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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chilly? Eat Chili

Chili is such a fun way to experiment with flavors by adding your own personal twist to an old traditional recipe or by revamping a recipe completely. I have found that many folks are really proud about their chili creations as evidenced by the many, many chili competitions and cook-offs across the country. My sister, Teri, has won many such local contests with her mouthwatering version made with ground turkey, chunks of beef and lots of fresh peppers. The guys at the dealership show off their chili machismo with annual chili competitions. Unique renditions from everyone. I think that's why it's so much fun to make. Throw your personality into a pot today! LOL.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a few different places. I combined whatever was already filed somewhere in my brain (stored from several big pots of chili over the years) PLUS a few methods borrowed from a wonderful batch of Chicken Tortilla Soup I made awhile ago PLUS the February 2009 Bon Appetit magazine cover recipe which paid homage to a Texas "bowl of red". That cover inspired Mark to do the cooking that weekend. The recipe featured
beef, mole paste, ancho chile powder, cumin, masa and apple cider vinegar. Mark demonstrated his first-time beef carving and chili skills on that memorable pot with great success. It was deeply flavored and dark with no tomatoes. The beans, avocado, cheese and onions were served as garnishes. It was very flavorful and unique.
My mom, Amelia, aka Emily, won a Fioretti family chili cook-off a few years ago even though she was up against Teri, the family chili chef and the rest of us. Even though Mom was never a big chili girl, she kicked our butts with a simply delicious basic recipe from, one of her all-time favorite "go-to" cookbooks, The Woman's Home Companion, which she received as a bridal shower gift in 1949. That "Chili Con Carne" recipe consisted of the usual ingredients like onions, bell pepper, beef, canned tomatoes and chili powder. So, I tried to take all of this chili knowledge, from what I have tasted, what I have tried and what I have read, and I came up with this Texy-Mexy-ish spicy combination of flavors. It may seem a bit tedious but I was really happy with the added flavor you get from the reconstituted peppers and by blending some of the vegetables. A few extra steps adds tons of flavor. Give it a shot and see what you think. Or, concoct your own!

Those who know me well know that I love to share what I know & what I do, because I don't see any point in keeping cooking a secret. It's much more fun to share and inspire.

Unchill your chilliness with some chili today! Then, just chill.

Love to all during the chilly, chili season, Katie ~ Here's the recipe!


Katie's Passion Kitchen

Hot Spicy Chili with Beef Brisket & New Mexico Chiles


Olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

4 large onions (yellow or white), one cut into large chunks & 3 coarsely chopped

2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, 1 cut in half and 3 finely chopped

1 lb ground chuck (80/20)

1 lb ground pork

1 1/2 lbs beef brisket, sliced thinly across the grain into generous bite size pieces

5 dried New Mexico chiles (or 3-4 dried Ancho chiles), reconstituted in boiling water, stemmed and seeded (reserve water)

3 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly

5 fresh serrano chile peppers or fingerhot peppers, finely chopped

2 chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos) in adobo sauce, seeded

ancho chile powder to taste (I used about 2-3 tablespoons)

hot Mexican chili powder to taste (I used about 1/2 of a small jar)

kosher salt (to taste) - probably around a tablespoon or so for a large pot

2-3 large cans of whole canned tomatoes and their juice, one crushed by hand and the others blended in the blender or food processor

water

reserved pepper water (strained)

one corn tortilla, cut into fine strips (or torn)

your favorite beans (this batch featured 1 can of light red and 1 can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained)



Once you have cleaned and prepped all of the vegetables and sliced the brisket, toss the one onion, cut into chunks, the one clove of halved garlic, the reconstituted peppers, the chipotles, and a few of the tomatoes with some of the juice into a blender or food processor. Blend well. Set aside. Pour a swirl of olive oil into your favorite large pot which has begun to heat on the stovetop. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, green peppers and garlic. I always toss the onions (and in this case, the green pepper) into the pot first as kind of a "bed" for the garlic since the garlic burns easily. Cook the vegetables for a bit until they start to become tender. Add the brisket slices and the ground beef and pork. Brown and stir. Add the blended chile mixture, the hot peppers, both chili powders and salt. Cook and stir for awhile to get the flavors to mingle. In the meantime, blend some of the remaining canned tomatoes and juice with the strained pepper water (or plain water). At this point, you can toss some additional hot peppers into the blender depending upon the level of heat you are going for! Blend well and add to the pot. Add about a half can of water to the pot also. Add the remaining tomatoes, crushed by hand, and bring the whole shebang to a nice boil, while stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce to a simmer now and let simmer for at least one to two hours with the lid ajar. I continually taste-test for heat, salt, and "brightness" of flavor. I thought I was satisfied with 2 cans of tomatoes for awhile, and later added more because I felt that the flavor was not bright enough or "tomatoey" enough. You can also add additional sliced jalapenos (seeds and all) at this point and possibly a bit more chili powder if you think it's too wimpy. Tear up or thinly slice your corn tortilla and toss it into the pot. It thickens the chili very nicely and adds just enough of a corn meal / masa type flavor that gives the chili that "Tex/Mex" aroma and personality.


Serve hot with your favorite chili condiments. I served it with crunchy tortilla chips, cubed avocado, thinly sliced sweet onion rings, thinly sliced fresh jalapeno pepper, sour cream and two cheese choices: shredded sharp cheddar and crumbled queso fresco.


KLF

Katie's Passion Kitchen

developed and written October 20, 2009

posted on Katie's Passion Kitchen January 31, 2010


Monday, January 25, 2010

Katie's Passion Kitchen Coming To Your Dealership Today!

