Even though I've been back home in North Carolina for awhile, (I was in Utah during July and August!) I can still smell the desert in my nose. The dry, herbal and clay-like aroma of Utah in the summer stays in my soul. It is a place where I grew up. Where I made my parents proud and also made them worry. Where I did things I want to forget, and things I can't seem to remember. Where I first drove a car. Cried over a boy. Went to prom. Had stitches and was crowned Miss Utah State University. (Someday I will tell you more!)
I return now that I'm older to think about how fast the time goes. And to embrace my family with passion. Because family, and food, and love is everything.
When I first arrive in my hometown of Logan, Utah, after a long, cramped plane ride, I go to the grocery store. I can't wait to get my hands on a pan, a knife and some food so I can cook for my tribe and get to the business of being HOME.
I love being inspired by the smallest things, like seeing apple butter and knowing it will make a fantastic sauce for chicken. Or grab a crimson pear knowing that it will sing with happiness if I poach it and top it with cheese and some maple glaze. I buy artisan and commercial brands. Fresh and canned. The point is to nourish with love.
I was able to spend enough time during this visit to be home when both of my sisters had birthdays. It's been a long time since that happened. I was able to have my niece Nicole and her husband Seth show me their new home nearly ready for love. We talk about the double oven; the battle over getting it. And hugged long and hard. I got to meet my new grand niece Quinn, see my superstar niece Maryn on stage, eat at my favorite haunts, and cook twice with Jaren...my niece's Claire's new adorable husband. And I got to hug Ollie and watch him learn so fast it made me dizzy.
But then there was the food. The food that embraced each memory. That tinged each event with love and color. Every plate something I worked hard to create and share. And it's all here for you.
Fresh Trout with Lemon Dill Sauce, Honey Roasted Carrots and Cheese Stuffed Banana Peppers
First of all, I never miss the chance to cook some delicious Utah trout. I used to fish the rivers up Logan Canyon with my dad, watching the iridescent glow of the rainbow scales glisten in the hot summer sun. I loved the smell of it fresh, like life-giving water and grass, and infused the the scent of rain. Delicious. I lightly dusted it with flour and cornmeal and just salt and pepper, topping it with a simple dill sauce made from butter and cream.
Five Spice Turkey Meatballs with Herbed Veloute, and Roasted Vegetables over Ramen
Then, after finding some beautiful garden radishes, and fresh thyme, I set about transforming ground turkey by infusing it with bold middle eastern spices, and sweet raisins. Then serving it with a mild cream sauce over ramen noodles aside roasted potatoes and asparagus and bulb onions. It was as much fun to eat as it was just to stare at!
Turkish Perfumed Chicken Thighs with Gribiche, over Mashed Yukons and Pickled Red Pepper
I had two opportunities to cook with Chef Jaren. Witness his passion. Watch him perfecting techniques. And gettin' all geeky about our favorite knives. The first night we assembled a meal that featured a Gribiche, (tweaked a little and sans the eggs,) and poured over roasted turkish spiced chicken thighs and quick pickled red peppers. Seriously, this is a sauce you have to make for everything. Not only for those you love, but FOR YOURSELF. It will lift your spirits no matter what kind of a day you've had.
Butter Seared Salmon with Hollandaise, Potatoes Lyonnaise, and Orange Scented Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
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.