My East Coast epicurean excursion

Left to right: me(Veronica), my sister Roxanne, my niece Amanda

For those of you who follow me on Instagram @collardgreenscaviar, your heads where probably spinning from my  posts of my East Coast eating adventure last month.

For those of you who don’t follow me, you are in luck because I will take you on a visual walk down “Mmm-mmm Good” memory lane to get you up to speed.

Top left to right: National Constitution Center Liberty Bell; Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Bottom left to right: photo exhibit from National Museum of African American History and Culture; Statute of Liberty view from Staten Island Ferry.

My eight-day East Coast jaunt was a whirlwind of gastric and scenic proportions.  I visited Philadelphia, New Jersey, D.C., New York and a few other spots in between.  And like any tourist I visited the National Constitution Center, Central Park, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Atlantic City, New York City and  Staten Island – just to mention a few highlights. I  also dined out for eight consecutive days! For some, that’s par for the kitchen. For this home cooking enthusiastic, it was epic and unheard of.

I didn’t have a bad meal the entire time.  Here’s a few (not all by any means) fork-to-mouth highlights of my epicurean excursion:

Sabrina’s Café

Sabrina’s Café –  Collingwood, New Jersey
My sister, niece, nephew and I took the red eye from Los Angeles to Philly and arrived in the early morning. Our host and family member Karen Washington suggested we have breakfast and what a great breakfast we had at Sabrina’s Café. I ordered the Bella Vista Omelette. With this create-your-own omelet we added Provolone cheese, spinach, and  cherry-wood smoked bacon. The portion size was humongous,  so my sister and I shared it. This picture is a half serving plated with potatoes and toast.


Kelsey’s – Atlantic City, New Jersey
Kelsey’s is such a quaint restaurant whose food feed our souls. We enjoyed sharing this cornbread appetizer platter with butter. It had a lightly sweet, cake like texture.  I ordered the Chicken wing dinner which was accompanied with a side of collard greens and macaroni and cheese. My sister ordered the catfish dinner. It was comfort food at its best. And dining while listening to soulful, live music was such a bonus.

Whistlers Inn Bar and Pub

Whistlers Inn Bar and Pub – Cinnaminson, New Jersey
The food at this neighborhood pub was surprising good. Sometimes you just want good bar food and this place delivered. We ordered an array of foods to feed our hunger for something fried and crunchy. Featured here are a few goodies: fried appetizer basket of stuffed jalapenos, mushrooms and mozzarella sticks; nachos, fries and buffalo wings. They specialize in smoked ribs and I regret we didn’t try them, but like I said, I was craving fried and crunchy  food.

Bus Boys and Poets

Bus Boys and Poets – Washington, D.C.
This joint was dope. Yup I said that. It’s a restaurant, book store and community gathering place. It had a real cool vibe and we enjoyed some real cool food. I had the grilled Catfish served on top of a corn cake with collard greens topped with a lovely lemon butter sauce, finished with capers and chopped tomatoes. It was an OMG moment for my mouth. My sister enjoyed the Blackened Salmon which was served with wild rice, asparagus, roasted corn salsa, tomato, shallots, lemon butter sauce.

Frankie Boys Pizza

Frankie Boys Pizza, New York City, New York
The selections were mind blowing.  I decided on a slice of vegetarian pizza which is cool because in Los Angeles most pizza joints don’t sell it by the slice. But in New York, slices abound! This slice was the bit of heaven I had been craving. I even topped it with granulated garlic which I had not experienced in Los Angeles. It was so good and that additional zhuzh of granulated garlic was everything! Oh and a little side note: former NBA player Dennis Rodman ate there and his colorful food review/interview is on YouTube. Warning: it’s bit crude.

Lolo’s Seafood Shack

Lolo’s Seafood Shack – New York City, New York
Like Sylvia’s in Harlem, Lolo’s is a bit of a destination spot for tourists. We were tourists. But we were tourist who weren’t hungry  for fried seafood but hungry for a dining experience in Harlem. Lolo’s gave us that. The vibe was cool although it was just a bit too humid to dine in their open air picnic area. There were great alternatives to fried seafood and we enjoyed small plates of dirty rice, smoked wings, jerk  ribs, chilled broccoli salad and wok seared cauliflower that had a smokey flavor that kissed the roof of my mouth. Good eating folks! On my return visit I must try the crab cakes. They looked divine!

