Dining Outside the Home: Rosati’s Pizza in Estero, Florida! You learn a lot about a business by talking to the owners. Perhaps that is why I sometimes visit a restaurant in the off hours of the day. You are more apt to find the owners working face-to-face with customers. Rosati’s Pizza is owned and operated by a family who not only strives for perfection, but also cares about the people who walk through their door. When they expanded their business in Estero for dine-in service, Covid hit with a vengeance and caused them to shift to delivery and carry-out service only. That takes a chunk out of overhead, which translates to selling a boatload of pizza. Yet, they endured. And thrived because they do things the old-fashioned way: like sourcing local ingredients, fresh mozzarella, and homemade crusts. Their story goes all the way back to the first pizzerias in Chicago; Italian roots to the core. So proud, they live by the motto, “We don’t cut corners, just slices of pizza.” Dine in, smell the aromas, chat with the staff, and over-order so you have extra servings for leftovers. Don’t forget to add a jar of the Hot Giardiniera. It is ah-mazing!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Underrated Summertime Supper! Does anyone have a Himalayan Salt Block besides me? Well, one of the things I like about it is, it can take the guesswork out of adding seasoning to food. It’s a block of pink salt, after all. When serving cold foods like salads, fruits, and cheeses, refrigerate the salt block overnight before using. This helps to keep foods chilled for hours when you need it. Simply arrange the ingredients directly on the block, drizzle on the dressing, and you’re good-to-go. Clean up is easy. Never use soap; salt is naturally antibacterial. Remove food residue with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse it with a clean swipe, then dab dry. Allow the salt block to air-dry before next use. You’re done.
UNDERRATED SUMMERTIME SUPPER
4 ounces goat’s milk cheese, plain
1 teaspoon Italian dry mix spice blend
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces mixed greens, washed
1 Roma tomato, chopped
4 assorted mini sweet peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced into rings
2 radishes, sliced very thin
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Balsamic Reduction Sauce
Crusty Artisan Bread
On a sheet of waxed paper, sprinkle Italian dry mix spice blend and red pepper flakes. Form the goat’s milk cheese into a ball. Roll it in the spice mix to cover all sides. Place cheese ball on the chilled Himalayan salt block. Next, arrange mixed greens in a single layer. Arrange Roma tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, radish slices, and red onion rings. Sprinkle Herbes de Provence over top. Drizzle balsamic reduction sauce over salad. Serve with crusty artisan bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Turmeric Chicken Curry! For those who dabble in traditional ethnic dishes, turmeric is a well-known spice that typically gives food a rich golden yellow hue. Although turmeric has a slightly bitter taste, curry powder combines it with cumin and chili powder to catapult the flavor from mild to very spicy. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way when adding flavor and color. I find turmeric mildly aromatic with a slight scent of ginger, which is appealing when added to chicken. Also, it can jazz up boring white rice by making an ordinary dish look a bit fancy.
TURMERIC CHICKEN CURRY
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes
4 teaspoons turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken to brown, turning once. Add onions. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Sauté for 5 minutes until onions are soft and fragrant. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, turmeric, cloves, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Culinary Cauliflower! Not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. I get that. It might be because of the way it’s prepared. Or smells. Or possibly because it looks bland and boring. Meh. Well, here’s my solution if you promise to give it one more chance. Smother it in cheese. Good cheese, like smoky Gouda. Then take buttery garlic croutons and sprinkle them over the top. Get the picture? Sooo, if the family turns up their noses at the idea of eating cauliflower, simply shrug your shoulders, kick off your shoes, and curl up on the sofa with the entire bowl yourself.
