What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Raspberry Pots de Crème! A taste of France is knocking on the door, and it arrives at your table in a little porcelain dish. The rich dark chocolate, with a hint of liqueur, satisfies that sweet craving at the end of a meal. Top off each pot de crème with luscious whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and a mint sprig for an extraordinary dessert that is sure to please.
RASPBERRY POTS DE CRÈME
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch sea salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
4 tablespoons bourbon whiskey or preferred liqueur
1 1/3 cups half and half
1 pint raspberries, fresh
1/4 cup raspberry jam
In a blender combine eggs, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and bourbon whiskey. Blend to break up chocolate. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Do not scorch. Pour milk into blender while it is running. Blend 1 minute to cook eggs and dissolve chocolate. Immediately pour into small coffee cups or porcelain ramekins. Refrigerate 3-4 hours until firm. Warm the raspberry jam for 20 seconds in the microwave oven. Add fresh raspberries to make a sauce. To serve, place a dollop of whipped cream over the chocolate. Spoon raspberry sauce over whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
Dining Outside the Home: Eggslut in Las Vegas, Nevada. This chef-driven walk-up eating place understands hungry people want breakfast any time of day. Loaded Eggslut selections make that craving possible. Some eat on the run, others grab a seat at the high-top counter bar. Go coddled, order a sammie on a warm brioche bun, or add on the greens. No matter what you choose, cage-free eggs are the star attraction. Sandwiches are two-handed mouthfuls, so don’t forget a fork. The killer Egg Salad Sandwich has a honey-mustard and chive creaminess that delivers.
Dining Outside the Home: Gina’s Anykine Grinds Cafe in Waimea, Kauai. Head west on Kaumualii Highway until you see a landmark theatre in a town called Waimea that’s been around since 1948. Right next door is an island-style food joint well-known to locals as Gina’s Anykine Grinds Cafe. The family-owned place is small, with tables inside and out, yet very friendly and inviting. Try the Hawaiian favorite, Loco Moco. It’s a scoop of white rice, all-beef patty, an egg your way, grilled onions and mushrooms if you choose, and then a blanket of brown gravy over everything. This dish will get your engine revved for a day of hiking, surfing, shopping, and exploration. Savor every bite, then enjoy your day.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Xanthous Deviled Eggs! Farm-to-Table deviled eggs are growing in popularity at family owned restaurants. Don’t believe me? Check out the appetizer menu for starters. Deviled eggs are not just for picnics and pitch-ins any more. You may find them filled with everything from meat or seafood to cheese, nuts, and hot peppers. Which brings me to today’s version: Jalapeño & Cilantro. The kick of spice mellows nicely with the creamy yolk filling. You determine the heat factor. If you decide to omit the caper liquid, you may want to substitute with salt to taste.
XANTHOUS DEVILED EGGS
6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño peppers, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pickled jalapeño juice or white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon caper liquid (optional)
Pinch of Cajun seasoning
Pinch of sugar
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, slices for garnish
Halve the eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Gently place white portions in a deviled egg platter. Mash egg yolks with a fork. Add pickled jalapeño peppers, mayonnaise, cilantro, Dijon mustard, pickled jalapeño juice, caper liquid, Cajun seasoning, and sugar. Stir until combined. Spoon mixture into hollowed out egg white shells. Garnish with a fresh jalapeño slice. Refrigerate for one hour before serving. Store leftovers in a covered container.
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!
One puff pastry sheet
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
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.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Divine Duchess Potatoes! Sometimes it’s fun to mix things up when serving leftovers. Take mashed potatoes, for instance. By adding a few more ingredients, you can serve them again with first-class results that would make a Frenchman proud. With the holidays coming up, I find this recipe invaluable. I used leftovers from Gail’s Kitchen “Havarti Mashed Potatoes” recipe simply because it was quick and easy. Take a shortcut that treats your family like royalty.
DIVINE DUCHESS POTATOES
3 cups mashed potatoes*
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick oil. Combine mashed potatoes, egg yolks, and cream. Blend well. Transfer to a pastry bag or piping tool with a large star tip. Pipe and swirl upward to form a cone shape in each muffin cup. Brush with melted butter before baking 10 minutes. Switch oven to Broil for a golden brown finish. Watch carefully. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes before serving.
*Havarti Mashed Potato recipe was used for this preparation since it was seasoned with cheese and herbs. Please follow the link.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Yeast Dinner Rolls! There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting out the oven door, in my opinion. It seems as the yeast magically leavens with flour, it produces an aroma that is not only warm heartwarming, but nostalgic. Perhaps it brings back childhood memories for you as well. For instance, the Wonder Bread Years were a simpler time where I played outside til after dark, giggled with my girlfriend, dated a boy on the weekend, and took a sack lunch to school. Crisp autumn days with damp earthy leaves and woodsmoke aromas smell nice as well. Maybe it’s time for you to bake some bread, too.
YEAST DINNER ROLLS
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Using a bread machine, layer warm milk, butter, and eggs in the bottom of the pan. Next add sugar, sea salt, and bread flour. Form a slight well in the flour layer. Pour the dry yeast into the well. Close the lid. Select Dough setting and press the Start button. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 sections. Shape dough into balls. Place in a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Not-Your-Momma’s Scrambled Eggs! Do you have a fussy eater? Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to keep things interesting and fun. Here’s your answer for simplifying breakfast or dinner: put the scrambled egg mixture in a hollowed out pepper shell. Bake it in the oven while the bread is toasting. The aromas alone will grab their attention. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
NOT-YOUR-MOMMA’S SCRAMBLED EGGS
3 sweet peppers, seeded and ribs removed
1/4 cup dry aged prosciutto, cubed
2 tablespoons sweet red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
smidgen of seasoned salt
nip of cracked black pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat oven-proof baking dish with nonstick spray. Place peppers upright in bottom of dish, like a boat. They need to sit flat in order to keep the eggs from running out. In a small skillet, add olive oil, red pepper, onion, and prosciutto. Sauté in seasonings. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Beat well. Layer the pepper boats with cheese and prosciutto mixture. Pour eggs over all to fill. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Serve with buttered toast and salad.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Incredibly Delish Chocolate Bliss! Is it a cake? Is it a confection? Who cares? It’s smooth, creamy dreamy chocolate and it is incredible. The fact that it is flourless is a plus for those who avoid desserts for that particular reason. The dark chocolate and butter combination is divinely rich, which is why a little bit goes a long way. I find a nice cuppa joe or herbal tea creates a balance that works. As always, share a little bliss with those around you. They’ll thank you for it.
INCREDIBLY DELISH CHOCOLATE BLISS
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
6 teaspoons chocolate hazelnut spread
Crushed pistachios for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°. Use paper muffin cups or buttered ramekins. Set aside. Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave-proof bowl. Melt in microwave on high setting at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir occasionally. In a mixer bowl, combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until mixture is lightened. Reduce speed to low setting. Add melted chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Spoon into muffin cups or buttered ramekins. Add one half teaspoon of hazelnut spread in the center of each muffin cup batter. Bake 10 minutes until edges are set, but center is still soft. Do not over bake. Garnish with crushed pistachios. Cool 5 minutes before serving.