Quick Pickles

Who doesn’t love homemade pickles? I certainly do! The briny, bold flavor is the perfect addition to any summer meal- but who says you have to buy them? Making your own may seem daunting- but I’m here to set the record straight. Pickling your Summer garden veggies is fast, easy, and so much fun.

All you need is my Refrigerated Quick Pickle recipe! First clean a quart-sized jar, then pack it full with a mixture of vegetables. Baby cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and cauliflower- have fun with it! Next boil up a sweet and tart brine and quickly pour into the veggie-packed jar. Screw on the lid, and cool to room temperature for about an hour- then pop in the refrigerator! In just two days you’ll have delicious pickled vegetables to bring to a picnic or enjoy at a backyard BBQ.

And pickling isn’t just for veggies – for something a little different, try one of my favorites –pickled peaches! Awesome to serve with your favorite cheeses, charcuterie platter or grilled meats.

-Kathy

Refrigerated Quick Pickles
Makes about 4 quarts

The following is a mixture of veggies that I like to use, but feel free to switch it up with what’s fresh from your garden or the market.

Vegetable Mixture:
7 cups (about 2 lb.) 3/4″-sliced pickling cucumbers
2 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) 1/2″-thick-slant-cut carrots
2 medium jalapeño peppers, cut in half, or 1 large, quartered
1 1/2 cups (6 oz wt.) 1 1/2″ chunks yellow or white onion
1 1/2 cups (6 oz wt.) 1 1/2″ chunks red onion
2 cups (8 oz wt) 1″ chunks red bell peppers (substitute some hot peppers or some of your other favorite summer peppers if desired)
2 cups (3/4 lb.) 1/2″- to 3/4″-sliced yellow zucchini or yellow squash

Pickling Brine:
2 cups white distilled white vinegar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. pickling spice
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Place all vegetables in a large bowl and toss together to mix colors. Divide vegetables among four clean, regular mouth 1-quart canning jars, packing vegetables in tight. Set jars on a dish towel in a draft-free place in the kitchen.

Place the pickling brine ingredients in a non-aluminum sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and then immediately ladle pickling brine into filled jars, filling to 1/2″ from the top and being sure to cover the vegetables and distribute spices evenly. Immediately cover jar with lid and tighten. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Let pickle for at least 2 days before eating. Pickles will last refrigerated up to 1 month.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on July 6th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, Snacks, appetizers, seasonings, sides, spices, vegetables

Cherries Spell Summer!

Luscious, sweet cherries just scream summer to me. Cherry pie, cherry cocktails, cherry shortcake, boozy cherries over ice cream – is there anything better? Fresh cherries are also so tasty in a cocktail like in my recipe for Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd (recipe follows) – perfect for patio sipping with friends.


Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

I love cherries eaten out of hand, or in desserts, but they are also delicious incorporated into savory dishes too. Like in my Sassy Spicy Cherry Salsa – perfect for serving on a little goat cheese crostini or as a side kick to grilled chicken or salmon.

Simply half or quarter pitted cherries, toss with a little fine diced sweet onion, minced fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of honey, and a little sriracha or chili paste. Then add in chopped cilantro or fresh snipped chives, season with sea salt, and voila! A crowd-pleasing salsa delicious on almost anything.

Don’t have a cherry pitter? Not to worry! Dig out those disposable to-go chopsticks I’m sure you have piled up in the kitchen drawer, poke through the cherry, and out pops the seed. Super quick and easy!

-Kathy

Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Makes about 10 servings

1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
3 cups Bacardi Limon rum or silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
1/4 cup clear cherry liqueur, such as Maraska maraschino
3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water
Garnishes:
Fresh mint sprigs
Fresh cherries on the stem

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, combine the mint, rum, sugar, lime juice, liqueur, and pitted cherries. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of the rum mixture, being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry.

Chefs Note: You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated= the flavors will just get better and better.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios

Posted by Kathy on June 29th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts, Kathy Casey

Picture Perfect Pies

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!

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!

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.

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 © 2017 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 22nd, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, Kathy Casey, citrus, dessert

Burgers

When summer time finally hits the Pacific Northwest, burgers are the first thing on my mind. To me, the smell of a burger sizzling on an outdoor grill is simply intoxicating.

I’ll always love a classic beef patty piled high with condiments and spreads, but sometimes it’s fun to switch it up. Burgers are a blank canvas to get creative and try new combinations. Your local farmers market is a great place to find inspiration.


Photo from Clean Eating

Outdoor BBQ in your weekend plans? Create a burger bar and make it interactive with a DIY set-up! Simply pre-heat your grill and have it hot and ready. Pick up some artisan buns and set out a variety of cheeses and spreadables like spicy sriracha mayo, fun mustards, local pickles, and grilled sweet onions. Offer unique patty options to please the whole crowd- like local grass fed beef, veggie black bean burgers, or seasoned turkey patties.

