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, September 21, 2010

Beets & Beet Greens

B4

After
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,

Love, KATIE

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
Prep:

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

Serve
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

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