Shepherd’s Pie

With cooler weather on the way we get hungry for dishes that are hearty and warm. And shepherd’s pie can sure hit the spot.

The British are known to put almost anything in a pie. To “pie” means to “jumble together”, and shepherd’s pie is just that. The dish is believed to have been developed in Scotland or northern England and was probably brought to the Pacific Northwest by settlers in British Columbia and Oregon.

Originated as a meal for Shepherd’s using the ingredients they could get easily (sheep and potatoes) – today it’s typically a mixture of leftover cooked lamb or beef, gravy and vegetables –placed in a casserole or deep pie dish, then topped with whipped potatoes and baked until golden. It’s a great dish to get creative with.

There are vegetarian versions, venison versions, some swanky restaurants even serve lobster pot pie. It can basically be made with almost anything ….and is perfect for using up leftovers.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe combines both lamb and beef, and has red wine and rosemary added to the filling, and then topped with Chevre & Chive Mashed Potatoes. Now that’s a hearty fall d’lish dish! -Kathy

Shepherd’s Pie with Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 large carrots, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large turnip, diced (about 2 cups)
1 leek, white part only, sliced, rinsed well, and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups lamb, beef, or chicken stock or low-sodium beef broth

First, prepare the Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes, and set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, carrots, turnip, and leek for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

To the same pan, add the meat and break up with a spoon. Cook the meat for about 5 minutes, or until browned. Carefully drain off any excess fat and return the pan to the heat. Stir in the rosemary, wine, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as you bring the mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the stock and stir this mixture into the boiling meat mixture. Stirring constantly, cook for about 1 minute to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, covering the meat mixture evenly and making the top peaky-pretty. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is lightly golden.

Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. unpeeled medium red potatoes, washed well and halved
1 cup milk or half-and-half
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. white pepper
4 oz wt. fresh goat cheese (chèvre), torn or cut into about 8 pieces
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives or very thinly sliced green onion tops

Put the potatoes in a very large pot and cover with water by at least 3 inches. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook on a low boil until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Test the potatoes to be sure they’re tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted, and the milk is warm. Do not boil. Keep warm.

When the potatoes are cooked, quickly drain them well in a large colander, then return them to the pot. Shake the pot over low heat for about 30 seconds to dry out any remaining water. Remove from the heat and add the milk mixture. (Both the potatoes and the liquid must be hot.) With a heavy-duty whisk or masher, mash the potatoes. Then add 1 tsp. of salt, the white pepper, and cheese, and whip or mash the potatoes until they are fluffy. Mix in the chives and cover the potatoes to keep warm.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 21st, 2021  |  Comments Off on Shepherd’s Pie |  Posted in Recent Posts

Mac and Cheese – Yes Please!

When I think of comfort food, one of the first things that come to mind is Mac & Cheese. Gooey, warm, and of course, cheesy delicious!

One of my favorite recipes is a 4 Cheese Penne Bake – penne pasta, garlic, and parmesan white sauce – tossed with loads of shredded cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, jack, and parmesan. Cover the whole thing with some fresh, herby breadcrumbs for a nice crunch.

Mac & Cheese is perfect to customize. You can add so many flavorful sauce additions like salsa, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or switch up the cheese combinations with your favorites.

For a fun customized dinner idea, how about serving a pan of housemade mac & cheese. Set out a variety of toppings for diners to build their own bowl. Think pulled pork, crab or shrimp, BBQ chicken, roasted red peppers, green onions, corn salsa, roasted artichokes, sautéed mushrooms, sausage, green chilies… Nothing is off limits! So get creative and dish up some cheesy goodness! -Kathy

 4 Cheese Penne Bake with Herb Breadcrumbs
Generously serves 6 – 8

Herb Breadcrumbs
3 cups packed, 1-inch French bread chunks
4 Tbsp. butter
pinch salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dry basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dry thyme leaves

Penne Bake
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 1/2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated high-quality Parmesan cheese
1-pound dry penne pasta
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated four-cheese blend
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated Tillamook medium cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the Herb Breadcrumbs: place the breadcrumb ingredients in a food processor, and pulse processor on and off until the bread becomes chopped into a fine crumb and is well mixed with the other ingredients. Set aside.

To make the Penne Bake: in a large heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir around for about 20 seconds — do not let garlic brown. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

While stirring vigorously with a whisk, add the milk. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and whisk occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne pasta per package directions until done. Drain well.

In a very large bowl, mix together the pasta and sauce, then fold in the grated cheeses until well combined. Place mixture into a lightly buttered, 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle with Herb Breadcrumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until pasta is heated through, sides are slightly bubbling, and the top is golden brown.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 14th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Mac and Cheese – Yes Please! |  Posted in Recent Posts

Falling for Apples

A true sign of Fall, apples appear everywhere, from thick-caramel-coated, to sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market.

The Northwest has always been the mecca for amazing apples; glorious Galas with their perfumy sweet flavor under a lovely red-pinky striped exterior, firm Fujis that hold their texture amazingly well when cooked, to 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. Which of course is delicious, especially with a little cheddar cheese added into the crust.

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

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!

