Dining Outside the Home: Piazza in Princeville, Kauai. How does a French chef off the island of Madagascar find his way to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, you wonder. It really makes little difference once you taste his flare for Italian food. Chef Christophe is the master, hands down, at creating out-of-this-world culinary creations designed to seduce the palate at Piazza on the North Shore. Every dish is uniquely designed from oven-roasted tomatoes on the wood-fired oven pizza to the hand-seasoned croutons on the Caesar salad. For the adventure enthusiast, might I suggest the log cabin stacked polenta fries? Nothing but the best of local, organic ingredients are carefully crafted for your enjoyment. My fav? The Seared Ahi Niçoise Salad. I see it in your future, too.
Dining Outside the Home: Trilogy Coffee and Tea Bar in Kilauea, Kauai. Beyond the back door of Hunter Gatherer in a historical stone building, the aroma of coffee is practically hypnotic. It is so alluring and powerful, you may feel drawn to enter. Once inside, the temptation begins. Pastries are in rich supply under bell-shaped glass domes to keep bakery delights fresh. Choose one cloche for gluten-free edibles that will make you drool. Whether sweet and savory or crisp and crunchy, they won’t last long. Word is out that organic and vegetarian choices are popular. Match them up with international coffees or herbal teas. Trilogy is all about putting high-quality in our bodies. Join the third wave of coffee, tea, and chocolate.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Organic Red Lentil Pasta Salad! Every once in awhile it’s a good idea to serve up gluten-free meals. This one, in particular, is packed with protein and fiber, plus non-GMO red lentils. You don’t need to have allergic restrictions to appreciate its natural goodness. The texture is firm while providing an amazing taste sensation. Eat it cold or warmed up a bit. You decide. Either way, the health benefits will have you patting yourself on the back for making such a healthy choice.
ORGANIC RED LENTIL PASTA SALAD
8 ounces organic red lentil pasta
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/3 cup red onions, sliced
1 tablespoon pimento, diced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup garlic wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dry Italian dressing and seasoning mix
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon natural honey
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Cook red lentil pasta 8-10 minutes, according to package directions. Water will turn cloudy and foam up, so be sure to use enough water. Remove from heat. Drain, rinse, and set aside. To make dressing, combine garlic wine vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning mix, Dijon mustard, and natural honey. Whisk together until nicely blended. Fill a large bowl with pasta, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, red onion slices, diced pimento, and Kalamata olives. Pour dressing over all. Toss gently to coat ingredients. Serve cold.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Hard Boiled Eggs! We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s as easy as boiling water.” So why is it we continue to be puzzled by the mystery of the hard-boiled egg? Are the eggs too fresh? (Actually, if they are super-fresh, they tend to adhere to the shell a little tighter.) Should the water be hot or cold? (When the water heats up gradually, it prevents the white of the egg from becoming rubbery.) Afterwards is the egg bath truly necessary? (Yes. If you skip the step of quickly plunging the egg into cold water, the egg will continue to cook. This results in a greenish-gray yolk.) Too complicated? If all else fails, go buy an egg timer.
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover eggs with cold water, making sure the eggs are submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat. As the water boils, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Drain immediately; run the eggs under cold water. Refrigerate until ready to eat. For easier peeling, remove the shell under cold running water. Cooling allows the egg to contract inside the shell. Simple.
Dining Outside the Home: Street Burger in Wailua, Kauai! An urban upscale burger joint? When you add a gourmet chef who gives you a front row seat to his Argentinian-style grill and a pastry chef with a view of the kitchen, it adds up to years of experience serving the public with flare. The menu boasts 20 different kinds of burgers, made from good, natural ingredients. Even the condiments are made from scratch. The high-ceiling décor is industrial chic. In a sweeping glance, you’ll find everything from ship lap and tile to stainless and hardwoods reflected in the surroundings. Through glass-paneled sliding barn doors, a view of the Sleeping Giant mountain range forms a backdrop for inside seating. The enticing aromas encourage you to relax and stay awhile. Put down the cell phones and soak up the rustic ambience. When the feta-spinach-cucumber stuffed Greek burger arrived, with a flip of the oversized striped napkin across my lap, I was ready to dig in.
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
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
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.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: You Are What You Eat! I’ve been hearing this phrase my entire life, and it wasn’t until recently I actually began paying attention to it again. Oh sure, I knew moderation was key, exercise important, and water essential. I tried to maintain a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and even fats because it made a difference in how well I felt. Plus it reflected in my energy level as well. So, as I was collecting all this produce, it seemed like a no-brainer to share the snapshot with everyone. Bon Appétit.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Corn on the Cob
Wash the vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked, puréed, chopped, minced, buttered, grilled, roasted, par-boiled, or baked.
“Make food simple
and let things taste
of what they are.”
~ Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)
French Writer (1872-1956)
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Indiana Sweet Corn! With July on the horizon, already the taste buds begin yearning for that extra juicy sweet corn freshly picked straight from the farmer’s field. After all, it’s best eaten the day it’s picked. There’s no taste quite like it. Get connected to the Farmers Market in your area for the best produce.
INDIANA SWEET CORN
4 ears of Indiana sweet corn
Sea salt to taste
Butter for slathering
Instructions by Boiling:
Fill a stock pot with enough water to cover the corn. Bring it to a boil. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in the water. Remove outer husk and silk from corn. Rinse corn. Carefully drop each ear into boiling water. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium. Cook 3-5 minutes. Remove with tongs and serve immediately with butter and sea salt.
Instructions for Microwaving:
I cook one ear at a time when I’m only preparing a few ears for a meal. Leave corn in husk. With a sharp knife, cut off the pointed end of the corn cob. Rinse under running water. While the ear of corn is wet, wrap a paper towel around it. The water will moisten the paper towel. Place the ear of corn in the microwave and cook on 100% power for 2-3 minutes. The husk will trap and steam the corn. Watch! Remove from microwave and let sit for a couple minutes. Use the paper towel to carefully shuck the corn. The silks come off easily.
Whichever method you choose, the reward is a taste of sugary-sweet Indiana heaven. Enjoy!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Second Helping of Honeycomb Sweet Bee! Raw honeycomb has the most incredible flavor concentrated with the sweet nectar of wildflowers. The first time I tasted it, with a crisp apple slice and a nibble of sharp cheese, I realized what all the buzz was about. This edible mystery is a conversation-starter at every gathering. And a little goes a long way. Store honeycomb at room temperature in a covered container.
HONEYCOMB SWEET BEE
Raw Honeycomb Square
Granny Smith apples
Cheddar Cheese, Extra Sharp*
Smoked Almonds, whole with sea salt
*Brie may be used as well.
Place a square of raw honeycomb in the center of a shallow dish or platter. Arrange apple slices, seedless grapes, assorted cheese cubes or wedges, crackers, and nuts around the edges. Provide an appetizer spreader, utensil, or spoon to serve. As the honeycomb cells are broken, they release the golden honey within.
***My resource for purchase is the Savannah Bee Company. (I receive no recompense for promoting their product.)