What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Quick Egg Salad Subs! Lucky for you, egg salad is a no-brainer when it comes to a fulfilling lunchtime meal. It’s quick, basic Cooking 101, and all you need as additives are salt and mayo. Now if you happen to have celery, onions, mustard, or pickles in the back of the fridge, you can elevate this sammie to a level fit for the royals. For me, brioche buns carry enough natural sweetness, are chewy, and serve as a gourmet vessel for all that chunky, flavorful deliciousness. Serve with a side of kettle chips.
QUICK EGG SALAD SUBS
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon scallion, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 brioche split-top sub buns, toasted
Watercress, for garnish
In a bowl, combine hard-cooked eggs, mayonnaise, finely chopped celery, minced scallion, kosher salt, and celery seed. Stir until completely mixed. Divide between 2 brioche sub sandwiches. Garnish with fresh watercress.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Legendary Pizza Burger! I’ll never forget my first experience eating a pizza burger. I was probably 16 years old at the time. I worked in a ladies retail clothing store downtown. On my dinner break, I walked across the street where a drugstore had a lunch counter with a grill and fryer. Being a crazy kid who loved anything pizza, I ordered it off the menu. Upon first bite, this white goo began to overflow across my hands to the plate below. My first thought was, “Ohmygosh, this burger is rotten with a slimy white stuff running out of it!” Fortunately my brain kicked in and I realized what I was actually tasting was mozzarella cheese. From that day on, I was a champion for anything pizza burger. And the remarkable afterthought is, now I compare every other menu item pizza burger to it. Unexpected, but true.
LEGENDARY PIZZA BURGER
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 brioche buns, split and toasted
1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce, warmed
Fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat gas grill to 350°. In a large bowl, combine lean ground beef, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper. Form mixture into 8 patties. Place one slice of fresh mozzarella cheese into the diameter of a patty. Press another patty on top; pinching together to seal. Repeat until all four patties are formed. Cook directly on the grill. Close lid and grill for 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer pizza burgers to a platter. Serve between brioche buns. Top each pizza burger with a dollop of pizza sauce. Enjoy.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Kielbasa Hot Dogs! If you like to try something a little different than ordinary hot dogs, choose a beef sausage link that focuses more on natural flavorings like garlic, woodsmoke, cloves, or pimento. Personally, I lean more toward nitrate-free labeling, which means the preservatives are natural rather than chemically added. Every little bit helps, because sometimes eating a grilled hot dog just makes the world a happier place.
KIELBASA HOT DOGS
13-ounce package of 4 kielbasa smoked sausage links, fully cooked
4 brioche split-top brioche hot dog buns
1/2 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup yellow mustard
Preheat gas grill to 400°. Arrange smoked sausage links directly on the grill grates. Close lid. The total cooking time should be approximately 12 minutes. After 3 minutes, using tongs rotate each sausage link a quarter turn. Close lid. After 3 more minutes, rotate another quarter turn. Repeat until all sides have been slightly charred. It helps to keep the sausage links from touching as they cook; this allows the heat to sear the skins evenly. When finished transfer to a platter and serve with chopped onion, sweet pickle relish, and yellow mustard.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Wheat Brioche Burgers! Why brioche buns, you’re thinking. First of all, you must admit a hamburger bun that crumbles into your hands is very frustrating. After the first bite, you’re afraid to put it down in case it turns into a heaping mess on your plate. From that point on, a fork is your only option. Amirite? Brioche buns are rich, chewier, and a little more dense. The golden texture alone is soft and buttery while leaving you with an element of light consistency. Now that’s a way to compliment a savory, grilled burger. Wouldn’t you agree?
WHEAT BRIOCHE BURGERS
1 pound ground chuck beef
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons water, boiling
2 eggs, beaten
6 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 gourmet wheat brioche hamburger buns
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 leaves romaine lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced into 8 rings
1/3 cup mayonnaise
In a small bowl, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Stir. In another bowl, combine ground chuck, bouillon water, and beaten eggs. Fold in crushed crackers. Divide beef into four portions. Form into patties about 1/2” thick and 1” wider than the burger buns. Indent with a thumbprint in the center of the patty. Sprinkle with black pepper. Chill for one hour. Preheat grill on high heat to 400°. Grill patties, indented side up, for 6 minutes. Juices will accumulate on top of burgers causing them to sear. Do not smash down. Flip; reduce grill temperature to 325° for another 6 minutes. Turn grill off, leaving burgers on grill for 4 minutes longer. At this time, spread the cut sides of the brioche buns with softened butter. Place buttered sides down on grill for a couple minutes to toast until golden brown. Meanwhile, coat romaine lettuce leaves with mayonnaise, gently turning. To assemble burgers, transfer buns to a platter. Add more mayonnaise, if desired. Layer hamburgers with grilled meat, romaine leaves, and tomato slices. Top with toasted buns. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Rollin’ in Lobstah! Ever wonder why lobster is so popular? I find the mildly sweet, delicate flavor irresistible. If you’re preparing it at home in a state that is landlocked, a lot of resources are at your fingertips. Did you know you can order it from Maine and have it delivered in 24 hours? That’s golden. There are numerous websites that offer delicious lobster choices to conveniently keep on hand in the freezer. I buy lobster meat and lobster tails only. Forget the labor-intensive task of twisting the head, legs, and claws apart from the tail. Then again, I’ve been called “high maintenance”. To each his own.
ROLLIN’ IN LOBSTAH
4 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
4 split-top brioche hot dog buns
4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced for garnish
Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish
In a bowl, combine lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Gently toss to coat. Spread butter on the outer sides of each bun. Place the buns on a griddle over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Divide the lobster mixture among the buns. Garnish with fresh chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with remaining butter.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Veggie Burger! For a quarter-pounder without all the fat, substitute red meat for black beans instead. Sound crazy? Actually, I conducted a little taste test on my husband recently. By using mashed black beans, onion, green pepper, egg, and bread crumbs, it seemed more like a meatloaf than a burger. It kinda did. The texture was the same and they fried up real nice in the iron skillet. By the time we added lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle, we practically did a double-take on the finished product. Go all out and slide it between a brioche bun. The veggie burger definitely crossed the finish line at the dinner table. Now that’s delicious.
16-ounce can organic black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 green pepper
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
3 drops sriracha sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Butter for frying
Brioche hamburger buns
Condiments, per taste
Using a food processor set on Pulse, mash black beans until thick and chunky. Transfer to a bowl. Next, combine green pepper, yellow onion, and minced garlic in the food processor. Chop into small pieces. Stir into the black beans. Add egg, chili powder, cumin, and sriracha sauce. Mix well. Add bread crumbs. Mix together with gloved hands until consistency is dense enough to form into patties. Melt butter in an iron skillet over medium heat. Place patties into skillet and cook about 7-8 minutes until a crispy outer edge is present. Flip and cook 7-8 minutes longer. Serve with condiments of choice on a brioche bun.
Dining Outside the Home: Eggslut in Las Vegas, Nevada. This chef-driven walk-up eating place understands hungry people want breakfast any time of day. Loaded Eggslut selections make that craving possible. Some eat on the run, others grab a seat at the high-top counter bar. Go coddled, order a sammie on a warm brioche bun, or add on the greens. No matter what you choose, cage-free eggs are the star attraction. Sandwiches are two-handed mouthfuls, so don’t forget a fork. The killer Egg Salad Sandwich has a honey-mustard and chive creaminess that delivers.