Pasta-Risotto

Dishing with Kathy Casey: The Newsletter

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!

——–

Tasty Travels

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_and_drinks
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!

herbal_liqueur
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.

grated_salt
Ingredients were sometimes challenging – yes, I’m grating my own salt!

kathy_and_crew
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_vodkabeercrew
Honey Pepper Vodka + Local Beer = Fun with the Crew!

keith_churchchurch_2
On our excursion day, we visited some beautiful churches in Kyiv. I can still hear the bells ringing.

meat_facecream_puff
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!

dried_fishpickled_everything
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!

kyiv_martini
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!

ukrainian_lady

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…

Speed_Rack_Logo

…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_tony_kathy
Charlotte Voisey, Tony Abou-Ganim and me getting ready to judge!

speed_rack_competitorsspeed_rack_judges
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!

heather_lizard
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

ultimate_gin_tonic

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!

Sip_Northwest_Logo

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.

zest_herb

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

*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!

——–

Contests!

Foster Farms logo

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!

Tales

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!

KOMO

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

——–

Follow on Twitter @KathyCaseyChef. Blogging: Dishing with Kathy Casey. Like on Facebook: Sips & Apps and Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen. Watch: www.LiquidKitchen.tv.

If you haven’t signed up for my Newsletter, you can sign up here.

The Weekly Herald

Spot prawns tend to be very flexible no matter how you cook them and works well with a myriad of fresh ingredients. Check out The Weekly Herald for my Spot Prawn Pasta with Lemon Cream recipe!

Posted by Kathy Casey on June 30th, 2011  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Pasta-Risotto, Recipes, seafood

Fantastic Fresh Pasta

The idea of handmade pasta can be a bit intimidating, but there is really nothing like a bowl of fresh, home-made noodles. While the process itself takes a bit of practice, the rewards are many: it is inexpensive to make, the flavor is a revelation compared to dried pasta, you can customize it however you like, and most importantly, it’s satisfying! These days, it’s even easier than ever to create your own home-made pasta. With pasta-roller attachments for stand mixers, ravioli molds and food processors; it can be a fairly straightforward process. Of course, if you have the time and inclination, rolling your pasta out by hand, while it takes a bit of hard work, pays off when you see your perfect strips of fettuccine in a beautiful bowl being served to appreciative diners!

If you’re up to the challenge, I’ve included a fantastic Fresh Egg Pasta recipe from Williams-Sonoma Cooking At Home by Kristine Kidd and Chuck Williams. It is a great starting place for making pasta by hand and once you’ve mastered it, there’s a ton of ways to dress it up and make it your own….herbs, spices, slow cooked sauces, fresh sauces, flavored oils…..the possibilities are endless!

Of course, once you’ve got your pasta made, you need the perfect recipe to incorporate it in – and I’ve  just the thing; my Garlic Gulch Braised Rabbit Ragù with Pappardelle Pasta. You can make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate then serve with your beautiful hand-made pasta for a really fantastic meal! And if you’ve never cooked rabbit before then this is a great recipe to try it.

So head into the kitchen and roll out some culinary magic!

-Kathy

Fresh Egg Pasta
Makes about 1 lb. dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs

Hand method: Mound the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Carefully break the eggs into the well. Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs. Working in a circular motion, gradually incorporate the flour from the walls of the well into the eggs. When the dough becomes too stiff to beat with the fork, continue with the palm of your hand until as much flour as possible is incorporated. Using the palm and the heel of your hand, knead the dough, pushing it down and away, folding it back toward you and rotating it a quarter turn. If you plan to roll the dough out by hand, repeat these strokes until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes. If you plan to roll the dough by machine, repeat these strokes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 2-3 minutes.

