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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 September 29th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, 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!

huckleberries
Photo from The Daily Apple

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!

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 21st, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Restaurants, Cocktails, dessert, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes

Chia Seeds

Cha-cha-cha-CHIA! Yes, that’s what we think of when we say chia. Those funny terra cotta heads sprouting green hair… until now! Chia seeds are everywhere these days and sweeping the nation as an up-and-coming nutritional ingredient and super food.

Chock full of fiber and omega-3’s, these little seeds can be added to juices, baked into muffins or even toasted and sprinkled on your salad. Soaked in liquid they get a gel-like coating. Endurance athletes love them in beverages for their super hydrating power.

I have also used them plumped then blended in a low fat dressing – they work as a natural thickener so you can use less oil, and who doesn’t love that?

My current favorite is to make a breakfast chia pudding! Assemble the night before with chia seeds, gluten-free oats, coconut milk, and a touch of honey. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator while the plumping begins. The next morning, you can top it with fresh fruits – yum!

chiapudding
I love this photo and the recipes from Wellness Mama – She has a great blog on Chia!

And there are a ton of cool chia dessert puddings recipes online too. So try something new and get your cha-cha-cha-chia on! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on September 14th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

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 8th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in breakfast, Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Labor Day Picnic Foods

Labor Day is coming up – a holiday that commemorates the workers who have helped make 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 among friends and family? Try twisting up your menu with some new drinks and dishes too. 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, or 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

Filling
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

Topping
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® – www.KathyCasey.com

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® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on September 1st, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in appetizers, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides, Snacks

Beets

Pickled or roasted, steamed or boiled, I adore beets whichever way they’re prepared! I even like to grate them raw into salads for some fantastic color and flavor.

Beets have always been one of my favorite vegetables and now we find them everywhere. At that trendy juice bar next to the wheat grass. Or the swanky hipster restaurant in a new cocktail. And even in that chocolate cake you are making for your kids so they will eat their veggies – but shhhh! That’s our secret!
beetingeggs

They’re great in my Beet’ing Heart Deviled Eggs!

In addition to being delicious, beets are REALLY good for you! The nutrient in beet’s red pigment called betalain is high in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory benefits, and can even reduce your risk of heart disease. Beets are also a great source of fiber and vitamin C!

Photo from The Atlantic

If you boil or roast your beets, don’t bother peeling them before-hand. Once they’re cooked, the skins will rub right off!

Looking for a new side dish? Try my Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream and Cilantro. This will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet enthusiast in no time. The sweet flavors of the beets combined with the zing of the lime and a dollop of low-fat sour cream will make this a family favorite.

Beets – a colorful, flavor addition to your next dish! –Kathy

Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream & Cilantro
This beet preparation will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet lover. If you have time, the ultimate taste intensity can be produced by roasting the beets in a 375-degree F. oven until very tender; allow about 1 – to 2 hours depending upon the size of your beets The yield will be reduced because of moisture evaporation, so use 5 beets.

Makes four 1/2-cup servings.

4 beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream or 0% Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Wash the beets, trimming top to 1″ – 2″ and leaving root untrimmed. Steam until very tender (or see roasting note, above).

As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and cut into large chunks. Place in food processor with butter and sour cream; process until smooth-like in texture but not a total puree. Mix in lime juice, coriander, pepper flakes and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on August 18th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, root vegetables, sides, vegetables

Marvelous Melons

A few summers ago, I whipped up a party-size batch of Watermelon Sangria. It was a hit and really made my croquet game better than ever! And summer is the time to enjoy juicy, sweet melons – the markets are brimming with them.

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 snacking!

WatermelonTap
And have you ever seen those “watermelon taps?” They’re super cool to add in a watermelon drink and have it ready to pour.

But one of my favorite watermelon cocktails is the “Smitten:” tequila, fresh watermelon chunks, lime, a little simple syrup, a few sprigs of cilantro and a dash of hot sauce – it’s something a little different and d’lish!

IMG_0049

Check out www.LiquidKitchen.tv to get the recipe and watch a video on how to make the Smitten!

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. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on August 11th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

Nightclub & Bar

Nightclub & Bar posted an article on Infused Ice, a great way of adding another layer of flavor to any cocktail. Make sure to check out the article for tips and recipes like my Angostura Infused Ice Balls, Bubbles in the Garden punch cocktail, and a Watermelon Rickey.

Posted by Kathy on August 8th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, Press, Recent Posts
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