Summer Cherries

From Bings to Queen Annes, cherries are one of the Northwest’s most famed exports, and also one of our most valuable crops. Needless to say, they’re luscious, sweet & tart, and decadent.

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Cherry Mojito photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Eaten out of hand is always tasty but I love them crushed in fresh lemonade or in one of my favorite summer cocktails, Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd! Just combine pitted cherries, light rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup. Let this sit for an hour or so, and then add a big splash of soda water and ice. Now, you’re ready for summer sippin’!

Have you ever made cherry salsa? Make my Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa just like you would tomato salsa, but sub out fresh chopped cherries for the tomatoes. Toss with some fresh lime juice, fresh minced jalapeno, a little red onion and some cilantro–great on grilled chicken or salmon.

Or hey, how about just a big bowl of cherries for dinner? Why not! So head out to the market and pick of a big bag of fresh local cherries and taste the season! –Kathy

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Makes about 10 servings

3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
3 cups silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
———————————————–
10-ounce bottles soda water, chilled
Loads of ice for serving

For Garnishing: fresh mint, fresh cherries

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, lightly crush the cherries with a potato masher. Then add the mint, rum, sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours – or overnight. (You can remove the mint before serving if you like and then garnish with fresh ones.)

For serving: add the soda water to the pitcher of drinks. Add ice and serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® – www.LiquidKitchen.com

Posted by Kathy on June 24th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Cocktails, Fruit, Recipes

Chef Trevis at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Congratulations to chef friend and author Trevis Gleason for winning the Prestige Award by the International Jury at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards! Held in China last month, this is the world’s only international culinary publishing awards ceremony. Trevis’ award winning book Chef Interrupted shares stories about living with multiple sclerosis, some of his favorite recipes, and his travel adventures in moving to Ireland. Yay Trevis!

best3

Posted by Kathy on June 23rd, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News

Q’ed up for Barbecue!

Everyone loves a good “Q.” Grill masters gather round to stoke the coals and debate when to flip the food, and everyone shares their recipes for amazing barbecue. From hot dogs to burgers to sides of salmon during summer nights in the Northwest, everything tastes better cooked on the grill. And that grill is not just for meat, anything can be grillable!

Start your evening off with some rustic bread, crusted over the coals. Served with a selection of tasty toppings, such as an artichoke and lemon tapenade paired with creamy chive studded goat cheese and a fresh tomato Mediterranean salsa.

Grilled Bread

Then it is time to move on to the main course. Pick your favorite grillable and get that going, but let’s serve up some charred corn as a side. Serve this with the “every so tasty” Mexican Corn Spread – a mixture of mayo, Cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro, and garlic. Spread this all over and serve with a lime wedge. Yum!


Here is a great photo from the Domestic Curator’s Blog.
Check it out for the recipe and step by step instructions.

And while the coals are still hot, how about a “grilled” dessert? Skewer a few bananas and slice up some pineapple. Get some good caramelization going. Now serve these up with some good old fashioned vanilla ice cream, some sexy caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of toasted pistachios. Now that’s grilling!

So get the grill warmed up, it’s time for Q! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on June 16th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

Berry Bounty

People are always asking me, “What’s your favorite food?” and give me that puzzled look when I tell them, “Berries, love them all!” Obviously this response isn’t as exotic or avant-garde, but I really, truly do love berries!

The season starts with our super sweet strawberries, and boy are they sweet with our high temperatures already this summer. The season is early so if you’re looking for a fun family or friend outing head this weekend to a local U-Pick field. If you like to preserve and are a jam maker like me, then try adding a few dried lavender flowers to your favorite strawberry jam recipe – super yummy!

As soon as our strawberry season passes by, then we move on to “caneberries:” raspberries and blackberries, and their cousins – tayberry, marionberry, boysenberry, and loganberry.

Raspberries
My favorite way to eat raspberries!

I have to say that raspberries are my absolute favorite and I am lucky to have an heirloom variety growing in my backyard. Juicy, dark red, and full of flavor, they may not look as perfect as some of the new “hybrids” but they exude flavor like you’ve never had before. A handful of these will make you fall over swooning with berry-delicious goodness, especially when piled up “shortcake fashion” over chocolate chip scones.

It’s easy. Grab a box of Fisher Scone Mix, stir it up, and add in some mini chocolate chips, dollop it out in rounds, sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake it up. Then toss fresh berries with some local honey or a sprinkle of sugar, or just naked is just fine too. Whip up some heavy cream with vanilla or a splash of liqueur like Grand Marnier or try some bourbon with brown sugar. Dollop it up your shortcake and you’re in for some serious berry yum!

