Don't kid yourself. If no one was looking and you had a whole plate of ooey, gooey, cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip in front of you, you'd eat the whole thing. Only your incessant burps would give you away, because an event with that many endorphins would never dare show up on your hips.
I preface this blog post thus, because although this may not be a glamorous recipe, it ain't boring. It's what we like to call, a "go-to" dish and a favorite of everyone with a tongue.
To set it apart, and help add another flavor profile, I seared some beautiful orange sweet pepper spears in lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and dusted them with an ever-so-subtle shower of allspice then gently placed them on top of the dip. With a hint of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme in the dip, each bite simply filled your mouth with soft, buttery, and warm amazingness. I call it my SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE BRUSCHETTA WITH SWEET SPICY PEPPERS.
Served alongside my very talented friend's Salmon Mango Cilantro Sliders that were crowned with a purple slaw, we suddenly realized ours was not a formal supper or dinner, nor was it just appetizers. It was, in effect, a spread of SUPPETIZERS. Meaningful and delicious!
It's that time again, when cherries are everywhere. Like beautiful organic earrings, hanging ample and confident from a long, graceful stem, these orbs are as versatile as any food on the planet. As I purchased the large container from our local market, I mused about what to do with them: Maybe a pickled pearl onion and cherry chutney, or reduced with port wine and shitake mushrooms to cascade over a pork loin. Maybe heated with lemon and sugar to create a deep claret colored jam, or, chopped into juicy, ruby slivers and added to...ah yes...A SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE filled to the gills with CHERRIES, frosted liberally with pink, cream cheese frosting.
I guess I gravitated to the evil choice first. Lucky you.
You probably don't even know that the avocado is not a vegetable. It is actually from the berry family. It also must ripen on the tree but will not soften on the tree. That happens after picking. Also, it was a treat of the Aztecs and brought to light by conquistador explorers in 1518 when the first mention of avocados was recorded.
Here's what I know. Once you remove that cute little round pit, that center is so inviting; so perfect and so convenient that it simply begs to be filled with yumminess...so that's what I did. Taking the tender cold chicken from the bones of my leftover rotisserie chicken, I created a spicy, tender chicken salad that worked perfectly with the soft, butter flesh of the avocado. Try my RED CURRY AND BASIL CHICKEN SALAD AVOCADO BOATS today. It's the perfect summer dinner! #avocado #chickensalad #caminecooks #stuffedfood #summerdinners
One of my favorite candies growing up was Tootsie Roll Pops. I am proud to say I was NOT a chewer, instead taking my time and savoring the sweet, fruity, hard candy exterior and coloring my tongue with each patient lick. As it dissolved to reveal the soft, brown, chocolaty center, I always wondered, in my serious, little girl head, "How did they get that stuff inside this hard shell?" Grape, berry, lime; it didn't matter to me. The fact that the center always held a surprise is what kept me coming back for more.
As time went on, I found other items with a center that drew me in. Pigs in a blanket, Twinkies, even the ol' standby, a Monte Cristo. I could name hundreds of foods with a "center" that I have eaten, duplicated, shared or reinvented. But for today, I will share my latest stuffed creation, SPINACH, RICOTTA AND PINE NUT STUFFED PAILLARDS WITH A BUTTERY LEMON CREAM SAUCE. I served a lovely Columbia Crest Pinot Gris with it, and as always, shared it with my gorgeous husband, Ron. He's cute on the outside and kinda nice on the inside, too! -- Check out my recipe which is also #fabin40 and full of deliciousness! #caminecooks #
I haven't cooked for awhile for reasons that I will keep to myself. I'd rather be cooking than doing than almost anything, so when I had a truly all-out craving for sugar cookies, and that coincided with a generally frustrating day, I got rowdy. After grabbing a bag of Turkish apricots, and a bottle of Chambord, and even cheating by grabbing a package of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix, I was ready to be rebellious in the most productive of ways.
Rebellion comes in all different kinds of forms and runs the gamut from simply refusing a dinner mint, to refusing to observe highly logical police laws. One will get you an eye roll, the other, probably 30 years. And they all start with a "no."
