What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Strawberries Stuffed with Chicken Salad! Has anyone noticed the ginormous strawberries lately? I was beginning to wonder if I fell asleep for a few years, like Rip Van Winkle, and awoke to discover that gigantic plants have overrun the earth. Ordinarily I’d serve chicken salad on a cantaloupe wedge, but guess who has competition now. May the better fruit win.
STRAWBERRIES STUFFED WITH CHICKEN SALAD
2 romaine lettuce leaves, washed
2 extra-large strawberries, washed
1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Mint leaves, for garnish
Place romaine lettuce leaves on two salad plates. Set aside. Carefully slice strawberries, creating a pinwheel, without cutting through the bottom. Transfer each strawberry to the prepared salad plate. In a bowl, combine shredded chicken, chopped celery, almond pieces, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Fill each strawberry pinwheel with chicken salad. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve chilled.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Lemon Curd Tarts! Attention all lemon lovers. There comes a time in every woman’s life when she is in dire need of a sweet-tasting dessert. I have a secret that will blow your mind. Go halfway down the bakery aisle at your favorite grocery store and keep your eyes wide open along the top row of jars. In between the maraschino cherries and the blueberry pie filling is a small jar of gourmet lemon curd. Grab it fast. If you need to glance at the list of ingredients, be my guest. You’ll find lemon, eggs, butter, sugar, and usually tapioca starch as a thickening agent. All good stuff, in my opinion. Buy it, refrigerate it, and guard it like the holy grail. Read on and you’ll understand why.
LEMON CURD TARTS
15-count box frozen phyllo shells, thawed
10-ounce jar lemon curd
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
Mint leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove phyllo shells from packaging. Place empty shells on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 3-5 minutes until crisp. Allow shells to cool before filling. Rinse blueberries and pat dry with a paper towel. Place a dollop of lemon curd in each phyllo shell. Add a blackberry. Garnish with a mint leaf. Place the pretty lemon curd tart on a serving tray. Repeat with remaining shells until all are filled. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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? Clean Eating: Golden Puff Pancake! When it comes to convenience, this one-dish weekend wonder can save the day. You know how we tend to take it slow and easy for all things breakfast after a good night’s sleep? Yes, we’re worth it. That doesn’t mean, however, that we need to spend all the time in the kitchen flipping pancakes and dredging French toast through an egg batter. A Golden Puff Pancake is pretty much a cousin to the Dutch Baby. Everything gets mixed together and then baked into an airy popover-style pancake that immediately deflates once it’s removed from the oven. At first glance it appears as though someone in the house opened the oven door and then slammed it shut again. No worries. Fill the “well” with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. It looks and tastes fantastic.
GOLDEN PUFF PANCAKE
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Strawberries, blueberries, and fresh mint for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. Butter a one-quart ovenproof casserole dish. Set aside. In a food processor, combine eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until smooth. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Place butter in casserole dish. Transfer to hot oven to melt. Watch carefully, 1-2 minutes. Do not scorch. Swirl butter to coat pan. Pour in batter. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until pancake is fluffy and deeply golden. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with strawberries, blueberries, and fresh mint. Cut into wedges and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Yogurt Black Raspberry Smoothie! Blackberries and black raspberries. They’re both the same, right? Guess again. Blackberries are the larger of the two, in cell structure as well as actual size of a single berry. They also have a glossy finish. Blackberries are seen more often at grocery stores as well. Black raspberries, on the other hand, are as coveted as morel mushrooms. Growers typically save them for themselves and very close friends. Their flavor is more unique, not nearly as tart and very fruity. Some consider them the healthiest berries on the planet with three times the antioxidants as other berries. You can recognize black raspberries by their tiny protective hairs. The centers are hollow making them effortless for picking. Black raspberries are popular for cobblers, pies, jams, ice cream toppings, and of course smoothies. Is it any wonder I love you more.
