What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Sea Salt-Rubbed Baked Potato! When my sister-in-law worked in a fine dining restaurant years ago, she shared with me an amazing secret for perfectly seasoned baked potatoes. “Wash the skins, then butter them up before sprinkling with sea salt,” she instructed. The skins become as tasty as a savory cracker. I thanked her and with enthusiasm have been making them that way ever since. It’s pretty much fool-proof. There’s no need for extra butter or salt since they are baked into the skin. She went on to share another tidbit of information with me. “Leftover baked potatoes prepared this way become the best shredded hash browns.” Bonus!
SEA SALT-RUBBED BAKED POTATOES
2 russet potatoes, washed and pierced
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon sea salt
Dollop of sour cream
Green onions, for garnish
Sprinkling of crushed oregano
Preheat oven to 350°. Wash potatoes and pat dry. Pierce the top with a paring knife. Holding the potato in one hand, apply softened butter all over the outer skin. Then sprinkle with sea salt. Place the potatoes on a stone, or directly on the oven rack, in the preheated oven. Be sure the pierce mark is facing up. Bake one hour, or until tender. To serve, split the potato open on a plate. Dollop with a generous spoonful of sour cream. Garnish with green onions and sprinkle with crushed oregano.
“God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.”
~ William Cowper
“The fishermen know that the sea
is dangerous and the storm terrible,
but they have never found these
dangers sufficient reason
for remaining ashore.”
~ Vincent Van Gogh
Dining Outside the Home: Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab in Las Vegas, Nevada! Not every restaurant can boast of serving Chilean Sea Bass with class, finesse, and quiet elegance. Joe’s Seafood can, yet they do it without exaggeration. After all, the wide selection of fresh seafood is flown in daily. When the porcelain plate is set before you on a linen tablecloth, without a doubt the chef’s creation of chilean sea bass with miso glaze, bok choy, and shiitake mushroom will color your world. The impeccable service is simply icing on the cake.
Dining Outside the Home: Sea View Snack Bar in Mystic, Connecticut! Life is good when you can stop by a roadside drive-in along the Mystic River and walk away from the service window with incredible take-out seafood. Anyone who loves clam strips will literally think they have died and joined King Neptune, Greek mythology’s god of fresh water. But that’s not all. If lobster, scallops, tuna, or shrimp floats your boat, indulge. The price is right and the menu has it all. Picnic tables offer convenient seating under shaded umbrellas. Come as you are. It’s all about the food.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: French Baguettes! Ever wonder why the daily baguette, le baguette quotidien, in France tastes so much better than in the US? For one, it is meant to be baked and eaten the same day. After that, don’t be surprised if it goes stale. No preservatives. Well, I can attest that as soon as the aromas filled the kitchen and drifted throughout the house, I had to ask myself, “Why would anyone want to wait?” The crunch of crispy crust, the melted sea salt French butter, and the hint of honey sweetness were enough to be convincing. Plus, I let the bread machine do half the work. Another bonus, the perforated French bread pan “simplifies baking baguettes worthy of a Parisian boulangerie.”* I agree.
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Using a bread machine, combine water, bread flour, sugar, sea salt, and yeast. Select Dough cycle and press Start. When the cycle is completed, transfer dough to a greased bowl. Coat all sides of dough with grease. Cover; Place bowl in a warm area for 30 minutes. Dough will rise to double its size. Punch down dough. Place onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 12″x16″ rectangle. Cut dough in half to equal two 12″x8″ rectangles. Beginning at the 12” side, roll dough tightly, pounding out air bubbles. Roll gently back and forth to taper ends. Transfer loaves to a divided and perforated French bread pan. Make diagonal slashes across each loaf every 3 inches. Cover and let dough rise in a warm area for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375°. Mix egg yolk and water. Brush over tops of loaves. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
* I receive no recompense for mentioning the Williams-Sonoma Perforated French Bread Pan.
“Solitude is not the same
as loneliness. Solitude is a
solitary boat floating in a sea
of possible companions.”
~ Robert Fulghum
“One cannot collect all the beautiful
shells on the beach. One can collect
only a few, and they are more beautiful
if they are few.”
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“Every breath we take,
every step we make,
can be filled with peace,
joy, and serenity.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh