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, December 21, 2010

KPK Holiday Cookies 2010

Happy Holidays Friends & Fam!

This year's holiday cookie lineup:

Macadamia Nut Cookies with White Chocolate ~ click for the recipe

Mocha Pecan Balls rolled in Confectioners Sugar ~click for the recipe

Toasted Coconut Thumbprints Cherry, Apricot & Chocolate

Espresso & Chocolate Mini Chip Cookies with Cassia Cinnamon ~ click for the recipe

I will post the recipes eventually, lol..... If you'd like a recipe sooner than later, please send me an e-mail and I'll rush it to ya! 12/28/2010 - 3 recipes posted . . . 1 to go!

Happy Crazy Season!

Enjoy the excitement!

Best Wishes to all for a lovely and passionate holiday season . . . from Katie's Passion Kitchen.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

French Onion Soup Gratinee'

For this recipe, you will need four* soup bowls, each with a capacity of about 12 ounces and preferably, with a lip or rim around the edge that the cheese topping will stick to as it melts to form a beautiful crust on top of the soup. *I believe I adjusted the recipe for the batch shown here (six bowls).


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 onions (about 12 oz.) cut into thin slices

About 7 cups of good quality chicken stock or a mixture of chicken and beef stock

About ½ teaspoon salt, more or less, depending on the saltiness of the stock

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

16 slices of baguette, each cut about 3/8” thick

About 3 cups grated Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyere, Comte’, or Emmenthaler (abut 10 ounces)

Process: Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the sliced onions in the butter over medium to high heat for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the stock, salt and pepper and boil gently for 15 minutes. How easy is this?

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a tray, and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are nicely browned. Divide the toast among the bowls, and sprinkle ¼ cup of cheese into each bowl.

When the stock and onions have cooked for 15 minutes, pour the soup into the bowls, filling each to the top. Sprinkle on the remainder of the cheese, dividing it among the bowls and taking care not to push it down into the liquid. Press the cheese around the rim or lip of the bowls, so it adheres there as it cooks and the crust does not fall into the liquid.

Arrange the soup bowls on a baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a glorious brown, rich crust has developed on top. Serve hot right out of the oven.

KPK Notes: Cover your sturdiest baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Use good cheese. If you use the already shredded Swiss/Gruyere artisan combo by Sargento, I would add some Emmenthaler or Gruyere on the very top. For this recipe, I once used two packages of the Sargento stuff (for speediness) but I also grated a $9.00 chunk of Emmenthaler which I think melts and browns much nicer and forms a better crust on top. Use your grater with the largest holes. Bon Appetit!

This recipe is OUTSTANDING and simple! It was adapted from Jacques Pepin's recipe which was featured in his wonderful autobiographical book, "The Apprentice, My Life In The Kitchen". A MUST-read for anyone interested in the fascinating life of this great chef!

Upper left photo - Budding chef, Sam Fioretti, ladles the steaming onion soup over the crusty baguette slices . . . Lower right photo, Sam shows off the finished products in all of their bubbly, oozy, crusty, molten, cheesy glory! AAAhhhhhhhhh! Life is good.

Make this for yourself and for your family and friends ASAP. Drop everything, LOL.



Happy Holidays from Katie's Passion Kitchen

Stay Warm - Eat Soup

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cookie Season Is Upon Us

Katie's Passion Kitchen wishes you a sweet holiday season with just a little time to bake something special for the ones you love............

I will share this year's holiday treats with you as they come out of the oven! Love, Katie

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elegant Special Occasion Cab Franc

Mount Veeder Cabernet Franc 2006

From the mountain vineyards of the Napa Valley to your table. Smooth, silky, supple . . . elegant. We really enjoyed this wine from the first sip to the last. Did you know that Cabernet Franc is one of the five noble red varieties of Bordeaux? In France, it's called Chinon, the red grape of the Loire region. Apparently, there's not much of this stuff planted in California, so it's really special. As a wine club member of "Expressions Of The Vine", I received this wonderful bottle as one of their featured wines for November, 2010.

