Olympic Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai! Slide into a booth with a view of the street, or sit in the bar where the crosswinds cool off sunburned skin. Olympic Cafe daily specials can vary from breakfast combinations to two-handed thick burgers or spicy ahi sandwiches. Either way, the portions are generous so if you walk away hungry it’s your own fault. Just make sure you leave room for dessert. It’s worth it. The Kauai Pie is meant to be shared. Listen to this: Kona coffee ice cream loaded with shaved coconut, dark chocolate, and macadamia nuts. Don’t forget the fudge swirls and whipped cream. Now grab a fork and submerge into an island sugar coma.

Upright Pot Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Upright Pot Pie! Do you ever have those nights when you can’t decide what to cook for dinner? You look in the refrigerator and all you see are leftovers? Again? Well, I had made a beef pot roast earlier in the week, so all the ingredients were on hand to make individual servings of pot pies. Obviously, if you don’t have mashed potatoes and gravy on hand, you can improvise. Keep it upright by filling custard dishes with single servings and then top them off with crescent roll pastry sheets. It requires very little effort, but the taste is home cooking at its best.

UPRIGHT POT PIE

Ingredients:

2 cups beef pot roast, chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 cup brown gravy

1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Crescent rolls

1/2 cup baby carrots

1 cup mashed potatoes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add beef and stir. Reduce heat and gradually add gravy and mixed vegetables. Spoon mixture in ungreased single serving custard cups. Transfer cups to a baking sheet, in case they bubble over while baking. Remove dough from tube. Do not separate into triangles. Place one square over each custard dish. Press lightly around edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

French Silk Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: French Silk Pie! If you’re a chocolate lover…and I suspect that you are, join me on this decadent chocolate trail of passion. The charismatic power of chocolate may be a mystery to every man out there, but serve up a taste of this incredible creamy silk and others will follow! French Silk Pie has become my Signature Dessert; it’s that legendary!

FRENCH SILK PIE

Ingredients for Crust:

1/4 cup butter, melted

25 vanilla wafers, crushed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions for Crust:

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine butter, wafers, and pecans until crumbly. Reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Press remaining crumb mixture into an 8-9″ pie plate. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.

Ingredients for Filling:

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons oil

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions for Filling:

For best results, use a food processor to get the luscious results. Cream together butter and sugar. Add cocoa powder and oil. Blend well. THIS NEXT STEP IS CRITICAL. Add one egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the second egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the third egg and beat for 4 minutes. Finally add the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat 30 seconds. Pour the filling into the crust. Garnish with reserve crumb mixture. Chill before serving.

Zwieback Crust Peach Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Zwieback Crust Peach Pie! Icebox dessert pies conjure up sweet memories of dog-day afternoons, sun-burned shoulders, and aluminum tumblers of cherry Kool-Aid that left a bright red mustache stain. Following a stifling afternoon of playing in the yard that made sweaty bangs plaster to my sticky forehead, my brothers and I would run inside, slamming the screen door for what probably seemed like the umpteenth time to Mother who rang the dinner bell. “Wash your hands before you sit down,” she coaxed. “Dessert is something special, if you clean your plate.” Those words alone were enough to turn youthful minds into obedient offspring. Dessert defined those adolescent years. Everyone enjoyed them, guilt-free. Ah, the good old days.

ZWIEBACK CRUST PEACH PIE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups zwieback cracker crumbs

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

3 ounce-package orange gelatin

3 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced; stone removed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine zwieback crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, and melted butter. Stir well. Reserve one tablespoon for crumb garnish. Press remaining crumbs firmly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9”-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth. Cook until thick and bubbly, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in flavored gelatin until dissolved. Cool. Arrange sliced peaches in crust. Pour filling over peaches. Sprinkle reserve crumbs on top. Chill for 2 hours, or until set. Serve cold.

Rhubarb Strawberry Galette

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Rhubarb Strawberry Galette! It’s rhubarb season when the long slender reddish-green stalks shoot up from the garden soil. Rhubarb also appears at the Farmers Markets where it is snatched up with ferocity. When I was fortunate enough to snag a couple stalks myself, I already knew they would be paired with fresh-cut strawberries to create a buttery galette. My friend, Ray, must’ve sensed my intention. He promptly arrived at my doorstep as I pulled the piping hot rustic pastry out of the oven. The sugary brown crust and bubbling juices were invitation enough. After all, that’s what friends are for.

