What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Boursin Garlic Bisque! Have you been to a restaurant where the main course is served with a side of garlic smashed potatoes? The texture is incredibly smooth and the flavor is bursting with fresh herbs and garlic. Gourmet Boursin cheese may be their secret ingredient. Its airy-light texture is a marriage between spreadable cream cheese and whipped butterfat. You can find this French icon wrapped in foil in the cheese department of your favorite grocery store. Serve it with crackers, pita chips, or go all out and make this simple potato bisque.
BOURSIN GARLIC BISQUE
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups Yukon potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped
3/4 cup light cream
5.3 ounce Garlic Boursin Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
5 slices crisp bacon, pieces and crumbles
Fresh Garlic Chives
Ground Smoked Almonds
Combine chicken broth and chopped potatoes in a 2-quart pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, sauté garlic clove and sweet onions in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add to potato mixture. After potatoes are tender, partially smash the potatoes to thicken, leaving some potato chunks for texture. Add light cream and Boursin cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add baby peas and bacon pieces. Simmer 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with bacon crumbles, garlic chives, and smoked almonds.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Yummy Parmesan Alfredo Sauce! If ever there was a universal sauce, this is it. Alfredo sauce isn’t just for pasta any more. Pizzerias began using it to substitute the tomato base on pizzas, pairing it with bacon, spinach, artichokes, and chicken. It makes a creamy addition to grilled seafood, poultry, or pork dishes, as well. Some enthusiasts even slather alfredo sauce on baked potatoes. It’s pure genius to pour it into a freshly baked bread bowl for dipping crudités, if you’re into that sort of thing. No matter how you spin it…butter, cream, and cheese are the star attractions. These are the ways to a woman’s heart. That, and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
YUMMY PARMESAN ALFREDO SAUCE
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cups light cream
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Neufchâtel cheese, softened
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm butter. Add light cream. Reduce heat and simmer over Low heat for 2 minutes, stirring gently. Whisk in minced garlic, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper. Add Neufchâtel cheese; stir to incorporate. Slowly add parmesan cheese; whisk until completely melted. Keep warm prior to serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Rosemary Lemon Roasted Turkey! Did you know a frozen turkey will last up to two years in the freezer? First and foremost, it’s only a bargain if you have the space to store it. That being said, roasting a turkey is a great source of lean protein. A whole bird provides healthy meat that can be served several different ways. Unfortunately, our bodies need protein and cannot store it. We need to replenish protein in order to build strong bones, repair muscle, heal skin, and help keep blood sugar levels even. All the other vitamins and minerals are a bonus. A few words of advice: Remove and discard the skin of the roasted turkey, no matter how tempting that crispy, golden outer covering calls your name. It’s main purpose is to keep the meat moist. That, and for taking fabulous snapshots, of course.
ROSEMARY LEMON ROASTED TURKEY
4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 lemons, quartered
12-pound turkey, thawed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse turkey, pat dry. Insert rosemary and lemon pieces in the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey by wrapping the bird in cooking twine. Secure the legs and tuck the wings underneath. Transfer turkey to the roasting pan with the breast side up. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder. Bake uncovered for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. The juice of the turkey will run clear when the center of the thigh is cut. Remove from oven. Cover. Allow turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and lemons.
The cat is out of the bag, or rather the Fish, when it comes to nifty thrifty kitchen gadgets. I recently received this unusual object, from a dear friend of mine. At first I was totally confused. I even tried to open it, thinking there had to be something useful and remarkable inside. Was it a bottle opener? Or a refrigerator magnet? What about a cocktail ice cube? Nope. It’s kinda like assembling a coffee table from IKEA. If all else fails, read the package instructions. This quirky little fish gadget turned out to be invaluable. It’s purpose is to eliminate strong odors from smelly foods like onions, garlic, and you guessed it…fish. Too often we rinse our hands with soap, lemon juice, or vinegar without success. Most times the odor is heightened rather than diminished due to the sulfur molecules. Evidently stainless steel is a negative-charged metal that, when combined with the positive-charged amino acids in cold water, will remove irritating odors. I know this to be true because I put it to the test. I was chopping raw onions to toss onto a steaming bowl of homemade chili, so naturally I scooped up the onions with my hands. Afterwards my hands smelled pungent, like onions. I turned on the faucet, placed the fish in the palm of my hands, and vigorously rubbed together under the stream of cold water for about 15 seconds. It miraculously worked. Poof, like magic the odor had disappeared. Thanks, Judy. Your gift is pure genius.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Lobster-Mate Cheddar Biscuits! Having to shelter-in-place during the pandemic does not mean that restaurant cravings just stop. I see you nodding your head in agreement. If I named a restaurant, chances are you would say, “Oh, I love their…steak burgers, iced tea, queso dip, sweet potato wedges, or cheddar biscuits.” Admit it, dining out is a fact of life and we miss it right now. So, the alternative is to give it our best shot at home. Thanks to my friend, Colleen, for her blog post* on a name-brand seafood restaurant’s copycat recipe for the bread basket. These cheddar biscuits are spot on. I guarantee you, the results will astound you.
