About Chatty Kathy

Living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in BC, we have an abundance of fresh food to cook with, and believe me, I do! We have 5 daughters, 3 grand daughters, and lots of honorary daughters ...I love cooking for family and friends and they all keep me busy in the kitchen. Here is hoping that this blog will allow my entire family to access those recipes they ask for, and maybe even enjoy a few travel photos!

Fruit Pizza for Dessert!

Spring is here!  This fruit may not be in season here yet, and I can’t wait to make this when it is, but berries and mango are often available and you can use whatever fruit you like to make this refreshing dessert.  

The perfect cookie crust is tender but firm and a little crunchy – top that with the best of seasonal fruit on a creamy pudding bed and you’ve got a fabulous dessert.

COOKIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl mix together the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer add the sugar and butter and beat for a couple minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until the egg is fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix for an additional 2 minutes. Take the cookie dough and form it into a ball. Place it over the prepared baking sheet. Roll the ball into a round large cookie or any shape you prefer. You might need to add some more flour over your roll or over the cookie so that it doesn’t stick.The cookie should be at least 1/4 of an inch in thickness.
  • Bake the cookie for about 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden. Let it cool completely.

Make this cookie crust ahead of time – even a day ahead is fine, but be sure to let it cool down.

CREAMY CUSTARD

  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract

In heavy bottom saucepan stir corn starch, sugar and salt together. Slowly add the beaten egg yolks and milk. Stir until thickened, remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Cover the top wth plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming and allow to cool completely.

(You can also do this in the microwave, but watch it! I’ve had it spill up and over more than a few times …..)

ASSEMBLY

Spread the cooled custard on the cold cookie crust. Arrange fruit of your choice to cover the custard and allow to set completely before serving.

Creamy Garlicky Shrimp Tagliatelle

I don’t know about you, but an advertised 20 minute recipe NEVER takes me 20 minutes.  This one was close tho ….. and very easy.  Not only easy, but delicious and I’m more than happy to spend a few more minutes to achieve delicious.

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  • 8 ounces dried tagliatelle pasta (or really, any pasta you like!)
  • 2 tbsp butter (separated, see below)
  • olive oil
  • 10 ounces small, peeled and cleaned shrimp
  • 3 garlic cloves (yes, really)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I like sauvignon blanc but any dry white will work – stay away from sweet tho)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup asparagus (cut into 1″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup minced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (do NOT use purchased grated!)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • black pepper
  • more parmesan for serving
  1. Get a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Salt and add pasta.  Cook to one minute short of the cooking instructions …. (in order to finish in the cream sauce).
  2. Before draining, scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  3. Get a nice flat bottom skillet (non-stick works great here) and melt 1 tbsp butter.  Drain your shrimp and pat dry (you don’t want them to steam) ….. toss the shrimp into the melted butter and sauté quickly – until ALMOST cooked.  Depending on your shrimp size this might only take a minute or two.  There is nothing worse than rubbery, overcooked shrimp.  Well, okay, lots of things are worse including this COVID nightmare we are living through….  Remove from heat and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  4. In the same skillet heat the other tbsp butter and add a splash of olive oil – once melted add the onions, sauté until soft, add mushrooms and cook until just lightly browned, then add the garlic, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes.  Add chili flakes.
  5. Stir in the white wine and allow to reduce slightly, then add the chicken broth, cream and parmesan.  Season to taste ….  I didn’t need to add any more salt but that finishing black pepper is great.
  6. Add your mostly cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to cover.  The sauce will continue to thicken and this is the time to add some of your reserved pasta water a bit at a time, only as needed.  Stir in the shrimp to heat through, toss with parsley and serve with a grating of fresh parmesan and black pepper.
  7. Dig in!
These plump & juicy little guys are barely cooked and will finish in the cream sauce
Easy to make this a vegetarian meal – just stir in as many veg as you like and omit the shrimp.

Sourdough Bagels! The best!

Absolutely perfect bagels. Tender inside with a light crust and so tasty!

