Omelet 101

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Omelet 101. You’re having a get-together and need an effortless, but impressive, breakfast. While everyone is huddling in the kitchen, because this is what people do, pour them a cuppa joe and get started. Making the perfect omelet will have you feeling like a gourmet chef. It’s pretty basic. Use an 8-inch sauté pan with slanted edges and plenty of butter. Fresh veggies and shredded cheese are always a good idea. If you’re nervous about the “flip”, simply do what I do. Put a lid on it.

OMELET 101

Ingredients: (per omelet)

2 eggs

Pinch sea salt

Pinch black pepper

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons smokey Swiss cheese, shredded

Sautéed asparagus tips

Sautéed mushrooms

Instructions:

In a mini chopper, combine eggs, sea salt, black pepper, and water. Beat until light yellow in color. Warm butter in pan over medium-low heat. Do not scorch butter. Pour egg mixture into pan. Do not stir. Swirl the pan so eggs cover the edge. Cook until bottom begins to set, about one minute. Tilt the pan to allow liquid to flow underneath. Slide a rubber spatula around the surface to loosen omelet. Arrange shredded cheese, asparagus tips, and sliced mushrooms across the center of the egg, forming a vertical line. Reduce heat to low. Cover pan with a lid to absorb liquid, about 30-45 seconds. The center will remain creamy. Remove lid. Fold one-third of omelet onto itself. Gently transfer omelet to a plate. Serve immediately.

Culinary Crab Rolls

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Culinary Crab Rolls! Seafood lovers will look for any excuse to substitute chicken or beef. Do we really need a reason? Building healthy lifestyle choices could be enough to make me try new things. Seafood is a lean protein option which does fill me up the way fruit, vegetables, and nuts do. The fact remains that I truly like the taste of seafood. Pairing it with bread is practically a bonus. Need I say more?

CULINARY CRAB ROLLS

Ingredients:

6 frozen bread dough rolls, thawed according to package instructions

3/4 cup crabmeat, precooked and chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon green onion, chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Once dough has risen, press into a 3-4” circle. Fill the center of each circle of dough with a heaping tablespoon of crabmeat filling. Gently pull the edges around the filling to form a ball, lightly brushing the seam with beaten egg, then pinching the edges to seal. Place in muffin cup, seam side down. Brush tops with beaten egg. Repeat with remaining rolls. Set aside to rise until puffy. Dough should be nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Bird’s Nest Breakfast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Bird’s Nest Breakfast! For something fun, take an ordinary poached egg, lay it on a bed of greens, and turn it into a festive meal nestled in a coffeehouse cup. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you like toast, you say. No worries, it’s in there. Think about this attractive alternative when serving a mid-morning brunch for two or breakfast in bed on the weekend. This is how we cruise through life.

BIRD’S NEST BREAKFAST

Ingredients:

4 large romaine lettuce leaves, washed*

2 slices baguette bread, toasted and buttered

2 extra large eggs, poached or fried sunny-side up

2 tablespoons Caesar salad dressing

Red pepper flakes, for garnish

Instructions:

Gently tear romaine lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces and divide between two large coffeehouse cups. Toast artisan bread, butter, and cut into cubes. Add to each lettuce cup. Gently toss. Poach or fry two eggs, leaving the centers slightly soft. Transfer one egg to each bowl. Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing. Garnish with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

*Add alfalfa sprouts, if available.

Yucca Crispy Sticks

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Yucca Crispy Sticks! From time to time I get a little help from my friends. Recently The Dancing Herbalist* suggested I share a post on the yucca root with my readers. To be honest, I have yucca plants growing all over my yard, and while I enjoy their hardy green foliage year round, and their beautiful white fan of blossoms every summer, I never gave them a second thought as a food source. Apparently they contain dietary fiber advantageous in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels in subtropical regions. Tasting very much like a potato, with roots that simulate a sweet potato, the yucca root is an healthy option loaded with antioxidants. I admit, I learn something new every day.

YUCCA CRISPY STICKS

Ingredients:

1 large yucca, peeled and cut into sticks

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Panko seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, finely ground

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel yucca with vegetable peeler to remove waxy skin. Cut into sticks, as uniform in thickness as possible. Do not make too thin. Place in a 2-quart pan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Cook 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain immediately. Submerge in an ice bath. Transfer drained sticks to a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and chili pepper, seasoned salt, and cracked black pepper. Mix together panko crumbs, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Spread on waxed paper. Roll each seasoned yucca stick in the crust mixture to coat and line in a single layer on a wire rack nested on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn and bake 5 minutes longer until golden brown. Serve warm with spicy mayo.

Ingredients for Spicy Mayo:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili pepper rings

Instructions:

Combine mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, lemon juice, and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix well until smooth. Garnish with chili pepper rings.

* Please visit The Dancing Herbalist at

https://thedancingherbalist.wordpress.com

Whitewashed Egg Pizza

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Whitewashed Egg Pizza! Putting an egg on pizza? Seriously? I know this might sound a little weird, but take a baby step out of your comfort zone. The first time I saw fried egg on a pizza, I was visiting the south of France. It’s really quite common there. In fact, you’re the fortunate one if you get the egg on your slice at a takeaway stand. You really must give it a whirl. I find as long as I bake in stages, the end result is a crispy crust with an egg over easy. Just imagine how fun it will be to pop the egg yolk and spread it around so everyone gets a taste.

