What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Rum-Topped Ginger Beer Float! I gotta tell you, there are some fantastic-tasting nonalcoholic ginger beers on the market right now. One of my absolute favorites is made with organic agave and extracts of chili pepper, coriander, cardamom, lime, and orange. Don’t get me wrong, ginger is still the star attraction. These flavors go extremely well in a Mexican Mule with chile pepper-infused tequila. But that’s another story. I went with a much lighter version of ginger beer for a refreshingly light twist on an old favorite. Granted, with a dark rum floater, it definitely has a boozy punch. Obviously, this is an adult beverage and should not be served to anyone under the age of 21.
RUM-TOPPED GINGER BEER FLOAT
3 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
6.8-ounce bottle ginger beer, chilled
1.5 ounce spiced dark rum
Lime wedge, for garnish
Place ice cream in a glass or mason jar. Slowly pour ginger beer over ice cream. Squeeze a touch of lime juice into the glass. Top with a spiced dark rum floater. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve with a spoon. Cheers!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Kulfi with Pistachios and Lavender Buds! Kulfi is a type of homemade ice cream popular in Southeast Asia and India. This “instant” version can be made in your very own kitchen without the cost or hassle of an ice cream maker. Flavored with pistachio nuts and a hint of lavender make it a delectable frozen dessert worth crowing about.
KULFI WITH PISTACHIOS AND LAVENDER BUDS
10 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons cardamom
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1 teaspoon lavender buds, crushed
1 teaspoon lavender extract
Combine evaporated milk, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Blend until smooth. Add cardamom, pistachios, lavender buds, and lavender extract. Stir. Pour into bouchon molds, fluted pan, or popsicle molds. Freeze overnight. Before serving, dip the molds in warm water. Invert kulfi onto a dessert plate. Garnish with crushed pistachios.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Oven-Roasted Golden Peaches! Forget about cleanup of baking sheets by utilizing a perfect nonstick solution. Parchment paper. Never confuse it with wax paper, though, which will smoke in the oven. That’s a big mistake. Parchment paper is made to withstand oven temperatures during the baking or roasting process. Not only that, parchment paper contains a release agent that prevents foods from sticking to it. Bonus points, in my opinion. Because we’re covering the sliced peaches with pure maple syrup, you can imagine how difficult that would be to scrape off the pan once it’s baked in. May as well throw the pan away and buy another. Or…you could do what I did the first time I baked a galette. My husband took his sander tool and ground the petrified sugar off. Hey, don’t judge me. It was my favorite baking sheet. Still is.
OVEN-ROASTED GOLDEN PEACHES
3-4 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 425°. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sliced peaches in a single layer, without touching. Drizzle with melted butter and maple syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 15 minutes, then flip peaches over. Spoon excess sauce over peaches. Bake 10 minutes longer. Serve warm with sea salt caramel ice cream.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream! Years ago my best friend was a specialty brand of Turkish coffee ice cream. I was working two jobs, averaging mostly 70-hour work weeks, seven days nonstop to support myself, and help my kids through college. I also admit I was hiding out from “Life”. Many evenings I’d come home, crash on the sofa, and open a pint of the creamiest concoction laced with butterscotch topping I’d ever tasted. It was bliss. Since then, the company stopped making it in favor of more popular flavors like banana chocolate chunk and coconut almond chip. Seriously? Oh well, that left me with no recourse but to make it myself. Between you and me…I think I knocked it out of the park!*
NO-CHURN COFFEE ICE CREAM
2 1/2 tablespoons espresso instant coffee
2 tablespoons warm water
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped
Butterscotch Ice Cream Topping
In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in warm water. Stir well. Set aside. Using a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract on High speed for 4 minutes until smooth and thick. Reduce speed to Low. Add the prepared coffee; continue until blended. Fold in chopped espresso beans. Spoon ice cream into a loaf pan. Cover tightly and freeze overnight. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with espresso before serving. Drizzle with butterscotch topping, to taste.
