Posts from April, 2008

Txori – Inspired Spanish Bites

Txori and Herbivoracious! We’re participating in a group review of Txori with Herbivoracious. Be sure to click the link to see what they have to say about this hot tapas spot!

 

Lately, it seems Spanish cuisine is popping up everywhere in my life. From being invited to a spanish cookbook release party and spanish olive oil tasting to most recently, a lunch with girlfriends at Txori, Seattle’s hip Belltown neighborhoods new restaurant featuring San Sebastian-style pintxos (little bites), wines, sherries and cocktails.

It is owned by Carolin Messier de Jiménez and Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez, who opened the Harvest Vine in 1998 and this newest gem just a few months ago. This dynamic duo certainly has a knack for finding small, intimate locations with lots of character — but then, they have lots of character themselves, and it comes through in all they do, from the interior to the tasty nibbles to the smart wines and cocktails.

We gals enjoyed about four dishes each — including pera a la plancha con valdeón (pear, blue cheese and walnut toasts) and tortilla española, the classic potato omelet with aioli (done perfectly!) — which made a splendid little meal. Be sure to check out the the daily offering of seasonal bites on the chalkboard. This great new bar-and-tapas snackery is just right for a light lunch or late-night sip and bite.

In love with this romantic cuisine — I was inspired to create a new cocktail. My Spanish Corrida Cocktail is enhanced with a splash of dry sherry and a smoked paprika-sugar rim, it is a perfect tapas-party or pre-dinner sipper.

Spanish Corrida Cocktail
Makes 1 drink

½ ounce dry Spanish sherry, preferably a Manzanilla
1 ½ ounces vodka
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup*
Garnish: Smoked Paprika Sugar rim (procedure follows**)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in sherry, vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup. Cap shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into Smoked Paprika Sugar-rimmed martini glass.

Kathy’s Notes: This cocktail is also great made with an added squeeze of fresh blood orange.

* To make simple syrup, combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small heavy pan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Bottle and store refrigerated until needed.

** To make a Smoked Paprika Sugar rim: Mix together 1 cup superfine or baker’s sugar with 2 teaspoons smoked paprika. Place mixture in a small deep bowl. Set aside. Slit a wedge of orange, lemon or lime halfway through. Slide the wedge over the rim of a cocktail glass, and press lightly against the rim as you slowly rotate the glass, moistening the outside of the rim. Then lightly dip the outside rim into the sugar, making a 1-inch-deep frost. (The goal is not to get sugar on the inside of the rim.) Copyright 2008, Kathy Casey Food Studios

 

Posted by Kathy on April 11th, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Restaurants, Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes

Lunch at Les Halles – Ny

Today after a business appointment in Manhattan I was close to Les Halles Downtown – Chef-large Anthony Bordain’s home base. Not super busy – but good food and good service. And for Manhattan, very reasonable in price. It was actually really nice to sit at a table and have a little room (Note: all the new hip places have tiny stools at long bars with 1″ in between them — so most times the guy/gal next you is actually sitting on you!)

I started with a grilled vegetable and goat cheese terrine served with a simple salad vinaigrette – very tasty. For my entree I had the Portugues Mussels Frites. It was a huge portion of steamed mussels with garlic, cilantro, chorizo and tomate with perfectly salted crisp fries on the side. Lunch was just under $30. A deal by NY standards.

I interveiwed Anthony Bordain a few years back and he is just as cool in person as he is on TV. I personally love his tell-it -like-it-is style. He is a smart guy and very well spoken. His certainly can tell a great story – be it print, or on air.

If you haven’t read his book Nasty Bits it’s a great read. And if your visiting Les Halles – pick up a copy of Les Halles Cookbook. You’ll want to make those delicious mussels at home …….

Posted by Kathy on April 10th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Restaurants, Books to Cook, Recent Posts, Tasty Travels

Savory Pasta Sauce – Simmered to Perrfection

A nice thing about pastas is that they can be quick and easy to make — especially in the summer, when fresh ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil are abundant in the garden. But there’s a whole other realm of other pasta options, my favorite being the hearty, slow-simmered sauces so rich with flavorful reductions. So delicious for a Sunday supper or a work day dinner – you can put on to cook while you head out the door . You’ll return to a house that smells soooo good and a spectacular dinner that was cooking away while you were out and about.

Tender chunks of lamb shoulder cook with a touch of orange peel, balsamic vinegar, onion and garlic, mushrooms, tomato paste, red wine, and fresh sage; the ingredients meld into a robust meat sauce — perfect paired with chunky rigatoni. To finish the dish, I like to crumble soft goat cheese or feta over it. Add a fresh arugula salad, crusty bread and a big glass of red wine
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Hearty Slow-Cooked Lamb & Mushroom Sauce with Rigatoni
Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more as needed
2 pounds lamb shoulder arm chops, fat trimmed off and each chop cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
½ cup diced onion
1-½ cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 teaspoons minced orange zest
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup red wine
1 cup canned low-sodium beef broth
3 fresh sage leaves
¾ to 1 pound dry rigatoni pasta
2 ounces soft chevre (goat cheese)
Fresh sage leaves for garnish

In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season lamb on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. When the pan is very hot, add half of the lamb and brown for about 1-½ to 2 minutes on each side or until well browned. Continue with remaining lamb. As lamb is browned, transfer it to a slow-cooker (crock pot).

In the same nonstick pan, sauté the onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes, orange zest and tomato paste. Stir in well and cook this mixture for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and wine. Cook the mixture, reducing it for about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and sage leaves. Bring to a boil and then immediately pour the mixture over the lamb in the slow-cooker. Be sure to scrape in all the goodies. Cover the cooker and cook for about 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Turn off the cooker. Remove bones from the lamb and break up meat into the sauce. Cover the sauce while cooking pasta.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta per package directions until just al dente. Drain (but do not rinse!) and place the well-drained pasta back into the cooking pot. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Toss well. Divide pasta among serving bowls and ladle sauce over pasta. This sauce is very brothy, so be sure to divide broth among bowls also. Crumble goat cheese over pasta and garnish with fresh sage leaves. Serve immediately. ©2005 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
 

Posted by Kathy on April 10th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes

Meat Water — too funny!

If you want a good laugh check out Meat Water’s site – it’s “dinner in a bottle”. Flavors such as Peking Duck, Dirty Hot Dog, and Beef Jerky have hysterical descriptions and will give you a good chuckle — or make you queasy ……you decide.

Posted by Kathy on April 8th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Foodie News, Recent Posts

Secret Ingredient: Whole Foods

Earlier this year I was approached by Whole Foods to be a guest chef on their video blog “The Secret Ingredient”. Each week chefs from around the country are given a “secret ingredient” and asked to come up with a dish highlighting that ingredient.

Click here to watch the video. With lemongrass as my secret ingredient I chose to create a Coconut-Braised Black Cod. This dish utilizes a ton of fresh herbs and spices; fantastic dish for perking up chilly spring evenings.  

Personally, I love lemongrass. Many people don’t know how to use it, but it is super simple. To infuse a Thai soup I peel away the outer husks, then using the dull side of my knife, smash the bulb to break apart the fibers and expose the floral and lemon aroma. I also use lemongrass in cocktails, muddling the bulb to extract that sexy fresh flavor.

The production of the video was so much fun! I loved the host Scott Simons, he has a great sense of humor and we really hit it off. The staff of Whole Foods was incredibly professional. We laughed and joked for most of the shoot, making for a super D’lish time.

Posted by Kathy on April 7th, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Recent Posts

Orange Endive & Watercress Salad

A great salad is my favorite way to start off a meal. Years ago when organic was off the beaten path I was featured in the frontrunner magazine Organic Gardening in an article with chef Thomas Keller. It was an article on beets – called Beatnik Chefs! My recipe was for a watercress, roasted beet and orange salad.

I love the fluffy watercress that is available in markets these days as it has a lighter flavor than the standard peppery coarser version. The following recipe has no beets in it – but would be excellent with some roasted orbs added.

So start off your next meal with a  fresh and bright salad of sweet, colorful oranges, vibrant watercress and slightly bitter Belgian endive tossed with a quick and easy creamy tarragon dressing and a scatter of toasted walnuts. Serve it up with chèvre cheese-spread baguette slices hot from the oven — the perfect creamy-crunchy foil to the salad.

Orange, Endive, Watercress and Walnut Salad with Chèvre Crostini
Makes 4 servings

2 large oranges
3/4 cup finely julienned red onion
1 large head Belgian endive
1 bunch watercress, leaves and tender sprigs picked from coarse stems
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, then toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:
3 tablespoons regular or low-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Chèvre Crostini:
8 (¼-inch-thick) slices baguette
3 ounces chèvre-style soft goat cheese

Cut rind and all white pith from oranges, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into ¼-inch-thick half-moons. Rinse onion julienne in cold water, and drain thoroughly. Split endive in half lengthwise, remove core, and slice endive lengthwise into strips.

 Place orange slices, onion, endive, watercress and walnuts together in a large bowl. Set aside.
 In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and honey. Gradually whisk in oil, emulsifying dressing. Whisk in tarragon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, spread baguette slices with chèvre, about 2 teaspoons per slice. Place on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 6 to 8 minutes or until bread is crispy. Keep warm.

Add dressing to salad ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss again. Divide salad among 4 plates and serve with the Chèvre Crostini. ©2005, Kathy Casey
Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on April 4th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

Career Woman

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Quast, the CEO and President of Career Woman, Inc. How fantastic to find another resource for women in business. This international consulting company “works with companies who are interested in better utilizing these untapped talents and the potential of women in their workforce.” And how much talent we women have!

 Check out Career Woman Inc. for Lisa’s inspiring book “Your Career, Your Way!”. I’ll be settling down with my copy this weekend, for sound advice on taking charge of your career aspirations.

Posted by Kathy on April 3rd, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Recent Posts

Cucumber Soda from Pepsi – no joke!

On MSNBC.com is a story on Pepsi’s new cucumber flavored soda. Pepsi Cucumber Ice hits stores this week in Japan. While I love to incorporate the brisk and refreshing cucumber into cocktails — I am not so sure about it in a sweet soda. But hey – Dr. Brown’s old school Celery Soda is pretty good with a hot pastrami sandwich. So maybe cuke soda could go well with some sushi to-go?

Posted by Kathy on April 3rd, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Foodie News, Recent Posts
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