Today there are almost as many techniques for changing and presenting food as there are foods. Air, vapors, alginates, malodextrin powders, sous vide, eating in the dark; too many to count! Wow. (Read the article, here.)
Then there are the days when I long for a meal that is just simple and tasty. Nothing too fancy, just good food. That's exactly what I did when making my Creamy Dijon Potato Cheese Soup. Velvety from cream and mustard, interesting with the addition of a little honey and coriander powder, and one more secret ingredient you'll just have to find for yourself. All if it made this soup just plain mmmm-worthy.
If you have a hour, you can be a chef-hero in no time...even if you don't have wings, or the ability to fly, or x-ray vision!
RECIPE: Creamy Dijon Potato Cheese Soup
Serves 4 - Click for Printable Version
5 cups diced new potatoes with skin on
1/3 sliced and chopped yellow onion
1 C no-salt added chicken stock
1 ½ C 2% milk
2 T oil
2 T butter
4-5 drops liquid smoke
1 heaping T flour
¼ C water
¾ C heavy cream
3 T Dijon mustard
1 t honey
¼ t coriander powder
1 C good melting cheese (I used Mozzarella. Gruyere would be good!)
Chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven pan. Sauté the onions in the oil and butter for about 3 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes, the coriander and about 1 t salt and ½ t pepper. Stir and cook on medium until bits of the potato start to have a little brown on them. Usually takes about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, which will deglaze the pan and then stir and let simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the potatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the honey, Dijon, liquid smoke, and heavy cream. Stir that into the potato mixture and stir well, turning the heat down to low but keep the soup steaming hot. Then take the flour and whisk it into ¼ C water, blended and then stir it into the cream and soup mixture, stirring gently until you see it begin to get a little less watery. We’re not trying thick, just binding the sauce and making a roux. Put the lid on, keep on low, and let simmer for about 5 minutes but don’t let it boil.
Remove lid, stir in the cheese, taste, and then season with more salt if needed. Serve. Garnish with flat leaf parsley if desired.
My kitchen receives the blessing of the morning sun and I eagerly open the blinds to let those rays pour in like a flood of healing waters. Drinking up the warmth is just the perfect beginning to my day. Sundays with morning sun are almost too wonderful to describe, and hard to top. Unless of course you're planning to make something delicious!
The fruit you see here is the way I like to start my day and it's made all the more wonderful when you just make it simple. Fresh cut pineapple, red pears, navel oranges and bananas. Toss with a tiny bit of sugar and grab your favorite chair by the window for a few moments of bliss.
That is, until the buzzer goes off and the breakfast casserole emerges. Isn't this gorgeous? And SO, SO, SO easy! If you have a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread you're on your way to creating brunch Nirvana. A dab of Greek yogurt with the eggs helps create low calorie richness. And be sure and heat up your maple syrup so you don't spoil the warmth of this toasty treat.
Sooner or later, the sun rises to the top of the sky, and my warm kitchen fades into the late morning. Chores must be done. Clothes folded. Pantries cleaned out. But soon it will be time for dinner and I've been saving some items from previous dinners to become a delicious and sinful end to this 7th day of bliss.
Cheese. Pasta. Bacon. I could end here and you'd be happy. But let's just add some photos and let the drooling begin. Especially when you know that nested at the bottom of this veggie, bacon cheese sauce are beautiful and rustic mushroom raviolis. Yeah, I know. Makes you swoon, eh?
Isn't this a great way to start and finish a Sunday? For that matter, wouldn't this be a great way to start and end every day? I think so. And I can't wait for a new day, more sun, and more inspiration.
RECIPE: Cinnamon Raisin Bread Breakfast Casserole
8 slices of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bread, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T butter
1/3 C heavy cream
½ t nutmeg
Dash of kosher salt
1 t vanilla extract
Syrup and/or powdered sugar for serving
Butter the bottom and insides of a small glass baking dish, about 9 by 9. Arrange the cubes of bread in the dish. In another bowl blend the eggs, cream, salt, vanilla, and nutmeg and whisk well to combine. Pour all over the bread. Push the bread down into the eggy mixture. Let sit on counter for about 30-45 minutes.
