with tacos. It just wakes up your mouth.
In my recipe – although some Indian chutneys are simmered for hours – I present a quick version. Only 8 minutes on the stove and you have a condiment that goes with a poultry, seafood, or pork dish. It would even be tasty on sandwiches! You know that packet of sweet and sour that goes with your holiday ham? With that hint of spice that orange sauce officially falls into a chutney-like food.
As I’ve always said, the quality of the ingredients used directly affects the quality of the final product. You would do well to use the Olive This! brand Peach White Balsamic Vinegar in this chutney as the peach quality is authentic, and the tang perfect. It’s seems to bind all the flavors into something new and perfect. Along with my addition of a tiny pinch of cloves, the fruit sings and melds perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. If you have a half and hour to chop, slice, and simmer. Make this chutney. No guilt involved!
RECIPE: Peach Apple Chutney
PART 1 - Cooking in the Time of COVID
It's okay to Live in the Moment.
It occurs to me that we are lost in a sea of bad news while being horrifically engulfed in a tide that never recedes. That’s a lot of bad going on. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the shore I don’t remember what dry ground even feels like. Sure, I have experienced a lot of “interesting events” over my many decades here on earth, but these are unprecedented times. I don’t recall ever feeling so disconnected, unsure, or fearful. There is no compass point we can rely on for parsing this information or translate what’s going on. Some out there may teeter between believing this is either an alien virus leaked from Area 51, or a political tool to scare and control us. I’m not even going to say I’m somewhere in the middle, because even my “gut reactions” are all over the place.
I miss being sure.
I wish I had the magic bean for us to plant a mighty stalk that grows above the clouds of uncertainty letting me peer into truth. Or that I could hire a translator that would smile through horn-rimmed framed lenses while setting everything straight. And, I wish I could sleep without terror.
All of these thoughts are not necessarily productive or logical. What, then do I need?
A wild notion is developing in me that might be the simplest answer to all of this; a kind of parallel truth we may be missing. And that is, what if we all suddenly knew these three things deeply, and in doing so could take back the control we’ve given over to EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else?
- NUMBER ONE: We all have huge worth, and it exists apart from being measured by what we own, or who we know. We will never not matter to someone. Also, E F Hutton isn’t God. Mr. Rogers was right. And you are actually kind, smart, and important.
- NUMBER TWO: Our health is truly interconnected to our social responsibility. It does require effort to be well fed and we should seek to spend more time doing it right. Also, our diseases can be partly blamed on our own attitude towards who is responsible for telling us what's healthy (you are, by the way), our disrespect for our fellow living things, and our constant effort to mitigate our self-loathing.
- NUMBER THREE: We will all die and that’s okay. But for most of us, not quite now. This minute you are still alive, viable, and powerful and you can make a difference. Failure is survivable. You really don’t need anyone to add you as a Friend. And what I really want to tell you is being famous isn’t nearly as important as being vital to one person right now.
Those three bullets can be summarized like this: If we have respect for self, are aware of the existence of things beyond our own selves that are equal in importance to our own appetites, and can cultivate an ability to have full joy by focusing on the present, we just might get through this. (And the other trials that will surely come!)
Do What Makes you Happy.
Our bodies have an amazing super power: The ability to smell and taste. Both which gives us such a rush of pleasure and joy we should revel in this being life’s greatest gift! Joy has been shown to boost endorphins, strengthen our immune system, and even out our ability to handle stress. I love when someone puts a good bit of food in their mouths and then begin swooning with happiness! Is this not a goal we should all strive to have?
For several weeks now my recipes have taken a turn towards comfort and familiar foods. I have rediscovered good beef stew. And remembered why creamed peas make me happy. Whether you choose to download and cook these recipes, or just enjoy the photos and the accompanying drool they provoke, I hope they help you feel powerful, even without a beanstalk.
