Old Bay Mayo

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Old Bay Mayo! First of all, there is no substitute for Old Bay seasoning as a core ingredient in this post. It’s a sacred concoction, invented in the 1940s and respected by Southerners, containing 18 unspecified ingredients. If you try to use Cajun, Jerk, or generic blends, don’t blame me if the results are less than phenomenal. What I can assure is that it taste ah-mazing with shrimp, crab cakes, seafood, and more. Turn Old Bay Mayo into an aioli for sandwiches, dressing for salads, or condiment for meats. I can see you coming up with a dip for french fries, too. Don’t blame me; I’m just the messenger.

OLD BAY MAYO

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped

2 teaspoons dill weed, snipped

2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Old Bay* seasoning

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, fresh chives, dill weed, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning. Stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Serve as a condiment or dipping sauce for seafood.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.

Garlic Wine Red Snapper

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Garlic Wine Red Snapper! Before I begin, Rule Number One: When marinating fish, always refrigerate. As fish sits in a marinade at room temperature, it encourages bacteria growth, which can be a bad thing. The olive oil makes a wonderful tenderizer making the fish soft and juicy. When seasonings are added at the same time, the results elevate the flavor. By grilling the fish fillets at a high temperature, the meal transforms into perfection on a plate.

GARLIC WINE RED SNAPPER

Ingredients:

1/2 cup garlic wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 6-ounce red snapper fillets

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Juice of fresh lemon

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions:

Arrange the red snapper fillets in a shallow dish. Pour the garlic wine vinegar over the fish. Allow the vinegar to surround the fish. Pour olive oil over top. Sprinkle Italian seasoning blend and black pepper over all. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to 450°. Transfer red snapper directly onto the grill grates. Close lid. Set timer for 4 minutes. Discard marinade. Using a fish spatula, flip fish and grill 4 minutes longer with lid closed. Meanwhile, melt butter and pour into individual cups. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into warm butter. Remove red snapper fillets from grill. Serve with melted lemon butter poured over top.

Neufchâtel Crab Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Neufchâtel Crab Dip! Easy seafood appetizers can be prepared in no time at all. By substituting miniature phyllo dough shells for snack crackers, the results are impressively gourmet. Who doesn’t love that WOW factor?! Make this appetizer the star of your next gathering. Everyone will thank you.

NEUFCHÂTEL CRAB DIP

Ingredients:

1 6-ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed

1/2 cup lobster meat, chunk style

1 green onion, snipped

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded

1 teaspoon lemon juice

8-ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/4 cup Jalapeño Confetti Jelly

15-count package miniature phyllo dough shells

Fresh dill sprigs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes until crisp. Remove and set aside. In a medium bowl, toss crabmeat, lobster, and green onion snips in dill weed, shredded lemon peel, and lemon juice. In a another bowl, combine Neufchâtel cheese, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Fold crabmeat mixture into mayonnaise mixture. Transfer dip to an oven-proof dish. Top with Jalapeño Confetti Jelly. Bake 20 minutes. Spoon warm crab dip into phyllo shells. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs. Serve warm.

Yellow Squash Panko

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Yellow Squash Panko! Many of you already know this particular vegetable is a second cousin to zucchini. The skin is tender, glossy smooth, and edible which makes it a no-fuss dinner companion. Although its flavor is mild, when cooked it actually becomes buttery sweet with a slightly nutty nuance. Try to buy yellow squash that is 6”-8” in size. You’ll know because the larger it is, the more likely the skin will appear bumpy and less tender. You’ll also notice a lot of seeds, once you cut into it. By then you’ll need to rethink dinner and purée it for soup. Hindsight is 20/20 after all.

YELLOW SQUASH PANKO

Ingredients:

2 yellow squash

1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for sauté

Ingredients for Herbed Oil:

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Wash and pat dry yellow squash. Slice into 1/4” rounds; set aside. To make the herbed oil, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, dried parsley, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Set aside. To make the crumb topping, toss panko bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, sea salt, and red pepper flakes into a bowl. Mix well; set aside. To prepare yellow squash, warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow squash and sauté for 8 minutes. Turn occasionally to cook both sides. Squash should be soft, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drizzle herbed oil over yellow squash. Transfer to a platter. Top with panko crumb topping mixture. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.

Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Vodka Sauce Shrimp Fettuccine! Here’s something a little different for you to try instead of the usual fettuccine alfredo. Now, wait a sec to hear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I love alfredo sauce as much as the next one, but sometimes you gotta think about limiting calories and fat just to squeeze into that favorite outfit. Marinara sauces might be just the answer you’re looking for on “Pasta Night”. You won’t sacrifice taste because there’s still butter, light cream, and vodka. Some alcohol does evaporate as it is simmering, but only about 15%. (However, it will completely burn off if the sauce cooks for long periods of time.) Because vodka is somewhat tasteless, it basically enhances all the other flavors of the dish without overpowering it. Try it, you may like it.

