More tasty travels and D’lish events!
The New Year has just been flying by, and so have I… from New Orleans, Chicago and the Ukraine, to Las Vegas most recently. I have been traveling everywhere, sharing my passion for great food and d’lish cocktails (all the while earning lots of flyer miles!). Here’s a quick recap of what my team and I have been up to!
Congratulations to the Fairmont Hotels!
The new year started out with a trip to New Orleans, where I attended the annual Cheers Beverage Conference. Living up to its name, it was quite the libatious celebration all around – from tastings and seminars, to celebrity mixologist parties. But most exciting was the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts winning the Cheers 2012 Best Chain Hotel Beverage Program for the FAME (Fairmont Artistic Mixology Experience) Program that we manage and helped create – from individual hotel trainings to building a master recipe manual and individual bar culture, as well as producing a nine-part online training series. We are thrilled to continue to keep FAME fresh! Congrats Fairmont!!
Dobrý Deň! (It Means “Good Day” in Ukrainian!)
Speaking of Fairmont… my next stop was Kyiv, Ukraine to train the team there on all things spirited! Senior Liquid Kitchen™ Mixologist Keith Waldbauer and I landed in snowy and COLD Kyiv (or Kiev and pronounced kEEv) where it was straight to work.
Keith testing Liquid Kitchen Fairmont cocktails!
We trained the new staff for all the new bars and restaurants, and created lots of new cocktail creations using local products. We made birch syrup out of birch juice, which was amazing in an Old-Fashioned cocktail. And can I say how much I’m in love with Monin’s Tarragon syrup? (Don’t get too excited, it’s only available in Europe for now.) It’s d’lish in a non-alcoholic drink I made with clementines and fresh sparkling lemon soda!
Our beloved Green Chartreuse was not available, so I made my own herbal liquor – it turned out delicious! Those are little bottles of 97% grain alcohol, and yes, you can ignite it!
Ingredients were sometimes hard to get, but you make do with what you have. I pulled out my chef bag of tricks here and there, and we ended up with some pretty exciting cocktails! Drinks were shaken up with our house-made Black Tea and Pomegranate Elixer, house-made herbal liquor and grapefruit spice bitters.
Ingredients were sometimes challenging – yes, I’m grating my own salt!
The Fairmont Kyiv bar staff taking a photo break – after learning how to make house-made bitters.
In between work sessions, we did have some time to check out the scenery, shops and of course bars! Yes, the crew took us out in local style and tried to out drink us with shots of Honey Pepper Vodka, chased with local unpasteurized beer – ‘til the wee hours of the morning – but we held our own!
Honey Pepper Vodka + Local Beer = Fun with the Crew!
On our excursion day, we visited some beautiful churches in Kyiv. I can still hear the bells ringing.
They like faces on their foods too… LOL! Not sure why, but I got in a LOT of trouble at a store for taking this photo of sliced meat with funny faces! And the cream puffs were cute, too!
I found a little time to zip out to the store where it was fun to see all the local dried fish and pickled goodies. Of course, I was in heaven because I love all things pickled. The whole, pickled tomatoes were amazing!
Local dried fish and pickled everything in Kyiv.
There sure were a lot (and I mean a LOT) of potatoes, pickles beets, and cabbage… so I was inspired to create the Kyiv Martini! It featured local vodka (which, by the way, is fantastic and has a very complex character) shaken with a slice of fresh beet and served in a glass lined with a piece of fresh, shaved cucumber, then garnished with my homemade beet-pickled onions. I’d like one right now, please!
My Kyiv Martini!
We also visited a really cool local restaurant called Puzata Hata, where we had succulent dumplings and other local specialties, served to us at stations by cute Ukrainian ladies. You can eat your fill and drink local beer for under $10 a person!
I have to say, Ukrainian people are some of the most welcoming and friendly people we have ever worked with. But after lots of hard work getting the crew ready to open all the Fairmont Bars, and eating my fill of borsch, potato, and cabbage dumplings, it was time to go home. I was really craving Asian food and some good ol’ American home cooking. Luckily for me, as soon as I landed back in Seattle, my husband John had whipped up my favorite Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Half a Bottle of Wine and 20 Cloves of Garlic and fluffy mashed potatoes – thank you, honey! Yum! Then at work the next day, my Food Studios crew welcomed me back with pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). What a great way to come home! But stay tuned, as there might be a chance I’ll be going back this summer, when it’s sure to be a bit warmer…
Then it was off to Las Vegas…
…to be one of the celebrity judges for the Speed Rack – Las Vegas event! Founded by two faboo LUPEC – NY members Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, their event promotes female bartenders from coast-to-coast in a speedy and engaging round-robin style tournament, with proceeds going straight to fight breast cancer. It was fast-paced action and these ladies know how to shake up a storm right before the annual VIBE Conference!
Charlotte Voisey, Tony Abou-Ganim and me getting ready to judge!
Speed Rack competitors hard at work, and judges judging!
After Speed Rack, it was on to the VIBE (Very Important Beverage Executives) Conference, held in conjunction with the Nightclub and Bar Show. VIBE is an amazing event and I am thrilled to participate every year with Monin. For the opening night I showcased my Spiced Islands Rum Punch crafted with Solerno blood orange liqueur, Sailor Jerry Rum, Monin Almond and Cinnamon Syrups, fresh pineapple and lime juices, all topped with an Angostura Foam. And, of course, I love my bling, so it had a light dusting of 24K gold on top.
The next day, associate Cameo McRoberts and I presented a seminar on non-alcoholic trends, where we discussed house-made sodas like cucumber, ginger, and lemongrass – as well as small indulgent treats like mini drinking caramels, and the love of carbonation and super fizz! Account Manager Heather Jones and new Liquid Kitchen Associate Dänny Ronen shook up beverages like mad, for a packed house. It was all fun but I was ready to come home!
