Lifestyle

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  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Restaurants, Cocktails, dessert, Foodie News, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes

Chia Seeds

Cha-cha-cha-CHIA! Yes, that’s what we think of when we say chia. Those funny terra cotta heads sprouting green hair… until now! Chia seeds are everywhere these days and sweeping the nation as an up-and-coming nutritional ingredient and super food.

Chock full of fiber and omega-3’s, these little seeds can be added to juices, baked into muffins or even toasted and sprinkled on your salad. Soaked in liquid they get a gel-like coating. Endurance athletes love them in beverages for their super hydrating power.

I have also used them plumped then blended in a low fat dressing – they work as a natural thickener so you can use less oil, and who doesn’t love that?

My current favorite is to make a breakfast chia pudding! Assemble the night before with chia seeds, gluten-free oats, coconut milk, and a touch of honey. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator while the plumping begins. The next morning, you can top it with fresh fruits – yum!

chiapudding
I love this photo and the recipes from Wellness Mama – She has a great blog on Chia!

And there are a ton of cool chia dessert puddings recipes online too. So try something new and get your cha-cha-cha-chia on! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on September 14th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Cider Sipping

It was not long ago that ciders were far and few between, but now, ciders are popping up everywhere across the country. From dry, tiny bubble-style (like a fine French Champagne) to spiced, and fruit-forward (think pear or raspberry, and even chai). There’s something for everyone’s taste.


A Rhuby Rum Cider Cocktail featuring dark rum,
grapefruit and pomegranate juices, and chai cider!
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Cider is also fantastic as a mixer for cocktails too! Cider cocktails are a growing trend in bars and restaurants, and I have had so much fun creating new cider twists. For instance, have you ever had a mojito with a splash of crisp dry cider instead of the usual soda water? Or how about a whiskey sour topped with a blackberry cider.

Ciders are just the thing for sunny weather sipping. Friends and family gather for picnics, and patio parties – all of which call for cocktails batched for a crowd. One of my favorites is sangria, like in my Pear & Blackberry Sangria! It is so delicious to make this time of year with all the great fruit that is coming to their peak. Grab a local cider at the farmers market, add in a little light rum, and then sliced seasonal fruits. If it needs a bit of sweetness add a touch of local honey. Let it sit overnight to infuse in the refrigerator, then fill up a big pitcher and bring it out on the deck for leisurely sipping in style!

Cheers to summer with some sunny ciders. And for more inspired sipping, make sure to check out my Spiked column in CIDERCRAFT Magazine! –Kathy

Pear & Blackberry Sangria
Blackberries can be switched out for raspberries or strawberries depending upon what’s peak of season at your local market.

Makes about 4-6 servings

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup blackberries
—————————
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. blackberry honey
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. brandy or cognac
—————————
1 (22 oz) bottles Crispin Natural Hard Pear Cider Lion Belge
Garnish: fresh blackberries and sliced pear

In a blender cup combine the water, lemon juice and blackberries. Process until smooth. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Add the honey, orange juice and brandy and stir until honey is dissolved. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve combine the blackberry mixture with the chilled cider in a large container. Add the berries and pear. Serve over ice

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

Posted by Kathy on June 2nd, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recipes

Spring in to Summer Gardening

The days are longer and the sun is shining. It’s time to think about a summer vegetable garden and what to plant. So what grows best here in the Pacific Northwest?

Well, now is the time to plant those pole beans. Have you ever made a pole bean tee pee? It’s a great way to keep the growing beans contained. Be sure to plant in full sun for optimal harvesting and pick them when they are small and tender! And if you have some picky kiddos then try planting bushing “purple beans” that magically turn green when you cook them – that’s pretty fun!


Learn to make a great pole bean tent and more from Garden Therapy!

Next on my best of list is zucchini – it’s easy to grow! My mom used to make these tasty little zucchini cakes topped with a fresh tomato sauce and a dollop of sour cream. Or these days try it with Greek yogurt. Have you ever had a Chocolate Zucchini Cake? I’ve got a recipe for you!

Next on the must to-plant list are sweet 100 tomatoes – this variety loves our NW weather. And there is nothing like going out to the garden and popping them right of the vine into your mouth. I also love them skewered, rubbed with olive oil, seasoned and then grilled till lightly charred and served as a side dish or served atop a grilled steak.

My last bit of advice is to be sure plant to a few greens. Arugula is a great addition to any garden. And rainbow chard, in hues of pink, yellow, red and white will grow bountifully, keep trimming it to the base and it grows all season!

So time to get down and dirty in the garden! –Kathy

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Makes 1 bunt cake – about 10 – 12 servings

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 Tbsp. 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® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on May 20th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in dessert, Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, vegetables

Veggie Mash-Up

With the surging popularity of kale, brussel sprouts and even rutabagas, what’s old has become new again, especially in the veggie world! In years past, moms everywhere couldn’t bribe their kids to eat these veggies, but today, being green is now fun and good for you!

A great example of an old but “new” veggie is the gorgeous Lacinato Kale (aka black kale). It’s a beloved veggie in Italy and traditionally slow cooked into soups. It is branded at most stores now as “dinosaur kale”, which makes it fun for kids and just one way of getting them to eat it too.

 

kale

Lacinato Kale or “Dinosaur” Kale

 

Also new on the veggie hipster horizon are vegetable mash-ups! Take for example kalettes, which are a cross between brussel sprouts and kale or broccolini; a hybrid of broccoli and gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli).

 

And don’t forget the gorgeous Romanesco aka broccoflower! A lime green vegetable that takes the best of broccoli and cauliflower and marries them together in a blissful union. So delicious steamed and tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and lemon zest!

Don’t have time to get to the market, then checkout Barn2Door. Founded by 2 Washingtonians. This “un-grocery” store gives you 24/7 access and a direct line of communication between you and the growers, plus access to an ever changing fresh sheet of local products. You can even message the farmers directly! How cool is that?

I have been a veggie lover since I was a kid, so it’s great to see so many people eating their greens these days. With spring on its way, our local markets will be brimming with amazing options in no time. So get your veggie on and try something new! –Kathy

 

Posted by Kathy on April 14th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, salads, vegetables

Juicing for Joy

As you walk the isle of the grocery store these days, you’ll soon notice the rows and rows of new juices readily available. What is all this juicy business? Well for starters, it’s an easy and d’lish way to get your recommended daily allotment of fruits and vegetables, and not to mention lots of vitamins and nutrients.

So what to do? Got the bucks to buy a bottle? It is pretty convenient to pop into a shop and pick up your favorite blend but over time it can be more expensive than your daily cup of joe.

How about buying a home juicer? Making juice from home can be an investment in time and money up front but with a little planning it truly is the best way to enjoy a juice filled lifestyle and the fresher the juice, the better the health benefits too!

Here’s a favorite blend of mine that you can play with the proportions to fit your pallet. I suggest doing 3 parts veggie or root juice to 1 part fruit juice and any salty, spicy or sour juices should be added to taste.

Beets ( In addition to being sweet and oh so pretty, they are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits)
Celery (It has a touch of natural saltiness, bright flavor, and it’s a natural diuretic)
Slice of fresh ginger
Apple
Lemon Juice

Want a powerful punch of antioxidants? How about whipping up a delicious Green Juice like this one from Sunkist.

 


Photo from Sunkist.com
 

Made with fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice, fresh pressed cider , ginger, and kale juice.  Yum!

Oh and did I mention that fresh veggie juices are great  as a mixer for cocktails too! That’s right. The juicing trend is moving into Happy Hour. Here is one of my favorite cocktails for spring: Make it with your favorite gin!

Carrot Collins
Honey Mint Carrot Collins
 

The carrot juice adds a subtle sweetness and a beautiful color, while playing well with the botanicals of the gin. Find this recipe and more at www.liquidkitchen.com

Happy Juicing!  –Kathy

Snackable Videos

Have you seen all the crazy food videos on Facebook from Tasty, Tastemade, and Buzzfeed Food? These are Snack Sized Videos featuring recipes that are not only visually appealing, but are quick to make and delicious to eat. I like to call this “Speed Scratch Cooking” and they are blowing up right now on social media, offering creative twists on classic comfort foods.

We are all busy these days, running from one appointment to the next. When you throw in a few kids, a dog, and let’s not forget the friends and family, who has time for a home cooked meal? These videos offer lots of variety and endless ideas so there is something for everyone.

For example – have you seen all the fun things you can put on a waffle iron? This Waffle Iron Mac & Cheese from Hungry takes waffles to the next level with chilled Mac & Cheese, bacon, green onions, and MORE CHEESE, pressed into a waffle iron until crispy and delicious then topped with all kinds of fun toppings. Who can say no to that? Yum!

 

MacnCheeseWaffles
 

Buzzfeed also has its share of waffle iron goodies like these All Day Breakfast BurgersCinnamon Roll Waffles with Nutella, or Ham and Cheese Waffles, and more.

Beyond the quick fixes, these videos also have unique and crafty ways to use up left overs or re-imagine a kitchen staple in new and exciting ways. Like this Ice Cream Bread! Start with melted vanilla ice cream, mix in flour, and all kinds of colorful sprinkles and jimmies, bake it, and voila! Super colorful and tasty dessert bread that will have everyone asking for more.

Ice Cream Bread on Cosmopolitan.com
 

The best thing about many of these recipe videos is they only have 3 or 4 ingredients that you may already have in your pantry which is great for a last minute meal or appetizer, just type in your ingredients and see what pops up! –Kathy

Hop To It – Easter is on its way!

Easter Sunday is coming up, so what will you do with all that leftover booty? You know – the eggs, the candies, the marshmallowy Peeps?

Of course there will be egg salad sandwiches for days BUT let’s get creative with it! How about adding in chopped bacon or some sassy curry. Try mixing salsa in your favorite egg salad recipe then rolling it up with some avocados in tortillas for a quick breakfast on the go.

D'Lish Deviled Eggs
And you know how much I love deviled eggs!

For a beautiful spring presentation, you can do a quick beet pickle. Soak shelled-hard cooked eggs in a sweet & tart beet juice marinade. Then cut and fill. Beautiful and d’lish!

beeteggs
Beet’ing Heart Deviled Eggs!

Now, what do you do with that candy after the hunt? Well I’ve got you covered with my recipe for Jelly-Bean Rice Crispy Tweeps – a fun and festive twist on the beloved rice crispy treats. And yes you can garnish with the peep heads…

Tweeps
Save the Peep Heads for Garnish

And for the adults, steal a few of the kids chocolate bunnies and stir yourself up some Bunny’Licious Boozy Chocolate Sauce using a splash of your favorite liqueur (take out the liqueur for a kid friendly version, but hey, they have already had their treats!). Serve it over ice cream with a few peeps for garnish!

So hop to it and have a Happy Easter! –Kathy

Jelly Bean Rice Crispy Tweeps
Makes 30 treats

3 Tbsp. butter
6 packages yellow Peeps® – 30 peeps (you can use bunnies too for pink treats)
6 cups Rice Krispies® cereal
1 cup small jellybeans

Pull 30 of the peeps heads off and set aside for garnish.

peeps

In a large sauce pan heat butter over low heat until melted. Then add peeps and stir over low heat until melted. Then stir in cereal and jellybeans until cereal is well coated and jellybeans are distributed.

Place mixture in a greased 8″x8″ baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and press down to compact the crispy treats. Let set for at least 15 minutes before serving. To serve cut (5×6) into 30 squares.

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

Bunny’licious Boozy Chocolate Sauce
Makes 4 servings

6 oz of left-over chocolate bunnies
1/4 cup hot, strong brewed coffee
1 Tbsp. liquor such as: Grand Marnier, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Amaretto or Frangelico liqueur (optional)

For drizzling over or dipping in: fresh fruit for dipping cut into chunks, such as: pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, apple wedges and oranges, pound cake chunks, holiday cookies, small chocolate chip cookies, other candy such as Peeps®

Break up or cut bunnies in small pieces (chocolate chip size) into a glass or ceramic bowl and pour hot coffee over them. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. If coffee is not hot enough to melt chocolate, then microwave for 10 seconds. Stir in liqueur if desired.

Transfer mixture to a fondue pot or pretty bowl and serve warm with long forks and lots of goodies for dipping.

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

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