A true sign of fall: apples appear everywhere. From thick caramel-coated and dipped in nuts to sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market to grand glass bowls filled with elegant red apples simply used as a table centerpiece.

The Northwest has always been the hub for amazing apples. Glorious Galas with their perfume-y sweet flavor, firm Fujis that hold their texture amazingly well when cooked, deep-blushed Braeburns, and the list goes on.

What most of us (at least us pie-lovers) think about when thinking of apples is pie, I love to make my apple pie with a little cheddar in the crust – yum!

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunkist

But in addition to desserts there are bushels of other great ways to cook with apples. Try whipping up a Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette. It’s really quick and delicious.

Looking for a new side dish? How about a toothsome Apple Barley Risotto – a twist on the classic using pearl barley instead of Arborio rice?

Just remember, one of the best apple tips to observe is to always keep your apples refrigerated. At 70 degrees, apples break down and become soft 10 times faster than if refrigerated. Many a Northwesterner accomplished this in the olden days by stashing the winter’s apples under the bed, back when winter bedrooms were quite chilly. I bet those rooms smelled appley great!

Cheers crisp fall apples – crunch! -Kathy

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter, or serve it as an entrée topped with grilled chicken breast and crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings as a starter salad

6 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist Meyer Lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

Place spinach, apple and onion in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt
and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, but do not brown garlic. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.

Toss until salad is well coated with dressing, and serve immediately.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey for Sunkist®

Apple Barley Risotto
Allow about 50 – 60 minutes total cooking time for this recipe.
Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Braeburn or Fuji apple, unpeeled, cored and diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup shredded, high-quality Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1/8 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste (If using canned broth, less salt will be needed.)

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and red onions. Sauté till mushrooms are limp. Add the garlic and stir around for about half a minute. Then immediately add the wine, increase heat to high and reduce wine till syrupy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in the diced apple and barley. In a bowl or large measuring cup mix together the broth and water. Add 1 cup to the barley and simmer till almost all the liquid is absorbed about 6 – 8 minutes.

Stir in another cup of the broth-water mixture and continue cooking, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process again until all the liquid has been used and the barley is tender.

Remove from heat and fold in cheese, nuts and pepper. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on October 8th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, salads

Ancient Grains are New Again

Whole grains are all the rage, and with good reason. Their health benefits and high-fiber content make them a great addition to your regular menu!

One of my favorites is quinoa, an ancient grain-like seed. It’s a high-quality protein with eight essential amino acids and a good source of fiber, as well as B vitamins, iron, and other minerals. You can get regular quinoa, red and tri-colored – all are tasty tasty!

I like to toast it dry in a pan before cooking to add a bit of nutty flavor. I love it made into a salad to take for lunch such as my Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad – cooked quinoa, cucumbers, carrots, garbanzos, raisins, hazelnuts and fresh herbs all dressed up with olive oil and lemon juice. The combination of textures and flavors is d’Lish and so good for you!

Red Quinoa!
(Photo courtesy of FitSugar)

Another fave is farro, an ancient hulled wheat that was served as the daily ration of the Roman legions. Today it is making a huge comeback and can be seen on restaurant menus everyhwere (and also grown locally in eastern Washington). I love its toothsome bite. Most instructions say to soak it before cooking (preferably overnight). This is great to speed up the cooking, but I typically just give it a long slow boil until it is tender. I love it in a dish of Kale Lacinato, Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese. Perfect for this time of year.

