Frijoles Negros Stew

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Frijoles Negros Stew! The popular dish of Cuba and Latin America translates to “black beans”. This highly nutritious legume is catching on around my household, especially following a day of slow-cooker roast pork. I like the smoky flavor to balance out the onions, peppers, and spices. Read on to see how simple it is to indulge in a thick, hearty stew for your next nutritious meal.

FRIJOLES NEGROS STEW

Ingredients:

2-15 ounce cans of black beans, with sauce

1 can beef consommé

1 cup onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded pork

1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

In a 2-quart saucepan, pour one can of black beans with liquid. Mash beans to a thick paste. Add the other can of black beans with liquid plus the beef consommé. Blend well. Microwave the chopped onion 2 minutes on high. Add to the stew. Add shredded pork, liquid smoke, cumin powder, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Garnish with cheddar cheese, green onions, and salsa. Serve piping hot.

Festive Breakfast Pizza

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Festive Breakfast Pizza! Whether you prepare a holiday brunch for invited guests or gather ’round the table in your pajamas, this recipe is a winner. Simply because, everyone loves pizza! You now have an excuse to eat it for breakfast, even if you’re “Home Alone”. It has baked eggs, it has shredded potatoes, it has crumbled sausage, and gooey cheese all together over a golden deep dish crust. So there you have it. Bring out the holiday movies, set up the TV tray, and eat pizza for breakfast. Permission granted.

FESTIVE BREAKFAST PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 pound pork sausage, ground

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning*

1 green pepper, chopped

2 ounces pimentos, diced

1 cup hash brown potatoes, shredded

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 tube prepared pizza crust

5 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage until cooked and crumbly. Drain well. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, white pepper, and Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning. Microwave chopped green pepper on HIGH for two minutes. Combine diced pimentos, green peppers, and sausage. Mix well. For a deep dish pizza, roll out pizza crust and press into an iron skillet bringing dough up the sides of the pan. Layer with sausage mixture, hash browns, and cheddar cheese. Whisk eggs and milk together. Pour over the pizza. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set and crust is golden.

*I receive no recompense for recommending Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning.

Tortilla Republic Kitchen and Margarita Bar in Koloa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Tortilla Republic Kitchen and Margarita Bar in Koloa, Kauai. Picture this. The sun is super-bright and tropical-warm to the point where ducking into a Mexican cantina for a salt-rimmed margarita would have been a good idea about an hour ago. Nevertheless, the shade on the outdoor patio feels 10° cooler under the turquoise blue umbrella as the breezes are beginning to stir. The house margarita goes down easy on its way to an order of Quesadilla Vegetariano. I’m sure you get the picture. Complimentary tortilla chips and spicy salsa are perfect for snacking. This is a recipe for making my day.

Gruyère Onion Soup

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Gruyère Onion Soup! Everyone, sooner or later, falls in love with French Onion Soup, in my opinion. After all, who can resist the savory taste of caramelized onions, buttered croutons, and gooey melted cheese smothered in a beef broth that’s been splashed with a well-aged cognac? I wish I could tell you it’s as easy to make as opening a can of soup, but it isn’t. Don’t hate me. Let’s just say this…..if you are looking for an evening of mystery, romance, and excitement, then read on. This “soup de jour” may be the love potion that’ll woo the night away. Bon Appetît!

GRUYÈRE ONION SOUP

Ingredients:

3 Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 cup white wine

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

10 ounces beef consommé

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

4 ounces Montamoré cheese, crumbled

Splash of cognac

4 slices baguette, toasted

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

4 slices Gruyère cheese

Parsley flakes to garnish

Instructions:

In a shallow bowl, microwave sliced onions on HIGH for 2 minutes. In a large skillet, melt butter on low setting. Do not scorch. Layer onions over butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and Herbs de Provence. Cover and do not stir for 10 minutes. Remove lid and stir occasionally until onions are dark in color, another 10 minutes. Turn heat to High and add white wine and honey. Cook until wine is reduced and consistency is thick. Reduce heat to Simmer. Add apple cider vinegar, beef consommé, low-sodium chicken broth, and worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle soup into four oven-proof crocks placed on a heavy baking sheet. Add Montamoré crumbled cheese. Top with a splash of cognac. Place a toasted baguette slice on top of soup. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Lay one slice of Gruyère cheese over each bowl, with corners slightly overlapping sides. Broil on High for 2 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden. Remove carefully! Garnish with parsley flakes and serve immediately.

