soups

Cooking Up Memories of Ernie Pino

Ernie Pino – amazing chef, columnist, and most of all a dear friend, passed away earlier this month. I can’t find the words to express my sadness, so I will only say this: “Ernie I know that your table in Heaven is set with great food and drinks and that you’re surrounded with friends and love ones passed. We will miss you greatly, but you will live on in our hearts forever.”

Ernie Pino
Ernie and I in 2004 Getting Ready to Cook Paella!

Years ago, Ernie did some amazing classes for us during the early days of the Food Studios on Spanish cuisine. I found in my files an article he wrote on his beloved paella. Here is his original followed by the recipes he did for the class. Thank you, Ernie for teaching so many chefs and food enthusiasts the fine art of paella; your passion lives on with us. –Kathy

Paella—By Ernie Pino, 2003

I love teaching cooking classes. Sometimes, I focus on NW themes, like chowders, salmon and shellfish. Often, I teach tapas, gazpacho, paella or any combination thereof. My students are always attentive, sometimes passionate, and never dull. Recently, a group of students was preparing to head home after one of my summer picnic salads classes, and for whatever reason my Hispanic heritage became the subject of conversation. I suddenly found myself waning nostalgic, extolling the virtues of being raised in a bilingual and bicultural home. Soon, some of the classmates began to share their own experiences of visiting Latin countries; a few even demonstrated their Spanish-speaking prowess (keep in mind, it was a warm and lazy summer evening, rich in camaraderie, food and just a wee bit of wine). Inevitably, this sort of dialogue results in an exchange of favorite Spanish terms, cerveza (beer) ranking among the top 10, closely followed by the Spanish word for bathroom, baño. Occasionally, a naughty phrase or two is dispensed but on this particular night someone said the word “paella”. Surprisingly, even the non-Spanish speakers raised their hands when asked if they recognized this term.

So, in the midst of a course on al fresco foods, the focus shifted to the dish most closely associated with Spain, paella. Interestingly, although my students recognized the word, very few of them could tell me much about paella—a dish as rich in tradition as it is ingredients. And so today, the topic is paella. Grab your dictionaries—we’re talking Spanish.

“La paella” or “paellera” is a metal cooking utensil—a flat, wide and shallow pan with two curved handles on opposite sides. The word itself is old Valencian and it’s roots stem from the Latin “patella”, which, in Galicia, Spain, means a flat basket. Today, the word paella is synonymous with both the luscious rice dish and the vessel in which it is prepared.

Paella is traditionally cooked over firewood, which allows the smoke to permeate and add a robust flavor. The Spanish language has two different words for wood “leña”, which is firewood and “madera”, any type of wood…of which, some may become leña

On the southeastern coast of Spain, below Barcelona, an area named El Levante is known as the Region of the Rices. The Moors brought the art of rice growing to this territory more than 1000 years ago, by establishing elaborate irrigation systems throughout the fertile deltas of the land. Understandably, rice has become a traditional staple there and it’s preparation, a delicious art form. As with most legendary foods, the origin of the dish called paella is hotly contested, yet the region most closely associated with this hearty stew remains Valencia. Thus, the title “Paella Valenciana”, which appears often in recipes and on menus.

After rice became standard fare in Spain, the peasants of Valencia would prepare paella with common ingredients found in the countryside, such as onions, tomatoes and even snails. Occasionally, a rabbit or duck would be added and, when possible, a chicken or two. Eventually, the “Valencian rice” became widely known. By the end of the nineteenth century, “Paella Valenciana” had established itself.

Today, tourists and locals alike will visit Spain’s restaurants and enjoy paella in its various interpretations. Some adventurous souls might even try their hand at preparing it at home. The basic foundation for true paella requires using short grain Valencian or Arborio style rice (the west coast equivalent being California Pearl rice), infused with saffron. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Paellas can be all vegetarian, strictly seafood, a meat lover’s smorgasbord, or any combination thereof. You can incorporate squid, langoustines, guinea hen and quail, and make it up as you go—though a tried and true Spaniard may cry foul and proclaim his to be the recipe for a traditional and authentic paella. Beware; this dish has been known to stir passions as well as appetites. Although the list of ingredients may seem exotic and somewhat daunting, ask anyone who has made a paella or two and they’ll tell you—preparing paella is a Spanish piece of cake. Think about it: paella is a one-dish meal, it’s the perfect party food and it feeds a small tribe.