Carollo’s and Geno’s cheesesteak – oh and my brother Montie clutching his cheesesteak.

We couldn’t head back East without getting a Philly Cheesesteak either, right? I had a tasty one at Carollo’s in Pennsauken, New Jersey and in Philly we stopped into Geno’s Steaks to pick up a cheesesteak to take home to my brother. He was very happy.

Dinner for Centurion Aunt Edna

Another highlight of the trip was when the dials of two stove tops were handed over to me while in New Jersey. I was honored to prepare my signature grilled salmon, rice medley and sautéed savoy cabbage for a beloved family Centurion Aunt Edna. The sister Roxanne was a great sous chef!  Later in the trip, I prepared a vegetarian pasta for another lovely family member Karen Washington to thank her for being such a great East Coast tour guide.

Corn from Hunters Farm Market and Karen’s pasta

The pasta recipe I made for Karen is shared here. I call it Karen’s Vegetarian Pasta  simply because I made it specifically for her and as you’ve probably noted, she’s a vegetarian.  The star of the recipe is fresh, picked daily, sweet corn we got from Hunters Farm Market in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.

This pasta recipes features linguine noodles (but you can use any pasta shape you like) and is made with a mixed medley of cherry tomatoes and grilled asparagus. It’s a vegetarian delight.  You can certainly add some grilled or cooked protein, but honestly speaking, you don’t need it.

Karen's Vegetarian Pasta

  • Servings: 3 to 4
  • Difficulty: it takes some work but you can do it.
  • Print

A delicious vegetarian pasta.


2 pints cherry tomatoes,rinsed and halved
1 bundle asparagus, grilled and spears chopped in half
1 ear of corn, grilled and cut from cob
Fresh basil, chopped (eight to ten leaves will work nicely)
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes
½ pound linguine (organic used here)


To prepare asparagus

  1. Trim woody ends from asparagus by snapping off the ends, or cutting with a knife.
  2. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil in a  medium skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add asparagus. Cook, turning occasionally, until tender (5 to 9 minutes).
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and place on cutting board. Cut each spear in half and set aside.

To prepare corn

  1. To that same skillet, add 1 more table of olive oil and cook the ear of corn, rotating it in the in pan until it is lightly browned (5-9 minutes).
  2. Remove from pan, set aside and once cooled, cut kernels from the cob.

To prepare pasta sauce

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set at medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until tender and translucent about 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula.
  2. Add chopped garlic and saute until fragrant, just under a minute.
  3. Add halved cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives and  1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix well.
  4. Turn up heat to bring mixture to a gentle boil. Then cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
  6. After simmering sauce for 10 minutes,  carefully mash tomatoes with a potato masher or fork until they are all broken apart.
  7. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes (perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) to taste and chopped basil to sauce. Let it continue simmering until the pasta is done, about 5 more minutes.
  8. Drain pasta when done,  but reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
  9. Add cooked pasta to sauce and mix well. Fold in cooked corn, asparagus and add half of pasta water to loosen sauce. Add more in necessary.
  10. Serve with Parmesan cheese grated over the entire pan or grated on separate servings, if desired.




Happy New Year, happy new food


You just gotta be in 2018.

I am not talking about your list of practical and lofty resolutions.

In all honesty, you probably need to anchor your resolve to straighten up your act in a myriad of areas.  Skip the resolutions. You know what you need to do, so get busy and handle your business, be your best self and live your best life as a 2018 commitment to yourself (in my Oprah voice).

That pot of black-eyed peas is certainly an obligatory tradition  some believe is a lucky charm for each shiny new year. I would never, ever advocate that you toss tradition to the wind. That would be unthinkable. In fact, I subscribe to this annual rite of passage into the New Year and trust me, I did partake and they were – in a word – so good. Ok, that’s two words.  Get my recipe here.

Lucky black-eyed peas

No luck needed

Luck is great,  but it abdicates your participation. I want you to be more resolute about your food choices this year.

Yes its cliché – you are what you eat. And the often unspoken part of that adage is you are how much you eat too. (Ok I made that up, but the point has to be driven home).

