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Refreshing Fruit Salsa

Tomato salsa, Pico de Gallo, thick and chunky Picante Sauce- salsa is by far the most popular condiment in the US. Whether you like it sweet and mild or spicy and hot- it’s the perfect way to add big flavor to your meal. But hey, why not mix up your salsa rut and get sassy with summer fruit!

If you ask me, there are no rules when it comes to making a delicious fresh- fruit salsa. So get creative and just wing it! Use whatever chopped seasonal fruits you have and add a little onion, fresh lime, chopped cilantro, diced jalapeños or hot sauce, and a dash of salt.

I like to use cherries, melons, or peaches in the summer. In the winter, I choose more citrus based fruits like juicy California oranges and grapefruits. I also love to add a tropical twist with pineapple and mango. Fruit salsa is great over grilled fish, chicken, with crunchy chips – or really anything!


Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey

Bought a giant watermelon and looking for other ways to eat it up? Try my recipe for Spicy Mexy Melon Salsa, served with a big bowl of tortilla chips and a margarita or fresh limeade – yum!
-Kathy

Spicy Mexy Melon Salsa
Add a few dashes of Chipotle Tabasco for added smokey heat!
Makes 4 cups

2 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup finely diced sweet white onion
4 cups chopped seeded watermelon – about 1/4” pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh jalapeño, seeds removed (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon coriander seed, lightly toasted in a pan and then crushed

Make this salsa up to 1 hour in advance – but not any earlier to keep the ingredients crispy and fresh.
Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice. Toss together remaining ingredients, and dress with sugar-lime juice mixture. Season with salt to taste.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on July 27th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts

Cherries Spell Summer!

Luscious, sweet cherries just scream summer to me. Cherry pie, cherry cocktails, cherry shortcake, boozy cherries over ice cream – is there anything better? Fresh cherries are also so tasty in a cocktail like in my recipe for Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd (recipe follows) – perfect for patio sipping with friends.


Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

I love cherries eaten out of hand, or in desserts, but they are also delicious incorporated into savory dishes too. Like in my Sassy Spicy Cherry Salsa – perfect for serving on a little goat cheese crostini or as a side kick to grilled chicken or salmon.

Simply half or quarter pitted cherries, toss with a little fine diced sweet onion, minced fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of honey, and a little sriracha or chili paste. Then add in chopped cilantro or fresh snipped chives, season with sea salt, and voila! A crowd-pleasing salsa delicious on almost anything.

Don’t have a cherry pitter? Not to worry! Dig out those disposable to-go chopsticks I’m sure you have piled up in the kitchen drawer, poke through the cherry, and out pops the seed. Super quick and easy!

-Kathy

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Makes about 10 servings

1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
3 cups Bacardi Limon rum or silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
1/4 cup clear cherry liqueur, such as Maraska maraschino
3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water
Garnishes:
Fresh mint sprigs
Fresh cherries on the stem

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, combine the mint, rum, sugar, lime juice, liqueur, and pitted cherries. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of the rum mixture, being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry.

Chefs Note: You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated= the flavors will just get better and better.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios

Posted by Kathy on June 29th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, Kathy Casey

Burgers

When summer time finally hits the Pacific Northwest, burgers are the first thing on my mind. To me, the smell of a burger sizzling on an outdoor grill is simply intoxicating.

I’ll always love a classic beef patty piled high with condiments and spreads, but sometimes it’s fun to switch it up. Burgers are a blank canvas to get creative and try new combinations. Your local farmers market is a great place to find inspiration.


Photo from Clean Eating

Outdoor BBQ in your weekend plans? Create a burger bar and make it interactive with a DIY set-up! Simply pre-heat your grill and have it hot and ready. Pick up some artisan buns and set out a variety of cheeses and spreadables like spicy sriracha mayo, fun mustards, local pickles, and grilled sweet onions. Offer unique patty options to please the whole crowd- like local grass fed beef, veggie black bean burgers, or seasoned turkey patties.

Or why not try my Barbequed Salmon Burgers on Lemon Dill Buns! The smoky grilled salmon patty paired with fresh condiments like lettuce, cucumbers, or a tangy vegetable slaw is knock-your-socks-off delicious. If baking your own buns seems daunting, not to worry! Just pick up your favorite from a local bakery and get to grillin’.

