Main Dish

FIELD DINNER | COOPER HEREFORD RANCH

August 31, 2016

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Farm Dinner

I was going to scratch farm dinners from my schedule this summer but when a couple friends caught wind of this news they were eager to share their opinions (and I am glad they did)! So on Sunday August 21st the ranch hosted the annual field dinner under the willow trees.

This year was a little different from prior years. It was by private invite only, which means I hosted all my favorite people. And I teamed with friend and chef Claudia Mesa. The first time I met Claudia I knew it wouldn’t be the last time we met around a table. So this time I wore my party planner hat and she wore her chef hat. When we were curating the menu I requested the stew she made awhile back for an event we were both attending. The flavors were a reflection of her Caribbean and Latin American roots. So she recreated it featuring Cooper Hereford beef and it was to die for. And Claudia was kind of enough to share her recipe here or I have also printed it below. When we started tossing around dessert ideas Claudia told me she didn’t have much of a sweet tooth and asked for my guidance. I of course jumped at the opportunity to end the evening with one of my confections. But ranching and construction summoned me the week leading up to the event so thanks for the last minute pound cake Claudia. Maybe I’ll get it done next year!

Oh, and how could I forget the three musketeers. This was another change from prior years. My nieces Sadie (left) and Grace (right) along with my nephew Tad were at each table’s beckon call. They held platters, popped beer caps and wine corks like it was their day job, politely cleared plates and were enthusiastic with every move. And I shouldn’t forget Molly (not pictured) who decided bar tender during cocktail hour would suit her well. So she managed the margarita station serving drinks and asking guests whether they preferred a single or double shot. Did I mention she’s five. Thanks kids, you received high marks!

I thought I would also throw a couple dinner party tips at ya! I’m by no means an expert so take ’em or leave ’em!

Always have background music playing. My recent dinner compilation is here. Warning….its eclectic!
There will always be guests that arrive early so be prepared to place a drink in their hand and have a couple small bites around.
Have easy access to an ice bucket and scoop for those mixing and pouring their own drinks. And always have beer and wine visible so guests can serve themselves.
Create ambience with flickering candles and a fire.
Set the table with cloth napkins if you can. Here is a great napkin folding guide.
If you have more than 15 guests consider renting glasses. You don’t have to worry about your favorite glasses getting broken or doing dishes at the end of the night.
The food doesn’t have to fancy or fussy. Just pick a couple things you are confident in, not something you found on Pinterest the day before.
Always have a little something something for dessert. This can be homemade or as simple as a piece of rich dark chocolate.
If you are dining outside be prepared for hot and cold weather all within a short time span. A fire or throws will do the trick.
Relax and have fun. I’m always a little stressed or anxious in the beginning but I just try not to show my guests!

Three Musketeers

Claudia’s Caribbean Beef Stew / Serves 26-30

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

8 lbs. Copper Hereford Sirloin Roast
Katie provided us with a little over 8 pounds of sirloin roast. I was so pleased to find barely any waste as I trimmed the roast in 1″x1″ cubes
1 organic STRIKE FARMS, yellow onion, cubed, about 1 cup
2-3 large organic carrots, we love our neighboring STRIKE FARMS, -sliced, about 1 cup
2 large celery stalks, cubed
2 garlic cloves, mashed and minced
1 large red bell pepper, cubed- it doesn’t have to be red but we like the color and it is sweeter than the green variety
2-3 TBSP Claudia’s 5-C Spice Mix (secret recipe follows)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 organic butternut squash, cubed
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, do not drain
3 cups of cooked Timeless Food chickpeas, or 2-12 ounce cans, drained
1/4 cup chopped organic cilantro, for garnish
1/2 cup of toasted organic coconut, for garnish
1/2 cup toasted pecans, for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT

I like using a pressure cooker when making stews.Besides cutting the cooking time by more than half, they break down the muscle tissue in the beef or lamb, leaving them tender and soft without drying their juices.

In a large bowl, I normally add salt and pepper to the beef after having towel dried their excessive moisture. Then I like to add about 1 tablespoon or a bit more of a good quality olive oil, making sure they all get coated evenly. I then add about 2 TBSP of the 5-C rub and toss, making sure each cube of beef gets its share of seasoning.

If not using a pressure cooker, I use a Dutch Oven, mainly because I like finishing the stew in the oven versus the stove, giving it a nice even heat.

Set your burner at a medium-high. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and when hot, throw in your cubed sirloin and brown. Turn and with a slotted spoon, place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add a bit more of olive oil, maybe another tablespoon, and when hot, throw in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and red bell peppers, that make up the base for the stew.

