Posts from January, 2011

Looking For the Perfect Winter-Weather Treat? Have Some Cocoa!

The holidays might be over but winter isn’t, which means this is the perfect time to treat yourself to something unique like a cup of gourmet cocoa! There are so many ways to jazz up the classic cocoa and marshmallow combo. Hot chocolates are the perfect vehicle for not only warm fragrant spices — from cinnamon and nutmeg to cardamom, allspice and cloves — but also for pungent spices such as smoky chipotle chilies. My Cha Cha Hot Chocolate Mix combines chipotle chili powder, cinnamon and a touch of ground coriander and guarantees to warm you up quickly… an extra little kick of heat can’t go astray in the middle of winter!

I’d be remiss to not mention the opportunity to spice up your cocoa in a more libacious way. Frangelico and raspberry liqueur are the stars of my Grown-Up Nutty White Chocolate Raspberry Cocoa. Rich and creamy, this decadent alternative to plain cocoa makes a perfect after-dinner indulgence. Add some white chocolate whipped cream and there’s no need to serve up anything but this for dessert at your next dinner party.

Of course, I wouldn’t forget the purists out there! My go-to classic is My Mom’s “Old-School” Cocoa. This is the one that brings back my childhood memories: Mom warming milk over the stove in a pan and whisking in the Hershey’s cocoa… it doesn’t get cozier than that! This is also the perfect base to try experimenting with your own blends of cocoa and spices. Go ahead and get creative with your ingredients and your toppings. A little jar of your own signature cocoa mix is a perfect anytime gift, too.

So whether you’re a fan of the classic hot chocolate or want to jazz up your cocoa with some fun spices or liqueur, grab your favorite mug and head to the kitchen to mix up a cozy winter treat!
-Kathy

Cha Cha Hot Chocolate Mix
This is a fun twist on classic cocoa and the mix can be made and stored so you always have this spicy little treat on hand!
Makes 2 cups, enough for 10 to 12 servings

1 1/2 cups superfine or baker’s sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp real vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
3/4 tsp ground coriander

In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and vanilla extract together with a whisk. Then add the remaining ingredients and whisk thoroughly to evenly distribute the cocoa and spices.

Store at room temperature for up to a month in a clean glass jar with a tight lid. Shake thoroughly before using to remix the ingredients.

To make 1 serving Cha Cha Hot Chocolate:
Place about 3 tablespoons Cha Cha Hot Chocolate Mix, or to taste, in a mug and add three-quarter cups hot milk, mixing well.

©2008 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Grown-Up Nutty White Chocolate Raspberry Cocoa
Talk about a deluxe treat; this cocoa combines rich white chocolate and raspberry liqueur for an after-dinner (or any time!) dessert!
Serves 4

3 cups milk
2/3 cup high-quality white chocolate chips or broken white chocolate bar
6 tablespoons raspberry liqueur*
6 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur
Garnish: White Chocolate Cream, optional**

Additional garnishes can include shaved white chocolate, chopped toasted hazelnuts and fresh raspberries, or gourmet marshmallows*** or raspberry marshmallows instead of the whipped cream.

Fill serving cups with very hot water to warm them while you start the cocoa.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until warmed. Add the white chocolate chips and whisk until melted. Add the liqueurs and heat mixture until hot, but not over 140 degrees.

Pour the hot water out of the cups and fill with the cocoa. Top with dollops of White Chocolate Cream and garnish.

Chef’s Notes:
*Be sure to use a high-quality raspberry liqueur or imported raspberry or berry liqueur as many raspberry schnapps-style liqueurs are high in acid and will curdle the milk.
**To make White Chocolate Cream: Place 1/3 cup heavy cream in a small bowl and whisk vigorously until soft peaks are just beginning to form. Add 1 tablespoon white crème de cacao liqueur and whisk until peaked.
***Gourmet handmade marshmallows are carried in the bakery department of upscale grocers.

©2008 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

My Mom’s “Old-School” Cocoa
This is the quintessential classic hot chocolate – a warm, delicious, easy-to-make chocolate fix!
Serves 2

1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 big marshmallows

Place milk in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and sugar, then whisk into the milk to incorporate. Add vanilla and heat until hot but not overheated. Do not boil. Serve in mugs and top with marshmallows

©2008 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 27th, 2011  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, Snacks, appetizers, dessert, other

Cooking Gluten-Free with Karen Robertson

Karen Robertson has a new cookbook out, Cooking Gluten-Free! She asked several chefs around the US including myself to help contribute super fun gluten-free recipes for her new book. Here’s an excerpt from her latest blog:

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My cookbook is the result of a wonderful collabaration of talented people:  artists, designers, editors, celebrity chefs and excellent home cooks.

