What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: X-otic Black Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream! Creamy concoctions are so decadent with swirls of tangy sweetness mixed in. You control the tart flavor among the smooth texture by making this version of gourmet ice cream at home. No special gadgets required, except that counter workhorse stand mixer. But how hard can it be to flip a switch and scrape down the sides of the bowl? This “tried and true” no-churn ice cream recipe has been reliable on more than one occasion. The secret to my success is chilling the utensils overnight in the freezer. Also, begin with ingredients that are refrigerator cold. The greatest hardship is waiting 24 hours for the ice cream to chill. Don’t believe me? Guess you need to see for yourself.
X-OTIC BLACK RASPBERRY SWIRL ICE CREAM
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla extract
1/2 cup black raspberry sauce*
Using a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes. Transfer half to the chilled loaf pan. Smooth with a spatula. Add dollops of black raspberry sauce on top. Swirl the sauce with a knife to create a design. Pour the remaining ice cream mixture over top. Smooth. Repeat swirling process. Cover tightly. Place loaf pan in the freezer overnight. To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
*To make the black raspberry sauce, click on the link below.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: X-Tra Cheese, Please, Appetizer! Ever since I visited a popular Las Vegas restaurant, I’ve been looking for a cheese appetizer like this one. It’s not the traditional gooey soupy cheese dip you swipe tortilla chips through before gobbling down. The waiter set the iron skillet in front of us and said, “This is a cheese you need to use a knife and fork with. It’s not going to jump onto the chip.” Come to find out it was flambéed over an open fire in the kitchen. Wow! And they used tequila to ignite it. I wish I could tell you that’s what I did here, but sorry, “no comprendo”. Instead I baked it at a high temperature and dredged it through a spicy honey. Show compassion. I tried.
X-TRA CHEESE, PLEASE, APPETIZER
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup raw Tupelo honey
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon garlic habanero sauce
2 tablespoons ranch dressing
Chives, for garnish
Preheat oven to 475°. Using a 10” iron skillet, warm butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and kosher salt. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, or until onions are soft and golden brown. Add Monterey Jack cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix thoroughly with onions. To make the spicy honey, in a microwave-safe dish combine raw Tupelo honey, sriracha, and garlic habanero sauce. Stir well. Microwave on High for 30 seconds. Stir again. Set aside. Transfer cheese-filled iron skillet to the oven. Bake 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Turn oven setting to High on Broil. Allow dark spots to appear on the surface, about 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully as this happens very quickly. Remove skillet from oven. Drizzle with spicy honey and ranch dressing. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve with tortilla chips.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Tequila Tacos! Do you follow any of the chef’s on the Food Network? It seems they are always thinking outside the box when it comes to expanding our palates. Take Guy Fieri and his famous hamburgers. Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Guy’s Burger Joint can see how he very casually broke the mold when it comes to men in the kitchen. Anything Goes! Today’s “nod” of adding silver tequila to ordinary tacos definitely gets the party started!
1 pound lean ground beef
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup tequila, silver
8 flour tortillas
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 romaine lettuce heart, torn
1 tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium skillet, brown ground beef until cooked and crumbled. Drain. Stir in garlic powder, cumin powder, sea salt, black pepper, and tequila. Reduce heat to simmer on low until liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally. Set aside. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter. Spoon about 1/4 cup crumbled meat mixture onto center of unbuttered side. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Fold in half; place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all tortillas are filled and meat is evenly divided between them. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until tortilla shells are crisp. Remove from oven and serve with lettuce, tomato, green onions, and cilantro. Spoon salsa over top; add a dollop of Greek yogurt. Garnish with black olive slices.
Dining Outside the Home: Jalisco Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee! Family-owned translates to heart and soul. In this quaint Mexican cantina, you’re going to be treated like a limb on the family tree. A basket of warm tortilla chips and chunky salsa greet you at the table. The salsa is fresh and light. Dredge a chip through the tomatoes, Serrano peppers, and oregano. Yep, it’s authentic stuff. Add a side of guacamole to balance out the flavor. Love tacos? For those who appreciate it, cilantro is the star attraction. Roasted meat, shredded into small pieces, and chopped red onions with a squeeze of lime create a masterpiece that will pull you back enough to slow down and savor every bite. This is Mexican culture at its best.
Dining Outside the Home: Chuy’s Tex-Mex in Nashville, Tennessee. Where can you go and literally dish up drool-worthy nachos from the trunk of a full-loaded Nacho Car? Say again? You heard me. It’s the trunk of an Elvis-era classic car with a spread of tortilla chips, spicy salsa, creamy jalapeño, cheesy queso, and taco meat. And here’s the kicker: it’s FREE during Happy Hour Monday through Friday at Chuy’s. The restaurant decor is pure Elvis from velvet paintings, neon signs, shiny hubcaps, and nostalgic music. The menu boasts of Mexican favorites and then some of Elvis’s as well. After your fill of food and drink, there’s nothing left to say except, “Thank you, thank you very much”, in that ever familiar Elvis southern drawl.
Dining Outside the Home: Nacho Daddy in Las Vegas, Nevada! What’s not to love about a Mexican restaurant whose name is Nacho Daddy with a slogan of “Never a Dry Chip”. The name alone sounds like a party. Peruse the menu to find a list of incredible nacho combinations smothered in cheesy queso and spicy salsa. But the challenge doesn’t end there. Nacho Daddy double-dog dares you to sling back an original Scorpion Shot, which is actually served with a real scorpion in the tequila glass. If you go to Vegas and want to return home with a story to tell, check out this must-see hotspot and #getstung as seen on the Food Network.
Dining Outside the Home: Dos Caminos in Times Square, New York! Perhaps Cinco de Mayo isn’t the best time to try out an authentic Mexican restaurant. But then again, maybe it is. The vibrant cantina was hopping like a fiesta celebration. Shot glasses were slung back and refilled on demand. Traditional guacamole was served in natural molcajete stones with warm tortilla chips. The salsa trio was a bonus. Queso Fundido, piping hot in a black iron skillet, was spot on. Thick with melted cheese, poblano peppers, dark beer, and roasted tomatoes made it a meal. Keep the Cadillac Margaritas coming for an amazing culmination.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Habanero Hot Sauce! Let’s kick things up a notch or two with one of the hottest known chili peppers legally sold in grocery stores. And I mean REALLY hot, compared to the average pepperoncini. The adorable orange lantern with its sweet-looking dimples can be deceiving. Its sting may feel as strong as a viper while simultaneously releasing an endorphin rush that’ll knock you off your feet. This is my fourth batch from the garden harvest. I’m hooked! However, it comes with a few words of caution: Wear gloves and avoid the juices near your face and eyes. While oven roasting, set the exhaust fan on High. When taste-testing, keep a wedge of white cheese nearby. It actually cuts the heat almost instantly. Be brave, my Peeps. Heed these simple rules. Then and only then, will you become the master of your own domain.
HABANERO HOT SAUCE
16-20 habanero peppers, halved, stems, and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/8 teaspoon lime juice
Sea salt to taste
Place habanero pepper halves, skin side up in a single layer, on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick oil. Roast habanero peppers on High for 10 minutes, or until black spots appear. Remove. Using tongs, transfer habanero peppers to a covered bowl and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Using gloves, remove any loose skins; discard. Add peppers to a food processor. Pulse to a slightly coarse texture. Add minced garlic, orange juice, grapefruit juice, and lime juice. Pulse until desired consistency. Season with sea salt. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Serve in dips, as a condiment, paired with ripe fruits in salsas, or on grilled meats.
Dining Outside the Home: Old Town Mexican Café in Key West, Florida! When a restaurant boasts of an abundance of hatch chiles and fresh, local ingredients, you begin to wonder if Santa Fe style Tex-Mex might be a good choice for dinner. Anytime the weather is hot, and the drinks are cold, it draws a crowd on Duval Street for seafood favorites, like skewered shrimp marinated in lime juice and ginger. Take a swig of on-the-rocks margarita. The salted rim offsets the spicy salsa you can’t resist tasting now and then. If you’re in the neighborhood, take advantage of Happy Hour specials. There’s no rush here.