Once onions begin to look translucent, I normally add the spices/rub, salt and pepper. I would use between 2 and 3 tablespoons for an 8 pound roast, but I will let your taste buds be your guide. Your entire kitchen is going to smell with the aromas of the rub.

You can now bring the beef back into the pot. Add the squash and toss to turn. Go ahead and add the tomatoes, liquid included and the chickpeas. If you are using a Dutch oven instead of a pressure cooker, you are going to want a cup or so of water, or better yet, beef broth.

Set the oven to 350, and place the Dutch Oven, covered, in the middle rack. Cook for about 2 hours, making sure to check its moisture levels. Add more liquid when needed and baste.

Otherwise, close the lid on your pressure, and cook for 45 minutes, in high pressure.

Once done, serve in a large bowl, topping with roasted coconut and pecans. We love to serve our stews with Timeless Food Cilantro-Lime Farro.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE 5-C Rub

1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP semi-sweet ground chocolate (Not Dutch)
1 TBSP Hatch Chili powder
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP dried cilantro
2 TBSP Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Use amount needed and store remaining spices in a spice jar.

Montana Picnic | BLT with Blue Cheese & Pimiento Spread

September 22, 2015

Montana Picnic

BLT

This is the time of year when I start to panic. I obsess over weather reports; constantly checking updates to verify clear sunny skies. I believe I still have a good month before the snow flies so September is usually the month I try to cram a summer’s list of to-dos into four weeks. When I realize I have only one month of decent semi predictable weather. So I spend every possible minute of my day absorbing the remnants of summer. So what better way to honor the ‘savor summer’ mantra than a perfectly packed picnic. Pick a place whether it be mountain scapes, alfalfa fields, the park down the road, your backyard or on the tailgate aside a country road. Just get outside with some small bites and sweet treats and enjoy the 80 degree weather.

Garden Veggies

I wanted to take the effort out of packing so below is what you would find at my picnic. I would love to hear some of your favorite items too!

Essentials.

Basket or Backpack – If you’re road tripping pack the super cute basket, if you are hitting the mountain trails go backpack. This handwoven basket is a classic and I have been eyeing this handmade salmon colored backpack for quite some time now.

Napkins – I am a bit obsessed with cloth napkins. My mother showed me how to sew my own and now I turn every piece of fabric I own into a napkin. Mostly because I collect fabric and it’s the only thing I can sew. Well that and the occasional baby blanket. But seriously, bring cloths napkins as I also use it as a face cloth to wick away sweat and dirt.

Plates, Glasses & Utensils – If you are taking a drive or close walk with the picnic basket, I pack the whole works. I have a set of silverware that I use solely for camping and picnicking and have wicker plate holders for paper plates. I found them at a thrift store and absolutely love them. They make eating off a paper plate so much easier and fancier. I also like to pack glasses and wrap them in the cloth napkins.

Blanket – Don’t forget an over-sized blanket. It’s not a picnic if you aren’t lounging on a blanket. I like these linen blankets.

Hat – whether it be a ball cap or handmade straw hat. I don’t care I just want to keep the sun off my face. I pack a good sunscreen too. Mostly because my husband is Irish! And why not throw in some bug repellent and sunglasses. Still swooning over hats by Janessa Leone.

Frisbee – Yes, it’s easy to pack and something to do when I run out of words.

Small Bites and Treats.

Peruvian Peppers – If you haven’t tried them they can usually be found in the olive bar. They’re delicious.

Assortment of Olives – My favorite being the Castelvetrano olive. They’re bright green.

One or two Spreads – Always a pesto and usually a hummus.

Meat – For me it’s usually the old and reliable; hard salami, ham and prosciutto.

Cheese – Usually one or two cheeses. A soft spreadable cheese and usually a hard salty cheese.

Fruit – The list is endless. Something seasonal.

Baguette – Easy to pack and eat. If I have time beforehand I will toast slices.

Roasted garlic – Again, only if I have the time beforehand to roast.

Drinks – Sparkling water, ice tea, lemonade, kombucha, beer, wine; you get the picture.

Something sweet – It can be as simple and healthy as cocoa nibs to homemade hand pies to a candy bar. Just something to satisfy the after lunch craving.

If I want something more substantial and have the time beforehand it’s basically the same list above but using some of the ingredients to make a sandwich (try my BLT with a blue cheese and pimento spread below). I would most likely toss a salad together too. Not a green salad, something that keeps well like this four bean salad. And since you can’t eat a sandwich without chips, I usually throw in my favorite, salt and vinegar.

