sides

Cheesy,Goodness: Mac and Cheese

When I think of comfort foods, one of the first things that come to mind is mac & cheese. Gooey, warm, and of course, cheesy – this d’lish dish is always a winner!

One of my favorite recipes is a 4 Cheese Penne Bake – penne pasta, garlic and parmesan white sauce – tossed with loads of shredded cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, jack and parmesan. Cover the whole thing with some fresh, herby bread crumbs for a nice crunch.

4 Cheese Penne Bake
Gooey, melted cheese bake – yum!
Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

Mac & Cheese is perfect to customize, you can add your favorite ingredients like bacon for a cheddar bacon mac. Or try adding in things like chopped roasted red peppers, green onions, artichokes, smoked chicken, sautéed mushrooms, sausage, green chilies….. the list is endless!

Or how about changing up the sauce by mixing in some salsa or chipotle for a kick of heat? Nothing is off limits!

So get creative and bake up some cheesy goodness! -Kathy

4 Cheese Penne Bake With Herb Bread Crumbs
Generously serves 6 – 8.

Herb Bread Crumbs (recipe follows)
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
4 cups milk*
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated high-quality Parmesan cheese
1 pound dry penne pasta
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated four-cheese blend**
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the Herb Bread Crumbs and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottom sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir around for about 20 seconds — do not let garlic brown. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

While stirring vigorously with a whisk, add the milk. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and whisk occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, sour cream and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne pasta per package directions until done. Drain well.

In a very large bowl mix together the pasta and sauce, then fold in the grated cheeses until well combined. Place mixture into a lightly buttered, 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle with Herb Bread Crumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until pasta is heated through, sides are slightly bubbling and top is golden brown.

Chef’s Notes:
*For an even richer macaroni and cheese substitute half & half for the milk.

**Four-, five- and six-cheese blends are available in most grocers’ dairy sections. If you wish to make your own grated cheese blend, try using a mixture of any of the following: Jack, mozzarella, Gouda, Swiss, Havarti.

Herb Bread Crumbs
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

3 cups packed, 1-inch French bread chunks
4 Tbsp butter
pinch salt and pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dry basil leaves
1/2 tsp dry thyme leaves

Place bread crumb ingredients in a food processor, and pulse processor on and off until the bread becomes chopped into a fine crumb and is well mixed with the other ingredients.

Bread crumbs should be refrigerated until used and can be kept frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on November 7th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Cheesy,Goodness: Mac and Cheese |  Posted in Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

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 appetizers, Books to Cook, dessert, Fruit, KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

Giant Zucchini!

Zucchini are a favorite summer squash and gardeners (and neighbors of gardeners) know they can grow to at least three feet – impressive!

An incredibly versatile vegetable, zucchini flowers are edible too!  They are wonderful sautéed in a lovely summer pasta dish or stuffed with cheese, lightly battered and fried.

Zucchini is the perfect star on the grill. Try my Cumin-Marinated Grilled Zucchini topped with Tomato and Corn Summer Salsa. Just cut medium-sized zucchini in half lengthwise, rub with a little olive oil, sea salt and cumin, then pop on the grill! Top with a great quick-to-make salsa – sweet corn, diced tomatoes, some jalapeño for spice and a touch of lime. Super easy and so delicious!

Have a giant zucchinis? Get sweet with it and grate it into my Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  The zucchini keeps the cake moist and delicious. Top it off with a Chocolate Espresso Glaze – YUM!

And if you just can’t eat them all, then put on some costume wings and become the “zucchini fairy!” Share the zucchini bounty and leave one on your neighbors doorstep – your neighbors will thank you!

My intern, Emily told me her dad used to unload his over-sized zucchini on unsuspecting house guests and neighbors by leaving them on the backseat of their cars for them to find on the drive home – pretty sneaky! Emily grew a pretty decent sized one herself this year, too!

Emily's Zucchini
Emily with her Giant Zucchini !