LOBSTER-MATE CHEDDAR BISCUITS
4 cups prepared baking mix
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
Dill weed, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Combine baking mix, cheddar cheese, and water in a bowl. Mix well. Drop biscuits by spoonful on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic powder, and onion salt. Brush butter mixture over warm cheddar biscuits. Sprinkle with dill weed. Serve warm.
*Check out Colleen’s recipe at
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Infused-Garlic Olive Oil! If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit a specialty store that sells infused olive oils and flavored vinegars, you understand the value of the tasting bar within. Tasting is believing, in my opinion, especially when it’s difficult to narrow down the choices. My favorites so far are lemon extra virgin olive oil and strawberry balsamic vinegar or extra virgin lime infused olive oil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar. Of course, Italian balsamic vinegar and garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil are staples in my kitchen. Think about it a minute. Garlic tastes wonderful on crusty breads, drizzled over roasted vegetables, marinated in meats, and stirred into homemade sauces. When making your own infused olive oil, repeat after me, “Always use extra virgin olive oil.” EVOO is made from pure, cold-pressed olives without adding processed oils. The test is proven when olive oil is refrigerated. It will solidify like butter. If it doesn’t, it is unrefined and will remain liquid. Don’t be fooled.
INFUSED-GARLIC OLIVE OIL
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Sterilize a glass jar, with airtight lid, and set aside. Warm olive oil, in a small saucepan, over low heat only. Remove from heat when the oil is barely warm to the touch. Do not boil. Add garlic cloves. Set aside for 24 hours. At that time, pour the olive oil through a fine strainer into the sterilized jar. Discard garlic cloves. Seal the jar. Store infused oil in the refrigerator until ready to use.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Splurge-Worthy Goodness: Yarrow Bowtie Pasta! Every time I passed by my front porch, I got a pleasant whiff of licorice. It seemed to come and go, but I couldn’t figure out which plant produced it. Imagine my delight when I discovered the previous owners had planted the decorative flowering herb, Yarrow. I pinched off a fern-like leaf, rubbed it between my fingers, and bingo, that was the familiar scent. When it comes to cooking, a little yarrow goes a long way. Because the leaves are feathery and soft, high heat will destroy the flavor. It is very important to wait until the dish is prepared before utilizing the essence of yarrow. The taste is so distinct, it must be used sparingly.
YARROW BOWTIE PASTA
1 teaspoon yarrow leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 ounce dried bowtie pasta
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon truffle oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 anchovy fillets in oil, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Combine yarrow leaves and red pepper flakes. Mince together. Set aside. Cook bowtie pasta in salt water, according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, warm olive oil and truffle in a skillet on low heat. Add chopped garlic and anchovies; cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Do not burn. Remove pan from heat; swirl to cool. Add dry white wine to pan. When pasta is done, drain well. Add pasta to skillet. Toss to coat, cooking on low heat for one minute. Remove from heat; add yarrow mixture. Toss to incorporate. Transfer pasta to individual serving bowls. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese. Serve with a tossed garden salad.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Thyme Tomato Toss! Hop aboard the yellow tomato bus for a ride that will take you down a two-lane country road. These golden nuggets, about the size of a cherry, are often less acidic and milder than their popular red cousins. I find them a touch sweeter as well. Their colors can range from pale yellow to sunny gold to bright orange, which makes for a stunning combo in marinated tomatoes or tasty fresh salsa. Just so you know, the skins are pretty tender, if that’s ever been an issue for you. With all that being said, now sit back, and enjoy the ride.
THYME TOMATO TOSS
8 ounces yellow and red cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Thyme sprigs, for garnish
Place yellow and red cherry tomatoes is a bowl. Set aside. In a measure cup, whisk together olive oil, garlic wine vinegar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, marjoram, sea salt, basil, and sugar. Sprinkle in thyme leaves. Drizzle over tomatoes. Gently toss to coat. Serve immediately. Garnish with thyme sprigs.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Ramping Up Breakfast! For a hearty and satisfying way to jumpstart your morning, think outside the box with sautéed ramps. Prepared in minutes with hardly anytime at the stove, you’ll be serving up a “green” feast fit for a king. If you live in the country where farm fresh eggs are as plentiful as the next roadside produce stand, even better. Treat yourself to a scrumptious weekend meal on the back porch in true farmhouse style.
RAMPING UP BREAKFAST
1/4 pound wild ramps
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 smoked sausage links
2 pieces artisan bread, toasted
Crushed oregano, for garnish
Wash thoroughly every crevice and leaf stem of each ramp. Cut off and discard bulb roots. Rinse again. Gently pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Warm olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Transfer ramps to the skillet. Cook until tender and crispy, gently turning. After 10 minutes, divide ramps between two plates. Cook eggs according to personal preference. Add to each plate. Heat smoked sausage, slicing open to sear. Arrange on plates. Butter toast to complete each breakfast plate. Garnish ramps and eggs with crushed oregano. Serve immediately.