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Perfect Pumpkins

What says October more vividly than a big, beautiful orange pumpkin? Whether nestled amongst bales of hay and colorful corn for a harvest celebration, or decked out in full Halloween regalia, pumpkins are one of the most recognizable mascots of the Fall season.

Pumpkins come in many different shades from deep amber-orange to buttery yellow as well as ghostly white and even blue! Their variety of color, size and quirky shapes, along with their shelf life make them the perfect seasonal decoration.

What could be more fun than packing the family into the car and spending a crisp autumn afternoon on a U-Pick farm? The variety is endless and everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect pumpkin… finding it amongst all the others is the best part!

Once you’ve found The Best Pumpkin Ever, it’s time to decide what to do with it! Will you gather around the kitchen table, hollow it out and carve it into a grinning Jack-o’-lantern; break out the acrylics and paint it into a Halloween masterpiece; or leave it au natural? Whatever you decide, pumpkin decorating is such a great way to get the whole family involved.

I love those little tiny pumpkins called Jack Be Little. Wondering what to do with them? Just cut the top off and scoop out the seeds, then rub them down with olive oil, season them and bake ‘til tender. And the whole thing is edible – skin and all!! They are also fun to fill … with your favorite stuffing, custard or bread pudding too!

And don’t forget the seeds! Spice up some Cha Cha Pumpkin Seeds with some olive oil and a little chipotle seasoning and you have the perfect afternoon treat or scary movie snacker!

So get ready for fall with the biggest (or smallest!) pumpkin you can find! – Kathy

Cha Cha Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 2 cups

2 cups seeds from pumpkin
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tsp Dish D’Lish Cha Cha Chipotle Lime Seasoning

Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the seeds under cold water to remove any pumpkin flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the seasoning, a tablespoon or so at a time, tossing between additions. Toss well until evenly coated, then spread the seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 16th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, Snacks

Hearty Shepherd’s Pie

Fall days make us hungrier for dishes that are hearty, warm, and satisfying. And shepherd’s pie can sure hit the spot!

The British are known to put almost anything in a pie. To “pie” actually means to jumble together and shepherd’s pie is just that.

Also known as cottage pie, this 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.


I love the presentation photo on Chez Us Blog for their Greek Shepard’s Pie in Individual Servings and the Eggplant in the recipe sounds D’Lish!

Originated as a meal for shepherds using the ingredients they could easily obtain (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, and 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 pound ground lamb
1 pound 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 meats 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
Salt
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 from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 9th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Is More Than Just A Pasta Plant

Most people have had hand at cooking spaghetti squash, and there are a lot of ways to prepare this tasty vegetable.

This winter squash starts getting popular at the farmers market and grocery store in early fall. The cooked stringy flesh is delicious, but there are a few cooking tricks to know.

(Photo from Elizabeth Norris’ blog)

Cut the squash in half length-wise. Make sure to use a good knife and a little muscle – this is a sturdy squash! Once you have the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp the same way you would with any other winter squash.

Turn the halves cut-side down in a baking dish. Add a little water and roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when a fork slides in and out of the flesh easily. If you’re in a hurry you can quick cook it the same way in the microwave in a glass dish – just blast on high until fork tender.

Now to get those noodle-like strands out of the shell. Turn the squash up and gently scrape the flesh with a fork along the grain and loosen it up. Then scoop the squash into a bowl and finish how you like.

It’s a great low-calorie and gluten-free option to traditional pasta for topping with marinara. Or toss it with maple syrup or honey, a little butter or olive oil, some minced fresh herbs and some sea salt for a great side dish to any entrée. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 2nd, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Kohlrabi: The New “It” Vegetable?

Kale is the green vegetable of the hour, but have you heard of its new rival kohlrabi? Popular in Europe and Asia, kohlrabi is finally turning heads here in the states and popping up on menus everywhere!


(Photo from Renee’s Garden)

Also known as German turnip or turnip cabbage, this root vegetable is a great source of fiber and is power packed with loads of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins C, B6, and E as well as potassium and phosphorus.

It can be eaten raw, roasted, or steamed or any way you like it. Raw kohlrabi is crunchy with bit of sweetness and slightly spicy. Think of a cross between a radish and a turnip.

It’s great when tossed into a salad or shredded for a tasty slaw. Kohlrabi also tastes d’lish when simply drizzled with a good olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Roast it as you would a root vegetable or use in a tasty soup. Or make a quick spicy kohlrabi pickle. Even use its leaves in a quick saute.

