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
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Mint Leaf Peach Salad! Sliced peaches with creamy goat cheese medallions, OMG! This delightful salad is ideal for a light lunch, an afternoon brunch, or an early dinner. Indulging in the sweet tangy taste of a ripe, plump peach mixed with the nutty crunch of sugared pecans wrapped around medallions of earthy herbed goat cheese is like taking a bath in a tub of dairy rich cream. At first bite, you won’t mind being pampered. The fresh mint leaf garnish is like icing on a cake.
MINT LEAF PEACH SALAD
1 ripe peach, sliced with pit removed
4-6 cherry tomatoes; halved
2 ounces creamy goat cheese
1/4 cup sugared pecans, crushed
Fresh mint leaves
Cut ripe peach into 7-8 slices. Arrange in a pinwheel design on a salad plate. Cut cherry tomatoes and place seed side up around the peach slices. Crush sugared pecans on a sheet of waxed paper. Take a goat cheese slice and roll in nut mixture to coat; repeat. Arrange medallions on salad plate around the peaches. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Rainbow Fruit Cup! As the seasons roll on, here’s a friendly reminder about buying fresh fruit. Most grocers feature fruits that are always in season, such as apples, bananas, and grapes. If you pay attention to the first ones you see as you walk in the door or in high traffic areas, most likely you’ll reap the savings. That’s one clue. If the store has an abundance of something on hand, they focus on “pushing” it through quickly, which translates BEFORE it becomes overripe. Consumers can take advantage of the prices while enjoying healthy options. Rainbow fruit simply means combining different colors for plate appeal. Keep in mind that canned fruit can be substituted at times. I like balancing out pineapple chunks or mandarin oranges along with fresh fruit. No worries. The citrus dressing will pull everything together nicely.
RAINBOW FRUIT CUP
1 cup strawberries, stems removed and quartered
1 cup blueberries
1 peach, sliced with skin removed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons organic mango orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1 tablespoon raw acacia honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Combine sliced strawberries, blueberries, and peaches in a bowl. Toss lightly to mix. For dressing, combine lemon juice, mango orange juice, lemon olive oil, acacia honey, lemon citrus peel, kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk together until blended. Pour over fruit salad. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Iced Peach Spritzers! Ripe peaches are succulent and running-down-your-chin juicy. When you have an abundance of them, think peach cocktails. By adding a sparkling mixer, such as seltzer water or Prosecco, you’ll feel as though every meal is as special as dining out. The blend of flavors and textures is far from ho-hum. Both versions are suitable for mixed company. Go completely non-alcoholic or throw together a grown-up concoction made with a nice white wine and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.
ICED PEACH SPRITZERS
4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 8 wedges each
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle white wine, chilled
12 ounces seltzer water
Layer peach wedges on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. To serve, place 3-4 frozen peach wedges into a stemmed glass. Add 3 ounces of white wine. Pour 1 1/2 ounces of seltzer water over top. Stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Date Chile Salad! One of the best kept secrets in cooking is infused olives oils. It kicks things up a notch. The flavors intensify ordinary ingredients by beginning with organic and aromatic extra virgin olive oils, which in turn, are infused with delightful natural flavors. Some oils contain the essence of herbs, while others may be crushed with fresh citrus or toasted seeds. Be adventurous. Visit a specialty store where premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars are sold. Most stores offer samples to encourage “taste testing”. One of my favorites is Lime Olive Oil and Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar. Another is Sicilian Lemon Olive Oil paired with Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar. Recently I added an Italian Black Truffle Oil to my collection. I was told it tastes divine drizzled over popcorn or as a finishing oil on pizza. I can’t wait!
DATE CHILE SALAD
2 navel oranges, pith and peel removed
1/3 cup dried dates, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 red or green jalapeño pepper, sliced into rings
1/2 serrano chile pepper, sliced into rings
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1-2 tablespoons lime olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Slice oranges into thin rounds. Arrange on two salad plates or bowls. Divide chopped dates between them. Sprinkle on crumbled feta cheese. Add jalapeño and serrano pepper rings. Tuck in mint leaves. Drizzle lime olive oil over salads. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Watermelon Waffle Wedges! Bring back childhood memories of lazy summer days leaning against the back porch chomping on a mouthwatering slice of watermelon. As the juice runs down your chin, a swipe of the shirt sleeve doubles as a napkin. Your mischievous brother takes aim at your bare feet, shooting tiny black seeds as if his mouth is a pea shooter. You squeal with delight and sometimes run away. Those were the days. Now we think about nutrition. That’s okay. Watermelon, with its juicy red flesh, is high in lycopene which makes it heart-healthy. Chomp away.
WATERMELON WAFFLE WEDGES
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 slices watermelon, cut in wedges
Maple syrup, to taste
Butter, to taste
Strawberries, cherries, almonds, powdered sugar, mint sprig for Garnish
Preheat waffle iron. Place eggs in a bowl and beat on medium-high using a hand mixer. Eggs will get fluffy. Slowly add flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and vanilla extract. Beat just until smooth. Brush waffle iron with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray. Pour mix into waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve warm with watermelon wedges, strawberries, cherries, almond slices. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh mint.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Raspberry Pots de Crème! A taste of France is knocking on the door, and it arrives at your table in a little porcelain dish. The rich dark chocolate, with a hint of liqueur, satisfies that sweet craving at the end of a meal. Top off each pot de crème with luscious whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and a mint sprig for an extraordinary dessert that is sure to please.
RASPBERRY POTS DE CRÈME
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch sea salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
4 tablespoons bourbon whiskey or preferred liqueur
1 1/3 cups half and half
1 pint raspberries, fresh
1/4 cup raspberry jam
In a blender combine eggs, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and bourbon whiskey. Blend to break up chocolate. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Do not scorch. Pour milk into blender while it is running. Blend 1 minute to cook eggs and dissolve chocolate. Immediately pour into small coffee cups or porcelain ramekins. Refrigerate 3-4 hours until firm. Warm the raspberry jam for 20 seconds in the microwave oven. Add fresh raspberries to make a sauce. To serve, place a dollop of whipped cream over the chocolate. Spoon raspberry sauce over whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.