In my next life -- because I like the idea of coming back as good food -- I want to be a fig soaked in brandy. Ah, you say. She wants so little! Why not come back as a Royal Princess? Or the Tree of Life? Or maybe even Robert Downy Jr.'s pillow?
Well, for one thing, I've seen first hand how happy that fig was. And how happy it made everyone as it lay there, suspended on top of that vanilla custard, held in place by the luxurious syrup and crowned with lemon zest. (C'mon. Lemon zest already!) Before you argue again, why don't you take a look at this dessert of BRANDY SOAKED FIGS AND RAISINS OVER A VANILLA CUSTARD TART, make it, taste it, and see if you don't feel a little jealous?
When you Google the words, "pot roast," you get 18,100,000 results. You would think something so popular would have morphed over the years to something with a slightly more palatable title. It's like the word "home," or "baseball" in terms of the images it conjures up, and yet the name of it sounds like something you would find at the bottom of a large drum of animal remains.
I suppose this isn't the arena to whine about it, but just in case you agree I believe we should rename it. A couple of my suggestions include "Delectable Roast," or "Super-Nummy Roast." What else would you call something that after a slow cooking process with herbs, broth and other aromatics simple melts in your mouth and fills your home with the smell of comfort, safety and happiness?
You know me. I can't do anything by the book. So I used some root vegetables for inspiration and came up with something that is more like "Regal Roast." By using the much maligned turnip, the beautiful and misunderstood leek, and then creating a rub and braising broth with coriander, paprika and cinnamon, I think I transcended the usual Sunday Dinner meal; at least my company thought so. By playing with a little some colorful sweet potatoes, I added some dollops of sweet potato puree to round out the presentation.
Check out the photos and recipe below. Tell me what you think it should be named, after you finish cleaning your plate that is.
Before coming to North Carolina, we lived in Seattle; Redmond to be exact. And growing over our back fence were wild blackberry bushes. They're kind of a scourge there, overtaking fields and sporting sharp thorns. Sort of the Northwest's version of Kudzu. But we weren't complaining. When they were at their most ripe, we would emerge in the morning with coffee in hand and a small basket in tow, and pick the huge, sweet berries right off the vine. Succulent yet accessible, I never got tired of the taste.
Tonight, as we strolled the aisles of the supermarket looking for dinner inspiration, we settled on a nice steak. As we neared the checkout, I noticed the blackberries looked beautiful, and they were on sale. Yep, I grabbed a bunch for sure.
I've been eating salads all week, as I try to make sure I stay slim for my niece's wedding next month. But I just couldn't bear to put another piece of spring mix in my mouth. Yet, I knew these berries would make a fantastic dressing. The answer? Put this lovely, fuchsia emulsion on the steak itself. With a little mint from the garden, a snappy jalapeno, and some honey, I dressed up our plates and made steak and potatoes something worthy of a weekend or company. I even missed rainy Seattle just a little.
Try it for yourself!
I've always loved vegetables from the cabbage family and for sure one of my favorites is cauliflower. It's so pretty for one, and so versatile all while being so hearty. My mom makes a creamy cauliflower soup with a mirepoix, and a roux with cream cheese. It is DIVINE but each bite is 10 more minutes on the treadmill.
It was raining outside last night, hard. It was that kind of mid spring rainstorm that gets the last of any leaves to open, makes the grass pop up like a Private saluting a General, and makes you say, for one small minute, that you're glad its cool. Time to get out the ol' soup pan.
I had fun chopping the cauliflower; a task I don't usually look forward to. But I was intrigued by the warmth and tone of the food, and how it brought brightness to an otherwise grayish day.
I made this with some sausage, but you could add lamb, or even chicken thighs. You could also make it vegetarian. I wouldn't add beef, because there's a nuttiness to all the ingredients preserved by poultry or a more gamey meat, that I believe would be lost with the addition of beef.
Anyway, enjoy, explore, and make this your own.
In 5 weeks, 4 days and 10 hours, I shall be on a plane to visit my family out west. My niece is getting married to a super wonderful guy and I can't wait to see everyone. My sister will of course throw a great party, and we will all eat until we are sick. Uh, that's how it's done!
Other than unintentional gluttony, there is a softer more delicate side to a wedding. It's like everything is done with your little finger in the air. Food is served on lace covered tiers and everything is bite-sized. Then there's all the other smoochy soft stuff like holding the veil, cutting the cake, kissing the bride; all very sweet and light gestures.
I figured I'd play around with something that would be perfect for wedding food so I created these little mini, bite sized sugar cookies that have the exact taste and texture of a strawberry shortcake. These sugar cookies, a recipe I have had for 30 years, is for soft, light and almost melt in your mouth cookies. They puff up like a shortcake would. And frosted with some perfectly rich butter cream they are complete only by topping with a succulent, bright and flavorful strawberry slice. My pinkie is rising just talking about them.
I'm realizing you could do this with almost every fruit, and create an entire plethora of light and airy, fruit colored sugar bites. Like green icing and a small kiwi. Or yellow with pineapple. Even orange with a bit of tangerine. Purple with blueberry would be fab, too. But today it is pink and red the colors of love.
Oh, it is going to be so fun. All of us listening to soft music, holding flowers, gently hugging and eating tiny little morsels of awesome food -- The fact that you can put 27 of these in your mouth in one sitting is irrelevant to my rant. Don't you just love weddings?