Whether in the garden or on the grill, zucchinis really are a fantastic vegetable for the summertime! – Kathy

Cumin Grilled Zucchini With Tomato Corn Summer Salsa
Makes 6 servings.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise (about 1 1/4 lb.)

Salsa
3/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced ripe tomatoes
1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels (about 1 medium ear of corn)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsps olive oil
2 Tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Garnish
regular or non-fat sour cream

Pre-heat grill to hot — you want to grill the zucchini over hot coals.

In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Add zucchini and rub oil mixture all over the zucchini, making sure they are covered well. Set aside.

To make salsa: In a large bowl mix together all the salsa ingredients well. Adjust jalapeños as needed for spiciness desired.

To grill zucchini: Place zucchini over very hot coals and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side to mark zucchini nicely and cook until just done.

Serve zucchini topped with salsa and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Espresso Glaze
Serves 12.

Cake
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz. wt.)

Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz. wt.)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsps strong brewed coffee or espresso

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer cream together the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix into the creamed ingredients a little at a time until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts, zucchini and chocolate chips.

Butter and flour a large (10-cup) Bundt pan and pour in batter. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Let cake stand in pan for 5 minutes or so then remove from pan and place cake on a rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze: In a small pan heat the chocolate, cream and coffee over low heat till smooth and just melted. Pour over cake. Let set 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 22nd, 2013  |  Comments Off on Giant Zucchini! |  Posted in dessert, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

Chill Out With Summer Cold Soups

Gazpacho is traditionally known as a cold-style soup. Originating in the southern regions of Spain and Portugal, this fresh tomato-based soup is a summer staple and a refreshing to get your vegetables!

I like to add lots of veggies into my gazpacho like cucumbers and bell peppers, then top it with some Alaska King Crab for a real splurge like my recipe I did with Sunset Tomatoes. Just think you won’t even have to turn on the stove for an elegant meal – that is definitely a plus on a hot summer’s night!

Gazpacho
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Tomatoes aren’t the only celebrities when it comes to “cold” soups …… there are lots of chilled summer fruit soup recipes too!

Juicy, ripe melons are the star in my Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs.

Creamy coconut milk, bold Thai red curry paste, and zesty ginger and lemongrass come together to make this soup d’lish. Top it off with a pouf of sweet bay shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts. Then season it up with a hit lime juice, basil and mint – it’s the meal to cool off with! Yum!

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup is a summertime classic in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe; mostly served as an opener. I’ve dug out the old recipe I used to make every summer at Fullers. Lush ruby cherries are cooked with spices and white wine then chilled, pureed and topped with a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream. Savory, sweet and lush –mmmmm!

So beat the heat and cool off with a chilled summer soup! –Kathy

Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs
Makes about 4 cups (6 starter servings)

Soup
3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (we used Mae Ploy)
1 can (13 – 14 ounces) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Topping
1/4 pound bay shrimp or chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup tiny-diced water chestnuts (Fresh ones are great if you can find them!)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

In a food processor or blender, process the cantaloupe, sugar, ginger, lemon grass and curry paste until evenly pureed. Mix in the coconut milk, salt and lime juice.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together.

Ladle soup into small bowls and spoon a pouf of topping into each serving. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Pass lime wedges on the side.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup
I also like this soup topped with a few coarse chopped toasted hazelnuts for a touch of crunch.

Makes 6 – 8 servings as a starter

2 cups crisp white wine, such as Fume Blanc
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod, crushed
4 black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups pitted Bing cherries (about 3 pounds)
1 cup crème fraîche, or substitute sour cream

Garnishes:
thinned crème fraîche or sour cream for swirling on top of soup
unsprayed, edible flowers, such as violas, pansies, rose petals or nasturtiums

In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar lemon zest, spices, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 5 cups of the cherries (reserve remainder) and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand till mixture reaches room temperature.