Order a bottle today by clicking here.

Less than 300 cases made. $45 a bottle.

Be Well~Red,

Love, Katie

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fresh Pear Cake

Delicious, moist and irresistible. Perfect for the season. Definitely
 a new favorite. Made from pears freshly picked
 from the Brenner Ranch.
The Ingredients

4 cups finely chopped fresh pears
(peeled and cored)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze ~ 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3-4 tablespoons of cream, and a dash of pure vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients, adding a little cream at a time until the glaze is the right consistency for a beautiful drizzle.

The Process

Combine the pears, sugar and nuts in a large bowl. Mix occasionally and let stand for one hour. The mixture will become more syrupy as the sugar melts and the pears release their juices. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan. Now add the dry ingredients to the pear mixture. No need to sift. No need for an electric mixer. Simply add the dry ingredients to the pear mixture and stir to combine. Now, this seems weird, but next, add the liquid ingredients. The oil, eggs and extract. Honestly, it just does not seem right, but you will have to trust me on this. It will look strange and it will seem that the oil won't blend into the batter. But you will find, voila'! . . . It blends nicely. Don't overmix. Just stir well until blended. Spoon or pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Start watching closely after one hour. I actually took mine out after 1 hour and 5 minutes and it was perfecto. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for awhile. Maybe 20-30 minutes or so. Invert it onto a wire rack and then, turn it right side up again. Poke holes into the cake with a wooden skewer or a fork or a toothpick. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and let it drip down the sides. Don't you just LOVE that? Allow it to cool a little further before digging in. Everyone will love this cake and it's baker. Enjoy! Click HERE for the printable version of this recipe!

Peace & Pears, Love, Katie 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread Circa 1979

Last weekend, I made a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday night. A whole turkey breast on the grill, homemade stuffing, sweet potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce. I guess I was just in the mood, right? The cranberry sauce triggered a memory of my mom's cranberry nut bread from "back in the day". Turns out to be over 30 years ago. She liked to serve each slice with a generous smear of cream cheese and it was soooo delicious! So, yesterday, I asked my mom if she could retrieve the recipe and she immediately pointed to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook on the second shelf of her armoire. I was so happy that she knew exactly where the recipe came from. She assured me that it was the right recipe because she had just recently picked up the same cookbook (about a week ago), and re-read it, cover to cover. The corner of page 223 was folded to mark the page of this recipe. We perused the book for other old recipes, one of which was a classic sour cream pound cake that I definitely remember being buttery, dense and wonderful. Over a cup of tea and some sweet treats, my mom pulled out yet another favorite pan for me . . . her tube pan for the sour cream pound cake AND . . . her deep springform pan with the removable bottom for her infamous lemon glazed cheesecake. She washed and dried both pans and sent me home with them to enjoy with all of the other vessels, tools and utensils and countless kitchen items she has gifted to me over the years. My collection is growing. This recipe (adapted and shown below) produces a moist and delicious quick bread with very little preparation and few ingredients. The tartness of the cranberries combined with the nuts is of course, a classic and winning combination. The cookbook is a 1979 printing of the first edition 1978 Better Homes & Gardens "COMPLETE STEP~BY~STEP COOKBOOK".
The Recipe
Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread Circa 1979

3 medium oranges
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Zest one orange. Reserve. Juice all three oranges. Measure 3/4 cup orange juice. Reserve remaining juice. Combine 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 teaspoon of the zest, the egg and the oil. In a separate bowl, stir or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange juice mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir to just combine. Don't overmix. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Turn into greased 8x4x2 or 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool. Prepare glaze by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of orange juice to powdered sugar until it becomes smooth, and of drizzling consistency. Drizzle onto cooled loaf and sprinkle with additional orange zest.

