In Lumesa, Texas, where Lamphere was raised, cooks created their dishes at home because there were only two restaurants and a Dairy Queen in town. They shopped at Piggly Wiggly where meat and potatoes were the staples and the most exotic or international foods were Ragu and Rotel. Lamphere’s background provides a rich setting for his culinary art.
“I had the privilege of having both sets of grandparents living a few blocks away, and they were always a part of our holidays — traditional Christmas Eve dinner at Grandmommie and Granddad’s house, Christmas Brunch at our house and then a formal Christmas dinner at Mamu and George’s house,” Lamphere said.
“I was always around food. I’ve always loved food. I learned to cook for other people,” said Lamphere who moved to Cobb County in 1996 for work. He is vice president of Angelica Corporation.
On Christmas morning, Lamphere’s mother made a breakfast casserole known as Crèche Noel. A crock-pot was full of Little Smokies in a mint jelly sauce simmered in the kitchen. Mamu brought her Banana Nut Bread and Snickerdoodle Cookies, and Grandmommie brought a basket of sausage balls and her Hershey’s Pound Cake.
Lamphere continued the family tradition of a simple Christmas Morning Brunch.
“I have adjusted some of the recipes over the years to make them a little more modern while taking advantage of ingredients that were not readily available in the ’60s and early ’70s,” he said.
Cooking is a passion for Lamphere, who was a part-time caterer in college.
“Cooking is a hobby. Everybody likes to eat,” he explained.
Lamphere, who is working on a cookbook, loves to change an ordinary recipe into the extraordinary. He always asks, “How can I take an everyday dish and make it a little different. Always my goal is to take something traditional and make it different.”
Trying new things creates new memories.
“When I am cooking for me or somebody else, I look for something they haven’t had before, something they’re not going to see. I want to take it to another level, not necessarily frou-frou food or posh food,” Lamphere said. Lamphere has a wife, Kim, and they have two grown daughters, Lindsey and Madison.
A prolific cook, Lamphere shares favorites recipes adapted from childhood times.
“Practice makes the best cooks,” Lamphere said.
Makes about 25-30 pinwheels
1-pound sausage (mild or hot)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 ½ tablespoons honey mustard
1 tablespoon mayo
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Pepper Jack is good too!)
1 package of 2 puff pastries (thawed in icebox)
In large skillet, brown sausage until just barely done, as it will get too brown when baking the pinwheels in the oven. Drain well and let cool completely.
In large bowl combine sausage, honey mustard, mayo, garlic powder and cheese.
(Note: this recipe makes enough filling for both puff pastries).
Remove puff pastry from icebox and allow dough to rest on wax paper. Unfold gently and roll out an additional ½ inch on each side.
Spoon sausage mixture onto pastry and spread out and press evenly leaving ½ inch of dough on all sides. Starting at the side closest to you, gently roll the dough, jellyroll style, to the top, gently pressing down on the dough to keep tight. Press seam down well so it doesn’t unroll during baking. Roll up in wax paper, Place seam side down and wrap in plastic wrap and cover/wrap tightly. Allow to chill for 1 hour or overnight. You can also freeze the rolls for up to 6 weeks.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the chilled rolls into 1/2 to ¾ inch slices and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Can be made a day ahead and stored in sealed container. Suggestions: Serve warm with honey-butter or favorite jelly...(I like a pepper jelly.)
Shrimp Salad Tarts
Makes about 60 bite size appetizers
3-4 packages prepared phyllo tart shells
1 ½ pounds salad shrimp (shelled, cooked, de-veined) (Set aside 35-40 shrimp for garnish)
½ cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 ½ cups diced celery
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dill
1-2 dashes hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Optional — add 1 Tbsp Old Bay or seafood seasoning
In large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, celery, onion, lemon juice, dill, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Fold in shrimp. Chill until ready to fill the phyllo tarts.
Prepare phyllo tart shells as directed on packaging for filling. Allow to cool and store in airtight container if not filling right away.
Fill each tart with shrimp salad and garnish with a shrimp on top of each. Serve immediately.
Caprese Stix with Balsamic Drizzle
Makes about 3 dozen appetizers
Get decorative 4-5 inch skewers.
2 pints cherry tomatoes (red and yellow)
1 8 oz. block of mozzarella cheese (cut into 1 inch cubes or wedges)
1 can large pitted black olives, (drained well)
1 English cucumber, (sliced into half rounds ¼ inch thick)
Build skewers in a kabob fashion keeping each skewer uniform starting and ending with the tomatoes.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if making ahead.
1-Cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3-Cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tsp chopped, dried basil
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to boil, lower heat to a simmer and allow to reduce by half. Cool completely and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Plate skewers on a shallow platter and drizzle vinaigrette to coat evenly.
Hawaiian Cheese Wreath/Raspberry Relish
Serves 12-20. Prep Time 30 Minutes
3 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 large can crushed pineapple (divided and drained very well)
3-4 green onions/scallions
(divided and diced small)
½ cup seedless raspberry jam (Add 1-2 tablespoons of pepper jelly if desired)
In a large bowl combine mayo, and all but 1 tablespoon of the drained pineapple and 1 tablespoon of the onions. (Do not over mix or pineapple will create too much juice and make the wreath very runny)
Add cheese and blend by hand until incorporated.
On large, round platter, mold the cheese mixture into a wreath shape leaving the hole in the middle large enough to place small bowl for serving the relish.
To make relish: In small bowl, add the ½ Cup of Jellies and mix with a fork to break up “globs.” Stir in 1 tablespoon pineapple and green onions. Put into small bowl and place in middle of your wreath. Serve with butter or Ritz crackers.
Holiday Breakfast Casserole (Mom’s “Crèche Noel”)
2 cups dry stuffing mix, chicken flavor (Stove Top or grocery store brand)
1 lbs. package medium ground sausage or cooked and shredded chicken
8 eggs, beaten
3 green onions (sliced thin)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 cup milk or cream
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or colby cheese (divided)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
The key to a good egg casserole is the cooking temp and time...go low and slow
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray
Brown sausage in skillet, add the whites of the green onions about halfway through cooking time, then add the Garlic last minute and heat through.
Cover bottom of dish with dry stuffing mix, pour sausage/onion mixture over stuffing layer and pat down, let cool completely.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the shredded cheese
In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper, pour over other ingredients carefully.
Evenly distribute the tomatoes and greens of the onions over top
Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and cover with foil
Bake for 40-45 minutes, remove foil and turn oven off and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes or until middle is set and not jiggly...do not over cook! Let cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving. Best at room temp.
Can make ahead — 2 to 3 days (before baking) or can bake and freeze, but cover well with plastic wrap and foil.
Mamu’s Banana Nut Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
3 eggs (room temp)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup oil
3 cups sugar
3 cups very ripe bananas mashed well (I use 6 bananas)
In large mixing bowl combine the above ingredients in the order listed...fold bananas in last.
Sift together the following ingredients and stir in small batches, combining well before adding next batch:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (toss in some flour before adding to prevent them from sinking to the bottom during baking).
Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been buttered and floured.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Toothpick should come out clean. Careful not to overbake so that it stays moist.
Allow to cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and then good foil and keep refrigerated. These will freeze very well for 3-4 weeks.