What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Rise & Shine Breakfast! It’s no surprise America has turned to breakfast as the nutritional meal of the day. Especially with the rising cost of food. Eggs provide enough vitamins to justify a well-balanced diet. What I’ve noticed more than anything, is the fact that I feel fuller throughout the day and less apt to snack. I’m told it’s the power of protein, and I believe it.
RISE & SHINE BREAKFAST
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 slices honey wheat toast
2 slices, applewood smoked bacon, baked until crispy
Warm butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack each egg into a small bowl; this will eliminate bits of shell from being poured into the skillet. Pour the eggs over the melted butter. After one minute, the outer edges of the white appear opaque. For sunny-side up eggs, do not flip. Cover the skillet with a lid and lower the heat for 4 minutes. The steam will gently cook the top of the egg, leaving the yolks runny. Sprinkle with seasoning or herbs. Serve with toast points, bacon, and fresh fruit as desired.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Grapeful Roast Turkey! Get set for a moist and flavorful crispy-golden brown roasted turkey. It’s so simple, you might find yourself buying an extra bird around the holidays to freeze for satisfying meals down the road. Seriously. Fresh herbs are easy to come by year round at the grocery or, even better, at Farmers Markets. By switching out the cranberry sauce for a combination of Muscat grape jelly and pure maple syrup, you elevate the meal to a whole new level. Someone once described Muscat grapes as “the taste of pleasant wine before it gets inside a bottle.” I like that. You may, too.
GRAPEFUL ROAST TURKEY
8-10 pound turkey
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic, halved
1/3 cup Muscat grape jelly
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
Bunch of Grapes, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a roasting pan with foil, overlapping enough to enclose turkey. Place a wire rack in the bottom. Set aside. Rinse and pat turkey dry using a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Sprinkle turkey with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the lemon, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and garlic into the cavity. Transfer turkey to the wire rack in roasting pan. In a small saucepan, warm Muscat grape jelly, pure maple syrup, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until combined, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool for 5 minutes. Brush one-fourth of the grape jelly sauce over turkey. Tent with foil and bake for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 425°. Brush another fourth of grape jelly sauce over turkey. Roast, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°. Brush remaining grape jelly sauce over turkey. Allow turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Garnish with fresh grapes.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Clean Eating: Yolk-Stream Morning Eggs! I’m always in a good mood when I make these soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. Perhaps it’s because I get to dip crunchy, buttery strips of toast into the yolk and watch it run over the edge of the cup. I imagine the toast as soldiers on parade, each awaiting their turn to be dunked. Or maybe it’s because slurping the fatty center of the egg makes me feel naughty and I’m completely aware I’m getting away with it. In any event, playing with my food this way is absolutely satisfying.
YOLK-STREAM MORNING EGGS
4 large eggs
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan on the stove. Fill the pan with cold water, covering eggs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook 6 minutes for a runny yolk-stream. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon. Transfer immediately to individual egg cups. Butter toast and slice into strips for dipping into the egg yolks. Crack the egg near the top, remove its“lid” and scoop the white of the egg from the shell. Dip toast “soldiers” into the runny yolk. Season with salt and pepper.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Radish Chive Egg Salad! Meatless meals do not have to be boring, that’s for sure. I find it fun to put together interesting combinations of fresh veggies with egg salad. You can, too. If you like a hint of celery seed, think of feathery green celery leaves instead. Or if you usually add chopped shallots, what about snipped chives this time? Instead of tomatoes, add the crunch of radish slices. Bread doesn’t have to be humdrum either. Ditch the bland white open-faced for rye, pumpernickel, or honey wheat. Do you see where this is heading? Anything goes.
RADISH CHIVE EGG SALAD
6 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed and halved
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 slices honey wheat bread, toasted
12 celery leaves, washed
2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
Chives, for garnish
Place the peeled eggs in a bowl. Roughly chop into pieces. Add mayonnaise, chopped chives, Dijon mustard, sea salt, white pepper, turmeric, and ground ginger. Mix the ingredients together until combined. Cut the toast into diagonal quarters. Arrange on a platter. Dollop a portion of the egg salad onto each piece of bread. Tuck celery leaves around egg salad. Top with thinly sliced radishes. Using a kitchen shears, snip the chives over all for garnish.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Pea and Radish Crostini! There’s something decadent about bite-size grilled toast. It could be the olive oil that transports you to the central region of Tuscany where rows of timeless Italian vineyards parade alongside twisted trunks of enduring olive trees. Or perhaps it’s the exotic radish with a history dating back to pre-Roman times. Maybe you just like smaller bites. A smudge of this, a smidge of that. Whether you find food tantalizing, adventurous, or hopefully romantic, the appetizer is here to stay. You may as well make it healthy and visually appealing at the same time.
