Ahi Poke Platter

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Ahi Poke Platter! Here’s a perfect example of choosing the foods you love. An ahi platter can offer many variations of side veggies to compliment the star attraction. Personally, I like the crunch of radish slices and mukimame. They balance quite nicely with the creaminess of a ripe avocado. Perhaps you may substitute these ingredients with cucumber slices and jicama sticks. I realize there are those who just don’t care for the taste of cilantro, no matter how often they try. That’s fine. Dill is a delightful change. I’m not here to be the food police. Are you getting the idea?

AHI POKE PLATTER

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons furikake seasoning

1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

2 ahi tuna steaks, skinless

1 cup sticky rice, prepared

1 avocado, pitted and cubed

1/2 cup mukimame

1/2 cup radishes, sliced thin

Fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions:

Combine olive oil, vegetable oil, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Add furikake seasoning, white sesame seeds, and black sesame seeds. Marinate ahi steaks ten minutes per side to coat evenly. Remove steaks from marinade and set aside. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the marinade mixture. Cook ahi steaks 2-3 minutes per side. The outer skin will appear seared while the center remains pink. Remove from heat. Transfer ahi steaks to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/4” thick slices. Arrange on a platter over sticky rice, overlapping the slices. Arrange avocado chunks, mukimame, radish slices, and chopped cilantro on the platter. For dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise, sriracha, and soy sauce. Mix well. Pour into a small bowl and serve with the ahi poke platter.

Quick Teriyaki Pork Bowl

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Quick Teriyaki Pork Bowl! Say the word “teriyaki” and watch people start to salivate. It’s all about the sauce. Part sweet like honey, and part salty like soy sauce, only thicker. Some may use the word “gooey” to describe how teriyaki sauce sticks to the meat sealing in all those concentrated spices and juices. For today’s drool-inducing teriyaki you may substitute pork for chicken, depending on what you have on hand. Just remember, although it’s a quick meal, you still need to be patient and kind. You must allow time to cook the rice.

QUICK TERIYAKI PORK BOWL

Ingredients:

2 cups boneless pork, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions:

Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, minced garlic, and cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk together until the cornstarch is dissolved and no lumps remain. In a skillet over medium heat, add cooked pork and teriyaki sauce. Coat the meat well. Continue to warm, stirring constantly, until the pork is heated through and the sauce thickens into a shiny glaze. Keep warm while making the side dishes. Remove from heat and serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

Orange Sesame Asparagus

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Orange Sesame Asparagus! Produce can be a problem keeping fresh in the vegetable crisper. Especially if you buy it in season when it’s plentiful. Oftentimes that means serving the same thing several days in a row, so the trick is to jazz it up with sidekick options and seasoning. Color keeps food interesting the same way dressings and sauces do. You can either make an orange glaze sauce from scratch or open a bottle of Asian vinaigrette. You choose. I feel blessed to have sufficient ingredients in my kitchen that transform ordinary dishes into extraordinary cravings.

ORANGE SESAME ASPARAGUS

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch fresh asparagus, bottom ends trimmed

15-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Instructions:

Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place asparagus spears in water to blanch, about 3-4 minutes until tender. Remove asparagus with tongs; drain. Transfer asparagus to a platter. Arrange mandarin oranges around asparagus spears. In a skillet, combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Add orange juice and lemon juice. Stir to blend. Cook over medium heat, stirring until glaze boils, about 2 minutes. Pour orange glaze over asparagus spears. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Knee-Jerk Chicken Wings

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Knee-Jerk Chicken Wings! Look ahead for a weekend meal that is Mmm Mmm Good. It takes a minute of advanced planning, but is, oh, so worth it. As with any marinade, its main purpose is to tenderize the chicken while bathing it with flavor and moisture. In the end you have chicken wings so juicy you won’t be able to put them down. As always, store the marinated chicken in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend reusing the marinade once you transfer the meat to a baking pan. As a general rule, any sauces that come into contact with uncooked meat should be disposed of properly to prevent harmful bacteria exposure. I’m good with that. In most cases an extra sauce or dressing can be offered instead.

KNEE-JERK CHICKEN WINGS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon dark rum

2 habanero peppers, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 tablespoon thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon molasses

2 pounds chicken wings

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon spicy honey

Chives, for garnish

Instructions:

To make the jerk paste marinade, combine vinegar, dark rum, habanero peppers, red onion, green onions, thyme, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses in a blender. Pulse to mix until smooth. Place the chicken in a baking dish. Pour lime juice over chicken to coat on both sides. Wearing gloves, rub the jerk paste over both sides of the chicken wings, covering well. Transfer chicken to a gallon freezer bag. Use a rubber spatula to transfer all the marinade to the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a rimmed baking pan with nonstick oil. Place chicken wings in a single layer, skin side up. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then flip to bake for another 20 minutes. Combine ketchup, soy sauce, and spicy honey in a small bowl. Mix well. Turn the chicken back over so the skin side is up. Brush with ketchup sauce. Bake 10 minutes longer. When chicken is done, transfer to a platter. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.

