When nothing makes sense, food comes to the rescue. (A little hot and spicy pineapple salsa helps, too!)
When asked what it is that motivates me as a cook, the answer is simple. You see, I believe good food is the key to world peace. And I'm not kidding.
Think about what it's like sitting around a table; with strangers even. When someone brings out a beautiful souffle, or a perfectly caramelized roast, or even something as simple as a dessert with melted chocolate, what happens to everyone? Besides the HUGE smiles and moans, I sense an absolute atmosphere of relaxation and joy. Everyone is transported to another place; ready to indulge their senses and be truly sated. And suddenly, if you like it spicy and I like it spicy, nothing else matters for that moment. We ARE FRIENDS.
If I'm the one that brought you that perfect bite of food, (like this really good meal you see here,) I feel like I have super powers. Especially when you look at me and say, "that was amazing."
This meal, as all my meals, has some fun hidden gems. See the beautiful golden whipped parsnips? They're not potatoes. So they are VERY healthy. The sweet hint of high quality curry is the perfect compliment to the tanginess of the salsa and brings a wonderful mouth feel to the crunch of the onion and the softness of the pork loin. Such a treat!
I guess when nothing makes sense, food comes to the rescue. Who knew that the most ingenious weapon against evil comes in the form of carbs and proteins? And you don't even need a dad named Jor-El to succeed.
RECIPE: Sesame Grilled Pork Loin with Pineapple Salsa and Curried Pureed Parsnips
Serves 4 / Click here for printable version
½ small red bell pepper diced
1/3 C white sweet onion diced
1 stalk celery diced
¾ C canned pineapple chunks cut into small pieces
2 T flat leaf parsley rough chopped
3 T pineapple juice (if canned was used)
1 T light oil
3 T rice wine vinegar
½ t salt
½ t white pepper
½ t red chili pepper flakes or more to your liking
1 t black sesame seeds
4, 4 ounce boneless pork loin chops
1 t sesame oil
1/3 C mango habanero sauce
3 C cut up parsnips
1 ½ t good curry powder, like Penzy’s “Curry Now” blend
1 t unsalted butter
2 t heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste for the parsnips
For salsa, mix all ingredients from red bell pepper all the way down to and including sesame seeds and set aside.
Boil the parsnips until tender. (I don’t peel them. I like the color and texture of this with the skin on.) When soft, drain. Add the butter, curry powder and cream. Using a fork begin to break down the soft parsnips. Continue to do so until they appear almost pureed, like mashed potatoes. Taste and add salt and white pepper to your liking. Can add a bit more butter if they appear too dry.
Marinate the pork loin chops in the sesame oil and habanero sauce for at least 20 minutes while you’re making the salsa and the parsnips. Grill them to medium or about 165 degrees inside. Serve with the salsa over the parsnips and garnish with parsley.
An artist receives inspiration from everything around her extracting form, perspective, and scale in abstract and exciting ways. The artist then works to reinvent those familiar combinations by coming up with new and original expressions.
Creating a meal is not unlike the above description. Except my process usually begins standing in front of my open fridge gnawing on a piece of aged cheese. (For inspiration, of course.) while contemplating how I will mix flavors and textures into my latest bling masterpiece. Most of the time I don't have a grand example to mimic. In fact my entire cooking portfolio is dominated the kind of inspiration based solely on what's left in the cupboard and veggie drawer.
Not always easy but ALWAYS FUN. In this case I have taken three familiar comfort food combinations and added some new twists.
Now, nearly every cook has a personal recipe for stuffed peppers, dumplings, or pork stir fry, so when something more elegant is just too elusive they have familiar flavors to fall back on. Those mainstays are the core of today's post.
1. Take my first featured recipe, a vegetable sausage casserole topped with a creamy mushroom sauce and cheddar biscuit dumplings. Looks like something straight out of "Betty Crocker's most loved recipes" list. I wish she was around to try my version. She just might add it to her repertoire.
Red peppers add sweetness and zing, carrots give it body, and a very spicy organic local sausage causes the cheesy goodness in those biscuits to give you goose bumps! The recipe is down below the photos... if you can keep the slobber off your chin and keyboard long enough to download it.
RECIPE: Spicy Sausage, Carrot and Red Pepper Casserole
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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.