There are forces at work. Forces that bring my need for courage to the forefront; courage to change myself, and the world. I feel we're being swallowed up by disconnection, and by impatience. We have discarded our intuition. We seek only the approval of others.
But there are forces at work to change that. And they remind me that I would not have fully understood how to process forgiveness, or increase my patience ten-fold without teaching myself about food had they not come into play. I would not have understood purpose, or the gift of failure. I would not have been transported to a place where my whole BODY feels joy.
Yes, I may just have a spoon in my hand with butter melting happily in front of me or I might have been whipping a roux in preparation of beef stock, salt, and pepper. Yes, I am just in my kitchen. But it’s where I am discovering power. And where I may actually face all my fears. Is it where you can do the same?
This may seem trivial to you because how can something like salmon, or strawberries, or even olive oil be my trusted advisors? Because they come in honesty. They come with constants. And they arrive urging me to transform them into something new by thinking about the potential of each flavor.
Much like myself.
So what are these forces I'm discovering along my journey to culinary enlightenment? (Or to achieve the perfect béarnaise, which might be the same thing.) In my opinion it has to do with getting very clear about what it is I really want and how I can help others feel that same sense of clarity. And cooking is such a metaphor for getting real about EVERYTHING. You CANNOT have flour, butter, and cream in your hands and not be present, not be in awe of its delicate beauty. You are using your senses, your reasoning, and most profoundly your time to make something that will nourish another human being. Shouldn’t this be thought of as something sacred?
We are so at odds with our humanness these days. So convinced success is vertical. So ready to stop learning and exploring more because we think a differing opinion can somehow rob us of a thing; a “thing” we are certain we deserve. And we are devastated when it isn’t exactly as we imagined it SHOULD be.
So I cook to learn. It proves to me that there are no shortcuts to the right way to do something. That there are rewards for patience. It also teaches me that “I will survive a disaster,” because how I recover is more important than the failure. It is a reminder that I cannot control time, only borrow its power. I can escape through it when I need solace. I understand trust because burnt cookies NEVER tell anyone your secrets.
If cooking is sacred, then my altar is a kitchen table and a chair where I can set a plate before a friend, which contains ingredients I prepared and then arranged with love. This act feeds us both in unlimited ways. That is honesty. That is courage. That is how we will survive.
RECIPE: Salmon with Strawberry Cucumber Salsa
4 salmon steaks, patted dry, rubbed with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper
2 C strawberries, sliced
4 scallions chopped
¼ C cilantro leaves chopped finely
Juice of two limes, or about 2-3 T of juice
½ small cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped into a small dice
1 t kosher salt and ½ t black pepper (season to taste)
½ t coriander powder
½ t crushed cardamom
1 t white sugar
1 C white jasmine rice, cooked.
Combine the strawberries, cucumbers, scallion, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, and salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Set aside.
Make white rice according to package directions adding the cardamom and coriander to the water and rice before cooking.
Place oil rubbed salmon in a baking dish about 1 inch apart. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.
To plate put cooked salmon over the rice, and ladle salsa on top. Be sure and pour those juices on it as well! Garnish with a flurry of sea salt.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
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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.