Filet Mignon, Medium-Rare

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Filet Mignon, Medium-Rare! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that should melt in your mouth. A really nice fine-grained cut of filet mignon, that is small, tender, and very lean, can have the same effect. You won’t need a knife if you cook it correctly. In other words, it’s fork tender. The hubs thinks it’s a sin to use a marinade, dry rub, or steak seasoning because he appreciates the true taste. I’d have to agree.

FILET MIGNON, MEDIUM-RARE

Ingredients:

2 9-ounce filet mignon steaks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 pats of sea salt butter

Instructions:

Allow steaks to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Lightly brush olive oil on the clean grill grates before preheating to 450°. Right before placing steaks on the grill, season them with sea salt and pepper. Close the lid and sear for 5 minutes. Open the grill lid and flip the filets over. Close the lid and sear 5 minutes longer. Transfer steaks to a platter to rest. Tent with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. This allows the juices to flow back into the meat, making it tender and juicy. The center of the filet mignon should read 125°. Before serving, top each filet mignon with a pat of sea salt butter.

PB, Bacon & Jam Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: PB, Bacon & Jam Burger! Let the debate begin over peanut butter on a hamburger or an American cheese slice…because you can’t have both. Bacon gets to stay since everyone loves bacon. Amirite?! Peanut butter’s nutty taste actually compliments the beef patty. And it’s salty enough to take the place of cheese. The strawberry jam, with a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes, tickles the taste buds at the back of your throat making it an insanely good experience. I’m kind of a snob now that I’ve tasted brioche buns. Their buttery flavor, and the fact that they keep everything contained, is worth the cost difference. Are we good? Then carry on without regrets.

PB, BACON & JAM BURGER

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons natural peanut butter, creamy variety

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

4 tablespoons strawberry jam

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

8 slices bacon, cooked until crispy

4 lettuce leaves

4 brioche hamburger buns

Instructions:

Combine ground beef, sea salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Divide meat into four equal portions. Flatten into hamburger patties. Set aside. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the natural peanut butter with sriracha sauce. Stir until smooth. Grill burgers for 4 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. To build-the-burger, layer two strips of bacon on the bottom bun. Place the hot hamburger patty over the bacon. Immediately spread the peanut butter mixture on top. It will begin to soften and melt. Drop a dollop of strawberry jam on top. Sprinkle red pepper flakes into the jam, if desired. Finish with a lettuce and the top of the brioche bun. Serve immediately.

New York Strip Steak

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: New York Strip Steak! The secret to a good steak, when grilling, is to crank up the heat. It took years to figure this out because grilling is different than baking. A steak likes to have the outside seared, or even charred, in order to keep those wonderful juices inside. The secret is to get the outside seared as soon as possible. When I asked my husband how high the gas grill was set, he replied, “All the way up!” Next, take your cell phone because you’re going to need a timer. For me, the soft pink center of a medium-rare steak is perfection. Obviously, if you prefer it more well done, you add extra time. Ready? Grilling season is upon us.

NEW YORK STRIP STEAK

Ingredients:

1-inch thick New York strip steaks,(for two)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon butter, per steak

Instructions:

Remove steak(s) from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling. Season both sides with sea salt and black pepper. Preheat gas grill to highest setting. When you hold your hand over the grill, you have to pull it back immediately. Place steaks directly on grill for 4 minutes. Close the lid. Flip and sear the remaining side for another 3 minutes, with lid closed. Remove from heat and allow steaks to “rest” on a platter for 5 minutes. Add a pat of butter at this time. Serve steak immediately.

Angus Beef Burger

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Angus Beef Burger! Anyone who is a beef-eater understands that when meat has a high level of marbling, it keeps it moist for longer when cooking. Why is marbling important, you wonder? Because the fat ratio is scattered throughout creating juicy, tender, and more flavorful results. Long story, short, angus beef means better burger. No one wants a hockey puck for a hamburger. Right? Although it may cost a little more per pound, the end results are worth it.

ANGUS BEEF BURGER

Ingredients:

1 pound Angus beef, ground

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Lettuce, tomato, bacon and condiments as desired

Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill on High temperature. Form the ground beef into four equal portions. Season both sides of each patty with sea salt and black pepper. Brush the burgers with olive oil. Grill the burgers for 3 minutes until brown and slightly charred. Flip over. Do not press down to release juices! Cook 4 minutes longer, for medium rare, until golden and charred. Grill longer for desired results. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns. Add fixings and condiments to taste. Serve immediately.

Urban Grilled Egg Salad Sammie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Urban Grilled Egg Salad Sammie! Making dietary changes, however slight, can move the needle in a positive direction without sacrificing taste. Organic multigrain bread with flax seed and quinoa provides a nice crunch, whether toasted with butter, grilled in an iron skillet, or eaten plain with sliced tomatoes. Sometimes things need to be experienced to be believed. Because I had a bowl of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator, I thought….hey, I wonder how an egg salad sandwich would taste if it was warmed like a grilled cheese sandwich? Long story, short. Curiosity can create new meals. Perhaps you may wonder enough to find out for yourself.