If you don’t set your intentions to make better food choices in 2018, when will you?

I love food anthologist, activist and journalist Michael Pollan. In The Pollan Table Family Cookbook, Pollan makes many salient points in the introduction of this beautiful cookbook.

Pollan connects the increase in obesity to the advent and rise of the fast food industry. Pollan also reminds us that humans cook food; corporations manufacture it.

That’s worth a pause. Take a moment to digest that.

Let me cut to the quick and bottom line my intentions for you:

  • You need to take control of your food choices.
  • You need to be mindful about the food you allow in your everyday life and the life of your family.
  • You need to reduce your portion sizes; they are overall just too large.
  • You need to cut back on the number of meals you get passed to you from a drive through window and pick-up counter – yeah you do.

For heavens sake, for your own sake, get back to cooking your own food. I know it sounds so complex, time consuming and mind bending. But it doesn’t have to be. You can do it. Your health and the health of your family depends on this.

Keep it simple dear heart and:

  1. Use fresh ingredients when possible; they provide more nutrients.
  2. Bake, broil, and grill more often than not; take a break from fried foods.
  3. Add flavor with spices and herbs; cut back on added salt and fat.
  4. Read labels and understand typical serving sizes; portion control is not a myth.
  5. Cut back on carbs; you don’t have to have them every meal.
  6. Learn a few easy food preparation techniques and get inspired.

Follow me

If you follow me on Instagram @collardgreenscaviar (and you really should), you will quickly learn that I am a big home cooking advocate. I have put in a lot of sweat equity over a stove top, about 35 years contiguous if I dare do the math.

I am a journalist and food writer first and foremost. Writing about the significant role and value food plays in our lives has been my focus and my passion.

However, I do  post a lot of food pictures on Instagram,  many of which I prepare and actually eat at home. I am not perfect when it comes to what I eat, but I know perfectly well that I when I prepare my own meals more often than not, I make better choices.

Pan grilled chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts

In this post I feature one of my most requested Instagram recipes, well its not really a recipe but a method I use to prepare chicken breast. I make this often, especially after a workout. Its fast and easy to make, in just under 30 minutes. Its delicious, healthy and beautiful to look at.

The chicken breast is seasoned with a spice rub, then pan grilled and finished in the oven. And you probably noticed there are no carbs. Yup. I often skip them at dinner time and opt for pan roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or brocolli. But if you need or want carbs, I suggest serving this with a baked yam or confetti brown rice chalk full of your favorite sautéed vegetables.

Happy New Year! Bon Appétit.  Chin-chin. Salud.

I predict new food is in your future. Now get cooking.

Chicken so most, tender and flavorful.


2 boneless chicken breasts
Spice rub mix (Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub featured here)
Grapeseed oil


  1. Wash and pat dry chicken breast.
  2. Place on cutting board and slice in half.
  3. Rub a little Grapeseed oil on both sides of sliced breast and then generally season with spice rub.
  4. Pour about two tablespoon of Grapeseed oil in a grill pan set at medium heat.
  5. Once oil is heated, place breasts  in pan and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until medium brown in color.
  6. Remove from pan and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Cook remaining breasts and place in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Wash and pat dry chicken breasts.

Place on cutting board and slice each breast in half.

Rub a little Grapeseed oil on both sides of sliced breast and then generally season with spice rub.

Add chicken breast to grill pan and cook about two minutes on each side.

Remove from pan, place on a baking sheet and place in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10minutes.

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Instagram Faves – Meet Angela Brooks-Van Niel

When you get to meet one of your favorite Instagrammers in person, it’s a real treat – literally.

Angela Brooks-Van Niel and I meet for the first time in Redlands, California

I had the pleasure of meeting Instagrammer Angela Brooks-Van Niel earlier this year while on a business trip in Redlands, California. She came bearing sweet treats from her repertoire of tasty offerings she features each week at the Redlands Farmer’s Market. That bag of goodies bowled me over.

Angela has garnered many awards as a artisan baker and was voted the Best Bakery in the Inland Empire in 2015 and 2016. I can clearly see – and more importantly taste – why.