Food processor method: Combine the flour and eggs in a food processor. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Then process using long pulses just until the dough forms around the blade, about 1 minute. Turn the dough out on to a work surface and knead with the palm of your hand as described above.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Rolling Out Fresh Pasta: Cut the dough into easy to manage portions and keep covered until needed. Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Flatten a dough portion, then roll out to the desired thinness. To test, lift the dough with one hand. IF making ribbons such as fettuccini, your hand should be clearly visible through the dough; if making filled pasta, the dough should be nearly translucent. Lay the pasta sheets on a floured kitchen towel and let stand for ten minutes before cutting. The pasta should be neither dry nor sticky.

Cutting Fresh Pasta: Roll up the pasta sheet into a cylinder and flatten it slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut across the roll into slices 3/8 inch wide for tagliatelle or fettuccine, 1 1/4 inches for pappardelle, a scant 1/8 inch for taglierini and 4 inches for lasagne. Unfurl the narrow slices, form a few strips at a time into nests about 2 inches wide and place on a floured kitchen towel.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home, Weldon-Owen Inc., San Francisco.

Garlic Gulch Braised Rabbit Ragù with Pappardelle Pasta
Makes 6 to 8 first-course or 4 entrée servings

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
1 pound fresh pasta sheets, such as egg with parsley, or substitute fettuccine pasta
Braised Rabbit Ragù (recipe follows)

Garnishes:
Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana cheese
Fresh thyme sprigs

Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the 1 Tbsp oil and a big pinch of salt.

Meanwhile, cut the pasta sheets, if using, into 1-inch-wide strips and fluff with your hands to separate. A few strips at a time, drop the pasta into the boiling water and stir to separate; keep a close eye on the pasta while cooking to be sure that the pieces do not stick together. Cook the pasta until just al dente, about 2 to 4 minutes, then immediately drain well. Do not rinse. Put the pasta in a large bowl, drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat. Mix in 1 cup ragù.

Divide the pasta among large, shallow pasta bowls, and top with the remaining sauce. Drizzle with oil if desired. Shave cheese to taste over each portion and garnish with thyme.

Braised Rabbit Ragù

2 pounds rabbit, cut into serving pieces, then bigger pieces halved or quartered
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced parsnip
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced carrot
3 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes in juice

Season the rabbit all over with the salt and pepper. Reserve the rabbit liver, if available, in the refrigerator.

In a large braising pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the rabbit pieces for about 2 minutes on each side. (Do not crowd the pan; brown the rabbit in batches if necessary.) As the rabbit is browned, transfer to a plate.

When all the rabbit is browned, add the onion, parsnip, celery, and carrot to the same pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook to reduce for 5 minutes, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and broth. Using your clean hands, “squish” the tomatoes and add them to the mixture with their juice.

Return the rabbit and any accumulated juices to the pan. Make sure the rabbit is covered with the liquid. Bring to a simmer and braise, uncovered, keeping the sauce at a constant low simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly tender.

Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer the rabbit meat from the sauce to a baking sheet. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary. Finely chop the reserved liver, if using, and stir into the hot sauce.

When the meat is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones. Discard the bones, chop the meat into rustic pieces, and mix it back into the sauce. (Be careful of little tiny bones.) Taste the sauce for salt and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot.

Chef’s Note: You can make the sauce up to 3 days ahead, then let cool and refrigerate. The ragù is also excellent served over soft polenta.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco

Posted by Kathy Casey on February 3rd, 2011  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Books to Cook, meats, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts

Mac n’ Cheese = Total Comfort!

It never seems to fail. I’ll be at a foodie event, dinner party or a swanky shindig somewhere — we will all be nibbling on the finest cuisine and patting our lips so sophisticated-like with our linen napkins — and what does the conversation turn to? a lot of the time — macaroni and cheese. And it certainly becomes quite a lively topic at that!

Here’s how the conversation goes: “Oh, yes, homemade is the best, but Stoffer’s is still pretty good sometimes — I can’t believe I’m saying that at this table!” “My mom used to make it from scratch with loads of sharp Tillamook Cheddar, but I looooooove it made with Cougar Gold…  Have you had the lobster mac and cheese at so and so’s?

