Smoked Turkey Thyme Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Smoked Turkey Thyme Salad! One of my offseason luxuries is baking a turkey during the summer months. Think about it. There’s less holiday stress, plenty of time, and loads of leftover ideas. Think it’s way too much meat for the two of you? No worries. Divide the cooked turkey into gallon-size freezer bags to use as timesaving options later on. Turkey makes a refreshing substitute for most chicken or pork recipes by simply adding different herbs and spices. I’ve served turkey carnitas with chunky salsa for a Mexican fiesta, shredded turkey and hash browns with eggs for a weekend breakfast, and added garden vegetables for a farm table midday Cobb salad. Today though, in lieu of chicken salad, turkey is the star attraction for a summertime picnic.

SMOKED TURKEY THYME SALAD

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked turkey, shredded

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/3 cup sweet pickle relish

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine shredded turkey, liquid smoke, mayonnaise, sea salt, black pepper, chopped celery, and sweet pickle relish. Mix well. Gently fold in chopped hard-boiled egg and minced thyme leaves. Serve over a bed of alfalfa sprouts, or mixed greens, with seasonal fruit.

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.

Mealtime Crab Cocottes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Mealtime Crab Cocottes! Seafood can be my obsession and I’m not afraid to be a glutton of it, especially if I’m visiting a locale that is a coastal destination. In my defense, how can anyone resist signs and billboards openly declaring “Best Seafood in Town!”? But eventually one returns home to a land-locked State where seafood is as scarce as hen’s teeth. So when the cravings continue, I head over to the local supermarket in search of a packaged substitute. Maybe it’s the succulent crabmeat or perhaps it’s the French butter, but I have to admit this recipe isn’t half bad.

MEALTIME CRAB COCOTTES

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat

8 ounces imitation crabmeat, flaked

1 tablespoon pimento, diced

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1-2 tablespoons French butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottoms and edges of two ramekins with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, seafood seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Gently fold in lump crabmeat, imitation flaked crabmeat, and diced pimento. Divide crabmeat mixture evenly between ramekins. Top with Panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle paprika over all. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with artisan bread and side salad.

Island Sweet Potato Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Island Sweet Potato Salad! There is nothing wrong with your smart phone screen. The colors of Hawaiian sweet potatoes range from orange to green to purple. Notice the creamy texture. The slightly sweet taste may remind you more of a piece of fruit than a root vegetable. Sure it’s popular among the Asian markets, and it can be a little drier than its American cousin, but didn’t someone once say, “Variety is the spice of life”? Go ahead, add your version of seasonings. The results will amaze you.

ISLAND SWEET POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes, Hawaiian assortment, cooked with skin on and cubed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

3 strips bacon, crumbled

2 green onions, chopped

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and Himalayan sea salt. Place cubed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Coat with mayonnaise mixture. Fold in bacon crumbles and green onion. Chill for one hour. Serve.

Culinary Crab Rolls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Culinary Crab Rolls! Seafood lovers will look for any excuse to substitute chicken or beef. Do we really need a reason? Building healthy lifestyle choices could be enough to make me try new things. Seafood is a lean protein option which does fill me up the way fruit, vegetables, and nuts do. The fact remains that I truly like the taste of seafood. Pairing it with bread is practically a bonus. Need I say more?

CULINARY CRAB ROLLS

Ingredients:

6 frozen bread dough rolls, thawed according to package instructions

3/4 cup crabmeat, precooked and chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon green onion, chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Once dough has risen, press into a 3-4” circle. Fill the center of each circle of dough with a heaping tablespoon of crabmeat filling. Gently pull the edges around the filling to form a ball, lightly brushing the seam with beaten egg, then pinching the edges to seal. Place in muffin cup, seam side down. Brush tops with beaten egg. Repeat with remaining rolls. Set aside to rise until puffy. Dough should be nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Wheat Brioche Burgers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Wheat Brioche Burgers! Why brioche buns, you’re thinking. First of all, you must admit a hamburger bun that crumbles into your hands is very frustrating. After the first bite, you’re afraid to put it down in case it turns into a heaping mess on your plate. From that point on, a fork is your only option. Amirite? Brioche buns are rich, chewier, and a little more dense. The golden texture alone is soft and buttery while leaving you with an element of light consistency. Now that’s a way to compliment a savory, grilled burger. Wouldn’t you agree?