Simple Fancy Cuisine Farmer’s Market Menu

I’ve been following Angela on Instagram a few years now.  When we meet, the connection was instant. The same enthusiasm and passion that radiates from her page came to life when we met.  Yes, she’s one of my “faves.” I hope she becomes one of yours too.

Oh, and if you happen to be in Redlands, California on any given Saturday morning, stop by and see her and try  her delicious desserts and dishes.

Instragmer:        Angela Brooks-Van Niel , since 2012

Focus:                  To share culinary related information and photos, to inspire and get inspired by others, as well as to gain professional business connections and growth.

City:                      California transplant residing in the agriculturally rich community of Redlands, California in the  Inland Empire.

Business:          Simply Fancy Cuisine started in 2012 after the passage of the California AB 1616, Cottage Food Operations bill.

Instagram:       @SimplyFancyCuisine

Other social:       Website:, Facebook, Pintrest, Twitter.

Online Store:

Books:                Simply Fancy Cuisine: International Cuisines, and Simply Fancy Cuisine: Just Desserts

Books authored by Angela Brooks-Van Niel

Recipe:           Sweet Pie Crust (featured below)

Angela’s Sweet Pie Crust, lattice style

Secret Sauce

Some may say it’s her Southern charm, her drive and determination, her love of her community and her repertoire of amazing desserts and entrees.  I say beyond all that, it’s the light that shines in her eyes, the grace with which she speaks, the sincerity in her smile and her persona of supreme thankfulness that envelops her. I experienced it firsthand when we met and have developed a friendship with her that will be long lasting.  After you read about her journey of recovery and how she arrived at where she is today, you will see how incredibly special and amazing Angela is.

Her voice, her story

The longest day prepping for the Farmers Market can’t dampen Angela’s natural glow

My culinary influences started in the south with my fabulous grandmother, Mamie Denson-Tisby of Jacksonville, Florida. She was a wife, mother, lunch lady and entrepreneur. She and my grandfather, Roscoe, opened a successful combination beauty and barber shop in their community. Her motto was,”There’s a lot of ugly out there in the world, but I’m glad what I do adds a little beauty into the mix.”

My grandmother lived during a time when there were insurmountable challenges and she lived with things that she couldn’t change. But she believed that by pampering hardworking women of color, she could make them feel beautiful so they could go out and do beautiful things.

Early culinary experience

By the age of six, I was serving as my grandmother’s sous chef for weekend meals and  special celebrations and holidays. I spent many summers next to my grandma at her stove getting an education and history lessons not taught in the classroom. She gave me a rich and sturdy culinary foundation on which to grow and build upon.

Blueberry cobbler – among the many recipes she learned as a child – is featured among Angela’s offerings at the Redlands Farmers Market each week

My mom BeLinda and I were part gypsy.  We moved frequently just for the adventure of discovering new places. My mom was raised in a predominantly black neighborhood. She often sought out new things and the unknown. We were usually the only black family in our neighborhood. So I saw this as a smaller version of a cultural exchange program. I later shared what I had learned from the stove top of my grandmother with others, and in return learned to make Mediterranean dishes from my Italian and Greek neighbors.

I went to a Jewish school and learned several different Jewish delicacies from my Jewish classmates and teachers. I lived all over Florida, so I learned several island (Cuban and Puerto Rican) cuisines and fares. All of the cultural dishes from our many neighbors, travels and jaunts have influenced and inspired me to be the foodie person I am today.

My journey

The road to becoming an culinary artist and artisan baker has not been a straight line.  I started out in the banking industry and was a bank manager for many years. My interest in finance and real estate lead me to become a California realtor, which I still am today.  After attaining a graduate degree in theater and education, I  had a opportunity to teach theater arts and dance in underserved communities.  But after my serious health scare in 2008, all those occupations took a backseat.

A life changing diagnosis

The health scare was a disease called  Paraneoplastic syndrome, and it was identified after many failed and frustrating misdiagnoses.  It’s a disease that attacks parts of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves or muscles and is the consequence of cancer in the body.  In my  case the cancer discovered in my body was ovarian, and the Paraneoplastic syndrome disease caused me to suffer a collapse and left me in a coma.

The surgery to remove the cancer was a perilous undertaking for my surgeons who said my heart stopped six times while  I was on the operation table. In addition to that, during the surgery, doctors found a second cancer, lymphoma type B.

