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National Comfort Food Day

Comfort foods, we all have our must-haves and go-tos. And luck has it that National Comfort Food Day is this weekend!

We all have those favorites that stir up delicious memories and are well…comforting! For some, it’s fluffy mashed potatoes with a pool of delicious homemade gravy or Mom’s chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove. For others, it may be a favorite family dessert like grandma’s apple pie or dad’s buttermilk-soaked crispy fried chicken.

My husband John’s favorite comfort food is my Slow-Braised Pork Pot Roast with Apples & Onions – its delicious aroma filling the house on a lazy Sunday.

Taste is one of our strongest memories. Things that we loved in our younger years become beloved comfort foods we crave. And it’s not just about childhood. One bite of, for example, pasta carbonara can bring you back to that restaurant in Rome when you were on your first trip to Italy.

Around the holidays we all certainly have our comforting favorites, especially when it comes to the sides that cozy up to the turkey, holiday ham, or roast. Be it oyster stuffing, old-school green bean casserole or roasted Brussel sprouts.

So whether you’re whipping up an old favorite this weekend or creating something new, here’s wishing you some delicious memories. –Kathy

Pork Roast
This photo is from another blog I really liked: Sister See Sister Do with a Pressure Cooker recipe that also looks delicious!

Kathy’s Slow-Braised Pork Pot Roast with Apples & Onions
This this juicy tender pork roast makes a super winter meal, especially when served with whipped potatoes and root veggies such as turnips, parsnips or rutabagas. Serve with lots of hearty bread to sop up all the delicious juices.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 (2 1/2-pound) boneless pork shoulder or butt roast
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Gala apples, each cut in 8 chunks
1 large onion, cut in 16 chunks
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp. caraway seeds, optional
1/3 cup raspberry or white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Pat dry the pork roast and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place apples, onion, thyme, and garlic in a small roasting pan and set the pork roast on top. Sprinkle with the caraway seeds.

Mix together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then pour it around the pork.

Place the pork in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and continue roasting for about 1 1/2 hours more, until the pork is fork-tender. The total roasting time will be about 2 1/2 hours.

Chef’s Tips:
Gala apples are used in this recipe for their superior, firm texture when cooking. If Gala apples are not available, try to find Fujis, which also work well.

Recipe Copyright © by Kathy Casey. – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on December 4th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes

#TurkeyHack: Turkey After All The Trimmings

#TurkeyHack! Okay, you roasted the beautiful bird, enjoyed all the trimmings, and stuffed yourself silly. Now what do you do with the leftover turkey? Don’t just leave it on the counter while you start playing games or watching a game on TV.

Turkey Feast

Get ready to do a #TurkeyHack Turkey Stock!
First things first: remove all the meat from the turkey. Slice up the breast and use for sandwiches – you know that you’ll want one later! Save the dark meat for soup and other yummy dishes, which we will get to in a minute. And make sure to remove any string, from the bird or leg ties – you don’t need those anymore!

Next, whack and/or break up the turkey carcass; yes, use your hands! Put it all in a big pot, and cover with water (if you have them, add in big chunks of onion, celery tops and carrots). Now put the whole thing on the stove and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours (make sure to set a timer!) while you enjoy some post-dinner fun.

Now, strain out the solids reserving the delicious turkey stock. Put stock back in the pot and reduce by half on a low simmer. (You need about 5 cups for the gravy recipe – and if your short stretch it out with a little chicken broth).

When it’s reduced and tasty delicious, cool and then refrigerate for soup. Or make a big pot of gravy using my #TurkeyHack Gravy Simple Recipe for leftovers or open-faced hot turkey sandwiches. Yum! -Kathy

#TurkeyHack Simple Gravy
Makes about 5 cups

6 Tbsps. butter
2 Tbsp minced onion AND/OR 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
5 cups homemade turkey stock (see above for method using your leftover turkey carcass)
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onions (and mushrooms if using) and sauté over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir vigorously until combined and smooth. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock all at once and whisk vigorously so as to eliminate any lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the gravy is nicely thickened. Season with salt and white pepper.

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

Posted by Kathy on November 25th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, meats, poultry, Recipes

Easy Entertaining

Who doesn’t love to throw a dinner party, but some just do it with a little less stress.

Here are a few of my fave entertaining tips:

    •Write out your menu and plan out your prep day by day, preparing as much as you can in advance and picking recipes that can be finished at the last minute.
    •Have each one of your guests help with a different dish when it comes time to serve it. They’ll have fun and it will take some stress off of you!

