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 23, 2010

French Apple Tart



A few Granny Smith apples, some Pepperidge Farm puff pastry dough, a little sugar and a LOT of butter...... and voila'! Doesn't everyone do this at 10:00 pm when they get home from work? Check out Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) cookbook, Back to Basics. This is one example of her style. Simple, delicious dishes with really very few ingredients. Her recipes are classic, reliable and unfussy. Enjoy! By the way, you'll notice that I didn't feel the need to peel the apples. I think the tart was rustic and beautiful and just as delicious with one less step! Plus, with all of that butter, the extra fiber can't hurt, LOL.

Bon Appetit' from Katie's Passion Kitchen

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me


so, today, to celebrate my birthday, all I really wanted to do was bake Valentine's cookies. Yesterday and today both, actually. Yesterday morning, I began my day by mixing up a batch of shortbread cookie dough for coconut thumbprint cookies. After running a bunch of errands, doing
laundry, cleaning house, paying bills, etc.,
I returned home and promptly burned an entire two pounds of whole pecans in the oven. I was burned too, needless to say, but I didn't let that put a damper on my good nature. I forged ahead and changed my plans from pecan shortbread hearts to plain shortbread hearts. I whipped up cookie dough batch #2 and stashed it in the fridge to chill. I happily rolled batch #1 into balls, dipped them in egg wash, rolled them in coconut and placed them on parchment lined trays. After making a thumbprint in each cookie, I carefully filled each depression with a tart and delicious cherry and a dab of preserves from a jar of Smucker's cherry preserves. Anyway, long story longer, while multi-tasking as I prepared dinner, I burned the third pan of thumbprint cookies and survived a fast and furious meltdown as the doorbell rang upon the arrival of my mother-in-law, Betty Jean, who stopped over bearing gifts and Valentine treats. After a glass
of Pinot Noir and some laughs to extinguish my flames, we talked about past kitchen disasters (and other laughable memories), I washed the dinner dishes, re-grouped and rolled out the dough for batch #2. Time was not an issue. I was on a mission to bake.
So, I rolled and cut and
baked and washed more dishes until about 1:30am. That wasn't bad, right? I made hearts, doves, more birds, "x"s and "o"s, plus little tear drops. This morning, first thing, I made cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies.


I later dunked some of these into chocolate (just in case anyone wanted to make one cookie into an entire meal). LOL. By the time I finished baking the oatmeal cookies, I was anxious to melt
chocolate and start dipping and decorating the shortbread cookies. What a fun way to spend my birthday morning, I thought! I had this vision of delicate pink on dark chocolate although
I wasn't sure if I would be able to write clearly and neatly onto the cookies (which are fairly small) with melted chocolate.





It was great fun
and since I had a tough time deciding which photo to post here, I decided to post a bunch of pictures to share my day with you. I did eventually make it to work by 2:30pm with some "foofed" up sweet samples in tow.

Amore from Katie in . . .
KATIE'S PASSION KITCHEN or . . .
Katarina's Passione Cucina ~
Baci Baci


Friday, February 5, 2010

Root Loot

Ever had celery root? Celeriac (celery root) tastes like celery (and parsley, actually), is textured like squash (kind of), is not too pretty, however, it really shines in this soup because it pairs so well with potatoes and leeks. Give this gnarly root a try. Please don't discriminate against uncute veg. Try them all! This is a smooth and delicious soup and it's also really good for you.
There's no cream and just a small amount of butter and olive oil. If you don't already have an immersion blender, I'd recommend buying one, really. In the old days (b.i.) (before immersion), I splattered my white wooden window blinds with a lovely shade of green (really pretty abstract kitchen art ala Jackson Pollack) with split pea soup that exploded out of my blender. It was everywhere. I really HATE, I mean, dislike, blending soup in batches, in the regular blender --- P.I.T.A. The immersion blender will have you making creamy, healthy soups all the time . . . with no cream! Here's a picture of mine. You don't have to spend a lot. I think they range from $30 to over $100, but you don't really need a big mamma jamma. Mine is a 200 watt Braun.

This recipe is very similar to the potato soup that I make with arugula, except that I blended it because I thought the texture would be more pleasing (and it was!). Try it! I'm having it for lunch today with some nice fresh whole grain French bread and a green and creamy avocado salad. It's really not a recipe. It's more of a method, I guess. Season to taste and do as the French do . . . eat your celeriac! They love this vegetable! Note: Thanks to places like Pete's Fresh Market (there's a new one in Calumet City on Sibley Boulevard, just east of I-94), you can buy all of the wonderful vegetables you like where they are fresh, bright and impeccably arranged for your produce shopping pleasure. Thank you Pete! So glad you're in the neighborhood.

Creamy Celeriac, Potato & Leek Soup
Ingredients
about 2 tablespoons of butter & 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts, trimmed, rinsed, cut vertically & thinly sliced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large celery root (celeriac), peeled and cubed
about 6 cups of chicken broth (48 oz.) or a combination of chicken broth & vegetable broth
(I recommend: Swanson's 100% Fat Free)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Here's how to cut the celeriac: Cut off each stem end with a sharp chef's knife. Then, quarter, and slice off the spongy core (if any). Cut each quarter in half lengthwise and peel by cutting the skin off of each wedge with a sharp paring knife. Cut into cubes.


Melt the butter and oil in a pot.
Add the sliced leeks. (Make sure you rinse them well to rid them of any sandy soil after you cut them vertically. Then, pat them dry and slice them into thin half moons. If you've never cooked with leeks, you'll always cook with them now.
Cook for a short while until they begin to wilt a bit.
Add the cubed potatoes & celery root.
Cook a little and add some salt and pepper.
Add the broth.

Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Check for seasoning and let cool a little.
Blend a little or blend a lot, depending on your preference for creaminess/chunkiness. Check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve.

KPK Reference Tidbit: If you'd like to expand your vegetable knowledge and bring more from the ground into your life, pick up the fabulous book, VEGETABLES From Amaranth to Zucchini, The
Essential Reference, by Elizabeth Schneider. She describes celeriac as an "earthy prize - a pitted and whorled planet with snaggly rootlets, imbued with herbaceous pungency." How can you NOT love that? It's a coveted encyclopedia which is continually referenced in Katie's Passion Kitchen.

Enjoy your soup and stay tuned for more comforting and wintery meal ideas. Thank you for stopping by Katie's Passion Kitchen.

Winter warmth,

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