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

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®. –

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

Grill A Steak for Dad!

Alright, Father’s Day is coming up. There’s nothing else that dear ol’ dad want more for dinner than a beautiful grilled steak. And that’s great news for you because it’s as easy as pie to cook, if you have your method down. And I’ll say it… EVEN EASIER than pie!

Start with a good piece of meat – a New York, filet, or rib-eye would be perfect! About 20 minutes before you grill, take the steak out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature. This will help you get a good, even cook once it hits the heat.

Be sure to pre-heat your grill to high, and lightly rub your steaks with a little olive oil. Then sprinkle liberally with your favorite seasoning – I like to use my Dish D’Lish French Seasoning Salt.

Place the steaks on the grill and cook until nicely marked on the first side. Then turn over and cook on the other side. Depending upon your steaks thickness and how you like it will depend upon how long to cook it. Good tip: don’t move them around to much.

Remember the meat will continue to cook a bit after removing from the grill and you can always put it back on for more heat – you just can’t go back the other way!

Serve topped with a simple to make herb garlic blue cheese butter, dad’s favorite local veggies and an ice cold local microbrew!

I love a great steak topped with Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola with a little bit of Horseradish Drizzle – super easy to make and uses Demitri’s Extra Horseradish Bloody Mix. –Kathy

Beef steak with vegetables, rosemary and soy sause
Photo from Demitri’s Gourmet Seasonings.

Savory Grilled Steak with Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola
This quick and easy preparation uses one of my favorite products – Demitri’s Extra Horseradish Bloody Mary Seasoning. Yes it’s great in a Bloody Mary – of course – but equally delicious as a steak marinade. It’s super easy! (Demitri’s can be found at well stocked grocery stores or online at

Makes 4 servings

4 steaks, such as New York, flat iron or tenderloin
1/2 cup Demitri’s Extra Horseradish Bloody Mary Seasoning
2 large sweet onions, sliced in 1-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 2 ounces)

Horseradish Steak Drizzle
1/4 cup Demitri’s Extra Horseradish Bloody Mary Seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Garnish: coarsely chopped fresh basil

To marinate the steak: Trim the meat of any outer pieces of fat and silverskin. Put the steaks in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Pour the 1/2 cup of Demitri’s seasoning into the bag, press out any air, and then seal the bag. Move the meat around in the bag to coat well. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, turning the bag a few times.

To make the Horseradish Steak Drizzle: Mix ingredients together. Cover and set aside.

To grill the meat: Preheat a grill to high. Drizzle the steaks and onions with a little olive oil and lightly season steak with salt and pepper. Grill steaks to the desired doneness. The grilling time will vary, depending on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the meat. Remove steak to a plate to rest for about 5 minutes before serving, allowing juices to settle. Top with cheese so that it starts to melt. Meanwhile, grill the onions till tender and nicely grill marked.

Serve the steaks topped with onions and drizzled with Horseradish Steak Drizzle.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey Food Studios® for Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning

Posted by Kathy on June 11th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes

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
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.

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

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

The Modern Crock Pot

It’s time for some hearty cooking so dig deep into your pantry and dust off your trusty crock pot!

The wonderful thing about a crock pot is you can do all the prep early in the day, and be ready to serve dinner right when you walk in the door from work! The “Set It and Forget It” aspect is great for a busy schedule.

Today’s crock pot recipes have gotten more modern with delicious twists like in my recipe for Crock Pot Fragrant Soy & Ginger Beef, cooked until succulent with green onions, shitake mushrooms, and cabbage. Marinate the beef overnight with a garlicy, spicy soy marinade, then layer into the slow cooker with onions, mushrooms, and wedges of cabbage. Pour the marinade over the whole thing and set to cook. After 8 or 9 hours, you’ll have a rich, super-flavorful sauce with delicious meat and tender veggies. Perfect to serve with steamed rice. PS – you may want to put the cooker under your stove hood (turned on) as it can be quite “fragrant” with the cabbage.

Another fork tender recipe is my Orange Chili Slow-Cooked Pork made with chili spice rubbed pork butt, fresh squeezed Sunkist Orange juice, coriander seed, tomato paste and garlic. Super flavorful!! Great to serve in DIY soft tacos.

And there are a ton of great crock pot cookbooks out there from everything from soups and chilis to even cakes!

