What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Dijon Deviled Eggs! Those who know me well fondly refer to me as a Francophile, someone who loves everything French. It goes all the way back to my school days when a sixth grade Social Studies teacher introduced the class to France, after having traveled there herself. From that moment on, it became a dream of mine to take a trip there someday. I studied the French language and Impressionist art. I admired the historical connection, the romantic countryside, and most of all the incredible food! Is it any surprise I chose to share today’s recipe of something a little French?
DIJON DEVILED EGGS
6 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon French Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon light cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
Fresh Basil for garnish
Once the eggs have cooled, remove the shells, and slice each egg in half lengthwise. Gently remove yolk and place in a bowl. Arrange the egg on a plate. Repeat until all eggs are divided. Lightly mash the egg yolks until crumbly, leaving a few chunks. Add Dijon mustard, Greek yogurt, light cream, mayonnaise, sea salt, and white pepper. Mix until almost smooth. Fold in a few red onion pieces. Spoon yolk mixture into egg halves. Garnish with chopped red onion and fresh basil snips. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Zen Himalayan Plate! Go above ordinary ingredients and transform your palate with a meal on the Himalayan salt plate. Foods pick up a delicate saltiness that transcends the flavor and leaves behind monotony. By creating bite-size pieces of fish, shellfish, and cucumber sushi, nourishment balances out the inner peace from within. Good for health-crazed affenciados as well as those soul-searching for expression.
ZEN HIMALAYAN PLATE
3.75-ounce tin Wild Caught Sardines, in olive oil
1 lemon, sliced and quartered
3.75-ounce tin smoked oysters
Fresh lemon thyme
7-ounces prepared crab dip
4 mini cucumbers, seedless
Arrange sardines on a Himalayan salt plate. Drizzle with olive oil from the tin. Place lemon wedges on fish and garnish with fresh lemon thyme. Smoked oysters may be served in individual sea shells. Drizzle with sauce from the tin. Oysters may also be served on a cracker. To assemble the cucumber sushi, slice mini cucumbers into thick rolls. To remove the inside portion of each disc, place the cucumber on a cutting board, use a sharp knife, and rotate the cuke until the center is cut out. Make sure the walls remain. Discard fleshy pulp. Place the cucumber “rings” on the Himalayan salt plate. Spoon prepared crabmeat dip into each ring. Press gently to fill the sushi roll. Garnish with dill.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Yummy Spud Fries! Choose a healthier way to have your fries and eat them, too. Take regular potatoes, preferably russet, cut them into thick strips leaving the skin on, and bake until crispy before adding a mound of toppings. I use both grated and shaved Parmesan cheese. You’ll know perfection when the outside is a lovely sunset golden color. One bite reveals a fluffy potato within. Now dunk them in sour cream and chives or slather on thick tomato ketchup. Mmmmm.
YUMMY SPUD FRIES
4 russet potatoes, washed and cut into thick strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
Garnish with bacon crumbles
Preheat oven to 425°. Put potato strips in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with garlic powder, thyme, and seasoned salt. Coat well. Transfer potatoes to a nonstick baking sheet. Spread into a single layer. Reserve oil in bowl. Bake 15 minutes. Turn potatoes and bake 15 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes back into the bowl with reserved olive oil. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Coat well. Layer fries onto baking sheet. Return to oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Before serving sprinkle spud fries with shaved Parmesan cheese and bacon crumbles. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: New Potato Salad! If I said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: the French have it going on! The more I explore their recipes, the more I feel like a gourmet chef. You can, too. Trust me. When I tell you I’m going to have you make potato salad by skipping the mayo, just pretend you didn’t hear me and forge ahead. The results are worth it. Don’t make a big deal when you serve it as a side dish. You’re husband will do that for you. Husband-tested, rave reviews!
NEW POTATO SALAD
1 pound red-skinned new potatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup celery hearts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh chervil, coarsely chopped
Place quartered potatoes, skin on, in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Add sea salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes. For dressing, combine olive oil, garlic red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper. Whisk until blended. When potatoes are cooked, drain well. Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Pour the dressing over the potatoes. Add celery and chervil, gently folding to blend flavors. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob! Here’s an alternative to stovetop corn on the cob or microwave cooking. Throw the corn on the grill while the burgers are on their way to being well-done. You won’t believe the incredible taste. Or will you? If the results are slightly blackened or charred in spots, so much the better. That’s what makes it taste so good. By leaving the corn in the husk, natural steaming keeps the corn moist rather than dry and brittle. And if it rains? By all means, get out the kitchen torch and improvise. Toppings still apply.
