Most people have had hand at cooking spaghetti squash, and there are a lot of ways to prepare this tasty vegetable.
This winter squash starts getting popular at the farmers market and grocery store in early fall. The cooked stringy flesh is delicious, but there are a few cooking tricks to know.
(Photo from Elizabeth Norris’ blog)
Cut the squash in half length-wise. Make sure to use a good knife and a little muscle – this is a sturdy squash! Once you have the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp the same way you would with any other winter squash.
Turn the halves cut-side down in a baking dish. Add a little water and roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when a fork slides in and out of the flesh easily. If you’re in a hurry you can quick cook it the same way in the microwave in a glass dish – just blast on high until fork tender.
Now to get those noodle-like strands out of the shell. Turn the squash up and gently scrape the flesh with a fork along the grain and loosen it up. Then scoop the squash into a bowl and finish how you like.
It’s a great low-calorie and gluten-free option to traditional pasta for topping with marinara. Or toss it with maple syrup or honey, a little butter or olive oil, some minced fresh herbs and some sea salt for a great side dish to any entrée. –Kathy
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!
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:
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!
And if you’re headed to Portland anytime soon – drop into the Heathman Restaurant & Bar and try our Huckleberry Mule On-Tap. Made with ABSOLUT Vodka, fresh lime, and handcrafted ginger beer then topped with Liquid Kitchen Wild Huckleberry Preserves – yum! And Chef Michael Stanton is sure to have some tasty huckleberry menu items as well!
Huckleberry Mule on-tap!
These wild fall berries are delicious in almost anything! –Kathy
Apple Huckleberry Pie with Spiced Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie
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
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
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
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®.
Cocktails sweetened with honey are perfect to sip on during these warm, summery evenings. And honey syrup is an easy way to that touch of sweetness instead of traditional simple syrup. Just combine 1 part warm water with 1 1/2 parts honey, stir till dissolved, and keep refrigerated for up to a week.
Use it in any of your favorite recipes that call for simple syrup, such as a margarita. Or whip up a pitcher of Summer Honey Lemon Collins that you can get creative with.
Just combine in a pitcher:
1 1/2 cups vodka or gin – use a local one if you like
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup Honey Syrup (recipe above)
Some fun local fruits and herbs (think strawberries and basil) and squish around with a wooden spoon to meld the flavors.
1 cup soda water
Fill with ice, stir and enjoy!
I also love honey in a summery sangria as well made with crisp white wine, sliced peaches and a splash of liquor. Yum! (See my recipe below)
So get your buzzzz on with a honey cocktail. PS – honey syrup is of course great in non-alcoholic drinks too! –Kathy
Summertime White Sangria
1 bottle (750 ml) local white wine
1/4 cup liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or St. Germain
2 – 3 Tbsp. of my 5130 Liquid Kitchen® Honey or your favorite honey
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup cut up local fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums
In a large pitcher, stir the wine, liqueur and honey together until honey is dissolved. Add the fruits and stir, crushing some of the fruit. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, to let the flavors marry. Serve over ice, including some of the fruit in each serving.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.
The James Beard Foundation will be coming to Seattle as part of their Taste America: Local Flavor from Coast to Coast on Friday, September 26th and Saturday, September 27th! As part of their epicurean tour, Seattle has been chosen to host a weekend long tour celebrating America’s cultural diversity.
The kick-off event starts on Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel with A Night of Culinary Star, an exclusive dinner created by All-Star Marc Murphy from New York City’s Benchmarc Restaurants, Tom Douglas, and Host Chef Kerry Sear. The night will start off with bites and sips from Seattle chefs, including Maria Hines, Jason Wilson, Rachel Yang, Renee Erikson, and Jason Stratton then lead to the amazing dinner.
On Saturday, there will be a series of free events at Sur La Table in Kirkland including demos and tastings, book signings, and more.
For dinner ticket prices and more information, check out the Taste America website.
Looking for lots of great drink recipes using NW spirits? Check out Sip Northwest Magazine – it’s chock full of great libatious articles and recipes by yours truly. Try my Summer Punches – great for this weekend’s 4th of July celebrations!
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®
Are you a fan of locally made spirits? I sure am! Washington has some of the fastest growing craft distilleries in the country! Come try a whole new selection at PROOF – The Washington Distillers Festival next Saturday July 12 at Seattle’s Fremont Studios.
This second annual festival will include tastings of locally made whiskey, gin, bourbon, vodka and lots more craft spirits. You will be able to discover your new favorite cocktail, shaken, or stirred – by local restaurants and bars.
Find something you like? Tons of bottles will be for sale so you can take home your new favorite local spirit!
And if this sounds good to you, but mixing drinks at home sounds a little daunting, then have no fear – local bartenders will provide tips to mixing drinks and upgrading your home bar!
As I have learned from my travels, the types of food in India vary greatly from region to region. One dish that I have consistently enjoyed in every city that hails from the south is dosa. Made from a batter of ground rice and fermented lentils, dosa is a large crepe that can be served plain or rolled with a variety of fillings. It is always accompanied by sambar (a spicy lentil soup) and different types of chutneys (usually coconut, mint, and tomato).
All the food I’ve had was delicious but there was something special I was yearning for – mangoes! When I first arrived in the country, I was dismayed to learn that I was too early for mango season. And while the streets were lined with all types of mangoes, I was assured by locals that they were not sweet at all and I’d needed to be patient.
Finally, on my last day in the country my patience was rewarded. The first crop of the summer season of the ‘king of mangoes’ had arrived! Alphonso was his name and as the sweetest, juiciest, and most fragrant mango variety, he definitely delivered! My trip was complete.