Click here for printable recipe

KPK Notes-n-Tips: If you don't own a juicer, feel free to use good quality orange juice (I love Tropicana NOT from concentrate with extra pulp). If you do have a juicer, use it! I did. (Don't hate - Appreciate). It only takes a minute to juice three oranges, folks! If you don't have a Microplane zester, buy one, ok? You won't be able to stop zesting. Next note: I used canola oil with excellent results. Timesaver note: Trader Joe's sells sliced sweetened frozen cranberries! Talk about convenient. You can throw this loaf together in NO time. Planning note: I tend to toast a good quantity of nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts - separately) when I have time. Then I keep them fresh in ziplock bags in the freezer. That way, I always have toasted nuts on hand for baking. Grease tip: Use a bit of oil to grease the pan or a non-stick cooking spray. Cooling tip: I cooled the loaf in the pan on a rack for awhile. I then transferred the partially cooled loaf to the rack and glazed it while it was slightly warm. Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper underneath your rack to catch the drips for easy cleanup. Let the glaze cool completely on the cake. Simple and delicious and perfect for the season. Secret Note: While writing this post, it occurred to me that I am quite sure that I did not add salt to the flour mixture when I made this today, LOL. It was still great! Haha. Make one today and let me know how you like it. I made this one when I woke up this morning and brought it to work for my taste-testers. I couldn't wait to call my mom and tell her when it was in the oven. She was so happy that I baked it and she was like "Did you put it in your blog?" . . . I did now!

Great reviews. 1979 & 2010.

Thanks, Em. Love you.

From Amelia's Kitchen to mine to yours,

Love, Katie

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family Reunion

20th Annual Lenti ~ Fioretti Family Reunion was held at The Brenner Ranch, Sunday, October 17, 2010. Great food, great people, perfect weather. Many thanks to all of the guests, the cooks and our hosts, Teri & Chuck for an excellent and joyful event! Family cooks, please be sure to submit your recipes to me ASAP for inclusion in the Family Keepsake Cookbook. Thank you!
Click here to see the food (& a few people LOL).

Love, Katie

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Left Hander - Fall Wine Pick 2010

MOLLYDOOKER (Aussie for "Left Hander") WINES from South Australia are winning awards and rave reviews all over the world for their incredibly fruity, big and delicious wines. These wines will be your new favorites, believe me! I LOVE every one I have tried! The happy vintners, Sparky & Sarah Marquis produced a total of TEN wines from their 2009 vintage that have a rating of over 92/100 points!!! FIVE of them are priced at $25.00 per bottle. (There's also a white verdelho, "The Violinist" which I have not yet tried). Check it out and let me know what you think! You can find Mollydooker wines at Binny's or Costco or check your local liquor store or wine shop. They can also be purchased online and carefully shipped to your front door. Cute, retro labeling and easy access screw tops make this fabulous wine an even nicer experience. The most affordable wines ($25.00 per bottle) are spectacular and popping up on great wine lists in great restaurants for between $60.00 and $70.00 per bottle.

Affordable 2009 Vintage REDS you MUST experience:

The Scooter ~ Merlot ~ 95 points ~ "shirazy", opulent and luscious
The Maitre'D ~ Cabernet Sauvignon ~ 94 points ~ full bodied and generous, like moi'
The Boxer ~ Shiraz ~ 95 points ~ mouthful of flavor
Two Left Feet ~ Blend of Shiraz, Cab & Merlot ~ 96 points ~ velvety, rich and truly loved (by me) Yes Yes Yes

Truth be told, I have not yet had the pleasure (longing, though) of experiencing the pricier

2009 Blue Eyed Boy (except for Mark, lol) 98 pointer Shiraz-a-matazz
or the
2009 Gigglepot 94 pointer Cab
or the
2009 Carnival of Love 98 pointer Shiraz
or the
2009 Enchanted Path 97 pointer Shiraz/Cab blend
or sadly, the illustrious
2009 Velvet Glove 99 pointer Shiraz.

I have a dream . . .

