Posts from September, 2015

Ancient Grains are New Again

Whole grains are all the rage, and with good reason. Their health benefits and high-fiber content make them a great addition to your regular menu!

One of my favorites is quinoa, an ancient grain-like seed. It’s a high-quality protein with eight essential amino acids and a good source of fiber, as well as B vitamins, iron, and other minerals. You can get regular quinoa, red and tri-colored – all are tasty tasty!

I like to toast it dry in a pan before cooking to add a bit of nutty flavor. I love it made into a salad to take for lunch such as my Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad – cooked quinoa, cucumbers, carrots, garbanzos, raisins, hazelnuts and fresh herbs all dressed up with olive oil and lemon juice. The combination of textures and flavors is d’Lish and so good for you!


Red Quinoa!
(Photo courtesy of FitSugar)

Another fave is farro, an ancient hulled wheat that was served as the daily ration of the Roman legions. Today it is making a huge comeback and can be seen on restaurant menus everyhwere (and also grown locally in eastern Washington). I love its toothsome bite. Most instructions say to soak it before cooking (preferably overnight). This is great to speed up the cooking, but I typically just give it a long slow boil until it is tender. I love it in a dish of Kale Lacinato, Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese. Perfect for this time of year.

So cook up some ancient grains this fall and get your freekeh on – yes that’s another type of new grain! –Kathy

Big Protein Red Quinoa Salad
I like to make this salad with all organic produce.
Makes about 4 cups

3/4 cup red or tri-color quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced or grated lemon zest
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and 1/4-inch-diced cucumber
1/2 cup canned organic garbanzo beans, drained
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2cup organic golden raisins
1/2 cup organic hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup grated carrot
3/4 to 1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain well. Put the drained quinoa in a heavy medium saucepan and dry roast the grain over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 1 minute. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff grains with a fork, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Farro with Kale, Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
I love this dish made with fall chanterelles.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup whole farro, dry
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sliced wild mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
pinch red chili flakes
1 large bunch black kale (lacinato)* or green kale, torn
1/4 cup chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine farro and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer; cook the grain for about 30 minutes, or until very tender, but do not let it become mushy. Add more water if it gets low. Drain the cooked farro and set aside. (You can do this the day before; refrigerate cooked grain.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté mushrooms until half cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in kale. Add chicken broth and cooked farro, and cook, turning greens several times, until greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over dish to brighten flavor. Serve dolloped with goat cheese or grated sexy local cheese.

*Also called dinosaur kale.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on September 30th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Ancient Grains are New Again |  Posted in Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, salads

Bananas for Bananas

Bananas, the ultimate naturally portable snack! Perfect for throwing into your purse or bag.

Besides being deliciously handy, bananas are a great source of potassium while being low in sodium. They are a good source of Vitamin B6 as well as Vitamin C and dietary fiber, and are naturally fat free!

If you’re thinking of a late-season campfire, then consider this s’more alternative:

Take an unpeeled banana and make a split lengthwise – just not all the way through. Carve a trough from end to end, keeping the peel. Munch on the removed banana to tide you over, while filling the trough with bits of marshmallow and chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil and stick it in the embers like a potato, or over a hot grill. After a little while, take it out and carefully unwrap. Yum!

s'more banana
Fun Photo from Tablespoon.

And bananas are quite delicious with savory things as well. My recipe for Banana Pineapple Chutney is flavored up with warm spices such as ginger and allspice. It’s a fantastic way to zip up a grilled chicken breast, or even better with a pork chop.

Any way you slice them (or even if you don’t), bananas are d’lish! –Kathy

Banana Pineapple Chutney
Great served with basmati rice and vegetable curries as well as grilled scallops, chicken, pork chops or ham.

Makes 3 cups

1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red onion
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
———————————–
2 Tbsp. currants
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced ripe fresh pineapple
2 cups (about 2 large) firm underripe bananas, peeled, cut in half lengthwise then in 1/2-inch chunks

In a heavy, wide, shallow, nonreactive pot, place all ingredients except the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 4 minutes until mixture is syrupy and slightly reduced.

Add currants and pineapple, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 1 minute. Gently fold in bananas and cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes more. Occasionally stir the mixture gently; do not stir roughly—you want to keep the fruit pieces’ integrity. Chutney should be thickened but still slightly juicy. If too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Chutney should be slightly warm for serving.

Recipe by © Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on September 24th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Bananas for Bananas |  Posted in Recent Posts, Recipes, Fruit, KOMO Radio

Fig-a-licious Fruit!

Although I love them, figs are so much more than the iconic Fig Newton, which by the way was first sold dried in a commercially manufactured cookie in 1892. Who knew?

Figs: they’re unusual, versatile, and even grow well here in Seattle. I have a fig tree in my backyard!

Fig edited
A plump fig growing in my back Urban Garden – ready to be picked!

It’s best to pick figs when fully ripened. The fig is ready for harvest when it drops on the stem from its own weight. Pick with the stems attached, but always plan to use within a few days.

Although in the kitchen we consider it a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. There are no blossoms on the tree’s branches; the blossom is inside the fig. Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little seeds that give figs their unusual taste and texture.

Figs are of course fabulous fresh, but you can also cook up some creative dishes with them too.

One of my favorite apps is quick and easy: Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts. So easy to make. I love them paired with a delicious Manhattan made with House Spiced Vermouth – YUM!–Kathy

Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
Makes about 24 to 30 pieces

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 pint fresh figs, halved lengthwise

Preheat an oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix the Gorgonzola and walnuts. Arrange the figs, cut side up, on an ungreased baking sheet, and top each piece with 1 generous teaspoon of the Gorgonzola mixture.

