I have mused over the last few weeks that my uncertainly isn’t all due to a lack of access to the truth, but from my former reliance on it. Have I learned how to live my life only when there are guardrails on my daily path and no forks in the road? Have I succumbed to thinking there is a guaranteed future that was taken away from me? Worse still, could it be that my fearfulness is of my own making, and that it rises because I am trapped into believing the ability to avoid suffering, failure, or death is possible?
A wild notion is developing in me that might be the simplest answer to all of this; a kind of parallel truth we may be missing. And that is, what if we all suddenly knew these three things deeply, and in doing so could take back the control we’ve given over to EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else?
Those three bullets can be summarized like this: If we have respect for self, are aware of the existence of things beyond our own selves that are equal in importance to our own appetites, and can cultivate an ability to have full joy by focusing on the present, we just might get through this. (And the other trials that will surely come!)
PART 2 - Feeling Joy in the Time of COVID
Do What Makes you Happy.
Our bodies have an amazing super power: The ability to smell and taste. Both which gives us such a rush of pleasure and joy we should revel in this being life’s greatest gift! Joy has been shown to boost endorphins, strengthen our immune system, and even out our ability to handle stress. I love when someone puts a good bit of food in their mouths and then begin swooning with happiness! Is this not a goal we should all strive to have?
For several weeks now my recipes have taken a turn towards comfort and familiar foods. I have rediscovered good beef stew. And remembered why creamed peas make me happy. Whether you choose to download and cook these recipes, or just enjoy the photos and the accompanying drool they provoke, I hope they help you feel powerful, even without a beanstalk.
RECIPE: Onion and Green Pepper Tender Beef Stew Over Mashed New Potatoes
Serves 4 | Click here for printable PDF
1 ½ lb Stew Meat Chunks (at room temperature, and patted dry of moisture)
2 T oil
½ large green pepper cut into strips
¼ large sweet onion cut into strips
2 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 t dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 t salt, ¼ pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
2 ½ C boiling water
½ C cabernet sauvignon
(Roux with 2 t corn starch and 2-3 T water)
Fresh parsley to garnish
Heat large saucepan with the oil. When hot add the meat and sear well on one side. Add the onion and green peppers. Toss until onions begin to show a little browning. Add the garlic and stir and sauté, turning beef until browned on the other side for just a couple minutes. Then add the bouillon that is dissolved in the water, the red wine, and the oregano, and paprika. Stir to combine. Add the bay leaf. Cover with a lid. Turn to low and let simmer on very low for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Stew is done when meat can be shredded. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes if needed. Remove from heat, stir in roux to thicken. Serve over mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2020. All rights reserved.
RECIPE: Quick-Pasta-Whatever with Skillet Marinara Sauce
Serves 4 | Click here for printable PDF
During the quarantine we got creative with cravings since you can only eat survival food for so long and you need something fresh! Ron wanted spaghetti, but I couldn’t stand to open a jar of Prego sauce. So, I came up with this variation that turned out to be easy, and the perfect comfort food.
½ lb ground beef (90%)
½ pint cherry tomatoes quartered
1 large stalk celery cut into small dice
1/3 sweet onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic finely diced
1 can tomato sauce (plain, no flavorings)
2 T light olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T white sugar
¼ t each of paprika and turmeric powder
1 heaping T dried good oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper)
1 ½ C egg noodles (dry) cooked to al dente
Shaved parmigiana reggiano cheese and parsley to garnish.
Heat large saucepan with the oil. Add the onion and celery and tomatoes and cook until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook on medium until almost done. Add the tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, paprika, turmeric, oregano, and salt and pepper. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes. In the meantime bring 8-10 C salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook to al dente. Drain and add to meat sauce and combine. Serve.
I recently upgraded my poor, old, dented Revereware soup pot (can you say, 1982?) to a wonderful high-end piece of cookware. Oh, happy, happy, happy!!!! It was a rite of passage actually. And I am in LOVE with my new pan. I had a hard time not buying up the entire store -- that's how much I love Sur La Table. But ONLY because I love increasing my power to nourish others!!!
One thing I do believe in besides nourishing, is paying it forward. And that's why I developed this recipe to help show off some amazing Pesto hand made by a friend of mine, Erin Grier Stevens, the founder of She's Pesto in Charlotte, NC. Erin has the most delicious, homemade, all locally sourced and traditional Pesto. It is bright and clean, tangy and full of flavor. And the perfect topping for, of all things, beef stew. YUM. She and I are also being featured in the April Issue of Lake Norman Lifestyle Magazine, thanks to our friend Melissa Latin, the Food Editor for the Magazine. So we're pretty excited about the exposure about our respective businesses. But at the end of the day what I think we love most is good food. And we definitely both believe that's the currency of LIFE.
So, here's your invitation to pass the Pesto and the spoon!
RECIPE: Beef Artichoke Vegetable Stew with Basil Pesto
1 1/3 (appx) lbs. beef chunks for stew (your choice of cut)
5 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 huge russet, cut into chunks
½ large sweet onion
2 T roasted garlic, mashed
1 14 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 beef bouillon cube
4 C water
1 ½ t good dried oregano
½ t coriander powder
1 t allspice
½ t dried thyme
½ t (or more to your liking) cayenne powder
2 T fig vinegar
½ C chopped flat leaf parsley
3 T oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste (see METHOD to guide you in when to season with salt and pepper)
1/3 C She’s Pesto for garnish
Dissolve the bouillon cube in 4 C boiling water. Set aside.
Place the oil in a hot, preheated deep Dutch oven pan and then add the beef. Sprinkle with about 1 t salt and ½ t pepper and sear until caramelized on all sides. Add the chopped vegetables and onion, add a bit more salt and all of the spices from oregano to cayenne and cook on medium until the carrots are translucent. Add the liquid and the roasted garlic. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes, or until beef is tender, stirring only occasionally. Add the artichoke hearts and the fig vinegar and half the parsley and let simmer another 5 minutes. Test and add salt if needed.
Serve with a dollop of pesto and garnish with remaining parsley.
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
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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.