So cook up some ancient grains this fall and get your freekeh on – yes that’s another type of new grain! –Kathy

Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad
I like to make this salad with all organic produce.
Makes about 4 cups

3/4 cup red or tri-color quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced or grated lemon zest
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and 1/4-inch-diced cucumber
1/2 cup canned organic garbanzo beans, drained
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2cup organic golden raisins
1/2 cup organic hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup grated carrot
3/4 to 1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain well. Put the drained quinoa in a heavy medium saucepan and dry roast the grain over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 1 minute. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff grains with a fork, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Farro with Kale, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
I love this dish made with fall chanterelles.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro, dry
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sliced wild mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch black kale (lacinato)* or green kale, torn
1/4 cup chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine farro and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer; cook the grain for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, but do not let it become mushy. Add more water if it gets low. Drain the cooked farro and set aside. (You can do this the day before; refrigerate cooked grain.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté mushrooms until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in kale. Add chicken broth and cooked farro, and cook, turning greens several times, until greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over dish to brighten flavor. Serve dolloped with goat cheese or grated sexy local cheese.

*Also called dinosaur kale.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on September 30th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Bananas for Bananas

Bananas, the ultimate naturally portable snack! Perfect for throwing into your purse or bag.

Besides being deliciously handy, bananas are a great source of potassium while being low in sodium. They are a good source of Vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin C and dietary fiber, and are naturally fat free!

If you’re thinking of a late-season campfire, then consider this s’more alternative:

Take an unpeeled banana and make a split lengthwise – just not all the way through. Carve a trough from end to end, keeping the peel. Munch on the removed banana to tide you over, while filling the trough with bits of marshmallow and chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and stick it in the embers like a potato, or over a hot grill. After a little while, take it out and carefully unwrap. Yum!

s'more banana
Fun Photo from Tablespoon.

And bananas are quite delicious with savory things as well. My recipe for Banana Pineapple Chutney is flavored up with warm spices such as ginger and allspice. It’s a fantastic way to zip up a grilled chicken breast, or even better with a pork chop.

Any way you slice them (or even if you don’t), bananas are d’lish! –Kathy

Banana Pineapple Chutney
Great served with basmati rice and vegetable curries as well as grilled scallops, chicken, pork chops or ham.

Makes 3 cups

1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red onion
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. currants
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced ripe fresh pineapple
2 cups (about 2 large) firm underripe bananas, peeled, cut in half lengthwise then in 1/2-inch chunks

In a heavy, wide, shallow, nonreactive pot, place all ingredients except the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 4 minutes until mixture is syrupy and slightly reduced.

Add currants and pineapple, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 1 minute. Gently fold in bananas and cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes more. Occasionally stir the mixture gently; do not stir roughly—you want to keep the fruit pieces’ integrity. Chutney should be thickened but still slightly juicy. If too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Chutney should be slightly warm for serving.

Recipe by © Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on September 24th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

Fig-a-licious Fruit!

Although I love them, figs are so much more than the iconic Fig Newton, which by the way was first sold dried in a commercially manufactured cookie in 1892. Who knew?

Figs: they’re unusual, versatile, and even grow well here in Seattle. I have a fig tree in my backyard!

Fig edited
A plump fig growing in my back Urban Garden – ready to be picked!

It’s best to pick figs when fully ripened. The fig is ready for harvest when it drops on the stem from its own weight. Pick with the stems attached, but always plan to use within a few days.

Although in the kitchen we consider it a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. There are no blossoms on the tree’s branches; the blossom is inside the fig. Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little seeds that give figs their unusual taste and texture.

Figs are of course fabulous fresh, but you can also cook up some creative dishes with them too.

One of my favorite apps is quick and easy: Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts. So easy to make. I love them paired with a delicious Manhattan made with House Spiced Vermouth – YUM!–Kathy

Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
Makes about 24 to 30 pieces

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 pint fresh figs, halved lengthwise

Preheat an oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix the Gorgonzola and walnuts. Arrange the figs, cut side up, on an ungreased baking sheet, and top each piece with 1 generous teaspoon of the Gorgonzola mixture.

Roast the figs for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is hot. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Recipe © from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook.

Posted by Kathy on September 18th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Edible Flowers: A Tasty Garden Adventure!

Food and flowers are wonderful side-by-side, but also can mix together. I was recently introduced to BloomNation (the online flower delivery company- connecting customers with area local florists) and reminded of how flowers on the table not only sets the tone for a meal, but many flowers you love are also be part of the meal.