Make sure to have your guests bring some tasty sides, ice cold brews, and wine. And while the grill is still hot – throw on a few bananas for making up some grilled banana splits for a sweet ending – yum!
-Kathy

Barbequed Salmon Burgers
Makes 4 servings

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless salmon fillet, pin bones removed (ask your fishmonger to do this)
½ tsp black pepper
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs minced onion
1 Tbs fresh dill
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS dried bread crumbs
¾ tsp kosher salt

Lemon Dill Buns, or local bakery bun
Mayonnaise or Tartar Sauce
Any combination of burger goodies you like, such as tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumbers, vegetable slaw, etc.

To make the burgers, chop the salmon well. Mix it thoroughly with the remaining burger ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape into 4 ½-5 in diameter well-compacted round patties. Refrigerate the patties, tented, for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to firm.

Pre-heat a grill to high and oil. Carefully place patties on grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side.

Split buns in half and toast lightly. Spread mayonnaise or tartar sauce onto buns, add the cooked patties, and pile high with garnishes of your choice.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy on June 16th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, Kathy Casey, salmon

Walla Walla Onions

Fresh Walla Walla Onions are hitting the market soon and I can’t wait! Sweeter than a regular yellow onion, it has been said that biting into a fresh Walla Walla and biting into an apple are just about the same. I’ve never tried but I will if you do!

I DO know that they are mild and sweet enough to serve thick raw slices cozied up with garden fresh tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkling of fresh basil. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and EVOO, then finish it with coarse salt and a fresh grind of pepper. Simplicity at its best.

I also love them in a quick pickle preparation. Put equal parts vinegar, sugar and water in a zip lock bag. Add in a pinch of salt then toss in some slices of Walla Walla onions. Shake that around until the sugar is dissolved then refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. D’lish on grilled salmon, tossed with some fresh herbs like tarragon, chives, dill and Italian parsley.

If you’ve got the grill fired up then toss on some slices. Get some nice charred marks, then chop and add to your favorite guacamole or fresh salsa recipe for some SWEET summer dipping– Yum!

P.S.: If you’re an onion crier like me be sure to refrigerate your onions before slicing OR have a pair of onion goggles ready– it helps! –Kathy

 


Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table

Herb Marinated Walla Walla Sweet Onions
For a summer buffet table, grill a whole side of salmon and serve it on a large platter, festooned with the herbed onions and fresh herb sprigs. This is also great served with steak.

Makes 4 servings – and enough to top 4 salads, pieces of fish or grilled meats.

1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. 1/2-inch-long pieces fresh chives
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To make the onions, carefully separate the rings and place in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes, and oil. Pour the marinade over the onions and close the bag, expelling excess air. Turn the bag to coat the onion evenly, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Just serving, gently toss the onions and marinade in a large bowl with the chopped herbs.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy on June 8th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, other, sides

Garden Herbs

If you have a tiny strip of garden space, planters, or pots- you can grow fresh herbs. What’s not to love about fresh herbs anytime you want! The most popular and easy to grow herbs – in my experience – are rosemary, thyme, and mint. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they fill your garden.

But these aren’t the only common herbs that flourish in the NW. Some of my favorite plants are the unusual varieties like lemon verbena, pineapple sage, and the prolific lemon balm…the list goes on and on!

Now what to do with your bounty once you harvest? Add them to all of your favorite dishes, of course! You can also try drying heartier herbs such as thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, and rosemary. Tie them in small bundles with twine and hang them upside down for about a week in a cool dry spot. Once they are fully dry, crumble the herbs and put into jars- a fun gift for foodies!

An alternative to hang drying is quick freezing your herbal bounty. To do this, chop the herbs and spread onto a sheet pan in the freezer for a quick freeze (5-10 minutes). Transfer to zip lock bags and store frozen until ready to use for a delicious, herbalicious add-in anytime of the year.

–Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 25th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Lavender

When thinking about lavender- soaps, spa treatments, and perfumes often come to mind. It’s certainly well-known for its calming and relaxing properties, but lavender has also enjoyed a long history in the world of food and beverage.

Close-up of lavender growing in my urban garden!

Chefs, bakers and mixologists alike use it to spruce up savory dishes, sweets, and cocktails. Lavender is best when used sparingly to let its fragrant flavor subtly shine. A little goes a long way!

Try a sprinkle of lavender into your favorite sugar cookie recipe. If you enjoy preserving, add a pinch or two into your next batch of homemade strawberry jam – yum! I also love it infused in a local honey and drizzled over cheese.

If you’ve got a yard full of lavender and need some ideas to use it up, try this easy to make DIY lavender simple syrup. Bottle it up and enjoy anytime!

