Fruit

Huckleberries – A taste of Late Summer

It’s time to talk about huckleberries. This native Pacific Northwest berry is delicious in drinks, desserts, incorporated into dinners, or straight off the bush!

huckleberries
Photo from The Daily Apple

There are lots of places you can pick huckleberries and often you can get some great hiking in, too. Find a trail in the mountains that takes you roughly above 2,000 feet; huckleberries grow fine at sea-level, but really go wild in higher elevations. Look for bushes in meadows or along lakes. The Washington Trails Association has a great list of “huckleberry hikes.”

Just remember these 2 key pointers:

  1. Lots of berries grow in our neck of the woods, and not all of them are edible. Make sure to take a guidebook along to make sure you’re picking the right ones.
  2. Keep your eyes open for roaming animals. Our wildlife loves huckleberries as much as we do; you might even spot a bear so be careful!

And they’re not just for pie although I love them studded into an apple pie like in my Apple Huckleberry Pie with Spiced Crust.

One of my favorites is a savory Pan Seared Chicken Breast with Huckleberries, Blue Cheese & Port Sauce. Or how about roasted with slices of sweet potato – yum!

These wild fall berries are delicious in almost anything! –Kathy

Apple Huckleberry Pie with Spiced Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Crust
2 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp round nutmeg
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
12 Tbsps (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 Tbsps ice water

Filling
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsps flour
2 Tbsps cornstarch
7 cups 1/8- to 1/4-inch-sliced, peeled and cored apples (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 cup fresh wild huckleberries
milk and sugar for topping (optional)

To make the crust:In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and graham cracker crumbs and mix evenly. Cut in 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 2 disks and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.)

Divide dough into 2 pieces and press gently into disks. Refrigerate for about 10 – 15 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, toss together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, cornstarch, apples and huckleberries. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove dough from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into 2 rounds, each about 12 inches in diameter. Brush excess flour from one crust, then gently roll up crust onto rolling pin. Unroll into pie pan and press/fit bottom crust into pan. Trim dough overhang to 1/2″.

Mound the fruit mixture evenly into pastry-lined pie pan. Brush edges of bottom crust lightly with water and then cover pie with top crust. Trim top crust overhang to 1 inch, then fold overhanging top-crust dough under edge of bottom crust overhang and tuck excess dough under, even with edge of pan. Seal and flute edges with fingertips to make a pretty crimp. Make several slits on the top to allow steam to escape. For a shiny, sugary top, brush top crust lightly with milk then sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425, 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®.

Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Huckleberries, Blue Cheese & Port Sauce
Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp clarified butter or olive oil plus more if needed
1 shallot, minced
2 large fresh sage leaves
3/4 cup port
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crumbled Oregon blue cheese or other full-flavored blue cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh wild huckleberries

Garnishes:
fresh sage leaves
crumbled blue cheese
fresh wild huckleberries

Read through the entire recipe before beginning, and have all ingredients ready within reach of the range.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season chicken liberally on each side with salt and pepper. (If chicken breasts are really large, then lightly pound out a bit between sheets of plastic wrap.)

In a large, heavy, ovenproof nonstick skillet or sauté pan, heat the clarified butter over high heat until hot. Sear the chicken breasts for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the chicken for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Place the chicken-cooking pan over high heat and add the shallot and sage leaves to the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in the port and mustard and scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan to get all that good flavor into the sauce. Continuing cooking on high heat to reduce the port to 1/4 cup, about 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth and cream, and reduce until saucy and almost glossy, about 4 minutes. Add the cheese and whisk in for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove the sauce from heat and stir in the huckleberries.

Discard the sage leaves. Whisk in any accumulated juices from the resting chicken breasts, taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, plate the chicken breasts on dinner plates and drizzle with the sauce, dividing evenly. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and a sprinkling of cheese and huckleberries.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 21st, 2016  |  Comments Off on Huckleberries – A taste of Late Summer |  Posted in Restaurants, Cocktails, dessert, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes

Summer Blackberries

Ahh blackberries… the glorious summer berry growing in backyards, parks, and all along our northwest trails. These delicious juicy little fruits are definitely worth the fight with the prickly bushes that they grow on – and your patience will be rewarded!

Not only are blackberries delicious, but they’re good for you! With one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit – these berries are also a wonderful source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber.

Truth be told, I think blackberries really are a taste of summer, which is why they’re the perfect addition to a refreshing summer cocktail. Add them into a shaker tin with some fresh mint, lime juice, simple syrup and rum, and you have a wonderful (and easy to make) Blackberry Mojito!

Gone blackberry picking and now have a big bowl in the fridge? Throw some in your pancake batter and start the morning off with some d’lish Blackberry Pancakes topped with Citrusy Syrup.


Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

Or how about a summer salad tossed with Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette – a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts and fresh goat cheese – a great start to any summer meal.

Enjoy the last days of summer with a fresh bowl of blackberries! –Kathy

Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette
Toss with summer garden greens, and fat blackberries. Scatter with toasted hazelnuts and a crumbling of blue cheese or chevre. Dressing recipe can easily be doubled.

Makes about 1 generous cup of dressing.

1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) blackberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Liquid Kitchen® No. 5130 honey or local honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 8th, 2016  |  Comments Off on Summer Blackberries |  Posted in breakfast, Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Foodie News, Fruit, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Summer Cherries

From Bings to Queen Annes, 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.

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Cherry Mojito photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Eaten out of hand is always tasty but I love them crushed in fresh lemonade or in one of my favorite summer cocktails, Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd! Just combine pitted cherries, light rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup. Let this sit for an hour or so, and then add a big splash of soda water and ice. Now, you’re ready for summer sippin’!

Have you ever made cherry salsa? Make my Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa just like you would tomato salsa, but sub out fresh chopped cherries for the tomatoes. Toss with some fresh lime juice, fresh minced jalapeno, a little red onion and some cilantro–great on grilled chicken or salmon.

Or hey, how about just a big bowl of cherries for dinner? Why not! So head out to the market and pick of a big bag of fresh local cherries and taste the season! –Kathy

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
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)
3 cups silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
———————————————–
10-ounce bottles soda water, chilled
Loads of ice for serving

For Garnishing: fresh mint, fresh cherries

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, lightly crush the cherries with a potato masher. Then add the mint, rum, sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours – or overnight. (You can remove the mint before serving if you like and then garnish with fresh ones.)

For serving: add the soda water to the pitcher of drinks. Add ice and serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® – www.LiquidKitchen.com

Posted by Kathy on June 24th, 2016  |  Comments Off on Summer Cherries |  Posted in Books to Cook, Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Fruit, Recipes

Good for You Green Smoothies

Eating a healthy breakfast is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and gets your metabolism jump started for the day. But many of us just don’t have time to get it together in the mornings. This is where quick smoothies come in!

Now you have probably seen a lot of people drinking green things these days, such as juice, smoothies and kale is the star of the green! It’s reportedly among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and very high in fiber – so perfect in helping you feel full.

But sometimes purchased juices and smoothies can be really high in calories and sugar. With all that sugar, that kind of defeats the purpose.

Here is my favorite go to Green Smoothie:

    •1 – 2 leaves of Kale torn up
    •1/2 a ripe banana
    •Tiny touch of honey or maple syrup (not too much now or leave it our entirely)
    •1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt (or fat free coconut milk for a dairy-free option – this is the fresh refrigerated coconut milk)
    •3/4 – 1 cup of ice

Green Smoothies

Tear the kale leaves up and drop into a blender cup. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Blend it up until totally smooth and brilliant green – I have a Vitamix blender and LOVE it!

You can add other healthful additions right before blending, too. Think matcha powder, flax seeds, goji berries, and even almond butter or organic coconut oil. These all are great smoothie boosters and great for you.

So go Green and Jump start your day with a homemade smoothie! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on January 7th, 2016  |  Comments Off on Good for You Green Smoothies |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Foodie News, Fruit, Lifestyle, Recipes

It’s Pomegranate Season!

I remember when I ate my first pomegranate as a kid….seated in a chair with a TV tray. Yes, it occupied my little hands for hours! Take note moms: it’s fun for kids. And yes, it will make their hands bright pink, but only for a day.


Juicy pomegranate seeds!

Pomegranate’s brilliant tart-sweet seeds are prized for their distinctive flavor and are high in antioxidants. I love the texture and how they pop in your mouth.

They are so great sprinkled on a winter salad of arugula, slices of orange, and fennel or endive, tossed with a champagne vinaigrette. Or finishing a dish of roasted Brussel sprouts and toasted walnuts adding their tart crunch.

Pomegranate Salad

Try them on ice cream or yogurt or even shaken into your favorite cocktail.

And I have a great tip to make de-seeding simple:

    •Cut the pomegranate in half, then holding a half firmly over a large bowl.
    •Hit it with a heavy wooden spoon and watch the seeds come tumbling out.
    •Repeat – then eat.

PS. This is also a great holiday stress reliever. And be sure you put on a bib apron, the pink speckles will be flying! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on December 24th, 2015  |  Comments Off on It’s Pomegranate Season! |  Posted in Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, salads

Apples

A true sign of fall: apples appear everywhere. From thick caramel-coated and dipped in nuts to sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market to grand glass bowls filled with elegant red apples simply used as a table centerpiece.

The Northwest has always been the hub for amazing apples. Glorious Galas with their perfume-y sweet flavor, firm Fujis that hold their texture amazingly well when cooked, deep-blushed Braeburns, and the list goes on.

What most of us (at least us pie-lovers) think about when thinking of apples is pie, I love to make my apple pie with a little cheddar in the crust – yum!

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunkist

But in addition to desserts there are bushels of other great ways to cook with apples. Try whipping up a Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette. It’s really quick and delicious.

Looking for a new side dish? How about a toothsome Apple Barley Risotto – a twist on the classic using pearl barley instead of Arborio rice?

Just remember, one of the best apple tips to observe is to always keep your apples refrigerated. At 70 degrees, apples break down and become soft 10 times faster than if refrigerated. Many a Northwesterner accomplished this in the olden days by stashing the winter’s apples under the bed, back when winter bedrooms were quite chilly. I bet those rooms smelled appley great!

Cheers crisp fall apples – crunch! -Kathy

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter, or serve it as an entrée topped with grilled chicken breast and crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings as a starter salad

6 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

Vinaigrette
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist Meyer Lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
———————————————
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

Place spinach, apple and onion in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt
and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, but do not brown garlic. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.

Toss until salad is well coated with dressing, and serve immediately.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey for Sunkist®

Apple Barley Risotto
Allow about 50 – 60 minutes total cooking time for this recipe.
Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Braeburn or Fuji apple, unpeeled, cored and diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup shredded, high-quality Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1/8 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste (If using canned broth, less salt will be needed.)

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and red onions. Sauté till mushrooms are limp. Add the garlic and stir around for about half a minute. Then immediately add the wine, increase heat to high and reduce wine till syrupy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in the diced apple and barley. In a bowl or large measuring cup mix together the broth and water. Add 1 cup to the barley and simmer till almost all the liquid is absorbed about 6 – 8 minutes.

Stir in another cup of the broth-water mixture and continue cooking, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process again until all the liquid has been used and the barley is tender.

Remove from heat and fold in cheese, nuts and pepper. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on October 8th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Apples |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, salads

Bananas for Bananas

Bananas, the ultimate naturally portable snack! Perfect for throwing into your purse or bag.

Besides being deliciously handy, bananas are a great source of potassium while being low in sodium. They are a good source of Vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin C and dietary fiber, and are naturally fat free!

If you’re thinking of a late-season campfire, then consider this s’more alternative:

Take an unpeeled banana and make a split lengthwise – just not all the way through. Carve a trough from end to end, keeping the peel. Munch on the removed banana to tide you over, while filling the trough with bits of marshmallow and chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and stick it in the embers like a potato, or over a hot grill. After a little while, take it out and carefully unwrap. Yum!

s'more banana
Fun Photo from Tablespoon.

And bananas are quite delicious with savory things as well. My recipe for Banana Pineapple Chutney is flavored up with warm spices such as ginger and allspice. It’s a fantastic way to zip up a grilled chicken breast, or even better with a pork chop.

Any way you slice them (or even if you don’t), bananas are d’lish! –Kathy

Banana Pineapple Chutney
Great served with basmati rice and vegetable curries as well as grilled scallops, chicken, pork chops or ham.

Makes 3 cups

1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red onion
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
———————————–
2 Tbsp. currants
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced ripe fresh pineapple
2 cups (about 2 large) firm underripe bananas, peeled, cut in half lengthwise then in 1/2-inch chunks

In a heavy, wide, shallow, nonreactive pot, place all ingredients except the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 4 minutes until mixture is syrupy and slightly reduced.

Add currants and pineapple, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 1 minute. Gently fold in bananas and cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes more. Occasionally stir the mixture gently; do not stir roughly—you want to keep the fruit pieces’ integrity. Chutney should be thickened but still slightly juicy. If too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Chutney should be slightly warm for serving.

Recipe by © Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on September 24th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Bananas for Bananas |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

Fig-a-licious Fruit!

Although I love them, figs are so much more than the iconic Fig Newton, which by the way was first sold dried in a commercially manufactured cookie in 1892. Who knew?

Figs: they’re unusual, versatile, and even grow well here in Seattle. I have a fig tree in my backyard!

Fig edited
A plump fig growing in my back Urban Garden – ready to be picked!

It’s best to pick figs when fully ripened. The fig is ready for harvest when it drops on the stem from its own weight. Pick with the stems attached, but always plan to use within a few days.

Although in the kitchen we consider it a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. There are no blossoms on the tree’s branches; the blossom is inside the fig. Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little seeds that give figs their unusual taste and texture.

Figs are of course fabulous fresh, but you can also cook up some creative dishes with them too.

One of my favorite apps is quick and easy: Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts. So easy to make. I love them paired with a delicious Manhattan made with House Spiced Vermouth – YUM!–Kathy

Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
Makes about 24 to 30 pieces

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 pint fresh figs, halved lengthwise

Preheat an oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix the Gorgonzola and walnuts. Arrange the figs, cut side up, on an ungreased baking sheet, and top each piece with 1 generous teaspoon of the Gorgonzola mixture.

Roast the figs for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is hot. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Recipe © from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook.

Posted by Kathy on September 18th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Fig-a-licious Fruit! |  Posted in Books to Cook, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos
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