Archive for February, 2009

Get Out and Get Dining!

There are new restaurants popping up everywhere—from Capitol Hill to Ballard to West Seattle! Some very new—and some not so new that have taken me awhile to get to. What with the sagging economy it is important that folks support their local eateries. And it looks like that is happening. Restaurants that I have gone to lately seem to be fairly busy at dinner, and new openings are announced every week. So here’s my list of neighborhood restaurants for you to get out and try … you’ll be happy you did!

New and fairly new places to check out

Anchovies & Olives

Ethan Stowell’s newest gem opened just recently—another tasty addition to the already stellar line up of Capitol Hill restaurants.

“The idea behind the menu,” says Stowell, “is that every dish will have a seafood element. Yes, we will have some meat on the menu, but it will be something like beef Carpaccio with white anchovy, shallots, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.” Highlights include Sea Scallops with Grapefruit and Mint ($12), Hamachi with Blood Orange and Fennel Pollen ($14), Spaghetti with Sea Urchin and Jalapeño ($16), and Branzino with Artichokes and Bottarga.

Anchovies & Olives is located at 1550 15th Ave in the booming Capitol Hill neighborhood known as the Pike Pine Triangle. Dinner is served seven nights a week, 5 pmMidnight. For more information, call 206-838-8080 or visit anchoviesandolives.com

Barrio
Another Capitol Hill eatery and bar! Barrio features a menu that takes a Northwest approach to Mexican-inspired cuisine. Recently I had dinner seated at the bar with my husband John and friend Michelle and we had a really great meal. The drinks, on the other hand, were fantastic! We loved the creative and expertly made cocktails. My favorite was the Desert Healer, made with American straight gin, orange juice, cherry Heering and ginger beer. Also extraordinary was their Margarita—shaken with reposado tequila, Damiana orange liqueur, lime juice, agave nectar and salt. And this is the place to have small plates—both Duo of Salsas (pick from roasted tomatillo serrano, grape tomato, avocado, fire-roasted tomato habanero, smoky ancho chile) with yucca, plantain and corn chips, and the Guacamole are a must. Other tasty choices include Pork Cheek Tamale and a variety of ceviches. This is a terrific place to meet friends and have a snack and libation at the bar.

Find Barrio at 1420 12th Ave, near Madison and E. Pike. Open 5 pm till Midnight nightly, till 2 am Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 206-588-8105 or visit barriorestaurant.com

Spring Hill

Finally, we got over to West Seattle‘s newest jewelwhat took us so long!! Co-owned by Chef Mark Fuller and Marjorie Chang Fuller, this lovely restaurant has everything going for it—contemporary design by Heliotrope Architects (who are our neighbors by the Food Studios in Ballard!), crisp professional service and delicious creative food. I love that they have a section on the menu that lists “Friends”—local producers like the Yoshimura Family – Mutual Fish, Oyster Bill – Taylor Shellfish and Joan Monteille - Monteille Fromagerie … to name a few. The menu features small dishes, seafood, charcuterie and main courses, so there are plenty of ways to make your meal. Be sure to try the Alder Smoked Oysters—in olive oil with roasted peppers. Yum!

Spring Hill is located at 4437 California Ave SW. Dinner is served Tuesday–Sunday, brunch Saturday & Sunday, and supper Monday evenings. For more information, call 206-935-1075 or visit springhillnorthwest.com


Shiku Sushi

Ballard is busting with new sushi places! The first on the block was Shiku Sushi, owned by the charming Rob Kim, who always greets you with a smile. I pop in often for my favorite, the Opiate cocktail made with Tanqueray, absinthe and a touch of Midori. Accompany it with small plates from their Izakaya menu and a few pieces of sushi. Then end the meal with the Bruce Lee Roll: spicy tuna and cucumber topped with albacore, avocado and shrimp tempura mixed with jalapeños and spicy mayo—it’s pretty darn yummy!