After a long trip to Vegas, it was time to leave…before the lizards came! Heather, look out!
Next Stops: Orlando… Napa Valley at the CIA Flavor Summit and Los Angeles
Stay tuned for more tasty travels! Make sure you follow me on Twitter for all the fun pix and details!
Serious Sippin’ with the Liquid Kitchen
Filming of the third season of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen™ will soon be under way this spring! Here’s a sneak peak of one of my drinks that I’ll be sharing this season: The Ultimate Gin & Tonic. Martin Miller gin, a touch of fresh lime juice, and Housemade Tonic Bitters, all topped off with DRY Blood Orange Soda and a pouf of Cucumber Foam. A light dusting of micro-planed lime finishes it off! Are you thirsty now?? Well in the meantime, check out this episode and make yourself a Citrus 75.
And if you’re looking to expand your home bar, make sure you stop by my online store for all your libatious needs, from my Liquid Kitchen 6-piece bar kit essentials, Golden Era Bitters, and 5130 Honey to Dish D’Lish® Cocktailor Mixers and more!
Tasty & Libatious Reads – and Cooking up a New Cookbook
Wow! I think I can seriously say there may be deviled eggs coming out my ears! That’s right, I’m in the final throes of testing recipes for my 10th book – it is due out next year, and is all about deviled eggs. I am super excited about this book, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I’m thrilled to announce that my cocktail and appetizer book Sips & Apps is finally available in digital form for the Amazon Kindle!
For those of you that live in my neck of the woods, be sure to check out the beautiful new Sip Northwest Magazine – its pages are full of wonderful libations and tipples from all around the Pacific Northwest! Here’s a sneak peak of my featured column for this season’s issue, including local mixologists’ recipes for beer-inspired cocktails. You can also pick up a complimentary copy at my Dish D’Lish cafés at the Sea-Tac International Airport.
Cook Up Some Fun!
I was thrilled when, a couple of years ago, I was asked to submit a lemonade drink for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a really cool charity. After I submitted my drink, I had a phone call with Paramount Citrus (the sponsor) which came about because they loved my drink. They probably thought I was nuts the way I was going on and on about my love of citrus. Those of you that have known me for years already know of my zesty lemon habit! From passing on birthday cake for a scrumptious lemon meringue pie to loving a pop of citrus zest in just about everything, I just adore all things citrus! With spring here, I thought I would share a delicious, bright-tasting side dish, Lemony Herbed Orzo. This sassy side is perfect as an accompaniment to grilled fish or roasted chicken, and paired with first-of-the-season fresh asparagus. Fresh lemon juice and zest add a zingy flavor pop.
Lemony Herbed Orzo
Makes 6 servings
12 ounces dry orzo pasta (2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter, salted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon very finely minced shallots
1/2 cup very coarsely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or tarragon
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed Paramount Citrus Lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced lemon zest (see my tip on how to make zest below*)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and cook for approximately 6 – 8 minutes, stirring often, until just al dente or per package instructions. Immediately drain well (do not rinse), then place orzo in a heat-proof bowl. Stir in butter, olive oil, shallots and herbs to coat well. Then stir in lemon juice, zest, seasonings and cheese. Serve immediately.
*Citrus Zest adds such a lovely flavor pop to any dish.
To make lemon or other citrus zest: Zest is the outer peel of the fruit – with no white pith attached. You can remove the zest from the fruit with a fine zesting tool that makes long, very thin, pretty strands. Or you can peel off the zest with an ordinary potato peeler, being sure not to get any white pith, and then finely cut the zest in very, very thin long strips or mince it. You can also grate it off. For this method, I like to use a microplane.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Where to Catch Kathy Next
6th Annual Ocean Shores’ Razor Clam Festival: Saturday, March 24th, 7:00am – 4:00pm
Ocean Shores Chamber of Commerce
It’s almost that time of year again where I head for the beach! Not for tanning…but to go clamming! My team and I will once again be heading down to Ocean Shores to host and judge the Annual Razor Clam Festival, a Saturday full of family fun and great eats! There’ll be activities all day, as well as craft booths to visit. You can also sample all the competing chowders entered in the Clam Chowder Cook-Off! It’ll be a clam-tastic day – don’t forget to get your clam licenses and gear ahead of time for the day’s clam dig. Hope to see some of my Northwest friends there!
It’s a $10,000 prize, people!! Get your aprons ready, your creative juices flowing, and fire up that stove!!
The 3rd Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Competition is well underway! Foster Farms is inviting all California, Oregon, and Washington professional and home chefs to submit their tried and true chicken recipes. Submitted recipes should include local ingredients that pair well with Foster Farms Chicken (check out the past years winners and finalists’ recipes for ideas). The ultimate grand prize is $10,000 and a year’s worth of Foster Farms chicken! Make sure you turn in your recipes soon as the deadline to submit your recipe is June 3rd!
Get the bar ready and show us how to make your version of an Old Fashioned cocktail!
Tales of the Cocktail is one of the biggest imbibing events of the year for both spirits industry professionals and cocktail lovers. This year holds no exception, as it will be their 10th year anniversary! Industry professionals can submit their winning recipe for their creative take on the Old Fashioned. First prize winner will receive $1,250 cash and be the “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail! Get shakin’, as the deadline to submit your “aged” cocktail is March 25th!
So, I hope you have enjoyed my travel stories, work shenanigans, and recipe testing tales. Until next time, please join me every weekend on Dishing with Kathy Casey on KOMO News Radio, and check out my companion blog with all the corresponding recipes and tips. Don’t forget to tweet with me @KathyCaseyChef! I’m always excited to chat about what’s new and tasty! -Kathy
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