Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Loco Moco! Living up to its name, this breakfast food is actually one of Hawaii’s local favorites. The serving size is so generous you might think it’s way too much for breakfast. I didn’t eat the rest of the day after trying it at a local restaurant there. However, when you prepare it at home, you have more control over serving sizes as well as the time of day for this meal. Basically, it is composed of four layers. The bottom is fried rice, the middle is a beef patty, the next is an egg over easy. And the top layer is a ladle of gravy. Don’t knock it till you try it!

LOCO MOCO

Ingredients for Rice Layer:

1 cup prepared brown rice

1 strips bacon, crisp and crumbled

1 sausage patty, crumbed*

2 ounces smoked sausage,

cut-up

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons onion, cut-up

*Hawaiians favor SPAM.

Instructions for Rice Layer:

In large skillet add sesame oil and sauté onions. Add remaining ingredients. Stir fry to blend flavors. Set aside.

Ingredients for Beef Patty Layer:

4 1/4-pound beef patties

1 can beef consommé

Dash of pepper

Instructions for Beef Patty Layer:

Cook beef in consommé until tender. I did this the day before in my slow-cooker. It’s worth the effort! Save the broth for turning into gravy.

Ingredients for Egg Layer:

4 fresh eggs

Instructions for Egg Layer:

Cook on stove to make eggs over-easy (or sunny-side up) so the yolks are still runny.

Ingredients for Gravy Layer:

1 cup beef consommé*

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

*Add water if necessary to make one cup of liquid.

Instructions for Gravy Layer:

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour to the butter and stir to make a roux. Cook over medium-low heat until the flour is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the consommé juices and stir until thickened.

Now serve by assembling the layers in a shallow bowl: rice, beef, egg, and gravy. Loco Moco!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter K

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Kolachy Wedding Cookies! The beauty of this wedding delicacy, popular in Central Europe, transforms every bite into a puff of pastry. Taste the splendor. Choose one or more of your favorite fruit toppings, sprinkle with a few chocolate morsels, and let the celebration begin! I made mine into Cherry Chocolate Chip Kolachys!

KOLACHY WEDDING COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1 8-ounce package Neufchâtel cheese

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 can pie filling, any flavor

1/2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels

Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Cream together butter, Neufchâtel cheese, milk, and sugar. Add beaten egg yolk. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture and blend well. Refrigerate until the dough is thoroughly chilled (4 hours or overnight). Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick on well-floured board. Cut with a 2″ round cookie cutter, or small glass. Place cut-outs on an ungreased cookie sheet. Make a depression with the back of a spoon in the center of each round. Fill the center with a dollop of fruit filling. Sprinkle chocolate morsels on top. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter J

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Jarlsburg Grilled Cheese! This is a perfect fusion of buttery, crisp, lightly salted Swiss-style cheese and dense artisan bread. Grilling at the correct temperature is crucial. It will result in a golden-brown crunch followed by a warm flow of oozing cheese with a sweet-tangy finish. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It really is!

Ingredients:

8 ounces of Jarlsburg cheese, grated

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

Artisan bread of choice, sliced (sesame bread is pictured)

Salted Butter for browning

Instructions:

Combine cheese, mayonnaise, and red onion in a medium bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate in a covered container for one hour. Slowly melt a dab of butter in the skillet over medium-low heat before adding the bread. Do not let the butter burn. If you brown the bread on both sides first, it will hasten the melting process of the cheese inside. Once the bread is browned on both sides, spread a spoonful of the Jarlsburg cheese mixture over one piece of bread and then place the other slice on top of the sandwich. Apply light pressure being careful not to squeeze the filling out onto the pan. Swirl the sandwich to get a nice brown color, about 2 minutes. Gently flip and repeat. Serve immediately.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Indiana Sweet Corn! With July on the horizon, already the taste buds begin yearning for that extra juicy sweet corn freshly picked straight from the farmer’s field. After all, it’s best eaten the day it’s picked. There’s no taste quite like it. Get connected to the Farmers Market in your area for the best produce. Then do what I do, freeze extra for those cold, wintry days!

INDIANA SWEET CORN

Ingredients:

4 ears of Indiana sweet corn

Sea salt to taste

Butter for slathering

Instructions by Boiling:

Fill a stock pot with enough water to cover the corn. Bring it to a boil. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in the water. Remove outer husk and silk from corn. Rinse corn. Carefully drop each ear into boiling water. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium. Cook 3-5 minutes. Remove with tongs and serve immediately with butter and sea salt.