Have a favorite oven-braising recipe? These can be easily adapted for crock pot cooking. Just remember to add your vegetables on top of the meat or poultry – this way they won’t get overcooked. –Kathy

Crock Pot Fragrant Soy & Ginger Beef with Green Onions & Cabbage
Makes about 6 servings

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds beef brisket roast
2 slices fresh ginger root
3 cloves of garlic
1 star anise pod
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in 6 wedges
1 very small head green cabbage, cut in 6 wedges
1 bunch green onions, ends trimmed off, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Place beef into pan, fat side down, and brown the first side. Turn over and brown the other side. Transfer beef to a non-corrosive bowl or baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ginger root, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, brown sugar, soy, vinegar, and chili flakes and pour over the meat, turning the meat to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Then next day, remove the meat from the dish and place in the bottom of the slow cooker (reserve marinade). Next, layer in the onion wedges, then the cabbage and green onions. You may need to push down the cabbage a bit to make it fit.

Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade until blended, then pour over the top. Cover tightly with the lid and set to cook on high. Cook undisturbed for about 8 – 9 hours.

To serve, remove the cabbage and onions to a platter and the meat to a cutting board. Slice the meat against the grain and place on the platter. Spoon the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Orange Chili Slow-Cooked Pork
Orange Chili Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos – Yum!
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Orange Chili Slow-Cooked Pork
This full flavored pork is great to get cooking before heading off to work. Serve over rice, as a pulled pork sandwich or in tacos.

Makes 6 hearty servings

1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. coriander seed, crushed
1 Tbsp. salt
1 boneless pork butt (shoulder), about 3 pounds, cut into 2 pieces
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh squeezed Sunkist Orange juice
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 large onion, sliced

To prepare the pork, mix the chili powder, coriander seed, and salt in a large, shallow bowl. Roll the pork in the mixture.

Put the pork in a slow-cooker. (Add in any extra seasoning that did not stick to the pork.) In a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, orange juice, vinegar and garlic. Pour over the pork and then scatter with the onion. Cover set the cooker on high. Let cook for 8 hours or until very tender. Serve as desired.

Chef Notes:

  • The broth is super flavorful so be sure to save and mix in to pork after pulling it, you can also thicken the cooking juice with a little cornstarch.
  • If making tacos top with a little shredded cabbage, your favorite salsa or chopped tomato, sprigs of cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Add any leftovers into a chili or soup.
  • Recipe created by Kathy Casey Food Studios® for Sunkist®.

    Posted by Kathy on December 12th, 2014  |  Comments Off on The Modern Crock Pot |  Posted in Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes

    Best Burgers for Summer

    Everyone loves a great, fresh-off-the-grill burger. That smoky smell wafting from the barbecue just screams summer.

    And there’s a lot of room to get creative. From the burger patties to the buns and of course the toppings… it’s easy to make it your own!

    Love the classic beef burger? Snazz it up by stuffing the center with some blue cheese then serve it on toasted buns spread with garlic butter, tuck in some thick slices of vine ripe summer tomatoes, sweet Walla Walla onions and some tangy pickles. Don’t forget to use a signature spread! For this burger I love a mixture of A-1 steak sauce and mayo with a touch of horseradish for some kick. My Favorite Blue Cheese Burger Recipe follows.

    Blue Cheese burger
    Who’s ready to take a bite out of My Favorite Blue Cheese Burger?
    Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

    And if you’re thinking seafood, then how about barbecued Salmon Burgers on Homemade Lemon Dill Buns. The buns are d’lish and this moist salmon burger is the perfect lighter option for an outdoor dinner party!

    Just remember to always pre-heat your grill and get it nice and hot for any burger adventure. –Kathy

    My Favorite Blue Cheese-Stuffed Burgers
    Makes 6 half-pound burgers

    3 lbs. lean ground beef
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1 Tbsp. soy sauce
    1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    1 Tbsp. A-1 sauce
    1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
    4 oz. blue cheese

    1/2 cup high quality mayonnaise
    1 Tbsp. creamed horseradish
    3 Tbsp A-1 Sauce
    2 tsp. grainy mustard

    thick-sliced, vine-ripened tomatoes
    sweet Walla Walla onion slices
    fresh arugula or lettuce
    slices of your favorite pickles – “I love to get mine at the farmers market”
    6 high quality hamburger buns spread with garlic butter

    Mix meat, salt, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire and garlic until thoroughly combined. Shape beef into 6 equal balls.

