Arugula Cherry Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Arugula Cherry Salad! Handpicked cherries, at the peak of ripeness, set the stage for an appealing salad that is sure to be delightful. Don’t have an orchard nearby? No worries. Check the local Farmer’s Market, fruit stand, or supermarket for the season’s bounty. Timing is everything. You’ll want to have enough ripe cherries on hand to pair later with wine and perhaps a little chocolate. Spoiler Alert: I’ve set aside a portion of juicy red cherries to feature in a decadent dessert. Stay tuned.

ARUGULA CHERRY SALAD

Ingredients:

6 ounces baby arugula

16 ripe cherries, stems removed and pitted

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

1 tablespoon tarragon, leaves only

1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

4 ounces Bleu cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

After the pits are removed, cut the cherries in half. Combine arugula, cherries, almonds, and tarragon in a large bowl. Toss gently. In a small bowl, whisk together sherry cooking wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Drizzle over salad and gently toss. Divide into serving bowls. Finish with Bleu cheese crumbles over top. Serve immediately.

Mexican Tarragon Turkey Breast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Mexican Tarragon Turkey Breast! If you’re tired of the “same old, same old”, ways of preparing poultry, try something a little different. Mexican tarragon can easily catapult chicken and turkey to gourmet status. First of all, that slight hint of licorice may go unnoticed in a café chicken salad sandwich. Yet, something tastes extraordinary. If only you could put your finger on it. So, you go on with your day perhaps thinking you were hungrier than usual and would have devoured anything. Until memory flashback, in the form of a craving, stimulates the taste buds for an encore. The quest is on for the heat-loving herb with the green narrow leaves and golden flowers. Who knows, it may end up as a regular plant in your garden herb bed.

MEXICAN TARRAGON TURKEY BREAST

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Mexican tarragon leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

3-pound turkey breast, bone in

Sprigs of Mexican tarragon, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine chopped Mexican tarragon leaves, olive oil, poultry seasoning, seasoned salt, and white pepper. Wash turkey breast; pat dry. Using your fingers, loosen skin of turkey breast. Rub half the mixture under the skin. Secure skin to the underside of breast with toothpicks. Brush outside of turkey with remaining mixture. Place turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 170°, about two hours. Remove from oven; tent with foil. Allow to rest 15 minutes. Remove and discard turkey skin and toothpicks before carving. Transfer turkey slices to a platter. Garnish with sprigs of Mexican tarragon. Serve warm.

Stuffed Tomato Tuna Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Stuffed Tomato Tuna Salad! Pat yourself on the back for choosing today’s recipe as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. For the weight-conscious, opt out for a lighter version of mayonnaise or substitute using plain Greek yogurt instead. The tomato contains a high water content, plus the fiber will provide a feeling of fullness. That being said, go stuff yourself. Permission granted.

STUFFED TOMATO TUNA SALAD

Ingredients:

6 ounce can tuna in water, drained and flaked

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 tablespoon dill pickle relish

2 tomatoes, cored

1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped

Fresh lemon tarragon

Romaine lettuce leaves

Lemon halves

Instructions:

Chill two luncheon plates. Place flaked tuna in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add mayonnaise, sea salt, celery seed, chopped celery, and dill pickle relish. Mix well. Chill. Cut tomatoes into 8 segments without slicing the bottom portion. Place one or two romaine lettuce leaves on a chilled plate. Transfer one tomato. Open it like a pinwheel. Spoon tuna salad into the tomato, filling it with half the portion. Garnish with walnuts, lemon tarragon, and a lemon slice. Repeat with second serving.

Cantaloupe Chicken Salad

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Cantaloupe Chicken Salad! Indiana Cantaloupe is a popular fruit these days. Some even dub it a “labor of love”. As a sweet and fragrant melon, it quickly becomes a perfect alternative to the summer watermelon. Wonderfully rich and appealing in color, the cantaloupe becomes an ideal serving vessel. One scoop and the seeds are gone. Fill half with a savory chicken salad and save the other for vanilla ice cream later on. Win, Win!

CANTALOUPE CHICKEN SALAD

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe, cut in half or quarters, seeds removed

10-ounce can premium chicken breast, chunk in water; drained

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup mayonnaise

10 seedless green grapes, halved

1 tablespoon pecan pieces

1/8 teaspoon fresh Mexican tarragon, chopped

Instructions:

One cantaloupe serves four. Cut the cantaloupe in half; using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Tip to remove any juice. Slice each half into a quarter wedge. Place each wedge into a luncheon plate. Set aside. In a large bowl, add drained chicken chunks. Shred chunks slightly, using two forks. Sprinkle with celery seed. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Fold in green grapes and pecan pieces. Stir to blend together. Divide chicken salad equally over each cantaloupe wedge. Garnish with chopped tarragon. Serve.

Potato Chip Potluck

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Potato Chip Potluck! This one-dish wonder is so yummy, it can be packed in a picnic basket and taken along on your next adventure. With the double crunch of water chestnuts and potato chips, it almost seems like a party dip. Wrap it in foil and you’re good-to-go. Kids love the salty chips and adults appreciate the herbed chicken chunks.

POTATO CHIP POTLUCK

Ingredients:

3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 green onions, snipped

8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

Sea salt to taste

Dash of pepper

1 cup extra sharp cheese, sliced or shredded

1-2 tomatoes, sliced

1 cup potato chips, crushed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine chicken, mayonnaise, onions, water chestnuts, lemon juice, celery seed, tarragon leaves, salt, pepper, and half the cheese. Mix lightly. Spoon into a casserole dish. Layer with sliced tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and potato chips. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Lump Crabmeat Salad! Be pampered on a sunny porch or backyard patio with a light luncheon for two. Dining al fresco is especially popular with nature’s backdrop of fragrant flowers and tittering birdsong. These are what days are made of. If it’s a late afternoon gathering of light appetizers and spritzers, serve this lump crabmeat salad with crackers instead. Fresh fruit is always a good idea. Take advantage of warm weather and celebrate a party-like atmosphere.

LUMP CRABMEAT SALAD

Ingredients:

8 ounces wild caught lump crabmeat, cartilage removed

1 tablespoon Italian dressing mix

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 rib celery, diced

1/4 cup red pepper, diced

4 teaspoons chives, sliced

1 teaspoon tarragon leaves

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 dash sriracha sauce

Red pepper, halved and membrane removed

Bibb lettuce leaves

Instructions:

Gently rinse crabmeat in a fine mesh strainer to remove any shell pieces or cartilage. Do not break up crab chunks. Transfer crabmeat to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning mix. Toss to coat. Drizzle with lemon juice. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, diced celery, diced red pepper, sliced chives, tarragon leaves, dry mustard, garlic powder, celery seed, kosher salt, white pepper, and sriracha sauce. Mix well. Add the crabmeat mixture to the mayonnaise mixture, gently coating the lump crabmeat. Spoon the crabmeat into two hollowed out red pepper shells. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate one hour. Arrange Bibb lettuce leaves on two saucers; place lump crabmeat salad on each plate. Serve chilled.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter W

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Warm Feta Spread! At first glance you may think the hot pepper mixture is too flaming hot to eat. Peppers, after all, can be pretty spicy. Removing the seeds is half the battle. Still, the skin of a hot pepper contains oils which ignite the heat sensors in the mouth. All true. However, cheese acts as a natural fire extinguisher to diminish the heat factor, while promoting the amazing taste of peppers. Feta cheese contains milk, which is another component in reducing heat. Trust me, all together it works. 
WARM FETA SPREAD
Ingredients:

8-ounce block feta cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 green hot pepper, sliced

1 habanero pepper, seeds removed and chopped

1 shallot, sliced

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 ripe tomato, diced

Fresh tarragon for garnish

Assorted bagel chips and crackers 
Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 350°. Place feta cheese block in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with crushed Herbes de Provence. Bake 15 minutes until cheese is soft. Meanwhile heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add green hot pepper slices, chopped habanero pepper, sliced shallots, and garlic powder. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove warmed feta cheese from oven. Top with diced tomatoes and hot pepper mixture. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Serve with assorted bagel chips and crackers. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Lyonnaise Potatoes! Don’t you love fancy names for regular dishes. Think about it. Instead of skinny flat pancakes, we say “Crepes”. Or an old-fashioned grilled ham and cheese sandwich popular in France goes by “Croque Monsieur”. What about American hot dogs in crescent rolls? Anybody? That’s right, “Pigs in a Blanket”. Today’s pan-fried potatoes and onions can be fancied up for dinner when you refer to them as “Lyonnaise Potatoes”. But don’t say that too often or the hubs may announce he wants to eat at “Chez Maison” tonight. (at home)
LYONNAISE POTATOES
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1-2 Idaho russet potatoes, peel on and sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 Vidalia sweet onion, sliced

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

Fresh chives and tarragon for garnish 
Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover bottom of pan with potatoes in a single layer. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Dot with half the butter. Repeat with remaining potatoes and butter. Cook until potatoes are brown on the bottom, 10-15 minutes. Add onions; season with garlic powder. Cook, gently turning onions and potatoes until thoroughly cooked, 8-10 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer potato mixture to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh chives and tarragon leaves. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter T

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Tarragon Chicken Salad. If you’re tired of the same thing, here’s a gourmet twist on an old favorite. It can be served on a buttery croissant, a bed of mixed greens, or a wedge of sweet cantaloupe. You decide. 
TARRAGON CHICKEN SALAD
Ingredients:

1 10-ounce can of Premium Chicken Breast in Lemon Pepper sauce 

1/4 cup mayonnaise 

1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Fresh Tarragon 
Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, grapes, nuts, and mayonnaise. Gently fold in snipped tarragon leaves. Refrigerate until ready to use. Top with crunchy garlic croutons.