The surgery was successfully, and the cancer was removed. I woke up from my comma 4 1\2  months later,  just in time for my son’s high school graduation. But unfortunately,  the disease had erased certain parts of my memory which I had to work hard to rebuild.

Top: Angela, son Jonathan, and husband Pieter. Bottom: Fur baby Jade.

My team of doctors and surgeons call my complete recovery a “miracle.” It was the  the love of my son Jonathan,  and my husband Pieter’s stalwart advocacy, loving support and watchful eye during my recovery that got me through.  I had to learn such basics things like how to sit up and walk again. Pieter fought vigorously for my medical care and treatment during this difficult time,  and his advocacy made all the difference in my treatment and recovery.

Her life today

Angela’s collection of journals and recipe notes

After my recovery, I wanted to challenge myself. I enrolled in graduate school and got my master’s degree in theatre.

I later taught dance and theatre classes in Compton. But though my continued practice of journaling and my passion for recipe development, it became clear that what brought me the most joy wasn’t standing ovations, but it was more about oven creations.  It was a calling I could no longer ignore.

Today running and building my culinary SFC Empire is my #1 j-o-b. It’s the one job from teaching that brings me total joy. I truly am a one woman operation handling the shopping, prepping, recipe developing, marketing, COO, CFO, CEO and the head/only baker.

Many of my offerings are made with fresh, organic and local ingredients I get from the various egg, honey and berry farms in the agricultural rich Inland Empire. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to use the best ingredients while supporting local businesses. And the support my community and customers have shown me has been amazing. I am truly blessed in so many ways.


My hobbies are gardening, writing (plays, poems and short stories), collecting dishes/plate settings and interior design.

Limited edition, coffee bean bag totes

I also enjoy upcycling.  It’s the process of transforming old or discarded materials into something useful.  My line is a limited edition totes of created out of repurposed coffee bean bags. These are handmade, unique items. No two totes are alike.

Click on this link for more information:

Cookbook she cannot live without

Irma & Marion Rombauer’s American culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking. It was one of my first cookbooks that graced our bookshelves at home. I’ve read it from cover to cover like it was a Nancy Drew mystery book.

Where her recipes have been published

Press Enterprise, The Redlands Daily Facts and the Inland Empire Magazine.

Here are a few links:

The best thing that has happened because of Instagram

Having instant contact and making a connection with my celebrity foodie idols and with my fellow foodie friends.

What’s new, what’s next

Simple Fancy Cuisine menu offerings at Farmer’s Market (the macaroons are my favorite)

I plan on rewriting my cookbooks by combining the two books into one. I’m also looking to grow my business within the next 2 years by taking the leap into a brick and mortar store.

Sweet Pie Crust

Apple pie.  Cherry pie. Blueberry pie. Fruit tarts and cobblers. Angela knows pies. The secret to her award winning pies is a decadent filing and killer pie crust.

Angela shares her recipe for her Sweet Pie Crust.  It’s flaky goodness and once you try it, chances are it will be your go-to crust recipe for all your pies. She also notes that this recipe can be made by hand, with a dough mixer, or with a food processor.

Angela's Sweet Pie Crust

  • Servings: varies
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

This will be your new go-to crust recipe.


2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
2 sticks cold butter (cubed, slice into ½ inch and then cut each slice into quarters, so each square is made of 4 little squares
½ cup water (ice cold)


  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a large bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture.
  3. After the butter and flour are roughly incorporated, add the ice cold water –  one tablespoon at a time – until the dough binds together.
  4. Divide the dough in half.
  5. On a floured surface, knead each dough for 5 minutes, the form them into a ball.
  6. Flatten the dough out into a round disk.
  7. Wrap each dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  8. When ready to bake, remove from fridge, and then roll out the dough to desired size.

Instagram Faves – Meet Delphine Kirkland

I am “all in” when it comes to Instagram.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram at @collardgreenscaviar  well, you are missing some really tasty posts my foodie friends.

Instagram is all about photo sharing. And when the site was launched back in 2010, food pictures were among the first pictures posted within that first 24 hours of the site’s birth.

It’s no surprise that food photos remain a seminal part of Instagram.

