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? 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? 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? Cheerful Choices: Wheat Brioche Burgers! Why brioche buns, you’re thinking. First of all, you must admit a hamburger bun that crumbles into your hands is very frustrating. After the first bite, you’re afraid to put it down in case it turns into a heaping mess on your plate. From that point on, a fork is your only option. Amirite? Brioche buns are rich, chewier, and a little more dense. The golden texture alone is soft and buttery while leaving you with an element of light consistency. Now that’s a way to compliment a savory, grilled burger. Wouldn’t you agree?
WHEAT BRIOCHE BURGERS
1 pound ground chuck beef
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons water, boiling
2 eggs, beaten
6 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 gourmet wheat brioche hamburger buns
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 leaves romaine lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced into 8 rings
1/3 cup mayonnaise
In a small bowl, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Stir. In another bowl, combine ground chuck, bouillon water, and beaten eggs. Fold in crushed crackers. Divide beef into four portions. Form into patties about 1/2” thick and 1” wider than the burger buns. Indent with a thumbprint in the center of the patty. Sprinkle with black pepper. Chill for one hour. Preheat grill on high heat to 400°. Grill patties, indented side up, for 6 minutes. Juices will accumulate on top of burgers causing them to sear. Do not smash down. Flip; reduce grill temperature to 325° for another 6 minutes. Turn grill off, leaving burgers on grill for 4 minutes longer. At this time, spread the cut sides of the brioche buns with softened butter. Place buttered sides down on grill for a couple minutes to toast until golden brown. Meanwhile, coat romaine lettuce leaves with mayonnaise, gently turning. To assemble burgers, transfer buns to a platter. Add more mayonnaise, if desired. Layer hamburgers with grilled meat, romaine leaves, and tomato slices. Top with toasted buns. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Cheerful Choices: Ahi Morning Booster! The secret to cooking ahi tuna is to never overcook it. If that happens, you’ll know because the center will be dark and the fish will taste dry and rubbery. Using a timer will prevent this from happening. For a visual, you want the ahi to appear like a medium-rare steak. By starting off the day with this protein-packed combination, you’ll feel as though you can handle just about anything. You deserve a tremendous boost to help you on your way.
AHI MORNING BOOSTER
1 ahi steak
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon furikake seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 piece wheat toast
On a piece of wax paper, combine sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and furikake seasoning. Mix well. Press the ahi steak into the seasonings, coating both sides. Warm vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the ahi steak for 2 minutes per side. A crust will form, while the inside remains rare. Set aside. Meanwhile, spray a ramekin with nonstick oil. Crack an egg into the dish. Pierce the egg yolk with a sharp knife or toothpick. Cover loosely with a paper towel. Microwave for one minute on 30% power. Gently swirl runny egg white. Microwave for one minute longer on 30% power. The yolk will be slightly runny. Place the wheat toast on a plate. Layer with mashed avocado. Slice the ahi steak; arrange over avocado. Transfer the egg to the plate. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Impressive Pizza Crust! When it comes to making homemade pizza, two factors are critical to taste: Crust and Sauce. (We’ll address pizza sauce another day.) It becomes personal whether you prefer a thin and crispy crust or a deep dish pizza pie. Fortunately, my husband and I are partial to a thin crust. Choosing your “method of madness” takes practice as well. Experts recommend kneading the dough and getting pretty rough to develop the gluten. Others use a bread machine for maximum results. I found my food processor passed the test with this impressive crust. Later on, I may try another.
IMPRESSIVE PIZZA CRUST
2 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for work surface
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
Cornmeal for pizza pan
In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube. Process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Then add olive oil and salt to dough. Process until dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, 30-60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on a lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into a tight ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
After 24 hours divide the dough into 2 equal portions. (Wrap one tightly with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for later use if you are only making one pizza pie at this time.) Shape dough on lightly oiled baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let stand one hour. Preheat the oven to 425°. Then coat the ball of dough with flour and place on a well-floured countertop. Knead and stretch the dough without breaking. Spread olive oil lightly to grease pizza pan. Sprinkle corn meal over the olive oil forming a thin even layer. This keeps the crust from getting soggy and adds a nice crunch to the texture of the crust. Transfer dough to pizza pan. Using fingertips, gently flatten and stretch as you go, until it reaches the edges. Press down around the edges of the pan to create a border, which will keep the sauce and toppings from seeping while baking. Place in oven and bake crust for 10 minutes without toppings. Remove and add pizza sauce plus desired ingredients. Reduce oven heat to 400° and bake an additional 20 minutes until crust is crispy and toppings bubbly.