Success! First attempt at creating my OWN biscuit recipe, without cheat sheets and they were just right. Inspired by a blend of all the things I like in biscuits. I hope they become your favorite, too! Get that butter out and a little honey, 'cause they're great alone but transcendent with both!
Everything is so FFAAAAST these day. Not to mention that the older the I get, the less I believe each year actually contains 365 individual sunrises and sunsets. Lately, birthdays seem more like threats than celebrations, and when I run into a friend in the supermarket and we do the math to calculate the last time we saw one another, we both become mutual non-believers in the physical realm of time. Now that I think of it, I also question whether each day has 24 hours, and certainly 60 seconds is seriously over estimating how long it takes for a minute to pass. Whew! I'm tired already. That's why, when it is the weekend, I often like FAST but amazing appetizers. How do I accomplish this? My MUSHROOM AND SHALLOT SAVORY TART WITH FIG GLAZE is the quickest way I know to appetizer-love in a flash, and even though it takes hardly any time at all, it is also EZ. The flavors feel luxurious, the puff pastry looks very French, and the golden colored fig glaze is like topping the whole thing with a necklace of beautiful amber. Time officially stopped in its tracks in one fell swoop!
See! Below I've posted lots of pictures, and the recipe has lots of step by step instructions.
This is what I made Wednesday night. It was quick and quite tangy with just the right heat and the fresh taste of the sea. I know my title of this recipe doesn't make sense. Wednesday's don't make sense. So I named this dish what I wanted because it's Wednesday. And...well, because the name above doesn't have any kind of warm fuzziness. Because this dish is inspired by the plethora of Italian meals with pasta and fish, I took some creative license...then I took a bite.
Every time someone says, "Oh, of course you have an extra 15 minutes!" They're lying. It is all about choice and whether or not it's Friday the 13th that determines how much breathing room you have.
I don't have ANY extra time to speak of. I have my own business, I travel, my husband and I care for my mother-in-law who has dementia, and I am a runner. Given that, if I'm going to do something with 15 minutes, it better be pretty darned amazing.
Enter a quick dish I whipped up last night in, seriously, 15 minutes. (Perhaps I'm over estimating the importance of poultry in the master scheme of things, but fire up the band 'cause this was delish.) I served it with quick caramelized russets with parsley and onion.
Seriously -- 15 Minute Honey Chipotle Chicken is just plain prodigious.
Chocolate: Noun, adjective, hero, even panacea. There are few words that inspire, comfort, or sate us more fully. You can add amazing to this list because chocolate turned a simple banana loaf into magic, and helped me create an iconic dessert that simply transforms your spirit as you lift it to you mouth.
Let me describe it this way; it's fudgy and dense, with a hint of fresh banana, and even complex with the addition of the coffee liqueur. It is friendly like a chocolate chip cookie. And finally, in a wonderful breezy way, it is healthy and satisfying!
I started with my own banana bread recipe, leaving out the cinnamon and allspice, cutting back on the flour by 3/4 C, adding 1/8 C cocoa powder, 1/8 C coffee liqueur like Kahlua, and by cooking it only 40 minutes, an erroneously short time since I added extra liquid and maybe not enough flour, ended up with something I know I can serve to any family member, guest or even sworn enemy and they will be my friend for LIFE.
Chocolate. It's fun to write, too! Dark, earthen, immortal. Try my Banana Bread Inspired Choco-Chip Kahlua Lava Cake as soon as you can!
SPECIAL NOTES: Here’s the mistake that made the bread/cake/whatever…so amazing. I probably should have cooked it about 10 minutes longer, because the center was not quite done, even though it looked it. I’m guessing that the extra liquid along with me being shy on the flour ‘cause it looked like it was thick enough, was what led to this discovery. What happened is the very center, about 2 inches of it, was like a lava cake. Which is code for, “not done.” But in my world, I like to embrace boo-boos so I chose to act like this was on purpose. And if you let it cool about 40 minutes, and serve warm, it’s divine. If you let it cool completely, then the center is more pudding like. When it cools all the way it becomes that wonderful, dense but bread-like structure of the familiar banana bread, which holds up nicely to any serrated knife and two hands for noshing with coffee or tea, or cold milk! Dang it if this wasn’t a happy accident. I might suggest you try it in muffin tins and cook for only about 25 minutes, and then you have little mini handfuls of joy!
(See the photos below. This dessert can live two lives; a dense bread like coffee snack in the afternoon, or covered with caramel and powdered sugar, as shown above, to take any mundane meal to memorable in just one bite.)
Served with quick rolls and garnished with Serrano peppers and parsley
We live in a world of excess, and the items that fit into this category are unending: Baggage, water weight, gas, even drama. There's always more than we need of so many things. That is, except for excess space, excess tax credits, or excess sleep. Especially sleep.
It makes it worth mentioning that even when you purchase a package of dried beans, excess abounds there as well in the form of 15 Bean Soup Medley. Do they really have to shove 15 kinds into the package? Huh? Who sorts these little suckers? Is someone demoted if the black eyed peas are missing, of if a yellow lentil instead of a green one slips in? And those massive butter beans? They're kinda awkward for starters. Where is the poetry? The meaning of it all? Oh, the humanity!!! Ahem, sorry.
While musing on the plight of medley-bean-packers, I politely placed them in water as directed - of course, that's after rinsing out the little pieces that float to the top; of which appears to be excess ick - and waited. You see, beans need to be under water, for nearly a day to become anything. I was destined to while away a lot of excess time.
