What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: You Are What You Eat! I’ve been hearing this phrase my entire life, and it wasn’t until recently I actually began paying attention to it again. Oh sure, I knew moderation was key, exercise important, and water essential. I tried to maintain a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and even fats because it made a difference in how well I felt. Plus it reflected in my energy level as well. So, as I was collecting all this produce, it seemed like a no-brainer to share the snapshot with everyone. Bon Appétit.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Corn on the Cob
Wash the vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked, puréed, chopped, minced, buttered, grilled, roasted, par-boiled, or baked.
“Make food simple
and let things taste
of what they are.”
~ Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)
French Writer (1872-1956)
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Shish Kabobs! It’s dinner-on-a-stick! Each skewer provides a vibrant color wheel of your favorite edible combinations. Warm or cool, dark or light. All you need to do is assemble a combination that will have your family singing your praises! Grab the apron, fire up the grill, and let the serious eating begin.
1-pound smoked sausage, cut up into 8 pieces
2 ears corn, cut into thirds
2 red potatoes, quartered
1 Vidalia onion, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, cut up and seeds removed
1 zucchini, sliced 1/2″ thick with skin on
Seasoned salt to taste
Cracked blacked pepper to taste
Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning to taste
Wash, cut-up, and prepare meat and vegetables. Thread pieces of smoked sausage, corn, potatoes, onion, green pepper, and zucchini onto metal skewers alternating color for variation and eye-appeal. Repeat until all ingredients are skewered. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray each skewer of meat and vegetables with non-stick oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Grill 5-6 minutes per side. The natural flavors will burst forth with a touch of smokiness. The edges of the sausage will char. Avoid excess charring. Keep turning for even grilling. Watch for slight blistering to indicate when done.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Yakitori Chicken Skewers! Our dinner was supposed to be grilled outdoors. Thank goodness when the weather doesn’t cooperate, meat and vegetables can be broiled indoors with very tasteful results. The international marinade lends itself to an enhanced blend of aromatic soy, olive oil, and pungent ginger which is pleasing to the palate. The Japanese-style dish is a light and healthy alternative when mixed with fruit and vegetables.
2-3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and cut into small sections
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake or vermouth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, shaved
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup green pepper strips
Place chicken in a dish. Combine sugar, soy sauce, sake, vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Mix well to combine. Pour over chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour. Thread chicken, pineapple, and green pepper alternating on skewers. Preheat oven broiler on high setting. Place skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes; turn and broil an additional 5 minutes on the other side. Cook until chicken is fully cooked. Remove from oven being careful of hot juices.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Olive Tapenade! Here’s a nice prelude to an evening meal. Forego the usual focaccia bread and herbed olive oil for a southern France hors d’oeuvre instead. By using an exotic mixture of olives and spices, it creates a versatile condiment for crackers, bread, cheese, and vegetables. Later on, serve it over pasta or fish as another option. Whatever you choose, seek adventure. You won’t be disappointed in the mellow salty garlic flavor lingering long into the night.
1/2 cup green olives with pimentos
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons capers
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Pulse in a food processor for several minutes. Scrape sides and repeat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. Serve with crusty artisan bread or pita chips. Tastes great spread over cream cheese for party flavor.
Dining Outside the Home: Felicia Suzanne’s in Memphis, Tennessee! Tucked comfortably at a corner table is like feeling on the edge of a party, in my opinion. The intimate atmosphere at Felicia Suzanne’s feels festive as distant conversations emit a slow buzz. This is Friday lunchtime, when 25-cent martinis set the stage for an unforgettable weekend prelude. Order it your way: shaken, stirred, or slightly dirty. No matter the choice, it all works well with the specialized menu of southern cuisine from local sources. I guess you could describe it as farm-to-table, with a white linen finish. Fresh lump crabmeat boulettes tempt the palate with a saucy kick of pepper jelly. In a word, delectable. Coming from a seafood lover, the BBQ Gulf Shrimp was a no-brainer as well. Every item has the stamp of Project Green Fork on it, but one visit doesn’t begin to complete the truly southern experience.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Harvest Snap Beans! If you’ve ever planted a garden, you already know how easily and quickly green beans are to grow. They produce so well, even a novice takes pride in their bounty. When it’s time to harvest, choose smooth green (or yellow) pods. Lumps are a sign of an overripe bean, which means it could be dried out or damaged inside. Be particular. You can always tell how fresh it is by the “snap” sound it makes when broken. Perhaps that’s why my aunt on the farm used to call them “snap beans”. Taste is everything.
HARVEST SNAP BEANS
1 pound frozen yellow wax and green beans, thawed
6 slices bacon; cooked and broken into chunks
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°. Arrange yellow wax beans and green beans in an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle bacon pieces over beans. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, soy sauce, garlic powder, and agave nectar. Mix well. Pour over green beans and bacon. Bake uncovered 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Manhattan’s famous Central Park is New York City’s public haven for recreation, entertainment, community, or solitude. Look in one direction to be greeted by towering monuments. Turn and see. As you stroll in the shadow of the Wisteria Pergola, take a moment to gaze above at the delicate purple tendrils. Inhale the fragrance. Cross over another stone foot bridge, paying close attention to embellished details in ornate finials. The architecture is magnificent. Hear the soothing sound of water spewing forth from angelic fountains. Close your eyes, make a wish, and toss a coin into the crystal clear waters. Natural beauty is visible at every turn. Sights, sounds, and aromas fill the air. What’s that smell? At the edge of the park sits a legendary hot dog vendor offering tasteful sausages in steamed buns with condiment combinations for every palate. Well done, Central Park.