Grapeful Roast Turkey

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Grapeful Roast Turkey! Get set for a moist and flavorful crispy-golden brown roasted turkey. It’s so simple, you might find yourself buying an extra bird around the holidays to freeze for satisfying meals down the road. Seriously. Fresh herbs are easy to come by year round at the grocery or, even better, at Farmers Markets. By switching out the cranberry sauce for a combination of Muscat grape jelly and pure maple syrup, you elevate the meal to a whole new level. Someone once described Muscat grapes as “the taste of pleasant wine before it gets inside a bottle.” I like that. You may, too.

GRAPEFUL ROAST TURKEY

Ingredients:

8-10 pound turkey

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 lemon, halved

1 bunch thyme

1 bunch rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 head garlic, halved

1/3 cup Muscat grape jelly

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup butter

Bunch of Grapes, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a roasting pan with foil, overlapping enough to enclose turkey. Place a wire rack in the bottom. Set aside. Rinse and pat turkey dry using a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Sprinkle turkey with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the lemon, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and garlic into the cavity. Transfer turkey to the wire rack in roasting pan. In a small saucepan, warm Muscat grape jelly, pure maple syrup, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until combined, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool for 5 minutes. Brush one-fourth of the grape jelly sauce over turkey. Tent with foil and bake for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 425°. Brush another fourth of grape jelly sauce over turkey. Roast, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°. Brush remaining grape jelly sauce over turkey. Allow turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh grapes.

Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate! What smells like bacon, is salty like bacon, and can be eaten at room temperature like bacon, but isn’t bacon? Give up? Smoky Gouda cheese. Here you have a mild, soft, slightly sweet-tasting cheese that practically gives you the same high as eating bacon. Seriously. The hickory smoked flavor practically makes your eyes roll back. Not to mention, the buttery smooth notes coat your tongue making it practically melt in your mouth. You realize the fruit is for show, don’t you? Just kidding.

SMOKY GOUDA CHEESE PLATE

Ingredients:

7-ounce wheel of Smoky Gouda cheese, wax removed

1 pint strawberries, washed and whole

1 bunch green grapes, seedless

Instructions:

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. Remove the wax seal; cut cheese I nto bite-sized chunks. Arrange smoky gouda cheese, strawberries, and green grapes on a platter. Serve with crackers, if desired.

Jarcuterie Jumbles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Jarcuterie Jumbles! How’s this for a “Wow!” factor? Instead of preparing an entire platter full of goodies, create a personal jarcuterie allowing mobility for every party guest to mingle. By assembling jars containing fresh fruits, crudités, whole olives, cubed cheese, sea salt crackers, cured meats, and pretzel sticks, people can nibble at their leisure. Choose jars you may already have on hand to keep it interesting. I went one step further and made cheese ball minis rolled in Everything But Bagel seasoning. The results were worth the advanced planning. Simply keep the jars chilled until you wish to serve them. Place baskets of extra crackers and pretzels for those who crave more. Leftover jarcuteries can be refrigerated for the next day. Guests may simply attach the lid and take it with them or leave them behind for you to recycle for your next gathering.

JARCUTERIE JUMBLES

Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2-3 tablespoons Everything But Bagel seasoning

8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cubed

8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, cubed

8 ounces hard salami, sliced thin

3 ounces whole manzanilla olives

6 ounces red raspberries, fresh

6 ounces blackberries, fresh

1 stalk celery, fresh

16 ounces green seedless grapes, fresh

8 ounces pretzel rods

5 ounces sea salt pita crackers

Party Picks, for assembly

Assorted Jars, sterilized

Celery Sprigs, for garnish

Instructions:

To prepare mini cheese balls, take a teaspoon of softened cream cheese, roll into a ball. Set aside. Repeat until the block of cream cheese is used. Sprinkle Everything But Bagel seasoning onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll each mini cheese ball in the seasoning. Transfer to a plate. When finished, refrigerate to chill. Meanwhile, fill the base of each jar with green grapes. Skewer cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, hard salami, and olive as preferred. Skewer red raspberry, green grape, and blackberry together. Arrange skewers, pretzel rod, and celery stick into the jar. Finish with a fresh sprig of celery leaves. Refrigerate jars until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap.

Zinfandel Pairings

Eating My Way Through the Holidays. Festive Food Gifts: Zinfandel Pairings! Just when I thought I’d seen it all, there in the produce department perched on the bottom shelf below its green and red cousins, was a small bin of larger-than-life black seedless grapes. Immediately I was intrigued. The hand-scribbled sign boasted sweet and tart beyond your wildest dreams. That’s it. Nothing more than “Product of USA” on the package. It didn’t matter. It was love-at-first-sight. I knew immediately that a Zinfandel wine and tangy cheese would join the impromptu Date Night that was forming in my mind. Later on, after I got home, I read all kinds of powerful benefits these precious little gems do for the body, mind, and soul. What a perfect prologue for guilt-free delicacies.

ZINFANDEL PAIRINGS

Ingredients:

1 pound black seedless grapes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, block

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup honeycomb

Multigrain French Bread slices, lightly toasted

Raw Honey, for drizzling

Lemon Thyme, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small dish, combine olive oil, sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Wash cluster of black grapes; pat dry. Place grapes on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the grapes with the olive oil mixture. Roast for 30 minutes. Grapes will release juice and begin to wrinkle. Remove pan from oven to cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Break the feta cheese into rough chunks. Transfer to a baking dish sprayed with nonstick oil. Sprinkle with olive oil and lemon zest. Drizzle with raw honey. Bake for 15 minutes until softened. Broil until slightly golden. Watch carefully. To serve, spread warm cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with a piece of honeycomb. Place a roasted grape over the cheese. Drizzle with raw honey. Garnish with lemon thyme. Serve with a slightly chilled glass of red Zinfandel.

