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My Trip to Japan

Twelve year old super foodie Carter McCarroll is our guest blogger today. I asked him to share his culinary adventures on his first trip to Japan this past summer (I’m jealous as I’ve never been there except for layovers in the Delta lounge!). Here’s part 1 of this young man’s trip.

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Hello, my name Is Carter McCarroll. I am a twelve year old boy with a thirst for adventure. I live in Hinsdale, Illinois and I just started going to Hinsdale Middle School. My dad works for Kerry, a company that supplies food and beverage ingredients.

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Japan was the food, but there are many reasons why I love food. Foods from around the world have so much rich history, different textures, and techniques for cooking certain foods. There’s just a whole variety of them! I especially like Japanese food. I just love the intense flavor of sushi when It’s dipped in soy sauce (with bits of wasabi in it) and topped with ginger. I also admire the Japanese udon noodle bowl. Noodles have always been my favorite food and I thought it couldn’t get any better until I tried the Japanese noodle bowl – in Japan! Which I will get into more detail later. That pretty much sums up why I love food, especially Japanese food.

We left for Japan on July 21 (a day that I’ll always remember). My dad and I planned that moment for such a long time and the day was finally there and it would just be the two of us flying! I was overwhelmed with excitement. I knew that I’d miss the rest of my family while I was away, since I had never been away from them for so long, nevertheless I couldn’t wait to fly to Japan.

When the plane landed, my dad and I felt an urge to eat noodles (even though It was 3 AM in Illinois). So after nearly four hours of train rides from Narita airport to Tokyo, we finally arrived at the hotel. There were a few Japanese restaurants nearby, so we decided to go to one of them. Luckily for us, our waitress could speak a little English. I ordered a beef noodle bowl that came with a side of rice and tempura. After we ordered, I felt so tired that I could just fall asleep sitting right there (It was 7 AM in Hinsdale and I still hadn’t slept – not even on the plane). I was just about to fall asleep when the waitress placed our food on the table. Even though I was literally half asleep, I dug into my food until there was nothing left. Even the rice was about 5 times better than I usually have back in the U.S. I loved the broth for the noodles. The mixture of everything was almost perfect…… then it was back to the hotel… of course we fell asleep almost immediately.

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Our hotel room’s view of Tokyo

The next day was officially my 12th birthday. We were planning to do a whole lot of exploring that day, but kept it more low-key thanks to jet-lag. After a long day and a nap, we went to a local outdoor restaurant. I still wasn’t very hungry, but I ate something anyway.  The best fried rice I ever had! It had the perfect warmth, mixture, and balanced flavor.

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I felt a lot better the next day. We started off with breakfast in the hotel (which was fantastic!). There was sausages, eggs, noodles, miso soup, steamed rice with many toppings, a whole selection of breads, and so much more. After breakfast we took a cab to see some temples. Then we walked to Shibuya crossing, the busiest street crossing in the world!

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Waiting our turn to cross at the busiest intersection in Tokyo!

After some more exploring, we headed back to the hotel to have a snack. We decided to share a small pizza at an Italian restaurant down the street from the hotel. We were actually surprised by how good that pizza was. This pizza was just a margherita. I’m not going to go into much detail about this, but let me just tell you – if you ever travel to Tokyo, stay in the Westin Hotel, and then if you’re In the mood for pizza, go there – its right in front of the hotel.

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One of the best pizzas that I’ve ever had!

That night, we ate at a fancy Michelin star sushi restaurant. When our taxi dropped us off, it took us a while to find the entrance, but eventually we did. The first thing that caught my eye when we walked in was that this was actually a sushi bar. No tables anywhere and everyone looked so sophisticated. We sat down next to an elderly Japanese couple and right away, the waitress came and asked us what we would like…in Japanese. She was expecting us to instantly know what we were getting, but without an English-translated menu. I’m guessing that the people that come here are mostly regulars.

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Me in front of the “hidden” entrance

My dad finally worked up the nerve to order with some finger pointing and limited Japanese. Our first course came ….it was a mushroom thing and some other seaweed stuff.

