Tales of the Cocktail 2018 Spirited Awards!

Tales of the Cocktail sample drinks

Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! What do you get when you combine thousands of mixologists, spirit industry professionals, bar enthusiasts, and lots of libations all in one week? Tales of the Cocktail, of course! This week, I’m heading south to New Orleans, the birthplace of the cocktail as we know it today, for a spirited gathering of industry elite from around the world!


TOTC 2018 Cocktail Competition Winner, Spiced Nashi by Willy Estrada

Held annually, the week features seminars, parties, and cocktailing galore in this boozy 24-hour playground. It can be a liver workout – trust me! And every year they hold a cocktail completion around a classic libation – this year it was the best twist on a French 75, one of my all-time favorite cocktails.

But the big event of the week is the Spirited Awards. Since their debut in 2007, the Spirited Awards have recognized the best and brightest in the cocktail and spirits industries, from bartenders and brand ambassadors to bars and writers. It has become one of the most coveted honors an industry professional can receive! Each year, a panel of over 140 industry experts (including yours truly!), take part in a month-long voting process to choose their picks for Awards finalists. Check out the full listing of this years Top 4 Nominees in Each Category Here!

“These finalists are representative of the best and brightest in our industry and it’s incredible to see their accomplishments recognized,” says Neal Bodenheimer, Board Member of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “We look forward to welcoming them to New Orleans and celebrating their contributions to the industry.”

Not only is the festival SO much fun, it’s a great place to see and taste the latest and greatest trends and new spirits. And good news- tickets are open to the public. So if you’re looking for a reason to expand your liquor knowledge and visit NOLA- Tales of the Cocktail is the perfect excuse.

Can’t make it this year? No problem! You can still get in the spirit by making a New Orleans Classic Cocktail like the Sazerac! (Recipe below)

So, wherever you might be this week, raise a glass with me to magical New Orleans, and all my friends at Tales of the Cocktail! -Kathy


Photo by Nan Palermo.

Sazerac
The Sazerac Coffeehouse where this cocktail earned its name, made the switch from the original brandy to rye and gained a dash of absinthe. The rest, as they say, is history!

Makes 1 cocktail
1/4 oz Ricard or absinthe
2 oz rye
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: Wide lemon disk

Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned glass with Ricard or absinthe; set aside. In a mixing glass, measure in the rye, syrup and bitters. Fill mixing glass 3/4 full with ice and stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Strain into liqueur-rinsed glass without ice. Squeeze lemon disk over top of drink then drop in.

Posted by Kathy on July 12th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Tales of the Cocktail 2018 Spirited Awards! |  Posted in Conferences, events, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recipes, Tasty Travels

Edible Flowers

With summer well under way, it’s hard not to notice all the blooming flowers. But did you know that some flowers are edible, too? Note: Not all are, so double-check before you go into your yard and start munching away!

One of my favorite edible varieties is nasturtiums. These lovely flowers have a pleasantly peppery note – try their tasty petals torn over grilled shrimp, veggies or fish.

Toss some brilliant yellow marigold petals into an arugula salad with goat cheese and sunflower seeds – their subtle citrus flavour adds a new dimension to an everyday meal.

And guys, I’ll let you in a on a secret: making a meal using edible flowers is a great way to impress us ladies.

So a rose may be a rose by any other name, but I’ll call it d’lish! By the way, roses are edible too and are fun and tasty sprinkled on desserts or drinks.

Or how about making my Flower Petal Berry Butter to finish off your next meal – it’s a show stopper!

Edible flowers are available at farmers markets, some grocery stores or in your own garden. Just be sure that your edible flowers are pesticide free.
-Kathy

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 July 5th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Edible Flowers |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Stone Fruit

One of the best things about summer to me is the abundance of sweet, juicy local stone fruit (that is, fruits with a pit). Peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and apricots come into the market with great anticipation. I always look forward to that first succulent bite of a perfectly ripe peach!

