Lately, I seem to be on a side dish binge. Salads, vegetables, and sauces are rolling out of my kitchen like lottery tickets on the Turnpike. And they've all been winners! Bursting with flavors you wouldn't expect, but the taste you demand, these recipes will bring satisfaction and conversation to EVERY table.
First, an easy, garlic-free Chimichurri Sauce (You don't always need garlic. And my husband must be part Vampire, because he and garlic are NOT friends.) Just a few pulses with your food processor and you have an amazing topping for any meat that is part of your late-fall grilling sessions. Top steak, chicken or seafood.
It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy this beautiful side dish you see below...You'll run straight for the dinner table with my Tipsy Yam Casserole topped with Candied Ham. Quick, colorful and so, so good!
Need a good salad to take to parties that will turn heads and cause a fork-wielding battle for the last bite? Then start the boiling water now for my Mini Pepper and Ham Macaroni Salad with Creamy Lemon Oregano Dressing. Cold and crunchy, and packed with freshness, you'll steal the stage in every bite.
The women cooks I grew up with were terrible at being gracious about their amazing cooking. Why, upon hearing a compliment about the meal, they would always say, "Oh, my! No. I forgot to add the eggs until the last minute, so it's not as good as it could be!" It was a contest to see who could deflect kinds words with more gusto. I don't have that problem because my philosophy is if YOU don't like how you cook, or even to eat what you cook, ya need to get out of the kitchen and pass the spatula to someone who will stand up and say, "Yeah. I'm pretty proud of how this came out!"
And proud I was. My Cold Bean and Pear Salad with a Cranberry Mango Habanero Vinaigrette is one of the best salads I've every made. Seriously gorgeous, easy, and bridges the gaps between side and salad so you're always bringing the best thing to the table. Which is what show-stopping is all about! YUM!!!
Titles are everything, apparently. Especially when you think of the oft maligned prune, which now is simply referred to as a dried plum. I guess the people who renamed it don't understand that prunes are the most sweet, versatile, nutritious snack ever. But then the whole, 'Rose by Any Other Name' thing comes to mind and I get it. We're PRUDISH about PRUNES.
If you're a cook, though, you don't look at the name of an ingredient first, you consider the composition of it: Protein, fibrous, sweet, sour, savory. Is it moist, is it crunchy, what happens when heat gets to it, or cold for that matter. Does it help bind the food you're making or does it need a binder. You know, your garden-variety nerdy cook questions. I guess that's why turning to prunes to make my lamb meatballs more moist and flavorful seemed so very, very logical. So I had to do a double-take when my diners were surprised.
Pleasantly I might add. I have proudly recruited two new lamb-lovers with my dish. And when paired with a spicy Zinfandel, the evening was quite a "success." A word when repacked means, "totally awesome."
Check out my delicious Sweet Lamb Meatballs in a Citrus Mind Glaze. YOU. WILL. BE. A FAN.
Its like seeing your name on the CEO's door I feel so famous. Really, it didn't take much but for some reason I know I am now among all of the great "rolls" in history. There's Roll Over Beethoven, Dinner Rolls, Roll Call, Rollo May, and who can leave out Rock and Roll! Next I fully expect to see a limousine pulling up in front of my house. When it does, I am certain the driver will emerge smiling, and the first thing he will ask me is, (Yes, it is a man. A Chippendale clone.) "May I please try one of your famous Sausage, Parmesan and Spinach Stuffed Puff Pastry Wheels?" I will of course oblige, and insist that he let us bite into it together.
I may haven fallen victim to my own imagination, but when I was rolling up these little gems, it just felt like I had created the kind of culinary milestone akin to discovering a salad spinner or chocolate ganache. You just know everything will be different. Maybe that was because my husband's eyes popped open upon chewing on his first wheel, telling me I could make these ALL the time. Or the quick succession of Instagram LIKES that ensued. Or maybe because it was such a simple thing to assemble and it was so, so satisfying on a rainy night. Easy is often the most epic, right?
You may choose to chalk this post up to another of my creative delusions. Which could be true. But I will guarantee this delusion tastes divine.
And the drumroll, please....
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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.