Astoria Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Astoria Salad! A classic salad that never loses its popularity, made famous when served at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel over a hundred years ago, gives you the flexibility of turning it into a family favorite. Feel free to add sweet raisins or chopped celery. Some even use yogurt in lieu of a mayonnaise dressing. Be creative, be adventurous, or be satisfied and try my version first.

ASTORIA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

2 red apples, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup green grapes, seedless and halved

1 cup walnuts, broken into pieces and toasted

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Romaine lettuce, torn

Instructions:

Whisk together mayonnaise and sugar until blended. Set aside. Core and slice red apples. Gently toss in lemon juice. Combine apple slices, green grapes, and toasted walnuts. Coat mixture with mayonnaise dressing. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Sipping Sangria

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Sipping Sangria! The weather is great, the weekend is here. Get ready to party. Psst. Wine lovers lean in. This crowd-pleasing punch can be thrown together beforehand since the flavor gets better with time. Choose your favorite dry red wine. No worries. It’ll sweeten up from the chopped fruit, juices, and agave nectar. Hold the fizziness until just before serving. The colors are not only festive but invigorating. Then sit back, cool off, and sip away.

SIPPING SANGRIA

Ingredients:

5 cups dry red wine

1/2 cup apricot brandy

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1 1/2 cups blood orange juice

1/4 cup grenadine

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 cups sparkling water or carbonated beverage

1 lime, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

1 orange, sliced

1 apple, cut in wedges

Grapes for garnish

Instructions:

In a large pitcher, combine dry red wine, apricot brandy, orange liqueur, blood orange juice, grenadine, agave nectar, fresh lemon juice, and fresh lime juice. Stir well. Add lime, lemon, orange slices and apple wedges. Refrigerate for one hour. Before serving, add sparkling water. Stir. Fill stemmed glasses with ice, add sangria, and garnish with fruit.

Zinfandel Pairings

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Zinfandel Pairings! Just when I thought I’d seen it all, there in the produce department perched on the bottom shelf below its green and red cousins, was a small bin of larger-than-life black seedless grapes. Immediately I was intrigued. The hand-scribbled sign boasted sweet and tart beyond your wildest dreams. That’s it. Nothing more than “Product of USA” on the package. It didn’t matter. It was love-at-first-sight. I knew immediately that a Zinfandel wine and tangy cheese would join the impromptu Date Night that was forming in my mind. Later on, after I got home, I read all kinds of powerful benefits these precious little gems do for the body, mind, and soul. What a perfect prologue for guilt-free delicacies.

ZINFANDEL PAIRINGS

Ingredients:

1 pound black seedless grapes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, block

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup honeycomb

Multigrain French Bread slices, lightly toasted

Raw Honey, for drizzling

Lemon Thyme, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small dish, combine olive oil, sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Wash cluster of black grapes; pat dry. Place grapes on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the grapes with the olive oil mixture. Roast for 30 minutes. Grapes will release juice and begin to wrinkle. Remove pan from oven to cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Break the feta cheese into rough chunks. Transfer to a baking dish sprayed with nonstick oil. Sprinkle with olive oil and lemon zest. Drizzle with raw honey. Bake for 15 minutes until softened. Broil until slightly golden. Watch carefully. To serve, spread warm cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with a piece of honeycomb. Place a roasted grape over the cheese. Drizzle with raw honey. Garnish with lemon thyme. Serve with a slightly chilled glass of red Zinfandel.

Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate! What smells like bacon, is salty like bacon, and can be eaten at room temperature like bacon, but isn’t bacon? Give up? Smoky Gouda cheese. Here you have a mild, soft, slightly sweet-tasting cheese that practically gives you the same high as eating bacon. Seriously. The hickory smoked flavor practically makes your eyes roll back. Not to mention, the buttery smooth notes coat your tongue making it practically melt in your mouth. You realize the fruit is for show, don’t you? Just kidding.

SMOKY GOUDA CHEESE PLATE

Ingredients:

7-ounce wheel of Smoky Gouda cheese, wax removed

1 pint strawberries, washed and whole

1 bunch green grapes, seedless

Instructions:

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. Remove the wax seal; cut cheese I nto bite-sized chunks. Arrange smoky gouda cheese, strawberries, and green grapes on a platter. Serve with crackers, if desired.

Cantaloupe Chicken Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Cantaloupe Chicken Salad! Indiana Cantaloupe is a popular fruit these days. Some even dub it a “labor of love”. As a sweet and fragrant melon, it quickly becomes a perfect alternative to the summer watermelon. Wonderfully rich and appealing in color, the cantaloupe becomes an ideal serving vessel. One scoop and the seeds are gone. Fill half with a savory chicken salad and save the other for vanilla ice cream later on. Win, Win!

CANTALOUPE CHICKEN SALAD

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe, cut in half or quarters, seeds removed

10-ounce can premium chicken breast, chunk in water; drained

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup mayonnaise

10 seedless green grapes, halved

1 tablespoon pecan pieces

1/8 teaspoon fresh Mexican tarragon, chopped

Instructions:

One cantaloupe serves four. Cut the cantaloupe in half; using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Tip to remove any juice. Slice each half into a quarter wedge. Place each wedge into a luncheon plate. Set aside. In a large bowl, add drained chicken chunks. Shred chunks slightly, using two forks. Sprinkle with celery seed. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Fold in green grapes and pecan pieces. Stir to blend together. Divide chicken salad equally over each cantaloupe wedge. Garnish with chopped tarragon. Serve.