*The secret to my success was chilling the utensils overnight in the freezer and making sure all the ingredients were refrigerator cold.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie! In a world of “super-size” portions, this one is really worth defending, especially on hot, summer days. The oven is on for less than half an hour with results that leave your home smelling like a bakery. Sometimes you just don’t have time to make several batches of cookies. By baking all the dough in an iron skillet, the end result will still yield enough for a crowd. Cut the giant cookie into pie-size portions with a scoop of ice cream on top or divide it into squares for finger-food munching.
OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP SKILLET COOKIE
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup chocolate and peanut butter chips, mixed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt crystals
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10″ iron skillet. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Continue beating until creamy. In another bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk until blended. Slowly add dry mixture to wet ingredients until flour is incorporated. Add oatmeal to dough. Blend well. Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips. Spread cookie dough into the greased skillet. Top with mixed blend of chocolate and peanut butter chips. Sprinkle with sea salt crystals. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Dump Cake with Cherries! Allow me to explain what is a less appealing title for a cake recipe. Dump Cake, seriously? Before you head off in another direction, let me assure you this is literally the easiest cake recipe you’ll find today. It comes from one of those cookbooks put together by a group of church ladies in the early 1980s. And it is fantastic! After all, just “dump” the ingredients in a 9″x13″ pan and bake. Top it off with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Can I hear a “Hallelujah”? 🌟
DUMP CAKE WITH CHERRIES
1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 18-ounce box of yellow cake mix
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 smidgen nutmeg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
Preheat oven to 375°. Dump cherry pie filling into the bottom of a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Spread into a single layer. Dump crushed pineapple, with juice, on top of cherries. Spread to cover. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over fruit layers. Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Dot with slices of butter. Cover with sliced almonds. Bake for one hour, or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm.
Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai! Slide into a booth with a view of the street, or sit in the bar where the crosswinds cool off sunburned skin. Olympic Cafe daily specials can vary from breakfast combinations to two-handed thick burgers or spicy ahi sandwiches. Either way, the portions are generous so if you walk away hungry it’s your own fault. Just make sure you leave room for dessert. It’s worth it. The Kauai Pie is meant to be shared. Listen to this: Kona coffee ice cream loaded with shaved coconut, dark chocolate, and macadamia nuts. Don’t forget the fudge swirls and whipped cream. Now grab a fork and submerge into an island sugar coma.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Traditional Plum Pudding! Everyone remembers Little Jack Horner’s fame from a childhood nursery rhyme: “He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum.” It’s hard to resist that urge while eating these sweet, fruity, luscious plums. To pull this off, do like my Gramma used to say, “Honey, just dump everything in the pan, stir a little bit, and bake.” Sometimes we try to make things too difficult.
TRADITIONAL PLUM PUDDING
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
4 cups ripe plums, pits removed, skin on, and sliced
1 cup natural honey
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish with nonstick oil. Combine flour, sugar, sea salt, and baking powder in the prepared dish. Whisk together. Add melted butter and milk. Stir well. Spread evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sliced plums and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully pour over the pudding batter. Do not stir. Bake for 35-40 minutes until pudding is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm with whipped cream.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Peanut Buster Oreo Perfection! This icebox treat will satisfy every craving you have, as long as it’s for something cold, salty, and sweet. The Oreo cookie crust is amazing! The layer of fudge nestled between natural vanilla bean ice cream and fluffy light whipped cream is a lip-smacking delight for the palate. The best advice I can give you is… SHARE. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to eat the entire pan.
PEANUT BUSTER OREO PERFECTION
1 package of Oreo cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
12 ounces of hot fudge sauce
1 cup Spanish peanuts
8 ounces of frozen whipped topping
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom of 9″x13″ pan. Crush 24 Oreo cookies and mix well with the melted butter. Spread into the bottom of the pan making a thin, even layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice the ice cream and place in an even layer over cookie crust. Pour the hot fudge topping over the ice cream. Sprinkle peanuts over fudge sauce. Spread the whipped topping over all. Crush two more Oreo cookies and sprinkle lightly as garnish. Freeze overnight. Enjoy the perfection!