Place the dish in the center of a preheated 375 degree F oven and cook for 35 minutes. Remove, let cool for just a few minutes. Cut, cover with your favorite syrup or just powdered sugar.
RECIPE: Mushroom Ravioli and Vegetables
Special Thanks to
Dale Jennings and her growing business
Level & Plum, for contributing some of the photography, and being one of my official tasters and wine purveyors,
not to mention the fact that I'm sending out a big woop-woop to her
for bringing me a yummy,
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass Provençal
Tips and Extra Info
½ C flour for dredging
¼ C (4 T) butter divided
2 T sunflower oil
Kosher salt and Black pepper to season
¾ of a can of artichoke hearts drained and quartered
1 C pitted Kalamata olives quartered
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 mini orange peppers sliced thinly
1 heaping T capers
Dash of hot chili flakes
1 t olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 t white balsamic
¾ C dry white wine
Handful of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt and pepper. Toss. Heat a large oven-proof sauté pan with 3 T butter and 2 T oil. Dredge one of the fillets and tap to remove extra flour. Make sure you get flour on all sides. Set the fillets in the hot butter and oil, with plenty of room between them, and sear on each side about 1 ½ to 2 minutes each side. Shake the pan a bit to bring the liquid around the pan, delaying the over-browning of the butter. Turn heat down a bit and add the wine and 1 T lemon juice and a little kosher salt. Let deglaze for about 30 seconds. Place pan in oven and let cook for about 4 minutes. Remove, turn pan slightly so you can ladle the pan juices over the meat. Let sit for about 2-3 minutes, serve with the vegetables and garnish with flat leaf parsley.
When I was young I was lucky enough to know what it meant to go the hen house with my great grandfather, and actually gather fresh eggs for breakfast. It is a whole different feeling than standing before those shiny refrigerated shelves in the supermarket and grabbing a Styrofoam container printed with as many disclaimers as titles. You know what? Eggs come out misshapen naturally, or even multi-colored at times, and they're all different sizes; even from the same mommy. And when you break them open? The yolks are almost a dark orange, floating happily in the viscous clear liquid like pearls in the window of Tiffany's.
I'm getting so excited now so, in honor of The Incredible Edible Egg™ (yes, the name is trademarked!) this blog post is dedicated to two beautiful dishes. One, a delicious and easy Quiche Lorraine to begin the day. The other, a lofty, sweet and gorgeous Lemon Souffle that is perfect for the end of the day.
What is it about a quiche that is so romantic and elusive? Perhaps it is the way it rises into perfection in the oven in a nest of flaky crust. Or that you can add pretty much anything and everything to it so it reflects only your tastes. It can be filled with a half pound of bacon floating upon its yellow surface, or barely disturbed with only a bit of cheese and herbs. Either way it makes breakfast into a holiday. Check out the recipe below:
RECIPE: Bacon, Onion and Rosemary Quiche
7-8 slices of thick cut bacon (I used Black Forest Ham flavored uncured bacon from Trader Joe’s)
1 nine inch flaky pie crust (either store bought or homemade.)
1/3 C finely chopped yellow onion
1 ½ t of fresh chopped rosemary
1 ½ t kosher salt
½ t pepper
1 5 oz tub plain, low fat Greek yogurt
1 C 2% milk
Butter for greasing pie plate if not using a ready-made raw crust
To prepare the crust, butter the inside and sides of a 9’ pie plate. Mix and then roll out the pie crust as directed on package and place in plate, fit inside the dish so it touches the bottom surface, then create pretty edges if desired. (I actually pull the top edge of the crust off mine, after it is cooked when I serve it, but I like having crust on the bottom.) Now sprinkle the cooked bacon and cooked onion on the bottom of the pie crust, distributing evenly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, milk, salt, pepper and rosemary. Whisk very, very well. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared crust, and cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes (I ended up cooking mine for 52 minutes,) until the gloss is gone on the center and it all has an even looking texture on the top. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut into crescents and serve!
This version is for dessert and requires a bit of pudding-making-prowess at the onset along with a good stand mixer which is key to take those egg whites into the stratosphere. But it's worth it and doesn't take long to create. It is inspired by a recipe from PopSugar, which is adapted from Martha Stewart Living, and in addition to that respected pedigree, it is just so good.
