Posts from October, 2008

Halloween Fun For Adults!

Halloween is right around the corner and this holiday I have some great crafty kitchen ideas for you to really wow your guests. Even if you aren’t having a big party, invite a couple of friends over for some seasonal drinks and pop in a couple of vintage horror flicks. Or you could host a Halloween dinner party; perhaps not if you live on a busy block, those trick-or-treaters will never give you a chance to sit down and eat!

My Super Fun Halloween Ideas
Ramp up popcorn balls by mixing in candy corn
Decorate cupcakes with crawly stuff on them like black glitter – Cookies in Ballard has crazy stuff for decorating fun
Hollow out a pumpkin and fill it with spiced pumpkin soup
Embellish caramel apples with red hots or other festive candies
Make your witches brew a blood red pomegranate martini with peeled grapes for eyeballs floating in it. Gummy eyeballs would also be fun for floating in or garnishing drinks

Here I’ve included a couple of family-friendly recipes. My S’mores Cocoa uses holiday peeps (I just love peeps, they are so fun!) and a great recipe for pumpkin seeds. Use my ideas for a successful Halloween!

S’mores Cocoa with Halloween Peeps
Makes 1 drink

Chocolate sauce in a squeeze bottle
Graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
3/4 cup steamed or hot milk
Halloween Peeps

Rim a coffee glass or mug with chocolate sauce. Then press the rim into graham cracker crumbs.

Place ground chocolate in mug; carefully stir in hot milk. Top with Halloween Peeps and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey Cooks Favorites, Kathy Casey Food Studios, Seattle. Copyright © 2007 by Kathy Casey.

Cha Cha Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 2 cups

2 cups seeds from pumpkin (or winter squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Dish D’Lish Cha Cha Chipotle Lime Seasoning™

Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the seeds under cold water to remove any pumpkin flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the seasoning, a tablespoon or so at a time, tossing between additions. Toss well until evenly coated, then spread the seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.
Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy on October 30th, 2008  |  Comments (2) |  |  Posted in Recent Posts

Seattle Sushi

Yes we love our coffee here in Seattle, but I think we love our sushi just as much!

Seattle is a Mecca for sushi, and we have some fantastic places to polish one’s sushi etiquette.
Some of my favorites include; Nishino in Madison park for elegant creations and presentations, Shiro for old school classics, Chiso and Kappo, the it sushi place of the moment for their amazing fresh fish and creative presentations, Umi Sake House, Belltown’s sophisticated take on the Japanese izakaya style of eating, and Blue C Sushi for super creative rolls, fun hot foods, great salads and all in all, just fun.

Wherever you decide to go don’t be afraid to try ordering something new. Put your trust in the hands of the chef and order “omasake,” the chef’s choice. Some of the items may be unfamiliar, but you will be rewarded with delicious treats.

And if after all of this you still can’t get enough sushi, check out this great read The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket by Trevor Corson, Harper Collins. It will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about sushi. For example, did you know that Sushi started as a method of using rice to ferment the fish? It was a preservation tool!

Posted by Kathy on October 22nd, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

The Art of Baking and Crockpots: New Books

Two fun new books just popped across my desk this last month and have me eager to get in the kitchen.

ArtandSoulOfBaking

The first is The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet, Andrews McMeel Publishing. What a tome it is! Destined to become dog-eared, and sepia toned from splashes of vanilla, this complete guide to baking surely will be cherished for years to come. Mushet guides bakers through the tools and the vocabulary of the trade. Recipes range from low risk quick breads like Pumpkin Walnut Bread, to challenging layered doughs. What sets Mushet’s book apart are her “Tips for Success” and “What the Pros Know” sidebars peppered through the book. These hints and tips help dissolve myths and offer practical solutions to some of the most common baking questions; like, “Why do muffin fillings fall to the bottom?” Pick up The Art and Soul of Baking to find out.

Art of Slow Cooker COV

The second book to catch my eye this month is Art of The Slow Cooker: 80 Exciting New Recipes by Andrew Schloss, Chronicle Books. With a tight economy and efficiency on the mind, people are turning to crock pots in record numbers. But disappointment can result from the “dump and heat” method. Schloss outlines delicious recipes that require a quick browning of the meat first to develop complex and deep flavor. His recipes include everything from soups to stews (a pot pie even), to pulled pork and an All Day Cassoulet. What would a cookbook be without dessert? You’ll run across a tempting Chocolate Pudding Cake and just in time for the holidays a Supremely Edible Fruitcake! This is a fantastic holiday gift giving book for anyone with a busy life style.

Posted by Kathy on October 20th, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in Books to Cook, Recent Posts

FInger lickin’ Figs

Years ago, when visiting local mushroom expert and enthusiast (and of course total foodie) Patrice Benson’s house, I asked about a unique tree in her front yard. She said, “That’s a fig tree; they grow really well here and produce abundantly.”

This set me out to find my own, for I have always loved to grow the garden “unusuals.” The next year, I arrived early to the Seattle Tilth plant sale, and there it was … the lone fig tree! Snatching it up, and obtaining some grower advice, I headed home to plant it in a pot “to force it to bush out.”- it didn’t grow well. But now it lives in my urban garden behind the food studios, and one year it produced a 6 3/4oz fig that looked like a pear!!

Fig season is just about to come to a close, and I urge you to get out there and snatch them up before they are all gone! Fig’s short season make them ideal candidates for preserving. You can dry them, make jam, from them and plump up baked goods with their velvety sweetness. My recipe for Spiced Chicken with Fresh Figs and Port is super delicious and makes great use of this finger lickin’ fall crop.

Spiced Chicken with Fresh Figs and Port
Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint fresh figs (about 12), halved lengthwise
2 shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lemon, sliced (about 9 slices)
1 cup port wine
1/4 cup picked Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the salt and spices. Then lay out chicken on a baking sheet or a 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 till hot. Sauté half of the chicken, for about 3 minutes on each side, until the skin is deep golden brown and crispy. As pieces are browned, place them, skin side up, in a 9-by-13-inch roasting pan or lasagna pan that can also be used on top of stove. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Pour off any excess oil, then sauté the figs, shallots, garlic, and lemon for about 1 minute. Add the port and scrape up any 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 in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nicely roasted, with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Transfer chicken to a platter or individual plates, then with a slotted spoon, retrieve the figs, shallots, garlic, and lemon slices from the sauce, and distribute them over the chicken. Reduce the sauce to 3/4 cup, correct the seasoning, and drizzle the sauce over the chicken and goodies. Scatter with parsley leaves for garnish.

©2005 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on October 17th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts

Compost like you mean it!

Recently, I recorded a few commercials for the city on the topic of composting. Now while I don’t have a worm bin at home, I like knowing that I’m both receyling and helping the city make compost of its own when I add my food scraps to my yard waste bin. What food scraps can go in your yard waste bin you ask?  Listen to my promos for some fun tips and scroll down for my delicious fall recipes recipes!

Shiitake Noodle Salad

Herbed Squash

Fall Recipes for Composting!

Shiitake Noodle Salad
Makes about 5 – 6 cups

Mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced shitake 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 sauté pan 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 shitake 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 Food Studios®

Herbed Squash
Makes about 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups peeled 1 1/2-inch-diced winter squash, such as butternut, acorn or Hubbard
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnishing

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the squash and coat well with the mixture.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet or spray with cooking spray. Spread the squash on the pan in a single layer. Use two pans if necessary; do not crowd the squash. Roast the squash for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is tender and some edges are caramelized.

If you’re serving the squash on a platter, garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Chef’s Note: Purchase about 3 to 5 pounds of whole squash to make the 8 cups of diced squash.

©2008 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on October 13th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts

Mushroom Show This Saturday

Get ready for some fungi fun this weekend! The 8th annual Pudget Sound Micrological Society is holding their Wild Mushroom Exhbit at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture.  

This mushroom exhibit is one of the largest in the United States, with over 200 varieties of wild mushrooms displayed, identified, and classified as edible, poisonous, or valueless as food. You can even bring in mushrooms you’ve forraged from your front yard and have them identified by an expert. Fun!

In addition to all the fungi education, there will be cooking demos, activities for kids and mushroom crafts galore.

The show runs Saturday, noon-7pm, and Sunday 10AM-5PM. I’ll be around on Saturday, cooking up some d’lish mushroom treats. Click here for all the details, including admission and directions. With chantrelles in the supermarkets I hope you’ll try my Savory Chantrelle Bread Pudding that first appeared in my James Beard Nominated Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

See you at the show!

Savory Chanterelle Bread Pudding
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
2 cups cleaned and sliced chanterelles (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
4 cups 1-inch-cubed firm, rustic French- or Italian-style bread
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or lemon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the chanterelles and onion for 3 to 4 minutes, or until three-quarters done. Add the celery and sauté for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more, taking care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat.

Combine the bread cubes, herbs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix in the cooked mushroom mixture and set aside.

Butter a 6-cup glass or ceramic baking dish or spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

Whisk the half-and-half, milk, eggs, and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the bread mixture and mix gently and thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and level out the surface, lightly pressing the bread down into the dish.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the custard is just set in the center. Do not overbake or the custard will scramble.

Chef’s Note: It is important to use a rustic-style bread for this recipe—not airy bread.

Posted by Kathy on October 10th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts

Great Fall Books for Cookbook Lovers

There are so many books out there today for cooks; everything from celebrity cookbooks, to food memoirs, to single subject exposes, to resource guides for chefs, You can really find exactly what you are looking for.

I am a self admitted cookbook junkie, with over 1000 in my library here at the food studios. My assistant Mary also collects cookbooks, housing a respectable number in her tiny abode. We both love pouring over the pages, reading ingredient lists, and then there are the photographs!

This last couple of months a slew of cookbooks have come across our desk here at the Kathy Casey Food Studios, and Mary and I have selected our favorites to share with you. Almost all of these books are out now and available from your favorite bookseller.

Chefs On the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts. By Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly, Skipstone $24.95
Sustainability has never been so delicious. The Quillisascut cookbook is the printed counterpart to Rick and Lora Lea Misterly’s Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts in Rice Washington. A collaborative effort between Lora Lea- Goat Cheese Queen, Shannon Borg- Food Writer, Karen Jurgensen- Chef Instructor at Seattle Central Community College and Quillisascut School of the Domestic Arts, and award winning photographer Harley Soltes.

The book is divided seasonally, with recipes as well as look at farm life during each season. Beautifully photographed, you instantly settle into sense of time and place. The recipes are explosions of textures and flavors, using local ingredients that are anything but ordinary. A cornerstone for sustainable cooking as well as life on the farm, Chefs on the Farm is more than a cookbook, but a manual for rethinking our approaching food.

Scroll down for a recipe for Cardomom – Apple Stuffed French Toast with Cider Syrup

The Cooks Country Cookbook: Rediscovering American Home Cooking. America’s Test Kitchen, $34.95
With fall comes the desire to create American home-style classics, and what better than to turn to the pages of The Cooks Country Cookbook. Brought to you by the same people behind the popular magazine Cook’s Illustrated, the recipes are tirelessly tested and composed of clear methods to set the home cook up for sure success. Delicious recipes include: Hearty Beef Stew, Corned Beef Hash, and a tempting Chocolate Blackout Cake.

Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink. Edited by Marcella Rosene with Pat Mozersky, Sasquatch Books, $35.00
Les Dames d’Escoffier is an international organization of women leaders in food and beverage and hospitality – the organization promotes women into the hospitality fields, making connections through food and provides scholarships. Recipes from Seattle Dames include Braiden Rex Johnson-food writer, Leslie Mackie of Macrina, Fran Bigelow of Frans Chocolates, me-Kathy Casey, and more.

We’re hosting a cookbook release party here at the Kathy Casey Food Studios on October 16th. You’ll enjoy nibbling on bites from the book as well as rubbing shoulders with Seattle’s taste makers. Tickets, which include a signed book, are available from the Dames Seattle website.

Sunday Soup: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering, Easy-to-Make Recipes. Betty Rosbottom, Chronicle Books, $19.99
This is a beautiful book and is perfect for the gift giving season! Not just another collection of soup recipes, Betty Rosbottom kicks off the book with a stock chapter, instructing readers on how to make great stock and drilling in the importance of making great stock. The rest of the book is divided up by season. In addition to soups and stocks, there are fantastic recipes for soup perfect sides like Green Bean, Cherry Tomato, and Bacon Salad. Old classics and new exciting flavors incite mouth watering. I’m dying to try the Scallop and Corn chowder or Apple Soup with Crumbled Roquefort and Bacon, yum!

Cardamom–Apple Stuffed French Toast with Cider Syrup
From the Cookbook Chefs on the Farm by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly

Makes 4 servings

I use hominy bread (a yeasted bread made with a mixture of wheat flour and corn flour) for this recipe; its slightly nutty flavor prevents the dish from being too sweet. If you can’t find it in your local market, a good sourdough works well. Adding the sugar to the apples at the beginning of the cooking process keeps them firmer. For a lower-fat version, milk or half-and half may be substituted for the heavy cream.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

French toast:
4 Honeycrisp (or other tart) apples, cored, quartered, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
4 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
4 slices hominy bread, cut 1½ inches thick

Cider syrup:
1 cup apple cider
1 cup organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1. In a small bowl, toss the apples with sugar and cardamom. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apples and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes, or until the apples are soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool slightly in the pan.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt until frothy. Slice a long slit in each piece of the hominy bread from the top crust to about an inch from the bottom and side crusts. Stuff the bread with the apples; reserve a few apples to garnish the dish. Pour the egg–cream mixture onto a plate and soak the stuffed bread in batches, turning until saturated.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place two slices of the bread in the pan and cook until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a 200-degree oven. Repeat with the remaining 2 slices of bread and butter.
4. To prepare the cider syrup, pour the apple cider and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the liquid to 1 cup.
5. Serve the French toast warm with butter, the reserved apples, and cider syrup.

Posted by Kathy on October 3rd, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Books to Cook, Foodie News, Recent Posts
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