To make Lavender Syrup: Combine 2 tablespoons dried lavender (or 3-4 fresh flowers) with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a quick boil and then remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes, then strain and store refrigerated.

For a fun Summer gift basket idea- tuck in a bottle of homemade lavender syrup with a half dozen lemons, 2 pretty glasses, a bottle of sparkling water, and a recipe for Lavender Lemon Soda. You could also add a bottle of vodka for a spirited basket. And don’t forget to include a little bouquet of fresh lavender! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 18th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, herbs

Minty Mint

Don’t you just love the smell of fresh mint? Whether it’s in a cocktail, mixed into a fruit salsa, or growing in the garden, that fresh scent of mint can just brighten your day!

Have you ever tried growing mint? If you have, you know it is amazingly easy and will actually take over your garden if you’re not careful. And what’s better than a fresh handful of mint leaves whenever you want?

There are sooooo many varieties to choose! From peppermint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, lemon mint, orange mint and even lime mint – which is super amazing muddled into mojitos!

Speaking of cocktails – mint is of course the star in the classic mint julep.

If you’ve got a lot of mint in the yard, here’s a quick recipe for Fresh Mint Syrup:
-Combine a big bunch of fresh mint (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups) – stems and all
-2 cups of water
-2 cups of sugar

-Bring to a quick simmer then let steep for 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate.

Great for cocktails or add in lemon or lime and sparkling water for a tasty refreshing beverage.

And speaking of Juleps: with the Kentucky Derby this weekend you’ll want to have plenty of mint on hand – two of my favorite recipes follow.

So get minty with it in your garden this year! –Kathy

Classic Mint Julep
Makes 1 cocktail

2 mint sprigs
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/4 oz simple syrup or Fresh Mint Syrup

For garnishing: mint sprig

Add mint sprigs into a julep cup. Lightly muddle to release flavor.

Measure in spirit and simple syrup. Fill 1/2 way with crushed ice. Stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Top with more crushed ice. Garnish.

Recipe and Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Brown-Forman

Georgia Julep
Makes 1 cocktail

2 mint sprigs
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz peach puree
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes peach bitters

For garnishing: mint sprig and peach/nectarine wedge if in season

Add mint sprigs into a julep cup or mixing glass. Lightly muddle to release flavor.

Measure in spirit, puree, simple syrup, and bitters. Fill 1/2 way with crushed ice. Stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Top with more crushed ice if needed . Garnish.

Recipe and Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Brown-Forman

Posted by Kathy on May 4th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey

Asparagus – The Sure Sign of Spring!

Asparagus –the veggie, springtime superstar is so versatile. We love it steamed, grilled, roasted or sautéed; in soups, salads, or as a delicious side.

Although a lot of people have the perception that skinny asparagus is preferable, I don’t agree! The thicker stemmed fat ones are much better in flavor.

Just give it a rinse, and then snap off the fibrous ends at the “natural break.” You can save these for veggie stock or add to your compost bin.


Photo from Simply Recipes.

For sunny northwest days I like to coat my asparagus with a little olive oil and seasoning. Then toss it on a hot grill till just tender. Serve with a quick squeeze of lemon and a grating of fresh parmesan – yum!

Or how about the beloved combo of steamed asparagus with a rich and decadent hollandaise? Well I’ve got a Quick and Easy Blender Sauce recipe that will have you serving up this classic combo in no time.

So pick up some asparagus while the season is prime! –Kathy

Quick and Easy Blender Hollandaise
The entire amount of hot butter is key to this recipe, so be sure to make a full recipe. Serve over freshly steamed broccoli or asparagus, with fish or seafood or on steaks … and of course Eggs Benedict!

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon cream cheese
3 egg yolks or 1/4 cup pasteurized egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Sunkist® Lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of hot sauce

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until bubbling and hot (but not brown). Or heat to bubbling in microwave.

While butter is heating, combine cream cheese, egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce in a blender. Process for a few seconds to combine ingredients.

When butter is hot, with blender motor running, remove lid and add butter in a slow, thin stream; go slowly so it incorporates nicely.

Serve immediately or keep warm for up to 30 minutes by placing sauce in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid or mason jar with lid, set in a small bowl of hot water.
Sunkist Tips:
-Add in some lemon zest at the end for extra lemony flavor!
-Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of minced fresh tarragon or chives.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® for Sunkist®.

Posted by Kathy on April 27th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, sides, vegetables
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