So whether you comb the side streets in search of big, fat, wild blackberries, grow marionberries in your backyard or buy raspberries from your local farmers market – I hope you cook up some berry-licious dishes this summer. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on June 9th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

Cider Sipping

It was not long ago that ciders were far and few between, but now, ciders are popping up everywhere across the country. From dry, tiny bubble-style (like a fine French Champagne) to spiced, and fruit-forward (think pear or raspberry, and even chai). There’s something for everyone’s taste.


A Rhuby Rum Cider Cocktail featuring dark rum,
grapefruit and pomegranate juices, and chai cider!
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Cider is also fantastic as a mixer for cocktails too! Cider cocktails are a growing trend in bars and restaurants, and I have had so much fun creating new cider twists. For instance, have you ever had a mojito with a splash of crisp dry cider instead of the usual soda water? Or how about a whiskey sour topped with a blackberry cider.

Ciders are just the thing for sunny weather sipping. Friends and family gather for picnics, and patio parties – all of which call for cocktails batched for a crowd. One of my favorites is sangria, like in my Pear & Blackberry Sangria! It is so delicious to make this time of year with all the great fruit that is coming to their peak. Grab a local cider at the farmers market, add in a little light rum, and then sliced seasonal fruits. If it needs a bit of sweetness add a touch of local honey. Let it sit overnight to infuse in the refrigerator, then fill up a big pitcher and bring it out on the deck for leisurely sipping in style!

Cheers to summer with some sunny ciders. And for more inspired sipping, make sure to check out my Spiked column in CIDERCRAFT Magazine! –Kathy

Pear & Blackberry Sangria
Blackberries can be switched out for raspberries or strawberries depending upon what’s peak of season at your local market.

Makes about 4-6 servings

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup blackberries
—————————
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. blackberry honey
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. brandy or cognac
—————————
1 (22 oz) bottles Crispin Natural Hard Pear Cider Lion Belge
Garnish: fresh blackberries and sliced pear

In a blender cup combine the water, lemon juice and blackberries. Process until smooth. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Add the honey, orange juice and brandy and stir until honey is dissolved. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve combine the blackberry mixture with the chilled cider in a large container. Add the berries and pear. Serve over ice

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® – www.LiquidKitchen.com

Posted by Kathy on June 2nd, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recipes

Local Salmon The Big Kings Are Coming In!

Nothing says Pacific Northwest like salmon, and it’s that time of year again when this rich, delicious local gem is readily available. Bring on the summer sun, its salmon-cooking season!


D’lish Salmon!
(Photo courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing)

There are several varieties of salmon available locally that can fit any budget and taste, from sockeye to King. Salmon’s natural oil and fat content help keep it moist and tender, even when grilling, but you can help it stay that way with a flavorful brine.

Brining possibilities are endless: white wine and savory spices, brown sugar and soy, or simply sugar and salt brine – just dunk your pieces for 15 minutes or so before cooking.

Salmon makes the perfect platform for glazes, marinades and other tasty toppings. How does roasted king salmon with a Chipotle Honey Glaze or an Orange Ginger Butter sound? Or contrast salmon’s rich meatiness with a fresh and zesty Zesty Lemon Basil Vinaigrette. Makes me want to fire up the BBQ right now!

So whether you’re smoking, grilling, or oven-roasting it, get your wild salmon on while it’s in season.
–Kathy

Chipotle Honey Glaze
Make a generous 1/2 cup

1/2 cup local honey
3 Tbsp. puréed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*

Stir together in a small bowl until well combined. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

*To make chipotle purée: Purée a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with a hand blender, blender or food processor until smooth. Freeze any remaining purée for another use.

Recipe created for Alaska Seafood Marketing by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Orange Ginger Butter
Switch this basic recipe up with different combinations of citrus and herbs. Change out the ginger for garlic and try using a different mustard as well. Roll up different variations into logs in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 4 months. Just slice off a few pieces for a salmon topping anytime.

Makes 1 cup

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter, softened, cut into chunks
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. finely minced orange zest
1 Tbsp. finely minced ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
2 green onions, very thinly sliced

Place all ingredients except the green onion in a food processor. Process until smooth and emulsified, scraping down the sides of the work bowl often. (If the butter doesn’t come together right away, be patient and continue processing.) When the mixture is well blended, add the green onion and pulse until mixed. Keep refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 7 days.

