Posts from May, 2008

Aaron Brown and Kathy Casey on NPR

You all remember Aaron Brown don’t you? The newman extraordinaire from Seattle that went on to CNN? Well, now Aaron is on NPR, and he invited me to be a guest on his show, The Aaron Brown Show.

Aaron and I had a great time chatting, and if you are a fan of my KOMO spot, you are going to love this.

The show isn’t airing locally, but you can listen to it online, or if you happen to be in Phoenix, on KJZZ 91.5 FM.

Posted by Kathy on May 10th, 2008  |  Comments Off on Aaron Brown and Kathy Casey on NPR |  Posted in Restaurants, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

A D’licious Mother’s Day Dinner as Heard on KOMO Radio

Orange, Endive, Watercress and Walnut Salad with Chevre Crostini
Grilled Salmon with Herbed Sweet Onions
“Green” Rice Prima Vera with Asparagus, Peas & Pods
Roasted Rhubarb Honey Mousse

Suggested wine with dinner: Chinook Sauvignon Blanc
Do ahead’s: Up to 2 days in advance—for the salad make the dressing and toast the walnuts, for the dessert pre-roast the rhubarb.

My menu for a D’licious Mother’s Day dinner is totally Northwest and celebrates our local and regional products to the max! The menu serves 6 – but can always be doubled for a bigger crowd.

We start with a fresh and bright salad of sweet, colorful oranges, vibrant watercress, and slightly bitter Belgian endive—tossed with a tangy tarragon dressing and a scatter of toasted walnuts. (Okay, the oranges aren’t from here!) Serve the salad with baguette slices spread with creamy Chevre goat cheese –These are served hot from the oven—the perfect creamy-crunchy foil to the salad.

Then it’s on to salmon. Make sure it’s Pacific – and wild—not farm raised—as there is absolutely no comparison in flavor. The fish is simply seasoned, then grilled – or if the weather totally prohibits grilling, you could broil or sauté the salmon – hot and quick.

Top the salmon with herb-marinated slices of sweet onions. This is soooo pretty—the pink salmon peeks through the rings of green-flecked white onion slices. And it’s easy easy easy.

Mutual Fish, one of my long time favorite fish stores has Fresh Wild Troll-Caught King Salmon from Alaska for this weekend – but be sure to call to be sure they still have some before making the trip. Mutual Fish (206) 322-4368 location: 2335 Rainier Avenue S. Seattle

“Green” Rice Prima Vera with Asparagus, Peas & Pods is the perfect accompaniment to the salmon. Fragrant basmati rice is baked then you fold in asparagus, English peas and pea pods.

To top it all off, there’s a dessert inspired by my grandmother—who every spring and early summer had a pan of tart-and-sweet rhubarb stewing. For Roasted Rhubarb Honey Mousse, sliced rhubarb is tossed with sugar and then slow-roasted to a syrupy goodness. Then it’s chilled and folded with honey-sweetened whipped cream. It is heavenly and Mom will sure to be impressed!

Orange, Endive, Watercress and Walnut Salad with Chevre Crostini
Makes 4 servings

3 large oranges
3/4 cup finely julienned red onion (if onions are strong in flavor, soak in ice water for 10 minutes then drain well)
1 large head Belgian endive
1 -2 bunch watercress, (depending upon size) leaves and tender sprigs picked from coarse stems – (or substitute 3 cups mixed salad greens)
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, then toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons regular or low-fat mayonnaise
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Chevre Crostini
12 1/4-inch-thick slices baguette
6 ounces Chevre-style soft goat cheese

Cut rind and all white pith from oranges, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Rinse onion julienne in cold water, and drain thoroughly. Split endive in half lengthwise, remove core, and slice endive lengthwise into strips.

Place orange slices, onion, greens and walnuts together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey. Gradually whisk in oil, emulsifying dressing. Whisk in tarragon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, spread baguette slices with Chevre. Place on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until bread is crispy. Keep warm.