There are a lot of food photos in the Instagramverse (this is completely a made up term). In the posts over the next few weeks, I will highlight a few of my favorite food Instragramers whose passion for food is evident in their posts and their personalities. These are the few who have captured my attention, interest and my heart. I will share excerpts from their interview in their voice, along with one of their recipes, so you can see why they are my “Instagram faves.” And if you are not following my “faves” after learning about them, I certainly hope you will.

Delphine Kirkland, baker, cookbook author, social media influencer, prayer warrior

Instragmer:  Delphine Kirkland

Focus:              Specialty Baking

City:                  Sweet Water, Alabama

Business:        The Cookie Crumbles –  launched over a year ago, specializes in cupcakes, cookies, cakes and specialty baked goods. Shipping of some products is available.  Website is currently under development.

Instagram:      @cookiecrumblescupcakes was created to increase the visibility of her baking business,  inspire people through baking, and touch the lives of people spiritually.

Other social:   Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable features words of inspiration and encouragement.

Book:                  Crumbs From the Masters Table available at A collection of Delphine’s treasured dessert recipes along with uplifting inspirations for the soul. The “pray and bake warrior” provides all the essential ingredients to excite the palate and ignite the soul with words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement.

Recipe:           Mahogany Rose Cupcakes – featured below.

Delphine Kirkland’s latest book: Crumbs From the Master’s Table

Secret sauce:  Delphine is a warrior baker and prayer warrior. Her creations are sheer #foodporm and I mean that in the highest Instagram sense. One of my favorite references to her by one of her followers is “pastry baking preacher friend.” Her baking is more like a ministry of what can be created from ingredients like hope, faith, encouragement and love.

What sets her apart is her heart of service, her devotion to God, and her “pray and bake” inspirational tagline. “God feeds me with ideas and special ingredients to help others,” said Delphine during our interview. “Because of what God has given to me, I can give to others,” she said adding that her @cookiescrumblescakes account has grown in ways she never imagined.

Her voice, her story

I am the daughter of Anderson and Daphne Paige. I have two older brothers, Andrew and Anderson Paige, Jr.  I lost my sister Delores from a sickness at an early age. I am the baby of the family. I was raised with strong religious beliefs. I had a praying mother, father, and grandmother and they instilled the word of God in me constantly. I have a talented family, my mother, brothers and I sing. I’ve been singing since the age of 3. I sing gospel music. While attending college, I majored in opera, but a sickness prevented me from pursuing it farther. Once I was healed, I had lost interest and no longer wanted to pursue singing.

My family has always loved the warmth and traditions of the holidays.   That’s when the baking bug bit me. My mother’s aunts and cousins were excellent bakers. During the holidays, my brothers and I  would  go to her aunts and cousins homes to pick up the cakes for the holidays. My mother would make pound cakes and cream pies, but the six layers caramel, chocolate, and coconut cakes would come from relatives and neighbors. That’s when I began trying out my baking skills.

Left: Delphine and her mother Daphne Paige; Right top: Delphine and her husband Ben at a Rolling Twenties Gala Charity event in Phoenix, AZ; Right bottom: Delphine and husband  Ben at a Gone with the Wind theme party.

I am happily married to my husband Ben, for soon to be 17 years in June. We are pastors and co-pastors at the Tabernacle of God Holiness Church in Uniontown, Alabama. We are a branch church from our original church in Sweet Water, Alabama. I have a women’s ministry, and I am in the process of launching one in another city.

Culinary Background

I am a self-taught culinary artist. In 2004, I read a newspaper article that announced that  Michaels Specialty and Craft store was offering a cake decorating class. I remember talking my husband into taking it with me. We completed cake decorating levels I and II. My only regret is that I didn’t take it seriously after taking the class.  I would bake a little but I wasn’t consistent. And besides, going into business and selling cakes was the furthest thing from my mind.  I started watching a few baking videos in 2010 on YouTube, and was inspired to make cupcakes after watching an episode on Food Network, Cupcake Wars. Suddenly my interest in baking and the possibility of starting a business was rekindled.

A few of Delphine’s creations. Left top: Devil’s Food Cupcake. Right top: White Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crackers. Bottom: Toffee Pecan Cookies.


