The menu: PORK LOIN WITH A CRANBERRY PORT WINE REDUCTION. PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED ROASTED YUKONS. WARM SPINACH SALAD WITH GARLIC AND PINE NUTS. FIGS TWO WAYS: FLOATING DRUNKEN FIGS ATOP CREAM CHEESE/RICOTTA CUSTARD WITH HIMALAYAN SEA SALT, AND DRUNKEN FIG AND BLUE BERRY HAND PIES.
I'm not sure how we got to the point where we had to theme every night of the week for eating or drinking. Maybe it started with TGIF and went down hill from there. Really, can't we just take it as it comes? Do we always need a favorite, a title, a process to help us choose which food we eat which night? (Is my voice getting higher???)
My husband grew up eating spaghetti every Wednesday and of course fish every Friday, and I'm pretty sure there was a pork chop that came around most Mondays. And now I can't get him to do anything regularly. It ruined him forever. He makes sure EVERYTHING is different every day. Sure, I had roast most Sundays, and I regularly requested lemon meringue pie for my birthday, but overall, food was an adventure in my house, and there WERE NO RULES.
Which is why I kind of hesitate to post a TACO recipe I created on a TUESDAY. Aaacckk. How did that happen? At least it isn't a MEATLESS MONDAY recipe. Those make my eyes roll. (Unless it's one I have downloaded, repinned, or "hearted" on Instagram, you're excluded of course. Ha!) I mean what's next? WAGYU BEEF WEDNESDAYS, THUMBPRINT COOKIE THURSDAY and heaven forbid, FLOURLESS FRIDAYS?
But then I realized, I am breaking my own rule, the one about there being no rules. So whatever happens on Tuesdays is fine, even if I have inadvertently followed a culinary acronym that gives me a shiver. Heck, this came together in minutes and was fun, spicy and fresh. You might even want to try my BLACK BEAN AND ARTICHOKE TACO CUPS WITH MANGO DRESSING AND HERBED RICE to see for yourself. And if you make it, you might fill the tortillas with something else, and not even call it a TACO, so what the heck and I freaking out for????
Let's just say, my husband is waiting for SILENT SATURDAY -- with a side of SHHHHH...ain't gonna happen.
My Dad is a huge fan of my cooking. Suffice it to say he IS MY groupie when it comes to what I put on a plate. Certain I should be hanging among the culinary superstars, there is a perpetual insistence I have my own show, my own food line, and my own restaurant.
Maybe someday, but for right now, "bless his heart!" (And isn't that how you should be viewed by your Dad?)
To let him know how much I appreciate his fabulous, if not somewhat biased view of me, I invited him over for a Father's Day Brunch that featured all the manly, rich, buttery, and meaty food he loves so much. But -- with a girly twist so I could have a little fun, too.
At the starting line are the eggs. MAN VERSION: Lots of buttery scrambled eggs and cheese, with onions. GIRL VERSION: A light Frittata featuring peppers, scallions, squash, chevre cheese and fresh rosemary and thyme. Maybe even dotted with fresh raspberries?
Next is the bread. MAN VERSION: A hot, flaky southern biscuit that is barely recognizable under the butter that is slathered upon it, and is eaten is seconds. GIRL VERSION: Bite sized, garlic and Parmesan biscuits to dip into the maple syrup...more on that later. (BTW, all I did was add a handful of fresh grated parmesan and some pureed roasted garlic to the Bisquick Recipe for biscuits on the box and then a little extra milk.)
Finally, the meat!!! MAN VERSION: Anything from the pig! And then give me something gooey to dip it all in like a great, sugary syrup. GIRL VERSION: Hot Sausage Mini Medallions finished with a Thai sweet chili syrup.
Finally we have to have something with oranges. I mean, who doesn't start their Sunday breakfast with oranges? MAN VERSION: Squeeeeze those oranges and let me gulp it. GIRL VERSION: Delicate and composed into a piece of art with a chocolate graham crust beneath a thick, sweet Valencia orange pudding that is topped with a decadent cocoa cream mousse.
Okay, and the resulting opinions are -----
MAN VERSIO....ooops. It's already gone. Please excuse yourself after you burp.
GIRL VERSION: Ah, the juxtaposition of flavors and textures! Sharp and tangy, creamy and crunchy, colorful and artistic! Oh my how the goat cheese pairs wonderfully with the sweet onions, raspberries and syrup. The vegetables are brought to life by the rosemary and the thyme and the sausages floating in that hot, sweet syrup are the bomb! Uuuurrrp. -- Ooops. Guess I liked it too.
Folks fuss formidably over what to fix for friends. They're finicky and fretful; fawning over a flambe, flummoxing over fake frills, and fumbling fricasseed fowl for feckless festivals that fail. They're fugitives from folly, forthright in their fanaticism that it takes forever for food that's fetching.
I am fond of formality, yet to this formula I say, "foo-foo." I'm a Frau, whose frisky filosophy is this: forty-minutes + fish = FABULOUS.
#fabin40 #maindish #caminecooks #salmondinnerinminutes
Charlotte, NC is slowly evolving into a more sophisticated location for outstanding restaurants. One of my favorites, and a darling of southern fare is Tupelo Honey. This is their second restaurant, the first enjoying phenomenal success and fame in Asheville, NC. Fresh, and inventive, dozens of southern favorites dominate the menu. I love it all.
