Ultra Charcuterie Board

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Ultra Charcuterie Board! Feel gourmet at home by creating your own charcuterie board the next time you want to serve appetizers. Choose any smoked, dry-cured, or cooked meat to accompany a couple of mellow cheese selections. I like the Edam cheese for its sweet, nutty flavor. It’s nice to have fruit in the form of fresh, dried, or even preserves to balance out the saltiness of the meats. Don’t forget the pickles or olives, which provide a little tang to the palate. Keep the crackers or bread as plain as possible. You want everyone to focus on the flavor explosion going on in every bite. You can go all out and add chocolate morsels and nuts for nibbling. The best part is everyone wins! People pick and choose their own combinations and give you high praise for being such a genius!

ULTRA CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Ingredients:

5 ounces Old World pepperoni, sliced

3 ounces Old World prosciutto, sliced

7 ounce wheel of Edam cheese

8 ounces dried pitted dates

6 ounces mixed olives

10 ounces smoked almonds

1 bag of multi grain baguette slices

Instructions:

Arrange everything on one or two charcuterie boards. The pairing is up to each guest. As long as it is appealing, it definitely promotes conversation. Depending on how large a group you have will determine the number of options you choose. For larger groups I suggest crackers, jam, and spreadable cheeses as a nice complement to smoked meats and fresh fruit. Be creative. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

Tropicana Bars

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Tropicana Bars! When you combine exotic fruits, flaky coconut, and macadamia nuts, you may feel as though you stepped off an airplane onto a tropical island in the Pacific. This mouthwatering dessert is perfect for summer. Go ahead, take a bite for a quick trip to a faraway destination. Let your mind wander to swaying palm trees, magical waterfalls, and sunshine that warms the body as well as the spirit.

TROPICANA BARS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups Zucchini Jam*

1/4 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup macadamia nuts, crushed

1 tablespoon crystallized sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together sugar and butter. Set aside. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together until blended. Combine dry ingredients with sugar mixture until crumbly. Spread 3/4 of batter into a 9″x13″ greased dish to make a crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Layer with Zucchini Jam, coconut, and nuts. Crumble remaining batter over all. Sprinkle with crystallized sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares.

* For Zucchini Jam recipe, please follow the link below.

http://Snapshotsincursive.com/2016/04/12

Tilapia Macadamia Fillets

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Tilapia Macadamia Fillets! Tired of hum-drum meals? The crispy crunch of tropical nuts on the outside are a prelude to the moist flaky fish inside. Turning that taste into a healthy and delicious dinner option is spot on! The subtle hints of sesame, green seaweed, and Parmesan cheese add to the nutritional value making this a new favorite to try again and again.

TILAPIA MACADAMIA FILLETS

Ingredients:

2 tilapia fillets, boneless and skinless

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon furikake seasoning (sesame seed and green seaweed)

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Rinse tilapia fillets and pat dry. Mix together all dry ingredients and spread on a sheet of waxed paper. Using a wire whisk, combine egg and milk in a shallow bowl. Dip one fish fillet at a time into the egg bath, coating both sides. Once wet, dredge in bread crumb mixture to fully cover both sides. Set aside and repeat for the second fish fillet. (For a crisper crust, repeat process in egg bath using all coating mix.) Place fish fillets in a nonstick pan and place to oven. Bake 8 minutes, gently turn over and bake 4 minutes longer. Do not over cook. Garnish with cilantro, lemon slice, and whole macadamia nuts.

“XINGZI” Apricot and Fruit Tarts

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: “Xingzi” Apricot and Fruit Tarts! Three bites. That’s all. Three bites. Someone once told me portion control is all about savoring the taste. I agree. Discover a guilt-free way to float through the holiday parties. When you are asked to bring a dish to share, mini tarts can be prepared in a few minutes leaving you plenty of time for a rejuvenating bubble bath. These adorable sweet and savory tarts are exactly three bites. Put them to the test.

“XINGZI” APRICOT CAMEMBERT TARTS

Ingredients:

15-count package Mini Fillo Shells, thawed

1/4 cup apricot jam; or assorted flavors

Wheel of Brie or Camembert cheese

1 teaspoon almonds, finely chopped

1 teaspoon pecans, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Blueberries for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the Fillo shells into a mini muffin tin. Remove skin from cheese. Discard. Cut the Brie or Camembert cheese into a small cube to place into the bottom of each Fillo shell. Gently drop a dollop of jam on top of each cube of cheese. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts, red pepper flakes, or a blueberry. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the jam begins to caramelize. Remove from oven and serve at room temperature.