BAGELS

  • 345g flour (AP or bread)
  • 220g water
  • 100g ripe starter
  • 1/2 tsp (4g) honey
  • 10g salt

BOILING & TOPPINGS

  • Large pot of water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Pretzel salt, etc. whatever you want!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the honey & water to dissolve. Add the starter into the water and combine thoroughly with a whisk.
  2. Pour the water/starter/honey mixture into the flour bowl and mix by hand to combine (either with your hand or with a wooden spatula). Mix until you see no dry bits of flour. Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour, sprinkle the salt on top and pinch it into the dough with lightly wet hands. Pull the dough around to create a smooth ball. Let rest for 1.5 hours. This dough is lower hydration, so you won’t need to build up as much structure. It’s mostly about time and letting the dough ferment.
  4. After 1.5 hours perform pull/folds all around the dough by stretching the dough up on one side and folding it back over into the center. Again, it helps to do this with wet hands. Do this on all sides until you have a smooth round of dough in the bowl. Cover and let rest for another 2 hours.
  5. After two hours have passed, it should be ready to go into the fridge for the night. No need to move it to a new container, just pop it right in. Timings will vary depending on the time of year, the temperature, humidity, strength of your starter, etc.
  6. In the morning, line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and flour a work surface. Turn the dough out, gently press it into a flat-ish circle, & divide into 8 equal pieces.
  7. Shape each piece into a ball, pinching it up and then rolling it around a bit with the pinched/seam side down. Make little circles of flour on the parchment paper where each ball will sit, seam side down. Sprinkle a little flour on top of each dough ball, and then cover with plastic wrap, a damp linen, or place it into a giant plastic bag. Let them rest for about two hours.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Bring a large pot of water + 1/4 cup maple syrup to a low boil. Uncover the bagel dough balls and get ready to shape them!
  9. To shape the bagels, flour your hands, pick up a dough ball and press your thumbs into the center top of the dough. Press all the way through until you form a hole in the center. Then with your other fingers under the dough, gently pull the inside of the bagel toward the outside, but don’t fully inside out the bagel.
  10. Once you’ve shaped all the bagels, bring the pot of water/maple syrup to a roiling boil. Carefully place two bagels at a time into the boiling water (“seam” side down) and let them poach for 30 seconds before flipping them over and letting them poach for another 30 seconds. Remove the bagels using a spider or slotted spoon. Let the excess water drip off before you place them down on the parchment paper again, the same side up as before (“seam” side down).
  11. Prepare an egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water. Let the boiled bagels cool for a couple of minutes before brushing them with the egg wash. (If you don’t have eggs or are vegan, you can brush the bagels with a bit of non-dairy or dairy milk).
  12. Brush the egg wash (or milk) generously onto all the bagels, and then sprinkle toppings on OR pick up the bagels and dip them down into a shallow bowl full of toppings.
  13. Bake the bagels for 25-30 minutes at 425F. When you take them out, they might feel hard initially but will soften up as they cool. Immediately move them to a cooling rack and let them sit for about an hour.
  14. Slice and enjoy!!

This recipe came from the blog nokneadtoworry.com and it was perfect! Lots of recipes have malt syrups or powders but this recipe was so simple and yielded delicious bagels. Paulina has lots of tips and videos to help with whatever dough you are creating.

Out of the fridge and ready to take a 2 hour rest.
I couldn’t believe how good they look already.

Spinach Feta Chicken Meatballs

These chicken meatballs were so moist, bursting with spinach and feta that Grant was still raving about them the next morning, and trust me – he is not usually a fan of chicken meatballs!

Served over fresh pasta, these little nuggets were absolutely perfect!

Quick and easy, this makes a perfect week night dinner. No fancy plating required. Well my husband and son in laws never think fancy plating is required. (They are usually involved in clean up so that’s understandable!)

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by warming a splash of olive oil in your saute pan, as soon as it has heated up add the minced onions and allow to soften, then add your garlic and just warm through. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Take pan off the heat and add the spinach, stirring just until it is wilted. Remove the mixture from your pan and place in a bowl in the fridge. You don’t want to add anything hot to your raw chicken! Please don’t skip the step with sweating out the onions. A raw onion is a totally different item when compared to a softened, slightly carmelized onion.

Season ground chicken with salt, pepper and basil (fresh if you have it). Crumble in feta cheese and stir to combine. Add the cooled onion spinach mixture and bread crumbs. Stir gently to combine.

Form golf ball size meatballs and brown in your saute pan on all sides, then add to your sauce.

Use the same saute pan for everything! Sweat your onion mixture, and reserve the pan to fry the meatballs, then remove the browned meatballs and heat up your sauce. Once the sauce is warm return the meatballs to the sauce and heat through.

See the butter? Hardly a drop in the bucket, but we’ve been watching Stanley Tucci in Italy and the amount of butter in pasta sauces is mind blowing! This sauce was pretty easy, one of my frozen ratatouille batches with a can of good quality canned tomatoes. With the greek influenced meatballs I added some black olives, capers, artichokes and more freshly crumbled feta once the sauce was cooked.

