Fresh Herbs Anytime You Want!

If you have even a tiny strip of garden space, planters or pots, you can grow your own fresh herbs. Having a “green thumb” is not required.

The most popular and easy herbs to grow, in my experience, are rosemary, thyme, and of course mint. All of which will wow you with how quickly they will fill your garden! But be careful with mint – it can easily take over.

However, it’s not only these common herbs that flourish in the northwest! Some of my favorite plants are the unusual varieties such as; lemon verbena, pineapple sage, lemongrass, lemon balm and then all the cool varieties of sage and thyme- I could keep going on and on!

Now what to do with your bounty once you harvest? Of course add them fresh to all your favorite dishes! But you can also try drying some herbs. Think thyme, sage, oregano, dill, marjoram and rosemary. Tie them in bundles and hang them for a week or so in a cool dry spot.

When totally dry, crumble and put into jars. Or you can chop fresh herbs, lay out on a sheet pan in the freezer for a quick freeze — then store frozen in little zip lock bags. Take out and add a pinch to any of your favorite dishes later in the year.

And herbs are fun for infusing spirits too. I love lemon verbena-infused gin or vodka in summer cocktails. Place 2 cups of vodka or gin in a mason jar, add 4-6 lemon verbena leaves. Cover and shake. Let sit for about 5 days then remove and discard the verbena. Mix in your favorite cocktails or just enjoy with a splash of soda.

Herbs

Visit your farmers market or garden center early to get the more unique varieties to plant. And then enjoy an herb-alicious summer! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on May 21st, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Lifestyle, Recent Posts

Add New Life to Weekday Dinner With Modern Sides!

The side dishes of today should bring variety and spice to our meals. Baked potatoes and rice are still great go-to’s. But with so many interesting new options, it’s time to get creative!

How about trying some different varieties of rice? Try fragrant basmati so tasty jazzed up with chili paste, fresh ginger, chopped roasted peanuts, and a sprinkle of scallions. Or try jasmine rice simply steamed with lemongrass, ginger and garlic.

Couscous is super-fast and easy to make, as is bulgur wheat. Add in fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, dried fruits and some toasted nuts, then finished with a dash of ground coriander.

In the veggie category, glazed carrots and steamed asparagus are giving way to more complex dishes like Roasted Baby Eggplants with Spicy Peanut Soy Dressing, which I developed for Sunset – yes, please!

Roasted Baby Eggplants with Spicy Peanut Soy Dressing
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunset Produce

Roasting root vegetables intensifies their sweetness. I love to pair Roasted Beets with an easy Orange Cumin Glaze. Now that’s not boring, right?

So get out of your side dish rut and try something new. You never know, you may invent the next beloved “green bean casserole.” –Kathy

Roasted Beets with Orange Cumin Glaze
You can prepare this recipe part way in advance: Just roast, peel and slice the beets ahead of time. This can be done up to 3 days in advance. Then finish the rest of the recipe procedure per instructions.

Makes about 6 servings.

5 large beets (about 2 lb.)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsps butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp finely chopped orange zest
2 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the beets and leave root untrimmed. Place beets on a large sheet of foil and seal like a package. Place foil packet on a baking pan and roast in preheated oven until very tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Poke beets to make sure they are tender.

As soon as beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and slice into 1/4-inch slices.

In a small bowl mix together the orange juice, cumin, vinegar , honey and cornstarch. Stir until cornstarch is well incorporated.

Place liquid mixture in a large, non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat, whisking – while adding the  butter and salt. Bring to a boil and add the sliced beets. Cook, turning beets as necessary, until they are hot and nicely glazed. Place on a serving platter or in large, shallow bowl.

Mix together the walnuts, orange zest and parsley and sprinkle over the beets.

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

Posted by Kathy on May 14th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

Cooking Up Memories of Ernie Pino

Ernie Pino – amazing chef, columnist, and most of all a dear friend, passed away earlier this month. I can’t find the words to express my sadness, so I will only say this: “Ernie I know that your table in Heaven is set with great food and drinks and that you’re surrounded with friends and love ones passed. We will miss you greatly, but you will live on in our hearts forever.”

Ernie Pino
Ernie and I in 2004 Getting Ready to Cook Paella!