Here’s an example of my favorite fall menu:

Start with Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup with Chevre and Walnut Crostini. The soup can be made ahead and then just finished off before you serve. Next, a salad of arugula and brilliant radicchio tossed simply with balsamic and olive oil sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

Then move on to an entrée of oven-roasted Spiced Chicken with Pears and Port. It slow cooks while you are mingling with guests.

Then finish with Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Holiday Ale Caramel – this can be made a week before. Gotta love that!

Pumpkin Panna Cotta w Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce
Mini Pumpkin Panna Cottas with Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce – d’lish to the last spoonful!

So, I’ve supplied the menu, now, all you have to do is invite a delightful group of friends! –Kathy

Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup with Chevre & Walnut Crostini
Makes 6 servings

4 cups 1/2-inch-sliced peeled parsnips (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth (I used packaged organic broth)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Croutons
6 1/4-inch-thick slices baguette or French bread
Olive oil
3 ounces chevre (goat cheese)
3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Garnish: thinly sliced fresh chives and/or celery leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

First, toast the bread for the croutons: Lay the bread on a baking sheet, brush slices lightly with oil, and toast in the preheated oven for about 3 – 5 minutes, or until just lightly golden. Remove and let cool. (You can do this the day before and keep croutons in a tightly closed container after they cool.)

Toss parsnips and olive oil together in a bowl to coat evenly. Spread out on a baking sheet (you can reuse the one used for the bread), and roast till golden and totally tender, about 30 minutes.

Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots and celery until very tender, about 3 minutes; do not brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds more. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add chicken broth, cream and roasted parsnips and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium or low, to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add salt and cayenne. In small batches, puree mixture in a blender. (Be careful; it’s hot!)

Return soup to pan and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving.

To serve the soup and finish the crostini:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spread the cheese on the croutons, then top each one with a half-tablespoon of nuts. Press in slightly and bake for about 4 minutes or until cheese is warmed.

Meanwhile, heat the soup, stirring often, over medium heat till hot, making sure it does not stick on the bottom. Serve the hot soup in warm bowls. Top with chives or celery leaf and serve a warm goat cheese crouton on the side.

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

Spiced Chicken with Pears and Port
This is a great entrée for a dinner party. I also love it sprinkled with blue cheese right before serving for a delicious twist.

Makes 6 servings

3 firm ripe fresh pears
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves
2 shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 unpeeled lemon, sliced (about 9 slices)
1 cup port wine
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnishing

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut pears in half and core. Cut each half in half and then in half again—to make large chunks. Reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the spices and salt. Lay the chicken on a baking sheet or piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and sprinkle each piece liberally on both sides with the spice mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté half of the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the skin is deep golden brown and crispy. As the pieces are browned, place them, skin side up, in a 10-by-15-inch baking pan or small roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Pour off any excess oil, then sauté the pears, shallots, garlic, and lemon for about 1 minute. Add the port and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a boil, and then add the hot mixture, with all the goodies, to the roasting pan, pouring it around, not over, the chicken to keep the browned crust intact.

Roast for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is opaque throughout and nicely browned on the outside, with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (chicken will gain another 5 degrees on standing).

Transfer the chicken to a platter or individual plates and keep warm. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve the pears, shallots, garlic, and lemon slices from the sauce and distribute them over the chicken. Place the roasting pan on a burner on high heat and cook to reduce the sauce to about 3/4 cup. (If you like your sauce to have a bit more body, mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water until smooth and whisk into the reducing sauce. Cook till lightly thickened.) Taste the sauce for seasoning, adjust if needed, then drizzle the sauce over the chicken and goodies. Scatter with parsley leaves for garnish.

Recipe© Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Ale Caramel & Sea Salt
You can make the panna cotta up to 5 days in advance—just keep tightly wrapped with plastic. The caramel sauce can also be prepared up to a week beforehand, making it the perfect dessert for a busy holiday schedule.

Makes 8 regular (4-oz) servings or 16 mini (2-oz) servings

1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. water
1 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mascarpone
1 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pre-seasoned pie filling)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
————————————————-
1 cup Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Sea salt for sprinkling (sea salt)

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Soak until the gelatin is soft, then microwave on high power for only about 2 seconds, or until the gelatin is melted but not foaming up.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar, sour cream, mascarpone, pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Add the gelatin and whisk together well.