Amazing Flour Tortillas

Let me know if you find anything more appealing than a basket of fresh flour tortillas
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup rendered lard, duck fat, vegetable shortening or unsalted butter 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt 

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan (the milk should be 180 degrees F), 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the lard until melted. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until completely combined. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. 
  3. When cool enough to handle, knead the dough in the bowl until almost completely smooth, about 3 minutes; do not overwork, the dough should be soft and only slightly elastic and not sticky. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour to relax dough. 
  4. Divide the dough into 16 balls about a scant 3 tablespoons each (or 46g.). Arrange the balls on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel until ready to use.  
  5. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 7-inch round. 
  6. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet or large griddle over medium-high heat.  
  7. Working with one at a time (unless using a large griddle), cook the tortillas, reducing the heat if they are getting dark too quickly, until air bubbles form on the surface and the bottom is brown in spots, about 30 seconds. Poke any large bubbles with a fork to release steam, flip the tortillas and cook until brown in spots on the other side, about 30 seconds. Stack and wrap the tortillas in a clean kitchen towel and keep warm. Repeat rolling and cooking the remaining dough balls.
This soft, supple dough was so easy to work with – 16 tortillas rolled out in 20 minutes.
Love the way the tortillas start to puff up – you just know deliciousness is coming.
Perfect!!!!!
Can NOT wait for family dinners to resume (damn you Covid), and I just know everybody is going to love these pork carnitas with fresh flour tortillas.
This soft flour tortilla is just perfect for wrapping up tender pork carnitas, pickled onions, avocado and cilantro. Don’t forget to squeeze lime over it all! The absolute best carnitas can be found in Michoacan, but we’ve found amazing carnitas at the mercado in Mexico City as well. Until we can travel again, we satisfy this craving at home.

Rick Andrew Martinez is my idol. His recipes are always amazing, and this one is no exception. By far it was the easiest recipe to work with and roll out, but what made this recipe SO amazing was the taste. Can’t be beat. Seriously, can’t be beat. I copied this recipe right from his post on Food Network, and if you want more amazing content just check out anything he does.

Lemon Meringue Pie

It’s really not spring here yet, but I can feel it’s arrival any day now, and what better way to celebrate than with lemon meringue pie. It is Grant’s favourite pie, and I just had to make it on a bright sunny day, feeling that this spring in particular is so welcome!

We were in such a hurry to eat the pie that my photo isn’t the best, and yes – I just can’t seem to get away from having the meringue weep! Still delicious….

LEMON CURD

  • 5 large egg yolks (save the whites for meringue below)
  • 1 1/3 cups of water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (yes – fresh is best!)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, soft and at room temperature

Whisk egg yolks together and set aside.

Combine water, sugar, cornstarch, salt lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring FREQUENTLY. Trust me, you don’t want this to burn. Once it thickens up, S L O W L Y stir a couple of tablespoons into the reserved egg yolks. Stir constantly and add another couple of tablespoons of the lemon sauce. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the lemon mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. This will thicken and release large bubbles, demonstrating just how thick the mixture is. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, continuing to stir until the butter has melted.

Pour into partially baked pie crust. Set aside while you whip the meringue.

Preheat oven to 350

MERINGUE

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium speed just until blended. Turn beaters to high and slowly add in the sugar and salt. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

Using a large spoon dollop meringue all over the pie, being very careful to have it reach right to the edges, and touching the pie crust. (This will help to keep the meringue from separating away from the crust, and theoretically from weeping too much but mine always weeps??). Use the back of your large spoon to create swirls in the meringue.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, watching so it is just nicely browned.

Set on the counter for 1 hour and then put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to allow the lemon curd to set.

Check out my flaky pastry recipe for the best start to any pie!
Please!! Freshly squeezed lemon juice!!
Partially baked crust, warm lemon curd and just waiting for the meringue
Ready for the oven
The only tricky part of this whole recipe is waiting for the pie to completely cool down. This pie is best the day it is made, but without any family dinners, you just know Grant and I managed to make it last a few days and it was amazing right to the last bite.

One of my favourite sources for baking recipes is Sally’s Baking Addiction, and this lemon meringue pie recipe came straight from her blog. Make sure to check it out, she has so many great tips and videos to create amazing treats.

Alex’s smash hit dressing!

Longer brighter days are coming and I can’t wait. We have a salad almost every night, and with the warmer weather approaching they often take the form of a “meal in a salad”. This dressing hits it out of the park for a delicious flavour bomb to dress pretty much anything with. Give it a try, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

Salad tonight, but it could easily dress a rice bowl or serve over salmon.
  • 1/4 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • dash of fish sauce (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (unless they are home grown, then maybe 1/4-1/2 a clove) :o)
  • 1″ ginger, grated
  • thinly sliced scallions

Put everything in a jar and shake vigorously – really vigorously. If you use warm water it will help loosen up the miso if it’s straight out of the fridge.

