Dining Outside the Home: Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Celebrations of life are a good reason to reserve a table at Hualani’s Restaurant, where the ocean stretches forever in a sea of aquatic blue. After all, there’s nothing quite like watching palm trees sway against a torch-lit sky as the sun slides behind the Haupu Mountain Range. Relax with a crafted cocktail. Stretch your palate to try something extraordinary from land and sea like Whole Fried Market Fish, Mashed Okinawa Potatoes with scallions, and Spiced Rum Pineapple Confit. It’s the attention to detail and presentation that embrace a dining experience that will be long remembered.
Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even on rainy days you have to venture out for a bite to eat. For starters, a slightly salty/savory-rimmed Bloody Mary with a spicy kick is in order. Perched on the second level of the Olympic Café overlooking street activity has proven to be quite entertaining as more clouds rolled in and the sky opened up. A guy on a bicycle got drenched from the pounding rain. He nestled a paper bag under his armpit while his legs pedaled full speed through potholes filling with street water. Meanwhile, a steaming hot humongous burrito lunch arrived, so the open air seating was perfect for watching passing showers at a warm and dry distance. After all, you can’t rush perfection.
Dining Outside the Home: The Library Restaurant and Pub in Indianapolis, Indiana! Whether you choose private dining for celebrations, a gastro-pub atmosphere where sports abound, or tasteful seating among works of art, you’ll feel at home at The Library Restaurant and Pub. Seasonal favorites, as well as chef specialties, enhance an already extensive menu. For starters, indulge in Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail bathed in a zesty horseradish sauce. Move on to make a meal of Grilled Romaine, drizzled with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing. Mmmm. There’s a method to my madness, you see. The made-in-house desserts make a grande finale. I recommend the Crème Brûlée topped with caramelized sugar. C’est Magnifique!
Dining Outside the Home: Calico Café in Coldwater, Ohio! As the days grow shorter and the chill of Autumn sets in, people gravitate to a bustling café in Coldwater, Ohio. Step through the door and be embraced by the soothing aromas of homemade soups, a daily special, and delectable desserts that go down easy. Mary, the owner, knows her regulars by name. She takes a moment to share a story or two before scurrying back to the kitchen in response to an oven timer. This is why people drive a few miles out of the way to a place where simpler times are met with a smile…not to mention, a generous slice of dark-chocolate cake with rich ganache icing.
Dining Outside the Home: Joey’s Diner in Amherst, New Hampshire! Cruise down the highway to a 1950’s-style diner where cherry cokes are the real deal, like soda fountains served in the past. Stroll by the long counter of bar stools, beyond the juke box where the atmosphere is casual and the decor is retro. Did you see the glass dessert case filled with homemade pies and cakes? Pull out a chair where the chrome is hip and the Formica tabletop is the cat’s pajamas. Joey’s Diner serves up meat loaf (like your Momma used to make), grilled burgers, crispy french fries, classic club sandwiches, and hand-blended milkshakes. Decisions, decisions. They’re open every day for three square meals. Check it out Daddy-O!
Welcome! Life is a continuous celebration from one meal to the next. It can be carefree and easy-going some days while unsettled and harried on others. With the abundance of fresh fruits and garden vegetables, every meal can be a gourmet delight. It’s all about the flavor. Simple everyday food can be the winning combination that looks amazing on the plate. By choosing your family’s favorite foods, it automatically turns mealtime into an all-star event. And speaking of stars…Some of my recent posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive@DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram @gail_dorna. This remarkable journey of the palate allows time with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as A-B-C. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Most recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be easily modified. Leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten later or shared with others. Seeing a smile of gratitude keeps me going. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: SIMPLE SENSATIONS!”
Dining Outside the Home: Farmhouse Restaurant in Fair Oaks, Indiana! Experience a culinary adventure that’s straight off the farm. With ingredients that are raised, produced, and harvested locally, freshness is key. From the moment you are seated, all who gather round the table notice hospitality that knows no bounds. One munch of all-natural cornbread from the bread basket can test willpower that sends self-control reeling. And that’s just the beginning. Portions are generous, so be warned. Whether you choose mile-high sandwiches or hand cut ribeyes, no one walks away hungry or disappointed. And the desserts are phenomenal, I’m told. I wouldn’t know. Honestly, I surrendered to the texture and aroma of the cornbread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Upscale Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse! Americans have this uncanny obsession with chocolate and peanut butter. Some even crave it often. It may be the creamy sweetness of cocoa blended with the saltiness of roasted peanuts. Who knows? Whatever the reason, the allure is undeniable. Throw in vanilla pudding and whipped cream showcased in a parfait glass for eye appeal. It all adds up to an easy, upscale dessert that makes an everyday experience extraordinary. I find small juice glasses an appealing portion-control guide.
UPSCALE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE
16-20 Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, wrappers removed and candy chopped
1/3 cup peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate fudge sauce
1 3.4-ounce package Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix
1 3/4 cups light cream
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup whipped topping
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
Choose 4-6 glasses or cups, depending on portion preferred. Divide peanuts equally between glasses. Layer with 1-2 dollops of chocolate fudge sauce. Set aside. In a chilled bowl, empty contents of pudding mix. Gradually add 1/2 cup light cream, beating on low speed with a hand mixer. Mix until well blended. Add peanut butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/4 cups of light cream. Beat on low, increasing speed as it incorporates. Continue beating for3 minutes. Pudding will thicken. Gently fold in whipped topping to create air bubbles. Next, fold in chopped candy, reserving a few pieces to use as garnish. Spoon pudding into glasses, layering over fudge sauce. Garnish with candy chunks and mini chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Rum Raisin Cookies! Before you turn the page, let me clarify…you can choose to omit the rum in this recipe and substitute with water and opt for rum extract instead. Either way, if you’re a raisin-lover, this version puts the “plump” in raisin to make them moist and chewy. In the time it takes to preheat the oven and assemble the remaining ingredients, the raisins are ready to use. Trust me, everyone will thank you!
RUM RAISIN COOKIES
2 cups raisins
1 cup dark rum
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, combine raisins and rum. Bring to a boil; boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated. Set aside; do not drain. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, mixing until creamy. Add the slightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Gradually add the flour mixture, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix thoroughly before folding in the raisins and chopped almonds. Drop with a tablespoon 2″ apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 12-13 minutes. Cool on wired rack.