Gluten-Free Egg Shoyu

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Gluten-Free Egg Shoyu! Have you ever wondered how to make those awesome tasting hard-boiled eggs you find nested in a bowl of ramen noodles? The whites are tender; the yolks a gorgeous shade of golden yellow. That slightly salty taste, combined with a hint of sweetness, is the result of marinating the peeled eggs in a soy sauce mixture. I’m not going to lie, that’s the step you need to do in advance. The marination process can take anywhere from 8 hours to 24, depending on the depth of saturation you desire. Its purpose is to allow the natural salt to season the egg yolk. In the end you achieve a perfect ring of tawny brown to outline the incredible edible egg.

GLUTEN-FREE EGG SHOYU

Ingredients:

6 hard-boiled eggs

6 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

3/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce

Everything But Bagel Seasoning, for garnish

Instructions:

Remove the shells of the hard-boiled eggs. Discard. Place the uncut eggs in a deep bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the warm water and sugar until dissolved. Add sherry vinegar and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the eggs. You want them covered and submerged. Sometimes it is necessary to place a plate over the eggs so they do not float. Marinate the eggs for 8 hours or overnight. Remove the eggs from the sweet and salty marinade. Transfer them to a sealed container for up to three days. When ready to eat, cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Sprinkle, or dab, with Everything But Bagel seasoning. Serve with rice or noodles.

Exotic Pineapple Pork Loin

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Exotic Pineapple Pork Loin! If you’re not a fan of pineapple, allow me to offer some reasons to give it another try. You know that bloated feeling you can get after a meal…even three hours later? Well, pineapple is actually your friend in speeding up the natural digestion of foods. It helps to break down proteins, which in turn eases that uncomfortable feeling that may keep you up at night. By pairing pineapple with pork, which is high in protein, your increased metabolism will thank you. With that being said, let’s “Dig In” for an appetizing main course.

EXOTIC PINEAPPLE PORK LOIN

Ingredients:

2.5 pounds pork loin

1 can pineapple rings, cut in half, juices reserved

2 cups prepared barbecue sauce

1 green pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450°. Place pork loin on a cutting board. Make parallel incisions along the length of the meat without cutting all the way through. Carefully transfer the pork loin to a baking pan. Fill each slot with a pineapple ring half. Combine barbecue sauce and reserved pineapple juice in a bowl. Add chopped green pepper, minced jalapeño, minced garlic, and chopped red onions. Stir to combine. Pour sauce over pork loin. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake 50 minutes longer, or until done. Test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 160° when done. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Wings Beans Shoyu

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Wing Beans Shoyu! Have you ever seen a four-angled bean? It actually has four corners. The rough texture looks a little odd, all jagged and such. Since they grow in tropical climates where there is plenty of humidity, rainfall, and warmth, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t find them at your local grocery store. However, they are readily available at Farmers Markets in the Hawaiian Islands, which is where I got these delectable little jewels. They taste similar to a snow pea with a slightly sweet crunch. Then there’s the sauce. YUM!

WING BEANS SHOYU

Ingredients:

1/2 pound wing beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup soy sauce, Japanese-style

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 strip bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions:

Place prepared wing beans in a covered casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Do not cook until mushy. Drain. Add crumbled bacon. Combine soy sauce, agave nectar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Whisk to blend flavors. Drizzle over wing bean mixture. Toss to coat. Serve warm.

Hawaiian Spam Breakfast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Hawaiian Spam Breakfast! Not everyone is on the same page when it comes to breakfast. Some prefer a bowl of cereal in front of the tv, others like yogurt and fruit while checking their email, and some are perfectly happy with their morning cuppa joe watching the sunrise. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It is a Hawaiian meal for one.

It takes only a couple minutes to heat and eat. So when everyone comes crowding into the kitchen because it smells so good, just roll your shoulders and say, “You already had breakfast.”

HAWAIIAN SPAM BREAKFAST

Ingredients:

10.5 ounce package heat-and-eat microwaveable rice

2 slices Spam* brand canned meat

1 egg, scrambled

1 green onion, snipped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Microwave rice according to package directions. Spray a small skillet with nonstick oil. Over medium-high heat, quick-fry 2 slices of Spam. Flip to get both sides crispy. Chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Crack an egg into a small dish. Whisk to break the yolk. Spray the small skillet again with nonstick oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan using the same setting, medium high. Cover. Cook one minute. Remove lid, break up the egg with a spatula. Turn off the burner. Replace the lid for one minute longer. Transfer rice to a bowl, add Spam, scrambled egg, green onion snips, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. Mix well. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with chopsticks.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.

BBQ Pork Nachos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: BBQ Pork Nachos! Mealtime can be hectic for this reason or that. I admit, some days I am not in the mood for a lavish meal. Perhaps you feel the same way and need a shortcut now and then. That’s when I go to the freezer to pull out fully cooked products, like smoked barbecue pork. When buying, always check the ingredient list for additives. From my experience, it’s the sauce that makes the dish.

BBQ PORK NACHOS

Ingredients:

11-ounce bag tortilla corn chips

1 pound container bbq pork, fully cooked

1/2 cup Queso cheese dip, store-bought

1 tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 sprigs cilantro, leaves removed

1 bottle Heinz Hawaii sweet and fruity bbq sauce, to taste*

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Places tortilla chips in a single layer on the baking sheet. Randomly drop bbq pork onto chips using a fork. Next spoon prepared queso dip around the pork. It will melt as it bakes. Scatter chopped tomatoes over all. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, to taste. Bake nachos for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Drizzle barbecue sauce over top. Serve immediately.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.