What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Omelet 101. You’re having a get-together and need an effortless, but impressive, breakfast. While everyone is huddling in the kitchen, because this is what people do, pour them a cuppa joe and get started. Making the perfect omelet will have you feeling like a gourmet chef. It’s pretty basic. Use an 8-inch sauté pan with slanted edges and plenty of butter. Fresh veggies and shredded cheese are always a good idea. If you’re nervous about the “flip”, simply do what I do. Put a lid on it.
Ingredients: (per omelet)
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons smokey Swiss cheese, shredded
Sautéed asparagus tips
In a mini chopper, combine eggs, sea salt, black pepper, and water. Beat until light yellow in color. Warm butter in pan over medium-low heat. Do not scorch butter. Pour egg mixture into pan. Do not stir. Swirl the pan so eggs cover the edge. Cook until bottom begins to set, about one minute. Tilt the pan to allow liquid to flow underneath. Slide a rubber spatula around the surface to loosen omelet. Arrange shredded cheese, asparagus tips, and sliced mushrooms across the center of the egg, forming a vertical line. Reduce heat to low. Cover pan with a lid to absorb liquid, about 30-45 seconds. The center will remain creamy. Remove lid. Fold one-third of omelet onto itself. Gently transfer omelet to a plate. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Nature’s Tomato Naan. Who likes ooey gooey melted mozzarella cheese? I do, I do! Now add nature’s juicy ripened tomatoes for fresh garden flavor that will have you wiping your chin after the first bite. Be careful of those cheese pulls, though. Steam may be trapped between the naan crust and the pizza stone. Besides, there’s nothing worse than burning the roof of your mouth from lack of patience. Let your eyes create desire. After all, everyone wants eating to be an enjoyable experience.
NATURE’S TOMATO NAAN
One prepared naan crust
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Campari tomatoes, sliced
5 grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
Preheat oven to 400°. Spread olive oil on both sides of naan bread. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom crust. Sprinkle garlic powder over top crust. Place cornmeal side down on a pizza stone. Bake for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes on a cutting board. Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt, oregano, basil, and marjoram. Remove naan from oven. Carefully layer mozzarella cheese over crust. Then arrange sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with parmesan cheese before serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Hungry Man Potato Skins! Shrug off that old myth about ditching potato skins because they’re high in carbohydrates and low in nutrition. My grandma used to say “if you’re gonna eat the skin, you may as well eat a handful of dirt!”. Thank goodness times have changed and we’ve learned that the skin of the potato is loaded with calcium, iron, and fiber. When baking instead of frying, the nutritional value gets kicked up a notch. Now that you’re on a roll, go ahead and add toppings like fresh broccoli, bacon, and cheese. Whaaat? Hear me out. By choosing small russet potatoes, the calories are drastically reduced. One piece of bacon is divided over four skins, just enough for flavor. And reduced-fat cheddar cheese is a good choice, one you’ll barely notice in taste. When it’s all said and done, two potato skins are about 200 calories. Not bad.
HUNGRY MAN POTATO SKINS
2 small russet potatoes, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 strip thick bacon, precooked
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup panko crumbs
Ranch dressing, for dipping sauce
Green onion, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Pierce each potato for steam to escape during baking. Lightly spray potatoes with nonstick oil. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Place them directly on the oven rack. Bake until tender, about one hour. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Place broccoli florets into a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with droplets of water, and microwave on High for one minute. Set aside. If you need to cook bacon, place one strip of bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Cover with another paper towel. Microwave on High for two minutes. Remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, crumble into small pieces. For potato skins, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out flesh leaving a shell 1/4” thick. Reserve potato flesh for another use. Brush around the rim of potato shells with olive oil. Place skins upright on a baking sheet. Broil in oven on High for one minute. Remove to fill. In a bowl, combine broccoli florets, cheddar cheese, and bacon crumbles. Divide broccoli mixture evenly between potato shells. In a small pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add panko crumbs, stirring often until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle over loaded potato skins. Return to oven and bake at 400° until cheese is bubbly and topping is crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing garnished with green onion snips.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Green Chile Soup! I was rushing through an airport recently and knew I wanted something to eat. The waitress at the Mexican restaurant recommended the full bodied taste of Green Chile Soup. It hit the spot. From the first tangy spoonful of mild green chiles to the gentle creaminess on my tongue, I knew this wasn’t your typical soup. It may have been a regional delicacy, but by making it at home, I saved myself a round trip ticket to Colorado.
GREEN CHILE SOUP
20 green chiles, large
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro, for garnish
Place green chiles on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast on Broil until blistered and charred. Remove from oven. Cool. Discard stems and seeds. In a large pan, warm butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion. Sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder. Cook until soft. Add roasted chiles and chicken broth. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture back to pan. Stir in cream and Greek yogurt. Gently warm mixture until soup is heated through. Serve with fresh cilantro and Monterey Jack cheese.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Egg Brekkie Pizza! Ever get the feeling you just aren’t in the mood to cook? I’ve been there. While you’re standing at the refrigerator, leaning on the door like it’s your best friend, don’t ignore last night’s leftover pizza. Butter up the iron skillet, toss in a couple slices of pizza, crack an egg on top, and put a lid on it. There’s gotta be an extra packet of red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, not to mention, crushed oregano somewhere. Bingo! You’re done.
EGG BREKKIE PIZZA
2 slices leftover pizza, any variety
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon butter
2 large eggs
Sprinkling of parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and oregano
Warm butter in an iron skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle garlic powder into butter. Place pizza slices in pan. Crack an egg onto each slice. Cover. Cook until bottom of pizza is crispy and eggs are barely set, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and crushed oregano.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Dill Pickle Cheese Spread! You’ve heard of pregnant women craving dill pickles, toddlers munching on them, bar patrons dunking a spear in a mug of beer, and families gobbling down an order of fried dill pickle chips. So what’s the buzz? Why is everyone going crazy over dill pickles? First of all, they practically have no calories at all. They have a crunch that makes your mouth smile. Dill pickles ease in digestion, heartburn, and bloating. Plus, their saltiness helps the body absorb water. I’m sure you can come up with a few reasons of your own.
DILL PICKLE CHEESE SPREAD
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup dill pickle relish, drained
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Assorted vegetables, crackers, and pretzels
Combine cream cheese, dill pickle relish, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. Beat until smooth. Fold in cheddar cheese. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with veggies, crackers, and pretzels. Also good on deli sandwiches.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Alpine Cheese Crisps! If you ever get the munchies but want a low-carb snack, here’s something you can make at home in a matter of minutes. Not only that, it saves you the cost of paying for the prepackaged varieties available in the deli department of your favorite grocery store. Go to the refrigerator because you can take an ordinary slice of Swiss cheese and transform it into a thin crunchy chip, simply by using the microwave. No kidding. Add a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese plus a smidgen of garlic and rosemary for a gourmet finish. The secret? Be sure to use parchment paper.
ALPINE CHEESE CRISPS
8 ounces Alpine Swiss cheese, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 smidgen garlic powder
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
In a small bowl, mix parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and rosemary leaves. Set aside. Trim a piece of parchment paper to the size of a microwave-safe plate. Break one slice of Swiss cheese into small pieces over the parchment paper, forming a pile. Sprinkle parmesan cheese mixture on top. All microwave ovens cook differently so begin with 1 1/2 minutes on full power. Then microwave 20-30 seconds longer until the cheese is crisp and golden. Remove plate from oven and allow cheese crisp to cool to the touch. Carefully transfer cheese crisp to a wire rack. Reuse parchment paper. Repeat process until all cheese is used. Store at room temperature.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Whitewashed Egg Pizza! Putting an egg on pizza? Seriously? I know this might sound a little weird, but take a baby step out of your comfort zone. The first time I saw fried egg on a pizza, I was visiting the south of France. It’s really quite common there. In fact, you’re the fortunate one if you get the egg on your slice at a takeaway stand. You really must give it a whirl. I find as long as I bake in stages, the end result is a crispy crust with an egg over easy. Just imagine how fun it will be to pop the egg yolk and spread it around so everyone gets a taste.
WHITEWASHED EGG PIZZA
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons chunky pasta sauce
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
2 onion rings, nested
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Dash of pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. Set oven rack on middle setting. (For the last step you will raise it up one setting.) Rub olive oil over surface of naan. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Spoon chunky pasta sauce evenly over naan. Use 1 tablespoon fresh basil over sauce. Sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Bake 5 minutes until slightly melted. Remove from oven. Raise the oven rack up one setting. Place the nested onions on a flat portion of the crust. Gently crack an egg into the center of the onion rings. Distribute the mozzarella cheese over the pizza, excluding the egg area. Dollop the Greek yogurt over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 5 minutes longer or until egg is set. If the crust becomes too brown, cover it with foil, leaving the egg portion uncovered. When cheese is gooey and egg is cooked, remove from oven. Garnish with fresh basil.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Violet Crostini! Edible flowers are kind of a new thing for me this year. Everywhere I look, nature has exploded with beauty and color. Because I take special care in avoiding chemicals and pesticides in my herb garden and on the grounds, I can reap the benefits of sweet edible flowers high in vitamins. This recipe for Violet Crostini is one step up from an ordinary salad of mixed greens. By toasting a sesame artisan bread and slathering it with Norwegian Jarlsberg Cheese Spread, the salad greens and fresh violet petals create an open face sandwich or crostini. Top it off with a pretty, light purple edible chive blossom for a light onion taste. Doesn’t it look delicious?
2-4 slices sesame bread, toasted
4 tablespoons Norwegian Jarlsberg Cheese Spread*
1 cup mixed salad greens
2 tablespoons violet petals
2 chive blossoms, stems removed
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
2-4 sprigs lemon thyme
Toast sesame seed artisan bread. Spoon two tablespoons of Norwegian Jarlsberg Cheese Spread on each piece. Divide salad greens between the crostini. Top with violet petals and chive blossom. Drizzle lemon olive oil over all. Garnish with lemon thyme.
* Follow the link for the Norwegian Jarlsberg Cheese Spread recipe.