Shiku Sushi is located at 5310 Ballard Ave NW. Open 7 days a week starting at 4:30 pm, closing varies. Happy Hour is 4:30–6:30 Monday–Friday; plus they have Friday & Saturday late-night Happy Hour, 11 pm. For more information, call 206-372-7685 or visit shikusushi.com

Moshi Moshi

This is another just-recently-opened sushi restaurant in Ballard. My sous chef Travis Childers has dined there a couple of times in the last few weeks. As you enter you will be awed by the lit-up giant cherry blossom tree—very cool! Travis imbibed a Spice Trade cocktail accompanied with skillfully prepared sushi. I had a chance for just a quick visit this week and am excited to go back soon.

Find Moshi Moshi at 5324 Ballard Ave NW. Happy Hour is 4:30–6 pm Monday–Saturday; plus late-night. Moshi Moshi is closed Sundays. For more information, call 206-971-7424 or email info@moshiseattle.com; they are building their Web site at moshiseattle.com.

Add comment February 26th, 2009

Seattle Chefs’ Table Dinner Series Kicks Off!

The Seattle Chefs’ Table 2009 dinner series is the brainchild of Thierry Rautureau, chef-owner of Rover’s. The dinner series also involves Maria Hines, of Tilth; Johnathan Sundstrom, of Lark; Jason Wilson, of Crush; Joseba Jiménez de Jimenez, of Harvest Vine; and Holly Smith, of Café Juanita. Starting with the inaugural dinner on Feb. 25 at Rover’s, each restaurant will take a subsequent turn hosting the event. All six chefs will cook together in each restaurant to prepare a six-course menu.

 

Dates: Rover’s, Feb. 25; Tilth, March 16; Harvest Vine, April 14;

Lark, May 18; Café Juanita, Sept. 21; Crush, Oct. 19

Cost per dinner: $90 per person (plus tax and gratuity);

call host restaurant to reserve

Series cost: $500 per person (plus tax and gratuity);

call Rover’s at 206.325.7442 to buy the series

Wines: cost determined by individual restaurants

 

Seattle Chefs’ Table 2009 – Dinner 1

Rover’s,

2808 E. Madison St.

Seattle, WA 98112

Wed., Feb. 25

Reception, 6 p.m.; Dinner, 7 p.m.

 

 – Menu for the Evening –

(Subsequent menus available here)

Hors d’Oeuvres & Sparkling

Rover’s – Thierry Rautureau
Beef Brochettes and Deviled Sauce, Sunchoke Soup and Arugula Oil
Dungeness Crab and Mango Salad, Seared Foie Gras and Preserved Peach
Saucisson d’Adam and Garniture, Salmon Tartare and White Sturgeon Caviar

Tilth – Maria Hines
Skagit River Ranch Beef Carpaccio
horseradish, crème fraîche, salsify

Harvest Vine – Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez
Deconstructed Spanish Omelet

Lark – John Sundstrom
Turbot with Hearts of Palm
blood orange, vanilla salt

Café Juanita – Holly Smith
Guinea Fowl with Oxbow Farm Brussels Sprouts
colatura, pancetta and vin santo sauce

Crush – Jason Wilson
Saddle of Sweet Grass Ranch Lamb
truffled roots, cerignola olive, sweet garlic

Rover’s – Matt Kelley
Jivara Crémeux
beet foam, beet chocolate cake, dentelles

Goat Cheese Cheesecake Mille Feuilles
phyllo, citrus salad, meyer lemon gelée

Pomegranate and Lychee Soup with Olive Cake Stick

Add comment February 24th, 2009

Totally Nuts!

People all over the world delight in eating them roasted, raw and ground. We enjoy them out of hand and in a wide variety of sweet and savory foods; from breakfast to snacks to dinner to desserts.

Nuts are dry fruits or seeds that generally consist of an edible kernel enclosed in a shell. Nuts are sold with and without shells, in a variety of forms, blanched or not, raw, dry- or oil-roasted, with or without salt, chopped, sliced, ground as in butters or flours, and pressed to make oils. You’ll want to store nuts in cool, dry conditions, in airtight containers and away from light. Because of their high fat content, many benefit from storage in the refrigerator or freezer to deter rancidity.

Nuts show up in a variety of ways. As nut butters and nut flours, or as nut oil, long associated with “gourmet” salads. And of course, as whole or pieces- raw or toasted. And there are a plethora of different kinds of nuts to enjoy. Almonds, which have the largest share of the nut trade worldwide, are a great source of quick protein when just eaten out of hand. Walnuts shine in baked goodies. Cashews seem always to be the first to disappear from the party nut mix! Pistachios which are a little more on the exotic side are lovely toasted and sprinkled over a fruit salad. Hazelnuts are fantastic to crust a lovely piece of fish with.

And then there is the ever-loved peanut. Not really a “nut;” actually a legume that buries its “peas” underground – but we all consider it to be in the “nut family”. The classic combo of peanut and chocolate combine in the following recipe for Chocolate Peanut Fudge Cakes with Peanut Butter Cream  —  Yum!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT FUDGE CAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER CREAM
Makes 6 individual cakes.

Cakes

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 sticks butter (6 oz. wt.)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (unsalted)

Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cakes: Combine chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a metal bowl and place over a pot of just simmering water, or use a double boiler. Stir till chocolate and butter are just melted. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl mix eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla extract until glossy, about 2 minutes.

Mix in melted chocolate and butter mixture until just combined. Then stir in peanuts.

Lightly, pan-spray and flour over-sized muffin pans (Texas Style). Divide batter into the 6 cups.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 34 minutes. Cakes will be slightly gooey in the center. Let cool in pans for 8 minutes then unpan and cool right-side-up on a wire rack.

To make the cream: Place cream, peanut butter and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip until just soft peaked.

To serve cakes: Serve cakes while still warm, or totally cool them and individually wrap in plastic wrap until needed. (Cakes keep this way for up to 4 days.) Serve at room temperature or warm just slightly in microwave for about 20 – 30 seconds on high power or until just warm. Serve topped with a dollop of the peanut cream.

©Copyright 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

2 comments February 19th, 2009

Crab & Artichoke Stuffed Potatoes

Nancy Cook at My Home Cook N Blog wrote a fantastic Valentines dinner post that included my recipe for Crab and Artichoke Stuffed Potatoes – complete with step by step photos ! Very fun – check it out. Thanks Nancy – you are more photo ambitious than I am!

Add comment February 16th, 2009

The Perfect Beer to Pair with Chocolate

Beer isn’t just for sipping, slurping, chugging and drinking … it’s great for cooking, too! But have you tried it with chocolate? Well, there’s no time like Valentine’s Day to present your sweetie with a fabulous new indulgence!

Of course you’ll need to experiment a bit to find your truly favorite pairings but let me save you a little trial and error by pointing you toward more complex lagers with rich caramel notes. Just keep trying different combinations until you really like the way the tastes blend on your palate.

To get you started, here’s a recipe for Negra Modelo Espresso Fudge Cake with Modelo Cream, an incredibly delicious, fudgy rich dessert I created using Negra Modelo beer. The cake is easy to make at home and will definitely say, “I love you,” to the beer and chocolate lover in your life. It was recently featured in PR News Wire.com article, click here to check it out!

Negra Modelo Espresso Fudge Cake with Modelo Cream

    3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
    1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) butter
    2 Tbsp. Instant espresso granules or instant coffee
    3 eggs
    1/3 cup Negra Modelo beer
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Modelo Cream
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1/4 c. powdered sugar
    3 tbsp. Negra Modelo beer

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Whisk in the espresso granules until well combined. Meanwhile, with a whisk or electric mixer, mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl together until glossy. Add in the melted chocolate mixture and beat again until glossy and smooth. Grease and flour an 8-inch pie pan or spring form cake pan. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until slightly puffy. Let cool. Serve cake at room temperature with dollops of Modelo cream.To make the cream: Just before serving, whip the cream and sugar in a bowl until just forming stiff peaks. Add beer and whisk until peaking.

© 2009 Kathy Casey Food Studios

chocolate

Add comment February 13th, 2009

Dishing up…”The Basics”

Not everyone knows how to cook—but most would like to! I’ll sometimes whip up a little vinaigrette at friends’ houses when invited for dinner, and it seems that, more often than not, they say, “Wow! How did you make that? what went in there? the ingredients are in my kitchen??”

So for this weeks blog, I thought I would write about three great things for beginning cooks to learn how to make. And it happens that a nice simple meal can be built around these: a vinaigrette, a marinade and a pound cake.

We’ll start with the vinaigrette. Contrary to the “standard” measurements for it—which in my opinion are too oily for today’s palate, I prefer to do 1 part vinegar to 2 1/2 to 3 parts oil. The vinegar and oil can be any kind. Other essentials to me are a small dollop of Dijon mustard, a big pinch of kosher salt, and some pepper. Those are the fundamentals, and from there you can get creative. Add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey if you like it sweet. Add some garlic, lemon zest and a squeeze of citrus if you wish. Try adding grainy mustard or some chopped fresh herbs or a pinch of ground spice, such as cumin or coriander; or some chipotle chili powder and lime juice if you’re wanting a Latin influence. If Greek is your gig for the evening, toss in feta cheese, fresh oregano, chopped olives and lemon juice. Italian? Fresh basil, a dash of grated Parmesan, and extra-virgin olive oil for the oil. You get the picture. It’s just the basics and then you twist them to your taste! I have prepared a handy chart that you can use as your vinaigrette guide to get you started.

Next, there’s marinade. This is an herb marinade to use when you are grilling. And, yes, it is very similar to a vinaigrette! But, again, you can vary the flavorings. When marinating, let’s say, a beef steak or a lamb chop, I prefer to make a fairly thick marinade and leave it on for at least thirty minutes before cooking.If you are marinating overnight—which is great if you are planning that far in advance, you must do it in the refrigerator. For meat items, such as beef, pork or lamb, I bring them to room temperature—still in the marinade—for one hour before cooking, to take the chill off. Chicken can come out 30 minutes before cooking and fish 15 minutes. You can clip out these basics to post on your fridge.

If you are a very beginner cook, serve the grilled meat with some veggies and maybe a starch, such as rice or potatoes. But if you’re timid in that area, then just serve a big salad tossed with your vinaigrette dressing and put lots of fresh veggies in it.

Then there’s dessert—the pound cake. The old-school method for this cake is one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound of sugar and one pound of eggs. In an updated version, I tweaked the basic ingredients and gave a slew of ideas for add ins and variations, such as chocolate chips, lemon or orange zest, fresh ginger, lavender—the choices are numerous. This is a delicious cake to serve as is or with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream. It also makes for a tasty morning brunch treat.

So I hope these three simple recipes will inspire those of you who are just starting out in the kitchen to try your hand and those of you who are already practiced at cooking to do your own creative twists with these basics.

Vinaigrette Basics

Acid: 1/4 cup of 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
Plus Add:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (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 to 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese
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

With a small wire whisk, in a small bowl, whisk 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 dressing. Then add your flavoring components. You can keep the vinaigrette refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Whisk up well before each use. Toss with your favorite greens. Experiment with different flavorings and combinations for your vinaigrette. Also try out various greens and salad additions, such as nuts, fruits, cheeses, meats and seafood. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

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. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Simple Vanilla Pound Cake
Makes 1 cake, 10 to 12 generous slices

2 cups all-purpose flour, measured by the scoop and sweep (level off with a straight edge) method
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces (2 sticks ) butter (I like to use salted for that little flavor boost), at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
extra flavor “goodies” (see Chef’s Notes, below)

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. (But sometimes I just stick these in a bowl, whisk them together to incorporate the baking powder, and forget the sifting!) These are the “dry ingredients.” Set aside.

“Prepare” a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan by greasing or pan-spraying first and then lightly dusting with flour. Tap out any excess flour.

In an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix with beater attachment on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until fluffy. This is called “creaming.” Halfway through mixing, stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula,

being sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl, too. Next, add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute. When the eggs and vanilla are beaten in, stop the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Turn mixer on slow speed just until flour is incorporated, then raise speed to medium and mix for 30 seconds. Turn off mixer and add remaining dry ingredients. Turn mixer on slow to incorporate flour, then raise speed to medium and mix for 1 minute.

If you are adding flavorings and “goodies,” such as lemon peel, chocolate chips, lavender, etc., now is the time to stir them in. With rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, being sure batter fills all the corners. Smooth out batter on the top and then tap pan sharply on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester—or bamboo skewer or toothpick—inserted into the center comes out “clean.” This means that there is not a bunch of gooey batter stuck to the skewer and it is not wet to the touch. If there is, then bake cake for 5 to 10 minutes more until the tester comes out clean. Halfway through the baking time, carefully rotate the pan in case there are hotter or colder zones in your oven. Ovens vary and home baking is not an exact science, so use your best judgment on cooking time. When done, this cake will be rich golden brown on top and slightly coming away from the edges of the pan.

Remove cake from the oven and let it “rest” on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Then slide a paring knife around the sides to help loosen the cake, and turn cake out onto rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. To serve, slice cake (I prefer to use a serrated knife) into 3/4- to 1-inch thick slices and top with seasonal fresh fruit, such as berries or peaches. Other options are whipped cream and ice cream … or just eat it plain!

Chef’s Notes: Try adding any of the following or combinations. Just use your creative juices and experiment, but keep the total additions to 1/2 cup or less!
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon or orange zest (colored peel only, no white pith)]
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped dried fruits, such as cranberries, candied pineapple, mango, etc. (pre-soak fruit in 2 tablespoons of water)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Add comment February 12th, 2009

Pink Fir Slipper – yes it’s a cocktail!

Last Saturday night was the Evening of Hope Gala held at Seattle’s Fairmont Hotel….. the theme? ….Pillow Fight Against Homelessness. Put on by the Seattle Hotel Association this event benifited the Plymouth Housing Group.

Evening attire mixed with swanky pajamas and loungewear and a great time was had by all.
IMG_1405Jeffery Ahia and Kent Beech looking faboo!
IMG_1404JJ McKay always Dashing with me sipping a libation.

Sitcking with the theme I created the signiture cocktails for the reception. The Pink Fir Slipper made with Douglas fir infused Cruzan rum, lemon and cranberry.
IMG_1396Pink Fir Slipper (recipe follows)

For those who like their drinks a bit “less pink” we also stirred up Luxuary Lounge Manhattans made with  the newly released (ri)1 rye, Nocello walnut liqueur and red vermouth – garnished with an Italian Amarena cherry.

Pink Fir Slipper
Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 ounce Cruzan Light Rum infused with Douglas Fir (recipe follows)
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce cranberry juice
Garnish: cranberry and a tiny piece of douglas fir

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the infused Cruzan Rum, lemon juice, simple syrup and cranberry juice. Cap and shake. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a floating cranberry and piece of douglas fir.

Cruzan Light Rum infused with Douglas Fir
1 (5- to 6-inch) sprig fresh-picked Douglas fir branch, rinsed
1 bottle (750 ml) Cruzan Light Rum

Put the fir branch into the rum bottle, cap, and let sit 24 hours. (Do not let it infuse for more than 24 hours.) Remove the branch and discard. The infused rum can be stored at room temperature for up to one year.

Tips: If fresh Douglas fir is not available in your area, then you can substitute a Douglas-fir tea bag available at Dish D’Lish Ballard. If using the tea, add the contents of the tea bag to the gin, let infuse, and then strain the gin through a very fine strainer. The infused gin also makes a good martini. Recipe (c) 2009 Kathy Casey 

Luxury Lounge Manhattan
Makes 1 cocktail

2 oz (rī)1
1/2 oz sweet red vermouth
1/2 oz Nocello liqueur
Garnish: Amarena Italian cherry on a pick

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the (rī)1, sweet red vermouth and Nocello liqueur. Cap and shake. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an Amarena Italian cherry on a pick.  Recipe (c) 2009 Kathy Casey

Add comment February 10th, 2009

I Love Bacon!

Awaken to bacon and the day just starts off great! There is nothing better than the alluring aroma of bacon frying in a skillet and the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the air. Breakfast offerings just seem incomplete without a little bacon in the mix. 

From breakfast to dinner, bacon is an all-American favorite! Now it’s even the hip trend in cocktails. Yes, that’s right: bacon-infused bourbon is all the rage! At New York’s PDT bar they are serving an Old Fashioned made with bacon-infused bourbon. And it is yummy!!!!

Now if you’re inviting guests for cocktails and don’t want to infuse your booze with bacon, you can always whip up a batch of my Kinda Retro Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp with Spicy Thai Cocktail Sauce, a modern-day twist on this old-time appy favorite. And then there are those yummy bacon-wrapped dates everyone is taking to parties lately … love those, too.

It seems men especially love bacon—they are always cruising around the kitchen for it and I swear can smell it a mile away!  My husband John, a true bacon’noisseur, was thrilled when he heard I was doing a Dishing item on bacon and was quick to volunteer as a taste-tester. 

But gals love bacon, too. Maybe I don’t sit down to a big stack of bacon very often but, when I do, I want it to be quality.

So, if you want to indulge in some super-sexy, high-end, and darn right fun bacon, there are some exciting options! For the ultimate “eveything bacon,” check out Bacon Freak, where they open up with: Welcome To Bacon Freak’s “Bacon Is Meat Candy” Gourmet Bacon Club Where “Baconism” Is Much More Than A Mere Philosophy, It’s Our Very Way Of Life! I love it! Their products are super-fun and tasty. From the Boss Hog Hickory and Brown Sugar Smoked Bacon to Rocco’s Country Pepper Bacon to Bourbon Street Cajun Country Bacon, Bacon Freak is a bacon lover’s dream—and it’s just a darn right fun site, too!

Kinda Retro Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp with Spicy Thai Cocktail Sauce
Makes 6 – 8 cocktail appetizer servings

1 pound peeled, deveined, raw large shrimp
Half-slices of regular bacon for wrapping shrimp
—————
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass
1 1/2 teaspoons minced lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon peanut oil or other mild vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Remove tail-section shells from shrimp if necessary. Count the shrimp and cut that many half-strips of bacon. Reserve shrimp and bacon.

Combine remaining ingredients and grind in a blender or mini-processor. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the shrimp, and mix well to coat shrimp thoroughly.

Leaving on as much rub as will stay, wrap each shrimp in a spiral with a half-strip bacon, beginning at the head end of the shrimp and ending at the tail. All or almost all the shrimp should be covered by bacon. Secure the bacon snugly with a bamboo or decorative metal skewer as follows: Thread the skewer first through the bacon at tail end of the shrimp, then into the shrimp body near the tail; then push the skewer out near the head end of the shrimp and through the remaining bacon end.

Lay shrimp out, spaced apart, on an ungreased, low-rimmed baking sheet. (Shrimp can be prepared to this point up to a day in advance. Wrap securely and store refrigerated.)

When ready to cook and serve shrimp: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake shrimp in preheated oven 12 – 15 minutes or until bacon is just done to your liking (the shrimp will be done). Accompany with Spicy Thai Cocktail Sauce.

Spicy Thai Cocktail Sauce
Makes about 3/4 cup

1/2 cup tomato-based chili sauce, such as Heinz
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon minced lime zest

Mix all ingredients well. Can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store refrigerated.
Copyright © 2009 Kathy Casey Food Studios ®

Add comment February 5th, 2009

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