    Divide cheese into 6 pieces/balls and press into the center of the meat. Press out into 5 inch patties – – being sure that the meat is surrounding the cheese in the middle.

    To grill and serve: Heat charcoal or gas grill until very hot. Set patties apart on grill, turning when first side is browned. Cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side depending on your heat.

    Meanwhile toast buns. Assemble burgers with spread tomato slices, onion, pickles, arugula or lettuce leaves and dollop with the Horseradish Spread as desired.

    Recipe from Kathy Casey Cooks: Favorites.

    Barbecued Salmon Burgers on Homemade Lemon Dill Buns
    Makes 4 servings

    Grilling doesn’t have to be about the obligatory hamburgers. Try something new – like salmon burgers. You can serve them with different condiments, too, such as cucumber Greek yogurt sauce, or tangy vegetable slaw. The bun recipe makes 8 buns, so you can easily double the burger mixture or use the extra buns for your favorite sandwich.

    Burger Mixture
    1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless salmon fillet, pin bones removed (ask your fishmonger to do this)
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    3/4 tsp. kosher salt
    1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    2 Tbsp. minced onion
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
    1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
    1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 Tbsp. dried bread crumbs

    Lemon Dill Buns (recipe follows) or high-quality store-bought buns
    Mayonnaise, aioli or tarter sauce
    Any combination of burger goodies that you like, such as tomato, lettuce, onion, or thinly sliced cucumbers for garnishing

    To make the burgers, chop the salmon well. Mix it thoroughly with the remaining burger ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape into 4 1/2- to 5-inch-diameter well-compacted round patties. Refrigerate the patties, covered for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to firm.

    Prepare a very hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. The patties are somewhat fragile, so handle carefully. Oil the grill, and set the patties apart on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until nicely marked and just done. Split the buns and toast lightly. (You can also cook these on a stove top grill or in a non-stick pan).

    Spread the buns with mayonnaise or tartar sauce, add the burgers, and pile high with garnishes of your choice.

    Lemon Dill Buns
    Makes 8 buns

    1/2 cup milk
    1 Tbsp. butter
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    1/3 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
    1 package active dry yeast
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
    1 Tbsp. very finely minced lemon zest
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 Tbsp. water

    In a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a simmer, remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and sugar. Cool, stirring until lukewarm. Add the warm water and yeast, stirring to dissolve the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

    Whisk in 1 egg along with the salt, dill, lemon zest, and garlic. Then mix in as much of the flour as needed to make a smooth, moist dough.

    Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 6 minutes. Put the dough into a greased large bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

    Preheat an oven to 350°F. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 pieces. Form the pieces into balls and let rest for 10 minutes, covered with a towel. Then press out the balls, flattening into 4-inch-diameter rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet, spaced apart, cover lightly with a towel, and let rise until almost doubled.

    In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with the 1 tablespoon water. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

    Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

    Posted by Kathy Casey on August 1st, 2014  |  Comments Off on Best Burgers for Summer |  Posted in Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes


    Summer means grilling and nothing boosts the flavor goodness on grilled meat, seafood and veggies like a fantastic marinade. They are simple to make and give an easy flavor jolt to your dinner dishes with only a few ingredients.

    (Photo courtesy of Country Living)

    Take inspiration for your marinade from different cultures. Chipotle, lime, and agave add instant cha-cha-cha to your chicken. Or try ginger, thai basil, sesame oil, and hot chili paste for a bit of zen for your dish.

    My biggest marinade tip is: Make it strong! The bolder the flavor; the bigger the taste. If you make your marinade and it tastes good – then it’s not bold enough. Pump up the flavor even more with spices, garlic, herbs, etc. Get creative!

    Citrus juices are common in marinades and add a big hit of brightness to smoky grilled flavors. Keep in mind that marinating with citrus juices for too long can begin to “cook” your protein, particularly fish, before it even hits the heat. I like to use orange juice concentrate to really get a citrus punch in my marinade.

    Another quick tip: If your marinade contains sugar or honey, be sure to grill on medium-low heat to prevent burning. Honey or sugar can scorch on high heat.

    I’ve included a great chart for making marinades with a basic recipe and then add-ins for you to customize. I also put together some marinating and grilling tips for your next patio party to be grilling-successful!

    So this summer, jazz up your cooking with some mouth-watering marinades. –Kathy

    Basic Marinade for Grilling
    Marinates 4 to 6 portions of protein

    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or other fresh herb
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
    1/3 cup olive oil or salad oil, depending upon which herbs you are using
    1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper or 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
    4 to 6 portions of protein, such as chicken breasts, steaks, pork loin chops, salmon, or large shrimp, or large portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian option

    In a small bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.

    Lay out protein in a shallow, non-aluminum baking pan. Spoon half the marinade on the top side of each portion and rub it around, then flip the protein and spoon on the remaining marinade, being sure that all surfaces are covered.

    Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

    When ready to cook, heat grill to medium-high heat, then brush grill lightly with oil. Be sure grill is hot before placing protein on it. Sprinkle both sides of protein with kosher salt, and grill on the first side, being sure not to move it until there is a good charred grill mark. (The biggest mistake that home cooks make is to “touch” what they are grilling too much and move it around before it is ready; this causes sticking.)

    Grill to desired doneness. No specific time can be given as it will depend upon your heat and what you are grilling. Typically, if there are nice grill marks on each side, the food is probably close to done. You can refer to internal cooking temperatures on the Internet, but I think that most government-determined temperatures are too high. So, until you are a seasoned griller, get a small paring knife and cut a tiny “peek “into the center of what you are cooking. For poultry you will want to see no pink; fish should be just cooked and not dry; shrimp should be just pink on the outside and barely opaque inside; and steaks should be the way you like them!

    This marinade is a basic one, so get creative here, too, when you feel ready. Practice makes perfect. And grilling is “rustic,” so if you make a mistake, it is not the end of the world—just jump back in and try it again soon.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Marinade Customization Chart

    Acid 1/4 cup Any of the following or a combination equaling 1/4 cup:

    lemon juice

    lime juice

    cider vinegar

    balsamic vinegar

    red wine vinegar

    white wine vinegar

    rice wine vinegar

    Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons
    Kosher salt 3/4 teaspoon (use less if adding cheese or olives)
    Oil 3/4 cup Any of the following or a combination equaling 3/4 cup:

    mild-tasting vegetable oil, such as canola

    olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil

    nut oils, such as hazelnut or walnut oil (do not use nut oils for more than half of total oil)

    Flavorings as desired black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper

    1 tablespoon grated lemon, lime or orange zest (colored part only—no white pith)

    1 tablespoon chopped mild fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, chives, oregano, cilantro)

    1 1/2 teaspoons chopped strong fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram)

    2 tablespoons chopped calamata olives, sun dried tomatoes or roasted peppers

    2 to 3 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic

    2 to 3 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger

    1 tablespoon honey

    2 teaspoons sugar

    2 teaspoons poppy seeds

    1 tablespoon Asian-style sesame oil

    1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

    1 tablespoon finely minced shallots

    2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

    1 teaspoon hot chili paste or hot sauce

    In a small mixing bowl, use a small wire whisk and combine together your acid component, Dijon mustard and salt. Then slowly whisk in the oil, adding it in a thin drizzle. This technique is to emulsify (make smooth and combined) your marinade. Then add your flavoring components.

    You can keep the unused marinade refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Experiment with different flavorings and combinations. Discard after using the marinade.

    Marinating tips:

  • The item you are marinating doesn’t have to be swimming in liquid if the marinade is made strong enough.
  • Freeze extra marinade in zip-lock freezer bags. When ready to use, just pull it out of the freezer, defrost and add in your item to be marinated.
  • Marinades with a lot of acid (vinegar, wine, citrus) should be used for a shorter time on proteins.
  • Make marinades thick with herbs and citrus zests — almost like a wet rub — for a big flavor punch. Smear on 1 tablespoon per portion.
  • Try smearing thicker marinades under the skin of whole chickens, then let them sit overnight, refrigerated, before roasting.
  • Created by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Lemon & Caper Marinade for Seafood or Chicken
    Makes about 1/3 cup

    2 teaspoons finely minced fresh lemon zest
    1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil
    2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme
    1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
    2 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    Whisk all ingredients together well.

    Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.

    Marinate fish, shrimp, scallops or chicken breasts for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Cider Marinade for Chicken or Pork
    Makes 1 cup

    1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
    1 teaspoon rubbed dry sage or 1 Tbsp. fresh sage finely minced
    1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme finely minced
    3/4 teaspoon celery seed
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest
    1/2 cup apple cider
    4 teaspoons cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1/4 cup salad oil

    Whisk all ingredients together well. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

    Marinate chicken breasts or pork chops for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours before cooking.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Citrus Mojo Chili Marinade for Poultry, Pork or Seafood

    Makes 3/4 cup

    2 teaspoons finely minced orange zest
    1 orange
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
    2 tablespoons finely minced onion

    Zest the orange and then cut off the peel and white pith from it. Cut orange into large chunks. Place in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients and process until as smooth as it will get.

    Will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

    Marinate fish, turkey breast slices, chicken, shrimp or pork for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Chermoula Marinade for Prawns, Chicken, Veggies or Steak
    Makes about 1/2 cup

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
    2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon zest
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/3 cup olive oil

    Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until almost smooth.

    Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Marinate chicken breasts, shrimp, or beef steaks for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

    Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

    Posted by Kathy Casey on June 5th, 2014  |  Comments Off on Marinades |  Posted in KOMO Radio, meats, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes, seafood

    The Northwest eCookbooks

    Great friend, award winning writer, and long time Pacific Northwest native Cynthia Nims has written a wonderful series of e-cookbooks covering The Northwest! Whether you’re looking to cook up up Crabs and Wild Mushrooms or looking for a new combo of Soups, Salads, & Sandwiches, Cynthia has you covered and more! The ebooks are priced at $3.50 each (what a steal!) and are available to download through the Kindle and most mobile/tablet devices with the free Kindle app.

    Posted by Kathy Casey on March 12th, 2014  |  Comments Off on The Northwest eCookbooks |  Posted in appetizers, Books to Cook, breakfast, Foodie News, Lifestyle, meats, Recipes, seafood, sides


    Looking to make a meal to impress, but don’t want to break the bank? Braising can make even the toughest meats a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Braising is a loooooonnnng, slow cooking method that can be done on the stove top, in the oven, or in a crock pot!

    What a great treatment for less tender, more flavorful cuts of meat, such as beef chuck, lamb shanks, chicken legs, or short ribs. Generally, these cuts are less expensive, but really taste like a million bucks if they’re cooked low and slow.

    First, season up your meat then give it a good sear in a hot pan with a touch of oil. Then add tasty ingredients like wine, herbs and veggies. Cover tightly and pop the pan in a low oven (around 300 – 325 degrees) and forget about it for a few hours!

    The hardest part: be patient! Don’t try to rush the process. This will take time and your patience (and taste buds) will be greatly rewarded.

    And of course, don’t forget about all that juicy braising liquid. It’s perfect to use in a tasty sauce.

    One of my favorite dishes to make is my Slow Cooked Roasted Beef with Half a Bottle of Wine and 20 Cloves of Garlic. Perfect for a lazy weekend comfort food dinner and polishing off the rest of that bottle of wine! – Kathy

    Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

    Slow-Cooked Roast Beef with Half a Bottle of Wine and 20 Cloves of Garlic
    If the sauce is not thick enough, make a cornstarch slurry using 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water. Whisk the slurry into the simmering sauce, a little at a time, until the desired thickness is reached.

    Makes 6 to 8 generous servings
    1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) beef chuck roast
    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 Tbsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 large onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
    1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
    1/2 bottle (about 1 1/2 cups) red wine
    3 Tbsp flour
    20 cloves garlic, peeled
    5 sprigs fresh thyme
    4 carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    4 stalks celery, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, optional

    Preheat an oven to 325°F.

    With paper towels, pat the roast dry. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over high heat until hot.

    Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Place in the hot pan and sear on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat to a platter. Add the onion wedges and mushrooms to the pan and stir around for a few minutes, then tuck the roast back into the pan, pulling the onion and mushroom mixture up from under the roast.

    Whisk together the wine and flour until smooth and add to the roasting pan, along with the garlic and thyme. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pan to the oven.

    Roast for about 2 hours. Add the carrots and celery and continue to roast for 1/2 hour to 1 hour, or until meat is fork-tender.

    Stir the basil into the sauce.

    Cut roast into thick slices or large chunks, depending on your preference, and serve with the sauce drizzled over it.

    Recipe from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

    Posted by Kathy Casey on March 7th, 2014  |  Comments Off on Braising |  Posted in KOMO Radio, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes