Posts from May, 2017

Garden Herbs

If you have a tiny strip of garden space, planters, or pots- you can grow fresh herbs. What’s not to love about fresh herbs anytime you want! The most popular and easy to grow herbs – in my experience – are rosemary, thyme, and mint. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they fill your garden.

But these aren’t the only common herbs that flourish in the NW. Some of my favorite plants are the unusual varieties like lemon verbena, pineapple sage, and the prolific lemon balm…the list goes on and on!

Now what to do with your bounty once you harvest? Add them to all of your favorite dishes, of course! You can also try drying heartier herbs such as thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, and rosemary. Tie them in small bundles with twine and hang them upside down for about a week in a cool dry spot. Once they are fully dry, crumble the herbs and put into jars- a fun gift for foodies!

An alternative to hang drying is quick freezing your herbal bounty. To do this, chop the herbs and spread onto a sheet pan in the freezer for a quick freeze (5-10 minutes). Transfer to zip lock bags and store frozen until ready to use for a delicious, herbalicious add-in anytime of the year.

–Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 25th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Lavender

When thinking about lavender- soaps, spa treatments, and perfumes often come to mind. It’s certainly well-known for its calming and relaxing properties, but lavender has also enjoyed a long history in the world of food and beverage.

Close-up of lavender growing in my urban garden!

Chefs, bakers and mixologists alike use it to spruce up savory dishes, sweets, and cocktails. Lavender is best when used sparingly to let its fragrant flavor subtly shine. A little goes a long way!

Try a sprinkle of lavender into your favorite sugar cookie recipe. If you enjoy preserving, add a pinch or two into your next batch of homemade strawberry jam – yum! I also love it infused in a local honey and drizzled over cheese.

If you’ve got a yard full of lavender and need some ideas to use it up, try this easy to make DIY lavender simple syrup. Bottle it up and enjoy anytime!

To make Lavender Syrup: Combine 2 tablespoons dried lavender (or 3-4 fresh flowers) with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a quick boil and then remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes, then strain and store refrigerated.

For a fun Summer gift basket idea- tuck in a bottle of homemade lavender syrup with a half dozen lemons, 2 pretty glasses, a bottle of sparkling water, and a recipe for Lavender Lemon Soda. You could also add a bottle of vodka for a spirited basket. And don’t forget to include a little bouquet of fresh lavender! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 18th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, herbs

Brunch for Mom

It’s Mother’s Day weekend! And what better way to treat Mom than with a delicious brunch, complete with a bubbly cocktail.

Start the night before and whip up my Spring Wild Mushroom, Asparagus ‘n’ Sausage Strata – rustic bread, seasoned egg mixture, sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. Add in some turkey sausage or bacon, and grated cheese. Refrigerate overnight then pop in the oven first thing in the morning. Perfect served with some fresh fruit or a few tossed greens.

Mimosas are a spirited way to start the day especially while the strata bakes. Make it with fresh squeezed orange juice, or get creative and try adding a little fresh raspberry or mango puree.

And for “extra mom points” listen closely to this fun idea: freeze edible flowers in ice cubes. Place a couple flower cubes in a large wine glass, add in a jigger of vodka, with a splash of Grand Marnier or Chambord, pour over the ice and top with a big splash of sparkling pink champagne bubbles. Fun & fabulous!


“Flower Cubes”

Cheers to all the wonderful Moms out there! – Kathy

Spring Wild Mushroom, Asparagus ‘n’ Sausage Strata
Good bread is the foundation ingredient for any strata. With so many great breads available today, it isn’t a chore to find one to add to these breakfast bakes. The challenge now is in deciding which one to use — be it Como bread from Grand Central, a delicious La Brea Bakery loaf or any other sturdy, handcrafted bread.

And if the bread is just a little bit stale, that’s okay. In fact, breakfast bakes are a great way to use up day-old artisan breads. Fold in a cup of fresh baby spinach for added greenery.

Makes 6-8 servings

1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage or turkey sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups sliced wild or domestic mushrooms (morels, hedgehogs, cremini, portobello, button mushrooms, shiitake, chanterelles, reconstituted dried porcini, etc.)
2 cups 1/2 inch bias cut-sliced, fat, fresh asparagus pieces
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
8 eggs
3 cups half & half
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups 1-inch-diced hearty bread, such as a rustic sourdough
2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until halfway cooked, about 3 minutes. Then add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for another 2 minutes. When veggies are tender, add asparagus and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper until well combined. Add the bread, Fontina cheese, half the Parmesan cheese and the cooked sausage mixture.

Place in an 11 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and let sit, refrigerated, at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, so that bread soaks up egg mixture.

When ready to serve, bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 45 – 50 minutes or until puffy and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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

Posted by Kathy on May 11th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, breakfast

Minty Mint

Don’t you just love the smell of fresh mint? Whether it’s in a cocktail, mixed into a fruit salsa, or growing in the garden, that fresh scent of mint can just brighten your day!

Have you ever tried growing mint? If you have, you know it is amazingly easy and will actually take over your garden if you’re not careful. And what’s better than a fresh handful of mint leaves whenever you want?

There are sooooo many varieties to choose! From peppermint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, lemon mint, orange mint and even lime mint – which is super amazing muddled into mojitos!

Speaking of cocktails – mint is of course the star in the classic mint julep.

If you’ve got a lot of mint in the yard, here’s a quick recipe for Fresh Mint Syrup:
-Combine a big bunch of fresh mint (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups) – stems and all
-2 cups of water
-2 cups of sugar

-Bring to a quick simmer then let steep for 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate.

Great for cocktails or add in lemon or lime and sparkling water for a tasty refreshing beverage.

And speaking of Juleps: with the Kentucky Derby this weekend you’ll want to have plenty of mint on hand – two of my favorite recipes follow.

So get minty with it in your garden this year! –Kathy

Classic Mint Julep
Makes 1 cocktail

2 mint sprigs
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/4 oz simple syrup or Fresh Mint Syrup

For garnishing: mint sprig

Add mint sprigs into a julep cup. Lightly muddle to release flavor.

Measure in spirit and simple syrup. Fill 1/2 way with crushed ice. Stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Top with more crushed ice. Garnish.

Recipe and Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Brown-Forman

Georgia Julep
Makes 1 cocktail

2 mint sprigs
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz peach puree
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes peach bitters

For garnishing: mint sprig and peach/nectarine wedge if in season

Add mint sprigs into a julep cup or mixing glass. Lightly muddle to release flavor.

Measure in spirit, puree, simple syrup, and bitters. Fill 1/2 way with crushed ice. Stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Top with more crushed ice if needed . Garnish.

Recipe and Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® for Brown-Forman

Posted by Kathy on May 4th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey
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