Ultra Charcuterie Board

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Ultra Charcuterie Board! Feel gourmet at home by creating your own charcuterie board the next time you want to serve appetizers. Choose any smoked, dry-cured, or cooked meat to accompany a couple of mellow cheese selections. I like the Edam cheese for its sweet, nutty flavor. It’s nice to have fruit in the form of fresh, dried, or even preserves to balance out the saltiness of the meats. Don’t forget the pickles or olives, which provide a little tang to the palate. Keep the crackers or bread as plain as possible. You want everyone to focus on the flavor explosion going on in every bite. You can go all out and add chocolate morsels and nuts for nibbling. The best part is everyone wins! People pick and choose their own combinations and give you high praise for being such a genius!

ULTRA CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Ingredients:

5 ounces Old World pepperoni, sliced

3 ounces Old World prosciutto, sliced

7 ounce wheel of Edam cheese

8 ounces dried pitted dates

6 ounces mixed olives

10 ounces smoked almonds

1 bag of multi grain baguette slices

Instructions:

Arrange everything on one or two charcuterie boards. The pairing is up to each guest. As long as it is appealing, it definitely promotes conversation. Depending on how large a group you have will determine the number of options you choose. For larger groups I suggest crackers, jam, and spreadable cheeses as a nice complement to smoked meats and fresh fruit. Be creative. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

All the Buzz!

Life can find us as busy as a bee some days, so I invite you to drop by from time to time to find something sweet. Who doesn’t enjoy dining al fresco, picnics in the park, and foods that are healthy? I do. I like fresh ingredients, garden herbs, rich chocolate, and French butter…to name just a few. But I’m in good company. Some of my recent posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter as well as Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) on Instagram. Come along with me for “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: All the Buzz! This remarkable journey of the palate is special because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as reciting your A-B-Cs. One of my passions is being at home in my own country kitchen. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Now more than ever, since I am retired, I relish the thought of creating something delicious from scratch. I adore time-honored traditions using tried-and-true recipes. Yet, I often never think twice about tweaking old favorites or modifying others to suit the inner craving of the moment. Most of the recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be altered in any direction. The leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten again later or shared with others. And I love to share. To me, seeing a smile in gratitude is thanks enough. The recipes you will find here in the next several weeks can be prepared very easily. 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: ALL THE BUZZ!”

Yellow Bloomin’ Onion

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Yellow Bloomin’ Onion! Nothing is more fitting for Spring than an appealing appetizer that resembles a flower, in my opinion. Now you can make a healthy version at home by baking the breaded onion instead of deep-frying it. The last few minutes under the broiler give it a crispy finish that adds extra crunch to the delicious petals. And the dipping sauce….oh my gosh, you have to try it!

YELLOW BLOOMIN’ ONION

Ingredients:

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/4 cup Panko crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon Cajun spices

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

1-2 tablespoons butter, melted

Seasoning salt to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. In one bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Cajun spice. Mix well. Set aside. In another bowl, combine beaten eggs and milk. Whisk together. Set aside. Cut the top side of the onion. Turn over and carefully cut the root side just enough to peel the outer skin of the onion. Leave the root intact as this will be the base and hold the onion together. Discard onion skins. In order to give the appearance of an open flower, 16 sections are made. With the root side up, place the knife 1/8″ away from the core and slice straight down. It is best to begin with quarters and then make 3 slices in each quadrant all the way around. Carefully turn the onion over and spread the “petals” apart. Dip the onion in the milk bath and wash it completely using a pastry brush. Carefully transfer the onion to the bowl filled with breading. Beginning at the bottom, cover each petal with dry coating. Again using the pastry brush, continue coating the petals until the egg wash is gone. You may alternate the egg mixture and dry coating to cover the petals. Transfer the onion to an oven-safe pie plate or dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Using hot pads, take the pan from the oven and remove the foil. Using a pastry brush, coat the onion with melted butter. Return to the oven. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until crispy. I set the broiler on High and broiled it for 4-5 minutes to make it extra-crunchy. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place on a serving platter. Serve with dipping sauce.

DIPPING SAUCE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

3 teaspoons ketchup

2 teaspoons Lea and Perrins

2 tablespoons horseradish

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Instructions:

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, ketchup, Lea and Perrins, horseradish, paprika, and cayenne. Mix well and refrigerate for one hour. Pour into a small cup and place in the center of the onion.

Delicious Dill Dip

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

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Lemongrass Grill in Kapaa, Kauai

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.

Food Junkie Favorites

Hello, my name is Gail and I’m a Food Junkie. I confess that I eat to live and enjoy the ride. I like fresh ingredients, garden herbs, rich chocolate, and French butter…to name just a few. But I’m in good company. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter as well as Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) on Instagram. Come along with me for “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Food Junkie Favorites! This remarkable journey of the palate is special because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as reciting your A-B-Cs. One of my passions is being at home in my own country kitchen. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Now more than ever, since I am retired, I relish the thought of creating something delicious from scratch. I adore time-honored traditions using tried-and-true recipes. Yet, I often never think twice about tweaking old favorites or modifying others to suit the inner craving of the moment. Most of the recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be altered in any direction. The leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten again later or shared with others. And I love to share. To me, seeing a smile in gratitude is thanks enough. The recipes you will find here in the next several weeks can be prepared very easily. 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: FOOD JUNKIE FAVORITES!”

Searsucker in San Diego, California

Dining Outside the Home: Searsucker in San Diego, California. How many restaurants do you visit that actually encourage “shared plates”? Searsucker doesn’t mind. In fact they recommend it. They understand the trend of grazing. After all, friends get together to unwind over savory foods and playful cocktails, so this is the best way to try new things. When you think about it, presentation is love at first sight. Small bites can offer big flavor combinations. Take a look at the Spicy Ahi Poke with taro root chips. You can almost taste the toasted sesame and spicy sriracha. But why take my word for it? Take a seat inside for a crowd or table for two on the patio. Either way, you can count on sharing.

Xenial Spinach Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Xenial Spinach Dip! Take a trip down Memory Lane with this hip 1970s all-star party staple. “I called it!”, shouted my best friend when asked to bring an appetizer to share. Maybe it was the presentation of carrying an artisan bread bowl into the room, or perhaps it was the “healthy” alternative to potato chips and onion dip, or it could have been the standing ovation it got from everyone who tasted it. Think about it….how fun is that to tear off a piece of crusty bread and slather it in creamy spinach mingled with a spicy crunch of water chestnuts. “I called it!”

XENIAL SPINACH DIP

Ingredients:

1 pound artisan bread bowl

1 pint Greek yogurt

3 ounces Neufchâtel cheese

10 ounces mayonnaise

8 ounce can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1 package Swiss vegetable dry soup mix

10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and chopped

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, mix Greek yogurt, Neufchâtel cheese, and mayonnaise. Chill one hour. Add water chestnuts, package of Swiss vegetable dry soup mix, and uncooked spinach. Mix well. Chill one hour longer. Hollow out center of bread bowl. Fill with spinach dip. Serve with raw vegetables.

Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada When it’s hot outside in Vegas, crank up the heat even more at Hell’s Kitchen with smoky cocktails and iced shrimp cocktail. The world-renowned celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, recreated the infamous studio set from the television show. Prepare to be amazed. The sleek contemporary restaurant also landed a view overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. But forget all that. Come to Hell’s Kitchen for the outstanding food, extraordinary cocktails, and the dining ambiance. Take your time. The Beef Wellington is unsurpassed, which is the reason for the HK Signature Prix Fixe Menu. The final culmination of a fabulous meal would be the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Don’t forget the coffee.