Posts from September, 2020

Honey Varieties

Did you know a bee will only produce about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime?

In just the United States alone, there are over 300 varieties of honey. The variety depends on the type of blossom the bees are collecting nectar from. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have one of my all-time favorites – blackberry honey!


Photo from the National Honey Board

If you are like me and love to whip up creative beverages and cocktails, try making Honey Water. Mix 1 part honey and 1 part warm water until well combined. Mix it with fresh lemon or lime juice, and a little sparkling water for a refreshing sparkling citrus’ade. And for the adults, a splash of vodka, gin, or silver tequila if you are so inclined.

Honey water can be made any variety of honey. So check out your farmers markets to see all the possibilities!

Honey water will last about 1 week refrigerated – giving you plenty of time to shake up something new.

For a d’lish salad, try my Local Greens with Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette, Toasted Hazelnuts & Chevre recipe. And for more honey-inspired recipes, check out the National Honey Board.

Cheers! – Kathy

Local Greens with Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette, Toasted Hazelnuts & Chevre
Makes 4 servings

8 cups local, mixed baby greens
Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup fresh blackberries or raspberries
1/4 cup (1 ounce) chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 ounces chevre-style goat cheese, crumbled

Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey such as wildflower or blackberry
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. canola oil or light olive oil
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

To serve salad: Toss greens with dressing and divide among 4 plates. Scatter with berries, hazelnuts and goat cheese. Serve immediately.

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

Posted by Kathy on September 29th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Honey Varieties |  Posted in Uncategorized

Pears

Here in the Northwest, we are lucky to have so many varieties of scrumptious pears! Red Bartlett’s, Bosc, Seckel, Concorde…each one different and oh-so-delicious!

Pears are known to be sweet and juicy, but did you know they can shine in savory dishes too? I love to cut them into thick wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, and seasoning. Then roast on a sheet pan in a HOT oven until they are golden delicious. The smoky, sweet flavor pairs perfectly with roast chicken or in my Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola for an easy appetizer.

But my favorite way to use roasted pears is in my Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette! It’s always a crowd pleaser at my dinner table.

I also love to use them in a quick and easy fresh relish. Simply mix together diced pears, shallot, a touch of honey and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss it with fresh mint and just like that- you have an amazing addition to curry dishes or grilled lamb.

Grilled pears are also tasty as a base to a sophisticated sundae- topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of salted caramel, red wine syrup and some toasted hazelnuts. Yum- that’s my kind of dessert!

So next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some pears and get creative in your kitchen!
–Kathy

Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne

Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola
These are extra-delicious topped with chopped toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or walnuts. Balsamic glaze can be purchased at gourmet and well-stocked grocery stores.

Makes 24

Pears
2 firm red Bartlett or other red-skinned pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

24 pieces Herbed Crostini (recipe follows)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese or thinly sliced Cambozola
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

For garnishing
Tiny sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

To roast the pears: Quarter the pears lengthwise, then core. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 6 slices (you should have 24 slices, total). In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and thyme. Add the pears and toss to coat.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay out the pears, not touching, on the baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and starting to caramelize on the edges. Pears can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

When ready to serve, lay out the crostini on a baking sheet and top each piece with about 1 heaping teaspoon of gorgonzola or a slice of Cambozola, then a slice of pear. Bake until just warmed, about 4 minutes.

Drizzle each piece with about 1/4 teaspoon balsamic glaze, then garnish with thyme.

Herbed Crostini
Crostini are the must-have party basic. Use as a base for assorted toppers, such as creamy cheeses, tapenade, or spreads.

Makes 32 to 40 pieces

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 long, skinny French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, dried herbs, cayenne, and garlic. Lightly brush the baguette slices with the herb oil or, in a large bowl, drizzle the bread with the oil and toss well. Lay out the bread in a single layer on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until just crispy.

Crostini can be made in advance, cooled thoroughly, and stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days. If necessary, recrisp them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – www.liquidkitchen.com

Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Pears
2 unpeeled ripe but firm pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head baby frisée
2 heads Belgian endive
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cups baby arugula
D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped

To roast the pears, preheat an oven to 500°F. Cut the pears into eighths lengthwise. Core, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then gently toss the pears in the mixture.

Spread the pears on a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with vegetable-oil cooking spray and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. You can make the pears up to 1 day in advance. If you do, cool them thoroughly before refrigerating, then bring to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.

To finish the salad, cut the root end and about 1 inch of the top off the frisée. Rinse the frisée thoroughly, separate the head into leaves, and spin dry. Cut the stem ends off the endive, halve the heads lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into thin strips. Toss the frisée and endive in a large, deep bowl with the remaining greens and about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette.

