What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Judy’s Pumpkin Sea Salt Caramel Sauce! I always get excited when I receive the gift of food. My friend, Judy, thrilled me beyond measure when she shared this treat from her kitchen. It’s the perfect combination of sea salt caramel and pumpkin purée. It not only transforms a cup of coffee into a pumpkin spice addiction, but it also tastes incredible on a breakfast muffin. If you ask my husband, he’ll say you can eat it over ice cream by the spoonful.
JUDY’S PUMPKIN SEA SALT CARAMEL SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a 2-quart heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring often to avoid scorching. Continue cooking until sugar turns light amber in color and all sugar crystals have dissolved, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and mix well. Change utensils to a heat-resistant whisk and quickly whisk in the cream and pumpkin. Lastly, add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, removing all lumps. Transfer to a jar. Cool at room temperature, seal, and store in the refrigerator.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Ina Garten’s Fruit Crunch Sundae! The Barefoot Contessa is a familiar face on the Food Network these days. Not only does she offer great ideas for any meal, but she makes them seem incredibly simple. Today’s recipe comes from a recent episode where Ina wanted to serve up a special breakfast for her husband. I like the idea of taking everyday food and turning it into something extraordinary. By baking a batch of crunchy granola and storing it in an airtight container, single servings can be assembled in a flash. Use whatever fruit is on hand to make it unique.
INA GARTEN’S FRUIT CRUNCH SUNDAE
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons pure honey
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss the oats, coconut, almonds, oil, and honey together in a large bowl until completely combined. Pour into a baking sheet and bake until mixture turns golden brown. Stir occasionally. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool. Stir once. Combine the strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple in a bowl. Using stemmed glasses or parfait glasses, layer granola, yogurt, and fruit until full. You may alternate ingredients to repeat layers. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Havarti Mashed Potatoes! The best kept secret for staying organized during the flurry of activity of family gatherings is “make-ahead” recipes that have the oven doing most of the work. By creating this side dish the day before, you eliminate everyone hovering in the kitchen while you whip it up at the last minute. And leftovers are a breeze because they automatically become Divine Duchess Potatoes.* Do yourself a favor, enjoy that glass of wine with your guests while the mashed potatoes bake in the oven.
HAVARTI MASHED POTATOES
10 potatoes, peeled and cut up
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup Havarti cheese, shredded
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 tablespoon parsley
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Place potatoes in a 4 quart pan. Cover with water. Salt if desired. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Add butter and mash. Slowly add milk beating slowly to eliminate lumps. Add yogurt, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are fluffy. Fold in Havarti cheese. Transfer to casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered 30-35 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
*Leftovers can be used to make Divine Duchess Potatoes. See link
This Veterans Day, and always, let us be grateful for those who serve and have served, those who sacrifice, and those we remember. Thank You! 🇺🇸
“Art is the window to man’s soul.
Without it, he would never be able
to see beyond his immediate
world; nor could the world
see the man within.”
~ Lady Bird Johnson
“What the Beatles did was
something incredible; it was more
than what a band could do.
We have to give them respect.”
~ Yoko Ono
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Glorious Glazed Pecans! Go to any big city or farmers market and you’ll find street vendors roasting sweet and savory candied nuts. The bakery aroma practically has you walking on air. Now you can bring this enticing smell and sugary sweetness right into your very own kitchen. I’ve made it a tradition to bake a couple batches for holiday gift-giving. When mixed with an assortment of smoked almonds, wasabi peas, salty cashews, and honey roasted peanuts, these glazed pecans become a gourmet choice for absolutely anyone on your list. In fact, anticipation creates excitement followed by open delight and thanksgiving.
GLORIOUS GLAZED PECANS
1 pound pecan halves
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. In a small bowl mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well and set aside. In a large bowl beat egg white and water until frothy. Add one pound of pecans and coat well to cover. Pour sugar mixture over nuts. Stir completely to form a coating over pecans. Transfer nuts to the baking sheet. Form a single layer. Bake 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes to form a crystallized finish. Remove from oven. Let cool and then store in an airtight container.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Fried Green Tomatoes! The key to success is using solid, firm green tomatoes. Ripe ones will turn mushy and very disappointing. Even if you don’t live in the South, everyone can enjoy these crisp and juicy medallions. The seasoned cornmeal crust will have you resurrecting a southern drawl that sounds as authentic as a waitress in a country café. Try the first one with a fork and then have seconds as a sandwich.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
2 green tomatoes, sliced with skin on
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
On a sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, cheese, seasoned salt, and pepper. Blend with a fork. In a shallow bowl, mix egg and milk. Dip a green tomato slice in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Repeat. Set aside. Continue until all slices have been coated. In a deep skillet on medium-high heat add vegetable oil for frying. Place tomatoes in a single layer. Do not crowd. Fry each side 3 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry the other side. Remove and place on a wire rack to remove excess oil. Repeat until all green tomato slices are used. Serve hot. Garnish with a dollop of wasabi aioli.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Easy Energy Balls! Do you ever get those mid-morning blahs where all you want to do is go back to bed? Well, here’s a way to get a tasty boost of energy without the guilt of a candy bar. By choosing pure and organic ingredients, you not only reap the health benefits, but you also gain the satisfaction your tummy needs in order to feel full. Make up a batch in minutes, store in the refrigerator, then Grab and Go!
EASY ENERGY BALLS
1 cup organic creamy dark roasted peanut butter
2/3 cup pure honey
2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups old fashioned whole grain oats
1 cup organic flaxseed
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup ground nuts
Warm peanut butter just enough to blend well with the honey. Remove from heat and add coconut, oats, flaxseed, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Sprinkle in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 30 bite-size balls, coat in ground nuts, and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.