Now, repeat after me, “pah-ay-ah”. It’s a Spanish word that you can say with conviction and authority. So roll up your sleeves and start practicing what you preach! – Ernie

Ernie Pino’s Spanish Paella Dinner Menu & Recipes<
Ajo Blanco con Uvas de Málaga (White Gazpacho with Málaga Grapes)
Paella Valenciana with Seafood
Torta de Manzana Cantabria (Apple Cake)/p>

Ajo Blanco con Uvas de Málaga
(White Gazpacho with Málaga Grapes)

Serves 4 to 6

This traditional, pre-Colombian, Gazpacho came from southern Spain’s Andalucía region, where almonds and grapes are grown. For centuries it was a common meal for the poor and working class, who grew most of the ingredients themselves. Then, when the rare and expensive products of the Latin American “New World” (tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers) were brought to Spain, the wealthy added these new vegetables to the dish and gave it an upscale edge. They also turned their backs on the more traditional white Gazpacho, and never looked back. This started a new wave of cooking in Western Europe, and made popular many of the foods we still enjoy today.

2 cups water
8 ounces French bread slices, crusts trimmed and torn into pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped and puréed
Salt
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 1/2 cups ice water

1 1/2 cups green grapes

Pour 2 cups water over bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain. Squeeze bread until dry. Transfer bread to food processor. Add oil, vinegar and garlic purée. Season with salt to taste. Add almonds and ½ cup ice water, and blend until smooth. With machine running, gradually add remaining 2 cups ice water. Taste for salt.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (the flavors need to blend) and preferably over night.
Serve chilled, mixing well before serving. Garnish each serving with grapes.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Paella Valenciana with Seafood
Serves 6 to 8

1 1/2 pounds raw jumbo shrimp
5 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced (divided)
1 – 2 1/2 lb. rabbit (or chicken), legs, thighs and breasts separated
1 medium yellow onion, quartered, and 1 large onion, minced (divided)
3 teaspoons salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced chorizo sausage (Spanish style)
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and cut into strips
2 large tomatoes peeled and chopped (see note)
2 cups uncooked short-grain rice, such as Arborio or pearl
8 ounces fresh, minced clams, drained, or one 6-ounce can, drained
8 ounces fresh squid tubes and tentacles
12 fresh mussels, scrubbed
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup fresh green beans

Marinate prawns in their shell with 2 of the minced garlic cloves (prepare the night before and refrigerate.)

Reserve the breast, legs and upper joints of the rabbit (or chicken) Combine the remaining pieces with 3 cups of water; add 1 the quartered onion, 2 teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of saffron threads. Boil 30 minutes, strain and measure out 2½ cups of the stock. Set aside. (Can be prepared earlier and refrigerated.)

Cut the reserved pieces of rabbit (or chicken) into small pieces through the bone (or ask your butcher to do this for you).

Dust the pieces with flour and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a paella pan or large heavy skillet on medium heat, and cook until crispy-brown and tender. Set aside.

Add reserved shrimp and chorizo to the same pan, cooking until shrimp turns pink. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add minced onion, remaining 3 cloves minced garlic, pimiento and tomatoes to the pan and cook until the onion is tender.

Add the rice to the onion mixture and stir to glaze.

Bring the reserved stock to a boil and add to the rice mixture.

Add clams, squid and mussels, bringing to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the peas and green beans, and cook 5 minutes more, uncovered.

Arrange the rabbit, shrimp and chorizo atop the rice, amongst the squid and mussels. Cover the pan and place over hot coals or low heat on the stove, or in a preheated 400°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Serve with a crusty bread and Rioja wine.

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, cut an “X” at stem end and on the bottom. Plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove immediately and plunge into iced water. Skin should slip off easily.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Torta de Manzana Cantabria
(Apple Cake)

This rich, rustic Cantabrian confection has a delicate spice-cake quality and somewhat of a pudding texture. It may be served warm or at room temperature.

Cake
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 Gala or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
2 Tablespoons Applejack or brandy
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze
¼ cup apricot jam
1 Tablespoon applejack or brandy

Powdered sugar (optional)

FOR CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9” diameter spring form pan with
2 3/4” high sides. Dust pan with flour. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add apples, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer 16 apple slices to processor. Add applejack and purée. Add flour, sugar, eggs, milk, baking soda and cinnamon and just combine until blended. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Drain remaining apple slices and arrange atop batter in a circular (star-burst) pattern. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool.