Place the mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, being sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth and hot (150 to 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove from the heat and divide the mixture evenly among 8 regular or 16 mini martini glasses (or 8 custard or 16 espresso cups). Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the panna cotta. Refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours to set.

To serve: Drizzle each panna cotta with ale caramel sauce (1 tablespoon for the minis or 2 for the larger portions), and then sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Chef’s note: If making the ale caramel sauce is too much for your schedule, then substitute with a speed scratch sea salt caramel sauce; mix 1/2 cup purchased high-quality caramel sauce with 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, depending upon how salty you like it.

Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce
If made ahead, cool completely and store refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to serve. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for the panna cotta; extra sauce can be drizzled on ice cream, pound cake or other desserts.

Makes 2 cups

1 (12-ounce) bottle pumpkin ale or other seasonal beer, such as Pike Brewing Co. Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium-large saucepan, bring the ale to a low boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

Bring mixture to a boil and cook without stirring (stir or swirl the pan only if necessary to prevent boiling over) for about 10 to 15 minutes, until thick and syrupy (about 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream and butter (it may splatter!), and then cook for 5 to 6 minutes more, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. If serving right away, cool until just warm; it will thicken up more as it cools. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe© Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy on November 19th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in dessert, KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides, soups

Get Saucy

Often the trick to a d’lish dish is the sauce, but sometimes making one can be a bit daunting.

Seattle author Susan Volland’s new book Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors will help take the mystery out of making a great sauce. So you can easily splash, slather, drizzle or douse!

Susan Volland - Mastering Sauces

From basic recipes for stock (the building block of sauces) to creative and unique takes on classic recipes, this book has sauces covered from A to Z.

From quick and easy Stir-Together Peanut Butter-Hoisin Dipping Sauce to her recipe for a Vegan Corn “Hollandaise” – there are a lot of ideas to finish off your favorite dish.

Here are some of my favorite tips from her book:

  • How to fancy up a white sauce: think sweet curry or caramelized onion and roasted garlic
  • Not your everyday cheese sauce: with cheddar and ale or tomato and goat cheese
  • Even chocolate gets a tasty saucy twist with ancho chili and fresh mint
  • Susan is an amazing chef and has wanted to write this book for years. It is one of the most comprehensive sauce books of all times and destined to become an eternal classic. Her recipes are always well written and precision tested.

    So crack open a copy of Mastering Sauces and get saucy!

    P.S. – And It’s never too early to think about holiday gifts for your favorite foodie. –Kathy

    Stir-Together Peanut Butter-Hoisin Dipping Sauce
    Susan says: “This sauce is nutty, sweet, and slightly exotic, and, it can be whipped up in less time than the quick-cooking dishes I like to dunk in it: grilled chicken skewers, Vietnamese spring rolls, or pot stickers. Double or triple the recipe, and you can use it to simmer chicken or as a sauce for chewy stir-fried noodles. It keeps well.”

    Yield: 1/2 cup

    1/4 cup hoisin sauce
    1/4 cup water, coconut water, or Really Good Chicken Stock
    2 Tbsp. all-natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
    1 Tbsp. fish sauce (or substitute 2 tsp. light soy sauce or tamari)
    2 tsp. sambal oelek or Sriracha, or to taste
    1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice, Tamarind Water, or rice vinegar

    Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the sauce at room temperature or lightly warmed.

    If storing, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

    Recipe from Susan Volland’s Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors, W. W. Norton & Co.

    Vegan Corn “Hollandaise”

    Susan says: “The friends and I have introduced this sauce to—even die-hard carnivores and butter lovers—claim to prefer this vegan version to classic hollandaise. The creamy yellow sauce mimics the texture of hollandaise without relying on eggs and butter. It is not as cloying, it’s heat stable, it’s tasty enough to be slurped up by the spoonful, and there is little or no guilt afterward. You will need a few specialty ingredients: miso, nutritional yeast flakes, and arrowroot. These are available at some supermarkets and at natural foods markets. Arrowroot is added for stability and gentle thickening; kudzu root (available at health foods markets) can also be used.”

    Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

    1 1/2 cups water, Corn Stock, or Corncob Mock Stock
    1 cup fresh or thawed frozen yellow corn kernels
    1/3 cup whole raw cashews
    1 Tbsp. white (shiro) miso
    1 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes
    1/2 tsp arrowroot
    1 – 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    Pinch of cayenne pepper or dash of Tabasco

    Combine the water, corn kernels, and cashews in a saucepan, cover, and simmer until the cashews are tender and the corn is very soft, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

    Transfer the cashew mixture to a blender, add the miso, yeast, and arrowroot, and puree until very smooth. Strain back into the saucepan, pressing the solids against the sides of the strainer to extract as much smooth pupl and liquid as possible. Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is just simmering and has thickened. Season with the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Serve warm.

    Unlike hollandaise, this sauce can be refrigerated and reheated. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

    Recipe from Susan Volland’s Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors, W. W. Norton & Co.

    Posted by Kathy on November 12th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, other, Recent Posts, Recipes

    Spaghetti Squash Is More Than Just A Pasta Plant

    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

    Posted by Kathy Casey on October 29th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

    Chia Seeds: the SUPER Food

    Cha-cha-cha-CHIA! Yes, that is 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 have been sweeping the nation as an up-and-coming nutritional ingredient.


    Who remembers these commercials?

    Chock full of fiber and omega-3’s, these little seeds can be added to almost anything from juices, baked into muffins or even toasted and sprinkled on a salad! They digest quickly, hydrate your body better than sports drinks, and provide long-lasting energy. Athletes love them!

    When soaked in a liquid, they become gel-like and are virtually tasteless. In Mexico, they are added in a drink called Chia Fresca made with fruit juice and chia seeds which have been plumped in water – sounds so refreshing!  I love a plumped spoonful spooned over a margarita for fun texture!

    I have also used them plumped then blended in a low-fat salad dressing – they work as a natural thickener so you can use less oil, and who doesn’t love that!? If you’re looking to add chia seeds to your diet, check out stores like Whole Foods, PCC, and in the “Natural Foods section” of most grocers to buy them or try them in a fun chia beverage.

    And check out this chia seed post from Wellness Mama for more tricks and tips on what to do with them, including her recipe for healthy homemade pudding.

    So try something new and get your Cha-cha-cha-CHIA on! – Kathy

    To plump chia seeds: Soak 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds with 1 1/2 cups HOT water. Let sit for 1 hour then store refrigerated for up to 2-3 days.

    Posted by Kathy Casey on October 22nd, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

    D’Lish Beets!

    Pickled or roasted, steamed or boiled. I adore beets whatever way they’re prepared! I even grate them raw into salads for some fantastic color, roughage, and flavor.

    beets-bunch-tastefood

    In addition to being delicious, beets are REALLY nutritious. Betalains are the nutrient-rich pigments found in beets which also act as antioxidants – they can have anti-inflammatory benefits as well, and can even reduce your risk of heart disease. Beets are a great source of fiber and vitamin C!

    If you boil or roast your beets, don’t bother peeling them before-hand. Once they’re cooked, the skins will rub and peel right off! Just don’t forget to wear gloves… those pigments will dye your hands the same color as the beets!

    Looking for a mashed potato alternative? How about trying my Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream and Cilantro. This will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet enthusiast in no time! The sweet flavors of the beets with the zing of the lime and a dollop of low-fat sour cream will make this a family favorite.

    Oh, and if you are buying beets with the tops on don’t forget you can eat the greens too – just saute with some olive oil, garlic and a little onion and serve with a squeeze a lemon.

    Beets – a healthy, delicious and colorful addition to your table. – Kathy

    Mashed Roasted Beets with Lime, Sour Cream & Cilantro

    This beet preparation will turn the most resistant beet eater into a beet lover. If you have time, the ultimate taste intensity can be produced by roasting the beets in a 375-degree F. oven until very tender; allow about 1 – to 2 hours depending upon the size of your beets The yield will be reduced because of moisture evaporation, so use 5 beets.

    Makes four 1/2-cup servings.

    4 beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
    2 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
    1/4 cup sour cream or non-fat sour cream
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
    salt to taste

    Wash the beets, trimming top to 1″ – 2″ and leaving root untrimmed. Steam until very tender (or see roasting note, above).

    As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and cut into large chunks. Place in food processor with butter and 3 tablespoons of the sour cream; process until smooth-like in texture but not a total puree. Mix in lime juice, coriander, pepper flakes and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt.

    Serve hot, dolloped with remaining sour cream if desired.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

    Posted by Kathy Casey on October 15th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio

    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  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recipes, salads
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