When it comes to packing the food, it really just depends on where I am picnicking. If I am hiking or driving or taking a short walk and well of coarse if its spontaneous or planned. So make it as little or as much effort as you would like. Hope this helps!

Picnic

BLT (Bacon, red romaine and heirloom tomato) with a Blue Cheese and Pimiento Spread / makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices of bread, toasted
Blue cheese and pimiento spread, see recipe below
10 to 12 slices of bacon, cooked
Fresh greens, I used red romaine from my garden
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Blue Cheese and Pimiento Spread

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz. blue cheese crumbles, room temperature
2 oz. jar sliced pimientos, drained and diced
½ jalapeno, diced
1 Tbs. dried chives
Pinch of celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste

Incorporate all ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread on bread and you know the rest!

Cheers to 80 degree weather in September! Get outside and picnic.Cheers

Picnicking photographs taken by local photographer Trisha Jones.

Potato Soup with Green Chiles and a Cheese Crisp + Ceramics

December 8, 2014

Potato Soup

I recently opened an online shop……the Mercantile! You will see a new link to the shop on the right sidebar of the blog or you can click here and start browsing now!

I wanted to create a shop that inspires and spurs creativity in food preparation and enriches the dining experience. So naturally, the shop displays the work of makers near and far. Meredith, the beautiful ceramist behind these rustic yet elegant bowls pictured, is one of the makers featured on the shop. I had the pleasure to meet Meredith a couple weeks ago. She is as every bit lovely as her tableware. She believes in handcrafted and these dishes will revolutionize the way you think about dinnerware. At Dishes with Soul Meredith offers a luxury product with an organic human approach. These dishes are for every day and will compliment a casual lunch or an elegant dinner.

Small batch is better. Invest in the beauty of everyday. ~Meredith

Cheese Crisp

I can’t remember the last time I made potato soup. It has been awhile. Strange considering it always sounds good and it is simple and incredibly warm and cozy. Kind of like chicken soup, which I seem to make all the time. I have a feeling this recipe will be worked into the weekly soup rotation this winter. Don’t forget to make the cheese crisps too. So tasty I am pretty sure my husband is going to order these with every bowl of soup now!

Soup

Potato Soup with Green Chiles

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium sized leek, use white and tender green part only
3 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1 4 oz. can diced green chillies
4 to 5 red potatoes
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 quart vegetable broth (or chicken)
2 oz. whole milk goat ricotta (I use the local dairy, Amaltheia)

HOW TO MAKE

In a large heavy soup pot, heat butter over medium high. Slice leeks and celery and add to pot. Saute until translucent. Chop garlic and add to pot with green chillies. Rough chop red potatoes into bite size chunks and add to pot with mustard and salt and pepper. Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn to low and allow potatoes to cook through. Before serving, add ricotta and stir until smooth. Serve with a hot cheese crisp.

Cheese Crisp

Turn oven to broil. Line baking sheet with tin foil. Add a mound of shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend since the soup includes green chiles) and flatten with your fingers. Leave enough space in between so they do not melt together. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Broiling time and size of crisp will vary depending on size of mounds. Keep an eye on them so you don’t end up a with a charcoal crisp!

Introducing the Vogue Gardening Summer Series

July 16, 2014

Vogue Gardening

I try to eat seasonally. It’s the only way to taste food in its purest form. I believe recipes should be inspired by the colors of farmer’s markets and gardens. Depending on where you live, this is easier said than done. When I lived in California, farmer’s markets were a weekly ritual for me. Now residing in the countryside of Montana, I find it rewarding to eat from my own garden. The growing season is short, starting with lettuce varieties in May and ending with a plethora of squash in October. So I have decided to celebrate the colors of summer and my gardens bounty with a Vogue Gardening Summer Series. Each garden harvest will feature a recipe and fashion photo pairing. Why food and fashion, because both are a beautiful display of color, texture and pattern. And I like the juxtaposition of a fashionable woman in a country garden. So brace yourself for vibrant outfits and food flair in the coming weeks.

Vogue Gardening Summer Series

I planted my first batch of leafy greens in early May. Maturity dates varied around 40-60 days. So I was eating fresh garden greens in early June. I harvested two cuttings on almost all the varieties. After that some of the varieties started to bolt. I planted a second group that included my favorite varieties in early June. So that batch has been ready since early July. You can imagine how many fresh salads I have been making in the last couple of months. And there seems to be  no sign of slowing down. So if you are local and want a fresh bag of garden greens give me a shout. I would love to share the bounty!

Some of my favorite garden greens planted this year include:

Goliath Spinach, think spicy green harissa
Black Magic Kale, eat stems and all
Tangy Mesclun Mix, perfect for salads
Black Seeded Simpson Heirloom Lettuce
Marvielle of Four Seasons Lettuce, a reliable butterhead variety
Bibb Lettuce, delicious crispy leaves

Garden Greens

With garden greens being the featured harvest, I have included the recipe for my go-to vinaigrette. My sisters are always asking me how I make such tasty salad dressings. I think the key to any dressing is quality oil. Most my dressings include olive oil but certain salads might call for a mild less flavorful oil like grape seed or on the flip side an oil with a dominant flavor like sesame or walnut. But in my opinion,whatever oil is being used buy quality. For the use of condiments and vinaigrettes I think it is important to select an Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a dark container with a natural peppery finish and a deep green aroma of grass. I look for less expensive oil for cooking. Look for labels like cold pressed, unfiltered and organic. There are lots of specialty stores that allow you to taste the different varieties before purchasing. This is important since they are so expensive. And remember to store the oil in a corner in your kitchen that is cool, dry, and dark.

I make this vinaigrette a lot. Right now with all the lettuce varieties from my garden I make it weekly and refrigerate it. This way I always have quick lunch or dinner on hand. Its simple, fresh and tangy. In my opinion, it makes all garden greens pop. It’s also quite versatile. I often drizzle a little on my morning fried egg or add to beans and asparagus. I think you will find all greens take a liking to it, just get creative!

Kate’s Go-To Vinaigrette

1/2 c. lemon juice, approx 2 lemons
1 Tbs Sauvignon blanc or another crisp clean white wine
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp grated ginger root
1-2 garlic cloves (to taste), grated
1/4 c. olive oil

Add lemon, wine, mustard, ginger and garlic and give a quick whisk. Continue whisking as you pour in the oil. It’s that easy! I like to grind salt and pepper on the salad rather than in the dressing.

Kate's Go-To Vinaigrette

Food & Farming

July 8, 2014

Since I’m talking about food & farming. The Farm to Table Field Dinner is coming up. Have you bought your tickets yet? We have been prepping the site. The area has been mowed, weed-eated and bladed. Next week we will spread wood chips, hang lights and build fire pits. So excited, don’t miss it. Only one event this year.

food & farming

I know what you are thinking. This jalapeno and dill pickle burger with whipped feta is not a cleanse friendly recipe. You’re right. That’s my husband’s dinner. Substitute the gluten and dairy for garden greens and that’s my dinner. A dinner I actually eat more nights than not. It’s true.

I made this whipped feta for the first time a couple months ago. It’s delicious. You will want to smear it on everything. And trust me, I did. Just one more reason why I started a 30 day cleanse! Since dairy is not my friend for 15 more days, I can’t say I have actually tried the whipped feta with the burger. But I decided it was post worthy from my husband’s feedback. Give it a try and report back!

Jalapeno and Dill Pickle Burger

Jalapeno and Dill Pickle Burger with Whipped Feta and Tomato

1 pound hamburger
1/3 cup pickled jalapenos, diced
1/3 cup dill pickles, diced
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
4 multri grain with flax buns
4 ounces feta cheese crumbles
3 ounces whipped cream cheese
2 Roma Tomatoes
salt and pepper

With the metal whisk attachment on mixer, whip feta crumbles until they just start to clump together. Add whipped cream cheese and continue whipping until creamy and smooth. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. I used whipped cream cheese but you could use regular. Just make sure it is at room temp so it whips well. Set aside for later

Dice jalapenos and pickles. In a medium sized bowl, add hamburger, pickles, jalapenos, mustard, and salt and pepper. Mix together all ingredients with clean hands. Form four (1/4 lb) patties. Leave a dent in the middle, for a flat cooked patty.

Heat grill. You want it hot! Add patties and grill each side until cooked through. I like mine grilled with a nice crust on the outside and pink on the inside. Toast buns on the grill right before removing burgers. Remove burgers and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

Place the burgers on the bottom half of the buns and add whipped feta and tomato slices to top half of the buns.