PEA AND RADISH CROSTINI
1 baguette, sliced into 1/4” slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
4-5 radishes, sliced thin
2 mint sprigs, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush each side of the baguette slices with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt, oregano, marjoram, and garlic powder. Bake 5-7 minutes until slightly toasted. Let cool. Transfer to a platter. Drizzle the sliced avocado with lime juice. Sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt. Mash a few slices of avocado to spread a thin layer of guacamole on each piece of baguette. Place 2-3 slices of avocado in the center of each toast. Lightly press the peas in place onto the mashed avocado on each end. Arrange sliced radishes on top. Garnish with mint leaves. Buon Appetito!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: No Yeast Beer Bread! Never in my wildest dream did I ever realize there would be a shortage of all-purpose flour and yeast. Yet, the grocery store shelves were bare. I don’t know if it had anything to do with panic-buying during the coronavirus quarantine or if people were baking up a storm in isolation. Homemade bread is a comfort food, after all. Kneading dough can be a distraction from stay-at-home kids and social media rants. Plus the incredible aroma of bakery bread is soothing and rewarding. So, the obvious answer was to go to the fridge and open a can of beer. Beer acts as a leavening agent, as long as baking powder is included in the recipe. For those who wonder, the alcohol does burn out and evaporate. Now the results are a more dense and heavy bread with a thicker crust, just so you know. Personally, I like the crunchiness of toast better that way. Then again, it could be the result of “bathing” it in butter before baking. Let’s jam with beer bread!
NO YEAST BEER BREAD
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
12-ounces beer, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Stir until mixed. Add the beer, stirring until the dough forms. Set aside. Warm the butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Brush the parchment paper on bottom and sides of the loaf pan. Spoon the dough into the buttered loaf pan. The dough will have a rustic appearance. Brush the remaining butter evenly over the top of the dough. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. The bread will be a golden brown. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert pan to remove the beer bread. Slice and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: “X” Marks the Spot Toast! Wake up your mornings with crunchy toast points slathered in guacamole. That’s what I do when I have a ripe avocado begging to be used. By adding the tomatoes, lime juice, and seasoning, it jumpstarts my day with zest and creaminess that makes me smile. If you’re a brave warrior, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and slay the day!
“X” MARKS THE SPOT TOAST
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
1 tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
4 slices wheat bread, toasted and cut into four points
In a shallow bowl, mash ripe avocado with a fork. Leave small chunks for flavor. Fold in diced tomatoes and lime juice. Season with sea salt and garlic powder. Gently mix. Divide the mashed avocado among the toast points. Arrange toast into an “X” on each plate. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Smoked Salmon Dill Spread with Crudités! For those who appreciate a healthy choice while socializing, this one is for the books! Munch on crisp vegetable crudités. Add an assortment of baked bagel chips for a salty crunchy finish. Party On!
SMOKED SALMON DILL SPREAD
8 ounces of Neufchâtel cheese
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh Dill, chopped
Dash of White Pepper
1/4 pound Smoked Salmon, chopped
Mix all ingredients together, form into a log, and refrigerate at least one hour. Serve with your favorite raw vegetables cut into bite-size pieces to create a crudité platter.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Instant Plum Brekkie! Sooo, I went in for my annual health assessment, and learned I’m not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains each day. I reported 3-4 servings of each and learned those numbers need to be bumped up to 5 servings a day. Seriously??? You’d never know it by the foods I post on my blog. Let me be clear, I do prepare and eat EVERYTHING you see from Gail’s Kitchen. Granted, I am getting older. But in my defense, I simply cannot eat as much as I did when I was younger. My metabolism won’t allow it. I need to think about the stress and strain extra weight can put on the heart, back, joints, and feet. That being said, my BMI (body mass index) is within a healthy range, which is good. If you need to make substitutions of ingredients to meet your own personal goals, please do what is right for you.
INSTANT PLUM BREKKIE
2 slices quinoa multigrain bread
1-2 tablespoons Neufchâtel cheese
1 plum, pit removed and sliced
1 teaspoon granola
Dusting of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
In a toaster oven, lightly brown bread on both sides. Spread Neufchâtel cheese on each piece of toast. Arrange sliced plums over creamed cheese layer. Add the granola-topper. Sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg.