What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Ham Salad Spread! Tired of ho-hum tuna salad or egg salad sandwiches? Think all-natural applewood smoked ham with no artificial ingredients. When you begin with quality, the results are astounding. Add sweet pickle relish, chopped celery, and fresh horseradish. The biggest challenge is deciding if you wish to smear it on rye bread, add a dollop over wheat crackers, or simply scoop it onto a Bibb lettuce leaf. Skip the Deli-made and crank out a batch at home. It’s easier than you think. In no time at all, you’ll have a party favorite or lunchtime energy boost.
HAM SALAD SPREAD
2 cups applewood smoked ham chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
3 green onions, snipped
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon creamy horseradish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Place ham chunks in a food processor. Pulse in batches until finely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Place celery in the food processor and Pulse until chopped. Add to bowl. Repeat with hard-boiled eggs. Add to bowl. Stir to mix. Add green onion snips, sweet pickle relish, horseradish, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Beet Bacon Bleu Salad! Remember when you were a kid and your mother made you eat beets? And you hated them? Well, thank goodness as we age, our taste buds change. Perhaps it’s time to give them a second chance. I did and the results made me wonder why I waited so long.
BEET BACON BLEU SALAD
15-ounce can sliced beets, drained
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 cups mixed salad greens
1 egg, hard-cooked and sliced
3 slices applewood bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
Garnish with croutons
In a shallow dish, combine lemon olive oil, seasoned salt, and Herbes de Provence. Add sliced beets. Marinate 10 minutes, turn and marinate 10 minutes longer. Arrange salad greens in a bowl. Add beets, reserving marinade. Arrange egg slices on greens. Top with bacon pieces. Sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles. Drizzle all with reserve marinade plus balsamic reduction. Garnish with croutons.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Voodoo Potatoes! The magical power of the potato ranks as a good source of potassium, vitamin C, niacin, and dietary fiber for starters. It’s been around for thousands of years. Noted as an inexpensive staple, the potato is popular throughout the entire world. Discover the magic!
3 white potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon pimento, diced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon natural honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 green onions, snipped
Place potatoes in a 2.5 quart pan with enough water to cover. Add sea salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain in colander. Transfer to a large bowl. Microwave sweet onion and green pepper for 1 1/2 minutes on High. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Fold in diced pimento. Once cool, add to potatoes. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Pour dressing over potato mixture. Gently stir to cover all. Garnish with green onion snips. Serve warm or chilled.
Dining Outside the Home: Hudson Yards Grill in New York, New York! Outside the window stands one of Manhattan’s newest public landmarks called The Vessel. It’s got people talking, which brings visitors to Hudson Yards for shopping and dining. After climbing the giant sculpture of interlocking staircases for a spectacular panoramic view of the Hudson River, Central Railroad, and Hudson Yards neighborhood, you’re bound to be hungry. Look no further than Hudson Yards Grill. Its Pre Fixe meals, Sushi, Salads, and Desserts win raves. And that’s just for lunchtime. Ingredients are fresh, expertly prepared, and served like an artistic masterpiece. Count on coming back for dinner. You deserve it.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Xigua Watermelon Salad! With seasonal changes, there may be days that feel more like Summer than Autumn. At those times, I roll back the calendar by serving a light meal with a couple of cool melons. The natural sweetness of watermelon and honeydew are complimented by the smoky saltiness of thinly sliced prosciutto. When drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette, it works beautifully to balance the fresh fruit and mixed greens with the aged cheese. Take advantage of watermelon salad’s one final “hurrah” before it’s gone.
XIGUA WATERMELON SALAD
1 cup watermelon, cut into chunks and seeded
1 cup honeydew melon, cut into chunks and seeded
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons natural honey
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, torn
3-4 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup Romano cheese, shaved
Combine watermelon, honeydew melon, red onion, mandarin oranges, and kosher salt. Gently toss. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk lemon juice, lemon olive oil, and natural honey. Drizzle over fruit mixture. Divide arugula and mint between chilled salad plates. Top with fruit mixture. Add prosciutto. Garnish with shaved Romano cheese. Serve chilled.
Dining Outside the Home: Captain Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic, Connecticut! In the 1700s when weary travelers stopped for the night for food and a good night’s sleep, Captain Packer probably didn’t serve Lobster Salad and Roasted Cod with butter cracker crumbs. He did, however, entertain his guests with thrilling tales of adventures on the high seas. The Captain Packer Inne is still family-owned. They have poured blood, sweat, and tears into restoring it to the historic landmark it will always be. Hospitality is still extended to guests and patrons for fine dining and pub fare with live entertainment. You may even hear of wandering spirits. Unwind, bask in the history, and enjoy this popular destination.
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.
STUFFED TOMATO TUNA SALAD
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
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.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Mint Leaf Peach Salad! Sliced peaches with creamy goat cheese medallions, OMG! This delightful salad is ideal for a light lunch, an afternoon brunch, or an early dinner. Indulging in the sweet tangy taste of a ripe, plump peach mixed with the nutty crunch of sugared pecans wrapped around medallions of earthy herbed goat cheese is like taking a bath in a tub of dairy rich cream. At first bite, you won’t mind being pampered. The fresh mint leaf garnish is like icing on a cake.
MINT LEAF PEACH SALAD
1 ripe peach, sliced with pit removed
4-6 cherry tomatoes; halved
2 ounces creamy goat cheese
1/4 cup sugared pecans, crushed
Fresh mint leaves
Cut ripe peach into 7-8 slices. Arrange in a pinwheel design on a salad plate. Cut cherry tomatoes and place seed side up around the peach slices. Crush sugared pecans on a sheet of waxed paper. Take a goat cheese slice and roll in nut mixture to coat; repeat. Arrange medallions on salad plate around the peaches. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Dining Outside the Home: Nine One Five in Key West, Florida. During the day you may walk by this charming whitewashed Victorian home, with ocean blue accents, thinking it’s a magnificent private residence. What a glorious sight. However once the evening hours roll around, every table seems to be filled with jovial guests on the wrap-around veranda before overflowing into the front yard beyond the white picket fence. Notice how the amber lights soften the mood for intimacy and celebration. Your first thought may be, “How do I get invited to the party?” My advice? Make a reservation because if you don’t, you’ll wish you did. Take time to enjoy every course. For starters, think about the raw Ahi Tuna Gravlax or fig balsamic Burrata. Delectable choices. Homemade pastas like fettuccine, cannot be resisted, especially when mixed with Key West pink shrimp and capers. The menu is varied to appeal to every palate. Go ahead, you’re worth it.