GRILLED CORN ON THE COB
4 ears corn, in husks
1 teaspoon sea salt
Butter to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning*
Salt to taste
Peel the husks without removing at the base. Strip away the corn silk. Fold the husks back into place. Fill a bowl with cold water. Add sea salt. Submerge the corn for 10 minutes. Heat the grill to medium-high. Remove corn and let drain. Place on the grill for 15 minutes. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally. Allow the corn to get slightly charred in places. When done, transfer corn cobs to a serving platter. Slather with butter. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning. Add sea salt to taste. Serve immediately.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: X-tra Virgin Olive Oil Dipping Sauce! It’s no secret I’m a bread-lover. Just like chocolate, wine, and cheese….the key is moderation. I look to the French culture for validation. Their motto seems to be “use quality ingredients and fresh foods” for the best flavor. And I believe it. During my visit to Paris and the south of France, I noticed open markets everywhere and held often. Preservatives are pretty much absent. Nutrition rules. Grow an herb garden. Crush dried herbs to release flavor. That being said, go ahead and reach for the bread basket, just don’t eat the whole thing!
X-TRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL DIPPING SAUCE
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar
Bakery baguette, sliced
Pour olive oil into a measuring cup. Add garlic powder, black pepper, parsley, oregano, marjoram, basil, and kosher salt. Whisk to blend flavors. Add parmesan cheese. Stir. Marinate at room temperature for one hour to enhance flavors. Stir and pour onto a plate or shallow bowl. “Dot” oil with balsamic vinegar. Serve with baguette bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Tails of Maine Lobster! There’s an upside to living through a pandemic. Practically everything is available to order from computer-to-doorstep. And that includes Maine hard shell lobsters, especially when you live in a state that is landlocked. Of course, you still have to do a little homework by reading reviews and asking questions on Live Chat websites. We found talking directly to a customer service representative can answer a lot of confusing questions and bring clarity. In turn, you never know when an actual salesperson of the company will offer an unexpected special to entice the purchase further. I guarantee you, it’s absolutely worth the time. The results are simply delicious.
TAILS OF MAINE LOBSTER
2 6-ounce frozen lobster tails, thawed
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 lemon, for zest
1 lemon, quartered for garnish
Before cooking the lobster tails, make the clarified butter. In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, warm the butter over medium-low heat. Do not stir. Allow the butter to melt without turning brown. Gradually a white foam will appear on the surface. Allow the melted butter to stand for 5 minutes. Tilt the saucepan to carefully spoon the white foam off the top. This may take several steps. Strain the clarified butter through a cheesecloth to remove any milk solids. This will discard any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Transfer clarified butter back to the saucepan to keep warm. Divide the lemon zest into single-serving dipping bowls. Set aside. To make the lobster tails, bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to a soft boil and add sea salt. Drop tails in one at a time. Cook the lobster for 5 minutes. Set a timer to avoid overcooking. The lobsters will be bright red when done. Using metal tongs and a large strainer, take the tails out of the boiling water. Transfer to two dinner plates. Pour the clarified butter over the lemon zest in the dipping bowls. Garnish with lemon wedge. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Rosemary Lemon Roasted Turkey! Did you know a frozen turkey will last up to two years in the freezer? First and foremost, it’s only a bargain if you have the space to store it. That being said, roasting a turkey is a great source of lean protein. A whole bird provides healthy meat that can be served several different ways. Unfortunately, our bodies need protein and cannot store it. We need to replenish protein in order to build strong bones, repair muscle, heal skin, and help keep blood sugar levels even. All the other vitamins and minerals are a bonus. A few words of advice: Remove and discard the skin of the roasted turkey, no matter how tempting that crispy, golden outer covering calls your name. It’s main purpose is to keep the meat moist. That, and for taking fabulous snapshots, of course.
ROSEMARY LEMON ROASTED TURKEY
4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 lemons, quartered
12-pound turkey, thawed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse turkey, pat dry. Insert rosemary and lemon pieces in the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey by wrapping the bird in cooking twine. Secure the legs and tuck the wings underneath. Transfer turkey to the roasting pan with the breast side up. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder. Bake uncovered for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. The juice of the turkey will run clear when the center of the thigh is cut. Remove from oven. Cover. Allow turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and lemons.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Mexican Tarragon Turkey Breast! If you’re tired of the “same old, same old”, ways of preparing poultry, try something a little different. Mexican tarragon can easily catapult chicken and turkey to gourmet status. First of all, that slight hint of licorice may go unnoticed in a café chicken salad sandwich. Yet, something tastes extraordinary. If only you could put your finger on it. So, you go on with your day perhaps thinking you were hungrier than usual and would have devoured anything. Until memory flashback, in the form of a craving, stimulates the taste buds for an encore. The quest is on for the heat-loving herb with the green narrow leaves and golden flowers. Who knows, it may end up as a regular plant in your garden herb bed.
MEXICAN TARRAGON TURKEY BREAST
3 tablespoons Mexican tarragon leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3-pound turkey breast, bone in
Sprigs of Mexican tarragon, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°. Combine chopped Mexican tarragon leaves, olive oil, poultry seasoning, seasoned salt, and white pepper. Wash turkey breast; pat dry. Using your fingers, loosen skin of turkey breast. Rub half the mixture under the skin. Secure skin to the underside of breast with toothpicks. Brush outside of turkey with remaining mixture. Place turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 170°, about two hours. Remove from oven; tent with foil. Allow to rest 15 minutes. Remove and discard turkey skin and toothpicks before carving. Transfer turkey slices to a platter. Garnish with sprigs of Mexican tarragon. Serve warm.