I Had No Choice But to Spoil Myself

September 11, 2010 by KatiesCooking  
Filed under Appetizers, Featured Recipes, side dish

What a whirlwind of a summer…it seriously feels like it has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Unlike other years, my hubby and I spent this one taking one of the biggest steps in our lives.  We bought a commercial building (thanks to a special guardian angel looking out for us) and moved his business in there.  No more rent!

The coolest part about the building is the 3 units attached that we plan on leasing out to help subsidize our mortgage payment.  It gets better though.  Our broker decided the space was so awesome he wanted it for himself…to put in a coffee shop and restaurant!  woot woot!  So now when we pull those 12 hour shifts they won’t seem so bad since we can end the night with a cocktail just five steps away.  : D  Apparently he plans on having about 5 different variations of eggs benedict on his brunch menu, my favorite!

Though this is one of the most amazing things to happen to us, the building that is, not the eggs benedict, it’s come at a price.  I’ve had more frozen pizza over the last month than I care to divulge.  The long days, exhausting build-out and move of the business means we spent an average of about an hour a day at our actual home which is where my kitchen is.

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post!  I promise that once we get completely settled into our new nest, I will be able to escape to my culinary world more often.  Today I couldn’t bear eating another frozen pizza or eggo waffle, so instead I spoiled myself.  Here’s my decadent lunch menu: Roasted Garlic Aioli with Caramelized Artichoke Hearts and Prosciutto Ribbons.  Not in the picture is some baguette and mixed olives.

There’s no real recipe to go along here but if you must know how I made the roasted garlic aioli, here goes.  The easiest way is to buy some already-roasted garlic cloves from the deli (where the olives are).  Toss about a dozen cloves in a food processor with about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of dijon, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and pulse til somewhat smooth.  I’m sure it would be even better with a little fresh thyme but I didn’t have any on hand.  I sauteed the artichoke hearts in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet.  That’s it!

Rosemary Chicken Burgers w/Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

August 14, 2010 by KatiesCooking  
Filed under Featured Recipes, chicken

I’m embarrassed about how long it’s been since my last post!  It’s an understatement to say that life has gotten in the way, just a bit.  My hubby’s online skateboarding business has taken off and the next obvious step for us to take was buying our own commercial building.  Needless to say, but between scouting out real estate, negotiating with brokers, juggling inspections and sweating bullets over a scary down payment, it’s been a little exhausting.  Well, the transaction will be final on Tuesday and the keys will be ours!  Between the stress and the late night life talks, you can bet good food was the one thing that held things together over the last month.

I have my mom to thank for this one and she has Sunset magazine to thank.  The recipe has morphed a little each time it changed hands and this is my version.  These chicken burgers are healthier than most, and suprisingly moist too.  Between the rosemary speckled throughout the patties, juicy caramlized onions and a pungent gorgonzola sauce balanced by spicy arugula, this burger is a flavor explosion.  I like to make small patties on dinner-roll style buns since I’ve never been one to finish a normal sized burger.  Plus, if you end up eating two you won’t feel so bad about it!  Please give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

Makes 4 Small Burgers

1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 kaiser rolls
handful of arugula or spinach leaves

2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Turn your grill onto medium-high heat.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine well.  Form into 4 equal patties and let those sit while you get the other ingredients ready.

chicke burgers

In a medium saute pan or frying pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and the onion along with the pinch of salt and sugar.  Saute for about 30 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Once brown, add in the balsamic vinegar (optional) and keep warm on low heat until everything else is ready.

chicken burgers

Place the chicken burger patties on the bbq and grill for about 6-8 minutes on both sides or until cooked through and there’s no more pink.  Toast the buns on the grill as well.

Mix together the gorgonzola and mayonnaise in a small bow.

chicken burgers

Assemble the burgers!  I take the toasted bun, smear some of the gorgonzola sauce and top with the arugula, chicken burger and balsamic caramelized onions.

Fig & Olive Tapenade

July 30, 2010 by KatiesCooking  
Filed under Appetizers, Featured Recipes, Vegetarian

I have a weakness for bite-sized nibbles.  Everything is so much cuter when it’s pint-sized or wrapped up in a neat little package.  The thought of a obese cheeseburger makes me cringe.  But, if that cheeseburger was divided into 20 petite sliders, I could eat my weight in them.  Just a simple triscuit cracker transforms with an elegant topping which is where my fig & olive tapenade recipe comes into play.

Remember when I said I used to be a picky eater? Well, olives used to be one of the foods I despised.  So in order to slowly introduce them into my diet (baby steps remember) I would mix them with something a little sweeter to dull their briny flavor.  Awhile back I stumbled across a recipe for this tapenade (which may have been this David Lebowitz recipe) soon lost it and was forced to wing it.  Every time I make it, I’ll just dump all the ingredients into the food processor, or at least all the ones I can remember, and pulse it together.

Even though I absolutely love olives now, I still prefer this tapenade with luscious figs.  It’s more of a compote really.  In order to balance out the sweetness of the tapenade, I love to pair it with a thin ribbon of proscuitto and a dallop of goat cheese.  Those components tie it all together in a nice little package.  Just like I like.