For some of you, the stone fruit harvest conjures up memories of home canning… making rows upon rows of canned peaches. For others, they were the summer treat to enjoy under a shady tree with friends. Fresh-picked, sliced in a salad, baked in a pie, or shaken in a cocktail… the possibilities are endless.

For something light and refreshing, try a big scoop of Ginger Peach Sorbet! It’s easy to make, and is just the thing to cap off a delicious dinner. Served with some gingersnap cookies on the side – it’s my favorite way to end a meal on a hot Summer day.
-Kathy

Ginger Peach Sorbet
Homemade ice creams, sorbets & granités are best eaten soon after being made. Their fresh flavor starts to dissipate after a couple of days.

Makes about 4 cups.

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon very finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup water
about 2 lb. fresh peaches (or enough to make 3 cups of puree)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place sugar, ginger and water in a small sauce pan, stir and bring to a boil. Let cook about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, peel and pit peaches. If peaches don’t peel easily, then plunge them into a pot of rapidly boiling water for about 30 seconds and then into cold water to loosen skins before peeling.

Place peaches and lime juice in blender and puree until smooth. Combine peach puree with cooled ginger mixture. Chill mixture at least 30 minutes.

Place mixture in an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 28th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Stone Fruit |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Old Fashioned Ice Cream Treats

When I was a kid, summer was full of freedom, fun adventures and of course ICE CREAM! I can still hear the jingle of the ice cream truck…

Today, the market is full of snazzy ice creams, gelatos and yogurt frozen treats. But good old classics are always a favorite.

Take the ice cream sandwich. Creamy soft ice cream sandwiched between a pair of homemade cookies…that’s what I call heaven! With so many great ice creams on the market it’s easy to “sandwich” your own. How about Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia – with chunks of chocolate and cherries folded into rich vanilla bean ice cream and sandwiched between Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies with dried cherries and almonds. Yes please!

Or Gingersnaps with Summery Local Peach Ice Cream. Yum!

And we can’t forget the ice cream float! The classic vanilla ice cream and root beer is always a favorite – but how about something totally different? Use locally made soda and ice cream with new flavors to take this to a whole new level! Like Not-too sweet Vanilla Bean DRY Soda is so d’lish when poured atop a big scoop of Molly Moon’s Honey Lavender ice cream! Now that’s a local float!

But if you really want to go old-fashion – try making your own homemade ice cream! My Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Mint Candies will transport your taste buds to your childhood.
-Kathy

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Mint Candies
I like to serve this garnished with a bit more chopped mint candy and a fresh sprig of mint.
Makes about 4 cups

4 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups packed mint sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
6 egg yolks
1 cup coarsely chopped Chocolate Mint Candies (recipe follows) or Frango Mint candies

Combine the cream and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan. Tear the mint sprigs (to bruise them) and add to the cream mixture. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the cream. Whisking constantly, bring to a bare simmer and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk frequently to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Strain the mixture and discard the mint leaves. Stir in the chopped mint, then pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the ice cream is finished, stir in the chopped candies. Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mint Candies
Makes 24 nice-sized pieces, or enough for 1 recipe of ice cream plus 12 extra pieces of candy

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, salt, and extract together over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from the heat, sift in the confectioners’ sugar, then stir to combine well. Spread the mixture in an 8-inch square baking pan.

Let cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or refrigerate to harden faster.

To remove the candy from the pan, invert the pan onto a piece of plastic wrap or a cutting board, lay a hot towel over the pan bottom for about 1 minute, then tap the bottom of the pan. Loosen the candy with a spatula if needed. Cut the candy into 24 pieces to serve as candy, or coarsely chop to use in ice cream. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Recipes from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook®

Posted by Kathy on June 21st, 2018  |  Comments Off on Old Fashioned Ice Cream Treats |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Chill Out with Cold Soups

Gazpacho is the most widely known cold soup. Originally from Southern Spain, this fresh tomato based soup is a summertime staple… and such a refreshing and delicious way to get your vegetables!

I like to add lots of veggies into my gazpacho like cucumbers and pepper and top it with some Alaska King Crab for a real splurge! Just think you won’t even have to turn on the stove for an elegant meal on a hot summer night.

