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, June 22, 2010

LIVE TO RIDE ~ RIDE TO EAT

LIVE TO RIDE ~ RIDE TO EAT

KATIE'S PASSION KITCHEN HOSTS BIKE NIGHT
Watch for upcoming details and menu. Think macho. Think testosterone. Meaty. Spicy. Hot. I cannot wait to cook for these ramblin' men. Sup Franki?

KATIE'S PASSION KITCHEN GOES
BAD-TO-THE-BONE, Thursday, July 8, 2010

POSTPONED until further notice / Please pray for Pops!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mixed Grill Mexicano


Anyone ever see the Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy? Check it out. Simple ingredients. Authentic preparations. Really great. I was tuned in one morning while the host, Marcela, was baking corn tortilla chips in the oven. I tried them (probably the same night) and was hooked! Crispy, delicious and addictive.

Yesterday morning, she was preparing a "surf-n-turf" dish for her family and I was "half-listening" as I was getting dressed for work. She grilled some chicken breast, some steak and some shrimp (scrimps, LOL), but the star of the show was the warm, homemade salsa. I loved the final presentation where she serves up all of the components of the dish, kind of hanging over the sides of a large molcajete and then pours the warm salsa into the middle. Beautiful!

So, of course, I headed to Pete's Fresh Market after work last night and purchased the items I needed to try my hand at this authentic Mexican meal. I was inspired and could not wait to make the sauce, grill some scallions and grill a round of Panela cheese. I was so inspired that I did all of my shopping directly after leaving my post at NSH, while wearing a pair of kick-ass high heeled sandals that were NOT made for grocery shopping. Yeah, my creaky right knee is whining like a _ _ _ _ _ this morning. A small sacrifice in the interest of preparing a great meal! Oh, did I mention that I could not wait to do these things . . . while drinking some homemade Sangria? Duh. Of course. I blew off the homemade Mexican rice, for some healthy greens, for the sake of time (and not really wanting to cook in the kitchen). It was a beautiful, crisp and breezy night. I wanted to cook outdoors.

So..... I began by making the salsa (I didn't feel the need for a recipe, so I was going by my morning's memory of the show). It's more of a method, ok? I heated and cleaned the grill. I heated my cast iron skillet, on the grill, adding a bit of olive oil. I added 4 whole plum tomatoes, 2 whole cloves of peeled garlic, 1 whole quartered onion and let everything "fry" in the skillet on medium heat. That skillet really gets hot and retains the heat on the grill. It's a great tool for your grill, my friends, anytime you don't want to cook your food directly on the grates. After everything became blistery, fragrant and a bit caramelized, I added cumin and dried oregano (homegrown, what can I say), along with 4 dried New Mexico chiles, which I had stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped. Toss and cook a bit, then add water. I think I made more than the amount called for on the show, so I added 2 cups of water. Leave it on the grill, let it come to a boil and continue to cook. Throw some cleaned scallions on the grill for a few minutes and in the meantime, prepare everything else. Once the sauce ingredients cook down a bit and everything is kind of brownish red, tender and fragrant, blend all ingredients with an immersion blender. I transferred the contents of the cast iron skillet into a deep pot in order to prevent splattering the entire neighborhood. Add a generous amount of kosher salt to taste. It will really elevate the flavor from bland to just right. Alternatively, blend in batches in your blender (P - I - T - A).

Let's get to grillin'. I only made one steak (truth be told, I actually grilled two steaks cuz I burned one which was flaming up while I was engrossed with blending the salsa - see, this s _ _ t happens to everyone, LOL), one chicken breast and a big handful of cleaned, deveined shrimp in the shell (maybe about 10). We already grilled the scallions, right? The only other thing you'll be grilling is the cheese and the tortillas.

Really quick preps: Drizzle a little olive oil on a chicken breast and sprinkle with salt, pepper and either chili powder or whatever the heck you like. Steak needs salt, pepper and whatever grill seasoning you're into. For the "scrimps", I tossed them with olive oil and Sriracha and tossed them onto the grill. They were downright succulent with just enough heat. The shell helps keep the grill flavor and the juiciness inside, in my humble opinion. Take one whole round of Panela cheese and drizzle it with olive oil (all sides). Grill everything up!

Assemble.....This dish is really versatile. I can think of a gazillion different things to add for garnishes, sides, swaps, color, flavor, etc. This may be a new KPK staple that we can change up every time we do it!

OK. So, once everything is grilled, they are each waiting for you to pay attention to them. Slice the chicken breast into strips. Same with the steak. The Panela should be grilled until a slight crust forms, or until there are grill marks, and then flipped for the same treatment, btw. Then, slice the cheese into thick strips. Cut an avocado into wedges. Cut a lime or lemon into wedges. Use your own flair to lay out all of that beauty onto (or into) your favorite platter. I used a fluted shallow bowl/platter with nice results. Once everything is arranged (it only takes a minute), pour in the warm and rustic homemade salsa.

Somewhere along the line (at the end), toss some corn tortillas (and flour, if you like) directly onto the grill, and warm until pliable. Flip once. Grill marks look nice but don't overcook because they will become dry.

Serve and enjoy!! Drink some Margaritas or Sangria or beer or whatever you're into!

Try this scrumptious Mexican meal. Change it up as you wish and make it your own!