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 lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher 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 non-stick 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 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 7th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Falling for Apples |  Posted in Recent Posts

Picnic Foods

deviled eggs

Labor Day is coming up – a holiday that commemorates the workers who have made this country great. For many people, 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 and twist up your menu with some new drinks and dishes.

For some tasty ideas, start out with a refreshing drink and use up some of those last of the summer market fruits. Just crush some fruits in a pitcher with a muddler or a potato masher, add in some fresh lemonade and your favorite flavored sparkling water or prosecco.

For the food spread –set out an array of apps to make a meal of it. Try giving a sassy twist to some old favorites like my Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs or try something new in the dip department like a creamy white bean dip with garlic and rosemary topped with chopped up fresh summer tomatoes, served up with fresh cucumbers, and grilled pita for dipping. The possibilities are endless and delicious! -Kathy

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs
Eggs, bacon, cheese … they go hand in hand. These all-American eggs are great to serve as an app — or grab a couple for breakfast on the go.

Makes 24

1 dozen hard-cooked eggs (recipe follows)

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. sour cream
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely grated Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped crisp-cooked bacon
2 Tbsp. very thinly sliced green onions
Freshly ground black pepper

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, sour cream, mustard, if using, garlic, salt, and pepper, and mix until smooth. (You can also do this in a mixing bowl with a whip attachment.) Stir in the cheddar until evenly mixed in.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain 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, in a small bowl, mix the bacon and green onion. Top each egg half with about 3/4 teaspoon of the mixture, and then sprinkle with black pepper.

Hard-Cooked Eggs

1 dozen large chicken eggs

Place the eggs in a large nonreactive saucepan and add cold water to 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and run cool water over the eggs in the pan until they are cooled. When cool, carefully peel them under running water.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s D’Lish Deviled Eggs Cookbook

Posted by Kathy on August 31st, 2021  |  Comments Off on Picnic Foods |  Posted in Recent Posts

A Vegetable Mash Up

What’s old is new again – what with the uber popularity of Kale, Brussel Sprouts and Rutabagas.  In years past, Moms could not bribe the kids to eat these veggies.

A good example of an old but new veggie, is the gorgeous Lacinato Kale —- so beloved in Italy in slow cooked soups – now branded at the grocery store as “Dinosaur” Kale – hey, the kids will love it!

Also new on the veggie horizon, are vegetable mash ups – Kallettes (KALE-etts) which is a cross between brussel sprouts and kale. Or Broccolini which is a hybrid of broccoli and gai lan (Chinese broccoli), and the gorgeous Romanesco aka broccoflower – a lime green vegetable that takes the best of broccoli and cauliflower and marries them together in a blissful union.

Best of all, lots of veggies are showing up as the star on menus and not just as a side anymore! Like charred rainbow carrots with sumac or street corn in a myriad of variations like my recipe for Grilled Mexican Street Corn Picks – perfect to serve as a fun summer appetizer or easy side dish. -Kathy

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Picks
Appetizer size, these make for a tasty line up for any grilling party. You can also make this recipe with whole ears of corn to serve as a side or cut the corn off the cobb. For “chili-heads” offer an assortment of hot sauces served on the side. For a unique presentation, skewer corn with cocktail forks after grilling.

Makes: 12 – 16 pieces

4 ears of fresh corn
1 lime
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
12 – 16 short sturdy wooden picks

Pre-heat a grill on medium-high heat. Soak skewers in water.

Husk the corn, then using a serrated knife, cut each ear into 3 – 4 pieces depending on size. Meanwhile, zest the lime into a small bowl, then cut the lime in wedges and set aside. Whisk in the chili powder, mayonnaise, and garlic. In a separate bowl, mix the cheese and cilantro.

Grill the corn, turning as needed until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 – 6 minutes depending on your grill.

Remove from the grill and insert a wooden pick into each piece of corn. Spread each piece of corn with some of the mayo mixture to lightly coat – then roll in the cheese mixture, placing finished corn on a platter as you go. Squeeze the reserved lime over the corn and serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on August 24th, 2021  |  Comments Off on A Vegetable Mash Up |  Posted in Recent Posts

Marvelous Melons: Cocktails and More

A few Summers ago, I whipped up a party-size batch of Watermelon Sangria. It was a hit and, really, just plain made my croquet game even better!

Some may think that melons have a hard time growing in our rainy climate, but thanks to irrigation in the drier and hotter environment of eastern Washington and Oregon — they are quite prolific. Hermiston, Oregon is especially well known for its watermelon crops. These famous melons are juicy and sweet!

With their crisp, cool, and refreshing qualities, melons evoke the essence of the summer season. We enjoy them in a multitude of ways, from simple chilled watermelon wedges with a sprinkling of chili lime salt – to colorful melon-ball skewers of honeydew and cantaloupe intertwined with thinly sliced prosciutto for utensil-free outdoor app-ing!

And if you want to try something new in the cocktail category, try shaking up my “Smitten” cocktail – tequila, fresh watermelon chunks, tart lime juice, a little simple syrup, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a dash of hot sauce – it’s different and d’lish! I’ve included a link to the video too.