When cooked cherry mixture is cool, remove and discard cardamom pod and cinnamon stick. Place cherry mixture in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Then add crème Fraiche, and process until smooth.

Chill soup till very cold, at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Serve well chilled in cold bowls. Garnish each serving with the reserved, pitted cherries divided evenly among servings. Swirl the top of soup with thinned crème fraîche or sour cream drizzled from a spoon or squirted from a squeeze bottle. Garnish with edible flowers if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 15th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Chill Out With Summer Cold Soups |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, seafood, sides, soups

Creamy and D’Lish Avocados!

Every year I can’t wait for California avocados to hit the summer markets. They are so rich, creamy and flavorful! And they’re super nutritional, too! Like olive oil, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat (AKA “the good fat”) as well as potassium, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Avocados
(Photo from the California Avocado Commission)

Avocados are delicious when sliced and served in sandwiches like a summer BLTA, cozied up to thick sliced summer tomatoes. We also love them in chunky guacamole scooped up with crispy corn chips, or folded in a tropical fruit salsa.

I love them in salads, especially when paired with sweet and tangy oranges like in my Orange, Avocado & Red Onion Jumble with Poppyseed Vinaigrette it’s wonderful to top bib lettuce as a starter or as an accompaniment to grilled Alaska salmon. Yum!

Speaking of salads avocados are also great blended into salad dressings, such as the classic Green Goddess or in a low fat ranch—so tasty drizzled on grilled fish tacos.

And don’t forget breakfast, I love them sliced over a pepper jack cheese omelet with a dollop of fresh salsa – d’lish!

And yes avocados are also pretty tasty and interesting in blended beverages too. In Dubai, I had a really interesting layered drink with avocado, red date and rose. A little closer to home, Portland’s Lucy Brennan of Mint Bar put the blended avocado daiquiri on the cocktail map. It’s good – really!

Just remember my 2 avocado “rules”:
1. Buy them a couple of days ahead so they get nice and ripe — but are still firm.
2. Don’t throw that pit away! Put it back in your dressings and guacamoles until ready to serve. It helps keep the avocado from turning brown.

So think green and add in fresh California avocados to your next dish! – Kathy

Orange, Avocado Jumble
Photo from Kathy Casey Cooks: Favorites.

Orange, Avocado & Red Onion “Jumble” with Poppyseed Vinaigrette
Makes 4 cups; about 6 servings.

3 large oranges
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 ripe but firm California avocados

Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup canola or light olive oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Make vinaigrette first. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Chill until ready to serve salad.

Cut ends off of oranges and then cut skin off the sides of orange, carefully removing all the white pith. Cut oranges in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a large bowl with onion. Cut avocados in quarters, peel and then slice into salad.

Toss with dressing and serve.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Green Goddess Dressing
Makes about 2 cups

1 ripe California avocado (reserve pit)
2 egg yolks*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 shallot, minced fine
4 anchovy fillets
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream (or light sour cream)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor (or blender) place the avocado, egg yolks, lemon juice, herbs, shallot and anchovies. Process for about 1 minute until well combined. Then slowly drizzle in the oil, as when making a mayonnaise. Mixture should become smooth and creamy. Turn machine off and scrape down the sides. Add the sour cream and pepper. Process for about 30 seconds more or until smooth.

Place in a container; submerge the avocado pit to help dressing keep its green color. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the dressing’s surface and cover well. Will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

* Note: Raw eggs are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone with immune deficiencies.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 9th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Creamy and D’Lish Avocados! |  Posted in appetizers, Books to Cook, Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, other, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides

Celebrate Summer Sweet Cherries

From Bings to Queen Annes to Rainiers, cherries are one of the Northwest’s most famed exports and also one of our most valuable crops. Needless to say, they’re luscious, sweet & tart, and decadent.

Bing Cherries
Tasty bing cherries!
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Nothing beats eating cherries out of your hand but I love them muddled in fresh lemonade or in one of my favorite summer cocktails, Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd. Make this ultra-refreshing sip up to three days ahead of time for your next barbeque or picnic. It’s perfect for your next patio party!