I am a florist. I like making floral arrangements from time to time and will probably do some arrangements to add to my Instagram photos in the near future.

Cookbook she cannot live without

I’m a southerner so the Southern Living Cookbook is the one I cannot live without.

Where her recipes have been published

Amazon, CreateSpace, and Instagram.

The focus of her Instagram posts 

I want to build and brand my business, and  spread the word of Christ. Not everyone goes to church and we all need to be motivated and inspired at some point. I chose Instagram to be that tool.

Her most popular post

Smoky Maple Bacon Cupcake

My Smoky Maple Bacon cupcake had the most hits for me on Instagram than any of my cupcake posts. Locally selling, it is the most popular. I have never seen men devour cupcakes like they did this one. I call it a “man’s cupcake.” They especially love the bacon on the cupcake with it’s spicy flavor, that’s the secret. After this post, my culinary inspirations quickly became popular.

The best thing that has happened because of Instagram

Because of the inspirations that I’ve included on my account, Instagram has given me an audience that has come to rely on my inspirations. I frequently  get direct messages all  times during the day and night from many of my followers who ask for prayer requests, or they just need someone to talk to.  I hear from followers with terminal diseases, those fighting cancer, depression and dealing with relationships problems who ask me to pray for them. To know that through the guidance of God I can be a blessing to someone – whether they are near or far – gives me an awesome feeling.  To have followers from across the waters asking for permission to teach their bible study group the inspirations that I have posted is priceless.  I know they are bringing the word of God to places I cannot go. All of this  has been such a blessing and so gratifying to me.

What’s new, what’s next

From the Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable

With her Instagram followers clamoring for more inspiration and words of spiritual encouragement,  Delphine launched a second Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable,  taken from the name of her first book, dedicated to words of  inspiration and encouragement.

While her first book Crumbs From The Master’s Table fulfilled a dream to author a book, she knows this is just the beginning. Delphine has aspirations to write a book of her most treasured inspirational sentiments and also a children’s cook book.

Mahogany Rose Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

The Story Behind the Rose

When I first started my cupcake business, I was not well known like the other home based baking business in my little rural city. I wasn’t getting many orders.  So in the meantime, I would look at YouTube videos and learn how to pipe large roses on a cupcake.

I received a phone call for the biggest order I had ever gotten. The order  was for 3 dozens cupcakes and one of the dozen had to be chocolate cupcakes with a big rose covering the entire cupcake.

I was nervous and I wanted to leave a lasting impression. I began praying and baking and sweating.  I watched Rose Cake Diva videos on YouTube so many times that I lost count.

I didn’t like how they turned out, but every time I tried to improve them, they kept coming out the same. The next day I delivered them and when my customer beheld them, she had the biggest smile on her face. I was relieved and grateful. Turns out, God allowed me to pipe them the way she had envisioned.

These cupcakes have a special meaning to me. They are moist, delicious and the Chocolate Ganache frosting makes them decadent. I hope you enjoy this recipe.


¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Folgers French Vanilla coffee
¼ cup boiling water
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Crème fraiche (I prefer homemade)
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
10 oz. semi chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream


1.  Preheat oven a 350 degree and line 12 liners in a standard cupcake pan. Prepare one day before baking these cupcakes.

2.  Mix together cocoa powder, coffee, and boiling water until the cocoa and coffee grains dissolves.  Let it cool completely.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add egg and beat well. Combine the vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture.  Add flour gradually with the crème fraiche on a low speed but be careful not to over mix. The batter should be fluffy.

4.  Spoon batter into cupcake cups about two-thirds full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool to room temperature. Frost cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting.

5.  Prepare chocolate ganache frosting. Place chocolate chips in a medium size bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips, making sure the chips are covered completely. Allow to chill at room temperature for 3 hours. You can place in the fridge for 30-45 to speed up the process if you like, but I prefer room temperature. Use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisks the frosting until fluffy. Fill pastry bag using a 2D close star piping tip and frost your rose cupcakes.

How to makeCrème Fraiche

In a medium bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoon buttermilk or sour cream. Mix heavy cream with buttermilk or sour cream. Pour mixture in the jar and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours or until thick. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. Crème fraiche may be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.