In fact tried-and-true old mac and cheese has come into its own. Don’t feel, that when crafting this classic that taking a lot of creative liberties is shunned. You could use almost any kind of pasta shape — bows, shells, spirals, penne. Fancy or not cheeses – but a lot of them! Then there are the add ins: bacon, sausage, fresh herbs, crab, roasted garlic, artichokes… a drizzle of truffle oil… the possibilities are endless!

My recipe is for a 4-cheese mac — penne pasta bound with a garlic and Parmesan white sauce, then tossed with loads of cheese — Jack, Cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan. It’s covered with fresh, herby, seasoned bread crumbs that get all nice and crunchy.

It’s more classic style – but jacked up a bit… it’s ooey gooey and d’lish and may be just the little bit of comfort we could all use this time of year.
Copyright © 2010 by Kathy Casey

4 Cheese “Ultra-Mac” With Herb Bread Crumbs
Generously serves 6 to 8

4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 1/2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups whole milk or half-and-half*
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 Cavatappi or penne pasta
2 cups (1/2 lb.) grated four-cheese blend **
      (available purchased or make your own blend up)
2 cups (1/2 lb.) grated cheddar cheese

Herb Bread Crumbs
3 cups packed, 1-inch French bread chunks
4 Tbsp. butter
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dry basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dry thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make bread crumbs: Place bread crumb ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until the bread becomes fine crumbs and is well mixed. Set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir 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 to 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 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 pan-sprayed or buttered, 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with Herb Bread Crumbs and bake in a 375°F oven for about 30 -35 minutes, or until pasta is heated through, sides are slightly bubbling and top is golden brown.

* 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.
© 2010 Revised from Kathy Casey Favorites

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 15th, 2010  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Pasta-Risotto, Recipes

Tomatoes

heirloom

Years ago I wrote about tomatoes, pleading for more people to join me on the Tomato Police. Well, things have certainly improved—so all you tomato-ripening deputies have been doing a good job!

Are you wondering what I am talking about? For a time it was common practice for chefs, restaurateurs and home cooks to—gasp—refrigerate their tomatoes!!! But that is not routine these days.

More vine-ripe varieties are available at the grocery store now—in fact they are almost commonplace. And, in season, we see tomatoes everywhere—from farmers markets to grocery stores—touting local delights! Look for yellow pear and yellow plum; teeny tiny, red currant tomatoes the size of peas; Lemon Boy, the color of its name; Green Zebra; and red-and-yellow-striped Tigerella. And don’t miss the large, purple, beefsteak variety. There is definitely a large assortment to choose from.

If you have a bit of a green thumb, Sweet 100’s are super-easy to grow in flower beds or in pots on the deck. My friend Joani calls them yard candy!

Tomatoes have a plethora of uses—straight from the garden, eaten like a peach; made into relishes, salsas, homemade ketchups … I’ve even seen them used in cakes. Now, I don’t know about that!

And since not all our tomatoes have reached their fully ripe color by the end of the season, I have grown to love them picked green, sliced, coated in a little cornmeal and fried.

And you just can’t have enough salads in the summer! My recipe for Super Summer Tomato Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato Herb Vinaigrette is a true tomato-lover’s fest. It’s dressed with a piquant, sundried-tomato-enhanced vinaigrette for a double tomato whammy.

For those of you with way too many tomatoes, try my recipe for Toss in the Pot Tomato Sauce that is easily frozen.

Here’s a few recent fun tomato posts from my Twitter Friends:

Melissa from @Dinette66 is doing: Sharlyn melon w/ serrano, Halibut w/ curried corn chowder & tomato jam, ricotta gnocchi w/ spicy chic sausage, basil, sweet 100’s!

@qafarmersmarket Love the gazpachos (galzpachos!) by @chefreinvented and @ChefRobinL www.qafma.org/recipes

@lornalee how fun! I’ve been slicing, sprinkle of Secret Stash chorizo salt, pepper, good olive oil. Simpler the better w/ heirlooms!

