Thai Curry Compound Butter

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Thai Curry Compound Butter! Flavor your favorite meats or slather it on crusty breads and crackers. Thai spices Rock! Maybe you can’t exactly put your finger on it. Thai seasoning is that unique. It appeals to the senses. Not only are the spices aromatic, but their diverse array of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty sashay around the room in a rhythmic dance to a different drum. Is it any wonder we are magically drawn to the earthy quality in Thai food? The colors and texture can be mesmerizing without overpowering the intensity of a dish. Now perhaps you may feel as though I am simply trying to butter you up, but tasting is believing.

THAI CURRY COMPOUND BUTTER

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt, finely ground

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons Thai curry paste

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon sriracha

Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine unsalted butter, Himalayan pink salt, cracked black pepper, Thai curry paste, ground ginger, and sriracha. Stir until smooth. Place a sheet of waxed paper on the counter. Spoon compound butter onto waxed paper. Roll layer of waxed paper over butter to form a log. Roll tight; twist ends. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm. Serve on crackers with cilantro over vegetables, in soups, meats, and noodle dishes.

Refried Beans Restaurant-Style

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Refried Beans Restaurant-Style! Copycat recipes are so much fun to share with the family, especially when tweaked to express your own personal taste. If you’ve been to more than one Mexican restaurant, which most of us have, you’ve probably noticed an order of refried beans can be extra-creamy, smooth or chunky, blah or spicy. No worries. If you like the earthy taste, substitute black beans for the pinto beans. The same goes for a slightly smoky taste. That effect comes from bacon drippings instead of olive oil. For authentic results you may even choose to begin from scratch. I was pretty pleased with the results featured here.

REFRIED BEANS RESTAURANT-STYLE

Ingredients:

16-ounce can refried beans, traditional

16-ounce can pinto beans, drained

1 tablespoon bacon drippings

1 small onion, chopped

1/8 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

2-3 jalapeño peppers, pickled and sliced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a skillet over medium heat, add bacon drippings. Sauté chopped onions until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cumin powder, garlic powder, and sea salt. Add refried beans. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Fold in pinto beans. Reduce heat. Warm until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Spoon mixture into individual ovenproof bowls. Place bowls. on a baking sheet. Top each with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted and beans are bubbly. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven. Garnish with jalapeño slices.

Dirty Breakfast Rice

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Dirty Breakfast Rice! What do you get when you blend Hawaiian culture with Louisiana spice? You get a savory breakfast that will rev your engine all day long. Too often we think a cold breakfast will give us the energy needed until time allows for the next meal. Sometimes that isn’t until after the workday is almost finished. At least with Dirty Breakfast Rice you get a running start on a busy schedule. Its healthy carb is easily digestible and nutty taste is simply satisfying. Be good to yourself.

DIRTY BREAKFAST RICE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup instant brown rice

7-ounce vegetable broth

1/2 pound smoked sausage link, cut-up in chunks

4 green onions, chopped

2 eggs, scrambled

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 cup soybean sauce

Instructions:

Melt butter in a deep skillet. Do not burn. Add brown rice. Coat well. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes, turning often until golden brown. Stir in vegetable broth and smoked sausage chunks. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Scramble the eggs on the side of the pan. Once the eggs are almost cooked, combine the rice and eggs together. Add chopped green onion with tops, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, and soybean sauce. Mix well and serve immediately.

Ahi Tuna Appetizer

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Ahi Tuna Appetizer! When you’re looking for something to serve that makes a great starter, choose an exotic appetizer that awakens the “wow” factor in your taste buds. It takes only minutes to prepare but your guests will long remember it after the evening is over.

AHI TUNA APPETIZER

Ingredients:

2 ahi tuna steaks, 4-5 ounces each, skinless

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons aji nori furikake seasoning

1 teaspoon white toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black toasted sesame seeds

Instructions:

Combine olive oil, vegetable oil, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with furikake seasoning, white sesame seeds, and black sesame seeds. Marinate ahi tuna steaks ten minutes per side to coat evenly. Remove from marinade and set aside. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil mixture. Cook steaks 2-3 minutes per side. The outer skin will appear seared while the center will remain rare. 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, overlapping the slices. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and a Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Leeks and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Leeks and Wild Mushroom Stuffing! With the holiday season on the horizon, here’s a tasty side dish that is sure to please. If you have the time, I suggest substituting homemade breadcrumbs (which is about one loaf of day-old bread) for the stuffing mix. I split the difference and added homemade croutons on top of the casserole.

