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.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Iced Sorbet Bombe! This dessert is refreshing, cold, and light. It is so versatile, any combination of ice cream, fruit sherbet, frozen yogurt, or gluten-free sorbet can be used. No baking is necessary, assembly is a snap, and the presentation is spot on! Make it as healthy as you choose….or as decadent as you deserve. Everyone wins! Be warned, you may find yourself tip-toeing to the freezer for “just a bite” now and then. It doesn’t take long to disappear until the next one is made. No worries.
ICED SORBET BOMBE
1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened
1 pint lemon sorbet, softened
1 pint pomegranate açai blueberry sorbet, softened
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 teaspoon Amaretto liqueur, optional
1/3 cup frozen raspberries
Fresh mint for garnish
Choose a fluted jello mold, small bundt pan, or glass bell jar. Step one: pack the raspberry sorbet into the bottom of the mold. Smooth the top to keep the layer even. Transfer the mold to the freezer for one hour or until sorbet is firm. Step two: pack the lemon sorbet on top of the raspberry layer. Smooth the top to keep the layer even. Freeze again for one hour. Step three: repeat process with the pomegranate açai blueberry sorbet. Make sure the final layer is completely smooth. It is helpful to cover the mold with foil and place a plate on top to double check. Freeze for two hours. Warm the raspberry jam just enough to make it a thick sauce. Add the Amaretto liqueur and stir. Gently fold in frozen raspberries. To un-mold the Bombe, dip the upright container in warm water to the rim only. Invert onto a decorative plate. Tap to release and carefully raise the mold. Garnish with raspberry sauce and fresh mint. Slice to serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Mouth-Watering Strawberry Mint Salad! Before the frost sets in, I wanted to take advantage of the lingering crop of fresh mint in the herb garden. What better way than to give it center stage in this appetizing side salad? It’s refreshing, light, aromatic, and appealing to the eye. Experience your first bite through the sense of sight, then follow your heart to the nearest market and pick up 3 simple ingredients to create your own masterpiece.
MOUTH-WATERING STRAWBERRY MINT SALAD
1 quart of fresh strawberries
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
Rinse strawberries and pat dry. Remove tops and discard. Slice strawberries into quarters. Place portions into chilled salad bowls. Spoon feta crumbles over strawberries. Tuck mint leaves throughout. Serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Quinoa Buckwheat Pancakes! Before you roll your eyes and walk away, let me assure you these pancakes are amazing. My husband had no idea the secret ingredient was quinoa. Honestly. Since I cooked the quinoa the day before, it blended nicely with the buckwheat batter resulting in moist and light pancakes. Better yet, there was no heavy feeling afterwards. You should try it.
QUINOA BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES
1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup buckwheat pancake mix
1 egg plus 1 egg-white
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Mint for garnish
In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa and buckwheat pancake mix. In another bowl, whisk together egg, egg-white, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Coat a hot griddle with butter, vegetable oil, or nonstick spray. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons. Cook 2 minutes until bubbles appear. Flip buckwheat cakes to cook underside for 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Reduce heat to medium to avoid burning, if necessary. Serve a stack of quinoa buckwheat pancakes with fresh blueberries, unsalted butter, and pure maple syrup. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Garnish with chopped mint.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Vodka Jello Shots! As a child of the ’60s, one of my favorite desserts was fruit-flavored gelatin. Sometimes it would have sliced bananas, strawberries, carrots, or fruit cocktail mixed in. The recipe was pretty simple. Add water and stir. Nowadays, substituting part of the water for a popular distilled spirit turns a childhood dessert into a slurpable cocktail. Drink responsibly.
VODKA JELLO SHOTS
3-ounce package orange gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup iced water
1/2 cup vodka
Fresh mint leaves
Empty contents of orange gelatin packet into a large bowl. Add boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add iced water and vodka. Stir well. Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate four hours or until set. Garnish with fresh mint before serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Yogurt Tropical Breeze! Breakfast never tasted so good. Elevate an ordinary yogurt serving to something extraordinary by switching to tropical fruits like juicy ripe pineapple and buttery sweet papaya. Instead of granola, sprinkle on toasted coconut for a refreshing taste that will transport you like a summer breeze on a tropical island.
YOGURT TROPICAL BREEZE
16 ounces Greek yogurt
15.25 ounce can tropical mixed fruit; pineapple, red and yellow papaya*
1 small seedless orange, separated into segments
3 strawberries, sliced
2-3 tablespoons toasted coconut
Fresh mint for garnish
Drain fruit, save reserve juice for later. Divide Greek yogurt into serving dishes. Add topical fruit, orange segments, and strawberry slices. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with sprig of fresh mint.
*Kroger brand Tropical Mixed Fruit in fruit nectar, 15.25 oz can. I receive no recompense for recommending this product.
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: 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.