WHEAT BRIOCHE BURGERS

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chuck beef

2 beef bouillon cubes

2 tablespoons water, boiling

2 eggs, beaten

6 Ritz crackers, crushed

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 gourmet wheat brioche hamburger buns

4 tablespoons butter, softened

4 leaves romaine lettuce

1 large tomato, sliced into 8 rings

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Instructions:

In a small bowl, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Stir. In another bowl, combine ground chuck, bouillon water, and beaten eggs. Fold in crushed crackers. Divide beef into four portions. Form into patties about 1/2” thick and 1” wider than the burger buns. Indent with a thumbprint in the center of the patty. Sprinkle with black pepper. Chill for one hour. Preheat grill on high heat to 400°. Grill patties, indented side up, for 6 minutes. Juices will accumulate on top of burgers causing them to sear. Do not smash down. Flip; reduce grill temperature to 325° for another 6 minutes. Turn grill off, leaving burgers on grill for 4 minutes longer. At this time, spread the cut sides of the brioche buns with softened butter. Place buttered sides down on grill for a couple minutes to toast until golden brown. Meanwhile, coat romaine lettuce leaves with mayonnaise, gently turning. To assemble burgers, transfer buns to a platter. Add more mayonnaise, if desired. Layer hamburgers with grilled meat, romaine leaves, and tomato slices. Top with toasted buns. Serve immediately.

Egg Salad Chip Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Egg Salad Chip Dip! I learned a long time ago that egg salad makes a wonderful, light, and satisfying snack when unexpected guests stop by. At the time I served it with celery sticks, chicken-flavored crackers, and salty potato chips. I remember how awed my girlfriend was as she practically inhaled one scoop after another. She simply couldn’t believe egg salad was a finger food instead of a midday meal layered between two pieces of sandwich bread. It’s amazing what you can serve on a budget.

EGG SALAD CHIP DIP

Ingredients:

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 green onions, snipped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Paprika, for garnish

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, mash the hard-boiled eggs, using a fork. Fold in mayonnaise, green onion snips, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Stir until well blended. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve with lettuce leaves or sour cream and onion potato chips.

Vineyard Pork Tenderloins

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Vineyard Pork Tenderloin! Pinot Noir is one of my favorite wines. Despite its complex flavors of woodsy cherry and forest-path raspberry, it leans toward a drier side without making your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth. That being said, it’s often challenging to figure out what food pairings work well with it. Obviously, pasta dishes provide a natural choice. But have you thought about grilled steak, roasted chicken, or pork tenderloin? Pause a moment; take a deep breath. Now transport yourself to a sun-soaked villa along a pebbled path to a harvest table overlooking acres of rolling hills bursting with ripe grape clusters. Taste and sip. Eventually you’re going to take a seat and linger over dinner. Read on.

VINEYARD PORK TENDERLOIN

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 medium pork tenderloins, boneless

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a wire rack with nonstick oil. Place rack onto a baking sheet. Set aside. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add panko breadcrumbs, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes until golden brown. Transfer crumbs to a shallow dish. Set aside to cool. To prepare pork tenderloins, place one piece in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, flatten the meat to 1/4” thickness. Place the pork loin aside and repeat with second piece. Pat dry on paper towels. In a shallow dish, whisk together mayonnaise, egg, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix well. To the panko breadcrumbs, add parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, and garlic powder. Mix well. Dip each pork tenderloin in the egg mixture. Dredge completely in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to stick. Repeat for extra crispy crust. Place tenderloins on wire rack. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tenderloins are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Rollin’ in Lobstah

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Rollin’ in Lobstah! Ever wonder why lobster is so popular? I find the mildly sweet, delicate flavor irresistible. If you’re preparing it at home in a state that is landlocked, a lot of resources are at your fingertips. Did you know you can order it from Maine and have it delivered in 24 hours? That’s golden. There are numerous websites that offer delicious lobster choices to conveniently keep on hand in the freezer. I buy lobster meat and lobster tails only. Forget the labor-intensive task of twisting the head, legs, and claws apart from the tail. Then again, I’ve been called “high maintenance”. To each his own.

ROLLIN’ IN LOBSTAH

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4 split-top brioche hot dog buns

4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided

1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced for garnish

Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Gently toss to coat. Spread butter on the outer sides of each bun. Place the buns on a griddle over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Divide the lobster mixture among the buns. Garnish with fresh chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with remaining butter.