Go Eat: Kathy Casey

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By Julien Perry

Just in case the pumpkins and falling leaves didn't tip you off, the holiday season is here. And Seattle's own Culinary Diva, Kathy Casey, is here to help with your party planning.

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First step: designing a nice food-related centerpiece for the table.

"I love kale, just really long beautiful pieces of kale in a vase. Or, even our beautiful Northwest pears in a gorgeous oversized glass vase make for a beautiful tablescape," she reveals.

Next: decorate the plates.

"I'm always out in the garden with scissors, whacking down things," she laughs. "Even during the dead of winter, you can get some beautiful pine bows to put some of your appetizers on top. I've got fig leaves (out in my yard). Lots of different leaves are always very, very pretty."

Then comes the cooking. If you want to skip that part entirely, Miz Kathy says her three Dish D'Lish gourmet delis can help you out.

"We actually sell a lot of things that are in my cookbook. I always tell people, you know, you can just get the book and smear some food on it and come over and buy it and pretend that you made it," she laughs.

That includes appetizers.

"I have a great recipe for parmesan poppy seed puffs. They're so easy to make and they're so delicious. We also do stuffed peppadews. We have those little peppadew peppers that we stuff with a mixture of feta and cream cheese that's whipped together, and then put a little Marcona almond in them."

And don't forget the liquid cheer.

"I love making cocktails!" Kathy laughs.

Her favorite is a little concoction called the Douglas Fir Sparkle.

"I take a bottle of gin - you can use vodka if you don't like gin - and take a sprig of Douglas Fir and then insert it into the (bottle of) liquor overnight. You do one part that and then one part of my Dish D'Lish Lemon Sour. And then a little splash of white cranberry juice. We shake that and serve that up with a poof of champagne and it's absolutely fantastic!"

But perhaps, the most important tip to remember:

"The trick to being a good host and really pulling off a great party is being able to do a lot of things in advance," says Kathy. "And don't do a whole menu of things that you've never cooked before. Do a few dishes that you've already done mixed in with a few new ones."

For more information on Kathy Casey and Dish D'Lish: kathycasey.com

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