Funny how that happens. NO is only a two letter word. How could it cause so much trouble? Without too much debate, I will submit that in the kitchen, it leads to all sorts of fun creations. And unless you plan on putting a cat in the microwave, NO probably won't lead to a felony charge. The point is, this latest creation started because I refused to make the cookie sheet my sole means of creating a 'cookie.' I just didn't wanna do it that way...
Just because something comes together quickly, doesn't mean it won't be stunning or super yummy. With a little experimentation, I finally ended up with my CHAMBORD CANDIED APRICOT STUFFED SUGAR COOKIES IN A CUP. In a cup because a folded-over sugar cookie was melting into a sugar pile. I needed containment! And the tin was the answer. This will NOT be the last time I stuff a cookie in a muffin tin, with something fab in the center. It was just too dang fun to be cantankerous!
You'll see below photos of both versions; the flat, trimmed, layer cookie and then the sugar cookie cup--which rocked.
Hmmm. I love saying no!
Few cuisines are as distinct as Indian. Pungent, fresh, regional and certainly personal, the Indian culture has food tied into nearly every custom, belief and tradition. If one were to ask a group to name the single flavor most associated with Indian food, most would say curry. And yet, if you've ever immersed yourself into their food, you would be hard-pressed to identify something that carried through and consistently earmarked the language of Indian food. In fact, I'm not sure I would even put curry on the front burner! Onion, garlic, anise...these are the ones I think about. And yet they are also so expressive when it comes to fresh ingredients. If you care to read the vast repository of information about Indian food, you can scarcely come away with anything less than respect, and at the top end of the spectrum, humility and awe.
The first time I went to an Indian themed cooking class, I began to understand the reason that the smells permeate your clothes, hair and skin. When it comes to main courses, they are into "simmering." Slow, purposeful, passionate, and love-filled simmering. But when I think about tasting the food, I get this weird picture in my head that the food isn't just tasted on my tongue. It's like I feel it up into my head, as though there are so many layers it is played out like a 3-D chess game with forks, making it impossible to have a linear tasting experience. One cannot simply take a bite and say, "I taste cumin." Because as the aromas travel through your olfactory senses, you're hard pressed not to continue the descriptives way past the dessert!
I have to say I am always adding a little of the Indian food pyramid to almost everything I make. Which is why my SALMON WITH MINT ROSEMARY RAITA OVER WHITE BEANS SAUTEED WITH CUMIN, RAISINS AND ONIONS TOPPED WITH HONEY LEMON APPLES came out needing such a long title! I dunno if its Indian, but it feels like it. Each bite was so full of flavor, so nuanced, I scribbled not only the recipe but every detail I could remember about how I was inspired to make it.
shubh kamanayem- OR - All the best!! And khaane par mazaa aayaa- Or Enjoy you MEAL!
Here in the south, people will fry anything. And I do mean ANYTHING. There is a small cafe not far from here that even deep fries TWINKIES. Ah, Hostess never knew what hit them.
Personally, I believe frying to be grossly misunderstood. When the oil is the right temperature, and the food is gently coated with a wonderful batter, the resulting experience is a true chemistry revelation and not one that should be poo-pooed too quickly. (Poo-pooed? Is that a word? Oh well, it is now.) What is even more villified is the use of butter when frying. It's not just about oil ya know. Butter is the original sizzle medium. I crack up about how creepy people think this is. Folks frown when that little yellow brick is removed from the fridge as though there should be regulation at the state level about its uses. Yes, it's been at the center of many a controversy, but its qualities are so broad, its makeup so versatile that I could write an entire cookbook about BUTTER.
Now to get to the good point. And that is what happens to a great pancake when IT is fried in butter. Holy moly and cut me off a piece of that good stuff. I'm all over it and there's no way you're gonna talk me out of it.
You would think I wouldn't have to put anything else on something covered in butter. But that's the great thing about this 14 karat bar of dairy magic. Everything is better with something else on top of it! Especially syrup. And not just ANY syrup. I took fresh raspberries and sugar and water, added a little vanilla, a touch of lemon juice and a bit of port wine and reduced it down to the most intense, heavenly and glistening topping ever.
Try resisting that when it's slid onto your fork and you'll be BUTTER-BELIEVER!
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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.