Dining Outside the Home: Doug’s Seafood in Bonita Springs, Florida! Drive a little off the beaten path for a quaint little fish house, part seafood market, that feels as though it has transported you off the coast of Maine. Perhaps that is due to the owner, Captain Doug, who made his living from lobster boats for over 20 years before gravitating to Florida. The extensive menu offers buttery lobster, fried clam strips, grilled shrimp, and outstanding chowders. But that’s not all. Try the fresh catch, blackened and seasoned to perfection. The authenticity of this eatery may seem humble and cozy, but rest assured, the staff is waiting with open arms to share the essence of Maine’s seafood culture.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Culinary Crab Rolls! Seafood lovers will look for any excuse to substitute chicken or beef. Do we really need a reason? Building healthy lifestyle choices could be enough to make me try new things. Seafood is a lean protein option which does fill me up the way fruit, vegetables, and nuts do. The fact remains that I truly like the taste of seafood. Pairing it with bread is practically a bonus. Need I say more?
CULINARY CRAB ROLLS
6 frozen bread dough rolls, thawed according to package instructions
3/4 cup crabmeat, precooked and chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Once dough has risen, press into a 3-4” circle. Fill the center of each circle of dough with a heaping tablespoon of crabmeat filling. Gently pull the edges around the filling to form a ball, lightly brushing the seam with beaten egg, then pinching the edges to seal. Place in muffin cup, seam side down. Brush tops with beaten egg. Repeat with remaining rolls. Set aside to rise until puffy. Dough should be nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Rollin’ in Lobstah! Ever wonder why lobster is so popular? I find the mildly sweet, delicate flavor irresistible. If you’re preparing it at home in a state that is landlocked, a lot of resources are at your fingertips. Did you know you can order it from Maine and have it delivered in 24 hours? That’s golden. There are numerous websites that offer delicious lobster choices to conveniently keep on hand in the freezer. I buy lobster meat and lobster tails only. Forget the labor-intensive task of twisting the head, legs, and claws apart from the tail. Then again, I’ve been called “high maintenance”. To each his own.
ROLLIN’ IN LOBSTAH
4 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
4 split-top brioche hot dog buns
4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced for garnish
Fresh lemon wedges, for garnish
In a bowl, combine lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Gently toss to coat. Spread butter on the outer sides of each bun. Place the buns on a griddle over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Divide the lobster mixture among the buns. Garnish with fresh chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with remaining butter.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Yeast Dinner Rolls! There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting out the oven door, in my opinion. It seems as the yeast magically leavens with flour, it produces an aroma that is not only warm heartwarming, but nostalgic. Perhaps it brings back childhood memories for you as well. For instance, the Wonder Bread Years were a simpler time where I played outside til after dark, giggled with my girlfriend, dated a boy on the weekend, and took a sack lunch to school. Crisp autumn days with damp earthy leaves and woodsmoke aromas smell nice as well. Maybe it’s time for you to bake some bread, too.
YEAST DINNER ROLLS
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Using a bread machine, layer warm milk, butter, and eggs in the bottom of the pan. Next add sugar, sea salt, and bread flour. Form a slight well in the flour layer. Pour the dry yeast into the well. Close the lid. Select Dough setting and press the Start button. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 sections. Shape dough into balls. Place in a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Shepherd’s Pie! Chicken or Beef? That’s the biggest decision you need to make with this tasty comfort food recipe. If you follow tradition, no doubt you would choose beef. That’s fine. I, on the other hand, was in the mood for chicken. Either way the cheesy potato crust, over a savory blanket of gravy, is the star attraction. If you are searching for a great weeknight meal without all the fuss, warm up your kitchen, kick back, and relax.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and cut into chunks
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the cream of mushroom soup and water in a large bowl. Stir well. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add chicken chunks, black pepper, onion powder, and poultry seasoning. Cook until well browned. Transfer the chicken to the soup mixture. Add mixed vegetables. Stir to coat. Spoon chicken filling into a 2-quart casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes over chicken layer. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until chicken filling is hot and bubbly.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Danish Pumpkin Spice! The mere mention of pumpkin spice sends people into a tizzy. It could be simply because it signifies the turning of a new season and screams, “limited time only!”. The crisp Autumn leaves, smell of woodsmoke, and anticipation of holidays looming on the horizon resurrect desires of nostalgia. We can’t help it. Longings of yesteryear where childhood memories and romantic flashbacks are pause for distraction. Family traditions and customs return to life. This is us.
DANISH PUMPKIN SPICE
2 tubes crescent rolls (8 count each)
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon allspice
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chestnut praline syrup
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Unroll crescent rolls into a rectangular shape. Cut along the seam to separate into two equal rectangles. Each rectangle will container four crescent rolls. Press seams together, cutting each rectangle into four squares. When you do this, you will have 8 squares from each tube. Place squares on the silicone baking mat before filling. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin purée, sugar, vanilla extract, allspice, and egg. Whisk until smooth. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin spice mixture into the center of each square. Fold the edges around, by rolling and crimping, to form the Danish. Sprinkle chopped pecans over all. Bake 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cool before glazing. Repeat with remaining dough. To make the glaze, beat Neufchâtel cheese until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Stir gently. Add vanilla extract and chestnut praline syrup. Transfer glaze to a zipper sandwich bag. Snip off the tip of one corner. Squeeze bag to drizzle glaze in stripes over each Danish.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Oval Pizza Rolls! Do you ever get the munchies during that last hour of late-night tv? When it hits me and the commercials seem to become more frequent, my willpower eventually wanes and I succumb to the nibbling temptation. I’m here to say, this is a perfect bedtime snack. Just the right sized portion to satisfy those late night cravings under the bluish glow of a 42-inch screen. You no longer have to sit and devour an entire pizza while being absorbed in your favorite program or professional sports. Permission granted.
OVAL PIZZA ROLLS
1 prepared pizza crust
1/2-3/4 cup pizza sauce
3 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
4 ounces smoked ham, thinly sliced
2 ounces pepperoni slices
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1-2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon dill weed
Garlic salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9”x9” pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Remove pizza dough from can to a lightly floured work space. Unroll dough. Spread with pizza sauce. Layer with provolone cheese, ham slices, and pepperoni slices. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Beginning at the long end, roll up dough. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Wrap in parchment paper, seam side down. Freeze for 20 minutes to chill. Remove dough roll from freezer. Slice into 1 1/2-inch ovals. Transfer to prepared pan, slice side up. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with butter; sprinkle with dill weed and garlic salt.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Elevated Edibles: Individual Lasagna Roll-Ups! Lasagna can be a tedious process from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, some days it is definitely worth the effort. When I want to simplify my life, I take advantage of the effortless idea of creating a roll-up from each noodle. Not only does it make each portion compact, but it also guarantees that every helping has all the goodies tucked neatly inside. And that’s basically what lasagna is all about, isn’t it? Think about how easy it would be for transporting to family gatherings or seasonal parties, should you choose to share. Everyone wins.
INDIVIDUAL LASAGNA ROLL-UPS
6 lasagna noodles
1 pound Italian sausage, ground
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons green pepper, diced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces marinara sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick oil. Set aside. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain. Refill pot with cold water to keep the noodles from sticking together. Set aside. In a large skillet, cook Italian sausage over medium-high heat. Add fennel, sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Crumble meat as it cooks. Add chopped onions, diced green peppers, and sliced mushrooms. Pour marinara over all. Stir thoroughly; reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Spread the bottom of the prepared casserole dish with 1/4 cup meat mixture. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and chopped parsley. Transfer lasagna noodles to a baking sheet. Spread cheese mixture over the top of each noodle. Add a strip of meat mixture over the cheese layer. Roll up noodles and transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Spread remaining meat mixture over lasagna rolls. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover casserole with a lid or foil. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove lid and broil 2-3 minutes until cheese is lightly golden. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Hamburger Strudel! Dress up a classic meatloaf recipe with this super simple crust to create an elegant wrap for a main course. No, it’s not Beef Wellington, but it’s a tasty alternative at a fraction of the cost. I highly recommend an all-natural organic lean beef for fabulous results. It’s dinner-party worthy!
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley
1 tube 8-count crescent rolls
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Pinch of parsley
1 cup sour cream
2 green onions, snipped
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a baking pan with nonstick oil. In a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter. Add ground beef. Cook until crumbly and brown. Drain excess liquid. In a large bowl, combine meat mixture, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Let cool slightly before folding in beaten eggs. Add cheddar cheese and parsley. Form into a loaf pan and freeze for one hour. Carefully remove chilled loaf from pan. Unroll tube of crescent rolls. Pinch seams to seal. Wrap dough around meatloaf; seal. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Brush with butter; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and pinch of parsley. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cut into 1″ slices. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onion snips.