So be sure to enjoy them while you can; there’s nothing like summer’s fresh melons to cool you off on a hot day!

It’s what you’ll be after drinking this drink! It’s like fire and ice in a glass. But use the hot sauce with slight hand.. it should enhance – not overpower. Shake in a few sprigs of cilantro for a little herbalicious’ness.

Makes 1 drink

1/3 cup fresh ripe watermelon (large 1” cubes)
2 oz. Sauza Blue tequila
3/4 oz. agave nectar
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
2 dashes Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
Garnish: half rim DIY Citrus Salt (recipe follows)

Muddle watermelon in a mixing glass, being sure to press the melon well to release the juices.  Measure in tequila, agave, and lime juice. Shake in hot sauce – do not over do it! Fill with ice. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass with a partial Citrus Salt rim.

DIY Citrus Salt
I like to make this with coarse Fleur de Sel, but you can make the entire recipe with kosher salt too. Makes about 2 cups.

zest of 2 lemons
zest of 1 large orange
1 1/2 cups kosher salt or Fleur De Sel
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar

With a potato peeler, peel the lemon and orange, removing the colored part of the skin but not the white pith. Cut the peels in very fine strips, then mince (Reserve fruit for another use). In a large, shallow, glass baking pan, mix citrus zest and salt together and leave uncovered in a warm dry place in the kitchen. Stir a couple of times a day. Let sit at room temperature until the citrus peels are thoroughly dried—this should take about 3 to 5 days.

Once zest is dried in the salt, process in a blender until the citrus is just incorporated. Add the remaining salt and sugar and process again – pulsing a few times. Store in a dry, tightly covered container at room temperature.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Posted by Kathy on August 17th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Marvelous Melons: Cocktails and More |  Posted in Recent Posts

Chill Out with Summer Cold Soups

Gazpacho is the most widely known cold-style soup – Originally from Southern Spain, this fresh tomato-based soup is a summertime staple, and so refreshing on a hot day.

I like to add lots of veggies into my gazpacho like cucumbers and pepper. Finished with a drizzle of great olive oil and fresh herbs, or for a splurge maybe some fresh crab! Just think, you will not even have to turn on the stove for an elegant meal — on a hot summer night.

Tomatoes are not the only celebrities when it comes to this genre of soup …… there are lots of cold summer fruit soup recipes too!

Juicy, ripe melons are the star of my Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs.

This soup combines creamy coconut milk, bold Thai red curry paste, zesty ginger, and lemongrass. It gets topped with a pouf of sweet bay shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts tossed with fresh lime, basil, and mint – Yum! -Kathy

Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs
Makes about 4 cups (6 starter servings)

3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe, rind removed
1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. minced fresh lemongrass
1 tsp. Thai red curry paste (we used Mae Ploy)
1 can (13–14 oz.) coconut milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/4 lb. bay shrimp or chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup tiny-diced water chestnuts (Fresh ones are great if you can find them!)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

In a food processor or blender, process the cantaloupe, sugar, ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste until evenly pureed. Pulse in the coconut milk, salt, and lime juice, just until combined.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients.

Ladle soup into small bowls and spoon a pouf of topping into each serving. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Pass lime wedges on the side.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy on August 10th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Chill Out with Summer Cold Soups |  Posted in Recent Posts

Garden To Glass Cocktails

If you are like me, you have a plethora of herbs filling your garden this summer, of course we all know you can cook with them – but have you thought about sipping with them too?!

I am not just talking about the mint that grows like a weed. There are other herbs and even edible flowers that I enjoy adding to my summertime cocktail concoctions.

Try adding sage to your favorite margarita for a dusky, savory note.  Do you like your drinks tall and refreshing? Then just mix up vodka (or gin), fresh lemon, local honey syrup with a few sprigs of fresh basil and a splash of soda like in my Basil Collins (recipe below).  Fresh Berries prolific?  Shake some of those in too!

Rosemary is another favorite. Try adding a sprig to your next gin and tonic with a squeeze of fresh orange.

Another fun idea is freezing herbs and edible flowers in ice cubes! just get some of those large silicone format ice cube trays, they’re available online.  Fill them halfway with water, then pop in the freezer for 45 minutes to get lightly set.  Now, add in all kinds of herbs and edible flowers – I personally love to put thyme with my pansies, or sage with rose petals – then fill with water and freeze again. So great to add to splash of summer to any drink! -Kathy

Basil Collins
Makes 1 cocktail

2 – 3 large fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. Honey Lemon Syrup (recipe follows)
1 – 2 oz. soda water
Garnish: basil leaf and lemon wheel

Tear the basil leaves and drop into a cocktail shaker. Measure in the vodka and Honey Lemon Syrup. Fill with ice, cap and shake. Add soda water to cocktail shaker and then pour into a tall glass. Garnish with fresh basil and lemon.

Honey Lemon Syrup
Makes 9 ounces, enough for 6 cocktails

1/3 cup local honey
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

In a small pitcher or jar, mix the honey and warm water until well-dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and store refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Posted by Kathy on August 3rd, 2021  |  Comments Off on Garden To Glass Cocktails |  Posted in Recent Posts