LEEKS AND WILD MUSHROOM STUFFING

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 ounces shiitake wild

mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large leeks, sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

6 ounce box chicken stuffing

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a covered casserole dish. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the wild mushrooms and sauté until browned, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Using the same pan, add one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté leeks and celery until translucent, approximately 7-8 minutes. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth, butter, and parsley flakes. Bring to a boil. Stir in contents of stuffing mix. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Fold in wild mushrooms, leeks, and celery. Stir until well combined. Transfer stuffing mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Bake covered for 20 minutes; remove lid and bake 20 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Iowa Loose Meat Sliders

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Iowa Loose Meat Sliders! If you’ve ever taken a road trip through Iowa, or are fortunate enough to live there, you’re already familiar with its popular loose meat sandwich found at local diners. Made of 100% freshly ground beef, the Midwest tradition began around 1926. Bypassing the form of a patty and omitting the sauce of a sloppy joe, what you saw was what you got—all loose meat. The steaming technique plus the combination of spices remain a trade secret. But if you’re willing to come pretty close, give this recipe a try. Just remember to hold the ketchup.

IOWA LOOSE MEAT SLIDERS

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Vidalia onion, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 1/2 cups beer

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

6 slider buns

Sliced dill pickles

Minced onions

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add ground beef. Cook until brown and crumbly. Add yellow mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Stir in beer. Bring to boil. Add beef bouillon. Reduce to low heat. Simmer uncovered until all liquid is absorbed. Serve on toasted slider buns. Top with dill pickles, mustard, and minced onions.

Vidalia Onion Tart

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Vidalia Onion Tart! For those of you who adore caramelized onions, but need the confidence to make them at home, read on for some helpful hints that bring astounding results. Begin with yellow sweet onions. I choose Vidalias right now because they are in season. Slice them thicker than you would for a sandwich. If the onions are too thin, they burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. This is not the time to be using olive oil. Butter is your friend. The flavor is what makes the difference, so do not scorch the butter. Make sure the onions are coated, top and bottom, with melted butter. It helps them to turn soft and caramelized. Also, make sure the pan is large enough to prevent overcrowding. The last thing you want is steam, which turns the onions mushy. Maintain a constant heat for the onions’ sugars to caramelize. If they char a little, don’t sweat it. Believe me, the results are worth the wait. Besides, the aromas will drive everyone else crazy, too.

VIDALIA ONION TART

Ingredients for Tart:

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into chunks

4-5 tablespoons iced water

Instructions:

Using a food processor, mix together flour and sea salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas. With the machine running, gradually add iced water until dough forms a ball. Remove dough, flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour.

Remaining Ingredients:

5 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 large Vidalia sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon corn meal, coarsely ground

2 slices baby Swiss cheese

1 egg yolk, beaten

Fresh tarragon for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Do not scorch. Add the Vidalia onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Worcestershire sauce, Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook until onions are golden, about 35-45 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll out each portion into an 8″ round. Transfer to the baking sheet. Place one slice of Swiss cheese in the center of each round. Spread the onions over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2″ border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. Brush the edges with the egg yolk wash. Bake for 40 minutes, until the bottom crust is brown. Transfer the baking sheet to the top shelf and continue baking 5 minutes longer. Top crust will be golden brown. Cool tarts on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Makes two tarts.

Quickly Grilled Pork Loin Chops

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Quickly-Grilled Pork Loin Chops! Uncover the grill for another mouth-watering main course that is sure to please. Imagine the sound of a sizzle soon followed by an aroma-filled cloud of char-grilled pork that is enough to make your stomach growl. Within minutes, a tender moist slice is tested and savored before anything else.

QUICKLY-GRILLED PORK LOIN CHOPS

Ingredients:

4 bone-in pork loin chops, center cut 3/4″ thick

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic seasoning*

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

Rosemary sprigs to garnish

Instructions:

Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with half the Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic seasoning plus the seasoned salt. Place pork loin chops in a single layer, pressing down slightly to absorb the spices. Pour remaining olive oil over top; sprinkle with seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. Remove dish from refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling. Preheat grill on medium-high heat, about 375°. Cook pork loins for 6 minutes per side for 3/4″ chops. Turn only once. Cut time in half for thinner chops. Discard marinade. Do not over cook. The internal color of cooked pork is white fading to light pink in the center. Transfer pork loin chops to a serving platter; let rest for 10 minutes before serving. This results in juicier meat. Garnish with a dab of butter and rosemary sprigs.

Burrata Meatballs

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Burrata Meatballs! Time is of the essence. You can either make your own homemade meatballs, or you can bypass one step and use a store bought variety like I did. I put my energy into the homemade marinara sauce simply because the results are between night and day, in my opinion. If you choose to use your favorite pasta sauce, be my guest. The focus today is actually on that incredible Burrata cheese! I think I could drown in a bathtub of Burrata and happily eat my way out of it. Don’t judge me.

BURRATA MEATBALLS

Ingredients:

1 pound Italian sausage-style meatballs, precooked

2 cups San Marzano crushed tomatoes*

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

7 ounces mushrooms, sliced and drained

6 ounces Burrata cheese, chunks

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, combine crushed tomatoes, basil, marjoram, oregano, garlic powder, and mushrooms. Simmer until sauce thickens. Add meatballs. Spoon marinara sauce generously over meatballs. Transfer portions to individual serving casseroles. Randomly place Burrata cheese between meatballs. Bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve Burrata Meatballs with garlic bread or spoon over pasta.

* I receive no recompense for the suggestion of San Marzano Certified Italian Tomatoes.