Get all the little rules in your head and simply practice a couple of times, and then you can become a souffle-making machine!! -- Good luck with your next egg-cellent adventure!
RECIPE: Lemon Soufflés With Raspberry Coulis
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided, plus more for prepping the ramekins
4 large egg yolks, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Raspberry coulis, optional
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt until smooth.
Heat the milk until just steaming in a small saucepan. Gradually drizzle it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the custard mixture to the pan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has thickened to a loose pudding texture. Strain the custard base through a fine-mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon melted butter and lemon juice. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Whip the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, with the mixer motor running. Whip the egg whites at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Mix about 1/4 of the egg whites into the custard base. This helps lighten the custard base, allowing for the remainder of the delicate egg whites to be folded in with minimal deflation. Add the remaining egg whites in three additions, folding them in gently until only slightly streaky before each addition. Fold until no streaks of white remain on the final addition.
Gently spoon the soufflé batter into the ramekins, dividing it equally among the ramekins. Gently smooth the soufflé batter with an offset spatula, wipe the rims of the ramekins clean, and cook on a half-sheet pan for 14 to 17 minutes or until puffed and light-golden brown.
Dust the soufflés with powdered sugar, and serve immediately with raspberry coulis, if using.
" News Flash! Graham Cracker Crust Loves Cardamom!" No, this isn't today's Soap Opera plot. It is GOOD FOOD!
That's TORTURE when you have no time. So now you know how to wow them in no time with my Orange Cheesecake Squares. It is lickity-split quick and really crowd pleasing. The addition of a little bit of cardamom powder takes the crust to "Holy heck, that's good!-Status." I promise.
And since pictures tell a thousand words, and the recipe is written out below, I'll just stop now so you can keep looking and reading and then of course downloading the recipe!
RECIPE: Orange Cheesecake Squares
1 C in volume whipped cream (stiff peaks)
Juice of ½ large naval orange (about 2 -3 T)
Zest of 1 orange divided 2/3-1/3
1/3 C granulated sugar
Splash of milk (2% is fine)
3 ½ C crushed graham crackers (about 10-12 crackers)
5 T salted and melted butter
1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
½ C toasted almond slivers
1 C orange marmalade
1 t Grand Marnier liquor
Mint to garnish
In another large bowl combine the soft cream cheese, orange juice, 2/3 of the orange zest, splash of milk, and granulated sugar. Mix very well. Then using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until smooth. If it’s too stiff, add another splash of milk. Pour in and then spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Cover the dish and chill for at least 3 hours so when you cut them they come out nice and pretty.
Mix the marmalade with the liquor (which is optional!), and ladle a small bit on top of each served square, top with toasted almonds and mint if you like. (Can use pecans as well.)
For the average nose, the whiff from a container of 5 Spice Powder is pleasantly overwhelming. So many exotic aromas coming at you all at once. But that's what's so cool about it! And also, what makes cooking with it kind of daunting. Never fear! I have 5 reasons that will make you grab for the bottle and the spatula. Get ready to count with me:
Reason Two - Asian flavors go with everything! - This medley of spices has gone far beyond just Chinese cooking. In Hawaii they place a shaker of it on the table. It goes with almost any poultry or game meat. It bridges the gap and creates layers of flavor. Case in point. By adding it to ground turkey (what could be more American!) you elevate a texture and a protein to Ming Dynasty status. Well, maybe not Ming, but you'll be searching for chop sticks in no time.
Reason Three - It is very versatile! - Try this, take kosher salt and an equal amount of 5 spice powder and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. The flavors will meld beautifully and you will have a seasoning salt that will rock your world.
Reason Four - Fool Your Friends - Unless you only dine with Foodies, it might be fun to have people guess the flavors in 5 Spice Powder. Only a few will detect the licorice-like flavor of fennel, but most will never really taste the cinnamon. A testament to why cinnamon has been around FOR. EV. ER. (And you thought it was just for breakfast!)
And Reason Five - So you can make my Chinese 5 Spice Turkey Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce!!!!
You were expecting me to miss an opportunity for shameful self-promotion?
RECIPE: Chinese 5 Spice Turkey Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 ½ t Chinese 5 spice powder
1 T soy sauce
½ T fish sauce
2 t sesame oil
1/3 C red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ C plain bread crumbs
1/8 C milk
Salt and pepper
1 red pepper
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks in pineapple juice (reserve juice!)