Divide the greens among large dinner plates. Top each salad with pears, cheese, cranberries, and hazelnuts, dividing evenly. Pass additional dressing.

D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil or very light olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Purée the mixture in a blender, then blend in the mustard and orange juice. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the oil. The dressing should become smooth and emulsified. Blend in the salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Chef’s Note: If you are having a big dinner party during the holidays, the entire recipe can easily be doubled. And, if you are tight on time, you can substitute sliced fresh pears or apples for the roasted pears.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

Posted by Kathy on September 22nd, 2020  |  Comments Off on Pears |  Posted in Uncategorized

Upside Down Cakes

Sometimes things are just better upside down. Bust out the baking dish – I’m talking about delicious Upside Down Cakes!

Light and fluffy cake batter encased by a sugary-butter topping and jeweled with chopped fruits – baked until ooey gooey and caramelized. What could be better than that?

So versatile and decadent – these cakes are a total crowd pleaser and often seen during the holidays. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is by far the most popular – but there are plenty of variations that are just as scrumptious! Apples, peaches, cherries, or plums – it’s the perfect vehicle for your favorite fruit.

This d’lish dessert is sometimes considered a little retro – but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a try. Throw in some chopped nuts or layer on a boozy caramel glaze for a fun twist. Or throw that rule book out the window and try my Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake for breakfast!

You can even make mini versions using your trusty cupcake tin as the baking vessel!
-Kathy

Oatmeal Apple Upside Down Cake
Makes 1 10-inch round cake, serving 8 to 10

Batter
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup boiling water
2/3 cup, packed, brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Apple layer
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Gala apple, cored, skin on, sliced in thin wedges
—————————–
vanilla yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch round cake pan with vegetable cooking spray, and set aside.

Mix oats, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in a heat-proof container, and pour measured boiling water over mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the apple layer: In a small bowl, mix together the 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and the pecans, and pat out into the bottom of the cake pan. Then lay the apple slices out evenly on the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the 2/3 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and oil, and mix well. In a small bowl, mix together the 1 cup flour, soda and salt, then add to sugar mixture. Add plumped oat mixture and stir well.

Without disturbing the apple layer, add batter into the cake pan carefully, and then lightly rap pan on counter to release any bubbles. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Let sit 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, loosen sides of cake from pan with a table knife, and then immediately invert cake onto a large plate.

Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with dollops of vanilla yogurt if desired.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 15th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Upside Down Cakes |  Posted in Uncategorized

Cauliflower Creations

Often tossed up with the obligatory broccoli and carrot medley, cauliflower is coming into its own!

It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, pickled, or eaten raw! Although tasty topped with a cheese sauce, there are lots of healthy and amazingly d’lish ways to cook up a head of cauliflower. Take for instance the ever popular cauliflower rice and gluten free friendly cauliflower pizza crust.

Oven-roasting gives cauliflower a nice sweetness and a little bit of a nutty flavor. Quick and easy like in my recipe for Lemony Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto.

Another great preparation is “Cauliflower Steaks.” Cut a couple inch-thick slices across the middle of the head and grill until tender. You can cut up the rest of the florets, cook in milk with spices like red curry, ginger and garlic, then process in a blender to make a tasty puree to serve with your “cauliflower steaks!” Try my recipe for Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Red Curry Puree, its healthy and delicious.

And one of my most favorite phrases is the cauliflower inspired “my little chou chou” (“my little cauliflower”) – a French term of endearment. –Kathy


Lemony Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Lemony Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto
Great served as a side dish or as a component of a power bowl. Delicious hot or cold!

Serves: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Roast Time: 12 – 15 minutes

1 Sunkist® Lemon
1 large head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 – 1/2 cup purchased basil pesto

Garnish: lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Juice and zest the lemon and set aside.

Cut the core out of the cauliflower, and then break or cut into medium size florets, place in a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to coat well and season with salt and pepper.

Lay out cauliflower in a single layer, on a non-stick baking sheet pan (reserve the bowl).

Roast for about 12- 15 minutes or until just tender.

Meanwhile whisk the lemon zest and the pesto together in the reserved bowl.

Remove the cauliflower from the baking pan with a spatula and add it to the pesto bowl. Toss gently. Serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Red Curry Puree
Makes 3 entrée servings or 6 as a side dish

1 large head cauliflower 1 Tbsp. olive oil for grill
kosher salt and pepper to taste
——————————————
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Thai red curry paste 1 cup non-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice kosher salt and pepper for cauliflower

Garnish: fresh chopped mint and cilantro, lime wedges and sliced cucumber if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut 3 large 1-inch steaks out of the center of the cauliflower. Cut each one in half. Set aside.

