Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter S

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Stuffed Tomato Tuna Salad! Pat yourself on the back for choosing today’s recipe as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. For the weight-conscious, opt out for a lighter version of mayonnaise or substitute using plain Greek yogurt instead. The tomato contains a high water content, plus the fiber will provide a feeling of fullness. That being said, go stuff yourself. Permission granted. 

6 ounce can tuna in water, drained and flaked

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup mayonnaise 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 tablespoon dill pickle relish

2 tomatoes, cored 

1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped

Fresh lemon tarragon 

Romaine lettuce leaves

Lemon halves 

Chill two luncheon plates. Place flaked tuna in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add mayonnaise, sea salt, celery seed, chopped celery, and dill pickle relish. Mix well. Chill. Cut tomatoes into 8 segments without slicing the bottom portion. Place one or two romaine lettuce leaves on a chilled plate. Transfer one tomato. Open it like a pinwheel. Spoon tuna salad into the tomato, filling it with half the portion. Garnish with walnuts, lemon tarragon, and a lemon slice. Repeat with second serving. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Mandarin Orange Side Salad! Whenever I serve this colorful side salad to my guests, they rave about the dressing. I create my own version of infused garlic oil, but it can be purchased at your local grocery. Dark, leafy watercress can also be found at the area Farmers Market this time of year. A little bit goes a long way in adding a surprisingly light peppery taste. When partnered with oranges and tomatoes, it refreshes the palate for the next course. If you like a tastier and fresher alternative to an ordinary garden salad, give this one a whirl. 

1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup watercress

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

18 mandarin orange segments 

1/4 cup bacon pieces

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved

Divide the romaine lettuce, watercress, cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, bacon, almonds, and cheese evenly between 6 salad bowls. Serve chilled with dressing. (See dressing recipe below.)
Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup garlic vegetable oil

3 tablespoons wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Combine garlic vegetable oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, dry mustard, and onion. Whisk well until blended. Refrigerate one hour before serving. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter R

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Rustic Romaine Parmigiana-Reggiano! Fire up the grill, you’re about to experience an explosion of flavor! The first time I heard of grilled romaine, I couldn’t wrap my mind around anyone actually agreeing to eat warm lettuce. Once I tried it, I knew I was in heaven. The secret is high heat to char the edges. That gives it a smoky crisp taste that lingers on the tip of your tongue. 

1 head of romaine lettuce 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1/4 cup parmigiana-reggiano cheese, grated

Wash romaine and drip dry. Remove the browned root end, leaving a partial stem to hold the leaves together. Slice romaine lengthwise and place on a plate. Lightly coat with non-stick oil. Sprinkle sea salt and red pepper flakes. Preheat grill to high. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, oregano, basil, marjoram, and garlic powder. Set aside. Grill the romaine until lightly brown on all sides, turning with tongs every minute or so. Remove to a platter. Drizzle olive oil over each half. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter J

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Second Helping of Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail! No matter how often my husband and I entertain, this choice reigns as Number One with our guests. It is so easy to prepare and the presentation awards it center stage. In addition, I place the appetizer on a pedestal serving stand for great eye appeal. For such a tiny food which carries an impressive response, it truly is an oxymoron. 

1 pound Jumbo Shrimp, cooked and deveined with tail on

1/2 heart Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 12-ounce bottle Chili sauce

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Dash of cracked pepper 

Mix all the sauce ingredients. Blend well. Cover and refrigerate for one hour so flavors can intensify. Meanwhile, fill a chilled glass serving bowl with shredded hearts of romaine. Be sure to leave room for a smaller dish of cocktail sauce to rest in the center of the serving bowl. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the shrimp around the rim of the bowl to form an attractive fan. Return bowl to the refrigerator to remain chilled until guests arrive. Serve with wooden picks or olive skewers for dipping shrimp into sauce. The romaine is an excellent accent for nibbling. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter W

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Watercress Bacon Dinner Salad! If you like salad, you will find yourself saying, “OMG, I want a second helping!”  My husband and I can literally eat this dinner salad until we think we will burst! And then we’ll have one bite more! (P.S. Spring is the best time of year to pick up watercress at the Farmer’s Market.)



7 slices Bacon

1 Vidalia Onion, Small

1 cup sliced Mushrooms

10 ounce package Grape Tomatoes

6 ounces Watercress

1 heart of Romaine Lettuce

1 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

5 Tablespoons Reserved Bacon Grease (*or substitute with olive oil)

3 Tablespoons Garlic Wine Vinegar

2 teaspoons Honey

1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard


Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Remove 5 tablespoons grease and set aside. Use 2 tablespoons of grease in a separate skillet over medium heat. Slice thin the Vidalia onion, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add mushrooms to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. Cut bacon into pieces. Peel and slice eggs. Mix romaine and watercress in a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bacon on top. 

Hot Bacon Dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, honey, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.

Pour hot dressing over the salad; toss to combine. Arrange eggs over the top, add croutons, sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese, and Voilà! Dinner is served!