Enjoy! READ MORE

Cleanse – Quinoa Veggie Bowl

July 1, 2014

Cleanse-Quinoa Veggie Bowl

About a year and half ago, I committed myself to a cleanse. I gave up dairy, gluten, alcohol, coffee and sugar. And when I say sugar I mean all sugar. So that includes fruit, most condiments, and natural sweeteners like honey. And since that wasn’t enough I decided to even practice food combinations for better digestion, portion control and incorporate fermented foods. Was I crazy. Maybe. But also just highly motivated and was in an unique time of my life that allowed such a change of lifestyle. To my surprise, the cleanse lasted for 5+ months and I adopted many of the healthy habits into my lifestyle. It was hard, no doubt. But I was seeing major results and was addicted to feeling and looking better everyday.

I have been wanting to cleanse again. I have been carrying a couple extra lbs from the South Africa trip and have also been feeling the need to get a better handle on my sugar intake. I know I won’t last 5+ months so I settled on 30 days. And it still took me 2 months to mentally motivate and prepare myself. This cleanse it is not easy, but definitely doable. I mean who likes giving up rhubarb raspberry swirl bread for breakfast?

So I started this cleanse with weaning myself of processed sugar for one week. This helped me ease into the cleanse. Then a week ago I started the rest. This first week wasn’t too bad until I decided to do some baking over the weekend. I made a batch of chewy gooey brownies for my husband and co-worker. Surprisingly enough I had no problem with the brownies. There was no question that those weren’t on the diet! But I had two bananas in the fridge that needed to be desperately mashed into a baked good. I decided I would make some healthy muffins that I would freeze and eat as a snack when I came off the cleanse. The chocolate coffee peanut butter muffins are delicious and the recipe can be found here. They have no processed sugar (just banana and peanut butter), no gluten, and no dairy. Since these are healthy muffins in my mind, I kept thinking I should eat one. Thank God my husband was around this weekend to monitor. All two dozen are safe in the freezer. But now I know, if I bake in these next 20 days. Load it with refined sugar and gluten!

Today is day 10 of the cleanse and I have lost 4 lbs and feel less of an urge to eat chocolate cake for breakfast. On Instagram, I am posting daily photos that promote clean eating and healthy bright living. In doing this cleanse, I am hoping to inspire others to join #kateschallenge to feel and look their best.

limes

There is nothing original about quinoa and veggies but I promise you this dressing is something special. It’s completely natural with no sugar. And trust me, you can’t buy that in your local grocer. You may have extra dressing when you make this recipe but I found it equally appetizing on a chicken salad. Plus this recipe abides by all the rules of the cleanse.

Quinoa Veggie Bowl / serves 4

2 bell peppers (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
1 sweet or yellow onion
2 celery ribs
2 carrots
1/4 c each of red and white quinoa
1-2 Tbs. high heat oil

Dressing

3 limes
1-inch piece of ginger
1-2 garlic cloves depending on your taste
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbs. Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt to taste

Cook quinoa per instructions. I used 1 c. of water for the 1/2 c. of quinoa.

While quinoa is cooking, make dressing. In a bowl, juice limes and grate ginger and garlic. Add curry powder, Braggs, and salt. Give a whisk and then whisk in olive oil.

Wash and slice onion, celery and peppers. Slice all veggies to a similar thickness. Add high heat oil to wok. I used a spicy macadamia nut oil. Heat on high and add veggies. Cook until veggies are tender crisp.

Peel carrots, add quinoa to veggies and pour dressing to taste.

Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

May 20, 2014

I know soup season is over but May weather in Montana is unpredictable. Mother Nature surprised me with 2 to 3-inches of snow a couple weeks ago and as of late, afternoon thunderstorms have set the mood for a warm bowl of lemony soup.

lemony chicken orzo soup

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Puff Pastry with Kale, Chorizo and Chevre

February 24, 2014

This breakfast pastry is worth inviting friends and family over to enjoy on Sunday morning. I chose to top my pastry with a fried egg, because everything is better with a little yolk, and a little fix of olive tapenade. The olive tapenade adds a little ‘wow’ factor’ and compliments the pastry filling. I like to make the tapenade in advance, then refrigerate. If you really want to simplify your morning preparation, you can also make the puff pastries ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze.

Puff Pastry with Kale Chorizo and Chevre

 

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No Frills Risotto

March 17, 2013

Sometimes it’s the simplest of dishes that keep me coming back for seconds.

No Frills Risotto

I modeled this risotto after the simplicity of one of my favorite classic Italian dishes.
cacio de pepe…cheese and pepper

I decided to make a couple substitutions and additions. Instead of noodles. Arborio rice. And I added some spunk.  The fresh and acidic tones of lemon. And since this dish is practically synonymous with Pecorino Romano. The sharp flavor is a must. Don’t be stingy!

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