From tiny cute Johnny Jump Up’s and frilly dianthus or carnations to lovely robin blue borage flowers – there is a world of tasty, beautiful, edible flowers awaiting you in the garden!

You can add edible flowers to salads, or to top a dish or cocktail. Freezing edible flowers into ice cubes will definitely snazz up your favorite cocktail.

Flower Cubes

I love them in my recipe for Sparkling Lemon Gin Punch.
St Germain liquor elderflower liquor is added for a lovely floral note.

Flower Cubes 2

Here is a quick Overview of how to make Floral Ice Cubes:
1. Pour distilled water into a large square silicone ice mold 1/4 full and freeze for 2 hours

Cube Tray

2. Place edible flowers into ice molds, drizzle with a little water, and return to freezer for 15 -20 minutes

Flowers in Tray

3. Fill the ice molds up to completely cover flowers in water and return to freezer and freeze overnight

Frozen Flowers

Move on to eating flowers: some of our favorite veggies and greens have tasty blossoms as well. For instance arugula blossoms are beautiful small flowers with a peppery flavor much like the leaves! For larger flowers I like to pull off the flower petals before adding to a dish.

Edible flower petals are fabulous to roll things in. For an amazing appetizer idea mix soft goat cheese with roasted garlic and some fresh herbs then form into a log in plastic wrap. Pop in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until very firm, then unwrap and roll in edible flower petals. Present on a cheese board or slice into beautiful rounds and serve on crostini – yum!

For a beautiful brunch dish top your favorite French toast or pancakes with Flower Petal Berry-Butter – it’s a show stopper! The butter is whipped with raspberry jam, sour cream and powdered sugar then rolled into a log. Chilled then pressed with edible flower petals. Just slice and serve.

Edible flowers are available at farmers markets and also right from you yard! But please remember not all flowers are edible, so double-check before you go into your yard and start munching away—also be sure they are pesticide-free. -Kathy

Sparkling Lemon Gin Punch
A delicious and sophisticated punch for any grand get together. For the ultimate presentation, serve over large format ice cubes studded with edible flower petals made in square silicone ice molds.
Makes about 11 1/2 cups, serves 16 – 18

1 cup clover or wildflower honey
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed Sunkist Meyer Lemon juice or
3 cups gin (1 750 ml bottle)
1 cup elderflower liqueur such as St. Germain
1 bottle (750 ml) brut Champagne or Prosecco
Garnish: Sunkist Lemon peel twists

In a large pitcher, combine the honey and warm water; stir until well dissolved. Then add the lemon juice, gin and elderflower liqueur. (At this point you can refrigerate the punch for service up to 3 days in advance). When ready to serve, pour the chilled mixture into a punch bowl or large drink pitcher (You could split it between 2 pitchers and add half a bottle of champagne to each.) Serve over ice and garnish with lemon twists.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Sunkist

Flower Petal Berry-Butter
Borage, Johnny-jump-ups, calendula and rose petals make a pretty combination for this recipe.

Makes 3/4 cup (6 oz. wt.)

1/4 pound lightly salted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tbsps. seedless berry jam
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. sifted powdered sugar
Dash of ground cinnamon
3 Tbsps. lightly chopped, unsprayed edible, mild flavored, flower petals

Whip all the ingredients except flower petals in a blender, food processor or mixer until well blended. Fold in the flower petals. (Or I like to roll the butter into a log in plastic wrap then chill a bit then roll into the flower petals to coat. Wrap and chill – then slice for serving!)

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on September 11th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes


Popcorn seems to be all the rage right now! From concepts dedicated to only popcorn like the local KuKuRuza (KOO-KOO-ROO-ZAH).

They started here in Seattle just over 10 years ago and now have stores in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul and even Cairo! The popcorn rage is popping worldwide! One of my favorite combinations is their caramel and cheddar popcorn – yum!

