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!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hot & Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato "Fries"

Sweet, salty, hot, sticky, tender, and chewy all at the same time. I had to be descriptive here because the picture just doesn't do these puppies justice.

After having made sweet potato "fries" in the oven twice before, I liked them a lot, but this version is  definitely the bomb.

I had the urge to grill some fish last night and I wanted to use a sweet-hot marinade reminiscent of some wonderful grilled wild caught (by Jeff) salmon that we enjoyed at Jeff & Amy's last summer. I knew that the marinade was a combination of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and honey. The rest of the ingredients were a toss-up. I was thinking fresh ginger (?) and maybe some citrus juice (?) and probably cilantro (?).  I used the two main ingredients, added some o.j., soy sauce, fresh squeezed lemon juice, fresh cilantro, fresh parsley and some sliced scallions. I marinated wild salmon and wild lake trout and grilled it. It was moist and delicious (especially the trout) however, I am refining that recipe and method and will post it later! I want to make extra marinade, cook it and drizzle it all over the place. Work in progress.

So, what does that have to do with these potatoes? Well, I thought a spicy-sweet-hot potato would be a perfect side for the fish, so I had this vision in my head (it's really crowded up there) of an awesome photo of curried sweet potato fries, found on Pinterest, (from joythebaker.com). I didn't even pull up the recipe but I knew that sweet potatoes and curry would be a kick-a_ _ combo. I did remember that she used egg whites and I was just going to roll with olive oil and spices so I went to town on the potatoes and the result was friggin' awesome (is awesome the most over-used word in the English language?). Now, officially introducing a new KPK standard (and not too typical of my usual flavors)  . . Here's the recipe ... be sure to adjust and tweak to your liking - I think you can go crazy with spicing variations:

Hot & Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato "Fries"

3 smallish or medium sweet potatoes OR 2 large OR 1 HUGE (LOL)
 (enough to lay out in a single layer on an 11 x 17 sheet pan)
olive oil - a few tablespoons
curry powder - about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
dried ginger (powder) - about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
 ground cayenne pepper - about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
light brown sugar - about 1 heaping tablespoon
kosher salt - to taste
freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Scrub the heck out of the potatoes cuz you're leaving the skins on. Pat them dry. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Then, with cut side down, cut each half into slices about 1/2" thick. Then, lay those slices on their sides and cut each in half vertically. Voila'! Place onto a sturdy baking sheet in a single layer. I use an 11 x 17 sheet pan . . . for everything. If you don't have any, go buy some. They're cheap and they don't warp at high heat. I know I've mentioned these many times. It's considered a "half-sheet" at the restaurant supply companies. Repeat 
Repeat Repeat. LOL. Easy, Spard. 
OK. Now, drizzle with olive oil, but NOT a ton, just a few tablespoons. 
Sprinkle with all of the rest of the ingredients and toss well with your hands.
Place pan into your hot oven on the middle rack.
Roast for about 20 minutes. Flip fries with a spatula. Roast for another 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with a little more kosher salt while piping hot. Let cool slightly. Garnish with some parsley or cilantro if you have it. Or not. Chow down. 

Suhhhwwweeeeeeeet! . . . AND hot!

Love, Katie

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken does NOT have to be ho-hum. If you season it up and marinate it before grilling, it will be moist and delicious and incredible with a great salad! The usual thought with skinless, boneless chicken breasts is that skinless, boneless can easily = flavorless. Here are a few tricks that always seem to make for delicious grilled chicken breasts. Heat your grill to medium and make sure the grates are clean. After rinsing the chicken breasts, pat them dry and season them well with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and any other seasonings you enjoy. I like dried thyme, dried oregano, maybe some chili powder, and I really like Tajin, which is a really tasty Mexican spice flavored with chile peppers, salt and lime. Excellent! Google it if you've never heard of it or just buy some when you're at your local Mexican grocery store. My link gadget is not currently working on Blogger (?).....

Ok, so place the seasoned chicken breasts into a nice large freezer ziploc bag. The 2-gallon size is great if you're making several. I like to pound the breasts to uniform thickness while in the ziploc. Do this carefully while the bag is unzipped. Use a heavy can or something if you don't have a mallet.  Don't pound them to be super thin. Just pound them so that the thickest part of the breast is the same thickness as the thinner part. Now, add some olive oil to the bag. Add something acidic like freshly squeezed lemon juice (probably my favorite) or your favorite vinegar (or both!). Add fresh herbs if you have them on  hand. Thyme, chives, oregano, basil, rosemary would all work well. If you don't have any, don't sweat it. Add a cut garlic clove or two. Add some sliced onion. Zip it. Massage it. Pop it in the fridge to chill while you're getting the rest of your dinner together and waiting for the grill to heat. I personally do not marinate the chicken for a long period of time because the acid will begin to "cook" the chicken before you cook the chicken. Usually about a half hour or so.