WHITEWASHED EGG PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 naan

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons chunky pasta sauce

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

2 onion rings, nested

1 egg

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Dash of pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Set oven rack on middle setting. (For the last step you will raise it up one setting.) Rub olive oil over surface of naan. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Spoon chunky pasta sauce evenly over naan. Use 1 tablespoon fresh basil over sauce. Sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Bake 5 minutes until slightly melted. Remove from oven. Raise the oven rack up one setting. Place the nested onions on a flat portion of the crust. Gently crack an egg into the center of the onion rings. Distribute the mozzarella cheese over the pizza, excluding the egg area. Dollop the Greek yogurt over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 5 minutes longer or until egg is set. If the crust becomes too brown, cover it with foil, leaving the egg portion uncovered. When cheese is gooey and egg is cooked, remove from oven. Garnish with fresh basil.

Pig Candy Bacon

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Pig Candy Bacon! If you ever needed a reason to eat candy for breakfast, permission granted. This marriage of brown sugar, spices, and hickory smoked bacon is the best idea since sliced bread! You’ll want to choose thick bacon to hold all the seasonings. Line a pan with foil despite the fact a rack is used; it just makes clean up that much faster. If you don’t….well, let’s just say the other people in your house won’t be waiting around for you. Once the glazed sweetmeat is taken out of the oven, all bets are off. The line forms here.

PIG CANDY BACON

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon wasabi powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

8-10 slices bacon, thick cut

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix brown sugar, black pepper, wasabi powder, cayenne pepper, and chili powder in a deep baking dish. Add bacon, one strip at a time; toss to coat well. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack on pan. Lay bacon strips on rack in a single layer without overlapping. Place baking sheet one setting below top rack in oven. Bake 30-45 minutes, or until crisp. There is no need to turn the bacon. Carefully remove pan from oven. Let caramelized bacon cool slightly before transferring with a tongs to parchment paper.* Serve as a breakfast companion, appetizer, or snack.

* The second time I made Pig Candy, I pierced them with bamboo skewers after they were baked and they were spot on!

Lamb Chop Lemon Thyme

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Lamb Chop Lemon Thyme! Break out the grill! For a tasty alternative to beef and chicken, make today’s choice lamb. It is tender, it is lean, and most of all it has high nutritional value. Yay, low in fat! Did you know lamb is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and protein? Think about shaking up your menu a bit with a different kind of red meat. Everyone knows grilled meats taste better!

LAMB CHOP LEMON THYME

Ingredients:

3 lamb chops, 1″ thick bone-in

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Smidgen herb pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves

Instructions:

In a shallow dish, place lamb chops in a single layer. Pour olive oil over lamb chops. Sprinkle with kosher salt, herb pepper, garlic powder, and lemon thyme leaves. Coat both sides. Marinate for one hour in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for 20 minutes. Turn a gas grill on HIGH heat. Sear the chops for 3 1/2 minutes on one side. Flip over and cook an additional 2 1/2 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes to absorb juices. Serve immediately.

Effortless Pineapple Chicken

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Effortless Pineapple Chicken! Has anyone noticed May is the peak season for pineapple? Yes, I’m talking about fresh pineapple. It is naturally sweet and loaded with juice. If you’ve never cut a fresh pineapple, there are plenty of step-by-step instructions on the Internet, not to mention YouTube videos that walk you through it. Trust me, the benefits outweigh the mystery. Step out of your comfort zone and take a walk on the wild side. Fresh pineapple, it’s the bomb!

EFFORTLESS PINEAPPLE CHICKEN

Ingredients:

6 chicken tenders, boneless and skinless

1/2 cup buttermilk

6 pineapple rings

1/8 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons cooking sherry

Instructions:

Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk over all and marinate for 30 minutes. Roast pineapple rings on a baking sheet in a preheated oven set to 400° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika. Set aside. In a large skillet on medium heat, add olive oil. Take the buttermilk-laden chicken tenders and place in the skillet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook chicken 2 minutes per side. Add pineapple rings, sherry, and Monterey Jack cheese. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 5 minutes longer until cheese is melted.

Diablo Pepper Poppers

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Diablo Pepper Poppers! Sometimes you need an appetizer that doesn’t come across as a flame thrower sending your guests to the nearest source of water to put out the fire. I have discovered mini sweet peppers are a great stand-in for their high intensity cousin, the jalapeño. These little jewels are a colorful sight and taste even better than they look, which is pretty appealing. The green, orange, red, and yellow “pops” of color are bursting with flavor as well. No fire extinguisher needed.

DIABLO PEPPER POPPERS

Ingredients:

12 mini sweet peppers

2 tablespoons garlic olive oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning

1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt

3 green onions, snipped

7 Pepper Jack string cheese sticks

3 ounces prosciutto, deli sliced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with nonstick spray and place on the pan. Set aside. Wash the sweet peppers. Pat dry. Slice the top of each pepper vertically, removing a small portion to create a well. Remove any seeds. Brush each pepper with the garlic olive oil. Sprinkle on seasonings. Place peppers on the wire rack with cut side down. Bake 10 minutes; then set the broiler to High and broil for 2-3 minutes until the peppers are slightly charred. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Using a tongs, flip them over. Divide the green onion snips into the bottom of each pepper well. Using a kitchen shears, cut the string cheese to fit each pepper. Take each deli portion of prosciutto and slice it in half lengthwise. Carefully wrap the prosciutto around each filled sweet pepper and place upright on wire rack. Broil on High another 2-3 minutes or until the prosciutto gets crispy. Remove pan from oven and let cool slightly. Taking a cake tester, pierce each pepper from one side to another to make an opening. Insert a wooden pick in the opening. Now you have a finger food appetizer. Serve with herbed yogurt for dipping.