What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Endive Apple Salad! Have you noticed how bright and beautiful the produce is right now? Sometimes I marvel at all the farm fresh fruits and vegetables imagining the flavors I can pair on a plate. It’s a good thing my husband is open to trying new things. A juicy sweet slice of red ripe apple nestled between curly-edged leaves of rich green endive become pleasing to the eye long before the first crunch is heard. Add Bleu cheese crumbles with praline pecans drizzled in a balsamic reduction sauce. Together it adds deliciousness that is unsurpassed, in my opinion.
ENDIVE APPLE SALAD
1 large Gala apple
1/4 lemon juice
1 bunch curly endive
1 small head napa cabbage
1/2 cup praline pecan halves
1/4 cup bacon pieces
1/4 cup Bleu cheese crumbles
Balsamic reduction sauce*
Pour lemon juice into a shallow bowl. Cut the apple in half. Take one portion and place cut side down in lemon juice. This keeps the apple from turning brown. Remove the apple and set aside for garnish. For the remaining apple half, core and remove seeds. Slice apple into 7 equal-size wedges; dip both sides of apples into lemon juice to coat. Meanwhile, arrange napa cabbage leaves and endive on a decorative platter, alternating for bursts of color. Place the apple half in the center and nestle one apple wedge inside a cabbage leaf, creating a pinwheel effect. Add praline pecans, bacon pieces, and Bleu cheese crumbles. Drizzle with balsamic reduction glaze.
*For my quick and easy homemade version, follow the link to
“When you focus on being a blessing,
God makes sure that you are always
blessed in abundance.”
~ Joel Osteen
“Coffee connects us in so many ways,
to each other, to our senses, and
to the earth that supports the coffee trees.”
~ Rohan Marley
Dining Outside the Home: Los Locos Bar & Grill in San Diego, California. Tucked in the main thoroughfare of Old Town, sits an authentic unassuming Mexican cantina that serves jalapeño margaritas with a twist of outdoor music. It should. After all, this is the perfect corner spot for people-watching. For an afternoon snack, order the special of the day: Spicy Corn Nachos. Under the California sunshine, the cheese transforms into an ultra-melty obsession. Scoop up some black beans and pico de gallo. It’s okay to lick your fingers. Dishes like this are meant to be shared.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Delicious Dill Dip! “Remember to eat your veggies.” We’ve all ignored that inner voice that tends to remind us not to reach for a second cookie. So today we’re going to make eating vegetables FUN! This dip is so yummy, you can scoop it up with cucumber spears, celery sticks, baby carrots, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, or cauliflower. But don’t stop there. The fresh dill even complements a toasted bagel, which you’ll see later on.
DELICIOUS DILL DIP
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon celery flakes
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill
Mix thoroughly yogurt and mayonnaise. Add sea salt, celery seed, onion powder, celery flakes, and chopped onion; blend well. Fold in fresh dill. Refrigerate one hour before serving.
Dining Outside the Home: Harbor House Restaurant in San Diego, California. Who doesn’t get a thrill from watching adventurous boat traffic at the edge of a bustling downtown mecca? Harbor House Restaurant understands the thriving draw of Seaport Village. Have a seat in the open-air hotspot to watch the massive military vessels, luxurious yachts, and recreational traffic pass by. The landscape is ever-changing. When the food arrives, the experience kicks up a notch. For starters, the Ahi Tower is perfect for sharing. Notice the avocado, crabmeat, and papaya. It is a decadent prelude to the special of the day that will make your eyes practically roll back: Asiago-Crusted Sea Bass over a bed of creamy parmesan risotto. Now you understand why people flock to this area.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Corned Beef Brisket! Eating corned beef brisket isn’t just for St. Patrick’s Day anymore. However, it’s the best time to stock up when it’s popular and readily available at the nearby market. Go from the traditional favorite dinner one day to corned beef hash and eggs the next morning and Reuben sliders for a late night snack. Are you getting the idea? Be creative and tell me yours!
CORNED BEEF BRISKET
3-pound corned beef brisket, boneless
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon bay leaves
1 cup ginger beer or water
1-pound baby carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 300°. Place corned beef brisket, fat side up, in a covered roaster. Sprinkle spices on top. Add 1 cup of ginger beer or water. Cover and roast for three hours. The guideline is one hour per pound. After 2 hours add carrots to roaster. Cover and cook for 1 hour. At that time, the contents should be fork tender. Let the brisket rest for 15 minutes before slicing across the grain. Remove carrots and place in a bowl. Add butter to coat. Sprinkle with paprika.
1 head of cabbage
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
In a deep pan, add 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add cabbage quarters and salt. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Turn cabbage with tongs. Simmer 5 minutes longer until tender. Drain well. Add butter to coat cabbage thoroughly.
PARSLEY BOILED POTATOES
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into sections
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon parsley
Place potatoes in 2 quart saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover. Add salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook potatoes 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain. Add butter to coat. Garnish with parsley.
Dining Outside the Home: Lemongrass Grill in Kapaa, Kauai! Venture down the road to Choy Village for a quiet dinner in an old Kauaiian homestead. The tropical ambiance of Lemongrass Grill stretches from outdoor patio dining to indoor secluded areas. Their specialties include international dishes from land and sea. If curry is your thing, Lemongrass Grill is spot on with gluten-free and vegetarian entrees. Happy hour cocktails and appetizers influence your time among the Pan-Asian culture. Take a sip of the popular “Blue Hawaiian”, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. Take a break from the beach to be transported away for a satisfying meal. You deserve it.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Black Pepper Bacon! Bacon, bacon, bacon. Did someone mention Bacon? Nothing smells more amazing than the aroma of hickory-smoked maple bacon lightly wafting through the home. It has been known to make robust men weak in the knees and healthy women light-headed. By adding the spicy jolt of black pepper, it kicks the fragrance up a notch and awakens the taste buds.
BLACK PEPPER BACON
1 pound hickory-smoked maple bacon, thick cut
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Place bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Sprinkle black pepper over all. Bake 40-45 minutes or until crisp. Carefully remove pan from oven, being careful not to spill the hot liquid. Drain bacon on paper towels. Serve warm.