If you would like to share your tomato comments too, tweet to me at @kathycaseychef

Here’s to lots more tomatoes while the season’s ripe! ©2009 by Kathy Casey

Super Summer Tomato Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato Herb Vinaigrette

Serves 4 — Makes 1 cup vinaigrette

4 medium or 2 very large heirloom tomatoes, preferably Green Zebra, Mr. Stripy or Tigerella, about 1 1/2 pounds total

1 1/2 cups gourmet greens

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup assorted red or yellow currant or tiny teardrop tomatoes, cut in half or kept whole if very tiny

Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil

1 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh chives

1 tsp minced fresh thyme

To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl mix together the sundried tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and red wine vinegar. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Stir in herbs and refrigerate until needed.

To assemble the salad: Cut the tomatoes into nice fat slices, about 1/3 inch thick. Divide between 4 large salad or dinner plates. Drizzle each salad with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. (Be sure to whisk together well before each use.) Then scatter gourmet greens across the tomatoes. Next, scatter the blue cheese over the salads and then the tiny tomatoes. Drizzle each salad with about 1 tablespoon more of the dressing and pass any extra if desired. Serve immediately.

Extra dressing can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey.

Toss in the Pot Tomato Sauce

Makes 7 cups

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

12 cloves garlic

2 small onions, chopped

2 red bell peppers, cored and cut up in large pieces (optional)

1/4 tsp red chili flakes (use less if you like less spice)

1/2 cup red wine

4 lb fresh tomatoes, cored and cut in half

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

2 – 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

2 tsp kosher salt (adjust seasoning more or less as desired)

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, onions, bell pepper and chili flakes. Slowly sauté for about 5 minutes, add the wine and let cook about one-half minute more, then add the tomatoes and basil leaves. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours while you go about your business. Every once in awhile, go by and stir it. (If making a doubled batch, you may need to simmer the sauce an extra 20 to 30 minutes or so.)

Once sauce is nicely reduced, then set it off the stove to cool. When reasonably cool, puree in batches in blender. If desired, blend in the final olive oil after sauce is totally pureed. Season with salt, adding more or less to taste. If freezing sauce, place in freezer containers, label, date and freeze until needed.

Chef’s notes and other options: Sauté some chopped mushrooms with the onions, or try adding other fresh herbs such as a little fresh thyme leaves, oregano and marjoram for an herby sauce. For a Southwest flavor, add a little jalapeño and some coriander and cumin seeds in the sautéing process. Or just use your imagination and create your own signature base sauce. Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey.

Posted by Kathy on August 27th, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, other, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

4th of July Weekend Party Pleasers

PICINC_PASTA_SALAD lo res

With the 4th of July right around the corner and picnics and parties to attend everyone is scrambling for a great recipes for pot-luck and party “bring-a-longs”.

Side dishes and salads rule for this kind of thing…from potato salads, macaroni and pasta salads, bread salads… to great planks of zucchini and onions charred on the grill. Just serve up some grilled steaks, portabellas, sausages, chicken, fish or shrimp – ask friends and family to bring the sides and – viola! – instant outdoor party. Add in some shortcake topped with fresh berries (or berries and fresh apricots if you like to mix things up a bit!) and some whipped cream and you have yourself a delicious holiday weekend get-together.

I’ve included in this weeks recipes an “Old School”  Picnic Pasta Salad that is quick and easy and still a crowd pleaser for those traditionalists.  Potato Salad gets a quick re make in my recipe for Pesto Smashed Potato Salad . For the more “gourmet crowd” Then there’s a recipe for my Turkish Tabouli – great with the addition of pistachios and dried apricots and is terrific served up with grilled shrimp or spiced chicken.

Check out my recipes below for some fun ideas for easy potluck sides, perfect for this festive, sparkling and happy holiday!  Pack a picnic and enjoy the fireworks!

 

“Old School” Picnic Pasta Salad

Always popular pasta salads are best mixed together just far enough in advance so the flavors meld but still stay bright and fresh.

Makes 8 – 10 servings

8 oz dry, small shell pasta
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup high-quality Italian salad dressing
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup small-diced red onion
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained well
1 lb Campari® Cocktail Tomatoes, diced or 1 1/2 halved cherry or grape tomatoes

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and drain well.

