Great results are emanating both from Francine Coles’ Arcadia home – and from her creative contemplations. Case in point: the Fancy Pants Kitchen, her new blog, business and website.
A longtime Valley resident who moved from her native Canada in 1977 with her parents Bernard and Betty Shostak, Francine is an Arizona State University graduate with a degree in construction engineering. She worked with large contracting firms prior to marriage and starting a family, and she is a longtime participant and activist in all things Jewish, having served on both the national and local boards of AIPAC. Tall, slim and stunning, Francine remains “philanthropically connected,” serving on the board of the local Jewish Community Foundation.
With her three dogs (Lola and Bella are shnoodles and Beau is a mini labradoodle) often underfoot, “they keep me company and make me laugh,” she says, Francine is committed to “basically crafting, developing and refining” her relatively new online business, presenting and integrating lifestyle elements with gorgeous food photos and outstanding recipes. “Most are accessible and easy to follow,” she explains, “while some are more challenging, but they all are ‘really good eats.’ ” Many recipes are her own creations.
Launched in September 2019, “mainly because people have always asked for my recipes – why not share. And it’s fun,” she says, “to pass along ideas from a variety of sources.” To that end, she says she is inspired by reading cookbooks and following fellow food bloggers and others whom she respects. “There’s a world of us out there,” she says, “and we are in frequent contact.”
Her readers are primarily women, and she says she is learning from them. They especially love the photos of gorgeous desserts, but “quick and easy” recipes garner the most positive responses. “Something for everyone,” she says with a smile, “and often the blog is enhanced with reader comments and anecdotes.”
There is a “free and fun” weekly update for subscribers, and Francine welcomes comments, reviews, suggestions and critiques.
Francine’s end goal is to increase her readership and “at some point” to make Fancy Pants a full-fledged business. At present, she says with a smile, “it’s an expensive hobby, but I treat it as a business. I am very organized and update the blog on a regular basis. I am working at the highest level I can.”
An avid golfer with an impressive handicap, Francine’s Sundays typically are reserved for games with her longtime partner, Terry and she schedules some tee times with girlfriends during the week. “My style is to compete with myself, not others, to be the best I can be, and to enjoy myself.
“And life is good,” she says.
For more information or to subscribe, visit thefancypantskitchen.com.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon fillets, about 1 1/2” thick (6 pieces)
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon peel, rosemary, salt and pepper. Brush most of mixture over salmon and toss remainder with asparagus. Depending on the thickness of the asparagus, add them with the salmon as you put it in the oven (thicker asparagus can go in the oven immediately with the salmon; thinner asparagus should be added to the baking sheet 5 minutes after placing the salmon in the oven).
Place salmon and thick asparagus in oven and cook until fish comes apart, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon. Be sure not to overcook fish.
While the salmon is baking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Add lemon juice and capers. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
Arrange salmon and asparagus to a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve immediately.
1 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini-marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided
Heat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9”x13” baking pan.
Melt butter, chocolate, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Let cool slightly.
Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Add flour and vanilla and mix. Fold in mini-marshmallow, pecans and 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven when a tester (toothpick or skewer) comes out clean.
Let cool completely. Cut into 24 pieces.
Recipes and food photos courtesy the Fancy Pants Kitchen