I cannot seem to stop feeding people. At the dealership, I often think of what few options we have for fairly healthy, fresh, fast and delicious food in our area. Slim pickins'. Then, I think, well, I can surely go home and whip up something nice for my co-workers, right? It won't take long. Maybe I can make a big pot of lentil soup or a tuna and cannelini bean salad? You get the picture. Plus, my boss, Tim, has been encouraging me to start selling lunches at NSH. So, I made lunch three times during the past week or so for interested employees at Nissan of South Holland. On Day 1, I arrived with 8 sandwiches on freshly baked Ciabatta bread. Most of the "sammies" were made with smoked turkey breast, creamy Danish havarti cheese and some tender greens. A few others were made simply with hard boiled eggs, sharp cheddar cheese & mayo, or eggs with slightly hot grilled peppers. 5 Bucks.

Day 2 was "Corned Beef Day". I made 18 sandwiches. Mostly corned beef and baby swiss or corned beef and dill havarti. A few others were smoked turkey with cheese and some fresh greens. Organic, artisan baked loaves from Whole Foods on Roosevelt Road. Pumpernickel and Tuscan. Crisp Romaine lettuce and Vlasic dill pickle spears were served on the side. I made hot and spicy mayo with Sriracha and fresh lemon juice plus a tangy mayo made with Dijon mustard, fresh horseradish and white balsamic vinegar. The special mayos, Miracle Whip, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard and plain mayo were all on hand for self-service. 5 Bucks.

Day 3 was "Be Italian" day. 19 freshly made sandwiches on
our all-time favorite focaccia bread from Chicago landmark Italian Bakery, D'Amato's, on Grand Avenue. The oily, delectable and super-fresh focaccia rounds were cut into thirds, carefully split, then filled with hot capicola,
salami, mozzarella and provolone cheeses. 6 Bucks. I grilled a huge pan of red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers the night before "Be Italian" Day. At the crack of dawn, I was slicing and lining up the bread, assembly line style, and organizing the lunch
shipping and handling.
"Be Italian" Day came complete with Italian music streaming out of our garage boom box in the dealership lunch room.

If IOUs aren't paid up tomorrow, KPK special delivery
service may be cancelled, even though K had a lot of fun with KPK on wheels. Hey, does Mickey D's have an eat now/pay later lunch special?

Eat well at YOUR office today!

Love, Wit & Humor From the KPK Author,

Katie


Sunday, January 17, 2010

In The Kitchen With Sammy


Meet Sam Fioretti. 12 years old. Food aficionado. Musician. Life lover. I LOVE this kid. A long awaited chance to spend the entire day cooking with my nephew, Sam, happened on New Year's Eve! Check this out. This guy loves sushi, raw oysters, goat cheese, fresh scallops, frog legs, hot chili and an amazing variety of ethnic dishes. He has a real appreciation for food from the simple to the exotic. Gotta love a guy with an adventurous and highly tuned palate. Mom and Dad, Sharon and Louie, have raised four boys with incredibly fearless appetites. Sam is spending more and more time learning the ropes with Louie on the weekends, preparing really fun and ambitious meals like homemade pasta and meatballs, all types of seafood dishes, homemade gnocchi and more. I'd like to think he's a chip off the old aunt.


With abounding drive and enthusiasm, Sammy and I planned and shopped the night before our cooking day, discussing ideas for what we would cook and how much we would be able to accomplish before heading out to our respective New Year's Eve parties. Sam had already read the cookbook, The Silver Spoon for Children, a Christmas gift from his Aunt Peggy, from cover to cover. We kicked around recipe ideas and decided to prepare a variety of appetizers to share with our families and friends at the evening's festivities. Sam was bringing his "apps" to his Aunt Peggy & Uncle Harry's party and Mark and I were headed to Lars & Tammy's as well as Brian & Sue's.

Our New Year's Offerings included:

Honey Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions - Little pearls, blanched, peeled, dressed and slow roasted until sweet and sticky.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes - If you know me, you know I love these. Plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, slow roasted until sweet and intensely flavored.
Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops - Carefully cleaned, inspected and patted dry by Sammy, wrapped in bacon and crisped up on the grill. Individually served on butter lettuce leafs with Sriracha mayonnaise and a wedge of avocado. A KPK fave.

Every party needs Cheese Balls - Goat cheese and cream cheese are combined, formed into small balls by hand (Sammy's hand), rolled in chopped parsley with a bit of lemon zest for freshness and served with crostini.

Marinated Roasted Peppers - These babies did not get peeled in time to make it to Peggy and Harry's, but they did make it to Lars & Tammy's. Red, yellow and orange bell peppers, blistered on the grill (whole), steamed, peeled, and marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar with fresh basil and garlic. I love these. Peeling them makes them delectable, easier to eat, and easier on the stomachs of those pepper peeler peeps out there. I seem to know a bunch of peeps that like their peppers peeled. Say that 10 times fast. Hey, if it takes longer, I'm all for it. LOL.

Crostini - Great vehicle to get the apps from Point A to Point B. This time, we used whole grain French bread, thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and baked until crisp.

Nutty Caramel Bars - Shortbread cookie crust topped with a honeyed buttery caramel and a boatload of toasted pecans, almonds and walnuts. The next night at Teri's, we dipped the little bars in melted double chocolate for a more decadent treat.

So, when all was said and done, we were pretty productive and had much fun along the way. Sammy learned a few tricks from me and I learned a lot from the "Bammer", including his description of the sheer unctuousness of a sushi Sunrise Roll topped with a quail egg! Who knew?

Our day together ended in a busy flurry of packaging the fruits of our labor, figuring out our last minute presentation details and shipping off the steaming hot scallops in a car full of fresh smelling family members. LOL. Catering is fun. We had a lovely and memorable day. I knew it was a great success when Sam told me that he planned to save some money and buy himself a Microplane zester. =D (Big Grin).

Love and Happy 2010 from Katie's Passion Kitchen,

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