In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, dressing, garlic and pepper. Gently mix with pasta and remaining ingredients.

Created for Sunset Produce Company by Kathy Casey

Pesto Smashed Potato Salad

Makes 12 or more servings

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup minced sweet white onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or purchased
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse-ground black pepper

2 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes or other fun, local small potatoes found at farmers markets, such as marble potatoes, fingerlings or baby pinks
1/2 cup tiny-diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, onion, oil, pesto, vinegar, salt and pepper to make the dressing; set aside while continuing with recipe.

Wash potatoes, then steam, whole, till very tender—be sure they are cooked all the way through. Potatoes should take about 17 minutes for small Yukons but time will depend upon size.

When potatoes are cooked, immediately drain, and add potatoes to the bowl of dressing. With a large spoon, lightly mash potatoes—not like mashed potatoes but more to break them up into chunks; the goal is to lightly smash/break open the potatoes. Then add bell pepper, parsley and basil. Fold potatoes into dressing with a large rubber spatula to coat all pieces.

This salad is great served warm or at room temperature. You can make salad the day or morning before serving and then refrigerate. If making ahead, remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Turkish Tabbouleh Salad with Dried Apricots & Pistachios
Makes 8 cups

1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 roma tomatoes, diced 1/2 inch
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup tiny-diced sweet white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil, then immediately stir in the bulgur wheat and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour or until all the water has been soaked up.

Uncover and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil. Then add remaining ingredients and cooled bulgur. Mix together well, until all ingredients are coated with dressing.
Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on July 2nd, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides

Hearty Pasta with Slow-Simmered Sauce

A nice thing about pasta is that it can be super-quick and easy to make—especially in the summer, when fresh ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil are abundant in the garden. But in the greyer months, there’s a whole other realm of pasta options, my favorite being the hearty, slow-simmered sauces which are so rich with flavorful reductions. These types of sauce are typically made with meats and poultry that are “still on the bone” as the long, leisurely braising of the bones helps give the sauces that incredible flavor and body.

 

As with all these gently braised, robust dishes, the ragout tastes even better the next day. And that’s a nice thing about slow-braised pasta sauces; you can make them up to three days before serving them or even freeze them for later enjoyment!

 

I have included a recipe for slow-cooked lamb sauce—because we’re all busy and sometimes just need to load up that slow-cooker and head out the door. But, hey! You get to come home to a house that smells soooo good and a spectacular dinner that was cooking away while you were off working.

 

Tender chunks of lamb shoulder cook with a touch of orange peel, balsamic vinegar, onion and garlic, mushrooms, tomato paste, red wine, and fresh sage; the ingredients meld into a robust meat sauce—perfect paired up with chunky, rigatoni pasta. And to finish the dish, I like to crumble soft goat cheese over it. Add a fresh arugula salad, crusty bread, and a big glass of red wine. What more could you ask to come home to?

 

Hearty Slow-Cooked Lamb & Mushroom Sauce with Rigatoni

Serves 6

 

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more as needed

2 pounds lamb shoulder arm chops, fat trimmed off and each chop cut into 3 pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

2 teaspoons minced orange zest

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup canned low-sodium beef broth

3 fresh sage leaves

3/4 – 1 pound dry rigatoni pasta

2 ounces soft chevre (goat cheese)

fresh sage leaves for garnish

 

To make the sauce: In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season lamb on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. When the pan is very hot, add half of the lamb and brown for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until well browned. Continue with remaining lamb. As lamb is browned, transfer it to a slow-cooker.

 

In the same nonstick pan, saute the onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes, orange zest, and tomato paste. Stir in well and cook this mixture for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and wine. Cook the mixture, reducing it for about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and sage leaves. Bring to a boil and then immediately pour the mixture over the lamb in the slow-cooker. Be sure to scrape in all the goodies. Cover the cooker and cook for about 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

 

To serve: Turn off the cooker. Remove bones from the lamb and break up meat into the sauce. Cover the sauce while cooking the pasta.