RECIPE: Onion and Green Pepper Tender Beef Stew Over Mashed New Potatoes
1 ½ lb Stew Meat Chunks (at room temperature, and patted dry of moisture)
2 T oil
½ large green pepper cut into strips
¼ large sweet onion cut into strips
2 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 t dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 t salt, ¼ pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
2 ½ C boiling water
½ C cabernet sauvignon
(Roux with 2 t corn starch and 2-3 T water)
Fresh parsley to garnish
RECIPE: Quick-Pasta-Whatever with Skillet Marinara Sauce
½ lb ground beef (90%)
½ pint cherry tomatoes quartered
1 large stalk celery cut into small dice
1/3 sweet onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic finely diced
1 can tomato sauce (plain, no flavorings)
2 T light olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T white sugar
¼ t each of paprika and turmeric powder
1 heaping T dried good oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper)
1 ½ C egg noodles (dry) cooked to al dente
Shaved parmigiana reggiano cheese and parsley to garnish.
Which, I'm thinking, is why God probably kept it to himself for millennia.... no doubt leaked by the dark forces.
Um, thank you dark forces? Oh dear...
Want to know more? Here are some interesting facts published on sucrose.com about sugar:
"It was the major expansion of the Arab peoples in the seventh century AD that led to a breaking of the secret. When they invaded Persia in 642 AD they found sugar cane being grown and learnt how sugar was made. As their expansion continued they established sugar production in other lands that they conquered including North Africa and Spain. However, it is thought that cane sugar was first used by man in Polynesia from where it spread to India. In 510 BC the Emperor Darius of what was then Persia invaded India where he found "the reed which gives honey without bees". The secret of cane sugar, as with many other of man's discoveries, was kept a closely guarded secret whilst the finished product was exported for a rich profit."
It turns out we do need to be a bit mindful of the stuff. The Huffington Post has published a very interesting article explaining what happens when we become sugar addicts. It is worth the read. I find that between the lines the logic lies in understanding that we must have balance. And that a lot of our sugar and other unhealthy items are found in processed foods. I work very hard to avoid a processed food diet and find that if you eat naturally you can probably imbibe responsibly without too much harm...
But I will let you decide with every, delicious, crystallized, sparkling, happy bite...
RECIPE: Quick Watermelon Ice Cream
1 C sweetened condensed milk
Dash of salt
Recipe inspired by several online posts.
RECIPE: Chai Bread Pudding
with White Nectarines and Mock Creme Anglais
8 pieces of white bread cubed and toasted
5 large eggs
1 C heavy cream
2 t vanilla extract
1/3 C sugar
1/8 t ground cloves
½ t cinnamon
½ t ground cardamom
1/8 C chopped candied ginger divided 6 ways
Butter for greasing large muffin tins
Dash of salt
Sea salt to garnish
MOCK ANGLAIS SAUCE:
½ C sweetened condensed milk
3-4 T whole milk
3 T lemon curd
Grease an oversized muffin tin generously with butter (6 muffin openings). Divide toasted bread evenly among 6 muffin openings until the stack is a bit above the top of the rim. Sprinkle with the chopped candied ginger. Thoroughly mix the eggs, cream, vanilla, spices, and dash of salt. Pour over the bread dividing evenly among all puddings. Gently press down the bread so it all touches the egg mixture. Let it soak for about an hour on the counter, or not more than 3 hours in the fridge. Be sure to bring to room temperature before cooking. Arrange the sugared slices nicely on top of the bread puddings.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and place pan on a rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Remove each personal bread pudding and serve with the sauce poured over the top. Can be refrigerated and then reheated in the micro. Keep sauce refrigerated.
Note: Can do in a baking dish, but check center to make sure it’s done.
RECIPE: Easy White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla (I added 2 t)
1 ¼ C craisins
Pinch of salt (I also sprinkled kosher salt on top of the fudge at the end.)
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
Click the image to buy the book!
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."
12 Winter Recipes
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
Cheese Stuffed Chicken
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
Mushroom Savory Tart
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
Spicy Orange Chicken
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