Last week we hosted my mom, Lenis and my step-father Ted to a week in the Queen City. Symphony, BBQ, shopping, TV studio tours, and of course some southern cuisine. With all that shuttling back and forth we had lots of time for fun chatter that included some hilarious one-liners that will become a permanent part of my vernacular.
Case in point, during a shopping trip to TJMaxx, we asked Ted if he wanted us to look for some new duds for him. Not that he needs any, (he's a sharp dresser!) it just seemed polite to ask him if part of our shopping time should be spent looking at things for him. His response was hilarious.
"Nah, I'm good. And except for the bullet holes this old coat works great!"
An instant quote to adopt, don't you think? Seems all of us are hiding a hidden bullet hole, are we not? One way or another, we cannot escape life and its lessons as they run clean through us like a 44 caliber lead slug shot from a gun. It makes me realize that what is most endearing about those we love is the fact that they've survived with nobility ... and we rarely factor in their quiet heroism.
It's kind of like cooking, really. Good food is only the result of techniques perfected through utter failure. One cannot produce an amazing souffle, or an exquisite sauce without having ruined at least one pan or scraping burnt batter off the bottom of an oven. What eventually goes on the table is never something arrived at without sweat and a few tears. And unless you're tearing the plastic off a tray microwavable lasagna, (Please tell me you won't do this!) your hard work next to the stove gives one a sense of satisfaction that is really quite euphoric. And then, bullet holes and all, you arrive triumphantly to serve, nourish, and share with those you love.
Enjoy the photos and then ALL the recipes I cooked are at the end of the post. As for me, I'm heading out to buy a flack jacket today.
So many things to do in the Queen City. Baked French toast above, then a trip to Fort Mill to eat at "Local Dish." A tour of WSOCTV is the photo at the beginning of the blog, and an evening with the Charlotte Symphony helped us make some great memories. Plus a delicious dinner of fresh Cod, Black Lentils, Roasted Golden Beets and Quick Pickled Leeks had us licking out plates!
Enjoying Fresh Blackberry Muffins for breakfast started the day that ended with Peach Salsa Baked Chicken and Creamy Rice.
No visit to my house is complete without the girlfriend night. Delicious mini Greek Meatloaves, sauteed root vegetables, and of course two of Sue's delicious pies: Turtle Pie and Key Lime.
At least once a month we gather and eat well. Even giant bullet holes that seem like they'll never heal suddenly close up. How? With love, and a spoonful of whatever you're making tonight.
RECIPE: Baked French Toast with Fresh Blackberry Syrup
January 2016 - Serves 4
Download Printable Version
8 slices of your favorite bread. I like the Pepperidge Farms French Bread.
½ C milk
½ C cream
1 t vanilla
1 C chopped and toasted pecans
Pinch of salt
1/4 C plus 2 T sugar
1 t cinnamon
Pint of fresh blackberries
4 T butter, divided
Powdered sugar for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. With 1 T of the butter, grease the inside of a small 7 inch by 10 inch glass baking dish. Layer each slice of bread, overlapping, inside the dish.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, milk, 2 T sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Blend extremely well beating either by hand or with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour the mixture over the bread. Push down gently so the bread soaks up the eggy mixture. At this point either refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 minutes. I did it for only 30 minutes and it turned out amazing! Then sprinkle the toasted pecans on top.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden and puffed.
While the French toast is baking, melt 3 T butter in a small saucepan. Add the rinsed and dried blackberries and the ¼ C sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring. Then reduce and let it barely bubble for about 5 minutes, until the back of a spoon is coated. Remove and let cool.
To plate, cut a slice of the French toast and place on a plate, ladle with the syrup, sprinkle with powdered sugar!
RECIPE: Baked Cod with Creamy Mustard Sauce over Black Lentils
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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.