Add dressing to salad ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss again. Divide salad among 6 plates and serve with the Chevre Crostini.
©2008 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Grilled Salmon with Herbed Sweet Onions
Makes 6 servings

1 large Walla Walla Sweet or other sweet onion, cut in 1/2-inch rings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon 1/2-inch pieces fresh chives
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 fresh salmon fillet portions, skinless (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Dish D’Lish French Seasoning Salt (available at or in the Northwest; Metropolitan Markets)
   or Kosher salt and pepper
lots of fresh herb sprigs for garnish

To make the onions: Carefully separate the onion rings and place in zip-style plastic bag. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt, chili flakes and oil. Pour marinade over onions, and close the bag, expelling excess air. Turn bag to coat onions evenly, then refrigerate. Marinate rings, refrigerated, at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally. Just before serving, place onions and marinade into a large bowl, and gently toss with the chopped herbs.

To grill salmon and serve: Heat your grill to hot. Meanwhile, place the olive oil on a large dinner plate; swipe each side of the salmon fillets through the oil, then season well with Dish D’Lish French Seasoning Salt or salt and pepper. Place on hot grill, and cook—creating crisscross marks on each side of the salmon. Cook fish till desired doneness. Different-sized salmon fillets will cook differently—just use good judgment and try not to overcook your salmon.

Place grilled salmon on plates and divide onions evenly among them, piling high and spooning marinade over. Garnish plates with fresh herb sprigs if desired, and serve immediately.

Note: For a summer buffet table, grill a whole side of salmon and serve on a large platter, festooned with the herbed onions and fresh herb sprigs.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.
Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Casey.

“Green” Rice Prima Vera with Asparagus, Peas & Pods
Makes 6 servings

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
2 tablespoons cream
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup snap or snow peas, trimmed, stringed, and sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup slant cut asparagus
1/2 cup frozen peas, partially defrosted, or shelled fresh peas
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
fresh pea vines for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the very well-drained rice in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Set aside.

Combine water and chopped parsley in a blender and blend to cut parsley very fine. Reserve.

Melt butter in a non-stick or heavy saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add water-parsley mixture, being sure to scrape the parsley into the pan. Add lemon juice, zest, cream and salt, and bring to a boil.  Stir the mixture into the rice, being sure to scrape up and include all the goodies. Seal tightly with foil and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. When rice is done, fluff with a fork, and keep warm while finishing the vegetables.

During the last few minutes before rice is done, heat oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add pea pods and asparagus, and sauté about 1 1/2 minutes. Add shelled peas, and sauté about 30 seconds more – or until just tender. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper, and fold vegetables and chives into rice before serving. Garnish with fresh pea vines if desired.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Casey.

Roasted Rhubarb Honey Mousse
Makes 6 servings

1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 cup sugar
3 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss together rhubarb and sugar and place in a 9- x 13-inch glass baking pan. Roast, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and syrup is slightly caramelized. Stir thoroughly and carefully after the first 20 minutes.

Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, until completely cooled.

Whip cream cheese with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the honey in a mixer until very fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in chilled rhubarb mixture. Whip the cream with remaining tablespoon honey until firmly peaked. Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the rhubarb-cream cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Dish up into 6, pretty glasses. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little plain whipped cream if desired and an edible, spring flower, such as a pansy.

Note: If selecting edible flowers from your yard, be sure they are edible and have not been sprayed with pesticide or other chemicals. Rinse all blossoms thoroughly.
Copyright © 2003, Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Listen to me, Kathy Casey every Thursday at 4:15 on KOMO.


Posted by Kathy on May 8th, 2008  |  Comments Off on A D’licious Mother’s Day Dinner as Heard on KOMO Radio |  Posted in dessert, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, seafood, sides

Short Thoughts

Over the weekend the Chicago Tribune Magazine ran one of my pitcher recipes, you can read it here. I love pitcher drinks for easy entertaining. 