YOGURT BLACK RASPBERRY SMOOTHIE
3/4 cup black raspberries
3/4 cup blueberries, frozen
1 banana, sliced and frozen
1 teaspoon natural honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
In a blender, combine black raspberries, frozen blueberries, frozen banana slices, natural honey, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and skim milk. Pulse for one minute to chop fruit. Stir, purée until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Pea and Radish Crostini! There’s something decadent about bite-size grilled toast. It could be the olive oil that transports you to the central region of Tuscany where rows of timeless Italian vineyards parade alongside twisted trunks of enduring olive trees. Or perhaps it’s the exotic radish with a history dating back to pre-Roman times. Maybe you just like smaller bites. A smudge of this, a smidge of that. Whether you find food tantalizing, adventurous, or hopefully romantic, the appetizer is here to stay. You may as well make it healthy and visually appealing at the same time.
PEA AND RADISH CROSTINI
1 baguette, sliced into 1/4” slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
4-5 radishes, sliced thin
2 mint sprigs, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush each side of the baguette slices with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt, oregano, marjoram, and garlic powder. Bake 5-7 minutes until slightly toasted. Let cool. Transfer to a platter. Drizzle the sliced avocado with lime juice. Sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt. Mash a few slices of avocado to spread a thin layer of guacamole on each piece of baguette. Place 2-3 slices of avocado in the center of each toast. Lightly press the peas in place onto the mashed avocado on each end. Arrange sliced radishes on top. Garnish with mint leaves. Buon Appetito!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Yogurt-Dipped Waffles! How many of you were told, as a child, not to play with your food? I know I was, especially when I was supposed to clean my plate of something I didn’t want to eat. But that’s a lot different than finger food. Now you are allowed to take slightly toasted waffles and dip them in flavored yogurt. Since my tastes change from day to day, I prefer to add flavors to Greek yogurt, but you may certainly purchase flavored yogurts to save time. In addition, I make extra waffles on the weekend to serve during the week. If you have toaster waffles on hand, you’re in good shape.
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon coconut syrup
2-3 prepared waffles, separated into wedges
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh black raspberries
Nutmeg, for sprinkling
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Combine Greek yogurt and coconut syrup. Mix well. Set aside. Using a toaster on low setting, warm waffle wedges. Remove waffles to a plate. In a bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, and black raspberries. Gently toss. To serve, dip waffle wedges into Greek yogurt. Spoon fresh fruit over yogurt. Sprinkle with nutmeg and powdered sugar. Garnish with mint leaves. Enjoy!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Xigua Watermelon Salad! With seasonal changes, there may be days that feel more like Summer than Autumn. At those times, I roll back the calendar by serving a light meal with a couple of cool melons. The natural sweetness of watermelon and honeydew are complimented by the smoky saltiness of thinly sliced prosciutto. When drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette, it works beautifully to balance the fresh fruit and mixed greens with the aged cheese. Take advantage of watermelon salad’s one final “hurrah” before it’s gone.
XIGUA WATERMELON SALAD
1 cup watermelon, cut into chunks and seeded
1 cup honeydew melon, cut into chunks and seeded
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons natural honey
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, torn
3-4 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup Romano cheese, shaved
Combine watermelon, honeydew melon, red onion, mandarin oranges, and kosher salt. Gently toss. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk lemon juice, lemon olive oil, and natural honey. Drizzle over fruit mixture. Divide arugula and mint between chilled salad plates. Top with fruit mixture. Add prosciutto. Garnish with shaved Romano cheese. Serve chilled.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Pastime Pepper Jelly Appetizer! Someone once told me, I was the “Queen of Appetizers”. It may be the result of often serving hors d’oeuvres and finger food at festive parties and impromptu gatherings. Or perhaps, simply because it makes a light meal. Recently, though, my husband opened a bottle of dry red wine and we had a quiet dinner for two from this recipe alone. It may have been the ancient evening, the distant music, the cozy conversation, or the cherished companionship, but add it all together for the perfect pastime.
PASTIME PEPPER JELLY APPETIZER
8 ounce block Neufchâtel cheese, softened
6 ounce sleeve sesame crackers
8 ounce jar Jalapeño Confetti Jelly*
Fresh mint (optional)
Chop fresh mint. Spread a teaspoon of Neufchâtel cheese on a sesame cracker. Beginning with a half a teaspoon to taste, place a dollop of Jalapeño Confetti Jelly on top. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve with a nonalcoholic sparkling blood orange beverage or a glass of red wine.
*Jalapeño or habanero jellies are recommended. You may follow the link to make your own Jalapeño Confetti Jelly @ https://snapshotsincursive.com/2016/09/29