Katharine Fioretti

"I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food" . . . W.C. Fields

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stay Tuned

Here are a few upcoming feature stories: (i.e., I don't have time to post these on this beautiful morning, LOL) . . .

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on supple, delectable and downright fabulous Mollydooker wines from down under. G'Day mates!

Whole grain goodness... See what I can do with this $1.17 bag of whole wheat grain from Rubino's.

Low & Slow

A method (and recipe) for braising beef short ribs until they are fall-apart tender.

Stay Tuned To KPK

Tuning Out Now,
Love, Katie

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beets & Beet Greens


Photo #1: Unadorned, organic, and visually dramatic, the washed beets . . . draining on paper towels.
Photo #2: Roasted and sliced, the beets are joined by crisp greens, radish matchsticks, sweet onions, chevre, medium-cooked eggs and pine nuts. The salad was later drizzled with a sweet and tangy homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing looked a lot like chocolate syrup in the photos, so I didn't want to scare anyone with those pics, but it was seriously delicious . . . and dark.
Photo #3: A mouthwatering tangle of sauteed beet greens, stems and all, piled on top of a thick slice of buttered Italian bread. This is the food I love.

Buy some beets. Roast them and keep them in the fridge all week.

For interesting information plus easy directions on how to roast beets, see my post entitled "Beet Street" under "Passion Posts".

Pump up the color in YOUR life today.
Color = Healthy.

Color Your World,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baked Eggplant or.... Melanzane Romano or..... Aubergines Au Gratin or.... Nightshades with Cheese... U Choose

I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs eggplant, am I? It's one of those cravings you just have to satisfy. Here's a fast and delicious way to love your eggplants and enjoy them without all of the time-consuming steps of preparing a traditional Eggplant Parmigiana. No frying. No greasy eggplant slices that suck up all of that oil like little sponges. You don't even have to make a homemade sauce. Not even a prepared sauce. I promise you . . . it's delicious. I believe that eggplant was made for the grill. And a little cheese can't hurt.

Melanzane al Formaggio*

2-3 medium, firm eggplants, sliced about 1/2" thick
olive oil
kosher salt
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce (I love Dei Fratelli) or your favorite homemade or store-bought sauce (how easy is this?)
Hard grating cheese (Parmesan or Romano or Grana Padano)
Also, use any other cheese you have on hand (I used some interesting and delicious Sartori Bellavitano - from Wisconsin, actually!) and a few chunks of Chevre goat cheese (oh my)
fresh bread crumbs
fresh and/or dried herbs like oregano and thyme
plus a little more olive oil and
a little more grated hard cheese

*yet another name . . . this dish is having an identity crisis.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Heat your grill to medium and make sure the grates are clean. Grill the eggplant slices on the grill until they have nice grill marks and flip easily...... about 5 to 10 minutes. Flip and grill for another 5 minutes.
Remove from grill and set aside. Spoon some sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. Place the eggplant slices on top of the sauce in a single layer. Top with some freshly grated cheese(s) (your choice). Spoon on more tomato sauce. If using whole canned tomatoes (I did tonight....), chop them up with a knife and fork or gently squeeze them to break them up. Then, another layer of eggplant slices, more cheese, more sauce. In the meantime, mix together some fresh breadcrumbs (I think I used about 2 cups) with some grated hard cheese (about 1/4 cup), a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper and some herbs (tonight, I used fresh thyme and dried oregano). Drizzle in a bit of olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons). Mix well. Spread evenly onto top layer. The oil will give your bread crumb topping a nice crunch. Pop into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until crusty on top and bubbly underneath and around the edges. Let rest a few minutes. Serve with a salad and some heavy and rustic bread. You will be full and happy. Really delicious.

KPK Inside Info

Grill the eggplant when you have the time (like a day in advance). Keep it in the fridge and assemble the dish the next day. I'm sure it will be great. Take a few extra minutes when you have stale bread and toss it into the food processor. It only takes a minute to make bread crumbs. Toss them into a ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer. You will always have fresh bread crumbs on hand.... for stuff like this OR meatballs OR meatloaf OR for topping anything that needs some love. OK. Also, use whatever the heck cheese you have in your fridge. I'm sure some cheeses wouldn't be ideal but a lot of cheeses would be awesome. Use your judgement. You can also make this dish with zucchini and it is just as delicious. I guess when you add sauce, cheese and crumbs, you can't be too far off from greatness. This is one of those "throw together" dishes where all of the flavors just work in harmony. You really can't mess it up. Make some tonight, improvise and enjoy!

Pictured here with a salad of arugula, thinly sliced celery, homegrown cherry tomatoes, red onion, tiny cucumber slices, pitted kalamata olives and fresh basil in a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Thick slices of amazing ciabatta bread from Whole Foods functioned as transporters from posateria to bocca ....plate to mouth. LOL.

Don't forget the vino rosso. Oh yeah.

Give in to a craving today. You'll be so glad you did... and then, you'll thank me.

Love, Katie

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roast Your Sprouts Peeps

I know it's still warm out but I couldn't help falling into fall this week with a fall menu full of fall food and feeling very fall-ish. I fell 4 fall Tuesday night. Main course: Grilled turkey breast (roasted, really - on the grill) with a lot of savory seasonings, freshly picked herbs (like lemon sage, thyme, Italian parsley and oregano) and aromatic vegetables, served with reduced pan juices. Sides: Mashed sweet potatoes with chevre, cream and fresh chives, "Persian" cucumber and sweet onion salad with homemade blue cheese and fresh herb dressing, and finally, the topic of this post...... oven roasted brussels sprouts.

BTW, next time you quickly blurt out "brussel" sprouts, remember, it's brusselS sprouts. Yes, there's an S on the end.... you know, like the city... in Belgium. It's friggin' hard to say out loud. You really have to slow it down. I'm sure the ones we eat come from Northern California, though, no doubt. It all started in the U.S. with an Italian artichoke farmer in San Mateo County somewhere in the early 1900's. I guess they were thinking "why should the Europeans be the only ones that get to eat these little cuties?"

BS Tips (LOL): Try to buy them super fresh. Some farmer's markets sell them on the stalk! What a treat! Make sure they're small and tight. Huge and loose is not good. I'm bad. Remove any brown or discolored outer leaves. Trim the stalks so they're not below the bud. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry completely with paper towels or a towel.

Roast Your Brussels Sprouts Peeps
(too simple)

Brussels Sprouts
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

As above, wash, dry, trim
Cut each sprout in half lengthwise
Toss with olive oil, and s & p
Toss onto a sheet pan
Place sprouts cut-side down for maximum contact : )
Pop into the oven
Don't toss 'em. Let 'em get brown and caramelized (like in the top photo)
Let them roast for awhile (like 20-30 minutes or so - check in & peek underneath one)
When they're brown, flip them with a spatula
Let them roast for another 10 minutes or so

Add a drizzle of olive oil if you wish
Sprinkle with your favorite finishing salt, like coarse kosher, gray sea salt or fleur de sel
Salt matters.

I love these.

From Brussels With Love, Katie

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Liquid Lust

Always in search of a new "wine cocktail", I was googling around online when I came across an intriguing recipe for a sangria-type cocktail named "Liquid Lust". Now, combining a flowery and blushy tequila with wine and fruit juice immediately sounded refreshing and delicious to moi', so I was quickly on the hunt for what has become my newest favorite late summer cocktail ingredient . . . drum roll please........ ROSANGEL. A reposado tequila from Gran Centenario, aged in port barrels and infused with hand-picked hibiscus flowers. OMG. C'mon now. I was never really a tequila girl amidst the mobs of Patron'-swillin'-party-animal-salt lickin'-lime suckin'-girls-gone-wild (like my friend Tammy, can't stop LOL) . . . I am a wine girl.

Since my new discovery, I think I might now be a wine and tequila girl. This fruity and floral luxury liquor is sure to be popping up in future KPK cocktails as a new favorite ingredient for years to come. Treat yourself to a bottle today by placing an order with Binny's Beverage Depot at 708.226.9902 (in Orland Park for locals).

On Rosangel's website, there are a few interesting recipes to try ... The recipe for "Rosangel Pink Sangria" is identical to the cocktail recipe I found on a different site under the name "Liquid Lust" and that's the name I like best...It's funny re-reading the recipe now because when I made it the first (and second) times (both last week)...... I apparently didn't notice the last ingredient, club soda, therefore, those first two pitchers were seriously powerful and I toned them down with more cranberry juice and orange juice than the recipe called for. Now, I understand. Duh. That was BEFORE a sample. LOL. None of my guest taste-testers seemed to mind. They loved it!

Liquid Lust

1/2 bottle of Rosangel
1/2 bottle of white wine (your choice- I used Pinot Grigio the first time & Sauvignon Blanc the second time)
1/2 cup white sugar*
1 ounce orange juice (if not fresh-squeezed, I love Tropicana with lots of pulp)
1 ounce cranberry juice (I like the "no-sugar added" Ocean Spray)
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 bunch of grapes (I like red, purple and green)
1 apple, thinly sliced or cut into cubes (love Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or Granny Smith)
1/2 liter of club soda

Everyone into the pool..... all ingredients into a punch bowl or large pitcher. Stir until the sugar is melted. Taste-test. Use your judgment. Too boozy, add more juice, not boozy enough, add more booze. How hard is this? Want it more limey? Um. You get the picture. I love this combination. Play with it. Adjust it. Change it up. Make it your own. Serve it on the rocks with lots of fresh and beautiful fruit & maybe a sprig of something special : ).

*A note about sugar . . . Bar Sugar (aka Superfine Sugar, hmmm, hey, that could be a great nickname) is finer and dissolves quicker than regular sugar. OR, you can buy organic sugar (it's light brown) pretty much anywhere now and use that if it makes you feel better. Or.....for a lovely treat, try organic agave syrup. I'm really into it and have been using it to sweeten everything. I mean, what the heck do you think tequila is made from? Last note and KPK tip (you've read this here before ~ make a simple syrup by heating equal parts of sugar and water just to a simmer. Cool completely and store in the fridge to sweeten your life (and especially your sangria) easily without waiting for sugar to dissolve. That way, you can start drinking a few minutes sooner. LOL.

Drink Lust Today

(heck, ask Jimmy Carter! ~ he understands)

Katie's Passion Kitchen
Bringing Liquid Lust to YOUR Passion Kitchen

Monday, August 30, 2010

Buttermilk Waffes with Plum Compote

Inspiration: 2 plums ripening on the KPK counter & some buttermilk in the fridge left over from baking coconut cupcakes . . .

I love to toss fruit into a pot with a drizzle of water and a spoonful or two of brown sugar or white sugar. I do this with plums, apples, nectarines, peaches, pears.....It works well with pretty much any fruit.... I squeeze in a little lemon juice and then throw in a chunk or more of lemon. Oranges work well too. The pith in either citrus fruit will naturally thicken the compote without adding corn starch or anything....Natural pectin. Simply cook over medium heat (or low) just until the fruit softens and the the juice thickens. It happens in no time! You can then add a bit of vanilla if you wish, or cinnamon (which pairs well with apples and actually, plums too!). On Sunday morning, I was content to use the plums, a few orange and lemon wedges, and a thinly sliced, tart green, Granny Smith apple. A little sugar and it was sweet-tart and delectable. So, next time you have some fruit that needs to be eaten, think of making a simple compote. It can top waffles, pancakes, english muffins or bagels and for sure.... ice cream, right? How about pound cake, ice cream and warm compote? Chilled compote mixed with your favorite yogurt. Friggin' delicious. Many possibilities. Also, think of adding dried fruit like cranberries, cherries or raisins. Excellent! You can add nuts too, and you can go nuts, if you like.

Ok.... here's the basic waffle recipe.......

Homemade Buttermilk Waffles*

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
~ ~ ~
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 stick of butter, melted
16 ounces (2 cups) buttermilk

Preheat your waffle iron according to your directions. Spray with non-stick spray, if required. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined. In another bowl, mix the eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and still until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the batter into the iron, as directed by the waffle iron manufacturer. Mine calls about two cups of batter to be poured and then smoothed out with a rubber spatula. Close the iron and cook until golden brown. Serve immediately or keep in the oven set at "warm" on a foil-lined pan until ready to serve.

*adapted from Alton Brown's basic waffle recipe

Spoon on some warm compote, serve with fresh fruit, sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Snap a photo. Dig in!

Make waffles for dinner tonight
Love, Katie

Friday, August 13, 2010


8/17 NEWS Update: Postponed until further notice due to scheduling conflicts...... We may be better off doing a last minute, unplanned, unscheduled, soiree'. Hey, I'm spontaneous! So, um, see you whenever! LOL.....Katie's Passion Kitchen (and Brigitte Bardot) host Bike Night, Thursday, August 19, 2010. Bikers are invited to show up hungry and enjoy a night of eating, drinking and macho merriment. Menu and photos will be posted . . . post party.

Looking forward to cooking for all of you manly bastichas.

Love, Katie

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Crispy, oily, cheesy and easy. OMG, this is a delicious thin, rustic flatbread made from an unbelievably simple batter. Saveur Magazine describes this as a "feta tart" but I'd say it's more like a thin, almost cracker-like focaccia. Great for a quickie homemade "bread" to have with a salad or soup. Here's a quote from the magazine article: " . . . her alevropita might as well have been sent down by the gods from Mount Olympus - nourishing, elemental, and satisfying to the soul." I will for sure be making this again and again. Make it tonight. Here's the super short list of ingredients, followed by a great and easy prep method. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

~ an authentic, simple and delicious recipe from the Epirus region of Greece ~

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (2 for the batter & 4 for the pan)
2 tablespoons vodka
1 egg
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
10 ounces feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Place an 18" x 13" pan (half sheet) on the middle rack in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Note: Be sure to use a heavy pan that won't warp at high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of oil, the vodka, the egg and the water. In a medium or large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. The batter is fairly thin, similar to pancake batter. Remove the hot pan from the oven. Brush with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour batter over the oil and smooth with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with cheese. Dot with butter. Bake for 20 minutes until crunchy and golden. Let cool slightly. Slice and serve.

Be sure to pick up this month's copy of Saveur, "The Greece Issue". I will definitely be making a few more dishes from this fabulous issue, like "Briam", "Souvlaki Hirino" and the "Kolokithokeftedes". Quick translation, in order: Roasted Vegetables, Pork Kebabs, and Zucchini Fritters. Last night, I made the "Kotopoulo Me Dendrolivano" (Rosemary Chicken) and a traditional "Horiatiki" (Greek Salad). Delicious! I will update you with any other recipes I have a chance to try. I have a hankering for the stuffed eggplant with bechamel. Oh geeeezzz.... I need to take a few vacation days so I can travel to Greece, LOL.

Come with me to the Mediterranean and enjoy the delicious flavors of Greece. Hey, somebody pinch me, am I in Santorini? I'll have a glass of Assyrtiko with my moussaka, thank you.

Love, See you back in the states,

Katie . . . . . . . . . Opa!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Flock Of Seagulls

Congratulations to Maggie & Cody on their upcoming Palm Springs wedding! These cookies were made to order at the request of Maggie's proud mom, Linda, as part of the bridal shower celebration held yesterday.

KPK Tip: Make sure you keep the passion in the Whitman kitchen.
; )

Love & Flocks of Seagulls in YOUR life, 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


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