For a super easy app, Cherry Bings are fun. Pit large Bing cherries (with either a cherry pitter or by using a chopstick to poke the pit out). Roll in some goat cheese and toasted almonds. Viola – a d’lish appetizer!

Thinking of a summer cherry inspired entree? Whip up a batch of my Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa. It’s great on grilled chicken or salmon – yum!

So head out to the market to grab a big bag of fresh local cherries and taste the season! –Kathy

Cherry Mojitos
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd
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.

Makes about 10 servings

3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
12 sprigs fresh basil
3 cups silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water, chilled

For Garnishing: fresh mint and basil sprigs, fresh cherries

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, lightly crush the cherries with a potato masher. Then add the mint, basil, rum, sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (You can remove the herbs before serving if you like and then garnish with fresh ones.)

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

Recipe  by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Cherry & Goat Cheese Bings
Makes about 20 pieces

20 fresh dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)

Pit the cherries and set aside to drain on paper towels for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, mix the almonds, oil, and salt in a small bowl, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, use your hands to crush the almonds to the size of cracker crumbs; put into a shallow bowl.

Take 1 heaping teaspoonful of cheese in the palm of your hand, place a cherry on the cheese, and start rolling with your hands to coat the cherry. If there are any thin spots, add a bit more cheese. Immediately after rolling the cheese around the cherry, drop it into the crumbled almonds and roll to coat with the nuts. Repeat with the remaining cherries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, for up to 2 hours.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa
Serve this sassy salsa over grilled chicken or salmon. I also like to add in some toasted crushed coriander seeds for a different twist.

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups pitted sliced Bing cherries (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup minced Walla Walla sweet onion or other sweet white onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

In a small bowl, gently mix all the ingredients. The salsa is best if made right before serving but can be made up to 2 hours in advance.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 25th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Celebrate Summer Sweet Cherries |  Posted in appetizers, Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

Taco Party

DIY hands-on dinner parties are always fun, interactive and convenient when it comes to dietary restrictions and preferences. It’s also a great way to answer that age old party question, “What can I do to help?”

One of my fave kinds of food parties is a taco fiesta! You can offer a variety of meat and vegetarian options, such as slow cooked chili-pork to ginger-lime marinated chicken and cumin grilled squash. Or go coastal and grill up some shrimp or Alaska cod filets! For your veggie friends, be sure to have slow simmered garlicky black beans or cilantro studded quinoa.

Set out a variety of cheeses like queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese and lots of fresh salsas from red to green to tropical (think diced mango & pineapples, etc.). Offer up soft flour tortillas and corn tortillas for the gluten free gang.

Pickly or crunchy add ins like my Red Onion Escabeche Veggies or shaved green cabbage are a must and are great to top my Chili & Lime Slow Cooked Pork tacos.

And don’t forget to serve it all up with a cool pitcher of margaritas, chilled beers and Sparkling Limeade!

So get your fiesta on with friends and make your next get together a DIY taco party! –Kathy

KC tacos

Yum!
Photo from
Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Chili & Lime Slow-Cooked Pork with Red Onion Escabeche and Warm Tortillas
Makes 6 hearty servings

Pork
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander seed, crushed
1 tablespoon salt
1 boneless pork butt (shoulder), about 3 pounds, cut into 2 pieces
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Escabeche
2 large carrots, julienned
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons corn or other vegetable oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
1 teaspoon salt

Accompaniments
Warm corn tortillas
Sour cream
Salsa or freshly made pico de gallo
Queso fresco (Mexican-style fresh cheese)
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges

To prepare the pork, mix the chili powder, coriander seed, and salt in a large, shallow bowl. Roll the pork in the mixture, taking up all the seasoning.

