Posts from March, 2009

Razor Clam Festival & Chowder Cook-off at Ocean Shores … and Tasty Razor Clam Recipes

This fun festival kicks off on Friday evening, March 27th, at the Shilo Inn. Beginning at 7 pm, you can dance the night away at the “Clam Dance” to the sounds of the Johnny Ray Band and cheer as King & Queen Clam are crowned. This evening also features a pasta & salad bar—all for $20 per person. Tickets are available at the Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce, and various other places around the area. Call (360) 289-2451 for information.

Then on Saturday, March 28th, you can start the day with a Pancake Breakfast prepared and served by the Ocean Shores Fire Fighters—just $5 buys all you can eat! And there’s lots to entertain you throughout the day—an Artisan Marketplace, featuring more than 40 Northwest artists and crafters; a Kids Fun Zone, with arts and crafts for the whole family to enjoy; live music; a chance to sample competing clam chowders and vote for your favorite; a beer & wine bar; an auction of decorated clam shovels and clam guns; and an Amateur Chowder Cook-off Contest.

On Saturday at 2:30 PM, I’ll be the celebrity judge at the 2009 Razor Clam Festival & Chowder Cook-off where I will start sampling clam chowders from participating restaurants throughout Grays Harbor County—and render my judgment. The winner of the 2009 Chowder Cook-off will have boasting rights for the Best Chowder on the Washington Coast for an entire year!

And it’s a razor clam digging weekend, too! Check for more info on the weekend’s dig and don’t forget your clam license!

Looking for a great place to stay while you’re at the Razor Clam Festival? Check out Seabrook, just up the coast from Ocean Shores.

Razor Clam Diggin’ and Some Great New NW Razor Clam Recipes

You would think that as a total Northwest gal I would have been razor clam digging at some time! But this is one Northwest activity for which I had my “first” last spring.

Here’s the story of my last year’s dig …. Ultra-outdoors friends and foodies Scott Surdyke and Darwin Longfox and my husband John and I made the trip to Ocean Shores. It is about a 3-hour drive from Seattle. On the way we stopped at the Westport Wal-Mart to pick up our clamming essentials: a clam license, clam guns, fishing gloves (we were pretty happy we spent the $1.98 on these!), clam nets to gather our booty and a light for illuminating our early morning foray. (Be sure to also bring a hat, rain gear, warm clothes and rubber boots … I have fun red polka dot ones.)

New Image

We headed out early and the weather was spectacular, no rain and barely breezy, which is RARE on the Washington ocean—as only the day before it was hailing! The tide was low and the beach busy with clammers making their sand piles in search of the prized razor clams. Clamming went great and it was a ton of fun. The beach was loaded with clams and we all made our limit of 15 per person.

We rinsed our clams and then put them in our ice chests to chill out till we headed home. A lot of the motels have “clam cleaning” stations but we opted to wait till we got home. Cleaning the clams is a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before—and instructions online are a bit vague. I liked the video demo that you can watch on YouTube.

When we cleaned our clams, we also saved the shells, boiled them to get any guck off and then cleaned them well. Then we soaked the shells in water with a tiny touch of bleach to get any remaining smell out. We then dried them to use for garnishing and/or as a serving vessel for sashimi that we would make out of the clam necks.

The “belly part” of the clam we kept separate from the body part. I like to take the tougher neck part of the clam and slice it in lengthwise strips; sometimes I even lightly pound this part of the clam. Though many government Web sites recommend not eating clams raw, we enjoyed the tougher neck portions sliced paper-thin on a bias and eaten sashimi-style with a little ponzu and soy. Lovely presented in the cleaned shells.

When we looked on the internet for recipes, we were shocked to find a plethora of Ritz cracker-breaded preparations and other heavy breaded variations. Though a light dip in egg and panko or cracker crumbs is a tasty classic preparation, we all wanted to try something more interesting and less “fried” with our clam bounty. So on the drive home we stopped at the Asian grocery emporium Uwajimaya and picked up some ingredient inspiration. I made two recipes with our clams and both turned out really tasty. They are also very fresh-style preparations on the lighter side. I hope you will try these new recipes the next time you have a lucky clam dig!

Pacific Rim Razor Clams with Lemongrass
I like to serve this dish with steamed jasmine rice. If you like it spicier, serve red chili paste, such as sambal olek, on the side … just be sure you don’t use too much and cover up the delicate flavor of the sweet clam.
Serves 2–4

4 large Northwest razor clams

Pacific Rim Herb Paste
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
1 small stalk fresh lemongrass, end cut off, trimmed and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chili paste (sambal olek)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
——————————————
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup light coconut milk (or use regular)

Garnish: 5–6 large cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 lime, quartered, or 2 tiny Key limes, halved

Clean the clams and separate the belly from the neck part of the clam. Cut the neck part into bias strips.

Make the herb paste: Combine the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chili paste, oil and salt together in a small bowl. If you have a food processor, then give it a quick pulse to combine. Toss with the clams.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high/high heat. Cook the belly part of the clam for 1 minute, turning as needed. Then add the remaining clam strips, green onions and bell pepper and sauté for about 1 minute more, moving ingredients around the pan as they cook. Add fish sauce and coconut milk and cook about 1/2 – 1 minute until heated through. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with limes for squeezing. Serve immediately. © 2009 Kathy Casey Food Studios—www.kathycasey.com

Razor Clams with Ginger, Black Beans, and Asparagus
Serves 4

4 razor clams
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 large bunch of asparagus, woody ends cut off and spears sliced on the bias (about 2 cups prepped)
1 cup thickly sliced sweet white onion
1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced (seeds removed)
1–2 tablespoons Asian fermented black beans, rinsed well and finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Clean the clams and then separate the belly from the neck part of the clam. Cut the neck part into bias strips.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over high heat. Add the asparagus, onion and jalapeño to the pan and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the belly part of the clam and cook for about 20 seconds then add the remaining clam strips, black beans, ginger, and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute or until clams are lightly cooked. Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, soy and cornstarch together in a tiny bowl and then add to pan and quickly stir to thicken the dish up. Serve immediately. © 2009 Kathy Casey Food Studios— www.kathycasey.com

Posted by Kathy on March 26th, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, seafood, Tasty Travels

James Beard 2009 Nominations

Congratulations to the following chefs for being nominated for the James Beard Best Chef Northwest: (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Maria Hines Tilth – Seattle
Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez The Harvest Vine – Seattle
Ethan Stowell Union – Seattle
Jason Wilson Crush – Seattle
Cathy Whims Nostrana – Portland, OR

Posted by Kathy on March 23rd, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Recent Posts

Grapefruit

 

Grapefruit—tangy, sweet, white, pink, ruby—has its fans and not-fans. I have always been a fan for it; I love the tart-sweet and bitter flavor of this juicy citrus fruit. And it’s an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

 

Grapefruit is much more versatile than its glass-of-juice form. You can eat it just naked and on its own for a refreshing and bracing breakfast starter or go totally the opposite, topping it with a splash of Campari liquor and allspice-scented sugar then broiling till bubbly, for a sophisticated breakfast or brunch.

 

When thinking up other recipe ideas, we thought grapefruit could be a great stand-in for lemon, so my tasters and I tried it in Chicken Piccata with Grapefruit, Pine Nuts and Capers … and loved it. This dish has grapefruit juice in the sauce reduction and also has fresh wedges squeezed over the finished dish, giving it a bright flavor pop.

 

So whether you usually take your grapefruit on the rocks in a Greyhound or eat it straight, remember that it’s good for you. And if you haven’t considered eating a lot of this citrus since the ’70s Grapefruit Diet craze, try this recipe and get zesty with it!

 

 

Chicken Piccata with Grapefruit, Pine Nuts and Capers

 

Makes 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons milk

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/3-inch thickness

4 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 cup fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 teaspoons finely minced grapefruit zest

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

4 grapefruit wedges for garnish

 

In a small, flat bowl, mix together the milk and eggs. In another flat dish, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.

 

Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture. Coat each piece well, then shake off the excess.

 

Meanwhile, in a large, shallow, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and all the olive oil. Add the coated chicken pieces to the hot skillet, and cook until the chicken is golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain chicken on paper towels. Keep warm. (Keep the pan to make the sauce—don’t wash it.)

 

In the chicken cooking pan, add the garlic and stir around for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Add the grapefruit juice and white wine. Increase heat to high, bring sauce to a boil, and let reduce by half. Immediately remove pan from the heat and whisk in the grapefruit zest, remaining butter, capers and parsley.

 

Transfer chicken to a warm platter and spoon sauce over each piece, then sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve with grapefruit wedges for squeezing over chicken. Serve immediately.

 

Copyright ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on March 12th, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, poultry, Recent Posts, Recipes

Hearty Pasta with Slow-Simmered Sauce

A nice thing about pasta is that it can be super-quick and easy to make—especially in the summer, when fresh ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil are abundant in the garden. But in the greyer months, there’s a whole other realm of pasta options, my favorite being the hearty, slow-simmered sauces which are so rich with flavorful reductions. These types of sauce are typically made with meats and poultry that are “still on the bone” as the long, leisurely braising of the bones helps give the sauces that incredible flavor and body.

 

As with all these gently braised, robust dishes, the ragout tastes even better the next day. And that’s a nice thing about slow-braised pasta sauces; you can make them up to three days before serving them or even freeze them for later enjoyment!

 

I have included a recipe for slow-cooked lamb sauce—because we’re all busy and sometimes just need to load up that slow-cooker and head out the door. But, hey! You get to come home to a house that smells soooo good and a spectacular dinner that was cooking away while you were off working.

 

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 up with chunky, rigatoni pasta. And to finish the dish, I like to crumble soft goat cheese over it. Add a fresh arugula salad, crusty bread, and a big glass of red wine. What more could you ask to come home to?

 

Hearty Slow-Cooked Lamb & Mushroom Sauce with Rigatoni

Serves 6

 

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

1/4 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

1 1/2 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

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup canned low-sodium beef broth

3 fresh sage leaves

3/4 – 1 pound dry rigatoni pasta

2 ounces soft chevre (goat cheese)

fresh sage leaves for garnish

 

To make the sauce: 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 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until well browned. Continue with remaining lamb. As lamb is browned, transfer it to a slow-cooker.

 

In the same nonstick pan, saute 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.

 

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

 

©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on March 5th, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes

High 5 Pie

Pie.  It’s vintage, it’s modern, it’s delicious. Pie is everything fun and charming about the mid-century era (minus those pesky politics!) while its simplicity and all-around appeal satisfy even the most distinguished tastebuds of today.

Fuel Coffee has been working like mad on a delightful new line of deep-dish pies and hand held “flipsides” – I have tasted them and they are spot-on and delicious.

With a love of pie and her Grandma Molly’s favorite all-butter crust recipe in hand, Fuel Coffee founder Dani Cone spent weeks in the kitchen perfecting the High 5 Pies and Flipsides.   High 5 Pies are a perfect blend of old-fashioned goodness with some exciting seasonal offerings to please the most modern cravings… pear/cranberry/ginger anyone?

Vintage charm with modern appeal… a true classic, an instant favorite.
Gimme a High 5 Pie!

Posted by Kathy on March 3rd, 2009  |  Comments Off |  Posted in Foodie News
Untitled