Instructions for Microwaving:

I cook one ear at a time when I’m only preparing a few ears for a meal. Leave corn in husk. With a sharp knife, cut off the pointed end of the corn cob. Rinse under running water. While the ear of corn is wet, wrap a paper towel around it. The water will moisten the paper towel. Place the ear of corn in the microwave and cook on 100% power for 2-3 minutes. The husk will trap and steam the corn. Watch! Remove from microwave and let sit for a couple minutes. Use the paper towel to carefully shuck the corn. The silks come off easily.

Whichever method you choose, the reward is a taste of sugary-sweet Indiana heaven. Enjoy!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter H

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking featuring a Happy Hobo Picnic! The best thing about this recipe is ANY combination of meat and vegetables can be used! No more picky eaters. Everyone chooses the vegetables they favor that appeal to their personal taste buds. And clean-up is a snap leaving more time for recreation, shopping, and fun!

HAPPY HOBO PICNIC

Ingredients:

2 pounds of beef tips, marinated

1 onion, sliced

4 new red potatoes, sliced

1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut up

2 ears of corn, cut into thirds

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Dash black pepper

6 tablespoons butter, sliced

Beef Tip Marinade:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup garlic wine vinegarette

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over beef tips. Cover. Allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove tips and discard marinade.

Instructions for Hobo Packets:

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Prepare foil packets for single serving. Layer beef, onion, carrots, corn, and potatoes. Season with spices to taste. Place 1 tablespoon of sliced butter in each packet. Wrap foil around food and seal tightly. Grill 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Carefully open each packet and serve. Caution: Steam will escape packets when opened.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter G

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Green Pepper Dip! Nothing says “presentation” like a vegetable dip served in a green pepper. If you don’t believe me, try this for your next gathering. People practically “oooh” and “aaah” when you enter the room with it. The best part is a subtle flavor of the pepper blends into the dip. Hint: Do your homework at the produce aisle. Make sure you buy a pepper that will sit straight on the serving dish.

GREEN PEPPER DIP

Ingredients:

1 Large Green Bell Pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Instructions:

Cut top off green pepper. Carefully scoop out all seeds and the four ribs. Rinse and pat dry. Combine all remaining ingredients. Mix well. Gently fill the pepper with dip, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Serve with crudités and crackers.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter F

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: First-Class Fajitas! Grilling is always in season and what better way to prepare a smorgasbord of flavor. I prefer shrimp, my husband prefers steak, and we both like chicken. So we blend it all together and make this fabulous main course. Throw in the sides, salsa, and cheese, and everyone is happy!

FIRST-CLASS FAJITAS

Ingredients:

1-pound of shrimp

2 chicken breasts, boneless

1 pound of sirloin steak

Marinate each meat/shrimp in the following: (x3)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 cup tequila

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sea salt to taste

1 Vidalia onion

1 green pepper

4 romaine leaves, gently torn

1 tomato, chopped

2 green onions, snipped

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup sliced jalapeños

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

4 flour tortillas

Instructions:

In three shallow dishes, place steak, chicken and shrimp in their own marinade. Let stand for one hour. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Drain marinade and discard. Place meats and shrimp on grill.* Cook through until done. (Chicken will take about 7 minutes per side.)

(Steak will take 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.)

(Shrimp will take 2 minutes per side.)

(Grill the vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes total.)

Meanwhile toss romaine leaves, tomatoes, and green onions to blend in a bowl. Fill tortillas with your favorite meats, veggies, and toppings. Serve with chips, salsa, and sour cream. Olé!

*For easy cooking on the grill, use one grill pan for the shrimp as well as one for the vegetables.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter E

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Elderflower Raspberry Muffins! If you are a citrus lover, you will think you have died and gone to Heaven. The elderflowers from the St. Germain region of France are harvested into a delectable liqueur every Spring. Their delicate flavor is a blend of lemon, peach, and pear with a slight floral nature. When added to the ripe taste of raspberries with lemon zest, this fruity muffin becomes delightfully pleasing to the palate.

ELDERFLOWER RASPBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lemon for zest strips

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray the muffin tin with a nonstick oil. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a food processor, combine lemon zest strips and sugar. Pulse to finely chop the zest into the sugar. Add yogurt, milk, butter, egg, and extracts. Pulse until blended. Mix the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Bake the muffins 18 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes before covering with glaze. Serve warm.

Elderflower Glaze

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup elderflower liqueur*

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Combine sugar and elderflower liqueur in microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk until smooth, eliminating lumps. Let sit for a minute or two before pouring over warm muffins.

*Elderflower liqueur may be substituted by using lemon juice instead.