Roast the figs for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is hot. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Recipe © from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook.

Posted by Kathy on September 18th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Fig-a-licious Fruit! |  Posted in Books to Cook, Recipes, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Small Screen Network, videos

Edible Flowers: A Tasty Garden Adventure!

Food and flowers are wonderful side-by-side, but also can mix together. I was recently introduced to BloomNation (the online flower delivery company- connecting customers with area local florists) and reminded of how flowers on the table not only sets the tone for a meal, but many flowers you love are also be part of the meal.

From tiny cute Johnny Jump Up’s and frilly dianthus or carnations to lovely robin blue borage flowers – there is a world of tasty, beautiful, edible flowers awaiting you in the garden!

You can add edible flowers to salads, or to top a dish or cocktail. Freezing edible flowers into ice cubes will definitely snazz up your favorite cocktail.

Flower Cubes

I love them in my recipe for Sparkling Lemon Gin Punch.
St Germain liquor elderflower liquor is added for a lovely floral note.

Flower Cubes 2

Here is a quick Overview of how to make Floral Ice Cubes:
1. Pour distilled water into a large square silicone ice mold 1/4 full and freeze for 2 hours

Cube Tray

2. Place edible flowers into ice molds, drizzle with a little water, and return to freezer for 15 -20 minutes

Flowers in Tray

3. Fill the ice molds up to completely cover flowers in water and return to freezer and freeze overnight

Frozen Flowers

Move on to eating flowers: some of our favorite veggies and greens have tasty blossoms as well. For instance arugula blossoms are beautiful small flowers with a peppery flavor much like the leaves! For larger flowers I like to pull off the flower petals before adding to a dish.

Edible flower petals are fabulous to roll things in. For an amazing appetizer idea mix soft goat cheese with roasted garlic and some fresh herbs then form into a log in plastic wrap. Pop in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until very firm, then unwrap and roll in edible flower petals. Present on a cheese board or slice into beautiful rounds and serve on crostini – yum!

For a beautiful brunch dish top your favorite French toast or pancakes with Flower Petal Berry-Butter – it’s a show stopper! The butter is whipped with raspberry jam, sour cream and powdered sugar then rolled into a log. Chilled then pressed with edible flower petals. Just slice and serve.

Edible flowers are available at farmers markets and also right from you yard! But please remember not all flowers are edible, so double-check before you go into your yard and start munching away—also be sure they are pesticide-free. -Kathy

Sparkling Lemon Gin Punch
A delicious and sophisticated punch for any grand get together. For the ultimate presentation, serve over large format ice cubes studded with edible flower petals made in square silicone ice molds.
Makes about 11 1/2 cups, serves 16 – 18

1 cup clover or wildflower honey
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed Sunkist Meyer Lemon juice or
3 cups gin (1 750 ml bottle)
1 cup elderflower liqueur such as St. Germain
—————————————–
1 bottle (750 ml) brut Champagne or Prosecco
Garnish: Sunkist Lemon peel twists

In a large pitcher, combine the honey and warm water; stir until well dissolved. Then add the lemon juice, gin and elderflower liqueur. (At this point you can refrigerate the punch for service up to 3 days in advance). When ready to serve, pour the chilled mixture into a punch bowl or large drink pitcher (You could split it between 2 pitchers and add half a bottle of champagne to each.) Serve over ice and garnish with lemon twists.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Sunkist

Flower Petal Berry-Butter
Borage, Johnny-jump-ups, calendula and rose petals make a pretty combination for this recipe.

Makes 3/4 cup (6 oz. wt.)

1/4 pound lightly salted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tbsps. seedless berry jam
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. sifted powdered sugar
Dash of ground cinnamon
3 Tbsps. lightly chopped, unsprayed edible, mild flavored, flower petals

Whip all the ingredients except flower petals in a blender, food processor or mixer until well blended. Fold in the flower petals. (Or I like to roll the butter into a log in plastic wrap then chill a bit then roll into the flower petals to coat. Wrap and chill – then slice for serving!)

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on September 11th, 2015  |  Comments Off on Edible Flowers: A Tasty Garden Adventure! |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio

Popcorn

Popcorn seems to be all the rage right now! From concepts dedicated to only popcorn like the local KuKuRuza (KOO-KOO-ROO-ZAH).

They started here in Seattle just over 10 years ago and now have stores in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul and even Cairo! The popcorn rage is popping worldwide! One of my favorite combinations is their caramel and cheddar popcorn – yum!

Popcorn 1
Who’s ready for popcorn – I AM!

But popcorn is becoming the star in numerous new ways in products and on menus. For instance recently I saw on an episode of the new TV show Say it To my Face! (which is a pretty fun show on the FYI Network) where they made fried “popcorn shrimp” actually breaded in chopped popped corn. Not that’s pretty Fun!

And then what about all those cupcake and ice cream concoctions topped with popcorn, caramel corn and chocolate popcorn – yes please!

Now at home there are plenty of ways to top your corn – grated parm – or drizzle with spicy Sriracha garlic butter, the possibilities are endless.

Popcorn 2
I love these soft popcorn balls from Land O’Lakes studded with gumdrops and nuts.

But the best old school treat of all is homemade popcorn balls – so fun to make with the kids. Land O’Lakes has some great recipes on their site. Just don’t forget to butter your hands! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on September 3rd, 2015  |  Comments Off on Popcorn |  Posted in Foodie News, Recent Posts, KOMO Radio
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