The Kitchn Blog has a great piece on kohlrabi with tasty links and different ways to prepare it. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 26th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

Huckleberries – A taste of Late Summer

It’s time to talk about huckleberries. This native Pacific Northwest berry is delicious in drinks, desserts, incorporated into dinners, or straight off the bush!

There are lots of places you can pick huckleberries and often you can get some great hiking in, too. Find a trail in the mountains that takes you roughly above 2,000 feet; huckleberries grow fine at sea-level, but really go wild in higher elevations. Look for bushes in meadows or along lakes. The Washington Trails Association has a great list of “huckleberry hikes.”

Just remember these 2 key pointers:

  1. Lots of berries grow in our neck of the woods, and not all of them are edible. Make sure to take a guidebook along to make sure you’re picking the right ones.
  2. Keep your eyes open for roaming animals. Our wildlife loves huckleberries as much as we do; you might even spot a bear so be careful!

And they’re not just for pie although I love them studded into an apple pie like in my Apple Huckleberry Pie with Spiced Crust.

One of my favorites is a savory Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Huckleberries, Blue Cheese & Port Sauce. Or how about roasted with slices of sweet potato – yum!

And if you’re headed to Portland anytime soon – drop into the Heathman Restaurant & Bar and try our Huckleberry Mule On-Tap. Made with ABSOLUT Vodka, fresh lime, and handcrafted ginger beer then topped with Liquid Kitchen Wild Huckleberry Preserves – yum! And Chef Michael Stanton is sure to have some tasty huckleberry menu items as well!

Huckleberry Mule
Huckleberry Mule on-tap!

These wild fall berries are delicious in almost anything! –Kathy

Apple Huckleberry Pie with Spiced Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Crust
2 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp round nutmeg
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
12 Tbsps (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 Tbsps ice water

Filling
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsps flour
2 Tbsps cornstarch
7 cups 1/8- to 1/4-inch-sliced, peeled and cored apples (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 cup fresh wild huckleberries
milk and sugar for topping (optional)

To make the crust:In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and graham cracker crumbs and mix evenly. Cut in butter until particles are pea-sized. Sprinkle in cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with a fork just until dough comes together in a ball. Do not overmix dough. (If dough is too soft to handle, press gently into 2 disks and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.)

Divide dough into 2 pieces and press gently into disks. Refrigerate for about 10 – 15 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, toss together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, cornstarch, apples and huckleberries. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove dough from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into 2 rounds, each about 12 inches in diameter. Brush excess flour from one crust, then gently roll up crust onto rolling pin. Unroll into pie pan and press/fit bottom crust into pan. Trim dough overhang to 1/2″.

Mound the fruit mixture evenly into pastry-lined pie pan. Brush edges of bottom crust lightly with water and then cover pie with top crust. Trim top crust overhang to 1 inch, then fold overhanging top-crust dough under edge of bottom crust overhang and tuck excess dough under, even with edge of pan. Seal and flute edges with fingertips to make a pretty crimp. Make several slits on the top to allow steam to escape. For a shiny, sugary top, brush top crust lightly with milk then sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 50 minutes more, or until crust is nicely browned and apples are cooked through.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Huckleberries, Blue Cheese & Port Sauce
Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp clarified butter or olive oil plus more if needed
1 shallot, minced
2 large fresh sage leaves
3/4 cup port
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crumbled Oregon blue cheese or other full-flavored blue cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh wild huckleberries

Garnishes:
fresh sage leaves
crumbled blue cheese
fresh wild huckleberries

Read through the entire recipe before beginning, and have all ingredients ready within reach of the range.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season chicken liberally on each side with salt and pepper. (If chicken breasts are really large, then lightly pound out a bit between sheets of plastic wrap.)

In a large, heavy, ovenproof nonstick skillet or sauté pan, heat the clarified butter over high heat until hot. Sear the chicken breasts for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the chicken for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Place the chicken-cooking pan over high heat and add the shallot and sage leaves to the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in the port and mustard and scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan to get all that good flavor into the sauce. Continuing cooking on high heat to reduce the port to 1/4 cup, about 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth and cream, and reduce until saucy and almost glossy, about 4 minutes. Add the cheese and whisk in for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove the sauce from heat and stir in the huckleberries.

