Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai! Everyone loves a barbecue whether it’s the blaze of fire or the smell of the wood. Perhaps it’s the fiery outdoor cooking. Either way, the smoky taste is amazing. The owners and staff of Paniolo understand that attraction for personal enjoyment. Eating at picnic tables adds to the allure. Top it off with live entertainment and you’ve got a reason to gather together. People want to savor and enjoy food. Look no further than Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ. Check out their menu online. Many items are served with homemade chili, fresh garden salad, and grilled garlic bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Kung Pao Chicken! When I promise savory, I deliver. Combine sweet and sour, garlic and spice, with the crunch of peanuts, to pull off this do-it-yourself version of a Chinese restaurant favorite. By making it at home, you may have it faster than takeout. One bite and you’ll love it, but remember to share. Add a few red chili peppers for a dynamic taste experience, if you dare.
KUNG PAO CHICKEN
2 cups boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
2 tablespoons soybean sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 green onions, snipped
8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Instructions for Marinade:
Mix together 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine, 1 tablespoon soybean sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water. Stir until smooth. Place chicken chunks in a glass dish. Pour in marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Instructions for Sauce:
Combine in a glass bowl 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine, 1 tablespoon soybean sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water. Mix until smooth. Add chili paste, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, and garlic. Stir. Gradually fold in green onions, water chestnuts, and chopped peanuts. Transfer to a medium skillet. Cook on low/medium heat until aromatic, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Sauté chicken chunks in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. As the sauce becomes aromatic, add in sautéed chicken chunks. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Serve over noodles or rice.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup! One thing I love about Fall is the convenience of crockpot meals. Throw all the ingredients together, stir, and then forget about it for a few hours. Do something fun……and I don’t mean raking leaves or shelling walnuts. Take a nature walk, visit an apple orchard, choose a mum plant for your front door, photograph colorful pumpkins and gourds. You get the idea. Don’t let the season pass you by. Autumn is in full swing and Mother Earth has splattered the landscape with vibrant colors.
TEX-MEX TORTILLA SOUP
1 pound lean ground beef
20-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies, mild flavor
10-ounce can diced tomatoes, zesty flavor
15-ounce can black beans, organic
15-ounce can corn, drained
15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
4-ounce packet taco seasoning mix
4-ounce packet ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 green onions, snipped
1/3 cup sliced jalapeño peppers
Brown ground beef. Drain any liquid. Place ground beef, tomatoes (juice included), black beans, corn, kidney beans, taco dry seasoning mix, and ranch dry seasoning mix in a slow-cooker. Mix well. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours OR on Low for 6-8 hours. Uncover. Ladle Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup into bowl and garnish with Monterey Jack cheese, a dollop of Greek yogurt, onion snips, and jalapeño pepper rings. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.
Dining Outside the Home: Firehouse BBQ and Blues in Richmond, Indiana. The “All American City” has hit the mark with slow-roasted barbecue, live blues music, and awesome drinks in a restored 1860s firehouse in the Depot District. Hand-painted murals simple add to the allure and charm of the cozy atmosphere. Not looking for a heavy meal? Choose Firehouse Chili. You know it’s tried and true. Swirl the cheddar cheese and onions into the thick savory soup. Crumble jalapeño cornbread in for a extra spice. Next time you’ll want the pulled pork barbecue or the hickory smoked beef brisket. After all, it’s what they’re famous for.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Habanero Hot Sauce! Let’s kick things up a notch or two with one of the hottest known chili peppers legally sold in grocery stores. And I mean REALLY hot, compared to the average pepperoncini. The adorable orange lantern with its sweet-looking dimples can be deceiving. Its sting may feel as strong as a viper while simultaneously releasing an endorphin rush that’ll knock you off your feet. This is my fourth batch from the garden harvest. I’m hooked! However, it comes with a few words of caution: Wear gloves and avoid the juices near your face and eyes. While oven roasting, set the exhaust fan on High. When taste-testing, keep a wedge of white cheese nearby. It actually cuts the heat almost instantly. Be brave, my Peeps. Heed these simple rules. Then and only then, will you become the master of your own domain.
HABANERO HOT SAUCE
16-20 habanero peppers, halved, stems, and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/8 teaspoon lime juice
Sea salt to taste
Place habanero pepper halves, skin side up in a single layer, on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick oil. Roast habanero peppers on High for 10 minutes, or until black spots appear. Remove. Using tongs, transfer habanero peppers to a covered bowl and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Using gloves, remove any loose skins; discard. Add peppers to a food processor. Pulse to a slightly coarse texture. Add minced garlic, orange juice, grapefruit juice, and lime juice. Pulse until desired consistency. Season with sea salt. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Serve in dips, as a condiment, paired with ripe fruits in salsas, or on grilled meats.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Tuna Tartare with Seaweed! Do you wrinkle your nose when you hear the word “raw”? Some people get a little squeamish. How about if you see the word “sushi”? My grandkids’ eyes light up and their mouths begin to salivate. See the difference? “Tartare” is a fancy word for raw meat or seafood. In Hawaii, you may see the words “Ahi Poke”, which is a healthy raw tuna dish made with the best tuna right out of the sea. By adding a mixture of ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes, the flavor becomes incredibly irresistible. Check out the closest Asian Deli to pick up a container of ready-to-serve seaweed salad. It’s already marinated in a delicious sauce. Together on a plate, you’ve just created a masterpiece.