Vegan Charcuterie Board

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Vegan Charcuterie Board! Here’s your solution to what to bring to the next holiday party. Choose popular garden veggies, distinct to the season. Arrange them on a charcuterie board with nuts and flavorful dips. Peruse the local farmers’ market or produce section of your nearest grocers. With a little effort, the Vegan Charcuterie Board can be the star attraction for office pitch-ins, family gatherings, and other festive occasions. Check it out!

VEGAN CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Ingredients:

Carrot sticks

Asparagus spears

Celery sticks

Cherry tomatoes

Mini cucumbers, sliced

Radishes, quartered

Yellow sweet peppers, sliced

Green olives, stuffed

Kalamata olives, pitted

Pistachios in shell

Assorted crackers

Ingredients for Hummus:

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon olive oil

1 tablespoon capers

Using a food processor, pulse chickpeas until smooth. Add tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin powder, and sea salt. Process until mixed. Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl. Drizzle with lemon olive oil. Garnish with capers.

Ingredients for Dill Dip:

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon dill weed

1 teaspoon capers

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

Combine Neufchâtel cheese and prepared horseradish. Stir until smooth. Fold in dill weed, capers, and chives. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Golden Oyster Stew

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Golden Oyster Stew! I knew it was something special when my father requested this savory stew once a year. Although he was the only one who indulged in its aromatic creaminess, I managed to sneak one spoonful each time. I guess you could say eventually I acquired a taste for this seafood delicacy. Now I’m sharing it with you. Carry on the tradition.

GOLDEN OYSTER STEW

Ingredients:

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

8 ounces of fancy whole oysters, with oyster liquor

1 cup light cream

1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Oyster crackers

Instructions:

In a 2-quart pan over medium high heat, combine potatoes, onion, butter, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add just enough water to cover. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and add oysters with liquor, cream, and cheese. Stir occasionally for cheese to melt. Gently bubble until the edges of the oysters begin to curl. Do not boil over. Serve the golden oyster stew immediately with oyster crackers.

Lilikoi Bar and Grill in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Lilikoi Bar and Grill in Lihue, Kauai. Happy Hour let’s you start the night off right. The drinks go down easy and the Kalua Pork Nachos are the ultimate in taste. Pulled pork is tender, a bit smoky, and seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt. Add it to layers of of crispy-fried corn tortilla chips, gooey cheddar cheese, and spicy-kicked jalapeños for the best platter of specialty nachos you’ve ever eaten. Lilikoi Bar and Grill not only offers an all-star menu, the unparalleled view of the ocean sets the tone for a truly satisfying dining experience. Grab a cozy seat, sit back, and watch the surfers “catch a wave”.

Quiche Fromage

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Quiche Fromage! If you’ve ever been to Paris, you can’t help but be charmed by the street vendors near Norte Dame along the Seine River. One in particular featured homemade quiche specialties for picnicking tourists. There’s nothing more charming than grabbing a spot on the nearest bench for a lunchtime picnic in the midst of people-watching, that’s for sure. You can relive the moment with today’s version of cheese quiche made with a puff pastry crust. Ooh là là!

QUICHE FROMAGE

Ingredients:

One puff pastry sheet

5 eggs

1/3 cup crème fraîche or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup light cream

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

6-7 ounces Sartori Montamoré cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Thaw the puff pastry for 40 minutes. Roll out to fit a 10 1/2″ pie plate. Crimp the edges and pierce the bottom with a fork. Place pie plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line the pastry with foil and place pastry weights in the bottom. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the foil and pastry weights, pierce dough again if needed, and bake 5 minutes longer until bottom is golden. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, crème fraîche, light cream, Herbes de Provence, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Fold in cheese crumbles. Spoon mixture into the pastry crust. Bake 30 minutes until the filling is golden and the crust is puffed. To test for doneness, insert cake tester. If pick comes out clean, the quiche is baked through. Serve immediately. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Cheesy Burrata

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Cheesy Burrata! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Burrata cheese, allow me to tell you a little bit about it. Imagine a soft delicate layer of mozzarella cheese stretched thin like a piece of hand-formed pie dough. It is placed into a bowl so the center can be filled like a porcelain white water balloon. Inside is heavy cream as rich as butter and luscious cheese curds. The pouch is then tightly tied at the top to ensure maximum freshness. The taste is extraordinary. It’s enough to make you roll your eyes and swoon.

CHEESY BURRATA

Ingredients:

8 ounce Burrata cheese

Fresh basil

Cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

Herbs de Provence

Sea salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the Burrata cheese on a platter surrounded by fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Add a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence and sea salt to taste. Serve with crusty artisan breads or crackers.