Easy Energy Balls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Easy Energy Balls! Do you ever get those mid-morning blahs where all you want to do is go back to bed? Well, here’s a way to get a tasty boost of energy without the guilt of a candy bar. By choosing pure and organic ingredients, you not only reap the health benefits, but you also gain the satisfaction your tummy needs in order to feel full. Make up a batch in minutes, store in the refrigerator, then Grab and Go!

EASY ENERGY BALLS

Ingredients:

1 cup organic creamy dark roasted peanut butter

2/3 cup pure honey

2 cups flaked coconut

2 cups old fashioned whole grain oats

1 cup organic flaxseed

1 cup dark chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup ground nuts

Instructions:

Warm peanut butter just enough to blend well with the honey. Remove from heat and add coconut, oats, flaxseed, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Sprinkle in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 30 bite-size balls, coat in ground nuts, and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Bleu Plate Special

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Bleu Plate Special! As the day winds down, the kids are fed, and the sunset turns to burnt-sugar orange, take some time out for yourself. Make a delightful cheese plate filled with inviting textures balanced by a range of flavors from aged and smoky to salty and sweet. Pair with a glass of sweet wine (or fruity spritzer) for an amazing taste sensation. Sink back into a comfy chaise lounge and let soft music fill the room. Remind yourself this is a classic French dessert, and prepare to be pampered.

BLEU PLATE SPECIAL

Ingredients:

Wedge of Bleu Cheese (or any aged cheese variety)

Bunch of Green Grapes (or any seasonal fruit)

Smoked Almonds

Water Crackers (or crusty breads)

Instructions:

Choose a platter where all ingredients can be arranged in a simple way, leaving space between choices. Identify cheeses if offering more than one kind. Rule of thumb: Place one cheese knife or spreader for each type of cheese. Keep it simple.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: No-Bake Hazelnut Bars! Here you go. A delicious nutty chocolate treat that can be a dessert or a snack. And there is no need to heat up the oven. This combination of dietary coconut fiber and heart-healthy hazelnuts are sure to become your personal favorite. One bar may provide the nutritious energy boost you need to keep going strong. But the question is…..can you stop at just one?

NO-BAKE HAZELNUT BARS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/3 milk

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup coconut, flaked

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 13-ounce jar of Nutella Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Instructions:

Boil butter, milk, brown sugar, coconut, and cracker crumbs in a medium saucepan for 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in vanilla extract. Line a 9″x13″ pan with club crackers. Pour the filling over crackers. Top another layer of crackers. Warm Nutella in microwave for 20 seconds. Spread over all. Garnish with nut meats. Cool in refrigerator until firm. Cut into squares.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Vegan Charcuterie Board!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Vegan Charcuterie Board! Here’s your solution to what to bring to the next holiday party. Choose popular garden veggies, distinct to the season. Arrange them on a charcuterie board with nuts and flavorful dips. Peruse the local farmers’ market or produce section of your nearest grocers. With a little effort, the Vegan Charcuterie Board can be the star attraction for office pitch-ins, family gatherings, and other festive occasions. Check it out!

VEGAN CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Ingredients:

Carrot sticks

Asparagus spears

Celery sticks

Cherry tomatoes

Mini cucumbers, sliced

Radishes, quartered

Yellow sweet peppers, sliced

Green olives, stuffed

Kalamata olives, pitted

Pistachios in shell

Assorted crackers

Ingredients for Hummus:

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon olive oil

1 tablespoon capers

Using a food processor, pulse chickpeas until smooth. Add tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin powder, and sea salt. Process until mixed. Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl. Drizzle with lemon olive oil. Garnish with capers.

Ingredients for Dill Dip:

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon dill weed

1 teaspoon capers

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

Combine Neufchâtel cheese and prepared horseradish. Stir until smooth. Fold in dill weed, capers, and chives. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Glorious Glazed Pecans!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Glorious Glazed Pecans! Go to any big city or farmers market and you’ll find street vendors roasting sweet and savory candied nuts. The bakery aroma practically has you walking on air. Now you can bring this enticing smell and sugary sweetness right into your very own kitchen. I’ve made it a tradition to bake a couple batches for holiday gift-giving. When mixed with an assortment of smoked almonds, wasabi peas, salty cashews, and honey roasted peanuts, these glazed pecans become a gourmet choice for absolutely anyone on your list. In fact, anticipation creates excitement followed by open delight and thanksgiving.

GLORIOUS GLAZED PECANS

Ingredients:

1 pound pecan halves

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg white, room temperature

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. In a small bowl mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well and set aside. In a large bowl beat egg white and water until frothy. Add one pound of pecans and coat well to cover. Pour sugar mixture over nuts. Stir completely to form a coating over pecans. Transfer nuts to the baking sheet. Form a single layer. Bake 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes to form a crystallized finish. Remove from oven. Let cool and then store in an airtight container.