1/3 C sweet red wine
2 large carrots, chopped
1/3 C red wine
1 t Cornstarch
2 T oil
½ C salted cashews
Handful fresh parsley
Sesame seeds to garnish
Salt and pepper
In a bowl combine the meat, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, milk, 5 Spice powder, soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil, along with a bit of kosher salt and black pepper. For into 1 ½ inch balls. Fry them in the hot oil until seared but not all the way done. Remove, set aside and cover with foil.
Then, using the same pan you cooked the meatballs, add the carrots and red pepper and scrape bits into the veggies. Sear in the remaining oil for about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple juice and red wine, reduce for about 3-4 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks. Now, reduce heat, add the meat, and let the meat simmer with the lid on for about 4 minutes until cooked all the way through. Then combine about ¼ C water with the cornstarch, stir to blend well, and add that to the juice and veggie mixture. Stir until thick which takes about 10 seconds, so keep the heat manageable. Add the parsley and the cashews, stir, then plate. Can serve with or without white rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Enter Trader Joes and their beautiful, organic tri-colored carrot medley. (Turns out there are 5 colors in the bag: white, yellow, orange, red and purple, but who's counting? And a little research reveals a 6th color exists, tangerine, in addition to the usual orange. Awesome!)
Plus, just think. If Bugs Bunny had known about all this, he may have upstaged Elmer Fudd to point where our shotgun toting malcontent would have walked off the set, muttering to himself, "Twi-colored cawwots? Dat wascally wabbit has wost his mind!!"
So, as I write, let's do a little discovery. (This is the part where I start rambling on like Alton Brown. Food nerds unite! Is all I can say.) The first carrots were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in Afghanistan. And get this, they were originally purple and yellow, with anthocyanins and lutein giving each their colors, respectively. Heirloom, speciality, tri-color; whatever word we use to describe these gem colored beauties, they make for an absolutely beautiful side dish.
Personally, I think we need to shake things up a bit in the side-dish world. I can't believe anyone would buy those little engineered, pre-peeled, nubby little cylinders called 'baby carrots in bag' as a substitute for the curvaceous and poetic shape of a natural carrot. Relegated to being dunked in ranch dip, I believe it's time to set them free. And us, for that matter!
Check out my easy and fast recipe for Tri-Colored Carrots in a Rosemary Orange Glaze. And don't forget the Wabbit Stew....oh my.
RECIPE: Tri-Colored Carrots in an Orange Rosemary Glaze
¾ C fresh squeezed orange juice
Handful fresh chopped rosemary
3 T butter
Salt and pepper
1 t corn starch
Yes, you might get a little sticky; wielding the dough will leave the imprint of flour and milk on your hands and perhaps your counter tops. I trust that your spoon will be clean if you're one who love a little taste of that sweet batter, therefore imprinting a little smile on your heart.
I say ya never can get enough sweetness in life.
RECIPE: Tart, Montmorency Cherry and Orange Scones with Orange Glaze
½ C granulated sugar
1 heaping T baking powder
¾ C plus 2 T milk + another 2 T milk
Zest from one large orange
Juice from one large orange
1 C powdered sugar
Splash pure vanilla extract
Dash of kosher salt
1/3 heaping C dried Montmorency cherries
Flour to dust countertop for dough
Butter to grease cookie sheet
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, zest, and baking powder. Using your hands, cut in the cold butter until the butter is the size of small peas. Some people use a food processor but I like to feel the butter mix with the flour mixture. This way some pieces are smaller than peas, others larger. Makes for a more complex and delicious finished product because it is lighter. Now, combine the vanilla and the ¾ C plus 2 T milk. Stir that in with the cherries at the same time, using a large spoon to mix it JUST UNTIL COMBINED. You’ll see flour that’s not quite wet but not much. Don’t over stir.
Dump out onto a floured surface, work into a round disc about 9 to 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges. Place on cookie sheet and brush with the other 2 T milk. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until browned. Serve with the orange glaze which is simply orange juice, powdered sugar, a dash of vanilla and a dash of kosher salt. Should be a little runny.
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
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