URBAN GRILLED EGG SALAD SAMMIE

Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon jalapeño pickle juice

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 slices organic quinoa multigrain bread

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine hard boiled eggs and red onion with mayonnaise. Mix well. Sprinkle in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir until blended. Add Dijon mustard and jalapeño pickle juice. Stir well. Butter one side of each slice of quinoa bread. Warm an iron skillet over medium heat. Place 2 slices of bread, butter side down, into skillet. Divide egg salad between sandwiches. Top with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter side up. Carefully turn the sandwiches over when the bottoms are golden, after 3-4 minutes. When the underside is golden, transfer sandwiches to a plate. Serve with a dill pickle spear.

Grilled Brats, Onions, and Peppers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Grilled Brats, Onions, and Peppers! As you can see I was so busy sneaking one more meal of grilling outdoors before the weather changes that I almost forgot to take a snapshot. Here’s what’s left of a one-pan supper that is super-easy. Garden green peppers and sweet onions definitely complement the different spices that make up bratwurst. The reason the sausage links are cut up is because my husband and I wanted more of the “stuff” and less of the bun. Problem solved. Go bunless.

GRILLED BRATS, ONIONS, and PEPPERS

Ingredients:

1-pound package German bratwurst

3 green peppers, stem, seeds, and rubbed removed

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

Nonstick oil

Instructions:

Preheat the grill on medium to 350°. Cut the bratwurst into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to a grill pan. Cut the green peppers into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to the grill pan. Cut the sweet onion into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to the grill pan. Give the pan a light coating of nonstick oil. Sprinkle seasoned salt over vegetables. Lightly toss the bratwurst, onions, and peppers. Place grill pan on the grill. Close lid. This infuses the mixture with a nice smoky flavor. Cook 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally for that charred caramelized appearance. Serve immediately.

O’Quigley’s Seafood Steamer & Oyster Sports Bar in Destin, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: O’Quigley’s Seafood Steamer & Oyster Sports Bar in Destin, Florida! Question: What do you get when you combine fresh seafood with an Irish sports bar? Answer: A name that says it all. When you’re craving seafood and everyone has a different idea of what that might be, choose a restaurant that not only keeps the kids occupied with private tv screens in comfy booths, but also an incredible menu items plus a wide selection of crafted beers for the grownups. Sit back and relax. The portions are generous and the choices seem endless. Seafood can be prepared steamed, blackened, fried, or sautéed. Burgers, steaks, wings, and soups are other options worth considering. On second thought, better plan on taste-testing each other’s platters.

Grilled Avocado Bowls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Grilled Avocado Bowls! Now you have a reason to eat more than mashed avocados in guacamole. Anyone can become a grill master with this perfect side dish. By grilling these sumptuous half moons, you not only get a portion all to yourself, the protein-packed morsels will give you energy enough to tackle whatever else is on your list. The touch of lime compliments the earthy hint of outdoor smoke. Top them off with farm fresh sweet corn niblets, chopped Roma tomatoes, and leafy cilantro snips. See what you’ve been missing.

GRILLED AVOCADO BOWLS

Ingredients:

2 avocados, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing dry mix

1/2 cup sweet corn

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

1 slices Roma tomato, chopped

Fresh Cilantro

Lime wedges

Instructions:

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Drizzle each avocado half with lime juice. Use a pastry brush to coat the cut side of the avocados with olive oil. Avoid surplus in the well; it may cause a flare up. Sprinkle on garlic powder. Divide the Italian dry mix over all. Place the avocados on the hot grill, cut side directly on the grate. Cook for 3 minutes or until grill marks and slight charring is visible. Meanwhile, combine sweet corn, diced pimento, chopped tomato, and cilantro leaves in a bowl. Gently toss. Using a tongs, carefully transfer avocado bowls to a platter. Fill the centers with a scoop of the sweet corn mixture. Before serving, squeeze lime juice over all.

Mr. Tequila Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Naples, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Mr. Tequila Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Naples, Florida! When one restaurant owner boasts about an additional place to try, my ears usually perk up. Mexican food is one of my favorites, especially authentic family-owned restaurants with a story to tell. Rafael Romo, born in Guanajuato, migrated to the United States as a teenager. With a good work ethic, he understood the commitment required for a successful business. His journey progressed into a food truck where he sold Mexican food infused with family traditions. Over time he gained more knowledge and experience. Then Mr. Tequila was born. Now popular as a farm-to-kitchen cantina, people flock here for grilled specialties that are bound to become favorites. Some of the drool-worthy dishes include crispy flour shells, grilled seafood and veggies, gooey melted cheese, creamy guacamole, marinated meats, and always fresh pico de gallo. Happy Hour margaritas definitely make late afternoon quite satisfying. For a dining experience rich in culture where people are greeted by name, this place fits the bill.