Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter K

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Kalua Pork Roast! This special blend of herbs is a tribute to warm, tropical summer nights. The term, “Kalua”, is Hawaiian for slow cooked. I have put this frozen roast in the oven and let flavors blend all day long for an exotic taste that will have your senses wondering if you’ve been transported to a private paradise. The extra meals provided are a bonus that will have others showering you with praise in the days following. 

4 pound boneless pork butt roast

1 tablespoon Red Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt*

1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning 

2 cups apple juice

2 cups apple cider vinegar 

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1 bottle beer

Set oven to 275°. Place frozen pork roast in a covered roaster, fat side up. Pour apple juice and apple cider vinegar over roast. Next apply liquid smoke. Finish by sprinkling the Alaea sea salt and Mrs. Dash herb blend over the pork. Make sure the lid is on securely. You will begin to smell the heavenly aroma as it slowly cooks. Five hours later, check the roast, as the liquid will absorb. I discovered some roasters allow the liquid to evaporate a little sooner than I expected. I have found Le Creuset to be very reliable. If the roast needs more liquid, pour a bottle of beer over it. Keep it covered and slowly cook it at least another three hours. I have let it cook for ten hours total without a problem. It is so fork-tender you will be amazed. And the drippings can be used for gravy or barbecue sauce. 
*Available through Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts. (I receive no recompense for promoting their product.)

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter J

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail! No matter how often my husband and I entertain, this choice reigns as Number One with our guests. It is so easy to prepare and the presentation awards it center stage. In addition, I place the appetizer on a pedestal serving stand for great eye appeal. For such a tiny food which carries an impressive response, it truly is an oxymoron. 

1 pound Jumbo Shrimp, cooked and deveined with tail on

1/2 heart Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 12-ounce bottle Chili sauce

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Dash of cracked pepper 

Mix all the sauce ingredients. Blend well. Cover and refrigerate for one hour so flavors can intensify. Meanwhile, fill a chilled glass serving bowl with shredded hearts of romaine. Be sure to leave room for a smaller dish of cocktail sauce to rest in the center of the serving bowl. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the shrimp around the rim of the bowl to form an attractive fan. Return bowl to the refrigerator to remain chilled until guests arrive. Serve with wooden picks or olive skewers for dipping shrimp into sauce. The romaine is an excellent accent for nibbling. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Ice Cream Sandwiches! Oh sure, it would be way easier to open a box of treats from your freezer, but once you take the time to bake this cookie crust and fill it with gourmet ice cream, you’ll fill your freezer with this old-fashioned classic instead!

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground 

1 teaspoon cloves, ground 

1 teaspoon ginger, ground 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups butter, softened 

2 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup

1/2 cup molasses 

2 eggs

Vanilla Bean Gourmet Ice Cream 
Instructions for Cookie Crust:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and 2 cups sugar until combined. Add in the molasses and eggs and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the ingredients of the stand mixer and mix until all is combined. Fill a small bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Form teaspoon-size dough into balls then gently roll them in the granulated sugar. Place onto baking sheet, two inches apart. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used. Bake only 10 minutes for soft and chewy results. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Instructions for Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Spread the softened ice cream evenly over one cookie into a layer one inch thick. Top with a second cookie. Press down gently. Place in a ziplock sandwich bag and freeze until hard, about 5 hours. Repeat with remaining cookies. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter H

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Honeycomb Sweet Bee! Raw honeycomb has the most incredible flavor concentrated with the sweet nectar of wildflowers. The first time I tasted it, with a crisp apple slice and a nibble of sharp cheese, I realized what all the buzz was about. This edible mystery is a conversation-starter at every gathering. And a little goes a long way. Store honeycomb at room temperature in a covered container. 

Raw Honeycomb Square 

Granny Smith apples 

Cheddar Cheese, Extra Sharp*

Seedless Grapes

Smoked Almonds, whole with sea salt

Multi-Grain Crackers

*Brie may be used as well. 

Place a square of raw honeycomb in the center of a shallow dish or platter. Arrange apple slices, seedless grapes, assorted cheese cubes or wedges, crackers, and nuts around the edges. Provide an appetizer spreader, utensil, or spoon to serve. As the honeycomb cells are broken, they release the golden honey within. 
***My resource for purchase is the Savannah Bee Company. (I receive no recompense for promoting their product.)

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter G

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Glazed Carrots! My husband, Gerald, absolutely loves the texture of cooked carrots. He usually asks for more in every recipe. Unimpressed by their nutritional value, he could care less about the fiber content. Maybe it’s the bright orange color that echoed an enthusiastic response at the dinner table as a child. In any event, I know without a doubt, whenever I serve this appetizing choice of root vegetable, he knows it’s been a very special day. 

16 ounces of fresh baby carrots, greens removed

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly

1 cup water

Dash of sea salt

Cracked pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole baby carrots with remaining ingredients. Stir well to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Carrots should be tender and liquid evaporated to leave a nice glaze coating. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter F

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Fresh Pear Tart! Even if you are only slightly crazy about pears, one taste of this beautiful caramelized fruit dessert will have you boasting of connections to Le Cordon Bleu. The secret to making this incredible tart is baking it in an iron skillet; first on the stove and then in the oven. 

1 sheet of Puff Pastry

6 ripe pears; peeled, cored, and sliced

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 375°. Place the butter in the iron skillet on the stove. As it melts, add the sugar and arrange the pears carefully to look appealing when the tart is served “bottom up”. Increase the heat and cook gently until sugar is caramelized. Sprinkle in the cinnamon. Once the sugar has turned golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and gently lay the puff pastry over the fruit. Be sure it fits snugly to the pan. Place the skillet into the oven. Bake 15-20 minutes until the pastry crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before turning upside down onto a serving platter. Cut and serve warm. Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for the finishing touch. Smile lovingly and say, “It’s just a little something I made with all my heart!” ❤️