Put the pork in a slow-cooker, add the remaining ingredients, and set the cooker on high. Let cook for 8 hours—or up to 10 hours if you’re still at work!

When ready to serve, mix the escabeche ingredients well, then place in a serving dish. Shred the pork and place in a large serving bowl with some of the cooking liquid.

Serve the pork with the escabeche and accompaniments. Diners build their own “soft tacos,” then squeeze lime juice over the filling before folding.

Chef’s Note: To heat tortillas, place them, one by one, on a dry skillet over medium-high heat and turn frequently. As they are heated, slip them between the folds of a clean dish towel or cloth napkin. Wrap the towel in foil (or put into a small casserole dish and cover) to steam in their own heat and moisture. Or, microwave the tortillas very briefly and put into a napkin as above. Or, wrap several tortillas in a foil packet and steam them in a steamer until just heated through; use directly from the foil or wrap in a towel as described above.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Sparkling Limeade

Sparkling Limeade

3 Tbsp. finely minced lime zest (with no white pith)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
——————————————————
1 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 cups chilled sparkling water
Garnish: long fresh lemon and lime zest twists

Combine the zest, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a quick boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and let cool.

In a large pitcher combine the cooled sugar syrup, lime juice and the sparkling water.
Serve over ice and garnish with citrus twists.

Photo and recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 18th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Taco Party |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

Fruit Salads

Quick: name 3 side dishes for your next barbeque. I bet fruit salad was on that list! Put down that recipe for Waldorf salad and get creative with new fruit salad ideas.

A fave d’lish trick is to mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with a local honey; then add in some chopped freshly picked mint from the garden. Toss this with juicy peach wedges or halved apricots – yum!

Try grilling thick slices of pineapple and then sprinkling them with a touch of ground chipotle chili, a touch of lime juice, and a quick scatter in some chopped cilantro. My mouth is watering just thinking about this one.

Icy cold watermelon chunks are terrific when tossed with feta cheese, chopped fresh basil, kalamata olives and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil! Now that’s a NEW salad everyone will love!

So think outside of the box and try a new spin on fruit salad…and don’t forget to tell me how you like your refreshing summer side! – Kathy

Fruit + Lavender
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios
®.

Succulent Summer Stone Fruits with Lavender- Lemon Honey Syrup
Makes about 6 servings

Lavander Lemon Honey Syrup
1/2 cup high quality local honey
1/2 cup water
8 ea fresh lavander flowers, unsprayed and rinsed (or 1 tablespoon dry)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fruit
an assortment such as the following of fresh ripe stone fruits to make about 4 cups after cutting:
-peaches, peeled, pitted and  cut in wedges
-large apricots, pitted and cut in wedges
-plums, pitted and cut in wedges
-nectarines, pitted and cut in wedges
-pitted fresh cherries

Fresh lavender flowers for garnish, if desired.

To make the lavender lemon honey syrup : In a small heavy bottom sauce pan combine the honey, water and lavender flowers. Bring to a low boil over med  heat – being careful that ist does not foam up. Slowly simmer for about  10  minutes or until like thin pancake syrup.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Then add lemon juice and strain. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

To serve: In a large bowl toss with the lavender lemon honey syrup. Garnish with fresh lavender flowers if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Todd English’s Watermelon, Fennel and Black Olive Salad with Feta Cheese
One of my all-time favorite watermelon recipes is chef Todd English’s. He embellishes a melon salad with the distinctive flavors of fennel, feta and kalamata olives contrasted against the cool red-glistening fruit. The recipe was originally featured in the Star Palate cookbook, whose proceeds benefited the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Makes 8 servings

4 cups seeded watermelon chunks
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a Japanese mandoline (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Put the watermelon, fennel, olives, red onion, green onion, basil leaves, and feta in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Divide among salad plates and serve immediately.

Adapted from “Star Palate: Celebrity Cookbook for a Cure” by Tami Agassi and Kathy Casey

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 12th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Fruit Salads |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides
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