Mealtime Crab Cocottes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Mealtime Crab Cocottes! Seafood can be my obsession and I’m not afraid to be a glutton of it, especially if I’m visiting a locale that is a coastal destination. In my defense, how can anyone resist signs and billboards openly declaring “Best Seafood in Town!”? But eventually one returns home to a land-locked State where seafood is as scarce as hen’s teeth. So when the cravings continue, I head over to the local supermarket in search of a packaged substitute. Maybe it’s the succulent crabmeat or perhaps it’s the French butter, but I have to admit this recipe isn’t half bad.

MEALTIME CRAB COCOTTES

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat

8 ounces imitation crabmeat, flaked

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1-2 tablespoons French butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottoms and edges of two ramekins with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, seafood seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Gently fold in lump crabmeat, imitation flaked crabmeat, and diced pimento. Divide crabmeat mixture evenly between ramekins. Top with Panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle paprika over all. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with artisan bread and side salad.

Dill Pickle Cheese Spread

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

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Radish Cucumber Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Radish Cucumber Salad! For a scrumptious salad that satisfies the desire for crunchiness and color, these few wholesome ingredients practically transport themselves on a magic carpet ride from farm-to-table. No matter what time of year the calendar on the refrigerator affirms, every bite of cucumbers and radishes shift your mind to a taste of Springtime. Refresh, recharge, and renew yourself with feelings you can’t ignore.

RADISH CUCUMBER SALAD

Ingredients:

3 cups baby cucumbers, skin on, sliced

1 cup radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh dill weed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine sliced baby cucumbers and thinly sliced radishes. Gently toss. Add fresh dill. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper until incorporated. Pour the dressing over the cucumber-radish mixture. Allow it to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.

Lobster Risotto

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Lobster Risotto! Does anyone else smile when they hear the word “lobster”? To me, lobster looks good whenever someone is eating it. Think about it. In a restaurant you’re often draped with a disposable plastic bib that has a giant red lobster printed on it. Talk about drawing attention to yourself. “Look at me! I’m eating Lobstah! Bet you wish you were. More butter, please.” It doesn’t matter how big a mess you make, the bib gives you a pass. And just so you know, you can buy these on the internet, so the same feelings apply at home. I. Love. Lobster. 🦞

LOBSTER RISOTTO

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 cup Arborio rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 6-ounce frozen lobster tails, thawed

4-ounce dry aged prosciutto , diced

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lemon wedge, for garnish

Fresh dill, for garnish

Instructions:

Make risotto according to instructions for rice cooker using water, Arborio rice, and olive oil. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to a soft boil and add sea salt. Drop lobster tails in one at a time. Cook the lobster for 5 minutes. Set a timer to avoid overcooking. The lobsters will be bright red when done. Using metal tongs and a large strainer, take the tails out of the boiling water. Set aside. When the risotto is done, transfer to a bowl. Add diced prosciutto and sweet peas. Mix gently. Divide the risotto into two serving bowls. Add lobster tails. Garnish with lemon wedge and fresh dill. Serve immediately with melted butter.

Cream Cheese Shrimp Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Cream Cheese Shrimp Dip! Appetizers are fun to serve for a gathering of friends or date night for two. I usually keep cooked, frozen shrimp on hand, which can be thawed in a few minutes. But I have also used tiny canned shrimp, which work very well. Obviously, the canned shrimp should be drained first. A few steps later and you’re good to go.

CREAM CHEESE SHRIMP DIP

Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 ounces cooked shrimp, tails removed and cut into chunks

10 ounces cocktail sauce, prepared

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Spread a thin layer of softened cream cheese onto a serving dish. Add a layer of cocktail sauce, expanding to the edges. Arrange bite-sized shrimp pieces over all. Sprinkle with dill weed. Garnish with green onion strips. Chill one hour. Serve with crackers.

Braunschweiger Swiss Bagel

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Braunschweiger Swiss Bagel! Either you love braunschweiger, or you don’t. Personally, I like to think of it as French patè. Then again, I’m a Francophile. Sometimes I choose to blend braunschweiger with creamy, soft Neufchâtel cheese so I can smear it over a crusty baguette. The slightly smoky flavor goes well with a glass of red wine, especially at the end of the day. The secret to enjoying braunschweiger is to find a brand that appeals to your palate. For me, I prefer a brand that comes from Germany. It seems to be made from high-quality ingredients and never disappoints.

BRAUNSCHWEIGER SWISS BAGEL

Ingredients:

1 egg bagel, sliced horizontally

2 ounces braunschweiger

1 slice Swiss cheese

1 red onion ring, thinly sliced

Fresh dill, for garnish

Instructions:

Lightly toast egg bagel. Place half of the Swiss cheese on bottom portion of bagel. Spread braunschweiger over top. Add remaining half of Swiss cheese. Top with thinly sliced red onion ring. Warm slightly for 10 seconds in microwave. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve immediately.

Vegan Charcuterie Board

Eating My Way Through the Holidays. Festive Food Gifts: 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.

X-Cellent Egg Salad Sliders

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: X-cellent Egg Salad Sliders! Have you noticed more and more farm-to-table cafés are featuring egg salad sandwiches on the menu? I get crazy happy when I discover it, as someone who loves home-cooking. Not only are there a dozen variations on egg salad, but each seems to add a unique twist. This recipe is pretty basic so you can get creative from here. Think avocado, dill, bacon, or red pepper flakes. Looks like I need to buy more eggs. Happy Boiling!

X-CELLENT EGG SALAD SLIDERS

Ingredients:

8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon red onion, diced

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

8 slider buns

4 romaine lettuce leaves

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon Everything But Bagel seasoning

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, dill pickle relish, red onion, yellow mustard, and sea salt. Chop the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir gently until well blended. Cover and chill in the refrigerator one hour. Assemble sliders using the buns, egg salad, romaine lettuce leaves, and tomato slices. Sprinkle with Everything But Bagel seasoning. Serve.

Knäckebröd Cucumber Salmon Crispbread

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Knäckebröd Cucumber Salmon Crispbread! Some days time is in short supply and all we can hope for is a “working lunch”. At least you can treat yourself to something a little bit gourmet that says “I’m really worth it.” Knäckebröd whole grain crispbread is mighty enough to hold a layer of herbed cream cheese, a mini slice of seedless cucumber, wild Alaskan smoked salmon, fresh dill weed and chopped chives. How’s that for refueling your work day? Be forewarned: your coworkers may gather round the desk in curiosity while you’re nibbling away on finger food. Just hold up a single digit and keep nibbling. After all, it’s impolite to talk with your mouth full.

KNÄCKEBÖRD CUCUMBER SALMON CRISPBREAD

Ingredients:

4-6 slices Knäckebröd sourdough crispbread

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning mix

2 mini seedless cucumbers, sliced

4 ounces Wild Alaskan applewood smoked salmon

Sprig of dill weed

Fresh chives

Instructions:

Combine Neufchâtel cheese and Italian seasoning mix. Stir until blended. Store in a covered container. To assemble, lightly spread crispbread with a layer of herbed cream cheese. Next add one or two slices of seedless cucumber. Top with smoked salmon. Garnish with dill weed and fresh chives.