Get your salad together. For this particular dinner, I tossed a salad with the following ingredients: Mixed greens (baby spinach, baby kale, baby chard and romaine hearts), red onion, a nice firm avocado, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, a shot of white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of dried oregano (home grown, I know, I know).

Using tongs, place the chicken breasts directly from the bag onto the grates (medium heat). Close the lid. Let the grill do it's thing. Don't mess around with continual flip-flopping. The chicken will certainly stick if you try to remove it prematurely. Let them cook. Walk away. I think that most of the cooking is done on that first side, before flipping. I'd say you should grill the chicken breasts for about 10-15 minutes until you have nice grill marks and the breasts are easily removed. Flip, close the lid, let them cook for another 10 minutes or so. It's so hard to gauge. I'll time the cooking process the next time I grill them. The actual time will depend on the size and thickness of the breasts and your particular grill. The chicken should be firm, but not hard and dry. I always slice one in the thickest part just to be sure it's cooked through.

Place the grilled chicken breasts on a platter and let them rest (why, are they tired?) while you drizzle them with some fresh olive oil, scatter some red onions or sliced scallions and some fresh herbs on top. I also grill a few lemon halves or wedges and serve those with the chicken. Throw some bread on the grill while you're at it. Just brush slices of rustic bread with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and grill. I wouldn't walk away on the bread, though. It burns pretty quickly. It is so worth not walking away!

Slice, serve on or beside your salad with the grilled bread. Overeat. Enjoy!

Grillin' & Chillin',

Love, Katie

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Last Night's Pea Soup

Here's a deliciously fresh green pea soup to add to your collection of light and easy spring dinners. Just pair this with a great salad. Green always makes you feel happier. I have included a link to my recipe but please know that it's one of those basic recipes that you can improvise pretty easily. If you don't have shallots on hand, just use onions. If it makes sense, do it. I'm sure vegetable broth would be a great substitution for the chicken broth if you'd like to keep it vegan. If you don't have all of the fresh herbs on hand, just try to get some fresh mint because it really makes a difference. Fresh chives are a nice garnish but you can also get a way with a few thinly sliced scallions. Add more peas if you'd like the soup to be even greener. That's what I'm going to do the next time I make this.

One of my favorite soup tricks is to add a potato as a thickener without having to add cream. It works well with Roasted Tomato Soup and Roasted Red Pepper Soup also.














Enjoy this delicious spring soup exactly as I present it or enjoy your very own rendition. It's wonderful. I think I'll
go have the last bowl for lunch. It makes enough for four, I'd say . . . . which was enough for Mark & I, lol.




Color your evening green tonight.


Love and good health,

Katie

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Auntie Rosie's "Fragun" ~ Happy Easter!

A family tradition. A warm and special memory of years gone by . . . Our love for Auntie Rosie's "fragun" is partially, I think, our need to stay connected with our parents and the love we feel in our families, and also the fact that we really love and enjoy it! The aroma of the bread evokes memories that are happy, even though that very same aroma can bring tears to our eyes, we cling to these types of traditions that have made us who we are today. Making the "fragun" at Betty Jo's with "the cousins" aka the "cugine" and listening to old Jerry Vale songs and funny stories about Ozzie (aka "Spard") make us laugh and cry. That's life, right? We plan to always continue this tradition in honor of our families, their hard work, and their love for us.
<------Say hi to Matt & Joe

This wonderful bread is made each year on Good Friday and savored by all on Easter Sunday. It is not easy to make these on Good Friday (when you can't eat meat) and not eat the sah-zeetz while you're making them (this is especially difficult for carnivores like Joe, lol). It's filled with Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, tuma cheese, mozzarella, sopressata (homemade by the Marchese family) and a little beaten egg and parsley to bind everything together. Delicious! You can be creative and fill it with whatever you like and personalize each loaf . . . Joey has made these with a variety of salumi and cheeses and changes them up each year . . .

Thank you Betz & Mary and all of the cousins and family . . . for keeping your mom's aromas in your kitchens and in ours.

Thank you to my brother, Joe for making delicious Auntie Rosie "fraguns" all of these years for the Fioretti Easter dinners at Teri's ---------------> here's you and Pops with a huge one (the Millenium edition) from, um, was it the year 2000?

Love to all . . . May your heart and home be filled with the blessings of Easter.


Buona Pasqua,

Katie

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mark's Monday Night Skillet

This is how you feed a hungry man. No meat required. Sauteed kale, grilled zucchini and caramelized broccoli piled high with baked potato slices and four organic eggs all fried in olive oil. A few blistered grape tomatoes, lots of black and red pepper, some kosher salt. Buttered Italian toast for dipping and piling on the goodness. The even better deal is that this whole thing went together in five or ten minutes because I made the kale, zucchini and broccoli on the grill on Sunday night. The potatoes were simply baked in the oven on Sunday night. Leftovers are better than you think. Right, Mark?

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