TUNA TARTARE WITH SEAWEED
2 ahi tuna steaks, cut into 1/4” cubes
3 tablespoons organic soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 green onion
1 red jalapeño pepper, sliced
4-ounce container of prepared seaweed salad
Green onion slivers for garnish
Pat ahi tuna dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a bowl. Add organic soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame seeds, the chopped white ends of the green onions, and the red jalapeño pepper slices. Gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour. To serve, place prepared seaweed salad on a plate. Layer ahi tuna over salad. Garnish with the remaining green onion curls.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Xinjiang Mini Cukes! Has anyone else noticed the adorable mini cucumbers in the produce department of the grocery store? I mean, they’re really cute; the size of an index finger. And they’re seedless! What a great addition to a relish plate. Today’s Chinese version of marinated cucumbers will kick-start any meal. It offers enough heat and spice from chile peppers along with the full-bodied taste of fried garlic to transport you to a country in Southeast Asia. No worries, the rice vinegar and natural honey make it easier on the stomach.
XINJIANG MINI CUKES
4-6 mini seedless cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fried garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon natural honey
1 tablespoon Golden Mountain sauce
1 tablespoon chili paste
Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise; then slice in half to make four quarters. Place cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain excess water from cucumbers. Using a mortar and pestle, pumice red pepper flakes and fried garlic. Add rice vinegar, sesame oil, natural honey, Golden Mountain sauce, and chili paste. Mix well. Serve as a dipping sauce for mini cucumber appetizer OR pour over cucumbers; toss to coat and marinate in refrigerator for one hour or overnight.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Jicama Avocado Salad! Allow me to introduce you to the legume family. Jicama is a cousin to beans, peas, and lentils. It provides protein, which is important to everyone, whether you’re a vegetarian or not. Choosing foods that are beneficial to a healthy diet can keep a weekly menu from turning hum-drum and boring. Jicama can be prepared in any number of ways. Eating it raw is just one of them. Its taste slightly resembles a crispy red apple. Only recently I slathered peanut butter all over a slice as a variation from a celery stick. Jicama is also low-carb, if that’s important to you. Not a raw-veggie-kind-of-person? Slice ‘em up and make a batch of french fries. It works.
JICAMA AVOCADO SALAD
I large jicama
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
Zest of 2 limes
1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning
1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Juice of 2 limes
Using a chef’s knife, slowly peel the thick skin of the jicama. Cut a thin slice at the top and bottom so the vegetable can keep from rolling. Working from top to bottom, slide the knife under the skin to remove the tough, fibrous outer covering. Rinse jicama and slice into matchsticks. Transfer to a bowl. Halve the avocado and remove pit. Scoop the flesh away from the skin. Chop avocado into bite-sized pieces. Add to the jicama sticks. Sprinkle with lime zest, Tajin seasoning, smoky paprika, and garlic powder. Squeeze lime juice over all. Add chopped cilantro leaves. Gently toss and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Nugget Sesame Chicken! What do you get when you cross chicken nuggets with Chinese food? You get a shortcut for creating a Hump Day meal that satisfies even the pickiest eater. I mean, who doesn’t love chicken nuggets? The next time you drive-thru your neighborhood fast-food chain, order an extra portion of chicken nuggets to place in the freezer. Since they’re already precooked, when you’re ready to have them for dinner, let them thaw in the refrigerator. Then crisp them up in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes before adding them to this incredible homemade sauce. It’s as simple as ABC. Life just got easier.
NUGGET SESAME CHICKEN
20 pieces of chicken nuggets
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 cup water
10 dried whole chilies
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
3 green onions, snipped
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine chicken broth, hoisin sauce, apricot jam, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili paste, sesame oil, and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Dissolve cornstarch into water. Stir until smooth. Gradually pour into saucepan, mixing well boil for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add whole chilies and chicken nuggets. Toss to combine. Reduce heat to simmer to keep sauce warm with a thick glossy glaze. In a small skillet, sauté garlic cloves until fragrant, no longer than 1 minute. Add garlic and toasted sesame seeds to sauce. Garnish with green onion snips. Serve with rice. *
* Serving suggestion. Nugget Sesame Chicken partners well with Jasmine Rice Pilaf. Follow the link for the recipe.