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!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vibrant & Colorful Cauliflower Salad

The bright magenta areas on the deep purple cauliflower are brightened from the acidity in the lemon juice. Vinegar will have the same effect. Lovely.
Bring VIBRANT, amazing, PASSIONATE color to the Easter table this Sunday. I know I ramble about colorful food pretty incessantly, but, how can you not admire and marvel at the vivid and sumptuous beauty of what God has given us on this earth? Let me give you a few steps to an incredibly easy and gorgeous vegetable dish to serve to your family and friends. Very little “cooking” required! I’ll share in just a sec. 

I am usually assigned as the vegetable person for holiday gatherings, right? Joey is the protein guy (meat specialist). He also has taken over making “Auntie Rosie’s Fragun” (I taught him). (The fact that I needed to slip that in makes me a “Credit Head”).  Sharon & Louie always make a beautiful salad. Franki brings something special and different to every occasion. Teri usually hosts but for sure she is always in charge of potato salad for Easter Sunday. She makes kick-butt potato salad, exactly like my Mom’s. One Easter, Teri’s husband, Chuck, complimented me on how delicious my potato salad was. Something to the effect . . . “Wow, Katie, your potato salad is the best! You ALWAYS make great potato salad.” This is where Teri freaks out. Teri had spent HOURS the day before, slaving over 10 pounds of potatoes, onion & celery chopping, etc. etc., in Chuck’s presence, in their home kitchen, while actually having conversations with Chuck. LOL LOL LOL. So, of course, to this day, we always refer to the potato salad as “Katie’s Potato Salad”.

With busy lives and all kinds of demands, some years you bring stuff, some years, you’re lucky just to show up. LOL. Or in my case, you sometimes might show up with a beautiful basket of traditional Italian Easter breads after everyone has already left. Go ahead. Laugh. At my expense. Mom’s always happy to see me. Even if the party’s over. 

This year, Joe & Jules are hosting. Food will be in abundance. Everyone is pitching in and Joe has officially slipped into “Shopping Machine” mode. 

Now for the beauty of this easy and healthy dish. This is just a modification of my cauliflower salad recipe which I have named “Cavolfiore Insalata ala Fioretti”, aka Little Flower Cauliflower. (You can read the original recipe by clicking on the link). There are a few other pictures of cauliflower salads throughout KPK if you poke around a little more. 


Bella Cavolfiore (Beautiful Cauliflower)

One head of cauliflower*, steamed
One or two roasted red peppers
 (jarred is fine), cut into thin strips
2 cloves of fresh garlic, each cut in half
the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
fresh herbs, finely chopped (if you have them on hand)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

The ingredients shown above are the basics. 
In the pictured salad, I added some yellow cherry tomatoes, a few grape tomatoes, some thin slices of sweet onion and a few slices of seeded jalapeño. Add whatever you like. The parsley was amazingly fresh and was overnighted to my neighbor, Lucia, from her Texan son’s backyard Italian garden! Oh, also, feel free to serve on lettuce leaves if you like!

*Cauliflower comes in amazing varieties! Purple, golden yellow, white, of course, and gorgeous green broccoflower.

Trim the base from the cauliflower, keeping it whole. Place whole head in a steamer basket. Place in pot. Cover and allow to steam over boiling/simmering water until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Alternatively, simply place whole head of cauliflower in a pot with lightly salted water (about 1” deep). Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook until desired tenderness. It doesn’t take long. While you're steaming the cauliflower, cut the peppers into thin strips. Place them in a bowl with the garlic and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Add the olive oil, herbs, salt & pepper. Add any additional vegetables you like at this time (optional). Mix together and let the flavors mingle. The garlic will nicely flavor the dressing without overpowering. Arrange the cauliflower on a platter. In the photo, you see that I used Romaine lettuce leaves as a base. Any greens would be beautiful. Or just the plate! Drizzle the pepper strips and dressing onto the hot cauliflower, sprinkle with a little more salt & pepper to taste. Allow to cool to room temperature as the flavors marry. Dazzle your family & friends with healthy COLOR. Serve. Bow gracefully during the applause. Invite everyone to "tuck in".

After enjoying this salad, we marveled at the beauty of the brightly colored dressing on the bottom of the plate.  Right? Honestly, nothing but olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon and and a juicy kiss from Mother Nature. 
Happy Easter to All & Happy Birthday to Franki, Betty (&Liz) & Tammy

Wishing you LOVEcolorful Easter blessings,
Katie






Friday, April 4, 2014

Swede Turnips (ok, RUTABAGAS!)

Scrub, admire, photograph

Peel, trim, photograph

Cut into chunks, toss onto sheet pan with oil, vinegar, kosher salt, pepper & a teensy bit of sugar, photograph

Roast in 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, toss around, adjust to 400 convection and roast for another 10 minutes or until desired doneness, sprinkle with kosher salt while piping hot, photograph


If you know me, you know that I LOVE ROASTED VEGETABLES. Swede Turnips (Rutabagas) included. Note: I'm not really crazy about roasting regular turnips but these Swedes are more delicious! They're a cross between a turnip and kohlrabi. Rutabagas are very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. 
Also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese.


I explain above how to roast rutabagas and you can pretty much apply that method to any of your favorite root veg. The same method works well with parsnips (AWESOME), carrots and sweet potatoes. Amazing! 




The colorful plate of healthiness pictured here can be easily made with a little prep and planning. The rutabagas and carrots can be roasted as explained above. I like to spice up carrots and sweet potatoes with a little something more interesting like different curry blends or Balti seasoning or Bere Bere. Read about my favorite roasted, kick-ass, sweet potato "fries" here. Carrots are fabulous prepared the same way. If you're watching your sugar intake, you can certainly omit the sugar, however, it does add a nice yin-yang to the salt and other spices plus ensures a great crusty caramelization at high heat. 

Roasted beets are an all-time favorite for me and many clients, friends and family. Learn how to roast beets here. I have since simplified the process by not individually wrapping the beets and simply packaging them in a large packet of aluminum foil that is folded tightly so that no steam escapes! Easier and faster than roasting them individually. Once you get in the groove of roasting beets, you'll be doing it often, as I do. With a few tips as you'll read in my post, "Beet Street", prep and clean-up are a breeze and the payoff is pure, wholesome, amazing sweet and earthy flavor. You won't cook away any of the nutrients because it's just BEETS AND HEAT!

The salad shown above is simply a bed of tender greens tossed with some finely chopped Lacinato Kale, olive oil, golden balsamic vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Piled on the salad are curried, roasted carrots and roasted rutabaga. The roasted beets and sweet onion were marinated in olive oil, pomegranate molasses, a bit of dijon mustard and a shot of balsamic vinegar. The hearty and filling grain salad was made with millet, quinoa, chick peas and fresh cilantro. How come no one ever talks about millet? It's nutritious, delicious, cheap, easy to cook and a super satisfying gluten-free food!
btw, this is not my hand - but it is millet

Quick note: Millet is rich in some very important nutrients like phosphorus, manganese, copper and magnesium. It's a good source of whole grain insoluble fiber and it makes a heck of a tabbouleh-ish salad. Try cooking some in vegetable broth or chicken broth for a little extra flavor. Dress as you wish and toss with a little olive oil, vegetables (raw or cooked), fresh herbs, beans and your favorite spices. I love freshly ground cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper. Lemon juice and fresh herbs brighten all of the flavors. Onions, scallions or finely minced shallot are delicious too! Experiment! It would make a perfect lunch to tote to your office too!

So, hey, great to be back in the KPK saddle : ) . . . Stay tuned for more about cooking, eating, drinking and loving.  Let's live inspired!


Love, 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