 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta per package directions until just al dente. Drain (but do not rinse!) and place the well-drained pasta back into the cooking pot. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Toss well.

 

Divide pasta among serving bowls and ladle sauce over pasta. This sauce is very brothy, so be sure to divide broth among bowls also. Crumble goat cheese over pasta and garnish with fresh sage leaves. Serve immediately.

 

©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on March 5th, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes

Fresh Spring Morel Mushrooms – Tips and Recipes as heard on KOMO Radio

The morel is a spring delight and one of the richest tasting mushrooms. Just a little will do you in a recipe for their flavor is intense. One year while pulling out of the driveway, I almost leapt from the car as I spied a big fat morel popping out of the neighbor’s new grass. Morels fruit in dirt and are saprophytic (meaning they eat dead plant material), so they can often be found growing out of soil that has been disturbed, such as a new lawn, new garden beds or forest burns. If you’re lucky, you may even find them growing around campfire pits.

If you’d like to try your luck at picking wild morels, ask an experienced mushroom-hunting friend to take you (be cautioned, they may want to blindfold you before the road trip to their secret picking spot!), or join your local mycological society for a spring field trip.

Or if that’s not your style, try a trip to your well-stocked produce department or farmers’ market. Be sure to look for fresh morels (not too wet) without any little friends hiding in the caverns of their brain-like caps, that are not wet and wiggly. The first morels to appear in the markets are Verpa bohemica, which are often referred to as early morels but are really not morels at all and are definitely in my opinion not as tasty. Look for true morels; their caps are attached all along the stem. Verpas are like a thimble sitting on a chopstick.

Always cook any fresh morels; raw morels sometimes cause an upset stomach.

EARLY SPRING – Morel Mushroom Madness overtakes local fungi enthusiasts and fungi hunters scope their secret spots, looking for the first signs of this delicacy. Morels fruit usually around the mid/end of April in the Northwest lowlands, depending on the weather, and peak the last two weeks of May on the east side of the Cascades. The season can shift depending upon weather.

LEARNING TO HUNT – Before I go any further, however, I must warn you that, if you are not an experienced picker, then you need to join a mushroom interest group or find an experienced picker to go with. I suggest you join one of the local mycological societies. Membership pluses are:
* Field trips to fruiting areas
* Members are very generous about teaching the habitat and getting people started; as you learn the habitat, then you can find your own secret spots.
* Members will also get you on the right track for the do’s and don’ts of mushrooming

Puget Sound Mycological Society: Telephone (206) 522-6031 www.psms.org
Their Web site also has links to mushroom interest groups on the Kitsap Peninsula, in Snohomish County, South Sound, Spokane and the Palouse, as well as in Oregon, British Columbia, and Idaho.

MOREL HABITAT- in the Northwest morels can be found anywhere. They grow near trees in conifer forests, open grasslands, bare dirt area and even out of needle duff. If it is a dry season, look in gullies and other areas of water runoff and under logs. But MOST of the dense fruiting morels I have ever seen are in large clear-cut areas or burn outs.

THE TWO MOST TYPICAL HABITATS AREWhere they are naturalized — usually a grassy area where natural composting occurs or along a water run off or stream where leaves drop to give them food. Where they are naturalized, they fruit every year. Disturbed ground – such as logged or burned areas, here morels will come up only once because they have no continuous food source

PICKING PROTOCOL – Good mushrooming protocol is cutting your mushrooms with a knife at ground level rather than pulling them up. This way you are not disturbing the mushroom-producing organism, called the mycelium. (A mushroom is to the mycelium as an apple is to the tree.) By cutting your mushrooms you are also doing it the clean way–leaving the dirt and sandy bottoms in the ground. Also bear in mind that mushrooms need to release spores to keep the species alive, so leave a couple in the ground. Place your prizes reverently in a basket or bucket, never a plastic bag! They sweat and suffocate in plastic since they are 90-95% water.