MEANWHILE, PREPARE GLAZE: Stir jam and applejack in small pan over medium heat until jam melts, about 1 minute.

Brush some of glaze over warm cake. Cool cake 30 minutes. Release pan sides. Heat remaining glaze and brush over cake. Dust with sifted powder sugar.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Posted by Kathy on May 12th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in dessert, Foodie News, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, soups

A Little Spice is Always Nice!

Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves…  It’s time to spice it up! We love these spices in tasty cookies, cakes, and muffins. And there are even more dishes out there ready for that hit of warm spice pizazz!

One of my favorite and somewhat un-sung spices is the cardamom seed. This flavorfully potent spice is native to India, but its flavor and use has spread throughout the world, from Scandinavian to Middle Eastern cuisine.

Cardamom adds a sassy flavor to my Spiced Squash Bisque. The aromatic spices combine well with the flavor of sweet winter squash making this soup a great cold weather dish.

Other favorite spices that I love are allspice and cloves, so great in spiced shortbread cookies, stews – and I especially love them infused in my recipe for Spiced Red Vermouth … perfect in a Manhattan!!


My Spiced Vermouth!
For the recipe and more inspired sipping, check out Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen™.

Rubs are another great way to incorporate new and unique spices into your meal. There are so many great pre-made options available like my Fragrant Star Anise Rub. It’s an excellent way to add an exotic flair to a roasted pork or chicken.

If you like to experiment with creating your own rubs, check out the bulk spice section at your neighborhood grocer, or head on over to Pike Place Market’s World Spice shop to pick out what you want. World Spice has tons of loose spices, and you can buy just what you need, whether it’s a pinch or a squiggle. You can also find spices online from BulkFoods.com to Amazon.

One last hint: a coffee grinder is excellent for grinding your own spices. Just be sure that you keep one for solely that purpose… the star anise “scented” coffee at my house was not a big hit!

So remember, a little bit of spice can go a long ways in bringing out your dish’s flavor!  -Kathy

Spiced Squash Bisque
Organic or homegrown squash is preferable to use for this recipe because it creates a much more pronounced and sweet flavor. I like to use hubbard, Danish, or butternut squash, or a combination. Make the Crispy Seeds while the soup is cooking.

Makes 6 starter servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cubed winter squash (any type of sweet squash or pumpkin combination may be used; reserve 1/4 cup of seeds for Crispy Seeds)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely crushed
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, finely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more or less depending upon whether you are using a homemade stock)
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Salt to taste

Crispy Seeds
1/4 cup seeds from squash
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash, garlic, spices, bay leaf, and salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender.

Meanwhile, make the Crispy Seeds: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse seeds under cold water to remove any squash flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine cumin, sugar, and salt and sprinkle over the seeds. Toss well and spread seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.

Remove bisque from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. In a blender or food processor, carefully purée the hot soup in small batches with the sour cream. (Be careful not to make your batches too large, since the soup is very hot.) Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed, especially if using homemade broth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and keep warm.

Divide the soup among warmed soup bowls. Sprinkle each serving with about 2 teaspoons Crispy Seeds.

For a vegetarian version: substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Chef’s Tips:
For a fun and impressive presentation, thin out a small portion of sour cream with milk or cream until it is a “squeezable” consistency and put in a squirt bottle. Swirl the top of each serving with the sour cream.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 14th, 2014  |  Comments Off on A Little Spice is Always Nice! |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides, Small Screen Network, soups, videos

Chill Out With Summer Cold Soups

Gazpacho is traditionally known as a cold-style soup. Originating in the southern regions of Spain and Portugal, this fresh tomato-based soup is a summer staple and a refreshing to get your vegetables!

I like to add lots of veggies into my gazpacho like cucumbers and bell peppers, then top it with some Alaska King Crab for a real splurge like my recipe I did with Sunset Tomatoes. Just think you won’t even have to turn on the stove for an elegant meal – that is definitely a plus on a hot summer’s night!

Gazpacho
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Tomatoes aren’t the only celebrities when it comes to “cold” soups …… there are lots of chilled summer fruit soup recipes too!

Juicy, ripe melons are the star in my Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs.

Creamy coconut milk, bold Thai red curry paste, and zesty ginger and lemongrass come together to make this soup d’lish. Top it off with a pouf of sweet bay shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts. Then season it up with a hit lime juice, basil and mint – it’s the meal to cool off with! Yum!

