Archive for June, 2008

June in Las Vegas – Part 1

I’m just back from a fabulous trip to Las Vegas where we stayed at the new posh Palazzo hotel -sister to the Venetian. All rooms are beautiful luxurious suites, with swanky bathrooms and soaps and bath products that smell so good … I almost wanted to eat them!

Speaking of eating, our first night my husband and I dined at Morels restaurant right off the lobby of the Palazzo. The dining room is punctuated with Tiffany blue accents, a touch reminiscent of Prime at the Bellagio. Outdoor seating over the strip- is great for people watching, if it wasn’t 108 degrees!! We opted for cool refuge of air conditioned inside dining. The menu dubbed ” french steakhouse & bistro” had plenty of tantalizing choices and for an upscale Vegas restaurant I thought the prices were quite good.

Excellent for sipping, we started with perfectly-made old classics. Tanqueray Ten Martini, ultra-chilled with blue cheese stuffed olives and a Woodford Manhattan with house brandied cherries. Not wanting to spoil our appetite, we passed on appetizers but they had some fun selections; from Classic Cheese Fondue, $10 per guest, to Halibut Ceviche with roasted piquillo peppers, tomato and jalapeno water $16.

To start off, I had the Summer Baby Spinach Salad, with made in-house duck prosciutto, heirloom tomatoes, haricot vert, golden beets and aged goat’s cheese $15.
Baby Spinach Salad 

John had the Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad, with oh so fashionable burratta cheese, wild arugula, in-house pickled onions, EVOO and grapemust geduction, $15. Both salads were quite nice.

For my entree I had the “melt in your mouth good” 18-Hour Red Wine Braised Beef Shortrib with morel mushroom cassoulet (morels had to show up somewhere!), summer asparagus and crisp onion rings, $38. John opted for the 16-oz Kansas City Steak, $46, grilled to perfection and served with a yummy au poive demi.

Our super charming waiter insisted (and glad he did!) we have the Truffle Creamed Summer Corn Gratin with roasted jalapenos and Parmesan cheese, $8. It was fantastic – full of flavor but not too spicy – just sexy and decadent!

That was it for us — no dessert – we were stuffed. Morels is a fantastic addition to a wonderful hotel. We’ll be back.

Morels
Located in the Palazzo Hotel
Las Vegas
Interior: Beautiful and tasteful
Service: Professional, crisp and attentive
Food: Delicious
Price: Reasonable for fine dining in Vegas

Add comment June 30th, 2008

The First Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival

This will be some shroomy time! If you are a mushroom lover then this is the event for you. The first annualfestival will be held in Lacey, Washington at the Nisqually Middle School on Saturday and Sunday June 28th & 29th from 10am – 6 pm. Join Puget Sound Micrological Society President and fantastic mushroom chef Patrice Benson and me on Saturday at 2:30 for a super yummy cooking demo. I will be whipping up some easy summer mushroom salads. In addition to all the foodie fun, there will be live music, children’s activities and lots more chef cooking demos! I hope to see you there! For more info visit http://www.mushroomfest.org

Kathy Casey’s Easy Summer Mushroom Salads


Simple Tuscan Shaved Veggie Salad with Lemon & Olive Oil

This is one of my favorite salads! I first had this style of salad in Tuscany. So delicious drizzled with fabulous olive oil and a grating of parmesan, the salad is perfect when quickly tossed and served with thick slices of grilled rustic bread and a juicy steak or fresh fish straight from the bbq.

For best results you will need to use a Japanese mandoline to slice the ingredients paper thin. This handy tool is great to have around the kitchen and it is worth the investment.

Makes 6 servings

1 bunch radishes, trimmed
1 fennel bulb, trimmed
1 pound large, firm button or crimini mushrooms
2 large heads Belgian endive
2 teaspoons very finely minced lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup very high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon Dish D’Lish French Seasoning Salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano or other grating cheese

With a Japanese mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut the radishes and fennel into paper-thin slices. Submerge the slices in ice water for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the mushrooms into paper-thin slices. With a sharp knife, cut the Belgian endive into 1/8-inch-thick slices, being sure not to get the core. Refrigerate the endive and mushrooms separately until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, whisk the lemon zest and juice, oil, and salt in a large bowl. Drain the radishes and fennel, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Toss the shaved and sliced ingredients in the dressing. Sprinkle with the chives, season with pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tartness with a touch more salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice if needed. Divide the salad onto 6 chilled plates and shave some of the cheese over each salad. (Grate the cheese very finely with a Microplane grater, or use a potato peeler to make long, thin shavings.) Serve immediately.

Chef’s Note: For a refreshing variation, you can also toss in a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh mint.

Copyright © 2008 by Kathy Casey. Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

Dish D’LishSesame Noodle Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms

This is one of our most popular salads at my Ballard Dish D’Lish Café. For this variation I have added sautéed shiitake mushrooms. It is super-simple to make and is a great salad to take to a pot-luck or picnic.

Makes about 6 cups

Mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed
Sprinkle of kosher salt

Dressing
2 tablespoons Asian-style toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, untoasted
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced fresh ginger
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek or other Asian chili paste

Noodles
1/2 pound (8 ounces) DRY thin spaghetti pasta

Garnish
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3/4 cup thinly bias-cut green onion
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted

To cook the mushrooms: Heat oils in a very large non-stick skillet over high heat till hot. Add the mushrooms and cook till tender, stirring often, about 4–6 minutes. Season with salt. Set aside.

To make the dressing: Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet or sautépan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the white sesame seeds and toast until lightly golden. Once golden, add to a large bowl with the remaining dressing ingredients and set aside.

To cook pasta: Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Lightly oil and salt the water. With the water at a full rolling boil, stir in pasta. Continue stirring until pasta water is fully boiling again.

Start checking noodles when halfway through the cooking time given on package. Cook noodles only until al dente. Do not overcook.

Immediately drain well (be sure there is no water left in pasta) and immediately add to dressing bowl along with the cooked shiitake mushrooms and toss together well. Let cool, then add the garnish and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You can make this salad up to 2 days before serving. Let come to room temperature before serving.

©2008 by Kathy Casey Dish D’Lish®

Add comment June 25th, 2008

Summer Grilling!

Everyone loves a good “Q”—once the warm weather’s warming our patios, we flock to stoke the coals and flip the fare. Everything tastes better cooked on the grill.

It’s nice to start your meal with a little grilled rustic bread—crusted over the coals then served with a selection of tasty toppings. These provide a wonderful assortment of color and texture, and their flavors come together perfectly. Artichoke & Garlic Jumble is zesty and and Goat Cheese & Chive Smear is smooth and creamy.

Then move on to the main course—an array or whatever your pleasure, be it meat, fowl, fish or veggies. I love to use Callison’s Seasoned Skewers—they season from the inside out! Just skewer your fish, meat, poultry or vegetables for big flavor in mere minutes. My favorites are their Citrus Rosemary, Thai Coconut Lime and Indian Mango Curry. The skewers are available through my website; in the Northwest at Thriftways, Fred Meyers and Metropolitan Markets; and nationally at Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma.

I’ve included a recipe for Citrus Rosemary Chicken & Veggie Skewers. Served alongside Grilled Rustic Bread with spreads and a Big Green Salad, it’s a great summer meal.

The Menu:

Grilled Rustic Bread
with Artichoke & Garlic Jumble and Goat Cheese & Chive Smear

Big Green Salad from your Farmers Market!

Citrus Rosemary Chicken & Veggie Skewers
—————————————————————————-

Grilled Rustic Bread
Makes 8 servings

24 slices rustic Italian bread (about 1 large loaf, sliced)
extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Artichoke & Garlic Jumble (recipe follows)
Goat Cheese & Chive Smear (recipe follows)

Prepare toppings in advance. When ready to start grilling, brush the bread slices lightly with oil. Grill bread on each side until lightly grill-marked and toasty, and serve with a choice of toppings.

Artichoke & Garlic Jumble
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 (13.75-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Toss ingredients together well.

Goat Cheese & Chive Smear
Makes 1 1/2 cups

4 ounces chevre-style, soft goat cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives

Place chevre and cream cheese in a mixer with a paddle attachment and whip until fluffy. Gently fold in chives.  Copyright © 2003, Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Citrus Rosemary Chicken & Veggie Skewers
Serves 4

4 Citrus Rosemary Seasoned Skewers
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12 pieces (1 1/2-inch chunks)
8 cherry tomatoes
8 slices (about 1-inch thick) zucchini or 8 tiny baby squash
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak skewers in white wine for 10 to 15 minutes.
Thread onto a skewer in the following order: chicken-tomato-zucchini, using 1 piece of each. Repeat 1 more time and then add 1 more piece of chicken to secure the vegetables. Repeat with remaining skewers.
Let sit for 10 to 20 minutes in refrigerator.
Lightly brush skewers on each side with olive or vegetable oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place on a preheated medium-high grill and cook skewers until chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Recipe © Callison’s Seasoned Skewers – created by Kathy Casey

For more great recipes that I created with Seasoned Skewers visit www.seasonedskewers.com

 

Add comment June 19th, 2008

Pots & Pins – Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake

Nan Slaughter from the blog Pots & Pins just did the most amazing post of my Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake! Great recipes with yummy photos – she cooks, bakes and makes quilts as well as authors children’s books. Check Nan out at Pots & Pins.

Thanks for the great mention Nan! And keep up that tasty baking!

Add comment June 16th, 2008

Pie Secrets

Strawberry season on it’s way, and what better to craft out of these ruby beauties than pie! Oh, but what’s that you say? You can’t make pie? You are afraid of making crust?

Pie does not have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be. The Strawberry Rhubarb Rustic Tarts are a great pie for a beginner due to its hand-formed shape – so don’t worry it’s supposed to look rustic! Fear of crust be gone! This recipe uses a little vinegar in the crust – making for a bit of crust magic. But the true secret to a great crust is not to over-handle it!

The next recipe is a bit more advanced – it is for Pink and Puffy Strawberry Chiffon PIe – an old school style pie. Whipped cream and whipped egg whites are folded in to the strawberry mixture making for a super fluffy filling.  

Both recipes are wonderful to feature the summer’s lush strawberries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Rustic Tarts
Makes 4 individual tarts
Be sure to read recipe through before starting.

Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. ice water

Fruit Filling
2 cups quartered strawberries and 1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb OR 3 cups total of any fresh berries
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. flour

To make the crust: Mix the flour, poppy seeds, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and, with a pastry blender or clean hands, combine until mixture forms pea-sized particles. In a small separate bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp. of the beaten egg (reserve the rest for egg wash), vinegar and ice water. Stir into the dry mixture with a fork, mixing until liquid is just incorporated. (If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.) Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes.

To make Fruit Filling: Right before assembling the tarts, place fruit in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and flour. Set aside and toss together after you have rolled out the dough.

To assemble and bake tarts: Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, press the portion into a flat round disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 1/8-inch-thick, 6- to 6 1/2-inch circle, pressing in sides as needed to keep it round. Cover with plastic while you roll out the remaining pieces.

Divide filling evenly among the rolled tart shells, heaping it in the center of each. Gather up the crust edges around the filling, bringing about 1 1/2 inches of the dough over the fruit and pinching it as needed to make an open-face tart. Be careful not to get any holes in crust. If this happens, pinch shut.

With a spatula, carefully remove each tart to a lightly pan-sprayed or parchment-papered baking sheet. Whisk 1 teaspoon of water into the reserved beaten egg and lightly brush the dough of tarts. Sprinkle the tart tops lightly with sugar.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling; cooking time will vary with different ovens. Recipe from Kathy Casey Cooks Favorites-Copyright © 2002 by Kathy Casey.

Pink & Puffy Strawberry Chiffon Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Crust
1 1/2 cups very finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filling
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 egg whites*, preferably organic

Garnish
Sweetened whipped cream
Fresh strawberries with stems, sliced in half lengthwise

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs (crumbs should be fine, like cornmeal—you can crush them in a food processor or in a plastic bag and then roll with a rolling pin), butter and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well.

Place mixture in a 9-inch pie pan, and press mixture into pan evenly then up the sides and out onto the rim. Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, then cool crust to room temperature before filling.

To make the filling: Place sliced strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor and just lightly pulse a couple of times to break up strawberries—do not puree or chop fine. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher to do this.) Let mixture sit for 20 minutes (no longer!) before continuing.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir the cranberry juice and gelatin together. Place pan over low heat and stir until gelatin is just dissolved. Then pour into a large bowl, and set aside to cool.

After gelatin mixture has cooled, add strawberry mixture to it. Place in refrigerator and chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture is partially set—gloppy but not firm. (This takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending upon your refrigerator.)

When strawberry mixture is partially set, quickly whip the cream in a mixer until stiff and then refrigerate while you whip the egg whites.

In a clean, grease-free mixer bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the strawberry mixture, then gradually and gently fold in the whipped cream. Quickly mound filling into the baked and cooled pie shell.

Return pie to refrigerator, and chill until filling is firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and fresh halved strawberries if desired.

Keep any extra pie refrigerated.

*This pie contains uncooked egg whites, which are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone with immune deficiencies. However, you could use a pasteurized egg white product, such as “Just Whites” or “Egg Beaters Egg Whites.” (Read the label to be sure the product is designed for meringues.) Copyright © 2002 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

1 comment June 11th, 2008

Fresh Cherries Signal Summer!

Cherry red. What do you think of? That sexy, glossy convertible, that pair of stilettos, a favorite lipstick, or your Le Creuset enameled cast iron heart-shaped pan?Of course that most evocative of color descriptions is the seductive fruit’s namesake.

Plump, juicy cherries, icy cold, are my idea of the perfect snack. Just sitting around on a hot day popping them in one by one is the start of a wonderful summer. Some friends I know will eat a big bowl of cherries for dinner.

Cherries can appear in any part of the menu, from beverages to baked goods. They can, that is, if you can keep your household from eating them out of hand before you get a chance to make anything with them!

Looking for a stunning seasonal starter? Toss the brilliant, sweet orbs into a salad of tender gourmet greens—with crumbles of soft chevre goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts or walnuts- tossed with a light vinaigrette.

Dessert ideas abound—cherries in rice pudding, in a sauce for vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or topping a creamy cheesecake. We all recognize the names of famous cherry sweets—Black Forest Cake, Cherries Jubilee, Chocolate-Covered Cherries …. And you know shortcakes aren’t just for strawberries. Fresh, pitted cherries tossed with a little sugar and kirsch liqueur make an excellent shortcake filling.

My Summer Cherry Triple Ginger Upside Down Cake will be the perfect ending to a balmy summer night’s barbecue. The method for this cake is reminiscent of French clafouti but is not difficult to make.

Have a cherrilicious summer! ©2008 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Summer Cherry Triple-Ginger Upside Down Cake

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed, brown sugar
1 pound fresh cherries, pitted (about 2 cups)

Batter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons very finely minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup very finely minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk

Position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, and reserve.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and then immediately drizzle into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to distribute sugar mixture. Place the pitted cherries evenly around on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.

To make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt, and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat together the fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Then add flour mixture and milk, alternately, in 2 batches, mixing at low speed after each addition until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Spoon batter evenly over cherries in the pan. Spread batter gently, being careful not to move the cherries around too much. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack 15 minutes. Run a small knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Place a large platter or serving plate over cake and invert cake onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired. ©2004 Kathy Casey Food Studios®
 

 

 

Add comment June 5th, 2008

Sex in the City – Movie with the Gals & Cosmos

Ok – so this really isn’t about food so much as a night out with the girls. I joined my friend Michelle and a group of gals Sunday night to watch the Sex and the City movie at Seattle’s Big Picture. I had never been to this theater before and I am now asking myself WHY NOT???  This is the most fun theater in Seattle! Where else can you go and in the “lobby” be surrounded by plush couches, mood lighting and a full bar.


First arrived was my BFF Michelle who loves her fancy shoes and purses! It was just like a scene from the movie…. coming down the stairs her spike heal broke off her Louis Vuittone shoes! Of course being miss “non-fancy shoes” I suggested breaking off the other one “and then you will have flats”. Ahhhh… – I guess that was not such a good idea. Miss “fancy shoes” looked at me with horror and then trooped though the nite with one high heal and one flat.

Next we buckied up to the bar, ordered our cosmos and then picked out front row seats in the theater – complete with foot stools that turn into tray tables for holding your bucket of popcorn served in Veuve Clique champagne buckets and/or cocktail glasses of Junior Mints and M&M – there are not boxed candies here people! You can even let the bar know before the movie; when you would like more drinks deliverd to your seats during the film.

Needless to say we all loved the movie (though I think that boxes of tissues should be available for these chick flicks) and had a great time together – we can’t wait for another movie & cocktails, girls-night-out at The Big Picture.
If this put you in the cosmo mood here is my favorite recipe:

Grapefruit Rosemary Cosmo
Makes 1 drink

1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 1/2 ounces grapefruit vodka
1 1/2 ounces Dish D’Lish Classic Cosmo Cocktailor
Garnish: 1 small fresh rosemary sprig

Break rosemary sprig in half and drop into a cocktail shaker. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then measure in the vodka and Cosmo Cocktailor. Cap shaker and shake hard to incorporate the rosemary flavor. Strain drink into a martini glass. Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary.
Note: for a classic cosmo use regular vodka and deleat the rosemary.

1 comment June 3rd, 2008


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