Hasselback Honey-Roasted Carrots

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Hasselback Honey-Roasted Carrots! Get cooking with a vegetable side dish that will bring on the cheers. It not only has eye appeal when served, it is bursting of natural flavor combined with exotic spices. This is everyday cooking. Who wants to give it a try? These beautifully sliced carrots are incredibly simple to make. 


HASSELBACK HONEY-ROASTED CARROTS


Ingredients:

1 pound fresh carrots, peeled and tops trimmed

1/4 cup natural honey

1-2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon paprika 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon thyme

Fresh Chives for garnish

Pomegranate arils for garnish


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Beginning at one end of the carrot, slice in vertical strips, being careful to stop before slicing through the bottom. Repeat with remaining carrots. Transfer carrots to a shallow dish. Combine natural honey, olive oil, seasoned salt, black pepper, ground ginger, paprika, ground cumin, and thyme. Stir well. Brush glaze onto the carrots, turning to coat. Place carrots on a nonstick baking pan in a single layer without touching. Bake 40-45 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives and pomegranate arils.

Xalapa Party Punch

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Xalapa Party Punch! Before you read further, I want you to know this is an adult beverage and not intended for those under the age of 21. It does contain alcohol, so drink responsibly. Big-batch cocktails, or party punch, are nice to have on hand for last minute gatherings or friends who drop by unannounced. I keep a pitcher in the refrigerator for just that reason. If you do the same, choose a container that has an airtight lid. There’s nothing worse than sipping on an icy cold cocktail that smells like garlic or grilled leftovers. With the subtle fruity notes of apple, orange, cherry, and apricot, Xalapa Party Punch will get everyone talking. Carry On.

XALAPA PARTY PUNCH

Ingredients:

1 cup hot black tea

1/2 cup Tupelo honey

1 orange rind, grated

2 cups dark rum

2 cups apple brandy

2 cups dry red wine

Orange rind, grated

Crushed Ice

Instructions:

In a saucepan over low heat, combine hot black tea, Tupelo honey, and grated orange rind. Heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. Add dark rum, apple brandy, and dry red wine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh basil or mint.

Bang Bang Sauce

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Bang Bang Sauce! Look no further for a tasty condiment that can be smeared, dunked, or drizzled all over fried chicken, grilled shrimp, or even steamed broccoli if the mood strikes you. It’s smooth and creamy, a little bit spicy, honey sweet, and tingles your tongue. You absolutely must share with everyone else at the table. After all, garlic tastes delicious in food, but it leaves behind a slightly pungent odor that can find some people feeling offended or jealous. And we wouldn’t want that.

BANG BANG SAUCE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 teaspoon natural honey

1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

Green onions, for garnish

Red pepper flakes, for garnish

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, natural honey, rice vinegar, and minced garlic. Whisk until everything is combined. Pour into a serving dish. Garnish with green onion snips and red pepper flakes. Serve as a dipping sauce with seafood.

Quirky Clean Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Quirky Clean Salad! We’ve all heard the word “clean” when referring to food. Once upon a time, it meant wash the vegetables before eating them. Now it seems to have multiple meanings. Some of those phrases include “unprocessed foods, organically grown, no preservatives, low carbs, gluten-free, free-range, or no high fructose corn syrup.” Basically, it translates to what is clean for YOU. My unwritten rule is, if I have a craving for it, I’m eating it. Perhaps that’s why I added the word “Quirky” to the title. You do what is right for you. Are we good?

QUIRKY CLEAN SALAD

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, florets only and chopped

1 green apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 cup green olives, sliced

1/4 cup raisins

5 pitted dates, chopped

2 slices bacon, crispy cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon garlic wine vinegar

1 tablespoon natural honey

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli florets, diced apples, chopped almonds, sliced green olives, raisins, chopped dates, and crumbled bacon. Gently toss to mix. In another bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic wine vinegar, natural honey, Himalayan salt, cracked black pepper, and chopped rosemary. Pour the vinaigrette over the broccoli salad; mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Piquant Pear Passion

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Piquant Pear Passion! Did you know a little bit of cheese and fruit make a great dessert at the end of a meal? Sure you did. The French have been doing it for years. Europeans, too. Bleu cheese, or its milder cousins Roquefort and Gorgonzola, is a perfect match with sweet ripe pears. Nuts provide that little extra crunch you crave. If making ahead, to keep the pears from turning brown, simply dip them in a wash of lemon juice and water. It works. If you wish to top off the dessert plate with subtle sweetness, drizzle some natural honey over the pears before serving. Obviously I threw in the greens as garnish. Habit, that’s for sure.

PIQUANT PEAR PASSION

Ingredients:

1-2 ripe pears, cored and sliced

4-ounces Bleu cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Arugula leaves, for garnish

Natural Honey, for drizzling (optional)

Instructions:

Arrange pear slices in a dessert dish. Add the bleu cheese crumbles. Sprinkle with walnut pieces. Garnish with arugula leaves. Drizzle pears with natural honey.

Lavender Creamed Honey Pears

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Lavender Creamed Honey Pears! Whenever pears come into season, I feel as though a festive dessert is in order. But then again, I’m spoiled. Family members “gift” us with a different fruit-of-the-month selection all year long. A box gets delivered to our doorstep with a little card that tells us about the delectables inside. Often there are serving suggestions as well as ripening and storage tips. Then my mind begins to wander as I plan different ways to come up with recipes. That is, unless I simply succumb to their aroma and eat them as they are. Here’s a festive dessert that will get you raves through the holidays.