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup is a summertime classic in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe; mostly served as an opener. I’ve dug out the old recipe I used to make every summer at Fullers. Lush ruby cherries are cooked with spices and white wine then chilled, pureed and topped with a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream. Savory, sweet and lush –mmmmm!

So beat the heat and cool off with a chilled summer soup! –Kathy

Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and Fragrant Herbs
Makes about 4 cups (6 starter servings)

Soup
3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (we used Mae Ploy)
1 can (13 – 14 ounces) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Topping
1/4 pound bay shrimp or chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup tiny-diced water chestnuts (Fresh ones are great if you can find them!)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

In a food processor or blender, process the cantaloupe, sugar, ginger, lemon grass and curry paste until evenly pureed. Mix in the coconut milk, salt and lime juice.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together.

Ladle soup into small bowls and spoon a pouf of topping into each serving. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Pass lime wedges on the side.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup
I also like this soup topped with a few coarse chopped toasted hazelnuts for a touch of crunch.

Makes 6 – 8 servings as a starter

2 cups crisp white wine, such as Fume Blanc
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod, crushed
4 black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups pitted Bing cherries (about 3 pounds)
1 cup crème fraîche, or substitute sour cream

Garnishes:
thinned crème fraîche or sour cream for swirling on top of soup
unsprayed, edible flowers, such as violas, pansies, rose petals or nasturtiums

In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar lemon zest, spices, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 5 cups of the cherries (reserve remainder) and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand till mixture reaches room temperature.

When cooked cherry mixture is cool, remove and discard cardamom pod and cinnamon stick. Place cherry mixture in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Then add crème Fraiche, and process until smooth.

Chill soup till very cold, at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Serve well chilled in cold bowls. Garnish each serving with the reserved, pitted cherries divided evenly among servings. Swirl the top of soup with thinned crème fraîche or sour cream drizzled from a spoon or squirted from a squeeze bottle. Garnish with edible flowers if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 15th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Chill Out With Summer Cold Soups |  Posted in Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, seafood, sides, soups

Onions

Onions. You either love’em or hate’em. As a member of the Allium family (alongside garlic and leeks), there are tons of varieties to choose from depending on your flavor preferences from local Walla Walla sweet onions to common white and yellow varieties; red onions, green onions, chives, and shallots. They’re great roasted, pickled, grilled and raw – ask any onion lover!


Walla Walla sweet onion!
(Photo from www.SweetOnions.org)

Maybe you don’t like onions because they invariably end up making you cry. Fair enough, but I have a secret for no-tears chopping – onion goggles! They look a little silly when wearing and chopping away, but they have always kept me tear-free while dicing onions for my next tasty dish!

Also, another easy tip is to chill the onions before cutting and breathe through your mouth while cutting – it kinda helps to avoid the waterworks.

Ready to chop away? Perfect! Try making my tasty 5-Onion Soup! It’s jam-packed with its namesake 5 onions or how about a batch of my Blushing Pickled Red Onions. They are as pretty as they are tasty, and make an excellent topping for burgers, sandwiches, or on an antipasto plate – yum!

So no more tears – pick up some versatile and delicious onions! –Kathy

5-Onion Soup
This recipe is very decadent. It is a lovely starter for an elegant dinner party.

Makes about 10 servings.

2 large leeks
1 medium red onion, cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
1 medium white onion, cut into large chunks
4 shallots
6 cloves fresh garlic
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (or substitute olive oil)
1 cup dry sherry
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup brandy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt
Thinly sliced fresh chives for garnishing

Coarsely chop the leeks, discarding the tough green parts, and rinse them well to remove sand.

In two batches, process the leeks, onions, shallots, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped but not mushy. (Do not overprocess.)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Slowly sauté the onions for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until they just turn a bit golden. Stir in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour, or until golden in color and rich in flavor. Add the cream and simmer the soup another 30 minutes.

Mix the brandy and cornstarch and whisk into the simmering soup. Add the white pepper, then season with salt to taste. (The amount of salt needed will vary, depending on whether you used homemade stock or canned broth.) Simmer for 3 to 4 more minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Blushing Pickled Red Onions
These are great on sandwiches, served with grilled meats or alongside an antipasto platter.

Makes about 1 quart.

2 large (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb.) red onions, sliced into 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch rings
1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pickling spices
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Place onions in a deep, heat-proof, non-aluminum container, such as a glass quart canning jar.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve all sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and boil 30 seconds to 1 minute, then immediately pour vinegar mixture over onions.