Last Sunday we brunched our way through a few dishes and I ordered their sweet potato pancakes. That is a bit of an understatement as the two flapjacks were more like loaves. Easily an inch or more thick and sporting a diameter that would make a Frisbee jealous, they were dotted with pecans, and served with a crunchy granola. The only problem, and it was only a problem seeking a solution, was the fact that I had about 4 bites and I WAS FULL. I couldn't imagine leaving them behind, and no one at the table wanted these tempting manhole covers in their fridge. So, I packaged them up and waited for inspiration.
Not long after reaching my kitchen, and peering in to the paper to-go container, I realized these would make a fantastic bread pudding. I had a bit of french bread left over to stretch them, and eggs, sugar and cream always fix everything. Take a look at this YUMMY repurposed dessert, my SWEET POTATO PANCAKE BREAD PUDDING WITH MAPLE BRANDY CREAM.
A fork is one of those amazing inventions. Important in a way that transcends most tools it elevated us from caveman fingers eaters to full blown snooty diners. Tines, (I love that word,) are to food what Cupid's Arrows are to hearts and what sugar is to chocolate - transformational.
My latest tine tale begins with a cantaloupe that although appeared fine when wrapped upon by my knuckles in the produce aisle, turned out to be too ripe and a bit too mush even for an uber-loupe-lover like me. Then, while using my fork to create some pretty marks on the inside of my pie crust one day, it hit me that a Granita was the answer to my fruit woes. Cool, refreshing, colorful; this is a the grown-up answer to the Sno-Cone and you'll have so much fun serving it.
It was easier than I ever thought, and although it's a little high maintenance; scraping through the frozen tundra of orange mush every 30 minutes, it produced a very WOW-worthy dessert. Tine-ly Tenacious of me, don't you think?
For the longest time, I had a rather unsentimental view of beets. Fed to me from a can, warmed to a slow death on my school lunch tray, and enemy of all white apparel; these were my deeply held beliefs and what I thought were valid reasons to take the long way around the buffet line. Of course things change, and you are introduced to the finer side of a beet. That included having them on a salad, or with pickles and chicken breast. Not very sophisticated but at least a step in the right direction.
Soon I had my first brush with the elegance of this misunderstood tuber and delved into a plate of roasted beets, thinly sliced, and sprinkled with delicious condiments one might find ONLY in a very snooty restaurant...and I was hooked.
My first salad of this genre was at a farm-to-fork restaurant The Local Dish in Fort Mill, SC. And it was there that I was served my first "golden" beet. Later I began to see it prepared by some of my favorite TV chefs, read about it in Food and Wine, and saw it featured in nearly every hot spot. Gosh, it appears this little item was no menace after all. In fact, it was the darling of low maintenance veggies. Subtle in flavor, tolerant to cooking and favorable to so many accompaniments.
Dang it all, it was time for me to create a dish of beets myself.
Washing a fresh beet and the long leafy stalk is like laundering the great, purple train of an exotic European costume. The graceful greens are variegated and intensely patterned. Their texture, soft and velvety. At the end is this beautiful claret pearl whose shape is somewhat reminiscent of the clever swirl at the top of a Dairy Queen soft serve with the tendril at the end extending several inches outward, as though its search for water was insatiable. I almost hated to cut it off. But even better rewards were in store.
After a good bath, and a snip at top and bottom to create the easy-to-love orb, I wrapped it in foil, pierced each with a sharp blade about three times, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. When I removed them from the oven and then from the foil, they retained their beautiful shape even after sitting for about 10 minutes to cool slightly. Never yielding to the wilting heat, they gave up their skins willingly, cleanly, and without effort, yet the insides were bright, smooth and soft, without being mushy.
When cooled, the art began. I sliced them thinly, arranging them carefully around the perimeter of a dish; one gold, one red, one gold...and so forth. Then I layered them with paper thin slices of white sweet onion. Then, drizzled a mild olive oil on them, and ladled a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I then scattered julienned strips of fresh garden basil. After that, was a smattering of chopped salted cashew pieces? Finally I gave them a fine dusting of cracked pepper, a loving arrangement of pink Himalayan sea salt, and then in the middle, spooned a lovely, white dollop of Greek yogurt. To make it pretty, I put a series of long, blanched green bean along the corner, slit lengthwise to reveal the delicate little pea-shaped seeds in the middle.
Then, oh yes. Then...I grabbed my fork and ate like a crazy woman. Well! I was hungry! And, pretty darned proud. I can honestly say that now it is my NEW favorite salad - SERIOUSLY it is GOOD.
There was something in the air today. I felt it, my family felt it, my friends felt it, too. It was just hopeful. Colors were brighter, and it seemed all was right with the world. Add to that a carton of bulgingly beautiful blueberries and you have the makings of a berry good day.
As I improve my craft, baking has always been on the back burner. But today I came up with a mix for these LEMON THYME BLUEBERRY MUFFINS without missing a beat. And they turned out spectacular. Adding a bit of inspiration from the garden, my recently planted lemon thyme smelled and tasted like it would add tremendous flavor that wouldn't overbear or even be recognizable. And instead of any oil, some light sour cream and moist brown sugar brought it all together. Once out of the oven, I confess. I couldn't wait for them to cool. Popping one in my mouth I first tasted the warm brown sugar. Then the lemon zest and blueberries were almost perfumed yet balanced with the addition of the thyme, and allspice. In total, it was just was I had envision on my tongue.
To serve I topped it with lemon juice and powdered sugar mixed together, made even more tantalizing by squirting a small but meaningful amount of vanilla into its white folds. Laying a small sprig of deep green lemon thyme across the top, and my dish was complete. Ooh! Aahhh! MORE! That IS was a GOOD day sounds like.
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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.