What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Firecracker Shrimp! Celebrations bring people together to share joy, laughter, and fond memories. They can be as elaborate as milestone birthdays and anniversaries or as simple as two friends supporting each other. Whatever the reason, emotions are involved to experience peace, harmony, and rapport. Hence, the explosion of bold flavors for shrimp-lovers everywhere. Let your celebrations include food that says “Wow! I’m really glad to see you.”
1 pound frozen jumbo shrimp, pre-cooked and thawed
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup natural honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili paste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 green onion, snipped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Combine cornstarch, cornmeal, sea salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Place beaten eggs in a separate shallow dish. Coat shrimp in dry breading, one at a time. Dredge coated shrimp into beaten eggs, covering both sides. Heat vegetable oil in an iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add coated shrimp to pan; do not crowd. Cook until golden brown, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all shrimp is pan-fried. To make glaze, combine natural honey, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic powder, chili paste, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce to Simmer for 2 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Drizzle honey mixture over pan-fried shrimp or use as a dipping sauce. Garnish with green onion snips and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Dining Outside the Home: Laishley Crab House in Punta Gorda, Florida. For a jaw-dropping view of the waterfront from the open air upper deck, either grab a seat at the wraparound bar or reserve a table instead. Laishley Crab House has a menu that offers everything from incredible seafood and sushi bowls to unique sandwiches, garden salads, roasted chicken, and grilled steak. But way more than that. The freshly baked bread is so warm, butter spreads across it like liquid gold. Try not to gorge yourself because dinner is worth the wait. Sip on a crafted cocktail; notice the way vehicles crisscross on the parallel bridges in the distance as motorboats cut through the flowing waters of the Peace River below. Make dining a total experience worth remembering. Life is good at Laishley Crab House, especially if you save room for dessert.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Island Coconut Shrimp! After making this popular seafood appetizer at home, I realized what a bargain it was to do it myself. No more puny orders of 4 or 5 shrimp to share like when we go to a restaurant. lol. I’m sure my husband appreciates that little detail. Every ingredient was already on hand in my kitchen, making it a breeze. If you’re a shrimp-lover, like I am, put this recipe in your file entitled, “My Favorites!”
ISLAND COCONUT SHRIMP
1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed with tails on
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
Vegetable oil for frying
Jezebel Sauce for dipping*
Fresh Pineapple chunks
Combine coconut flour, sea salt, and cracked black pepper on a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs until blended. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together Panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut. Set aside. Working one at a time, dust the shrimp with the flour mixture. Dip the flour-coated shrimp in the egg batter, then dredge it in the coconut mixture. Coat well. Place the shrimp on a platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been breaded. Using an iron skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Heat oil on medium heat. Working in batches if 5-6 shrimp, fry the coconut shrimp 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Watch carefully. Remove shrimp and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat until all shrimp have been fried. Serve on skewers with Jezebel Sauce* and pineapple chunks.
*Follow the link for this tasty Jezebel Sauce.
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? Elevated Edibles: Jacksonville Shrimp Boil! Whoever came up with a one-pot feast of seafood heaven is pure genius. Succulent shrimp, baby red potatoes, sweet corn on the cob, and smoky sausage. Throw everything into the biggest pot you have and let the flavors intermingle with fresh herbs and aromatic spices. The secret is to stagger the cooking process of the ingredients. After all, potatoes take longer to cook fork-tender than shrimp does. Don’t get impatient or you’ll end up with a bowl of slush. Whatever you do, don’t discard the broth. By adding butter, and serving it in small ramekins, it instantly becomes a great dipping sauce for drizzling over everything or sopping up with a crusty bread.
JACKSONVILLE SHRIMP BOIL
2 lemons, halved plus wedges for serving
1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning*
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 red onion, quartered
6 sprigs lemon thyme
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
4 ears corn, husked and snapped in half
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into chunks
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, unpeeled
2 tablespoons butter
Hot sauce, for serving
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts water. Squeeze lemon juice into the water. Drop lemons into the pot. Add Old Bay Seasoning, smashed garlic, and red onion. Tie the lemon thyme sprigs with kitchen twine and drop into the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add red potatoes to the pot; cook just until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and smoked sausage; cook 5 minutes. Finally, add the shrimp to the pot. Cover and cook until the shrimp curl and turn opaque in color, about 2-3 minutes, tops. Transfer the shrimp, sausage, and vegetables to a deep platter using a slotted spoon. Arrange lemon wedges. Ladle 1 cup broth into a serving bowl and add butter. Stir until well blended. Place in the center of the platter. Serve immediately with hot sauce, if desired.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
Dining Outside the Home: Café Portofino in Lihue, Kauai! Do you need a reason to love lasagna? Might it be the oven-baked pasta bathed in layers of zesty spices, fresh herbs, meat sauce, and Italian cheese? Just thinking about it is mouth-watering. Well, you don’t need to travel to Northern Italy from the Pacific Ocean. Café Portofino, a beachfront restaurant on Kauai, serves up a plate of happiness and satisfaction by bringing the Italian deliciousness right to your table. Their classic lasagna combination features the rich meat sauce of cravings as well as a creamy white sauce to die for. This is not your ordinary lasagna. Taste it to believe it.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai! No, the rooster isn’t the host…he just thinks he is. If he could speak, he would probably recommend the catch-of-the-day and lead you to a table outside where the view is simply mesmerizing. The staff at Oasis on the Beach focuses on quality of ingredients by using local growers and fishermen for diversity in cultures as well as flavor. For example, the Pork Wonton appetizer is complemented by a spicy ginger soy sauce for dipping. Pair it with the Okinawan Sweet Potato Wrap for something new and different. The roasted peppers and charred onions enhance the creamy texture of the Hawaiian sweet potato. You can’t get flavor like this on the mainland. Choose your next meal at a place that stays true to their mission statement of sustainability.
Dining Outside the Home: Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai! If you’ve ever wondered how hula dancers keep that slim waistline, perhaps it has something to do with healthy choices. Hukilau Lanai offers farm-to-table fruit and local vegetables as well as fresh fish and seafood. They support local farmers and fishermen who are mindful of the environmental impact. A staff of gourmet chefs continue to be inventive in serving food that is as appealing on the plate as it is on the palate. Garnishes add beauty in addition to aromatic elements. It all adds up to outstanding flavor and top-notch quality.
Dining Outside the Home: Brenneke’s Beach Broiler in Poipu, Kauai! Across the road from Poipu Beach, pull up a chair at Brenneke’s second floor restaurant for a casual meal with an open-air view of beachfront action. Rain or shine, it’s a pretty decent hangout for Happy Hour cocktails and Kauai-Style Pupus. Fresh Mahi Mahi, Ono, and Sashimi Grade Ahi prove the fishermen like Brenneke’s as much as the customers. If big beach burgers are your thing, no worries. They’ve got ‘em. Feed the entire family; a Keiki menu offers finger foods and dinner entrees. Drop by and stay awhile, you’re on island time now.