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!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Whatever Floats Your Goat

Freshness and elegance. Pour some of your favorite olive oil into an unexpected clear glass vessel (like a simple vase, a really large mug or, how about a trifle bowl?) Add some fresh woodsy herbs like thyme or oregano, some cut garlic (just to flavor the oil), a bay leaf or two, a handful of whole peppercorns and a little kosher salt. Gingerly drop in some chunks of goat cheese and let them marinate in the oil at room temperature until your guests arrive. Serve with homemade crostini. For the crostini, thinly slice some French baguette, brush each slice with a little olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt or fleur de sel and toast in the oven at 400 degrees until crisp and lightly toasted. Let dry out in the open so that they stay nice and crisp. Let your guests serve themselves to delicious marinated goat cheese spread onto your crunchy crostini. Experiment with herbs. Add a dried chile red pepper or whatever your palate desires. Fresh mozzarella would look really pretty also, however, I find that the goat cheese works well with this idea since it holds it's shape and it's smooth and spreadable. In any case, use your imagination and think "dramatic". Your friends will be impressed. Make a nice pitcher of Rose' sangria with lots of fruit and kick back. Do whatever you enjoy. Whatever makes your happy.


You know . . . whatever floats your goat!


Love, Katie

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Fellow Foodies! I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some delicious corned beef and cabbage this holiday. We enjoyed a totally green St. Patty's Day celebratory dinner on Sunday, featuring corned beef and cabbage, creamy, buttery, herbed root vegetables, a totally green salad, imported Irish Dubliner and Cheddar cheeses, plus Frango Mint ice cream garnished with Brianna's chocolate dipped strawberries. Warm and crumbly Irish soda bread, studded with golden and dark raisins completed our Irish meal to perfection, thanks to Teri and Brianna. With green candles, green flowers, green table linens and green food, we also served a buttery Napa Valley Chardonnay with green apple slices plus Gatorade's low calorie "G2" (the green one) for a non-alcoholic refreshment. The St. Patty's briskets were added to a deep roaster of carrots, celery, garlic, onion, bay leaves and fresh thyme which had been sauteed in olive oil for about 10 minutes. I added water to cover, brought the whole shebang to a boil, skimmed the foam, simmered, covered for 15 minutes, added some cabbage wedges (about 6 wedges from a small head of cabbage) and then transferred the briskets to the oven, covered, and simmered for about 3 hours. After removing the briskets and allowing them to rest for about 20-30 minutes, I trimmed the fat and sliced the briskets across the grain. During the last hour of cooking, I boiled halved red potatoes, carrots, parsnips and turnips until tender. After draining, I tossed them with olive oil, butter,s & p, and fresh, chopped flat leaf parsley. I also boiled an additional head of cabbage (cut into wedges) because I wanted to make sure we had enough leftovers!!! Make sure you have some fresh horseradish and rye bread on your table to complete this traditional meal. Enjoy this St. Patrick's Day Holiday with a hearty Irish meal. Even us Italianos do it!

"Never buy bread from a butcher" . . . (old Irish proverb)......

Love & Luck-o-the-Irish to ya!
Katie (Katharine, not Kathleen, by the way)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March Gladness

We will be springing forward on March 8th and our days will be getting longer, at last! Spring is in the air ... I am so grateful. Bring on the sun! I need some Vitamin D! Let's start thinking about planting! Fresh herbs, flowers and vegetables. If I don't get some home grown basil pretty soon, I'm gonna snap. Now is a great time to find an interesting object as a fun starting point for garden inspiration. Paint a little birdhouse or fall in love with a unique planter or an unusual object that wouldn't normally be placed in a garden (It will plant a seed in your brain)! Start walking since the weather is nice (even if the wind knocks you down, at least it's not cold-LOL). It's finally time to switch tracks. Hmmmmm..... asparagus, spring peas, fava beans, spring onions. How about a nice fresh Pasta Primavera? C'mon, switch with me . . .

Here's what's been cooking in Katie's Passion Kitchen lately ...

Check out these beautiful potatoes! Warm potatoes really benefit from a little champagne vinegar, olive oil and country dijon mustard in this lovely and lively salad. When all was said and done, this colorful variety of blue, yellow, red and white potatoes were combined with haricot verts (thin, young green beans), sweet onions, cherry tomatoes, finely chopped radicchio and romaine, a few warm, soft-boiled eggs and a scrumptious, French style, champagne vinaigrette. A peasant style feast of a salad! If you're not already into mustard vinaigrettes, try whisking a teaspoon or so of dijon mustard into your next oil and vinegar dressing. Add a little s & p and you will be thrilled with the result! A little dijon adds freshness and tanginess to your oil and vinegar. Try it. I even drizzle some directly into the salad bowl when I'm in a rush and toss it all together with the salad greens, olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. More mustard, more zip.

Asparagus Frittata ~ Fry some asparagus and you'll never steam it again. Asparagus and shallots fried in olive oil are joined by a mixture of a dozen beaten eggs, freshly grated Parm and shredded Italian truffle cheese (really!). Reserve a few stalks to beautify the top of your frittata with a few chunks of fresh mozzarella and pop it under your broiler til the cheese melts. I learned how to make frittatas from the frittata queen, Amelia DePalma Fioretti, mama mia. Mom's are always perfectly moist and perfectly seasoned. Especially her summertime garden zucchini frittatas. Frittata Perfectione'!
French sourdough baguette with butter on the side and a chilled bottle of Franciscan Cuvee' Sauvage California Chardonnay. Oh yeah.

Zuppa

Hail Kale!
Mark said that he would be happy to just eat soup every day. This easy and delicious ribollita is made with fresh and healthful kale , the usual suspects (onions, garlic, carrots & celery), canned tomatoes, chicken broth and chunks of stale bread (I used wheat baguette). I think this is a new all-time favorite. Takes me back to Florence. Think Tuscan. Think healthy (I kid you NOT! Kale is a nutritional super food. It's an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, vitamin-rich vegetable. Very high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta carotene, lutein, and it even has a lot of calcium) . Talk about good and good for you. E-mail me for the recipe if you like! I think I have it nailed. It was served up with a swirl of olive oil and some fresh cracked black. I'm not kidding. It doesn't even need cheese. And, it's even better on the second day. Here's a nice pot-shot of the ribollita ~
Beans, beans, magical fruit, the more you eat . . . (when I was a kid, I thought it went "Beans, beans, musical fruit, the more you eat . . . " Anyway, I love to make a huge pot of minnestrone style soup that is packed with beans and vegetables and tons of flavor. So, last Thursday, it was dark and creepy outside, pouring rain for hours. I spent the entire day in my closet, organizing jewelry and various junk. A dreaded project. I never got dressed and soon realized that I would not be leaving the house or abandoning my project. I knew I would be cooking "off the shelf". I started late in the afternoon with a bag of Trader Joe's 17-bean and barley mix. Yes, I finally came out of the closet. I quick-soaked the dried beans by covering them with cold water, bringing them to a boil, and then soaking them for an hour or two. Yes, just read the directions on the bag. LOL. From that point, it was a refrigerator and pantry expedition for all things soup. I had a lot to work with and I was happy to be in Katie's Passion Kitchen, rather than Katie's Closet. I had half a bag of baby purple onions, one parsnip, a bunch of celery, a bag of carrots, a pound of bacon (thanks to Mark), plus some cute little pasta rings (Anelletti) (HOLD IT! I just thought of a name for this soup: Fioretti Anelletti Minnestretti ~ LOL ~ whatdya think?). OK. So, I sauteed a few strips of bacon, finely chopped) in some olive oil and added onions, parsnip, celery, carrots, crushed red pepper flakes and finely chopped garlic. Can you smell that? Then, I added the beans which had been soaked, then drained and rinsed. To that, I added chicken broth, canned whole tomatoes (crushed by hand) with their juice, some water, a few bay leaves and some salt, pepper & cayenne pepper. This soup simmered for a couple of hours with the lid ajar. (Q: When is a lid not a lid? A: When it's ajar). Some of the beans do take a LONG time to soften up. Some actually stay firm but it's a good firm. Once the flavors began to develop and the beans became tender (while I was back in the closet), I added a small head of savoy cabbage (finely sliced and chopped). After that began to cook a bit, I added a few yellow potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks and then finally the pasta (not too much or they would drink up all the broth and I would be left with a too-thick soup and some really swollen noodles ~ LOL). Um....I am a fluid retention expert ... never mind. OK. I actually took a tip from my ribollita love and tossed in a few chunks of stale bread. It thickens the soup and adds a new texture. It was really delicious, I think. This soup was served with a drizzle of olive oil (I am fully aware that I do this alot, thank you) and further enhanced with some freshly grated imported Parmeggiano Reggiano and pepper, of course. Make some today before it gets too warm out and you won't be in the mood.

Nut Fetish Biscotti
Crisp, twice-baked orange & chocolate cookies featuring Patron' Citronge' Premium Orange Liqueur in the light dough and Faretti (close enough) Biscotti Liqueur in the dark dough plus tons and tons of toasted nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and cashews. Dunk me. Dunk me please.









Check back for updates, meal ideas, news and inspiration.

Passion is in fashion. Love, Katie

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