DO NOT EAT MORELS RAW – It’s always best to cook morels (or any type of mushroom) thoroughly because:
*it enhances their flavor
*drives off some harmful substances (hydrazines) found in edible mushrooms
*destroys bacteria which may be present on raw mushrooms
However, cooking does NOT make POISONOUS mushrooms edible

TRAILHEAD SNACK – Take along a big ol’ cast iron skillet, wine, a baguette, a camp stove and a few sautéing goodies like a little olive oil or butter, some garlic, a few fresh herbs—such as chives, lemon thyme, and, yes, for this occasion—cream. (You will probably have already burned off the calories!). Morels marry with cream like no tomorrow. Sauté morels till tender and soft, then reduce with a little the cream till thick and luscious. Top thin, crusty slices of hearty bread and you’ll have the outdoor “snack” of your life.

COOKING MORELS AT HOME – Sautéed morels are great in herbed scrambled eggs. If you really hit the jackpot then save the big ones to stuff and bake — such as with seasoned crabmeat. Morels also make a divine sauce — sauté them with herbs and then reduce with cream – and spoon the sauce over grilled steak or halibut. Yum!

PASTA WITH FRESH MORELS, SPRING PEAS & MINT
This recipe calls for 1/4 cup thin sliced morels – but if you find more by all means use more! Also you can substitute pancetta for the bacon – if you like more delicious bacon flavor you can always double the amount.

Yields: 2 servings as an entree or 4 as an accompaniment

2 cups cooked orecchini (“little ears”) pasta (1/4 lb dry), or substitute bow-tie pasta
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
——————————————————-
1 thick slice bacon, diced 1/4 inch
1/2 small shallot, minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh morel mushrooms, or substitute 1/4 oz wt. dried (about 6 medium mushrooms), covered with cool

water and soaked about 40 minutes or until soft and rehydrated; strain juice to use in soups or pasta dishes
10 snap peas, optional
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh shelled peas, quickly blanched
2 tablespoons high quality, grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
*pea vines for garnish, optional

To cook pasta: Stir pasta into a large pot of rapidly boiling, lightly salted water. Cook as per package directions, or until al dente. Drain pasta well then toss in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap to keep warm and set aside. (Do not rinse pasta with water; the olive oil will keep it from sticking together.)

Over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until about half done [about 2 minutes] then add shallots, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Sauté for 2 minutes or until mushrooms are just soft, then deglaze pan with lemon juice and wine. Add chicken broth and cream, then immediately fold in reserved pasta and peas. Season with salt. Reduce until the sauce is just becoming thickened and just coating the pasta — about 5 – 10 minutes. Fold in cheese and mint. Divide between warm bowls and garnish with pea vines. Pass extra Parmesan if desired.

Vegetarian: Substitute 2-3 teaspoons olive oil for the bacon and use vegetable or mushroom broth to replace chicken broth.

Note: *Pick tender young vines from your pea patch or look for them in Asian markets or well-stocked produce markets. [Do not use vines from ornamental sweet peas.]
Copyright © 2008 by Kathy Casey

Morels in Cream Sauce
This recipe is from my friend Patrice Benson, an avid mushroom hunter and great cook. She says “if you are new to morels, this is a good recipe to acquaint you with their true taste”. I also like to add a little snipped chives and/or a pinch of lemon thyme and sometimes a splash of dry sherry to her recipe.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons oil or butter
1/2 lb. fresh morels, cleaned and sliced
1 chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Heat skillet on medium-high to high, add oil, then mushrooms and shallot. Saute for 1 minute, then add the wine. Continue

cooking over high heat until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the cream and reduce by half. Reduce the heat to low, add the

butter, salt and pepper if desired.

Serve as an appetizer with fresh, crusty bread for dipping, or serve atop sautéed or grilled chicken breast or halibut.
Recipe by Patrice Benson.

Posted by Kathy on May 1st, 2008  |  Comments (2) |  |  Posted in appetizers, KOMO Radio, other, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides
Untitled