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I didn’t even dare to try some. Especially after my dad did and said he didn’t like it at all. Next came some nicely cut raw tuna. Finally something that I could eat! It was magnificent! This tender, delicate delight was a perfectly cut juicy piece of tuna that I will never forget.

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After that, we ordered some tempura. What came as a surprise was they also had fried corn! It was wonderfully sweet and savory at the same time! That was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my whole entire life. I think my dad liked it better than I did – he kept on talking about how brilliant it was.

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Finally, we finished off with some miso soup – which was even better than the miso we had at the hotel. It was perfect blend of warm flavors. After that fabulous meal, we called it a day.

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After 2 days of being In Tokyo, it was time to go to Kyoto. This used to be the capital city of the country. There are loads of very old temples with many mountains surrounding it and it’s the culinary capitol of Japan. To be continued…. – Carter McCarroll

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 15th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Tasty Travels

Sweet Northwest Cookbooks

Do you have a sweet tooth? I know I do! And I have found some great new books to help you make your favorite local goodies right in your own kitchen!

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream”, recipes from the local beloved ice cream emporium, features sweet seasonal recipes for ice creams, sorbets and toppings made with local ingredients. I really want to try the recipe for Gingerbread and Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches – Yum!

The new cookbook “Cutie Pies” is written by Dani Cone, the owner of Capitol Hill’s High 5 Pie. This book focuses on their signature miniature pies and has great tips for crusts, fillings and toppings. Her Cranberry Nut Cutie Pies would be perfect for your next holiday party!

Top Pot Doughnut fans can bake up some fun with their book “Hand Forged Doughnuts”. They reveal secrets and recipes so you can whip up the famed Valley Girl Lemon and Pink Feather Boa doughnuts at home.

And then there is liquid dessert… Autumn Martin, the founder of Ballard’s Hot Cakes has a new book: “Malts & Milkshakes: 60 Recipes for Frosty, Creamy Frozen Treats”. Can you say Chocolate Espresso Whisky Malt – YES please!

So check out these decadent books and give’em a try! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 11th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Restaurants, Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, dessert

Check Out Craftsy!

If you are a crafty person and love to make things with your hands whether it’s quilts, jewelry, cake decorating, etc., do I have the website for you! Check out Craftsy, a fantastic online learning center for all sorts of crafts!

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My friend Cynthia Nims is teaching a cooking series all about French Home Cooking: The Essential Techniques! Her class is already one of the top sellers today, which is very cool. Cynthia’s classes tie into her cooking school roots at La Varenne cooking school in France. She shares many of those basic core French cooking techniques in her lessons, which are great building blocks for you to learn and become creative with! Lessons include vinaigrette and salade verte, beef & mushroom stew, fish chowder, cheese soufflé, a couple potato dishes and homemade rich vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

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She’s even shared a link for 25% off her class price. Her entire lesson covers over 2 1/2 hours of instruction with  lifetime access!

Cynthia has so much wonderful and delicious knowledge to share. I hope you will sign up for her classes!

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 11th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, videos

Fall into New Beginnings

Guest blogger and Food Studio Associate Chef Cameon Orel shares her fondest of memories about fall and watching her Nana cook up wonderful meals.

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I love this time of year. The long days of summer have now faded, and the bbq is no longer the main source of cooking equipment. Fall is crisp filled with the promise of a new year. Kids dressed for the school bus, trees turning to the jeweled colors of autumn and I am magically transported to my Grandmother’s kitchen.  My Grandmother, let’s call her Nana, any other name would not be right. She had the ability to transform the simplest of foods in to a feast.