After soaking them lovingly for 24 hours, I began to become attached to my spotted and marbled orbs, and resolved rather boldly, that each of them deserved a first class cooking experience. And that's when I knew I had to make an international incident out of my excessive bean medley and therefore created my "I've BEAN Everywhere Bean and Sausage Stew." Through the combination of rather pungent and well traveled spices, I was able to blend everything in a way that just brought out the mature smokiness and velvety mouth feel of the beans. Each one, like the gem on a Tiffany necklace, sparkled perfectly alone and also brilliantly together, and became the meal that not only had been everywhere in terms of ingredients, but belonged everywhere, too.
Cumin, Cinnamon, Coriander and Paprika were indistinguishable alone, and yet, even with the few drops of liquid smoke added, they bound together so perfectly I might just take this show on the road.
Anyone know of any excess money?
I should also tell you I served them with these very moist, fast and easy rolls I got from my Paula Deen recipe book. ENJOY!
In the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," ever cheerful Aunt Voula is faced with a menu dilemma when Toula's vegetarian fiance informs her he doesn't eat meat. Her shock quickly changes to triumph when she realizes there is an answer. "That's okay. I make lamb." she coos. And all is well.
Even more compelling evidence for the mass appeal of lamb is the fact that it is actually one of the healthiest meats. According to Perdue University, lamb has a very high nutritional value, and is full of nutrients not easily accessed from other meats. Click here to read more.
Indeed, we eat lamb so rarely, it is no surprise we can't quite peg the taste in our minds. The tender, sweet and lean cuts are most familiar when mentioned in the same sentence as "chops," and "mint jelly." A sad brand for a very sophisticated flavor. However, don't dismiss it too quickly. In spite of Aunt Voula's mix-up, it is truly the perfect meal for any family occasion, no matter which way your tastes lean on the food pyramid.
There is no best way to cook lamb, as there are as many techniques as there are ingredients. But I happen to love it slow braised, after having been marinated all day in herbs, orange juice, and garlic. It just takes on the taste of what it's next to so masterfully that your guests, if appearing ambiguous about your choice of main course, will push themselves away from your table having a new understanding of, and love affair with lamb.
Check out my recipe for 5 Herb Lamb and Potato Stew here, and enjoy the slideshow. This meal also features a fantastic side dish of snap peas and dates, sauteed in olive oil and served with a fig balsamic shallot jam, which is another addition to #fabin40!
There's something mysterious and wonderful about sweetened condensed milk. It's like a magicians black hat: small and compact but a universe of amazing is waiting inside. And since it is one of only 5 simple ingredients in these beautiful bars, it will also make you rush to make your own Betty Crocker Lemon Creme Bars.
You haven't heard from me in awhile. That's because I've been brooding; crying in my apron like a spoiled bowl of milk. But I'm back and willing to come clean with all of you about why.
You see, about two weeks ago I was watching #ChoppedAllStars. And even though what I'm about to share was most likely staged, (isn't everything these days?) I witnessed #MichaelSymon as he was unceremoniously chopped from the first round because he FORGOT to use one of the key ingredients. It was Okra, folks. Who forgets Okra?
Oh, man. He's so sweet and I felt so bad...wait, I didn't feel bad, I felt EMPATHY! Yeah, that's it. A deep in your gut, hole in your diaphragm, void in your middle chakra kind of empathy. You see, being a cook is like any other kind of creative endeavor; you put your whole heart and soul into it. And when you mess up, your personal failure becomes so monumental you think about selling all your spatulas and moving to an Ashram. It's especially hard when you make a glaring error. I could almost hear Chef Samuelson quipping, "Camine, that was an obvious lapse in judgement, and I am surprised at your culinary immaturity." But then, I would deserve it.
Given that, I knew I had to blog about the disaster, (there were two disasters, actually,) occurring when trying to recreate a specific pie recipe whose success is eluding me. The first time I simply cooked an Epicurious version of Marie Callendar's Sour Cream Raisin Pie too long, and the inside was much too cheese-like and not fluffy. I wasn't even happy with the baking directions as they said to cook the crust twice as long as I actually cooked it, shy about the time at first glance. As it was, the edges were already looking like the charred remnants of a Virginia Slims cigarette so I was doomed from the start.
The second disaster was because I simply went brain dead and tried to cook the meringue on top of a pie with a layer of soft, cold whipped cream in the middle. Yeah, it was a mess. If I had just topped it with more whipped cream, I would be on my way to the pie Hall of Fame. The taste of this two layer, Blueberry, Sour Cream Parfait Pie (shown above, as an inadvertent cross section...) was wham-bam awesome. But the presentation was a soupy, melted, marbly mess. (Don't worry, there's photos of both bombs in the slide show below, (insert "aaacckkkggg!!! here).
The good news is that I have now realized exactly what I want to do with the pie on the next incarnation. I'll do it, and post the recipe soon. As it is, I realize I should have shared the disaster with you much earlier, so you would understand that cooking is NOT something that is perfect every time, even if you're good. I want you to be inspired to experiment and don't be afraid to fill your trash can more than you fill your pantry on those days when inspiration turns to embarrassment. Reflecting now, ost-apocalypse, I am fully 10 spoons smarter and wiser. (Which is my measurement of kitchen know-how.) And that's how every cook gets to be better, and better, and better.
Maybe it will be me up there dissing Ina Garten someday. Well, I can dream, can't I?
I'm a fan of slow roasting. Let me say this again so you get it... I A M A F A N O F S...L...O...W R O A S T I N G. What you will get if you follow this method, is a table full of happy diners, who never knew how moist and flavor packed a roast chicken could be. Cooked with a rub or just good ol' salt and pepper. Here is slow roasted braised chicken two ways.
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
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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 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.