What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Blue Plate Fish Sliders! Switching from beef to fish has its rewards, especially when the fish is a fresh catch only hours ago. The fact that fish has less saturated fat is a bonus for me. I’m all about reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The delicate soft texture of fish practically melts in your mouth as it flakes off from one tasty bite to the next. The mini-version of a sandwich, in a world of super-size portions, makes sliders cute and fun as well. Whether you call it an appetizer or a meal, fish sliders are here to stay.
BLUE PLATE FISH SLIDERS
4 4-ounce red grouper fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Heat outdoor gas grill to medium heat, approximately 350°. Rinse and pat each fillet with a paper towel. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Transfer to a platter. Oil the grill grates with a folded paper towel dipped in olive oil. Place each fillet directly on the grate. Close the grill cover. Cook 4 minutes. Using a flat spatula, slide under each fillet and carefully flip it over. Close the grill cover and cook 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a clean platter. Lightly toast slider buns, if desired. Assemble fish sliders with coleslaw, grilled fish, and mixed greens. Serve immediately.
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? Waste Not, Want Not: Everything Turkey Sliders! These miniature sandwiches are anything but small, when it comes to flavor. In a world of “supersize” portions, having something more manageable is always a good thing. It’s like when my husband and I eat out at a restaurant. We split a portion and then if we’re still hungry, we can order something else. More often than not, we are completely full and satisfied with smaller portions. It works for us. These sliders follow the same concept. Eat one and if you’re still hungry, have another. Permission granted.
EVERYTHING TURKEY SLIDERS
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon natural honey
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons poppyseeds
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
6 slider rolls, split
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups shredded turkey, precooked
6 slices Havarti cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine melted butter, Dijon mustard, natural honey, Worcestershire sauce, poppyseeds, and minced onion in a small bowl. Whisk until mixed. Set aside. In a 6”x10” baking dish, place the bottom halves of the slider buns in a single layer, sides touching. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over them. Divide the shredded turkey between the buns. Place one slice of Havarti cheese over the shredded turkey. Carefully place the bun lids on top of each slider. Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the sliders. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the buns are toasted. Remove from oven. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Dining Outside the Home: Three60 Market in Naples, Florida! Ever wonder how a business chooses its name? Word is, Three60 Market is the talk-of-the-town for “offering world class wine for sale by only marking up each bottle $3.60”. Their website confirms it. As if that isn’t enough of a reason to drop by, imagine this. As you pull into the parking lot, you are greeted by swaying palm fronds bordering a charming plantation-style cafe with a backdrop of Haldeman Creek. Freshly prepared meals can be enjoyed under shaded umbrellas on the open-air decks. Because who doesn’t love waterside dining? Might I suggest a pecan sticky bun to accompany your morning cuppa joe? The buttery cinnamon and brown sugar sweetness is perfect with the nutty crunch. Dress is casual in this cozy pet-friendly environment. Before you head out, better pick up some wine and cheese for later on. Island getaways are hard to find.
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? Foodstuff Redefined: Hand-Packed Burgers! For a hamburger worthy of a gourmet chef, begin with a low-fat lean meat. Divide the ground beef or sirloin into four equal portions. Form each one a little wider than the bottom bun to allow for shrinkage during grilling. Press your thumb into the center to create a small well, or dimple. If you’re a perfectionist, choose a jar lid slightly larger than the hamburger bun. Line the lid with plastic wrap, press the meat into the shape, flip the patty, and continue on to the next one. That’s way cheaper than buying a hamburger press. The secret’s out. Now you choose.
1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef
1 beef bouillon cube
1-2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon steak seasoning mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sesame Seed Buns
Cheese of choice
Heat water to boiling. Add beef bouillon cube. Stir to dissolve. Fold into ground beef. Sprinkle steak seasoning into meat. With clean hands, mix gently until all ingredients are combined. Divide into quarter-pounders. Hand-pack ground beef into equal size patties. Rub both sides with olive oil. Refrigerate one hour before grilling. To cook, preheat gas grill on High heat. Place burgers directly on grate; cook for 4-5 minutes; flip and cook 4 minutes longer for medium doneness. Do not press on burger to flatten because it will release all those flavorful juices. Transfer to a platter. Immediately top with cheese of choice. Add sliced onions, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce leaves. Dress up with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. You’ve just made the best backyard burger!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Angus Beef Burger! Anyone who is a beef-eater understands that when meat has a high level of marbling, it keeps it moist for longer when cooking. Why is marbling important, you wonder? Because the fat ratio is scattered throughout creating juicy, tender, and more flavorful results. Long story, short, angus beef means better burger. No one wants a hockey puck for a hamburger. Right? Although it may cost a little more per pound, the end results are worth it.
ANGUS BEEF BURGER
1 pound Angus beef, ground
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Lettuce, tomato, bacon and condiments as desired
Preheat a gas grill on High temperature. Form the ground beef into four equal portions. Season both sides of each patty with sea salt and black pepper. Brush the burgers with olive oil. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes until brown and slightly charred. Flip over. Do not press down to release juices! Cook 4 minutes longer, for medium rare, until golden and charred. Grill longer for desired results. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns. Add fixings and condiments to taste. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Lamb Burger Sliders! For all the meat-lovers out there, lean lamb is a healthier choice simply because it is good for the heart. Personally, I prefer the tender cut of meat with its mellow flavor, especially when partnered with garden fresh vegetables. By adding a touch of spice, it actually enhances the flavor. If you’re looking for a break from beef, chicken, or pork…think lamb.
LAMB BURGER SLIDERS
1 pound ground lamb
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup tzatziki sauce with feta chunks
6 ciabatta slider buns
Form ground lamb meat into six mini patties. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning; sprinkle with sea salt. Brush both sides of patties with olive oil. Grill lamb patties 2-3 minutes per side over medium-high heat, turning once. Set aside. Toast ciabatta buns. To assemble lamb sliders, spread tzatziki sauce on the bottom of the buns. Next layer buns with cucumber slice, tomatoes, lamb burger, and red onion. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Jersey Hot Dogs! Ask anyone how they prefer a hot dog and you’re bound to get a multitude of answers. Some prefer ketchup and onions, others insist on mustard and pickle relish. When grilling or roasting you hear everything from “barely warm” to “charred and crispy”. And then there’s New Jersey where the technique has been practiced for over a century. Maybe you know the secret: crispy potato chunks, sweet red peppers, and grilled onions. Overload the bun and slather on the mustard. Pay attention. You’ve just entered the Hot Dog Zone of America!
JERSEY HOT DOGS
3 new potatoes, cut into chunks
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
4 Angus beef hot dogs
4 hot dog buns
Deli Mustard to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in an iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add potatoes. Fry for 3 minutes; turn and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Potatoes will be partially crisp and browned. Remove and set aside. Add sweet red peppers and onions; repeat same frying process. Return potatoes to skillet. Add Italian seasoning. Combine vegetables. Cook 5-7 minutes longer on medium heat until all are tender and browned. Open hot dog buns and smear with deli mustard. Grill hot dogs as you prefer them. Insert hot dogs into sliced buns and fill with potato mixture.