LAVENDER CREAMED HONEY PEARS

Ingredients:

1 large pear, skin on, halved, and cored with a melon scooper

2 tablespoons sweet white wine

2 tablespoons creamed honey

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Lavender Filling:

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon creamed cheese, softened

2 drops lavender extract

1 smidgen dried lavender buds

1 drop lemon extract

1 nip granulated citrus peel

1 teaspoon granola, for garnish

Lavender buds, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small baking dish, place pear halves upright. Pour sweet wine over them. Slightly warm creamed honey on Low setting in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drizzle honey over pears. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Dot each pear half with butter. Finish with vanilla extract. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Carefully remove dish from oven. Baste pears with the juice. Turn each pear over, skin side up. Bake 20 minutes longer until tender. Using a spoon, transfer each pear half, flipping over with skin side down, to a dessert dish. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. Spoon reserve sauce over pears. While pears are baking, make the Lavender Filling. Combine vanilla Greek yogurt and creamed cheese. Mix until smooth. Fold in lavender extract, dried lavender buds, lemon extract, and granulated citrus peel. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. To serve, place a heaping dollop of filling into each pear half. Sprinkle with granola. Garnish with lavender buds. Serve warm.

Rainbow Fruit Cup

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Rainbow Fruit Cup! As the seasons roll on, here’s a friendly reminder about buying fresh fruit. Most grocers feature fruits that are always in season, such as apples, bananas, and grapes. If you pay attention to the first ones you see as you walk in the door or in high traffic areas, most likely you’ll reap the savings. That’s one clue. If the store has an abundance of something on hand, they focus on “pushing” it through quickly, which translates BEFORE it becomes overripe. Consumers can take advantage of the prices while enjoying healthy options. Rainbow fruit simply means combining different colors for plate appeal. Keep in mind that canned fruit can be substituted at times. I like balancing out pineapple chunks or mandarin oranges along with fresh fruit. No worries. The citrus dressing will pull everything together nicely.

RAINBOW FRUIT CUP

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and quartered

1 cup blueberries

1 peach, sliced with skin removed

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons organic mango orange juice

2 tablespoons lemon olive oil

1 tablespoon raw acacia honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions:

Combine sliced strawberries, blueberries, and peaches in a bowl. Toss lightly to mix. For dressing, combine lemon juice, mango orange juice, lemon olive oil, acacia honey, lemon citrus peel, kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk together until blended. Pour over fruit salad. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Ranch Deviled Eggs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Ranch Deviled Eggs! Behold the egg. It serves many options from breakfast omelets to afternoon appetizers, light snacks to mealtime casseroles. And who doesn’t love deviled eggs? Talk about versatility. This version implements the tangy creaminess of ranch flavor so popular in salad dressing. Add a garnish of applewood smoked honey ham crumbles for a superb finish. Make a dozen and watch them disappear.

RANCH DEVILED EGGS

Ingredients:

12 eggs

3 teaspoons dry ranch dressing mix

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced chives

1/2 pound applewood-smoked honey ham or bacon, crumbled

Instructions:

In a 4-quart pan, place eggs in a single layer. Add enough water to cover eggs. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. To remove eggshell, crack it by tapping gently all over; roll between hands to loosen it. Peel, beginning at the large end. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Transfer to a platter. Remove yolks. In a medium bowl, mash the egg yolks with a fork. Sprinkle with dry ranch dressing mix. Add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and minced chives. Stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves. Garnish with applewood-smoked honey ham crumbles. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving. May be prepared a full day in advance.

Furikake Party Mix

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Furikake Party Mix! Popular in the Hawaiian Islands, furikake is a seasoning with leanings toward seaweed, sesame seeds, sea salt, and a pinch of sugar. It can be sprinkled on anything from popcorn to tuna. By taking a classic snack mix and adding a candied Japanese twist, you may leave the former far behind for awhile. To prove a point, I gave out jars of Furikake Party Mix to some friends of mine for taste-testing. After one bite, they eagerly devoured its contents within a couple days and then asked for more. Proof positive as far as I’m concerned.

FURIKAKE PARTY MIX

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons organic soy sauce

6 cups Crispix cereal

5 cups gluten-free pretzel twists

2 cups honey roasted peanuts

2 cups wasabi peas

1/2 cup furikake seasoning

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 225°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the butter and sugar over medium-low heat, about 3 minutes. When the sugar is melted, remove pan from stove and add vegetable oil, pure maple syrup, and organic soy sauce. Mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine Crispix cereal, gluten-free pretzel twists, honey roasted peanuts, and wasabi peas. Slowly pour the butter mixture over all; gently turning the ingredients to coat well. Sprinkle on the furikake seasoning and red pepper flakes. Toss again to mix things up equally. Divide the cereal mixture between the two baking sheets. Bake for one hour, turning every 15 minutes to keep from scorching. (It may be necessary to alternate the pans between upper and lower oven racks for even browning.) The cereal will begin to dry as it bakes. After one hour, allow the Furikake Party Mix to cool before storing in airtight jars or containers.