Tomatoes aren’t the only celebrities when it comes to this genre of soup – there are lots of cold summer fruit soup recipes too!

Juicy, ripe melons can also be the star – like in my recipe for Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs.

This soup combines creamy coconut milk, bold Thai red curry paste and zesty ginger and lemongrass, then gets topped with a pouf of sweet bay shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts. Season it up with a hit lime juice, basil and mint – it’s the meal to cool off with!

Fresh Bing Cherries also make for a tasty cold soup when cooked with spices and wine, chilled then swirled with sour cream. Savory, sweet and lush –mmmmm!

Chilling out has never tasted so good!
-Kathy

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

Soup
3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (we used Mae Ploy)
1 can (13 – 14 ounces) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Topping
1/4 pound 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 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

In a food processor or blender, process the cantaloupe, sugar, ginger, lemon grass and curry paste until evenly pureed. Mix in the coconut milk, salt and lime juice.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together.

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®

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup
I also like this soup topped with a few coarse chopped toasted hazelnuts for a touch of crunch.

Makes 6 – 8 servings as a starter

2 cups crisp white wine, such as Fume Blanc
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod, crushed
4 black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups pitted Bing cherries (about 3 pounds)
1 cup crème fraîche, or substitute sour cream

Garnishes:
thinned crème fraîche or sour cream for swirling on top of soup
unsprayed, edible flowers, such as violas, pansies, rose petals or nasturtiums

In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar lemon zest, spices, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 5 cups of the cherries (reserve remainder) and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand till mixture reaches room temperature.

When cooked cherry mixture is cool, remove and discard cardamom pod and cinnamon stick. Place cherry mixture in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Then add crème Fraiche, and process until smooth.

Chill soup till very cold, at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Serve well chilled in cold bowls. Garnish each serving with the reserved, pitted cherries divided evenly among servings. Swirl the top of soup with thinned crème fraîche or sour cream drizzled from a spoon or squirted from a squeeze bottle. Garnish with edible flowers if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 14th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Chill Out with Cold Soups |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Fruit Salad

Quick: name 3 perfect side dishes for your next barbeque. I bet fruit salad was on that list! It’s the perfect way to celebrate Summer produce – and stay cool!

One of my favorite d’lish tricks is to mix fresh lemon juice with a little local honey then add in some chopped fresh mint from the garden. Toss this with juicy peach wedges or halved apricots – yum!

Or how about grilling thick slices of pineapple and then sprinkling them with a touch of ground chipotle chili, a squeeze of lime, and a quick scatter of chopped cilantro. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Icy cold watermelon chunks are terrific when tossed with feta cheese, chopped fresh basil, Kalamata olives and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil! Now that’s a NEW salad everyone will love!

Really WOW the crowd with my Succulent Summer Stone Fruit Salad with Lavender Lemon Honey Syrup. The name is a tongue twister – but the flavors will truly blow you away.
-Kathy

Succulent Summer Stone Fruits with Lavender Lemon Honey Syrup
Makes about 6 servings

Lavender Lemon Honey Syrup
1/2 cup high quality local honey
1/2 cup water
8 ea fresh lavender flowers, unsprayed and rinsed (or 1 tablespoon dry)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fruit:
an assortment such as the following of fresh ripe stone fruits to make about 4 cups after cutting:
-peaches, peeled, pitted and cut in wedges
-large apricots, pitted and cut in wedges
-plums, pitted and cut in wedges
-nectarines, pitted and cut in wedges
-pitted fresh cherries
Fresh lavender flowers for garnish, if desired.

To make the lavender lemon honey syrup: In a small heavy bottom sauce pan combine the honey, water and lavender flowers. Bring to a low boil over medium heat – being careful that it does not foam up. Slowly simmer for about 10 minutes or until like thin pancake syrup.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Then add lemon juice and strain. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

To serve: In a large bowl toss with the lavender lemon honey syrup. Garnish with fresh lavender flowers if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 7th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Fruit Salad |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Summer Lemonades

Nothing says summer like a tall, refreshing glass of lemonade. This delightful sipper isn’t just for kids. Sweet yet tart – this American staple is a blank canvas for creative flavor pairings.

