Unwrapped Burritos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Unwrapped Burritos! Casual meals come in handy on those days that are filled with unlimited tasks, scheduled appointments, and day-to-day responsibilities. Or you just don’t feel like making a full-course meal. Presenting……burrito fixings! It has all the good stuff: seasoned meat, tasty jalapeños, shredded cheeses, fresh onions, tomatillos, and corn kernels. Always remember to add crunchy tortilla chips and chunky salsa. Think of it as sinfully wicked. Kinda like sneaking more pizza toppings, scooping out lasagna fillings, or gobbling up the creme “Stuf” in an Oreo® cookie. Guilty, as charged.

UNWRAPPED BURRITOS

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef, browned and crumbled

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Jalapeño slices, for garnish

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 red onion, sliced

4 tomatillos, sliced and halved

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Salsa, for dressing

Corn Tortilla Chips, for serving

Instructions:

Combine cooked ground beef, sea salt, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Keep warm, top with jalapeño slices; set aside. For the salad, in a medium bowl combine corn kernels, red onion slices, tomatillos, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. Toss gently. To serve, arrange burrito fixings on the table, along with chips and salsa. Enjoy.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Teriyaki Chicken Bowl! Do-ahead meals take a little bit of planning, but the “devil is in the details”, they say. In this case it means, make sure the chicken breasts are thawed AND marinated 24 hours before you plan on serving them. I realize that requires the cook to be somewhat organized. Pantries don’t stock themselves. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a dish without all the ingredients. Take sesame oil, for example. I find it absolutely delicious because it adds an earthy nuttiness to Asian food. Vegetable oil tastes meh, in my opinion. Not only does it alter the taste, the texture will be different. When I can find it, I buy toasted sesame seeds so I don’t have to worry about toasting them on the stove or in the oven. That’s 10 minutes I could be planning tomorrow’s meal. Idiosyncratic, but true.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN BOWL

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Green onion snips, for garnish

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions:

Place chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, minced garlic, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Baste chicken completely. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 450°. Lightly oil grill grate. Remove chicken breasts from marinade, place directly on grill, close lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. After 5 minutes, open lid, flip over chicken breasts, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove teriyaki chicken from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onion snips and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with sticky rice and mixed vegetables.

Swordfish On The Grill

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Swordfish on the Grill! Swordfish is called “Steak” for a reason. Forget fishy-tasting fish. (Say that 3 times really fast!) Swordfish, when grilled, looks more like a ribeye steak. It’s a dense, thick piece of fish. Now that doesn’t mean it is dry and tough. Actually the opposite is true. When you plan ahead and use a marinade, it becomes meaty and juicy, thereby satisfying both meat lovers and fish lovers. You can tell it is cooked because it actually changes color. One more thing, when setting the table…don’t forget the steak knife.

SWORDFISH ON THE GRILL

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce swordfish steaks

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon garlic red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Rinse swordfish; pat dry. Set aside. To make the marinade, combine olive oil, soy sauce, garlic red-wine vinegar, dried rosemary, minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, grated lemon rind, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Place swordfish steaks in a single layer of a shallow dish. Pour marinade over all. Coat both sides of fish. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Remove dish from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while preheating the gas grill to 400°. Place swordfish steaks on the preheated grill. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer. Fish will be charred on the edges. Serve immediately.

Rainier Cherry Watermelon Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Rainier Cherry Watermelon Salad! I’ve been in love with the taste of Rainier Cherries from my first bite. Truth be told, my love affair began long before it, though. I saw a beautiful blue French bowl overflowing with golden sunset cherries dipped in pink petal blush on the cover of a magazine. I was smitten, as with most things French, no matter the cost. I imagined the natural sweet allure as tempting as the charisma of dark chocolate. Once I grew past being spellbound, I knew I would treat myself to a pound of Rainier cherries once a year. Perhaps that is why this variety is known as the “Champagne of Cherries”.

RAINIER CHERRY WATERMELON SALAD

Ingredients:

2 cups watermelon, seeds removed, cut into chunks

1 cup Rainier cherries, halved with stems and pits removed

1-2 jalapeño peppers, sliced

2 tablespoons red onion, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons lime juice

Sea Salt, optional.

Instructions:

Combine watermelon chunks, Rainier cherry halves, jalapeño peppers, and red onions. Squeeze lime juice over all. Gently toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve.

Quark Raspberry Swirl

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Quark Raspberry Swirl! Quark, quark, quark. Yep…it’s a real thing. Probably the easiest way to explain what quark is would be to say, “Think about a cross between sour cream and greek yogurt”. It has the smoothness of both when mixed with veggies or fruit. Obviously when using raspberries, a little sugar makes it super-delicious. I like the fresh pleasant zing of lime juice mixed in, too. And what can I say? The coconut flavor just makes the dessert that much better.

QUARK RASPBERRY SWIRL

Ingredients:

2 cups quark

I teaspoon coconut extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lime juice

8 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed

Lime Zest, for garnish

Instructions:

Reserve several whole raspberries for garnish. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine quark, coconut extract, powdered sugar, and lime juice. Mix well. Fold in thawed raspberries, gently swirling until they leave pink streaks. Scoop into dessert cups. Top each with a whole raspberry. Garnish with lime zest.

Papaya Pineapple Boat

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Papaya Pineapple Boat! The first time I tasted fresh papaya I was on the island of Kauai. I was told it had indescribable flavor different from cantaloupe, watermelon, or mango. They were right. Papaya is not sugary sweet. It’s light and juicy with a buttery texture that allows it to taste almost creamy. Does that make sense? The lime actually adds to the tropical ambiance, which is why I prefer a squeeze of fresh to slightly mingle with the other ingredients. I’ve read that the rough black seeds can be bitter to taste. Honestly, I’ve never gotten that far to put them to the test.

PAPAYA PINEAPPLE BOAT

Ingredients:

I ripe papaya, halved horizontally with seeds removed

1 cup pineapple chunks

1 cup blackberries

2 tablespoons red onion, cut into strips

Fresh Lime, for garnish

Instructions:

Gently remove fruit from papaya; dice into chunks. Place hollowed out shells onto shallow plates. Arrange diced papaya, pineapple chunks, fresh blackberries, and red onion strips. Squeeze lime juice over all. Allow fruit “bowls” to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. This will enhance the flavors. Serves two.

Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Orange-Tomato Pico de Gallo! Chunky sauces and relishes make a wonderful addition to any meal, in my opinion. First of all, they can be substituted for a vegetable side dish. They also serve as a nice condiment for stuffing into tacos or for sharing a plate of scrambled eggs. The vibrant colors will even catch the eye of a fussy-eater, if you know what I mean. Pico de Gallo compliments seafood, pork, chicken, and beef as well as any vegetarian star attraction. Better make a batch for dinner tonight. It’s a healthy option you can thank me for later.

ORANGE-TOMATO PICO DE GALLO

Ingredients:

4 navel oranges, peeled and chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup red onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons orange peel, grated

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine chopped navel oranges, diced tomatoes, roughly chopped red onions, and finely chopped jalapeños. Toss gently. Sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, grated orange peel, and chopped cilantro. Stir gently to combine thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.