During this time of year I would find her surrounded by the harvest of the garden. She was a year round gardener. Her garden supplied our family and many other families in the neighborhood with a year round basket of magic. She would mindfully fill baskets with kale, chard, winter lettuces, squashes, zucchini, radishes, and the late round of beans-CSA before it was cool. I always enjoyed watching her out my bedroom window with her apron held up to hold the three types of apples soon to be turned in to a crisp for our dinner that night. Often she would sit with various cookbooks and clippings planning the next few weeks’ meals. As I write about this I am mesmerized by how effortless she made it all seem. At any given moment she could have a cake in the oven, cow’s tongue on the stove, cucumbers pickling to be put up, dark chocolate and vanilla pudding setting for a snack and my favorite cookies in the freezer ready to bake.

My most memorable meals in her home involved very few ingredients; a Hubbard squash that she made in to a curry spiced soup, green apple and winter kale salad with dried fruits and nuts, braised Ox-tail served with homemade pork sausage and braised small heads of romaine, potatoes still musky from the dirt slowly roasted with hand churn butter. These foods may not sound like a young girls dream but it was what I knew, I grew up smelling the simmering pots, the steaming vapor’s of a freshly opened oven. I held the jars as my Nana pickled and stewed pumpkin for her famous pumpkin apple spice cake.

KC blog & recipes
Nana’s cookbook and notes – perfect for inspiring fall meals.

So as the trees begin to change, the light dims, and the sun glistens on the dew filled spider webs. I am blissfully happy to know that it is time to pull out my Nana’s cookbooks, filled with her notes of lower the salt, great with a touch of nutmeg, great recipe and must make this for Aunt Betty, exchanged recipes from dear friends.  I thumb through these ear marked and yellowed pages I am inspired to fall in love again with the cycle of cooking. I am reminded of a woman who many years ago knew that the best food comes from the earth.

– Cameon Orel

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 10th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Getting D’Lish with In the Mix Magazine!

The new issue of In the Mix magazine is available online; check out Creative Director Kester C. Chau’s fantastic write-up (page 94) of her Deviled Egg & Cocktail Brunch featuring three of my recipes from D’Lish Deviled Eggs! Cheers to that!

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 5th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News, Recent Posts

Hooray for Fall Apples!

Washington State and apples – they go hand-in-hand AND there is so much you can do with them. How about dessert? There is nothing more classic than warm apple pie, but even this beloved recipe can stand a new twist. Try adding in grated cheddar cheese to the crust and tossing some local cranberries into the filling for my Apple Cranberry Pie With Cheddar Cheese Crust. A match made for the fall as apples and cranberries are both in peak season.


Who’s ready for pie? I know that I am!
Photo from
Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

And apples aren’t just for desserts, try adding diced apples into a chili!  My Stadium Apple Chili recipe combines diced Fuji apples with chilis, pork sausage and beans. The Fujis are nice because they keep their shape and add a touch of sweetness – perfect for tailgating and definitely oh-so northwest!

For an easy appetizer I like to make a Spicy Apple Onion Compote. Sauté diced apples with a little onion until just barely tender, then add in some red pepper jelly – YUM! Serve this on top of crostini or rustic crackers with a smear of goat cheese or a slice of brie and a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts. Perfect for your fall party entertaining!

Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, apples are a great addition to any meal! – Kathy

Apple Cranberry Pie With Cheddar Cheese Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie.

Cheddar Cheese Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
1/3 cup shortening or lard
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
4 tablespoons cold water

Pie Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons flour
7 cups 1/8- to 1/4-inch-sliced apples, peeled and cored (about 2 – 2 1/2 lb.)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
milk and sugar for topping

To make the crust: In a large bowl combine flour, salt and cheddar and mix evenly. Cut in shortening and 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 a disk and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.)

Divide dough into 2 pieces then roll out into 2 circles.

On a lightly floured surface roll one dough piece out to a bit bigger than your pan. Brush excess flour off of crust, then gently roll up crust onto rolling pin. Unroll into pie pan and press/fit crust into pan. Roll crust over at edges, trimming off any excess dough, then crimp with fingers to make a pretty crust edge. With a fork poke the pie crust all over so crust doesn’t bubble up when baking.