Discard the sage leaves. Whisk in any accumulated juices from the resting chicken breasts, taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, plate the chicken breasts on dinner plates and drizzle with the sauce, dividing evenly. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and a sprinkling of cheese and huckleberries.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 18th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Restaurants, Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, dessert, poultry

Rainbow Chard: Add Some Color To Your Veggies

Rainbow chard (also known as Swiss chard and silverbeet) is a beautiful green leafy vegetable with deep green leaves and bright red, yellow, orange, or pink stems.


(Photo from Austin Fresh.)

Related to beets, these nutrient-packed leaves are high in magnesium and iron, as well as an excellent source of fiber. They’re also rich in vitamins A, C and K, and they are high in antioxidants (as are all deep green leafy veggies).

They’re so versatile! You can enjoy rainbow chard sautéed, steamed or even raw. It’s also makes a great addition to any “green” juice or blended into a smoothie.

To prepare: strip the leafy part from the stems and cut up or shred depending on how you are serving. Then thinly slice the colorful stalks.

A raw salad with Swiss chard, cranberries, almonds, and goat cheese is a great start to a meal.

For a warm vegetable side dish, sauté the sliced ribs first with some olive oil, garlic and lemon zest. Then when almost tender toss in those brilliant green leaves and cook till just wilted. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Or try my recipe for Farro with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms.

Now that’s some d’Lish colorful eating! – Kathy

Farro with Swiss Chard, Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro grains
2 qts water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced wild or domestic mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch swiss chard, leaves torn and stems/ribs sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
3-4 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre) or 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan

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 and the swiss chard sliced ribs until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in swiss chard leaves. 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 scattered with grated parmesan.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 11th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides

Summer Blackberries

Ahh blackberries… the glorious summer berry growing in backyards, parks, and all along our northwest trails. These delicious juicy little fruits are definitely worth the fight with the prickly bushes that they grow on – and your patience will be rewarded!

Not only are blackberries delicious, but they’re good for you! With one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit – these berries are also a wonderful source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber.

Truth be told, I think blackberries really are a taste of summer, which is why they’re the perfect addition to a refreshing summer cocktail. Add them into a shaker tin with some fresh mint, lime juice, simple syrup and rum, and you have a wonderful (and easy to make) Blackberry Mojito!

Gone blackberry picking and now have a big bowl in the fridge? Throw some in your pancake batter and start the morning off with some d’lish Blackberry Pancakes topped with Citrusy Syrup.


Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

Or how about a summer salad tossed with Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette – a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts and fresh goat cheese – a great start to any summer meal.

Enjoy the last days of summer with a fresh bowl of blackberries! –Kathy

Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette
Toss with summer garden greens, and fat blackberries. Scatter with toasted hazelnuts and a crumbling of blue cheese or chevre. Dressing recipe can easily be doubled.

Makes about 1 generous cup of dressing.

1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) blackberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Liquid Kitchen® No. 5130 honey or local honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 4th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, Recent Posts, Recipes, breakfast, salads

Be a Tourist in your Town with Savor Seattle Tours!

Having lived in Seattle for years and years, I sometimes forget what a cool city I live in!

So every few years, I play “tourist” in my own city and learn to see Seattle through the eyes of someone new. It lets me discover things that I sometimes miss in my everyday life.

Recently I took a group of visiting chefs on a Savor Seattle Food Tour through Pike Place Market. It was amazing!


Our first stop was Ellenos Greek Yogurt and their absolutely over the top, creamy flavors. Try a fun new flavor like Lemon Curd or Passion Fruit. Don’t forget to take some home!

If you’re a pickle fan (I am!), Britt’s Pickles is a “pickle haven.” Think old-school deli-style pickles, and a rainbow of krauts (I love their curry one!) to amazing kimchis! Britt’s makes everything by hand and they do their fermentation in old school oak barrels.

Other Savor Seattle stops include indi chocolate, where you can Taste a fresh-roasted coco bean. BB Ranch for amazing cuts of steaks and whose motto is “GOOD SOIL. BETTER FEED. BEST BEEF.” MarketSpice – home to a variety of spices, blends, teas, and coffees – essential to anyone looking to add a little flavor POW to their next dish.

Another fun spot to check out is Mt. Townsend Creamery for their fresh local cheeses like Truffle Stack – one of my faves!

And there’s always riding the Seattle Ducks – who’s in?

So get out and rediscover your Seattle and be a tourist for a day! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 28th, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts
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