#weddingfood #receptionbites #loveydoveyfood #strawberryshortcake #minicookies
So this hot dog walks into a FOODIE bar. Everyone is staring at him and he's getting nervous.
"What's the big deal? Ain't any of ya ever seen sauerkraut before? And mustard. Sheesh. Don't you know I'm the ultimate comfort food?"
Soon a lone woman walks up to him, forming her words in short, painful sentences as though she is both attracted and disgusted at the same time. But at least she cares enough to help him understand what is so wrong.
"Listen, Pup. Around here we don't like you plain folk. But I can help. If you want to fit in, you need to dress up your ingredients, play around, be adventurous, and lose that ridiculous bun. I've got someone you should see. She's great at taking the mundame and really dressing things to the nines. You'll still be you, but after a visit with her, you will fit right in around here."
"Show me the way." He responds, winking through his casing, clearly intrigued by her apron and stained chef hat.
Fast forward two weeks and this same hot dog has gone all haute couture on them. And they gather around him like he's just invented sliced bread.
"Wow, what is that wonderful perfume? Smells like rosemary. And that bok choy! What an improvement over the cabbage. You even lost the plain mustard, instead flaunting that fancy maple mustard bourbon glaze. CLASSY. Even a few pears to make it pretty. The whole thing just WORKS!"
Soon they all wanted to know how this staple of mediocrity, took all of his regular accoutrements and upped his game. He was fabulous. Balanced, colorful, and satisfying.
"ifeellikecooking.com did it all!" He finally shouted when they could no longer stand the suspense. And the woman in the corner who had been brave enough to show him the way to pork Nirvana? She just winked and grabbed her fork and sauntered up to him in that way that made him know it was going to be one of those meals.
Want to know the secret? Just check out my SAVORY GRILLED KIELBASA OVER ROSEMARY PERFUMED BOK CHOY AND PEARS, WITH A MUSTARD MAPLE BOURBON GLAZE. It was terrific!
Like most of you, I speak "husband." Its a tricky language. Filled with words like, "I guess so," and, "whatever you want to do," but mostly punctuated with raised brows, throat clearing, and a general look of, "read my mind, NOW." In all fairness my husband is more verbal than most, (thank goodness for a Chatty-Cathy like me,) but it must be Testosterone that is to blame for the verbal retreat when the moment is most in need of a syllable.
"Honey, do you hear me?" -- You know what I mean.
Not so last night. After the very first BITE of my CUBAN* INSPIRED BEEF ENCHILADAS WITH PINEAPPLE GREEN CHILI SALSA, he wouldn't stop talking about the meal. The only trouble I had was deciphering his words while he chewed!:
"This is fantastic. Did you write this one down? I am in love with the sauce. How long did it take you? Boy, Katie would love this. Are there any leftovers? How many photos did you take? Are these new napkins?"
I love when that happens.
If you want your man as a captive audience, sputtering and spitting with praise, this is the PERFECT meal for productive conversation... Want those new shoes? "Si!" Wish he'd vacuum behind the washer? "Of course, sweetie!" Get 'em talking, munching, and loving their meal. Ole!!!
#manfood #enchiladaheaven #dinnerinminutes #ispeakhusband
*The Cuban reference to flavors is due to the Cumin and fruit, with lots of green chilis. These didn't taste Mexican, nor TexMex, or California Border. They had a deeper, smokier flavor. Enjoy! - OH and they're #fabin40 as well!
When your daughter calls you and says, "I'm having a Mother's Day gathering at my house, for YOU. Can you come and bring an appetizer?" Well, I couldn't get my apron on fast enough. And since Mother's Day is usually skewed towards brunch fare, it was super fun to create these two easy dishes for her great party! To the left is my Goat Cheese and Sausage Bruschetta with Honey and Fresh Basil. Below are the snappy Chipotle Deviled Eggs that were gone is no time. YUM!
Dressed up for Sunday with a fresh sprig of parsley, these Chipotle, Red Onion and Relish Deviled Eggs turned heads, filled tummies, and created lots of smiles. I topped them with some red chili flakes to keep the party goin'! The recipe is easy especially with my FOOL PROOF method for boiling the perfect egg! Check out these recipes and try them today!
That herb crusted pork loin I made last Saturday? It did double duty spreading love all through the week. I used it to make a chopped salad, with ingredients inspired by chicken salad. Simple southern dressing with Duke's mayo, and some pretty golden raisins, with lots of fresh herbs (plus a bit of mashed roasted garlic) and delicious just arrived.
RECIPE: Cold Pork (Or Chicken) Chopped Salad
Serves 4 - Click here for printable version.
1 ½ to 2 Cups leftover pork loin roast finely diced (I used my herb crusted pork loin. That is where a lot of the flavor for this comes from.)
2 ribs celery or 1 ½ large ribs
1/3 C white onion FINELY diced (the size of peas)
1/3 C chopped cilantro
¼ C chopped parsley
1/3 C golden raisins
½ C Duke’s Mayo
1 T yellow mustard
1 t honey
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 mashed roasted clove of garlic
1/8 C milk or less to keep it the right consistency
Salt and pepper
Blend all ingredients. I like to get the salad ready, then mix the dressing in another bowl and add a little at a time so it’s not too moist. Salt and pepper to taste.
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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.