Cover the other dough piece (the pie pastry top crust) with plastic wrap while making the filling.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make filling: In a large bowl toss together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, apples and cranberries. Mound apple mixture evenly into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot apples with butter and cover with top crust. Seal and flute edges with fingertips. Make several slits on the top to allow steam to escape. For a shiny, sugary top brush top crust lightly with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes 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®.

Stadium Apple Chili
Fuji apples are incredible. Not only do they have a wonderfully clean, sweet flavor, but their cooked texture is amazingly firm. A great shape-holder! You’ll be a true Fuji fan when you try this recipe!

Makes 7 cups.

2 Fuji apples or other firm cooking apple
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 oz wt. (1/2 lb) coarse ground beef (chili grind)
4 oz wt. (1/4 lb) hot pork sausage
12 oz wt. boneless pork butt, cut in 3/4″ – 1″ cubes
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon dry whole oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, (optional)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup beer
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes in puree
2 cans (15 oz ea.) pinto beans, drained
1 cans (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste

Chili Toppers
grated apple
grated cheddar cheese
sour cream
thinly sliced green onion

Peel, core and dice the apples into 1/2″ cubes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add the meats, stir occasionally and cook till meats are browned and no juice remains.

Add onions, peppers, garlic, chili powder and spices. Stir in well, and cook stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch chili powder.

Add beef broth, beer and tomatoes. Combine well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.

Add apples and beans and return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until meat and apples are tender. Season with salt to taste.

(Note: If chili gets too thick, add water as needed during cooking.)

Serve with Chili Toppers of your choice.

Vegetarian option: Substitute 1 pound peeled, 1″ cubed winter squash (such as Hubbard or pumpkin) for meats and an apple juice and vegetable broth mixture for beef broth.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Spicy Apple Onion Compote
Makes enough for 6 servings.

1 large green apple with peel, cored and cut in chunks
1/4 medium white onion, cut in chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup red pepper jam (medium spiciness)
1 tablespoon dried currants

In a food processor pulse the apple and onion until they are chopped into 1/4- to 1/3-inch pieces.

In a medium skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, onions and ginger. Sauté for about 5 minutes until apples and onions are just tender.

Add the lemon zest, vinegar, pepper jam and currants and bring to a boil. Let boil about 2 minutes until loose and chutney-like. If compote gets too dry while cooking, add a tablespoon of water. Remove from heat and cool.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 3rd, 2013  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Books to Cook, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, appetizers, dessert, meats, sides

Harvest Dark & Stormy

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I make an Apple Ginger Puree for my Harvest Dark & Stormy! Using my Vitamix The Quiet One, I puree a d’lish combination of fresh diced apples (I like using Granny Smith for their tart flavor), coarse minced ginger, sugar and water. The mixture compliments the ginger beer and the dark rum (you can also use a spiced rum) for my twist on the classic Dark & Stormy.

Cheers! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 24th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Dim Sum Finds!

I LOVE Dim Sum! A traditional Chinese way of preparing food, dim sum items are usually bite or individual-sized portions and typically enjoyed for breakfast or lunch.

Going for dim sum with friends or family is a great outing. If you’re not familiar with this style of food, dim sum dishes are typically wheeled around on carts within the restaurant. Diners can then pick and choose what they would like to try. The portions are small so you can be adventurous!


Tasty dim sum offerings!
(Photo from Seattle Magazine.)

I usually go for the steamed stuff like Shumai: small dumplings filled with pork and shrimp in a thin wheat flour wrapper. My faves are Har Gow shrimp dumplings and Char Sui Bao, which are fluffy steamed buns filled with BBQ pork filling. And then there is the Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce and Salt and Pepper Squid –yum! Oh and there’s also chicken feet – not so much for me, but there is something for all taste adventurers.

Seattle’s International District has a lot of places to choose from. One of my favorites is Sun Ya. On the east side, check out Bellevue’s Noble Court. And for a fun day trip, head north over the border to Richmond, BC, which has an amazing array of places – Sun Sui Wah is a MUST!

Go with friends and have fun at dim sum. And don’t forget to tell me some of your fave places to try. – Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 19th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Restaurants, Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts
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