1 head cauliflower
1 cup water
1/2 cup smoky bacon Gouda cheese, sliced thin
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup garlic croutons, coarsely crushed
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Warm water over medium heat in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Cut off stem of cauliflower, removing the leaves. Make an “x” in the core with a sharp knife. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer, place cauliflower in the steamer basket. Cover and steam for 15 minutes until tender. Drain. Cut cauliflower into florets. Transfer to an ovenproof bowl. Combine sliced Gouda cheese and milk in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on Low (30%) in 30-second intervals. Stir until smooth as it melts. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Bake 5-10 minutes until golden and bubbly. Warm butter in a pan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic croutons. Stir occasionally until brown. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over melted cheese. Garnish with chopped parsley.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Buffalo Chicken Pizza! Combine two bar and grill favorites to equal one outstanding supper on game night. From the creamy ranch dressing slathered over a crispy olive oil crust to the tender rotisserie chicken dotted with robust bleu cheese and crunchy celery, you will not believe your taste buds. This is good stuff. Decide how high you want to crank up the heat by using spicy sriracha sauce and red pepper flakes. Go wingless for a sensational show-stopper that will leave everyone cheering.
BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA
1 prepared naan, flatbread, or pizza crust
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/3 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup deli-roasted chicken, shredded
1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush both sides of a prepared pizza crust. Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom only. Sprinkle garlic powder over top. Bake seasoned crust on a pizza stone for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from oven. Spread ranch salad dressing evenly over top crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer on shredded chicken. Dot with bleu cheese crumbles. Bake 10 minutes longer. Arrange chopped celery over pizza. Drizzle with sriracha sauce. Garnish with red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Kimchi Shrimp! Brace yourself for a wickedly sour Korean flavor with a crazy spicy kick. Some say it can be a bit salty, especially if you keep an eye on that sort of thing. Others notice the strong leaning toward fish, which is why I dove head first into this dish by adding naturally sweet shrimp, and of course, butter. Did you just do a double take? Stick around. You may end up on the hook.
1/2 cup prepared kimchi, chopped
1 pound frozen cooked jumbo shrimp, thawed
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Romaine lettuce leaves
Green onions, for garnish
Using a mini chopper, pulse the prepared kimchi into a paste. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the butter. Layer the shrimp in the pan. Add chopped ginger. Sprinkle with garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Cook shrimp for one minute, then flip over. Add the kimchi paste, stirring to coat shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes longer. Serve over romaine lettuce leaves. Garnish with green onion snips.
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: Bird’s Nest Breakfast! For something fun, take an ordinary poached egg, lay it on a bed of greens, and turn it into a festive meal nestled in a coffeehouse cup. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you like toast, you say. No worries, it’s in there. Think about this attractive alternative when serving a mid-morning brunch for two or breakfast in bed on the weekend. This is how we cruise through life.
BIRD’S NEST BREAKFAST
4 large romaine lettuce leaves, washed*
2 slices baguette bread, toasted and buttered
2 extra large eggs, poached or fried sunny-side up
2 tablespoons Caesar salad dressing
Red pepper flakes, for garnish
Gently tear romaine lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces and divide between two large coffeehouse cups. Toast artisan bread, butter, and cut into cubes. Add to each lettuce cup. Gently toss. Poach or fry two eggs, leaving the centers slightly soft. Transfer one egg to each bowl. Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing. Garnish with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
*Add alfalfa sprouts, if available.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Mashed Potato Fritters! Time to stretch the budget a little bit. Whether you have leftover mashed potatoes from another meal or purchase your favorite prepared brand at the grocery store, this recipe offers a flavorful experience that is unforgettable. Is it the gooey combination of cheeses? The crisp potato cake with the fluffy center? Or perhaps it’s the zing of spice that piques the taste buds. For me it’s all about nostalgia. My mother made them for supper when I was a child.
MASHED POTATO FRITTERS
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, whisked
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Green onion snips, for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, yellow onion, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, beaten egg, flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper. Mixture should be stiff. By heaping spoonful, form a small disc with your hands, about 1/2”-inch thick. Set aside. Repeat with remaining mixture. In an iron skillet, warm vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place potato cakes in the skillet without touching sides. Cook 2-3 minutes until deep brown. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer potato cakes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil. Place on a platter and garnish with green onion snips. Serve with dipping sauce.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Red pepper flakes and green onion snips m, for garnish
In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sriracha hot sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Stir until smooth. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onion snips.