Popcorn 1
Who’s ready for popcorn – I AM!

But popcorn is becoming the star in numerous new ways in products and on menus. For instance recently I saw on an episode of the new TV show Say it To my Face! (which is a pretty fun show on the FYI Network) where they made fried “popcorn shrimp” actually breaded in chopped popped corn. Not that’s pretty Fun!

And then what about all those cupcake and ice cream concoctions topped with popcorn, caramel corn and chocolate popcorn – yes please!

Now at home there are plenty of ways to top your corn – grated parm – or drizzle with spicy Sriracha garlic butter, the possibilities are endless.

Popcorn 2
I love these soft popcorn balls from Land O’Lakes studded with gumdrops and nuts.

But the best old school treat of all is homemade popcorn balls – so fun to make with the kids. Land O’Lakes has some great recipes on their site. Just don’t forget to butter your hands! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on September 3rd, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

Labor Day Picnic Foods

Labor Day is coming up – a holiday that commemorates the workers who have helped made this country great. To many, it also heralds the end of summer and the last 3-day weekend before school starts.

So why not enjoy the last blast of summer with a great picnic potluck with friends and family? And twist up your menu with some new drinks and dishes. Start out with a refreshing drink such as a house-made sparkling blackberry lemon soda – perfect for using up the last of those wild picked blackberries! Serve it dry or add a splash of your favorite local vodka or gin.

For the food, set out an array of apps to make a meal of it. Try giving a sassy twist to some old favorites like Sriracha Deviled Eggs, and try something new in the dip department like Creamy White Bean Dip with Garlic and Rosemary topped with chopped up fresh summer tomatoes, and served up with fresh cucumbers, and grilled pita for dipping.

The possibilities are endless and delicious! –Kathy

Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Sriracha Deviled Eggs – Yum!
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs with Crunchy Cucumber & Shrimp
Sriracha adds a spicy kick and a beautiful color to these festive eggs. The shrimp and cucumber topping adds a fresh note and fun texture. Be sure to use eggs that are at least 10 days old or the shells will not peel off easily.

Makes 24

1 dozen hard-cooked eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
2 Tbsp. finely minced celery

2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup chopped cooked shrimp, well drained
2 Tbsp. finely minced English cucumber
1 Tbsp. finely minced red pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Garnish: extra Sriracha sauce and cilantro leaves (if desired)

Halve the eggs lengthwise and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. Set the egg white halves on a platter, cover, and refrigerate.

With a fork, mash the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, Sriracha and salt, and mix until smooth (you can also do this in a mixing bowl with a whip attachment). Stir in the green onion and celery.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves or fill the eggs with a spoon, dividing the filling evenly.

To make the topping, stir the vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl, until dissolved. Add the shrimp, cucumber, pepper and cilantro, and toss until well coated. Top each egg half with about one heaping teaspoon of the mixture. For extra flavor and spice top each egg with a dot of Sriracha and garnish with a tiny cilantro leaf, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Creamy White Bean Dip with Garlic and Rosemary
I like to serve this dip with crostini, grilled flat breads or fresh veggies, such as pieces of fennel, red peppers, blanched green beans or grilled vegetables. For a variation, top with diced fresh tomatoes, cucumber and your favorite olives.

Makes 3 cups

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained well (I used S&W White Beans in Light Seasoning)
6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. finely minced lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprig

Drain beans well, then combine in a food processor with the garlic cloves. Process for about 1 minute, then scrape down sides of food processor work bowl, and add the chili flakes, lemon juice and zest, rosemary and salt. With motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow stream. Process until smooth. Taste for salt and adjust if desired. This dip will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serve in a bowl; drizzle dip with a tiny bit of olive oil and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® –

Posted by Kathy on August 27th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in appetizers, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides, Snacks

Delicious and Versatile Northwest Pears

We are so lucky here in the Northwest to have SO MANY delicious varieties of sumptuous pears! Bartlett, Bosc, Seckel, Concorde … each one different and oh so delicious!

My fave pear preparation? I like to cut them into thick wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, and seasoning, then roast on a sheet pan in a HOT oven until they are tender. Great tossed in a salad, served with roast chicken or in my Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola appetizer!

Pears make for some quick and easy sauces too – try sautéing iced pears till tender, puree then mix with a little wasabi for a tasty sauce for grilled fish. Or make a quick fresh relish with diced fresh pears, shallot, a touch of honey and a splash of red wine vinegar, toss it with fresh mint and you have an amazing accompaniment to lamb!

Fresh Northwest pears are also great to include in your favorite smoothie recipe for natural added sweetness and in entrees like one of my favorite easy entertaining recipes – Spiced Baked Chicken with Pears and Port – yum! –Kathy

Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne

Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola
These are extra-delicious topped with chopped toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or walnuts. Balsamic glaze can be purchased at gourmet and well-stocked grocery stores.

Makes 24

2 firm NW red Bartlett or other red-skinned pears
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme

24 pieces Herbed Crostini (recipe follows)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese or thinly sliced Cambozola
2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze

For garnishing
Tiny sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

To roast the pears: Quarter the pears lengthwise, then core. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 6 slices (you should have 24 slices, total). In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and thyme. Add the pears and toss to coat.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay out the pears, not touching, on the baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and starting to caramelize on the edges. Pears can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

When ready to serve, lay out the crostini on a baking sheet and top each piece with about 1 heaping teaspoon of gorgonzola or a slice of Cambozola,then a slice of pear. Bake until just warmed, about 4 minutes.

Drizzle each piece with about 1/4 teaspoon balsamic glaze, then garnish with thyme.

Herbed Crostini
Crostini are the must-have party basic. Use as a base for assorted toppers, such as creamy cheeses, tapenade, or spreads.

Makes 32 to 40 pieces

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 long, skinny French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, dried herbs, cayenne, and garlic. Lightly brush the baguette slices with the herb oil or, in a large bowl, drizzle the bread with the oil and toss well. Lay out the bread in a single layer on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until just crispy.

Crostini can be made in advance, cooled thoroughly, and stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days. If necessary, recrisp them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books –

Spiced Chicken with Pears and Port
This is a great entrée for a dinner party. I also love it sprinkled with blue cheese right before serving for a delicious twist.

Makes 6 servings

3 firm ripe fresh NW pears
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves
2 shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 unpeeled lemon, sliced (about 9 slices)
1 cup port wine
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnishing

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut pears in half and core. Cut each half in half and then in half again—to make large chunks. Reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the spices and salt. Lay the chicken on a baking sheet or piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and sprinkle each piece liberally on both sides with the spice mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté half of the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the skin is deep golden brown and crispy. As the pieces are browned, place them, skin side up, in a 10-by-15-inch baking pan or small roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Pour off any excess oil, then sauté the pears, shallots, garlic, and lemon for about 1 minute. Add the port and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a boil, and then add the hot mixture, with all the goodies, to the roasting pan, pouring it around, not over, the chicken to keep the browned crust intact.

Roast for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is opaque throughout and nicely browned on the outside, with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (chicken will gain another 5 degrees on standing).

Transfer the chicken to a platter or individual plates and keep warm. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve the pears, shallots, garlic, and lemon slices from the sauce and distribute them over the chicken. Place the roasting pan on a burner on high heat and cook to reduce the sauce to about 3/4 cup. (If you like your sauce to have a bit more body, mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water until smooth and whisk into the reducing sauce. Cook till lightly thickened.) Taste the sauce for seasoning, adjust if needed, then drizzle the sauce over the chicken and goodies. Scatter with parsley leaves for garnish.

Adapted from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table cookbook, Chronicle Books –

Posted by Kathy on August 20th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in appetizers, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, Snacks