Recipe created for Alaska Seafood Marketing by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Zesty Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
This quick and easy homemade dressing is delicious drizzled over salmon. You can switch up this basic vinaigrette recipe by changing out the basil for cilantro and the lemon for lime, and/or adding a dash of hot sauce for some zing. You can also double the recipe and add all the ingredients at once to a blender to make a more creamy dressing.

Makes 1 cup

2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. local honey
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Fresh-ground black pepper

Place the lemon juice, honey, mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Continue whisking and drizzle in the oil to incorporate. Then stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Store refrigerated for up to 10 days.

Recipe created for Alaska Seafood Marketing by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on May 26th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salmon, seafood

Spring in to Summer Gardening

The days are longer and the sun is shining. It’s time to think about a summer vegetable garden and what to plant. So what grows best here in the Pacific Northwest?

Well, now is the time to plant those pole beans. Have you ever made a pole bean tee pee? It’s a great way to keep the growing beans contained. Be sure to plant in full sun for optimal harvesting and pick them when they are small and tender! And if you have some picky kiddos then try planting bushing “purple beans” that magically turn green when you cook them – that’s pretty fun!


Learn to make a great pole bean tent and more from Garden Therapy!

Next on my best of list is zucchini – it’s easy to grow! My mom used to make these tasty little zucchini cakes topped with a fresh tomato sauce and a dollop of sour cream. Or these days try it with Greek yogurt. Have you ever had a Chocolate Zucchini Cake? I’ve got a recipe for you!

Next on the must to-plant list are sweet 100 tomatoes – this variety loves our NW weather. And there is nothing like going out to the garden and popping them right of the vine into your mouth. I also love them skewered, rubbed with olive oil, seasoned and then grilled till lightly charred and served as a side dish or served atop a grilled steak.

My last bit of advice is to be sure plant to a few greens. Arugula is a great addition to any garden. And rainbow chard, in hues of pink, yellow, red and white will grow bountifully, keep trimming it to the base and it grows all season!

So time to get down and dirty in the garden! –Kathy

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Makes 1 bunt cake – about 10 – 12 servings

Cake
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz. wt.)

Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz. wt.)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee or espresso

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer cream together the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix into the creamed ingredients a little at a time until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts, zucchini and chocolate chips.

Butter and flour a large (10-cup) Bundt pan and pour in batter. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Let cake stand in pan for 5 minutes or so then remove from pan and place cake on a rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze: In a small pan heat the chocolate, cream and coffee over low heat till smooth and just melted. Pour over cake. Let set 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on May 20th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in dessert, Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, vegetables

Margaritas

Everyone loves a great margarita! It’s been popular in the U.S. since the early 50’s, and there are a lot of opinions on what makes a great margarita.

Margarita
Poppy’s Margarita from my book Sips & Apps that features a housemade Spicy Chipotle-Lime Sour

A classic ‘rita is typically made with tequila, fresh lime, a touch of simple syrup or agave nectar, and triple sec or orange liqueur. Let’s review our options.

The Tequila choices are vast:

    Silver is ideal for a fresh, bright margarita or made with fresh fruits.
    Reposado is aged a minimum of 2 months – 12 months in wooden casks. This light aging process rounds out a few of the rough edges found in many unaged tequilas.
    Añejo is aged more than 1 year and wonderfully smooth. It’s best for sipping on their own, but use it in a margarita if you like or add it as a float for depth of flavor.

Margarita MUSTS include starting with a good tequila, using FRESH SQUEEZED lime juice, orange liqueur (triple sec, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau) or a squeeze of orange works great too. Now sweeten to taste with a touch simple syrup or agave nectar.

Some like salt rims; some do not. I’m 50/50 and like a half rim of salt (my preference being kosher). Or there are tasty salt rimmers:check out my video for Sweet Citrus Salt. And of course, there are the “add-ins,” a splash of cranberry juice, pomegranate, fresh berries … the possibilities are endless!

Here is a basic margarita recipe you can get creative with:

Basic Margarita Recipe

Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 – 2 oz tequila of your choice
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 3/4 oz simple syrup or agave nectar (thinned out a bit)
1/4 oz orange liqueur (triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier)

Build drink in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cap and shake.
Pour into a glass, garnish with a lime wheel, and enjoy!

So starting shaking and cheers to a great margarita! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 13th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recipes
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