Why not add some fizz to your lemonade by adding a big splash of sparkling berry water. Or instead of using traditional sugar in the base mix, add a touch of sweetness with organic agave or local honey.

Add a sprig of rosemary or a dash of rosewater or orange blossom water to your lemonade – it adds a lovely unique essence!

Or how about utilizing something totally unexpected….beets! My Beeting Heart Lemonade is the perfect combo of tart, sweet and citrus – a true flavor explosion! It’s also great with a splash of vodka or gin! The gorgeous pink hue is an added bonus.

Stay cool this summer!
-Kathy

Beeting Heart Lemonade
Makes about 8 cups

6 cups warm water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup small-diced fresh beets
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed Sunkist® Lemon juice

Place the water, sugar, and beets into a sauce pan. Bring to a quick boil over high heat. As soon as mixture comes to a boil remove from heat. Let cool, then blend in a blender.

Strain beet syrup into a large pitcher, add the lemon juice, stir. Serve over ice. Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Rosemary Lemonade Cooler
Zesty lemon syrup and fresh rosemary make for a refreshing drink, perfect for outdoor entertaining. It’s also make a great summer cocktail by adding 1 – 1 /2 ounces of vodka per serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes

3 Tbsp lemon zest
4 -6 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
————————————
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups water or sparkling water

Garnish: lemon wheel or wedges and small fresh rosemary sprigs

Combine the zest, rosemary, sugar, and the 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a quick boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the mint to steep and the syrup to cool.

Remove and discard rosemary from syrup. In a large pitcher, combine the cooled syrup, lemon juice, and the 3 cups of water (or sparkling water if serving right away). Serve over ice in a tall glass garnished with lemon wheels and rosemary.

Recipe developed by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on May 31st, 2018  |  Comments Off on Summer Lemonades |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog

Breakfast Bakes

Starting the morning off with a d’lish breakfast can set the tone for the rest of the day, but sleeping in can be an important weekend must – so quick and easy breakfast bakes to the rescue!

Stratas are a great make-ahead dish! Torn pieces of bread are tossed with a savory egg mixture then mixed with cheese, herbs and other goodies. Just soak overnight in the refrigerator and pop it in the oven when you wake up — poof! A flavorful and hearty breakfast in no-time.

Now we all know oatmeal is a breakfast staple – but how about
baked oatmeal! Think of it like a bread pudding… but with oats instead. You can mix in your favorite dried or fresh fruits and some nuts for an added crunch.

Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning? Then how about an indulgent Cherry-Cinnamon-Roll Bake, finished with a drizzle of zesty lemon glaze. Oh yea…. It’s speed scratch fast…. And d’lish!
-Kathy

Sweet Pepper & Sausage Breakfast Strata
Strata makes for a lovely mid-day dinner, brunch or breakfast dish for a crowd. You can prep it the day or evening before your party and then just pop the strata in the oven 45 minutes before your guests arrive.

Makes about 6 – 8 servings

3 Red, Yellow or Orange Sweet Bell Peppers, or a combination
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
8 eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups 1-inch-diced French or Italian rustic bread, such as a baguette
2 cups (8 oz) grated Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Seed the peppers, dice them into 1/2″ pieces and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add sausage and cook until half done, about 3 minutes. Add onion and reserved peppers, and sauté for about 8 –10 minutes or until peppers are tender-crisp. Stir in garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper until well combined. Add bread, Italian cheese blend, half the Parmesan cheese and the cooked sausage-pepper mixture.

Transfer mixture to an 11×13″ baking pan and lightly press into pan to fill evenly. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and let sit, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, so that bread soaks up egg mixture.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350°F and bake strata for about 45 – 50 minutes or until puffy and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chef’s Notes: 1 baguette averages about 8 cups diced bread. Be sure to use a somewhat hearty bread for making this dish. Strata is also excellent as a simple supper dish.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on May 24th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Breakfast Bakes |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog
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