Adios Amigos,

Love, Katie

Katie's Passion Kitchen
Katie, la Pasion Cocina


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Super Easy Roasted Corn




1) Peel back husks and remove silk

2) Artfully arrange (optional)

3) Linger and admire (optional)

4) Take photos (optional)










5) Butter generously (mandatory)

6) Snap photo with spare hand
(optional)

7) Close husks and hide the buttery ears










8) Grill over low heat, turning once
for a total of about 30 minutes

9) Eat and enjoy (mandatory)


Hope you're enjoying your summer....... Love & More From Katie's Passion Kitchen. Thanks for stopping by.........HEY!!!

Come on back! I just finished making some PIZZELLES........ ..... ...... ........ Let's have one with a cup of tea!

Love, Katie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Wine Recommendation ~ KIM CRAWFORD


KIM CRAWFORD 2009 MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC FROM NEW ZEALAND ... As a red wine lover, I must tell you that I adored this refreshing and lively white wine from the first sip. This is the only wine I have ever tasted where so many bright and distinct flavors come to life in a burst. You will really enjoy Kim Crawford and so will your guests. Share a glass with friends out on the patio for a refreshing change from the same 'ol same 'ol. Think citrus. Like grapefruit. Plus pineapple and herbaceous freshness. OMG. It's my pick for 2010's summer white. You can check out Kim Crawford online. It's available in most stores (try Binny's, Sam's Club & Costco). It's around or under $15 a bottle. I intend to try all of their wines in my obligation to keep KPK followers in the loop. It's my responsibility to keep you posted. I know, it's a rough job.


Thank you, Aaron. I really love it.


Cheers my friends,

Love,

Katie


P.S. Wonder of all wonders . . . it actually pairs well with asparagus! Who knew?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Asparagus ~ Asparagi

When I was growing up (last week), just kidding..... my dad, Frank, would take us on asparagus hunting journeys in the early spring. It was usually around Mother's Day and we would go for a drive in the car (hmmm, the Plymouth Volare maybe?) and search for wild asparagus.

Now, keep in mind, it's not like we went on a scenic stroll through the woods or out in a flowery pasture near a babbling brook. LOL. Nah, we would head for the hot spots in the south suburbs like near some railroad tracks or maybe in a ditch on the side of the road. My dad knew
all of the spots because the asparagus comes back every year, right? As I grew older, we would still venture out to hunt and pick this incredibly delicious and unique vegetable, except I would drive and my dad would spot the "mother plant" and we would quickly pull off the side of the road because it would be a "peccato" (a shame, or a sin, for all of you non-Italianos --- our slang, pronounced "pi cod' LOL LOL) to drive by without stopping to harvest the small crop. Now, as an adult, with a dealer demo plate on the car, I would be thinking, geeeeeez, I hope no one recognizes me out here picking asaparagus right off of other people's property. How could they not recognize me, really. I don't blend. That's what I thought then. Now, I don't care. It's every forager for him or herself. I remember that we would find the "mother plant" and then feel around for the stalks coming up from the ground, like fingers, and every now and then, the stalks would have already been cut by some other Italian-American-asparagus-hunting thief. That would tick me off. But it never stopped us. My dad was definitely an expert in this field. He would check one area and I would check another and I'd say, "none here" and then my dad would go double-check my area and come back to the car with handfuls of stalks and we would both laugh. He could really sniff them out. So, we would fill a big plastic bucket in the trunk of the car, or simply throw them all in the trunk on a bed of newspaper. We would proudly bring them home to my mom who would happily clean, prep and fry them in olive oil. I cannot tell you how delicious it is to eat fried wild asparagus. Simply prepared. Just olive oil and salt (my favorite two things, I'd say) transformed by high heat and a bit of caramelization. Some of the stalks were very, very thin and my mom would often cut the thicker stalks vertically so that they would also be thin. When fried in the olive oil, the stalks would transform into this nutty, crispy and delectable treat. Also, my mom, Amelia, the
Frittata Queen, would whip up a wild asparagus frittata with some eggs and a little cheese. Heavenly. Try frying your asparagus today. Michigan asparagus is available everywhere right now and it's excellent. Roast, fry or grill. High heat is where it's at, baby.

I once took my dad on a little road trip to Saugatuck, Michigan. Asparagus was growing wild all over the place along the road and I eventually was forced to blindfold Frank so that we could have a relaxing drive, without pulling over. LOL. Just kidding.

Michigan Asparagus Fact Just 4 U: Michigan ranks third in the nation for Asparagus production producing up to 25 million pounds annually. That crop is worth $15,000,000!

More quick asparagus tips from KPK:

Roll a few stalks of grilled or roasted asparagus in some goat cheese (just in the mid-section) and wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Grill briefly to melt the cheese and serve. Yeah, your friends will think you're "all that".

Top your cooked asparagus with a poached or fried egg, a little melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly grated or shaved Parmesan or Romano. Eat like the Milanese.

Top a big platter of scrambled eggs with a lot of roasted, grilled or fried asparagus (whole) in all their beauty for your next brunch or breakfast gathering. So pretty and so delicious.

We'll be talking more spring veg in the near future. Love and seasonal goodness to all,

Katie
Katie's Passion Kitchen
Spring 2010
aka Katharine Fioretti


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