Positively Popular Poutine

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Positively Popular Poutine! While traveling to Canada recently, I was taken aback by a friendly waitress who recommended a very popular dish on the menu made with crispy French fries, fresh cheese curds, and rich brown gravy. She called it Poutine. Like a deer in the headlights, I was completely frozen at the thought. So I shook my head no, thanked her, and ordered my fries plain. By the end of the meal I was convinced I had missed out on something spectacular. Practically every restaurant listed Poutine as their specialty. Some Poutine platters were loaded with bacon, others chunk lobster, beef brisket, jerk chicken, or sautéed veggies. One place even boasted “Award Winning Poutine” and stayed open til 4:00 a.m. just to meet the late-night cravings of college students. Maybe this dish will catch on, after all.

POSITIVELY POPULAR POUTINE

Ingredients:

2 pound bag of frozen extra crispy seasoned crinkle fries

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 cups cheddar cheese curds, white and yellow

1-2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

2 cups beef broth

Fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange frozen French fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. For the gravy, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not scorch. Whisk together cornstarch and cold water until no lumps remain. Add cornstarch mixture to melted butter, stirring constantly. Gradually add beef broth, continuing to stir until all broth is used. Bring gravy to a boil, as you stir. Allow gravy to boil at least one minute to dissolve thickener. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Divide the crinkle fries among serving bowls. Cover each bowl with cheese curds. Ladle rich brown gravy over each portion. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

Volcano Cheese Fries

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Volcano Cheese Fries! Say, Whaaat? I first had these tasty morsels at my fav fish hut in Kauai. But after returning home, I really had a craving for them again. Granted, being a Midwesterner, I simply couldn’t resist adding a glob of queso cheese on top. In my defense, the bonfires we have always mix the colors of fiery red and golden yellow. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. But if you have the willpower, I won’t be offended if you skip it. The furikake seasoning and sriracha sauce are the star attractions anyway.

VOLCANO CHEESE FRIES

Ingredients:

16 ounces shoestring fries, frozen

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1/3 cup Queso cheese dip, warmed

1 tablespoon furikake seasoning

Instructions:

Bake French fried potatoes according to package directions. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt. Toss gently. Transfer to a large bowl so the fries can be piled into a volcano mound. Drizzle sriracha sauce over the top, to taste. Add the warmed Queso cheese dip. Sprinkle with furikake seasoning. Serve immediately.

Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not every meal has to be an extravagant dinner. Lunchtime can be special, too. After all, Las Vegas is a city that seldom sleeps. And you gotta eat, right? That’s when nothing short of a burger will hit the spot. Choose between the Hell’s Kitchen Burger and the Standard Burger. Both have the to-die-for beef with all the fixings plus seasoned fries. Executive Chef, Michelle Tribble, winner of Season 17 Hell’s Kitchen, can be seen keeping everything in tiptop shape for a dining experience you will long remember. Her professional attitude and friendly demeanor are reason enough to come back for more. And then there’s the food, which you can judge for yourself.

The Salty Angler in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: The Salty Angler in Key West, Florida! When a coastal downpour catapults you indoors for cover, thank your lucky stars if it happens to be The Salty Angler. Not only is it a comfy watering hole, the live music from local talent is a plus. Pub-worthy Loaded Fries are smothered in jalapeño queso dip and crispy bacon. Perfect for sharing. Go ahead, smack your lips and lick your fingers. The laid-back atmosphere is like being surrounded by friends. Add a Bloody Mary with garnishes that perfect the flavor. Make it spicy, if you dare. At The Salty Angler, they aim to please. Give ‘em a nod for food, drink, and entertainment.

Wacho Nacho

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Wacho Nachos! What do you get when you mix sweet potato waffle fries and savory nacho toppings? Wacho Nachos! The grilled chicken, vine-ripe tomatoes, and spicy jalapeños provide a familiar face, but it’s all about the base. By choosing a healthy serving of sweet potato waffle fries, the crispy crunch offers an appealing meal instead of a junk food snack. Step aside tortilla chips, waffle fries are taking center stage!