VODKA SAUCE SHRIMP FETTUCCINE

Ingredients:

6 ounces fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

15-ounce Italian tomatoes, crushed

2 tablespoons vodka

3 tablespoons light cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 pound precooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

In a large pan, add sea salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Cook pasta 10 minutes. Drain, cover, and set aside. For the vodka sauce, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Lower heat to medium. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook one minute longer. Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions. Stir in vodka, light cream, and lemon zest. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, simmering 5 minutes longer. Gently fold the fettuccine noodles into the vodka sauce. Heat through. Divide portions into pasta bowls. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Teriyaki Chicken Bowl! Do-ahead meals take a little bit of planning, but the “devil is in the details”, they say. In this case it means, make sure the chicken breasts are thawed AND marinated 24 hours before you plan on serving them. I realize that requires the cook to be somewhat organized. Pantries don’t stock themselves. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a dish without all the ingredients. Take sesame oil, for example. I find it absolutely delicious because it adds an earthy nuttiness to Asian food. Vegetable oil tastes meh, in my opinion. Not only does it alter the taste, the texture will be different. When I can find it, I buy toasted sesame seeds so I don’t have to worry about toasting them on the stove or in the oven. That’s 10 minutes I could be planning tomorrow’s meal. Idiosyncratic, but true.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN BOWL

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Green onion snips, for garnish

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions:

Place chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, minced garlic, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Baste chicken completely. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 450°. Lightly oil grill grate. Remove chicken breasts from marinade, place directly on grill, close lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. After 5 minutes, open lid, flip over chicken breasts, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove teriyaki chicken from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onion snips and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with sticky rice and mixed vegetables.

Swordfish On The Grill

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Swordfish on the Grill! Swordfish is called “Steak” for a reason. Forget fishy-tasting fish. (Say that 3 times really fast!) Swordfish, when grilled, looks more like a ribeye steak. It’s a dense, thick piece of fish. Now that doesn’t mean it is dry and tough. Actually the opposite is true. When you plan ahead and use a marinade, it becomes meaty and juicy, thereby satisfying both meat lovers and fish lovers. You can tell it is cooked because it actually changes color. One more thing, when setting the table…don’t forget the steak knife.

SWORDFISH ON THE GRILL

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce swordfish steaks

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon garlic red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Rinse swordfish; pat dry. Set aside. To make the marinade, combine olive oil, soy sauce, garlic red-wine vinegar, dried rosemary, minced garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, grated lemon rind, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Place swordfish steaks in a single layer of a shallow dish. Pour marinade over all. Coat both sides of fish. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. Remove dish from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while preheating the gas grill to 400°. Place swordfish steaks on the preheated grill. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, close lid, and cook 5 minutes longer. Fish will be charred on the edges. Serve immediately.

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Maryland-Style Crab Cakes! When my step-daughter, Brandi, gifted me with a copy of one of her favorite seafood cookbooks, I knew exactly what dish I was going to make first. After all, the cookbook is based on a popular Hilton Head Island restaurant that has become her family’s traditional spot whenever they visit. Because Florida has an abundance of connections for fresh seafood, vendors are able to get premium, wild-caught crab meat to sell to their customers. Farmers Markets, as well as fish companies specialize in pre-made crab cakes. One taste and I thought, why compete with the best? So, I use two or three resources for incredible tasting Maryland crab cakes. Supporting local businesses builds strong communities and helps everyone thrive. For dinner in a snap, read on.

MARYLAND-STYLE CRAB CAKES

Ingredients:

6 pre-made Maryland crab cakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 cup spicy Bloody Mary mix

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon slices, for garnish

Parsley flakes, for garnish

Instructions:

To make the gazpacho sauce, warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and minced garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer gazpacho to a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. To bake the crab cakes, preheat oven to 425°. Place crab cakes on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Bake 12 minutes, flip, and bake 3 minutes longer until golden brown. To serve, ladle the slightly chilled gazpacho onto a plate; center a crab cake on top. Arrange lemon slices. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.

Lettuce Cup Shrimp Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Palatable Possibilities: Lettuce Cup Shrimp Salad! When you need a boost from the usual lunch menu, treat yourself to an outstanding salad that feels gourmet-worthy. As a shrimp-lover, I already had ideas about serving this to my husband. In my opinion, the bigger the shrimp you can find, the better. Because I saw for myself the seafood deli offered humongous jumbo shrimp (yeah, I know), I couldn’t resist getting a pound to take home. Here’s the secret: oftentimes the market gets specific seafood brought in frozen. Frozen shrimp is usually same-day fresh. They thaw it for the customers and sell it individually or by the pound. I asked the seafood specialist if I could buy a frozen quantity from him. He was more than happy to oblige. Now you know.

LETTUCE CUP SHRIMP SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pound jumbo shrimp, precooked and tails removed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

2-3 lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

Red onion, finely sliced, for garnish

Instructions:

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Gently fold in the precooked shrimp and celery slices. Place a lettuce leaf onto a plate. Scoop shrimp salad on top. Garnish with red onion. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Serve.