Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada When it’s hot outside in Vegas, crank up the heat even more at Hell’s Kitchen with smoky cocktails and iced shrimp cocktail. The world-renowned celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, recreated the infamous studio set from the television show. Prepare to be amazed. The sleek contemporary restaurant also landed a view overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. But forget all that. Come to Hell’s Kitchen for the outstanding food, extraordinary cocktails, and the dining ambiance. Take your time. The Beef Wellington is unsurpassed, which is the reason for the HK Signature Prix Fixe Menu. The final culmination of a fabulous meal would be the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Don’t forget the coffee.

Trevi Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Trevi Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the foot of a Romanesque fountain, so close you can hear the water splashing against the marble, tables for two make dining cozy on an indoor patio at Trevi Italian Restaurant. Feel free to take your time with a signature cocktail and tantalizingly delicious appetizer. Might I suggest the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. Grab one by the tail, swirl it in the tangy sauce, and then take a bite of the thick juicy flesh. Repeat. Finally, pinch the top and bottom of the shell until it cracks. The tail meat easily slides out so you can pierce it with a fork and slather it in more cocktail sauce. That’s amore.

Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Anyone who likes coconut shrimp will absolutely flip over this Happy Hour appetizer: Half price Coconut Shrimp with a fiery sweet chili pineapple dipping sauce. A generous portion count of six batter fried fan-tailed shrimp is enough to share or make a substantial meal for one. Don’t judge me. Another winner is the Ahi Poke: raw tuna chunks marinated in soy, garlic, and green onions. Try not to drool. Long story short, if you like to save money and don’t mind a late lunch or early supper, spend more time at the beach and then head over to Coconut’s Fish Café for a great taste of seafood.

The Garden Grille at Wailua Bay in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: The Garden Grille at Wailua Bay in Kapaa, Kauai. “Hang Loose” in an open-air setting with the Pacific Ocean as a scenic backdrop. Life doesn’t get any better than this. Go Hawaiian with traditional long grain rice topped with succulent grilled shrimp. These are foods that are healthy but filling. Consider it lesson one to ease into island life. Never mind the speckled wild chicken that fluttered out of reach from the cocktail waitress. It practically teased her into playing a game of “Tag”. Later on, after eating, meander down to the bay to dip your toes in the sand.

The Lanai Restaurant and Bar in Koloa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: The Lanai Restaurant And Bar in Koloa, Kauai. Avocado croquettes, sweet watermelon salad, crunchy sea salt macadamia nuts, grilled shrimp. If you strive for healthy options, local ingredients, and aloha flavor, rest easy at The Lanai. Escape to the garden isle where open-air ambience meets great tasting food. People-watching is a bonus, especially among gentle sea breezes. Adjacent to a gourmet market makes it a plus for top-notch quality. Take it slow, savor each bite. Then think about the next time you plan to come back.

Creole Shrimp

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Creole Shrimp! The guy who invented the crockpot is a genius, in my opinion. Think about it. You throw everything into a slow cooker, give it a stir, plop on the lid, and come back later to mouthwatering aromas that can make your stomach growl. Some are what I refer to as “One Dish Wonders”. Others are transformed into lip-smacking sensations when combined with simple sides. Read on to see what I mean.

CREOLE SHRIMP

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup green peppers, diced

1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

28-ounce can Roma tomatoes with bay leaf

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound precooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Green onions for garnish

Instructions:

In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Sauté green peppers, sweet onions, and chopped celery. Cook 5 minutes until softened. Add chili powder. Sauté until caramelized, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Transfer to crockpot, set on High setting. Cut up Roma tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes and sauce to crockpot. Add sriracha sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir. Replace lid and cook for three hours. After that time, warm butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté shrimp, sprinkled with seasoned salt, dill weed, and red pepper flakes. Turn once. Remove from heat. Transfer sautéed shrimp to slow-cooked tomato sauce. Cook five minutes longer. Serve over steamed rice. Garnish with green onion snips.

Ramen Noodle Shrimp and Egg

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Ramen Noodle Shrimp and Egg! So often, in college, a regular diet may consist of ramen noodles in lieu of the standardized meal plan. I remember buying ramen noodles by the case for my son during his freshman and sophomore years. Sure, it stretches the budget for other essentials, but in the long run if you can ditch the salt-laden seasoning packet and add a few veggies, it’ll hike the nutritional value with a burst of flavor as well. Try sautéed shrimp and leeks. (Frozen vegetables are also a cheap option because a little goes a long way.) Add red pepper flakes for spice and toasted sesame seeds for crunch. It transforms the dish into a main course meal.

RAMEN NOODLE SHRIMP AND EGG

Ingredients:

6-10 frozen precooked jumbo shrimp, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1/2 cup leeks, sliced

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 package ramen noodles, discard seasoning packet

2 eggs, soft-boiled and cut in half

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Sesame oil, to taste

Garlic and onion chives, for garnish

Instructions:

Warm one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add jumbo shrimp. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Turn to coat both sides. Sauté shrimp 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Warm one more tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Add minced garlic, minced ginger, and sliced leeks. Stir for one minute. Add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add ramen noodles. Using a fork, break noodles apart after 2 minutes. When done, transfer noodles to two soup bowls. Divide the broth mixture between them. Add sautéed shrimp and sift-boiled eggs. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with sesame oil. Garnish with garlic and onion chives. Serve immediately.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter F

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.”

FIRECRACKER SHRIMP

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Q

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Quirky Quesadilla! Have you ever noticed when you announce quesadillas are on the menu for the next meal, everyone begins to feel as though they’ve been invited to a party? It’s probably due to the fact that it opens the door to endless possibilities. Do you prefer seafood, chicken, vegetables, cheese, or all of the above? No problem. Once you offer a buffet of ingredients, everyone can build-their-own. Win! Win!

QUIRKY QUESADILLA

Ingredients:

12-ounces shrimp; peeled, deveined, tail off

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dill

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 chicken breasts; boneless, skinless, cubed

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

4-6 flour tortillas

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup Queso Fresco cheese

1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 green onion

Instructions:

Sauté shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil, Old Bay seasoning, red pepper flakes, and dill on medium heat. Cook until pink and opaque, turning often, usually 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a dish and set aside. Using the same skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the chicken and onion together with seasonings. Turn heat to low. Add the shrimp. Mix gently. Sprinkle in the Queso Fresco cheese and cover. It will melt into the quesadilla filling to bond everything together. Watch carefully so the cheese does not burn. In another skillet over low heat, butter one side of a flour tortilla. Place buttered side down. Sprinkle in cheddar cheese. Add two spoonfuls of filling. Spread to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Top with another buttered tortilla. Put lid on skillet to melt cheeses. Cook until lightly brown, about two minutes. Turn the tortilla over and cook the other side until the tortilla is lightly brown and the cheese is gooey. Place on a platter to cool slightly before cutting. Repeat with remaining tortillas until no ingredients remain. Serve with salsa, yogurt, and guacamole.

*Hint: if you’re serving a crowd, it’s easy to prepare several at the same time. Place the filled quesadillas on a cookie sheet and bake them in a 375° oven for 10 minutes.