Years ago, Ernie did some amazing classes for us during the early days of the Food Studios on Spanish cuisine. I found in my files an article he wrote on his beloved paella. Here is his original followed by the recipes he did for the class. Thank you, Ernie for teaching so many chefs and food enthusiasts the fine art of paella; your passion lives on with us. –Kathy

Paella—By Ernie Pino, 2003

I love teaching cooking classes. Sometimes, I focus on NW themes, like chowders, salmon and shellfish. Often, I teach tapas, gazpacho, paella or any combination thereof. My students are always attentive, sometimes passionate, and never dull. Recently, a group of students was preparing to head home after one of my summer picnic salads classes, and for whatever reason my Hispanic heritage became the subject of conversation. I suddenly found myself waning nostalgic, extolling the virtues of being raised in a bilingual and bicultural home. Soon, some of the classmates began to share their own experiences of visiting Latin countries; a few even demonstrated their Spanish-speaking prowess (keep in mind, it was a warm and lazy summer evening, rich in camaraderie, food and just a wee bit of wine). Inevitably, this sort of dialogue results in an exchange of favorite Spanish terms, cerveza (beer) ranking among the top 10, closely followed by the Spanish word for bathroom, baño. Occasionally, a naughty phrase or two is dispensed but on this particular night someone said the word “paella”. Surprisingly, even the non-Spanish speakers raised their hands when asked if they recognized this term.

So, in the midst of a course on al fresco foods, the focus shifted to the dish most closely associated with Spain, paella. Interestingly, although my students recognized the word, very few of them could tell me much about paella—a dish as rich in tradition as it is ingredients. And so today, the topic is paella. Grab your dictionaries—we’re talking Spanish.

“La paella” or “paellera” is a metal cooking utensil—a flat, wide and shallow pan with two curved handles on opposite sides. The word itself is old Valencian and it’s roots stem from the Latin “patella”, which, in Galicia, Spain, means a flat basket. Today, the word paella is synonymous with both the luscious rice dish and the vessel in which it is prepared.

Paella is traditionally cooked over firewood, which allows the smoke to permeate and add a robust flavor. The Spanish language has two different words for wood “leña”, which is firewood and “madera”, any type of wood…of which, some may become leña

On the southeastern coast of Spain, below Barcelona, an area named El Levante is known as the Region of the Rices. The Moors brought the art of rice growing to this territory more than 1000 years ago, by establishing elaborate irrigation systems throughout the fertile deltas of the land. Understandably, rice has become a traditional staple there and it’s preparation, a delicious art form. As with most legendary foods, the origin of the dish called paella is hotly contested, yet the region most closely associated with this hearty stew remains Valencia. Thus, the title “Paella Valenciana”, which appears often in recipes and on menus.

After rice became standard fare in Spain, the peasants of Valencia would prepare paella with common ingredients found in the countryside, such as onions, tomatoes and even snails. Occasionally, a rabbit or duck would be added and, when possible, a chicken or two. Eventually, the “Valencian rice” became widely known. By the end of the nineteenth century, “Paella Valenciana” had established itself.

Today, tourists and locals alike will visit Spain’s restaurants and enjoy paella in its various interpretations. Some adventurous souls might even try their hand at preparing it at home. The basic foundation for true paella requires using short grain Valencian or Arborio style rice (the west coast equivalent being California Pearl rice), infused with saffron. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Paellas can be all vegetarian, strictly seafood, a meat lover’s smorgasbord, or any combination thereof. You can incorporate squid, langoustines, guinea hen and quail, and make it up as you go—though a tried and true Spaniard may cry foul and proclaim his to be the recipe for a traditional and authentic paella. Beware; this dish has been known to stir passions as well as appetites. Although the list of ingredients may seem exotic and somewhat daunting, ask anyone who has made a paella or two and they’ll tell you—preparing paella is a Spanish piece of cake. Think about it: paella is a one-dish meal, it’s the perfect party food and it feeds a small tribe.

Now, repeat after me, “pah-ay-ah”. It’s a Spanish word that you can say with conviction and authority. So roll up your sleeves and start practicing what you preach! – Ernie

Ernie Pino’s Spanish Paella Dinner Menu & Recipes<
Ajo Blanco con Uvas de Málaga (White Gazpacho with Málaga Grapes)
Paella Valenciana with Seafood
Torta de Manzana Cantabria (Apple Cake)/p>

Ajo Blanco con Uvas de Málaga
(White Gazpacho with Málaga Grapes)

Serves 4 to 6

This traditional, pre-Colombian, Gazpacho came from southern Spain’s Andalucía region, where almonds and grapes are grown. For centuries it was a common meal for the poor and working class, who grew most of the ingredients themselves. Then, when the rare and expensive products of the Latin American “New World” (tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers) were brought to Spain, the wealthy added these new vegetables to the dish and gave it an upscale edge. They also turned their backs on the more traditional white Gazpacho, and never looked back. This started a new wave of cooking in Western Europe, and made popular many of the foods we still enjoy today.