Gently press onions down into liquid. Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Store onions tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 10 days.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on June 20th, 2013  |  Comments Off on Onions |  Posted in KOMO Radio, other, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides, soups

It’s Easy Being Green

Being green is so easy these days! The grocers are teeming with hearty seasonal greens from collard to mustard to Swiss chard … as well as my favorite, Tuscan Lacinato Kale, the one that’s sometimes called dinosaur kale or black kale.


(Photo from Mountain Valley Seed Company)

This winter crop is packed with vitamins and minerals. Just eating a half cup will stock you up with calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, iron and loads of fiber.

I especially like to use this kale in my recipe for Farro with Hearty Greens, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese. This is a great cold-weather side dish, which works well with other greens, too.

In fact, here’s a tip if you want to make it with Swiss chard. Remove the stems and slice them separately, and slice up the greens thin. Sauté the stems in the olive oil along with the mushrooms, and then proceed with the recipe.

Incorporating greens in a robust homemade soup is another delicious and very satisfying way to enjoy them. My recipe for the classic Tuscan Ribollita Soup is easy to make and perfect for busy schedules. The name of this favorite Italian soup, which is thickened with stale bread, means “twice-boiled”—the soup is traditionally cooked, then reheated the next day. The flavorful olive oil, which is always drizzled on top right before eating, acts like a seasoning, giving the soup a special little kick.

Or how about adding a small handful of kale into your next smoothie? Its vibrant color is sure to get the kids interested!

Eat your greens daily—they’re tasty and good for you! -Kathy

Farro with Hearty Greens, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro grains
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced wild or domestic mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch black kale (lacinato) or other hearty green, torn
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
1 1/2 to 3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine farro and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer; cook the grain for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, but do not let it become mushy. Add more water if it gets low. Drain the cooked farro and set aside. (You can do this the day before; refrigerate cooked grain.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté mushrooms until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in kale. Add chicken broth and cooked farro, and cook, turning greens several times, until greens are wilted.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over the dish to brighten flavor. Serve dolloped with goat cheese or grated sexy local cheese.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Ribollita Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 tablespoons chopped bacon or pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red potatoes
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
2 cups, packed, torn, dark green kale
4 cups rich chicken broth
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes with juice
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans with liquid
2 cups, packed, rustic Italian bread, preferably stale, torn into bite-size pieces
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Heat a large soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon or pancetta and olive oil and cook until 3/4 done. Add onions and potatoes, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the chili flakes, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring, for about 1 to 2 more minutes.

Add the thyme, kale, chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for about 12 minutes.

Then add the beans and bean liquid and bread. Stir in, and cook for about 2 more minutes or until thickened with the bread. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Ladle into bowls and drizzle liberally with olive oil.

If making a day ahead, soup will be thicker the next day, almost stew-like, but this is the traditional way. If too thick for your liking, thin out with a little chicken stock when reheating.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 4th, 2013  |  Comments Off on It’s Easy Being Green |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recipes, sides, soups

Hearty Root Vegetables

The cold weather months make us crave heartier foods… and root vegetables are definitely hearty. They are versatile in flavor, texture and application – as well as budget-friendly and a great source for complex-carbohydrates!

Rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, turnips and beets are all part of this delicious group.

Root Veggies
A great crop of root veggies!
(Photo from CookWithWhatYouHave.com)

Roasted Beets are amazing and star in my recipe with an Orange Cumin Glaze. Another option is to roast up a bunch of beets and have them ready to add into salads.

Turnips and carrots mash well together in a root vegetable side dish. And I personally love rutabagas roasted with chicken for a Sunday night supper.

The often overlooked parsnip is featured in my Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup paired up with chevre and walnut croutons. Pour yourself a glass of Washington wine and you’re all set for a cozy meal.

Fill up with some hearty root veggies! –Kathy

Roasted Beets with Orange Cumin Glaze
Makes about 6 servings.

5 large beets (about 2 lb.)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsps butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp finely chopped orange zest
2 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the beets and leave root untrimmed. Place beets on a large sheet of foil and seal like a package. Place foil packet on a baking pan and roast in preheated oven until very tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Poke beets to make sure they are tender.

As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and slice into ¼-inch slices.

In a small bowl mix together the orange juice, cumin, vinegar , honey and cornstarch. Stir until cornstarch is well incorporated.