RHUBARB STRAWBERRY GALETTE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

2-3 stalks rhubarb, discard leaves; cut stalks into batons

1 pint strawberries, hulled, washed, and sliced

2/3 cup sugar, divided

3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sanding sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Line with parchment paper. Roll out pastry shell to form a circle. Set aside. In one bowl, combine rhubarb batons with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. Toss to coat. In the second bowl, combine sliced strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. Toss gently to coat. Beginning with the rhubarb, arrange batons to form a circle leaving a 2-inch border. Finish with strawberries over top. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Fold the border over the filling, overlapping the dough where necessary. Press gently to seal the folds. Lightly brush the edge of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle crust with sanding sugar. Bake galette for one hour or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Transfer galette on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter I

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Impromptu Pretzel Crust Pecan Pie! Sometimes a crunchy pie crust satisfies primal needs. After all, it’s second nature to crave foods that sound good when you bite into them. Admit it, we like different tastes. The desire for crispy and crunchy foods never seems to grow old. Because we associate tastes and aromas with feelings, our brain is already satisfied before the first bite. Combine sweet and salty for the ultimate dessert experience. Crunch away.

IMPROMPTU PRETZEL CRUST PECAN PIE

Ingredients for Crust:

1 1/4 cups pretzel crumbs

2 tablespoons corn starch

3 tablespoons sugar

7 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling:

6 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon sea salt

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups pecans, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine pretzel crumbs, corn starch, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir well. Press evenly into a 9” pie plate, making sure the sides and bottom are covered. Put pie plate on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes until crust is firm. To prepare filling, take a medium saucepan. Combine butter chunks, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Whisk in beaten eggs. Fold in chopped pecans. Pour mixture into pretzel crust. Bake 50 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter O

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Old-Fashioned Blueberry Peach Galette! For a rustic dessert that is sure to please, this classic French pastry is a perfect blend of natural fruit sweetness complimented by a flaky butter crust. No need for a pie plate, it is oven baked on a sheet pan. *Note: Be sure to prep the pan as directed. Otherwise, you may need to replace it.

OLD-FASHIONED BLUEBERRY PEACH GALETTE

Ingredients:

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2-3 tablespoons ice water

3 cups peaches, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon apricot preserves, melted

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons almonds, sliced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Then line it with parchment paper. Make a 9-inch pie crust: cut butter into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry cleans the side of the bowl. Gather pastry into a ball; shape it into a flattened round on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 9-inch crust and place on parchment paper. Combine sugar, blueberries, and sugar. Beginning in the center, arrange fruit into a fan, spiraling around the pie. Be sure to leave a border. Fold edges of dough toward the center, pressing gently to seal. The dough only partially covers the fruit. Brush the melted preserves over the fruit and along the edges of the dough. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° but do not remove the galette. Bake an additional 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the galette from the baking sheet by lifting it with the parchment paper. It needs to cool on a wire rack to keep the bottom from getting soggy. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Serve warm.

* Serving suggestion: Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Pumpkin Spice Pie

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Pumpkin Spice Pie! It wouldn’t be the a feast without family traditions, whether it’s a circle of loved ones, heirloom tableware, aromatic side dishes, or pumpkin spice pie. No matter how stuffed we are from the bountiful spread, there’s always room for dessert. Am I right? Indeed! Besides, who can resist a touch of creamy custard sweetness surrounded by a golden, buttery crust, even if it is prepared by someone else.

PUMPKIN SPICE PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared 9” pie crust

15-ounce can puréed pumpkin

2 eggs

15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whipped Cream for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place prepared pie dough in an ungreased pie plate. Crimp edges as desired. Set aside. Combine puréed pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt. Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue baking 40-50 minutes until center is firm. If necessary, cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to avoid over browning. A knife inserted will come out clean. Remove from oven. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream, as desired.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter B

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Buttered Plum Galette! You don’t have to be a perfectionist to create the perfect galette. The whole idea is to make it appear rustic and charming. By forming an irregular pie crust, it conjures images of the bucolic countryside we often yearn for in an unpolished way. This is how plain country kitchens capture that homey feeling. You can, too. Indeed, the Buttered Plum Galette is as delicious as it sounds. 
BUTTERED PLUM GALETTE 
Ingredients for Crust:

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, cold

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons ice water
Ingredients for Plum Filling:

4 medium-size plums, stone removed and sliced thin

1/3-1/2 cup mulberries, or blackberries 

Scant lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

1/8 teaspoon cardamom 

1/3 cup plum jam, slightly warmed

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg yolk
Instructions:

Recipe makes two individual galettes. Preheat oven to 425°. Using a food processor, pulse cold butter, flour, and salt to the size of small peas. Sprinkle in ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Remove wrap and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half. Roll each half into an 8” circle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Beginning in the center, spiral plums like a fan. Be sure to leave a border. Top with berries. Fold edges of dough toward the center, creating a rustic crust. Press gently to seal. Repeat for second galette. Sprinkle fruit with lemon juice. Cover fruit with sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Spread plum jam over fruit. Dot with butter. Whisk together egg yolk and a little water. Brush the egg wash along the edges of the dough. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° but do not remove galettes. Bake an additional 45 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the buttered plum galettes from the baking sheet by lifting with the parchment paper. Cool on wire rack to keep the bottoms from getting soggy. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.