Drizzle lightly and grill – another sure fire winner.

This recipe came from our friend Alex – she is an amazing cook, and agreed to let me post it! #abcooks

Chicken Karaage

How can chicken so crunchy be this tender? Try it and see.

One of our favourites to order in a Japanese restaurant, this is just as good as restaurant quality. Don’t get me wrong, whenever we can go out to restaurants again (post Covid) I will still be delighted to sit in a booth and order ….. but for now I can at least satisfy my cravings. It is also one of Sloan and Stella’s favourites to order and I just know when we can gather around the Sunday dinner table again this will be requested.

  • 1 lb chicken thighs cut 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup corn starch or potato starch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp mirin (sub Sake if you have it)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger

Reserve the starch and flour for just prior to frying up. Combine soy sauce, miring, garlic and ginger in either a sealable plastic bag or bowl with lid. Stir in the chicken pieces and set aside. You can either do this earlier in the day or at late as 20 minutes before dinner – I find it very flexible.

Heat your oil to 350, if you don’t have a thermometer, just stick a chopstick in – if it sizzles happily, then it is time to add your chicken.

Toss the starch and flour together, then toss with chicken. It doesn’t matter if the coating is uneven, it just means more texture.

Add about 1/3 of the chicken at a time to wok – do not overcrowd. Any time you overcrowd when you are frying it reduces the temperature of the oil and that leads to greasy fried food! Keep the chicken moving while in the wok, and remove when golden brown. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Keeping the cooked pieces in a 200 degree oven allows them to retain their crispness while you do the remaining 2 batches.

DIPPING SAUCES – I’ve given two options because that’s the way I like it!

CREAMY

  • 1/2 cup Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sriracha
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce

SOY

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • chili oil to taste
This well used wok is perfect. Of course, you can use a deep fryer if you have it handy, but I like the wok just fine for this, and it encourages me to fry only small amounts at a time. Be sure to strain and reserve your oil for use another day!
Love having the option of two sauces – everybody gets their own little sauce dipping bowl and dip away!
Definitely not as many vegetables as we normally get onto our plates, but this Japanese dinner was so tasty! I even made my own gyoza wrappers and that’s a story for another day…..

The BEST Miso Soup

I gotta say ….. hard to make a bowl of miso soup look exciting … but here it is, the best ever! I didn’t have any seaweed at home so added a few spinach leaves. Delicious!
  • 2 teaspoons dashi granules 
  • 4 cups water 
  • 3 tablespoons miso paste 
  • 1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced 
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch piece

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

I think the key to this is the dashi. You can easily make your own dashi at home – just look up a few YouTube videos, but for the amount I use, keep some granules in the freezer and it is ready whenever I need it.

We followed the miso sop with these tasty Japanese dishes ….. chicken karaage with 2 dipping sauces, pork and cabbage gyoza and garlic soy snap peas. Goes without saying that a Japanese inspired dinner needs a serving of rice!

I often serve Miso soup to accompany a few other dishes, and this makes it very easy to prep a bit earlier and just leave it simmering – don’t add the tofu or green onions until closer to serving time.

Coconut Shrimp

Couldn’t wait to dive into these. Every time I make them it surprises me how easy and how incredibly delicious they are.

Just like you get in the tropics….. minus the palm trees and ocean breeze. That dang Covid thing is still keeping us at home, during a time of the year when we’d so much rather be in the land of palm trees & sunshine, ocean bobbing and munching coconut shrimp. Never mind the beach, I’d happily settle for just being able to cuddle my granddaughters!!! Enough whining, here is the perfect recipe to make you feel like you’ve escaped to the beach.

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten well (can just use egg white if you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat (350-360 degrees)

Set up 3 dredging bowls:

  1. flour
  2. egg
  3. panko/coconut mixture

Season shrimp with salt and pepper, then working with one shrimp at a time, dredge through flour, then egg, then panko/coconut. Press into the panko mixture to make sure the shrimp are well coated. Set aside until you have them all coated.

Working in batches, add shrimp to hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning as necessary until they are crunchy and looking irresistible – around 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp sriracha (or to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix well to combine. If you think of it, mix this ahead of time and set in fridge to allow flavours to meld beautifully.

I can’t promise you will smell the ocean when you make these, but it might make you feel a little better about staying home!

You can get these prepped ahead of time and just keep in the fridge until ready to fry.
Served tonight with rice and curried vegetables. This would disappear in a hurry if served as an appetizer also.

I originally got this recipe off Damn Delicious website, and she’s right – they are damn delicious! The dipping sauce is my own concoction and it’s yummy!!