Cut remaining cauliflower into florets to produce about 3 cups.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until just tender but not browned. Stir in the curry paste and then add the milk, salt, lime juice, and the 3 cups of florets. Increase heat to medium high, cover tightly and simmer cauliflower until cooked tender – about 10–12 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully transfer the cauliflower and liquid to a blender or food processor. Cover the lid with a towel and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and keep warm.

Meanwhile heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks lightly with olive oil.

Place cauliflower steaks in pre-heated pan, season with salt and pepper and cook on each side until nicely grill marked (about 5 min on each side) and then move pan to the oven and continue cooking steaks until just tender (about 7-10 minutes). Or you can cook the cauliflower on an outdoor grill all the way, with the lid down to assist with cooking.

To serve, spoon some of the cauliflower puree on plates. Top with grilled cauliflower, and garnish with chopped herbs, lime wedges for squeezing and cucumber if desired.

Recipes by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 8th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Cauliflower Creations |  Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Pie Time!

My oh my, I LOVE pie! Whether you’re celebrating a holiday, enjoying a summer time BBQ, or having a casual family dinner, pie can be the perfect dessert for any occasion. Strawberry Lavender Rhubarb, Meyer Lemon Meringue, Salted Caramel Pecan…the flavor combinations are endless!

It’s no secret that apple is crowd favorite flavor too. Choose a new variety of apples from the farmers market to switch things up, and then try adding dried cranberries or currants to the mix. If you’re really in the mood to try something different, add Tillamook cheddar to the crust, one of my personal favorites.

Apples From my garden ready to be made into pies!

Ready to go in the oven.

The finished beauty … warm from the oven!

I love a fresh berry pie with grated lemon zest added to the filling. Warm from the oven and topped with a big scoop of classic vanilla ice cream – yum!

And you don’t have to stop there! Get creative with your crust. I like to add goodies such as sliced almonds, fine chopped walnuts, or poppy seeds. The crunchy texture pairs perfectly with a flaky, buttery pie dough.

Celebrate summer with your next pie! Picking fresh fruit at a local you-pick-farm is such fun and a great way to get the whole family involved. And once the hard work is done, treat yourself by making my Free-Form Stone Fruit Hand Pies. Happy baking!

-Kathy

Free-Form Stone Fruit Hand Pies
Makes 8 pies

Almond Crust
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shortening, cold
1 large egg, beaten
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons ice water

Stone Fruit Filling
2 1/2 pounds assorted stone fruit such as: sliced fresh peaches, (peeled) nectarines, apricots, plums, or pitted cherries (about 7 1/2 – 8 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (4 ounces) marzipan or almond paste, optional
Sugar for sprinkling on top, optional

To make the Almond Crust: Mix the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening and, with a pastry blender or clean hands, combine until mixture forms pea-sized particles.

In a small, separate bowl, mix together 2 TABLESPOONS of the beaten egg, the vinegar, and the ice water. (Reserve the remaining beaten egg for egg wash.) Stir this mixture into the dry mixture and mix until the liquid is just incorporated. (This dough should be fairly moist and pliable, not crumbly. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.)

Form the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling out.

To make the Stone Fruit Filling: Place the fruit in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon together and reserve.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spray 2 or 3 large baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray and set aside.

After the dough has chilled, cut it into 8 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Keep the other pieces covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap while you work. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, keeping the rolled-out circles separate and covered.

Sprinkle the fruit with the reserved sugar mixture and toss very gently. Coat the fruit thoroughly; no dry mixture should be left in the bowl.

If using the marzipan or almond paste, divide it into 1/2-tablespoon pieces. Flatten out each piece and tear it into several pieces. Place pieces on tart shells.

Divide the Fruit Filling among the tart shells, placing about 3/4 heaping cup in the center of each. Gather up the crust edges around the filling, bringing about 1 1/2 inches of pastry all around over the fruit to make an open-faced, rustic-looking tart or hand pie.

With a spatula, carefully transfer each tart to a baking sheet. (You will be able to fit about 3 to 4 tarts on each sheet.)

Whisk 1 teaspoon of water into the reserved beaten egg and lightly brush the exposed dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the tarts lightly with sugar, if desired.

Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until the crust is cooked through and golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Chef’s Tips:
It is very important to allow 1 hour for the Almond Crust to chill before rolling out.

The fruit and dry ingredients are mixed at the last minute to avoid drawing too much liquid from the pears, which could make the crust soggy.

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

Posted by Kathy on September 1st, 2020  |  Comments Off on It’s Pie Time! |  Posted in Uncategorized
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