What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Table Food: Brazen Broccoli Bites! Do you roast vegetables in your oven? Of course, you do. Who doesn’t? It’s simple, appealing, tasty, and healthy. It also makes the kitchen smell wonderful, like a woodsmoke fire on a pleasant afternoon in autumn. Herbs and spices enhance the flavor. Olive oil makes them sizzle, while giving veggies visibly charred edges. After a few minutes, fresh produce becomes fork-tender and ready-to-serve. But wait, this is only supposed to be a side dish.
BRAZEN BROCCOLI BITES
3/4 pound broccoli crowns
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shaved
Lemon slices, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. Wash the broccoli; dry thoroughly. Cut the broccoli florets from the stalks, slicing some lengthwise. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Add broccoli; toss to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer; avoid crowding. Roast broccoli for 10-12 minutes. Flip and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle almond slices over all. Roast 10 minutes longer until broccoli is evenly caramelized. The almonds will be toasted and golden. Transfer to a platter. Gently toss with lemon juice. Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Oven-Roasted Golden Peaches! Forget about cleanup of baking sheets by utilizing a perfect nonstick solution. Parchment paper. Never confuse it with wax paper, though, which will smoke in the oven. That’s a big mistake. Parchment paper is made to withstand oven temperatures during the baking or roasting process. Not only that, parchment paper contains a release agent that prevents foods from sticking to it. Bonus points, in my opinion. Because we’re covering the sliced peaches with pure maple syrup, you can imagine how difficult that would be to scrape off the pan once it’s baked in. May as well throw the pan away and buy another. Or…you could do what I did the first time I baked a galette. My husband took his sander tool and ground the petrified sugar off. Hey, don’t judge me. It was my favorite baking sheet. Still is.
OVEN-ROASTED GOLDEN PEACHES
3-4 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 425°. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sliced peaches in a single layer, without touching. Drizzle with melted butter and maple syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 15 minutes, then flip peaches over. Spoon excess sauce over peaches. Bake 10 minutes longer. Serve warm with sea salt caramel ice cream.
Dining Outside the Home: Flour & Barley Brick Oven Pizza in Las Vegas, Nevada. Everyone has that craving for pizza at one time or another. Flour & Barley, on The Linq Promenade, designed an Italian-American eatery for just that reason. Don’t expect the ordinary choices, though. Flour & Barley focuses on uniquely fresh ingredients, gluten-free options, specialty Italian sauces, and even a vegan cheese if needed. Pizza not your thing? No worries. Go with a meal salad, pasta dish, or seafood entree. It’s all good. Hip patio dining offers the perfect vantage point for people-watching plus a nice view of the High Roller.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Red Hot Chili Peppers! Hello. My name is Gail and I’m addicted to red pepper flakes. Seriously. Sometimes my husband has to ask me to scale back on the capsaicin factor. In that case, I simply place the jar next to my plate and sprinkle away. It wasn’t until recently I realized the health benefits of crushed red peppers. According to Healthy Eating*, “Red Peppers soothe upset stomach and ulcers, bolsters heart health, regulates diabetes, and fortifies the immune system.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
1 pound red peppers, cayenne or chili with stem on.
Preheat oven to 175°. Wash red peppers; pat dry. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet in a single layer without touching. Bake overnight, or 10 hours. Snap off stems and crush dried peppers, using a mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight jar.
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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.