Front-Runner Favs

Common ingredients seem ordinary when listed on their own. In fact, most kitchen pantries are stocked with staples. It just keeps us from making daily stops at the supermarket. When familiar ingredients meet fresh ones, it increases the variety and changes them into front-runner favs. Mealtime then becomes an all-star event. And speaking of stars…Some of my posts have received a nod from the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive@DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram @gail_dorna. This continuous journey of the palate gives me time with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as A-B-C. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Most recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be easily modified. Leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten later or shared with others. Seeing a smile of gratitude keeps me going. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: FRONT-RUNNER FAVS!”

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a Charmer

You probably know the Massachusetts village by an Oscar-winning film of the same name that awakened the rest of the world to this sleepy little fishing community. But Manchester-by-the-Sea has been around since 1645. Located along the north shore of Massachusetts Bay, where quaint summer cottages become the coveted home-away-from-home for a season, history is still being made. Such notables include a poet, author, actor, politician, comedian, professional golfer, radio talk show host, and more. The town has several points of interest, like Singing Beach, that adds enough allure to keep people flocking back. Unless of course, you’re one of the fortunate ones who get to live there. 

Dining Outside the Home: Joey’s Diner in Amherst, New Hampshire

Dining Outside the Home: Joey’s Diner in Amherst, New Hampshire! Cruise down the highway to a 1950’s-style diner where cherry cokes are the real deal, like soda fountains served in the past. Stroll by the long counter of bar stools, beyond the juke box where the atmosphere is casual and the decor is retro. Did you see the glass dessert case filled with homemade pies and cakes? Pull out a chair where the chrome is hip and the Formica tabletop is the cat’s pajamas. Joey’s Diner serves up meat loaf (like your Momma used to make), grilled burgers, crispy french fries, classic club sandwiches, and hand-blended milkshakes. Decisions, decisions. They’re open every day for three square meals. Check it out Daddy-O!

NYC’s 9/11 Memorial is Sacred Site

Every American should make the trek to visit the 9/11 Memorial, in my opinion. Located in New York City, in the area where the Twin Towers used to stand, is a footprint honoring the memory of 2,977 victims who lost their lives as a result of the September 11 terrorists’ attack on our nation. Step into the plaza, a field of shade trees, where the sound of water draws you to those massive gaping footprints. Two very large reflecting pools, containing water that falls into a bottomless black hole, reside there. Edging the Memorial pools are bronze panels inscribed with the names of every person who died, lest we never forget. The Museum, located mostly underground, has been described as an “archaeological site of Ground Zero.” It truly remains a tribute to the past as well as a hope for the future. 

See and Experience 30 Rock

A Statue of Atlas on Fifth Avenue will immediately grab your attention before raising your eyes to the 872-foot tower beyond the sunken plaza. This is Rockefeller Center, or more commonly referred to as 30 Rock. It has become a focal point and popular gathering place over the years, especially at Christmastime. You’ll also recognize Rockefeller Center by the 200 flagpoles surrounding the plaza at street level. Taking center stage is the gilded Statue of Prometheus, which practically glows on fire. But that’s only the beginning. Colorful gardens, unique shops, international cafés, art and history, rooftop tours, and more make this national landmark truly memorable. 
“I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.” ~ John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

New York by Water

Did you know the Staten Island Ferry is a free boat ride that gives one of the most memorable views, by water, of the New York City skyline? Because the ferry commutes back and forth between Manhattan and Staten Island, round the clock, it’s one of the most popular Harbor Cruises by tourists and residents alike. Check out the majestic Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan, and Ellis Island. Be prepared to stand for the view. After all, remember, it’s free. It’s also unforgettable. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Zen Himalayan Plate! Go above ordinary ingredients and transform your palate with a meal on the Himalayan salt plate. Foods pick up a delicate saltiness that transcends the flavor and leaves behind monotony. By creating bite-size pieces of fish, shellfish, and cucumber sushi, nourishment balances out the inner peace from within. Good for health-crazed affenciados as well as those soul-searching for expression. 

3.75-ounce tin Wild Caught Sardines, in olive oil

1 lemon, sliced and quartered

3.75-ounce tin smoked oysters

Fresh lemon thyme

7-ounces prepared crab dip

4 mini cucumbers, seedless

Fresh dill

Assorted crackers

Arrange sardines on a Himalayan salt plate. Drizzle with olive oil from the tin. Place lemon wedges on fish and garnish with fresh lemon thyme. Smoked oysters may be served in individual sea shells. Drizzle with sauce from the tin. Oysters may also be served on a cracker. To assemble the cucumber sushi, slice mini cucumbers into thick rolls. To remove the inside portion of each disc, place the cucumber on a cutting board, use a sharp knife, and rotate the cuke until the center is cut out. Make sure the walls remain. Discard fleshy pulp. Place the cucumber “rings” on the Himalayan salt plate. Spoon prepared crabmeat dip into each ring. Press gently to fill the sushi roll. Garnish with dill. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Yummy Spud Fries! Choose a healthier way to have your fries and eat them, too. Take regular potatoes, preferably russet, cut them into thick strips leaving the skin on, and bake until crispy before adding a mound of toppings. I use both grated and shaved Parmesan cheese. You’ll know perfection when the outside is a lovely sunset golden color. One bite reveals a fluffy potato within. Now dunk them in sour cream and chives or slather on thick tomato ketchup. Mmmmm. 

4 russet potatoes, washed and cut into thick strips

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Garnish with bacon crumbles 

Preheat oven to 425°. Put potato strips in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with garlic powder, thyme, and seasoned salt. Coat well. Transfer potatoes to a nonstick baking sheet. Spread into a single layer. Reserve oil in bowl. Bake 15 minutes. Turn potatoes and bake 15 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes back into the bowl with reserved olive oil. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Coat well. Layer fries onto baking sheet. Return to oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Before serving sprinkle spud fries with shaved Parmesan cheese and bacon crumbles. Serve immediately.