Cocktails

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

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  |  Add Comment |  Posted in breakfast, Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Marvelous Melons

A few summers ago, I whipped up a party-size batch of Watermelon Sangria. It was a hit and really made my croquet game better than ever! And summer is the time to enjoy juicy, sweet melons – the markets are brimming with them.

With their crisp, cool and refreshing qualities, melons evoke the essence of the summer season. We enjoy them in a multitude of ways. From simple chilled watermelon wedges with a sprinkling of chili lime salt to colorful melon-ball skewers of honeydew and cantaloupe intertwined with thinly sliced prosciutto for utensil-free outdoor snacking!

WatermelonTap
And have you ever seen those “watermelon taps?” They’re super cool to add in a watermelon drink and have it ready to pour.

But one of my favorite watermelon cocktails is the “Smitten:” tequila, fresh watermelon chunks, lime, a little simple syrup, a few sprigs of cilantro and a dash of hot sauce – it’s something a little different and d’lish!

IMG_0049

Check out www.LiquidKitchen.tv to get the recipe and watch a video on how to make the Smitten!

So be sure to enjoy them while you can; there’s nothing like summer’s fresh melons to cool you off on a hot day. –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on August 11th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts

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  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Cocktails, Fruit, Recipes

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

Margaritas

Everyone loves a great margarita! It’s been popular in the U.S. since the early 50’s, and there are a lot of opinions on what makes a great margarita.

Margarita
Poppy’s Margarita from my book Sips & Apps that features a housemade Spicy Chipotle-Lime Sour

A classic ‘rita is typically made with tequila, fresh lime, a touch of simple syrup or agave nectar, and triple sec or orange liqueur. Let’s review our options.

The Tequila choices are vast:

    Silver is ideal for a fresh, bright margarita or made with fresh fruits.
    Reposado is aged a minimum of 2 months – 12 months in wooden casks. This light aging process rounds out a few of the rough edges found in many unaged tequilas.
    Añejo is aged more than 1 year and wonderfully smooth. It’s best for sipping on their own, but use it in a margarita if you like or add it as a float for depth of flavor.

Margarita MUSTS include starting with a good tequila, using FRESH SQUEEZED lime juice, orange liqueur (triple sec, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau) or a squeeze of orange works great too. Now sweeten to taste with a touch simple syrup or agave nectar.

Some like salt rims; some do not. I’m 50/50 and like a half rim of salt (my preference being kosher). Or there are tasty salt rimmers:check out my video for Sweet Citrus Salt. And of course, there are the “add-ins,” a splash of cranberry juice, pomegranate, fresh berries … the possibilities are endless!

Here is a basic margarita recipe you can get creative with:

Basic Margarita Recipe

Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 – 2 oz tequila of your choice
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 3/4 oz simple syrup or agave nectar (thinned out a bit)
1/4 oz orange liqueur (triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier)

Build drink in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cap and shake.
Pour into a glass, garnish with a lime wheel, and enjoy!

So starting shaking and cheers to a great margarita! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 13th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recipes

Pucker Up Rhubarb is Here!

Spring is definitely here when you see the vibrant stalks of rhubarb piled up at grocers and farmers markets.

Rhubarb stalks range in various colors from pale green, sometimes speckled with pink, to fully pink and bright red. The color depends on the variety and is not a guide to quality or degree of sourness. Be careful and make sure to discard rhubarb leaves right away as they are poisonous.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb ready to be made into a d’lish dish!
(Photo courtesy of
SteadyHealth.com)

Rhubarb is of course wonderful in classic pies. But for a little something different, try my recipe for Roasted Rhubarb and Honey Mousse for a unique, spring dessert. Sliced rhubarb is tossed with sugar and then slow-roasted to a tender syrupy goodness then chilled and folded with honey-sweetened whipped cream.

And though we love rhubarb in all things sweet – it’s not just for desserts. Try it in a new savory preparation such as in my Ginger Rhubarb Vinaigrette, it’s so tastydrizzled over spring’s other food star – fresh halibut. Yum!

Don’t forget about the drinks! Quench your thirst and whip up a batch of my Rhubarb Myer Lemon Ade. This pretty, pink-hued beverage is a great party sipper or add a shot of vodka or gin for a refreshing spring cocktail.

So celebrate spring in a tart and tasty way with delicious rhubarb! -Kathy

Roasted Rhubarb Honey Mousse
Makes 6 servings

1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 cup sugar
———————
3 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss together rhubarb and sugar and place in a 9- x 13-inch glass baking pan. Roast, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and syrup is slightly caramelized. Stir thoroughly and carefully after the first 20 minutes.

Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, until completely cooled.

Whip cream cheese with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the honey in a mixer until very fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in chilled rhubarb mixture. Whip the cream with remaining tablespoon honey until firmly peaked. Stir about 1/3 of the whipping cream into the rhubarb-cream cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whipping cream.

Dish up into 6, pretty glasses. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little plain whipped cream if desired and an edible, spring flower, such as a pansy, or petals of apple, pear or plum tree blossoms.

Note: If selecting edible flowers from your yard, be sure they are edible and have not been sprayed with pesticide or other chemicals. Rinse all blossoms thoroughly.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Ginger Rhubarb Vinaigrette
This tart and tangy vinaigrette is great drizzled over fresh halibut, grilled scallops or other white fish.

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup canola oil

In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, vinegar, ginger and garlic, and cook over medium heat until rhubarb is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, salt, sambal, and chopped cilantro. Whisk in the cooled rhubarb mixture. Then gradually whisk in the canola oil, emulsifying the vinaigrette. Set aside at room temperature while you are preparing the fish.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Ade
“Bee” sure to use regional honey whenever you can to add some delicious local flavor! For a sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktail, shake about 4 ounces in a cocktail shaker with ice and serve strained in a large martini glass and garnish with a long lemon twist.

Makes about 6 cups or 8 servings

2 large Meyer lemons (or substitute regular lemons)
1 cup local honey
4 cups water
4 cups diced fresh rhubarb
———————
water as needed
lemon wedge for garnishing

With a potato peeler remove only the yellow skin of the lemon, then with a sharp knife slice the zest into fine strips.

Cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a 4-cup or 8-cup measure. Do not strain juice — you want to keep all the pulp — just pick out any seeds. Add the lemon peel strips, cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, place honey, 4 cups of water, rhubarb and minced rosemary in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 4 – 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and let sit at room temperature until cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, letting the juice drip through. To keep the juice clear, do not press. (You can let this strain overnight, refrigerated, if you wish.)

Then add the juice to the measuring cup containing the lemon juice and peel. Stir, and add water to make 6 cups total. Pour into a decorative pitcher.

Serve about 6 ounces (3/4 cup) over ice in tall glasses with a lemon wedge.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen™

Posted by Kathy Casey on April 28th, 2016  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, dessert, Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

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

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