Noel Charcuterie Tray

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Noel Charcuterie Tray! Everyone loves a party. As the host or hostess, you should too. Instead of picking up a ho-hum relish tray at the local supermarket, make a charcuterie tray because they’re fun…and easy entertaining. Basically, it consists of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, fruit, and olives. And there’s no rhyme or reason for arranging things on a tray or platter. The more random the pattern, the better. Fresh herbs can add an aromatic ambiance making your guests feel special. Candles have the same effect, as long as they are away from the direct line to finger food. Crackers or artisan bread are a nice platform for spreadable cheeses or gourmet jams. Getting ideas? I see you nodding your head in agreement, so let’s get this party started.

NOEL CHARCUTERIE TRAY

Ingredients:

4-ounce assorted Antipasto Italiano sliced meats

8-ounces Bleu cheese, wedge

8-ounces Colby Jack cheese cubes

6-ounces Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds

6-ounce jar Kalamata olives, pitted

1 cup moonshine maraschino cherries

1 cup candied orange peel*

4.25-ounces sea salt snack crackers

4.25-ounces sesame artisan crackers

Fresh Rosemary, for garnish

Instructions:

First, arrange some items in small bowls, like olives, nuts, and fruits. It keeps them contained for easy replenishment. Cured meats and cheese wedges are often the spotlight. As larger items, place then on the tray once you have the bowls in place. Crackers or bread go next. Don’t be afraid to pile them on. Feel free to fill in the “spaces” with salty nuts, cheese cubes, and fresh rosemary sprigs. Enhance your presentation with knotted bamboo picks or cocktail toothpicks for spearing small bites.

*Follow the link for recipe.

http://Snapshotsincursive.com/2019/11/06

Presto, Pesto

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Presto, Pesto! The garden went wild this year with an abundance of basil. I mean, you can only dry so much. Granted, I happen to like fresh basil with anything tomato, but not everyone agrees. So, this time I threw together a couple cups of basil leaves with my favorite pairing: parmesan cheese! Pesto freezes well, so it can be stored in an airtight container, or initially, ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen, transfer the cubes to airtight freezer bags for later on. Always defrost in advance. Pesto tastes best served at room temperature or only slightly warmed. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way. Mix it into salad dressing or guacamole; the olive oil creates a smooth texture. Add a dollop to your evening vegetables, pasta noodles, or meat dish. Get creative and go Pesto!

PRESTO, PESTO

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup pine nuts, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions:

In a mini chopper, combine basil leaves, chopped garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Pulse to blend; approximately 30 seconds. Slowly pour the olive oil into the top of the lid while the blade is on the Low setting. The olive oil will drizzle through the little hole for smooth results. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Stir. Transfer pesto to a covered jar. Store in the refrigerator.

Yogurt Frozen Fruit Pops

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Yogurt Frozen Fruit Pops! Take a look in the freezer and choose the berries you love the most. You are about to make a delicious fruit popsicle without high fructose corn syrup. By using only natural ingredients, with honey as a sweetener, the berry flavors are intensified with guilt-free results that make your heart swoon. The hardest part is waiting overnight for the pops to become firm. As a special indulgence, sprinkle them with mini chocolate chips and crushed nuts.

YOGURT FROZEN FRUIT POPS

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups strawberries, frozen

1 cup raspberries, frozen

1 tablespoon pomegranate arils, frozen

1/2 cup all natural Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons natural honey

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mini chocolate chips, for garnish

Crushed pecan pieces, for garnish

Instructions:

Arrange 8 treat cups in the bottom of a loaf pan. Have 8 craft sticks set aside. Combine frozen strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate arils in a food processor. Add Greek yogurt, natural honey, and lemon juice. Mix on HIGH until smooth and blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Spoon frozen fruit yogurt into the treat cups. Insert one craft stick into each cup. Sprinkle tops with mini chocolate chips and nut mixture. Place in freezer overnight. Remove yogurt frozen fruit pops by tearing the paper cup and serve. Enjoy!

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.