WACHO NACHOS

19-ounce bag frozen sweet potato fries

2 cups precooked grilled chicken strips, cut into chunks

2 cups Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese, finely shredded

1 large vine-ripe tomato, chopped

1/4 cup sliced jalapeños

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup green onion snips

Instructions:

Bake the waffle fries according to package directions. Arrange individual casserole dishes with a single layer of crispy sweet potato waffle fries, lining the edges to hold in the toppings. Divide the grilled chicken chunks and shredded cheese equally. Top with tomatoes and jalapeño slices. Return to the oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove casseroles from the oven. Top with Greek yogurt and green onions. Serve immediately.

Yucca Crispy Sticks

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Yucca Crispy Sticks! From time to time I get a little help from my friends. Recently The Dancing Herbalist* suggested I share a post on the yucca root with my readers. To be honest, I have yucca plants growing all over my yard, and while I enjoy their hardy green foliage year round, and their beautiful white fan of blossoms every summer, I never gave them a second thought as a food source. Apparently they contain dietary fiber advantageous in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels in subtropical regions. Tasting very much like a potato, with roots that simulate a sweet potato, the yucca root is an healthy option loaded with antioxidants. I admit, I learn something new every day.

YUCCA CRISPY STICKS

Ingredients:

1 large yucca, peeled and cut into sticks

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Panko seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, finely ground

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel yucca with vegetable peeler to remove waxy skin. Cut into sticks, as uniform in thickness as possible. Do not make too thin. Place in a 2-quart pan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Cook 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain immediately. Submerge in an ice bath. Transfer drained sticks to a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and chili pepper, seasoned salt, and cracked black pepper. Mix together panko crumbs, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Spread on waxed paper. Roll each seasoned yucca stick in the crust mixture to coat and line in a single layer on a wire rack nested on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn and bake 5 minutes longer until golden brown. Serve warm with spicy mayo.

Ingredients for Spicy Mayo:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili pepper rings

Instructions:

Combine mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix well until smooth. Garnish with chili pepper rings.

* Please visit The Dancing Herbalist at

https://thedancingherbalist.wordpress.com

Dirt Dog in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Dirt Dog in Las Vegas, Nevada. You know how it gets really hot outside and you can feel little beads of sweat on your brow? And the sun is beating down on your head because you forgot to wear a hat? And you wish for the umpteenth time you drank a glass of water that morning to keep hydrated, but didn’t? Your body is craving salt or something fried or maybe something dirty. Stop at Dirt Dog for amazing hot dogs, dirty sides, and dirty desserts. Begin with a Dirt Dog like The Mutt Dog topped with chimichurri sauce, guacamole, and spicy tomato chile sauce. Add an order of fries or corn on the cob. The seasonings alone are mind-boggling: garlic, limon and chile, sea salt, or chili powder. Finish it up with a deep-fried Twinkie or Oreos for good measure. That’ll teach you to keep hydrated.

LVB Burger in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: LVB Burger in Las Vegas , Nevada. Where can you go to get a two-handed burger and an adult-friendly milkshake? LVB Burger at The Mirage knows no bounds. Slide into a booth. Every gastronomic burger is stuffed with delicious ingredients between a sesame brioche bun. Go classic with the O.S.B. (Old School Burger) or B.C.B. (Bacon Cheese Burger). If beef is not your thing, go with the W.T.F. (What The Flock) turkey burger. The cheese choices are as gourmet as the condiment list. Finger food sides are the perfect add on. Spiked milkshakes are as yummy as they come: Birthday Cake, Chocolate Caramel, or Churro. But the list goes on. Better add this joint to your Bucket List.

Michael Mina Pub 1842 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Michael Mina Pub 1842 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tucked away in the MGM Grand is a hidden gem inspired by a celebrity chef. Pub 1842, named for the year Pilsner was invented, offers a nice selection of craft beers, but that’s not where it ends. Check out the great selection of unique whiskeys and specialty cocktails. Happy Hour features a pair of Brisket Sliders worth nibbling on. Feast your eyes on the tender black angus beef prepared Kansas City-style, drenched in savory bbq sauce slathered over a bed of kale slaw. Spear a gherkin and it’s ready for that first bite. Add an order of Fries in a Can to balance things out. Chef Mina knows what he’s doing. Try not to drool.