Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Katie's Late Night Kitchen

Is there anything better than falling asleep with a full stomach? OK, maybe not the morning after. But . . . isn't it great to come home to a refreshing cocktail and a great late night meal after a long hard day at the scaffold? There are so many delicious ways to wind down at the end of the day. Whip up an easy late night supper, read an interesting book or your favorite magazine, share conversation and break bread with someone you love, watch a movie, listen to some music, embrace the night!

Late night meals can be just about anything, right? Think fresh guacamole and chips, fried eggs with prosciutto and asparagus, grilled chicken salad, soups, grilled panini, bruschetta (in my book, this means just about anything and everything on top of grilled bread), Italian tuna in olive oil with canellini beans and fresh herbs, and the list goes on and on. Back to the bruschetta . . . I generally cook more than we can eat in one sitting so that we can enjoy the leftovers (I don't like the word "leftovers". . . I'll have to come up with another word that means delicious and delectable food that you purposely prepared in advance so that it could be enjoyed a day or two after preparation). There are a million things (I'm not an exaggerator) that can be happily placed on top of thickly sliced, olive-oiled, kosher-salted, garlic-rubbed, grilled, high quality, artisan bread. Whew. I mean it though. A few examples: oven-roasted tomatoes with fresh ricotta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, roasted red peppers marinated in olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic and red wine vinegar, pesto and farmers cheese, grilled eggplant and shredded Parmesan cheese, soft boiled egg and butter, thinly sliced fresh radishes and kosher salt, caramelized onions and kalamata olives, grilled portabella mushrooms, smashed sweet peas with onions and prosciutto, avocado slices with tomato, onion and gorgonzola..............the list is infinite. If you're not up for firing up the grill, you can easily prepare your bread and pop it into a hot oven. When I make"crostini", I generally use thinly sliced bread that has been brushed or drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and then baked in a hot oven until crisp. Whether thinly sliced crostini or thickly sliced bruschetta, the bread is the luxury vehicle that will transport your toppings in style and flavor. C'mon, you know there's no better way to get a roasted tomato from Point A to Point B. Indulge. I think that bruschetta and crostini will definitely be the topic of a future KPK (Katie's Passion Kitchen) post and photo shoot. Watch for it! Carbo-phobes not welcome.
Here are some recent late night meals from Katie's "Late Night" Passion Kitchen . . .


Grilled asparagus gets bundled with havarti cheese and thinly sliced prosciutto. It hits Katie's Passion Grill one more time to crisp up the prosciutto and melt the cheese. Oh yeah. "That's what I'm talkin' to" (Thanks Bammer).
Toss some grape tomatoes with a little olive oil and kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet, place into a hot oven (375 degrees) for about 15 minutes until they blister and pop.

Toss some fresh salad greens (arugula pictured here) and whatever else you have in the fridge (I used thin strips of zucchini and some sweet onion) with oil, your favorite vinegar, kosher s & p. Top with these flavor-packed tomatoes, shards of parmesan (your vegetable peeler will help you to be posh with your parm). Serve with plenty of great bread.
Soup rocks. Try this. Saute some chopped onion and garlic (let's say one medium onion and one clove of garlic) in a little olive oil in a medium pot. Season with some crushed red pepper flakes, s & p, and how about a little cumin and a little curry, if you like. Add some store bought chicken broth (a large carton or a small one plus some water - I love Swanson 100% fat-free). Add 2 cans of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans. Simmer for awhile. Remove some of the beans to a bowl. Remove from the heat momentarily and blend with an immersion blender (I love that handy son-of-a-gun). Return the reserved beans to the pot. You can also add some small pasta (like ditalini or some little rings - about 8 ounces). Simmer a little longer (or until the pasta is cooked if you're using pasta) and the soup is the consistency you desire. Thin with water, if needed. This does require some stirring to prevent sticking but the result is a creamy (cream-free) and delicious soup. Mess around with the seasonings and you can easily travel from country to country. Make it Italian with a little rosemary and thyme or use the spices from the Middle East to switch it up. Make it your own.


Crunchy romaine gets piled here with slices of marinated grilled chicken breast, red pepper strips, onion, bacon (cooked outside on the grill in a pan). We also threw in some sliced avocado and some cherry tomato halves. This happy group was eventually smothered in homemade buttermilk gorgonzola dressing and a generous sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper. Note the stack of grilled bread in the background. (Bret's snack the following day).

That's today's update, my friends. Many more meals, many more photos and many more recipes to share. Tonight's dinner will be a hearty ribollita with lots of vitamin packed kale, cannelini beans, rustic bread and chicken broth. I'll let you know how it turns out. Light some candles and eat late tonight. It's fun. Love, Katie

Friday, February 6, 2009

The BEST Coconut Cupcake Ever!

Those of you who know me well, know that I LOVE this recipe. These are definitely everyone's favorite cupcake and certainly the most requested. Here it is, the famous Barefoot Contessa coconut cupcake recipe. The cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes pictured here was tinted pink for Valentine's Day, but I generally always keep it real with no added coloring. Try them once. Make them forever. Have a passionate Valentine's Day and live each day as if it were February 14th! Wishing you sweetness . . . Love, Katie


The Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcakes



3/4 pound of unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups sugar

5 extra large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Makes 18-20 large cupcakes

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of the coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack to cool completely. Frost with the cream cheese icing and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Cream Cheese Icing


1 pound of cream cheese at room temperature

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 1/2 pounds confectioners sugar, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter and extracts. Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew
A KPK cross between Spanish style Cod and French Boullabaisse

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup
aka "Got-To-Go" Soup, inspired by Louie

MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

Love, Katie ~ I am so glad you're here! Stay awhile!

Super Healthy Salad

Super Healthy Salad
. . . featuring Roasted Rutabagas (or Swede Turnips, if you wish)

Grilled Corn with Tarragon Cream

Grilled Corn with Tarragon Cream
Click on the image to link to a simple and lovely recipe at Fine Cooking

Cinnamon Pecan Katies

Cinnamon Pecan Katies
Yes I Did

Forbidden Rice Salad

Forbidden Rice Salad
Black "Forbidden Rice" from China is delicious and loaded with antioxidants

Pasta with Hot Pancetta, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Parmesan & Power Greens

Pasta with Hot Pancetta, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Parmesan & Power Greens

Indian Carrot Salad

Indian Carrot Salad

Fluffy Milk Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Softly Whipped Cocoa Cream

Fluffy Milk Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Softly Whipped Cocoa Cream

Asparagus & Mozzarella Frittata

Asparagus & Mozzarella Frittata

Grilled Eggplant is Layered Up for an Eggplant Gratin with Fresh Basil and 4 Cheeses

Grilled Eggplant is Layered Up for an Eggplant Gratin with Fresh Basil and 4 Cheeses

Oven Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Breast, Gemstone Potatoes & Buttery Peas

Oven Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Breast, Gemstone Potatoes & Buttery Peas

Egg Ribbon Salad with Pancetta & Shaved Parmesan

Egg Ribbon Salad with Pancetta & Shaved Parmesan

Fresh Strawberry Slices & Whole Raspberries tucked into cream cheese frosted vanilla cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Slices & Whole Raspberries tucked into cream cheese frosted vanilla cupcakes

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
an outdoor grill regular at the crib

Smokin' Beets

Smokin' Beets

Roasted Beet & Potato Salad

Roasted Beet & Potato Salad

Rosemary Flatbread

Rosemary Flatbread

"Hola" from Mi Pueblo, San Jose, CA

"Hola" from Mi Pueblo, San Jose, CA

Rapini Frittata

Rapini Frittata

Healthy Portabella

Healthy Portabella

Italian Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad with D'Amato's Focaccia

Italian Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad with D'Amato's Focaccia

Fried Asparagus

Fried Asparagus

Day Off Breakfast

Day Off Breakfast
Boiled Eggs & Whole Grain Toast ~ Simple Pleasures are the BEST!

Last Minute Lentil Soup

Last Minute Lentil Soup
with carrots, celery, and a little kale . . . topped with a heap of conchigliette pasta and parmigiano reggiano

A Sampling of Christmas

A Sampling of Christmas
KPK Pecan Shortbread Cookies and Almond Cookies