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Lemony Quinoa Summer Salad

You’re probably getting tired of all the seafood dishes I post on my blog! Truth is, the seafood that’s available during the summer-time in Seattle is incredible.  I get enough beef and chicken the rest of the year that I try to make the most of all the fresh salmon, shrimp, and scallops while they last.  We’ve been stuck in a bit of a heat wave over the last two weeks here in the Northwest.  I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the sticky, suffocating temperatures wafting over the east coast, but when you’re used to a mild, soggy July, it can be a bit overwhelming.

All I wanted tonight was a light salad bursting with bright, fresh flavors.  I craved a dinner I could scarf down and still have the energy to do jumping jacks afterwards. So here’s what I came up with.  Quinoa is an airy grain that cooks up quickly like couscous, but with just the slightest bit of crunch.  I like it a bit better though  because it has more texture and tends to soak up the flavors of whatever you mix it with.  You’ll want to cook up extra so you can enjoy it for lunch the next day too!

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Curried Coconut Mussels

July 12, 2010 by Katie  
Filed under Appetizers, Featured Recipes, Seafood

It’s not very often that I get the pleasure of cooking for my loved ones.  Jason and I live such hectic, full-to-the-brim, jam-packed lives that it’s hard to find time to treat my family and friends to a home-cooked meal.  So when I found out my mom was going to be in town dog-sitting for my brother last week, I jumped at the opportunity to spoil her!  She’s been so supportive of my culinary passion and I think it’s safe to say it has rubbed off on her a little too.  I wanted to make something I knew she wouldn’t normally make herself, in hopes of exciting her taste buds a bit. We just ate these curried mussels out of the bowl with a chunk of bread to soak up the broth.  This would be equally delicious over a bed of rice.  Or if you’re not a fan of mussels, try it with shrimp!

coconut curry mussels

I love cooking shellfish like mussels and clams because you can do it all in one pot (easy clean-up!) and it will all come together in just 10-15 minutes.  In Seattle, we’re blessed to have incredibly fresh, meaty mussels from Penn Cove which is just a short drive from where I live.  If you’ve never cooked mussels before, don’t worry!  Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Buy them fresh the day you plan to eat them, if possible.  Keep them cool on ice until you’re ready to cook.
  • Rinse and scrub them lightly to get rid of any barnacles or loose shell fragments.
  • Pull off the “beard” (the fibers that attach a mussel to a rock).
  • If any mussels don’t open during cooking, don’t eat them.

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Roasted Potato Salad With Sea Beans and Bacon

One of my favorite things to do is to open people’s eyes to lesser known foods, particularly ingredients that they never would have touched otherwise.  I didn’t grow up an adventurous eater.  Tuna noodle casserole and sloppy joes were the norm in my diet.  Trying lemon meringue pie was the equivalent of tight-rope walking across Niagra Falls.  In fact, “picky eater” in the dictionary featured my picture til I was 18.

But now, I love roasted brussel sprouts dusted with sea salts as much as french fries.  So what changed things around?   When I met my now-husband, I couldn’t cook so much an eggo waffle, but that was all about to change.  One day, I plopped in front of the TV and stumbled across the Food Network.  As I watched the episode (I wish so badly I could remember which one it was!) I realized it didn’t seem that hard afterall.  So little by little, I began to branch out and try new things.

What I loved most was that I had control over ingredients like onions which I normally would have picked out of my dinner tirelessly.  But when I was in control of the meal, I started to scatter those ingredients in slowly and surely until I found out that if you caramelize onions, they take on a deliciously sweet flavor.  Or if you roast brussel sprouts, they take on a crispy, nutty persona.  With me in the drivers seat of the next meal, I began to thrive on the idea of doing the same thing for other people: transforming the frog into the prince.

Sea beans are a vegetable that most people have never heard of before.  A final challenge on Top Chef was my first introduction to these branchy, coat-rack like plants but I never realized that they grew right in my backyard.  Sherlock Holmes-esque foragers scour Pacific Northwest beaches for croppings of these veggies.  When I saw them at my local farmers market, I tried to get the vendor to leak the location where he snips his sea beans but his lips were sealed.

Nonetheless, I snatched them up to give them a try myself.  They add a nice, crunch and salty bite to this roasted potato salad.  Green beans make a perfect stand-in if you can’t find them yourself.  I realize this potato salad is a little time consuming, and dirties up it’s fair share of pots and pans…but it’s worth it!  Plus it tastes even better the next day, always a bonus. : )  Give it a try at your next bbq and you won’t be disappointed.  This recipe is more or less a rough guideline so don’t bother measuring everything exactly.

roasted potato salad with green beans Read more

Decadent Caramel Covered Strawberries

June 27, 2010 by Katie  
Filed under Dessert, Featured Recipes, Seasonal

I know I’m not the only one out there with a serious sweet tooth. Right around 3 ‘o clock everyday I start to crave something chocolatey. Normally, chocolate-covered strawberries are one of my favorite deserts, but it’s obviously not something I would whip up on a weeknight. Then, I stumbled across this recipe on the Steamy Kitchen Blog.  The idea of using caramel as an alternative to chocolate is pure genius, and the peanuts add a nice textural addition as well. The best part is that this comes together in less than 10 minutes and uses just 4 ingredients that you can find at any grocery store.

This is the perfect recipe to wow your friends and family. Take it to your next birthday party, baby shower, BBQ, whatever and you can bet everyone will be asking for the recipe!   If you want to take this desert to the next level, sprinkle some sea salt over the caramel once it’s melted.
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Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes

When I found out that Oprah was holding an open casting call/audition for her new “Own” television station, I couldn’t wait to apply!  I’ve spent the majority of my life dreaming and telling everyone my grandeur ideas.  But, I have a bad habit of not following through with those aspirations.  This year, I decided to turn over a new leaf and take action.  No more wasting time dreaming about what could be.  Instead, I want to take the steps to make those dreams a reality.

In order to portray who I am while showing my culinary point of view, I had to come up with a recipe that would essentially be “Katie on a plate” (in less than 3 minutes!)  With my food, I really value using seasonal, local ingredients in recipes that are packed with flavor yet still healthy (without being diet food).  For my featured recipe, I wanted to come up with something that utilized seasonal vegetables with other ingredients you can find at any grocery store.

I love these tomatoes because you can mix up the stuffing and use tons of different ingredients to switch up the flavors.  They work great paired with a salad for a light summer dinner, or you can make a big batch as a side dish for a large crowd.

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Home-Made Guacamole Recipe

June 17, 2010 by Katie  
Filed under Appetizers, Featured Recipes, Vegetarian

I can’t believe tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! If I was actually on top of things enough to know what day of the week it is (hard to keep track of when you don’t get a traditional weekend), I would have thrown something together a few close friends. I can’t think of a better holiday. Afterall, there isn’t a single person I know who doesn’t love Mexican food. Tequila on the other hand seems to be a little hit-or-miss, especially if you’re one of the many people who had one of “those” nights where you can’t even smell Tequila without gagging.

Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexico’s Independence Day which is actually September 16th. In reality, Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French in 1862’s Battle of Puebla. Arguably, the fifth of May seems to have taken on greater meaning in the US than it has south of the border. Regardless though, it’s a day of national pride for hispanics, and a day where the rest of us show our respect and appreciation for their culture.

Jason and I are lucky enough to spend a good chunk of our time in Mexico in a little fishing village called La Ventana. We fell so hardcore in love with the area, we laid down our savings and purchased a little chunk of land. And after three years of sweat, landscaping, cinder block lifting, and more than a few pokes from all the cacti, we even have a casita we can call home. If I had it my way, we’d spend the entire winter down there. Everyone in the town is so friendly and welcoming. The more you give to them, the more you get in return. And I don’t mean material things. I mean getting to know the locals, smiling, waving as you pass by, respecting their culture and so on.

Where we are, the guacamole is often just a bowl of watered down green liquid that resembles avocado only in color. Great for drizzling over fish tacos but not something you can really mound on top of a tortilla chip. This is basically my mom’s recipe that’s been passed down to me. It doesn’t get any better than this. So even if you can’t make it out to your neighborhood taqueria, do me a favor and make this guacamole recipe. You can thank me later!

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Balsamic-Glazed Roast Chicken Recipe

April 25, 2010 by KatiesCooking  
Filed under Featured Recipes, chicken

Most of you who know me, even just a little bit, are probably well aware of my passion for food. It’s actually more of an obsession really. All day long, I dream and drool over my next meal, often while I’m still eating my first! Anyone who has ever worked with me can vouch for this. At long last I’m taking the steps to transform this food addiction into more than just a hobby. My hope is to have my website up and running within a month or two, granted it always takes longer than you anticipate. I don’t want to give away all my secrets quite yet though. But believe me, I’m going to pour my heart and soul into it and it will be great!

Roast Chicken with Shallots and Balsamic Glaze

Roast Chicken with Shallots and Balsamic Glaze

In the meantime Facebook will be my platform for spreading the word. So many people ask me what I’m cooking, whether it be for a Wednesday night or an upcoming party. I love being a source for either information and inspiration, and I want to nurture that as best I can. For now I’ll be posting regular notes on what I’m cooking with lots of stories and tips along the way.

Your feedback is essential to my success so I want to hear what you have to say. What topics do you want me to cover? What do you struggle with in the kitchen? If you have questions about any of my recipes, please ask me! I love talking about food so much it would make the average person sick. So if my recipe calls for cream of tartar and you don’t have that in your pantry, let me know and I’ll give you a good substitute that will work just as well.

Ok enough talking (or should I say, typing) and onto the food! I thought I’d start with one of the easiest recipes you could probably make. Don’t let this recipe fool you though. Even though you can whip it together without skipping a beat, it’s still worthy of being served to your toughest critics. Anyone with an oven can master this recipe. Read more