Or why not try my Barbequed Salmon Burgers on Lemon Dill Buns! The smoky grilled salmon patty paired with fresh condiments like lettuce, cucumbers, or a tangy vegetable slaw is knock-your-socks-off delicious. If baking your own buns seems daunting, not to worry! Just pick up your favorite from a local bakery and get to grillin’.

Make sure to have your guests bring some tasty sides, ice cold brews, and wine. And while the grill is still hot – throw on a few bananas for making up some grilled banana splits for a sweet ending – yum!
-Kathy

Barbequed Salmon Burgers
Makes 4 servings

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless salmon fillet, pin bones removed (ask your fishmonger to do this)
½ tsp black pepper
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs minced onion
1 Tbs fresh dill
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS dried bread crumbs
¾ tsp kosher salt

Lemon Dill Buns, or local bakery bun
Mayonnaise or Tartar Sauce
Any combination of burger goodies you like, such as tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumbers, vegetable slaw, etc.

To make the burgers, chop the salmon well. Mix it thoroughly with the remaining burger ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape into 4 ½-5 in diameter well-compacted round patties. Refrigerate the patties, tented, for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to firm.

Pre-heat a grill to high and oil. Carefully place patties on grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side.

Split buns in half and toast lightly. Spread mayonnaise or tartar sauce onto buns, add the cooked patties, and pile high with garnishes of your choice.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy on June 16th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Foodie News, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, Kathy Casey, salmon

Walla Walla Onions

Fresh Walla Walla Onions are hitting the market soon and I can’t wait! Sweeter than a regular yellow onion, it has been said that biting into a fresh Walla Walla and biting into an apple are just about the same. I’ve never tried but I will if you do!

I DO know that they are mild and sweet enough to serve thick raw slices cozied up with garden fresh tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkling of fresh basil. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and EVOO, then finish it with coarse salt and a fresh grind of pepper. Simplicity at its best.

I also love them in a quick pickle preparation. Put equal parts vinegar, sugar and water in a zip lock bag. Add in a pinch of salt then toss in some slices of Walla Walla onions. Shake that around until the sugar is dissolved then refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. D’lish on grilled salmon, tossed with some fresh herbs like tarragon, chives, dill and Italian parsley.

If you’ve got the grill fired up then toss on some slices. Get some nice charred marks, then chop and add to your favorite guacamole or fresh salsa recipe for some SWEET summer dipping– Yum!

P.S.: If you’re an onion crier like me be sure to refrigerate your onions before slicing OR have a pair of onion goggles ready– it helps! –Kathy

 


Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table

Herb Marinated Walla Walla Sweet Onions
For a summer buffet table, grill a whole side of salmon and serve it on a large platter, festooned with the herbed onions and fresh herb sprigs. This is also great served with steak.

Makes 4 servings – and enough to top 4 salads, pieces of fish or grilled meats.

1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. 1/2-inch-long pieces fresh chives
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To make the onions, carefully separate the rings and place in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes, and oil. Pour the marinade over the onions and close the bag, expelling excess air. Turn the bag to coat the onion evenly, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Just serving, gently toss the onions and marinade in a large bowl with the chopped herbs.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy on June 8th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Recent Posts, Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, other, sides

Coleslaw with Everything!

The sun is shining and the weather is getting warmer, which means picnic-season is soon upon us. And no patio picnic is complete without coleslaw!

There are a lot of different varieties of slaw and you can certainly switch up the cabbages: green, red, and nappa. Shredded broccoli stems are every popular these days too.

But it’s the dressing that’s the real star of any slaw and really gives it that tasty, zippy zing. There are vinaigrette types, which range from tart and tangy to creamy or spicy styles – which are my fave.

But I love a cooked thickened dressing. Why? Well you know sometimes when you dress your slaw it gets kind of weepy and then bland. Well a cooked and thickened dressing takes care of that as it stays coated to the cabbage. Just thicken a simmering vinegar and sugar mixture with a little cornstarch, cool, and then add into mayo with your seasonings.

Check out my recipe for Poppy Seed Pineapple Slaw – it has a d’lish cooked dressing and is perfect to serve with barbecue-slathered ribs and fresh grilled corn! YUM! –Kathy

Poppy Seed & Pineapple Coleslaw
Makes 6 cups

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 tsp. salt
tiny pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger (optional)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 (1 lb. ) bag coleslaw greens or 8 cups of mixed shredded green and red cabbage
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 cup light or regular mayonnaise

In a small saucepan combine the crushed pineapple with juice, salt, red pepper flakes, ginger, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch. Whisk together well until the cornstarch is dissolved. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil while constantly stirring; cook until dressing is thickened. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place coleslaw greens, green onion, carrot and poppy seeds in a large bowl. Stir mayonnaise into cooled pineapple mixture, then mix into coleslaw, coating salad well.

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

Posted by Kathy on June 1st, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recipes, KOMO Radio, Kathy Casey, sides

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
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