While cruising around on the web this weekend I ran across this, edible googly eyes! Don’t you just love it? I’m already imagining all the cookies that would benefit from these cuties.

Posted by Kathy on May 5th, 2008  |  Comments Off on Short Thoughts |  Posted in Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

Fresh Spring Morel Mushrooms – Tips and Recipes as heard on KOMO Radio

The morel is a spring delight and one of the richest tasting mushrooms. Just a little will do you in a recipe for their flavor is intense. One year while pulling out of the driveway, I almost leapt from the car as I spied a big fat morel popping out of the neighbor’s new grass. Morels fruit in dirt and are saprophytic (meaning they eat dead plant material), so they can often be found growing out of soil that has been disturbed, such as a new lawn, new garden beds or forest burns. If you’re lucky, you may even find them growing around campfire pits.

If you’d like to try your luck at picking wild morels, ask an experienced mushroom-hunting friend to take you (be cautioned, they may want to blindfold you before the road trip to their secret picking spot!), or join your local mycological society for a spring field trip.

Or if that’s not your style, try a trip to your well-stocked produce department or farmers’ market. Be sure to look for fresh morels (not too wet) without any little friends hiding in the caverns of their brain-like caps, that are not wet and wiggly. The first morels to appear in the markets are Verpa bohemica, which are often referred to as early morels but are really not morels at all and are definitely in my opinion not as tasty. Look for true morels; their caps are attached all along the stem. Verpas are like a thimble sitting on a chopstick.

Always cook any fresh morels; raw morels sometimes cause an upset stomach.

EARLY SPRING – Morel Mushroom Madness overtakes local fungi enthusiasts and fungi hunters scope their secret spots, looking for the first signs of this delicacy. Morels fruit usually around the mid/end of April in the Northwest lowlands, depending on the weather, and peak the last two weeks of May on the east side of the Cascades. The season can shift depending upon weather.

LEARNING TO HUNT – Before I go any further, however, I must warn you that, if you are not an experienced picker, then you need to join a mushroom interest group or find an experienced picker to go with. I suggest you join one of the local mycological societies. Membership pluses are:
* Field trips to fruiting areas
* Members are very generous about teaching the habitat and getting people started; as you learn the habitat, then you can find your own secret spots.
* Members will also get you on the right track for the do’s and don’ts of mushrooming

Puget Sound Mycological Society: Telephone (206) 522-6031
Their Web site also has links to mushroom interest groups on the Kitsap Peninsula, in Snohomish County, South Sound, Spokane and the Palouse, as well as in Oregon, British Columbia, and Idaho.

MOREL HABITAT- in the Northwest morels can be found anywhere. They grow near trees in conifer forests, open grasslands, bare dirt area and even out of needle duff. If it is a dry season, look in gullies and other areas of water runoff and under logs. But MOST of the dense fruiting morels I have ever seen are in large clear-cut areas or burn outs.

THE TWO MOST TYPICAL HABITATS AREWhere they are naturalized — usually a grassy area where natural composting occurs or along a water run off or stream where leaves drop to give them food. Where they are naturalized, they fruit every year. Disturbed ground – such as logged or burned areas, here morels will come up only once because they have no continuous food source

PICKING PROTOCOL – Good mushrooming protocol is cutting your mushrooms with a knife at ground level rather than pulling them up. This way you are not disturbing the mushroom-producing organism, called the mycelium. (A mushroom is to the mycelium as an apple is to the tree.) By cutting your mushrooms you are also doing it the clean way–leaving the dirt and sandy bottoms in the ground. Also bear in mind that mushrooms need to release spores to keep the species alive, so leave a couple in the ground. Place your prizes reverently in a basket or bucket, never a plastic bag! They sweat and suffocate in plastic since they are 90-95% water.