Each person played a critical role to bring you easy recipes that taste great and make living a gluten free life……. delicious.  The celebrity chefs I worked with on this book went the distance to help make it a success. Often that meant taking a recipe designed to feed 50 people and reworking it for the home cook.   Talented chefs want to please their customers and they are incredibly accomodating to those on special diets.  The best love the challenge. They are a special group in my heart.

To continue reading and for my gluten-free recipe for a Season Rosemary Sparkle cocktail, click here.

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 26th, 2011  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts

Here, Piggy!

The holidays may be over, but beginning January 23rd, there’s something special to celebrate… pigs! Get ready to go whole hog — its Cochon555 time again. Five chefs in ten different cities will each prepare a heritage breed pig from snout to hoof and serve it paired with wines from five local wineries. A panel of local judges will choose one winner to be the Prince or Princess of Porc and they will go on to compete against the winners from each city at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen for the title of King or Queen of Porc. Guests will be ‘swined and dined’, sampling various pork dishes alongside wine from the attendant wineries. Shining the spotlight on local farmers, chefs and wines, as well as heritage breed hogs. Cochon555 celebrates everything porcine!

-Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 20th, 2011  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News

Start The Year Off Right… By Starting Your Day Off Right

Eating a healthy breakfast is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Breakfast gets your metabolism going in the morning, fuels your mind as well as body for the day and keeps you from eating a whole pizza at lunch because by noon you are starving!

Your mother always said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and she was right! But like many of our Mom’s… she stated this as she was dishing up a giant stack of pancakes and a rasher of bacon! So what you eat is just as important as when you eat it.

A healthy breakfast can also really set the tone for your eating habits the rest of the day. If you have already broken your healthy eating pattern in the am by skipping breakfast or digging into the donut box, the motivation to keep it up the rest of the day is going to be hard to muster up.

So keep breakfast healthy with whole grain cereal with fresh berries (pick a cereal with low sugar and high protein – I like Kashi! I love their frozen whole grain waffles too), a bowl of oatmeal topped with a few raw almonds and a dollop of low fat or fat free yogurt, load up on fresh fruits, scrambled egg whites with veggies – or if your on the run, grab a yogurt and a some nuts, or blend up a quick smoothie to drink on your way to work.

There are a ton of great frozen fruits available to toss in your smoothie. Trader Joes has a great Tropical Fruit Trio (mango, pineapple, papaya tossed in passion fruit juice) and Costco has giant bags of frozen NW berries that are super flavorful and super reasonably priced.

You can totally get creative with your smoothies too! I’ve created a recipe with the Trader Joe’s Tropical Fruit Trio, non-fat yogurt and some agave nectar—which is a low-glycemic sweetener (you can always use honey or a packet of no-cal sweeter too). I’ve also added some flax seed and a protein powder boost option… but go ahead — add some banana, OJ etc – or whatever strikes your fancy. It will jump-start your day!

Most of the time, people don’t eat breakfast because they don’t give themselves enough time to make something before they have to be out the door.  So just give breakfast a little more planning time and you’ll be out the door every morning on the right foot for 2011!

Kathy’s Jump-Start Smoothie
This recipe is a great basic smoothie recipe… there are lots of things you can get creative with. Add a tablespoon of protein powder, a banana, change up the frozen fruits, add a dash of OJ or fat-free milk if you like your smoothie less thick or if you have a “challenged blender.” And if you love smoothies- be sure to get yourself a good blender. I love my Vita Mix!

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup frozen fruits – such as Trader Joe’s Tropical Fruit Trio
1/2 cup fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or sub honey or a packet of no-cal sweetener)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/2 – 1 teaspoon flax seed (the more seeds – the more “texture”)

Place ingredients in the order above and blend until smooth. Enjoy your healthy start to a great day!

© 2011 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 13th, 2011  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, other

Time Out Kuala Lumpur

Great piece in Time Out Kuala Lumpur magazine! In between shaking up some fun, I answer questions about the cocktail culture!

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 6th, 2011  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts

Cold-Weather Woes? Cheer Up With Winter Citrus!

As the weather gets colder and colder, we see less of the sun and start longing for the warmth of summer. What better way to chase away your winter blahs than with some tangy winter citrus? From oranges to clementines to ruby red grapefruit, there is a citrus for every taste. Grapefruit, mostly thought of in its glass-of-juice form, is much more than that in the culinary arena. For one thing, it’s versatile—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. In addition, grapefruit’s unique taste makes it a good foil for other textures and flavors. For example, grapefruit pairs naturally with lush avocado in salads. 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.

Continue reading on Amazon’s Al Dente Blog.

Posted by Kathy Casey on January 5th, 2011  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, Recipes
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