Place liquid mixture in a large, non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat, whisking – while adding the  butter and salt. Bring to a boil and add the sliced beets. Cook, turning beets as necessary, until they are hot and nicely glazed. Place on a serving platter or in large, shallow bowl.

Mix together the walnuts, orange zest and parsley and sprinkle over the beets.

Chef’s Notes:
You can prepare this recipe part way in advance: Just roast, peel and slice the beets ahead of time. This can be done up to 3 days in advance. Then finish the rest of the recipe procedure per instructions.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

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 Tbsps 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 Tbsps 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 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on February 23rd, 2012  |  Comments Off on Hearty Root Vegetables |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides, soups

Gather ‘Round – At the Kitchen Table with Chef Greg Atkinson!

Some writers have the uncanny ability to imbue their written words with their own voice. My good friend Greg Atkinson is one such writer. His words, penned or spoken, are thoughtful – measured and weighed as carefully as if he were crafting a recipe. And as the very best writers do, Greg’s words evoke powerful sense memories. His newest book, At the Kitchen Table: The Craft of Cooking at Home, is full of deeply personal stories that invite the reader to relate and connect with him. His essay on borscht calls to mind immediately my grandmother’s kitchen; I can smell the earthy beets and the simmering broth as if I were at her kitchen table awaiting a piping bowl.

Continue reading on Amazon’s Al Dente Blog.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 18th, 2011  |  Comments Off on Gather ‘Round – At the Kitchen Table with Chef Greg Atkinson! |  Posted in Restaurants, Amazon, Books to Cook, Foodie News, Lifestyle, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, soups

Refreshing Summer Melons

With their crisp, cool and refreshing qualities, melons evoke the essence of summer pleasure. We enjoy them in a multitude of ways, from simply chilled and eaten as hand-to-mouth wedges, to colorful melon-ball skewers for utensil-free eating at outdoor barbecues, to tequila-, vodka- or rum-injected watermelon for libationary delight.

In the past few years we have been seeing several exciting and sexy melon varieties at the markets. One kind I tried recently was a small lemony-yellow oval variety called a Korean melon (dua gan); it has a very fragrant smell and mild sweet flavor. And the French Charentais has to be one of the most aromatic and flavorful melons I have ever had.

Ripe, juicy and cold melons are of course delicious when eaten “as is”—but they perform well when starring in recipes, too. My new favorite way to enjoy melon is in Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp and fragrant herbs. Smooth and rich-tasting with the addition of coconut milk, slightly spicy and bold-spiked from Thai red curry paste, and flagrantly flavored with ginger and lemongrass, this cold soup is topped with a pouf of sweet bay shrimp and crunchy water chestnuts seasoned up with lime juice, basil and mint.

My other all-time favorite watermelon recipe is chef Todd English’s. He embellishes a melon salad with the distinctive flavors of fennel, feta and kalamata olives contrasted against the cool red-glistening fruit.

And then there’s always melon enjoyed ALMOST naked … except for a sprinkling of sea salt, my Dish D’Lish French Seasoning Salt or Dish D’Lish Cha Cha Chipotle Lime Seasoning … Yum!

Enjoy them while you can; there’s nothing like summer’s fresh melons to cool you off on a hot day. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Thai Chilled Melon Soup with Shrimp

Makes about 4 cups (6 starter servings)

Soup

3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe or other orange-fleshed melon

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 Tbsp minced fresh lemongrass

1 tsp Thai red curry paste (we used Mae Ploy), or sub Asian chili paste

1 can (13 – 14 ounces) coconut milk (you can always sub light coconut milk)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

 

Topping

1/4 pound bay shrimp or chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup tiny-diced water chestnuts (Fresh ones are great if you can find them!)

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

In a food processor or blender, process the cantaloupe, sugar, ginger, lemongrass and curry paste until evenly pureed. Mix in the coconut milk, salt and lime juice.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients together. Ladle soup into small bowls and spoon a pouf of topping into each serving. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Pass lime wedges on the side. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

 

Todd English’s Watermelon, Fennel and Black Olive Salad with Feta Cheese

Makes 8 servings

4 cups seeded watermelon chunks

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a Japanese mandoline (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives

1 large red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

 

Put the watermelon, fennel, olives, red onion, green onion, basil leaves, and feta in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Divide among salad plates and serve immediately. Adapted from Star Palate: Celebrity Cookbook for a Cure, by Tami Agassi and Kathy Casey.

Posted by Kathy on August 13th, 2009  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, soups
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