2 cups water
8 ounces French bread slices, crusts trimmed and torn into pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped and puréed
Salt
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 1/2 cups ice water

1 1/2 cups green grapes

Pour 2 cups water over bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain. Squeeze bread until dry. Transfer bread to food processor. Add oil, vinegar and garlic purée. Season with salt to taste. Add almonds and ½ cup ice water, and blend until smooth. With machine running, gradually add remaining 2 cups ice water. Taste for salt.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (the flavors need to blend) and preferably over night.
Serve chilled, mixing well before serving. Garnish each serving with grapes.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Paella Valenciana with Seafood
Serves 6 to 8

1 1/2 pounds raw jumbo shrimp
5 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced (divided)
1 – 2 1/2 lb. rabbit (or chicken), legs, thighs and breasts separated
1 medium yellow onion, quartered, and 1 large onion, minced (divided)
3 teaspoons salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced chorizo sausage (Spanish style)
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and cut into strips
2 large tomatoes peeled and chopped (see note)
2 cups uncooked short-grain rice, such as Arborio or pearl
8 ounces fresh, minced clams, drained, or one 6-ounce can, drained
8 ounces fresh squid tubes and tentacles
12 fresh mussels, scrubbed
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup fresh green beans

Marinate prawns in their shell with 2 of the minced garlic cloves (prepare the night before and refrigerate.)

Reserve the breast, legs and upper joints of the rabbit (or chicken) Combine the remaining pieces with 3 cups of water; add 1 the quartered onion, 2 teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of saffron threads. Boil 30 minutes, strain and measure out 2½ cups of the stock. Set aside. (Can be prepared earlier and refrigerated.)

Cut the reserved pieces of rabbit (or chicken) into small pieces through the bone (or ask your butcher to do this for you).

Dust the pieces with flour and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a paella pan or large heavy skillet on medium heat, and cook until crispy-brown and tender. Set aside.

Add reserved shrimp and chorizo to the same pan, cooking until shrimp turns pink. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add minced onion, remaining 3 cloves minced garlic, pimiento and tomatoes to the pan and cook until the onion is tender.

Add the rice to the onion mixture and stir to glaze.

Bring the reserved stock to a boil and add to the rice mixture.

Add clams, squid and mussels, bringing to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the peas and green beans, and cook 5 minutes more, uncovered.

Arrange the rabbit, shrimp and chorizo atop the rice, amongst the squid and mussels. Cover the pan and place over hot coals or low heat on the stove, or in a preheated 400°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Serve with a crusty bread and Rioja wine.

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, cut an “X” at stem end and on the bottom. Plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove immediately and plunge into iced water. Skin should slip off easily.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Torta de Manzana Cantabria
(Apple Cake)

This rich, rustic Cantabrian confection has a delicate spice-cake quality and somewhat of a pudding texture. It may be served warm or at room temperature.

Cake
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 Gala or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
2 Tablespoons Applejack or brandy
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze
¼ cup apricot jam
1 Tablespoon applejack or brandy

Powdered sugar (optional)

FOR CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9” diameter spring form pan with
2 3/4” high sides. Dust pan with flour. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add apples, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer 16 apple slices to processor. Add applejack and purée. Add flour, sugar, eggs, milk, baking soda and cinnamon and just combine until blended. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Drain remaining apple slices and arrange atop batter in a circular (star-burst) pattern. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool.

MEANWHILE, PREPARE GLAZE: Stir jam and applejack in small pan over medium heat until jam melts, about 1 minute.

Brush some of glaze over warm cake. Cool cake 30 minutes. Release pan sides. Heat remaining glaze and brush over cake. Dust with sifted powder sugar.

Recipe by Ernie Pino.

Posted by Kathy on May 12th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in dessert, Foodie News, meats, Recent Posts, Recipes, soups

Strawberry Days

Strawberries really signal the beginning of summer. I can’t wait for the first big, juicy red berry of the season.

Probably the most popular way to enjoy strawberries (other than eaten from hand) is strawberry shortcake. Here’s a quick tip for my favorite take on the classic: Start with Fisher Fair Scone Mix, add in some chocolate chips, form them, and then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake and serve with sliced fresh strawberries tossed with a touch of local honey, and a dollop of whip cream. For a truly decadent experience, add a splash of local berry liqueur to the whip cream! Yum!

On the non-dessert side, too, strawberries have multiple possibilities. In my Strawberry & Spinach Salad, I like to top them with thin slivers of sweet Walla Walla onion and glazed almonds, then dressed it all with a Lowfat Poppy Seed–Ginger Vinaigrette thickened with pureed strawberries – a light and refreshing summer salad.

If you don’t have strawberries of your own to pick, there are many choices around the Northwest for “U-Pick” strawberries. And if you have had a big day of picking but still haven’t eaten your fill while in the field, sit down and relax with a big, glistening bowl of just-picked juicy berries. -Kathy

Strawberry & Spinach Salad
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Sweet Onions and Poppy Seed–Ginger Vinaigrette
You can substitute toasted hazelnuts for the almonds. This salad is also excellent as an entrée salad, topped with grilled chicken cut into strips.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup light olive oil or other salad oil
2 teaspoons poppy seed

Salad
3 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered, or another local berry, such as raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
2 bunches spinach, stemmed, washed well, and spun dry (8 to 10 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet white onion, such as a Walla Walla Sweet
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar, ginger, mustard, honey, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, emulsifying the vinaigrette. Stir in the poppy seed. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To make the salad, toss the berries, spinach, and onion with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with almonds.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Posted by Kathy on May 11th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads

New Day Northwest

I had a great time on New Day Northwest‘s set talking about MOHAI’s latest exhibit, shaking up some Prohibition-style cocktails, and my upcoming lecture Women of Temperance and Tenacity on Thursday, May 28th. For the Clover Club and Old Fashioned cocktail recipes, make sure to visit www.LiquidKitchen.com.

Posted by Kathy on May 7th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Lifestyle

Bubbly Cocktails for Mom

Mother’s Day is coming up next weekend. I KNOW I don’t need to remind you (wink, wink). This year, how about treating Mom like the queen she is by making her a specialty bubbly cocktail to toast the day!

Mimosas are a spirited way to start the day, made with fresh squeezed orange juice. Get creative and try them with lightly sweetened fresh raspberry or mango puree topped with sparkling wine or prosecco.

Guys listen up, you’ll get extra points for this one for sure! For a super, special presentation, freeze edible flowers in ice cubes then place a couple in a large wine glass. Shake up a jigger of vodka with a splash of Grand Marnier or Chambord, and pour over the ice then top with a big splash of sparkling pink Moscato. Fun and fabulous!


My Platinum Sparkle will make Mom smile!

And it’s always great to go Northwest. I love Washington’s own Michelle sparkling wine and Argyle, one of my faves from Oregon.

So toast Mom with some delicious bubbles – it’s her day after all! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on April 30th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, videos

Cheers Magazine

Great article in Cheers Magazine featuring some of my tips in creating signature cocktails!

Posted by Kathy on April 29th, 2015  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recent Posts

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 and taste hits the spot.

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

And there are so many varieties to choose from. Peppermint leaves are wonderful dried and steeped in hot water to make a simple, d’lish tea. And there are so many tasty varieties – Chocolate Mint, Pineapple Mint, Lemon Mint, Orange Mint… even Lime Mint that is perfect when muddled into mojitos!

Also, for you cat lovers out there, remember catnip is a mint too. So careful planting mint, unless you want to attract every kitty in a quarter mile!

As the weather gets warmer, cool off with my Fresh Mint Ice Cream. Nothing beats nibbling on fresh made ice cream under a shady tree!

Mint Ice cream
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

With the Kentucky Derby coming up mint juleps are on the horizon… oh yea! If you plan on hosting a Derby party, try making a batch of my Spiked Iced Tea Punch. Fresh mint pairs well with white whiskey, black tea, fresh juices, and brown sugar.

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

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Mint Candies
I like to serve this garnished with a bit more chopped mint candy and a fresh sprig of mint.

Makes about 4 cups

4 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups packed mint sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
6 egg yolks
1 cup coarsely chopped Chocolate Mint Candies (recipe follows) or Frango Mint candies

Combine the cream and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan. Tear the mint sprigs (to bruise them) and add to the cream mixture. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the cream. Whisking constantly, bring to a bare simmer and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk frequently to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Strain the mixture and discard the mint leaves. Stir in the chopped mint, then pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the ice cream is finished, stir in the chopped candies. Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mint Candies
Makes 24 nice-sized pieces, or enough for 1 recipe of ice cream plus 12 extra pieces of candy

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsps. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, salt, and extract together over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from the heat, sift in the confectioners’ sugar, then stir to combine well. Spread the mixture in an 8-inch square baking pan.

Let cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or refrigerate to harden faster.

To remove the candy from the pan, invert the pan onto a piece of plastic wrap or a cutting board, lay a hot towel over the pan bottom for about 1 minute, then tap the bottom of the pan. Loosen the candy with a spatula if needed. Cut the candy into 24 pieces to serve as candy, or coarsely chop to use in ice cream. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Spiked Iced Tea Punch
Punch is the perfect party cocktail! For a more-spiked interpretation, let guests add a little more whiskey to their individual drinks. For summertime sipping add in a few slices of fresh peach or nectarine. For a demo on how to make this, check out this episode of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen.

Makes about 8 cups, enough for 10 to 12 servings

20 cloves
1 orange
6 very large sprigs fresh mint
3 tea bags black tea
3 cups boiling water
1 cup ice water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups Woodinville Headlong White Dog Whiskey

Poke the cloves into the orange, then cut it into 3 slices. Put the orange slices, mint, and tea bags in a heatproof pitcher or bowl. Add the boiling water, let steep for 1 hour, then remove the tea bags.

Add the ice water, juices, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, add the whisky, and chill until ready to serve. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Garnish as desired.

Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps.

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