DO NOT EAT MORELS RAW – It’s always best to cook morels (or any type of mushroom) thoroughly because:
*it enhances their flavor
*drives off some harmful substances (hydrazines) found in edible mushrooms
*destroys bacteria which may be present on raw mushrooms
However, cooking does NOT make POISONOUS mushrooms edible

TRAILHEAD SNACK – Take along a big ol’ cast iron skillet, wine, a baguette, a camp stove and a few sautéing goodies like a little olive oil or butter, some garlic, a few fresh herbs—such as chives, lemon thyme, and, yes, for this occasion—cream. (You will probably have already burned off the calories!). Morels marry with cream like no tomorrow. Sauté morels till tender and soft, then reduce with a little the cream till thick and luscious. Top thin, crusty slices of hearty bread and you’ll have the outdoor “snack” of your life.

COOKING MORELS AT HOME – Sautéed morels are great in herbed scrambled eggs. If you really hit the jackpot then save the big ones to stuff and bake — such as with seasoned crabmeat. Morels also make a divine sauce — sauté them with herbs and then reduce with cream – and spoon the sauce over grilled steak or halibut. Yum!

This recipe calls for 1/4 cup thin sliced morels – but if you find more by all means use more! Also you can substitute pancetta for the bacon – if you like more delicious bacon flavor you can always double the amount.

Yields: 2 servings as an entree or 4 as an accompaniment

2 cups cooked orecchini (“little ears”) pasta (1/4 lb dry), or substitute bow-tie pasta
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 thick slice bacon, diced 1/4 inch
1/2 small shallot, minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh morel mushrooms, or substitute 1/4 oz wt. dried (about 6 medium mushrooms), covered with cool

water and soaked about 40 minutes or until soft and rehydrated; strain juice to use in soups or pasta dishes
10 snap peas, optional
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh shelled peas, quickly blanched
2 tablespoons high quality, grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
*pea vines for garnish, optional

To cook pasta: Stir pasta into a large pot of rapidly boiling, lightly salted water. Cook as per package directions, or until al dente. Drain pasta well then toss in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap to keep warm and set aside. (Do not rinse pasta with water; the olive oil will keep it from sticking together.)

Over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until about half done [about 2 minutes] then add shallots, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Sauté for 2 minutes or until mushrooms are just soft, then deglaze pan with lemon juice and wine. Add chicken broth and cream, then immediately fold in reserved pasta and peas. Season with salt. Reduce until the sauce is just becoming thickened and just coating the pasta — about 5 – 10 minutes. Fold in cheese and mint. Divide between warm bowls and garnish with pea vines. Pass extra Parmesan if desired.

Vegetarian: Substitute 2-3 teaspoons olive oil for the bacon and use vegetable or mushroom broth to replace chicken broth.

Note: *Pick tender young vines from your pea patch or look for them in Asian markets or well-stocked produce markets. [Do not use vines from ornamental sweet peas.]
Copyright © 2008 by Kathy Casey

Morels in Cream Sauce
This recipe is from my friend Patrice Benson, an avid mushroom hunter and great cook. She says “if you are new to morels, this is a good recipe to acquaint you with their true taste”. I also like to add a little snipped chives and/or a pinch of lemon thyme and sometimes a splash of dry sherry to her recipe.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons oil or butter
1/2 lb. fresh morels, cleaned and sliced
1 chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Heat skillet on medium-high to high, add oil, then mushrooms and shallot. Saute for 1 minute, then add the wine. Continue

cooking over high heat until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the cream and reduce by half. Reduce the heat to low, add the

butter, salt and pepper if desired.

Serve as an appetizer with fresh, crusty bread for dipping, or serve atop sautéed or grilled chicken breast or halibut.
Recipe by Patrice Benson.

Posted by Kathy on May 1st, 2008  |  Comments Off on Fresh Spring Morel Mushrooms – Tips and Recipes as heard on KOMO Radio |  Posted in appetizers, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, other, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides