What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Pickled Red Onions! What’s the buzz over pickled red onions? This relatively new condiment seems to be grabbing center stage with pizza, burgers, and tacos. True, the raw red onion can come across a lot more potent than its yellow cousin. Some even consider it bitter. I find it very appealing when sliced razor thin. Now you have another alternative. When pickled, their tangy sweetness becomes so unique it may appear as though a secret ingredient suddenly turned the dish into a gourmet delight. Before long pickled red onions may find themselves as popular as ketchup and mustard.
PICKLED RED ONIONS
1 red onion
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup garlic wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Slice the top and bottom off the onion. Slice onion in half from top to bottom. Remove outer skin; discard. Slice red onion into half moons, about 1/8” thick. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together apple cider vinegar, garlic wine vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt. Place over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove pan from heat and whisk in allspice and red pepper flakes. Add sliced onions to the pan; gently stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool completely at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour into a glass container. Cover tightly with a lid. Refrigerate overnight. Store in refrigerator for up to one month.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Wing Beans Shoyu! Have you ever seen a four-angled bean? It actually has four corners. The rough texture looks a little odd, all jagged and such. Since they grow in tropical climates where there is plenty of humidity, rainfall, and warmth, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t find them at your local grocery store. However, they are readily available at Farmers Markets in the Hawaiian Islands, which is where I got these delectable little jewels. They taste similar to a snow pea with a slightly sweet crunch. Then there’s the sauce. YUM!
WING BEANS SHOYU
1/2 pound wing beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce, Japanese-style
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 strip bacon, cooked and crumbled
Place prepared wing beans in a covered casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Do not cook until mushy. Drain. Add crumbled bacon. Combine soy sauce, agave nectar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Whisk to blend flavors. Drizzle over wing bean mixture. Toss to coat. Serve warm.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Seasoned Shrimp Pineapple Pupus! If you’ve ever needed a simple appetizer that will elevate an evening, think shrimp. By adding fresh ingredients, it definitely kicks things up a notch. When people cram into the kitchen to watch, assign them a minor task such as chopping fruit into chunks or snipping cilantro into small sprigs. Real conversations happen in the kitchen. Everyone benefits and memories are created. After all, being involved is natural and welcoming. It’s how we all stay connected.
SEASONED SHRIMP PINEAPPLE PUPUS
1/2 cup papaya, cut into chunks
1/2 cup pineapple, cut into chunks
12 jumbo frozen shrimp, precooked and thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Arrange papaya chunks on a decorative platter. Set aside. Spray a skillet with nonstick oil. Heat pan on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, arrange pineapple chunks in a single layer. They will sizzle and char. Flip over to darken both sides. Remove and add to the platter. Warm olive oil in the same skillet. Layer shrimp without overlapping. Sprinkle with half the seasoned salt, oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Slightly sear, then flip over. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning. When shrimp is golden brown, transfer to the pupu platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Hawaiian Spam Breakfast! Not everyone is on the same page when it comes to breakfast. Some prefer a bowl of cereal in front of the tv, others like yogurt and fruit while checking their email, and some are perfectly happy with their morning cuppa joe watching the sunrise. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It is a Hawaiian meal for one.
It takes only a couple minutes to heat and eat. So when everyone comes crowding into the kitchen because it smells so good, just roll your shoulders and say, “You already had breakfast.”
HAWAIIAN SPAM BREAKFAST
10.5 ounce package heat-and-eat microwaveable rice
2 slices Spam* brand canned meat
1 egg, scrambled
1 green onion, snipped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Microwave rice according to package directions. Spray a small skillet with nonstick oil. Over medium-high heat, quick-fry 2 slices of Spam. Flip to get both sides crispy. Chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Crack an egg into a small dish. Whisk to break the yolk. Spray the small skillet again with nonstick oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan using the same setting, medium high. Cover. Cook one minute. Remove lid, break up the egg with a spatula. Turn off the burner. Replace the lid for one minute longer. Transfer rice to a bowl, add Spam, scrambled egg, green onion snips, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Mix well. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with chopsticks.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Red Hot Chili Peppers! Hello. My name is Gail and I’m addicted to red pepper flakes. Seriously. Sometimes my husband has to ask me to scale back on the capsaicin factor. In that case, I simply place the jar next to my plate and sprinkle away. It wasn’t until recently I realized the health benefits of crushed red peppers. According to Healthy Eating*, “Red Peppers soothe upset stomach and ulcers, bolsters heart health, regulates diabetes, and fortifies the immune system.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
1 pound red peppers, cayenne or chili with stem on.
Preheat oven to 175°. Wash red peppers; pat dry. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet in a single layer without touching. Bake overnight, or 10 hours. Snap off stems and crush dried peppers, using a mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight jar.
I receive no recompense for mentioning this website.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Confetti Corn Flake Cookies! Who wants to turn your day into a party? Me, that’s who. Have a pinwheel of fun when you make a batch of these crunchy sweet drop cookies that never touch the oven. Cook them on the stovetop in just a few minutes. Make this an after-school game plan with the kids and grandkids. As they lick the chocolate morsels from their nimble fingers, they’ll sing your praises!
CONFETTI CORN FLAKE COOKIES
1/2 cup Karo syrup*
1/2 cup pure honey*
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
4-5 cups corn flakes
1 cup assorted dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch morsels
*1 cup of Karo syrup can be used, omitting honey OR 1 cup of honey can be used, omitting Karo syrup. Karo gives the cookies a “glossy/shiny” finish.
Over medium heat, combine the Karo syrup, honey, and sugar in a 4-quart pan. As it comes to a rolling boil, stir vigorously. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Gradually add corn flakes being careful not to crush them. Mix well. Gently blend in a portion of assorted morsels, saving some to use as topping. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Drop cookie mixture onto waxed paper by spoonfuls. Top with assorted morsels. Let cool before serving.