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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table vegetarian

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

My oldest daughter is holding this lovely tray of Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers.

It had been a year since her brain tumor surgery and she was working hard to get back on her feet and back to college. I think that’s why I love this photo so much. She was beginning to feel better and she was quite determined that day to help me shoot my food photos.

I love that about my kids. They are strong, brave and determined young women who have a heart for helping others. Although when it comes to helping mom in the kitchen… not so much. 😉

I’ve been planning my Thanksgiving menu and these delicious little nibbles will be on the appetizer table. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers are simple to make, a little spicy, a little sweet and the creamy goat cheese brings all the unique flavors together. Honestly I could eat my weight in these peppers. 

If goat cheese isn’t your preference, these are just as tasty with feta cheese combined with mascarpone cheese or garlic and herbs laced cream cheese. On occasion I’ve even added a little bleu cheese to mascarpone and piped it into these little red beauties.

Top them with chopped toasted nuts, a Marcona almond or a pistachio for a little festive flair. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers make such a bright and cheerful presentation and pair deliciously with cocktails. I’ve also been known to make them my dinner.

Wishing you all a warm, joyous and delicious Thanksgiving holiday. May your hearts and home be full of love and laughter!

Karista

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Serving Size: 3 peppers per person

Ingredients

  • 2-3 jars of Peppadew peppers (I allow three peppers per person)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (try to find a nice cream goat cheese that will be easy to pipe into the peppers)
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (optional)
  • Chopped toasted nuts or Marcona almonds for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Mix together the goat cheese and mascarpone (if using). The mascarpone or cream cheese will make the goat cheese easier to pipe into the peppers. Although, I've found a brand of creamy goat cheese that works well on it's own.
  • Place the peppers on a tray. Fill a pastry bag with the cheese and pipe the cheese into each pepper. Garnish if desired and serve. You can make these a few hours in advance and leave them in the fridge before serving. Just remove them from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I think the peppers and cheese taste best at room temperature.
  • Notes

    This recipe was first published in Home by Design Magazine 2014.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Soup

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    Just the three words bacon, beer and cheese ignite a fire in my belly and my tastebuds.  Who couldn’t love a Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup?

    Unfortunately for me I love all three of those ingredients way too much.

    I live in Oregon which is home to over 260 craft breweries. I had never been much of a beer connoisseur until I moved to the Pacific Northwest 16 years ago. After trying several craft beers in Washington state and then moving to Oregon and “sampling” many of the craft beer here, I can truly say I’m a huge fan.

    It was a tasty job “testing” the beer for this recipe. I concluded however, that a lager or pilsner work best in this recipe. Using a beer that’s higher in IBU’s will create a bitter taste in the soup. So for this recipe, keep the beer on the “mellow” side and maybe the stronger stuff for sipping with the soup.

    And speaking of beer… one of my favorite people, Lori Rice, has just written a book Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer. Lori has created recipes with craft beer along with craft beer pairings that are divine. Her book is beautifully photographed, inspiring and drool-worthy. I cannot wait to dive in and make some of her recipes. If you love beer, you’ll love this book.

    Cheers to food and beer and all things warm and cozy this beautiful fall season.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    Serving Size: 4

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    This is a smooth, creamy soup that is also quite hearty. It’s a tasty first course for any meal or perfectly suited as a light meal or lunch with crusty bread and a pint of beer.

    Ingredients

    • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 rib of celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 8 ounces of beer, a lager or a pilsner
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ cups whole milk, warm
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • Salt and pepper

    Instructions

  • Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon to the soup pot and cook until the bacon is crisp and cooked through. Remove the bacon and reserve. Remove all but two tablespoons of bacon fat from the soup pot.
  • Add the diced onion and celery to the bacon fat in the soup pot over medium heat. Cook until the onion and celery are wilted and translucent. Then stir in the garlic and thyme and cook one minute longer.
  • Next, stir the flour into the vegetables and cook for a minute or two. Then whisk in the beer, vegetable broth and warm milk.
  • Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, half the bacon pieces and shredded cheese. Once the cheese is incorporated, season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup feels too thick, thin it with ½ cup of vegetable broth at a time.
  • Garnish with additional bacon pieces and serve warm.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table vegetarian

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches

     

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches 1_

     

     I adore warm and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches especially when they involve summer berries like these Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches.

    These playful little mini sandwiches are filled with blackberries, blackberry preserves, tangy Havarti cheese and fresh summer basil. I created them last year for one of my clients and I loved them so much I couldn’t wait until blackberry season to make them again this year.

    Blackberries are showing up in our local markets here in Oregon and they will soon be in the Farmer’s Markets. Our wild blackberries will also be ready for picking in the next few weeks. Truly, one of my favorite summer activities is to pick wild blackberries. I look forward to the few days I get to load up my mini step-stool, buckets and gloves and then head out in search of the best blackberry picking spot.

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches // Karista's Kitchen

    During the summer I put seasonal berries in everything. I make these grilled blackberry, basil and Havarti mini sandwiches, I add them to this blackberry and burrata salad, I use them in this Huckleberry Ginger Upside Down Cake, make blackberry barbecue sauce to pair with pork chops and pretty much anything else I can think of.  I even pair blackberries with fish, subbing the blackberries for the blueberries in this RECIPE.

    One could say my food is “berry” intense during the summer months. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

     

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches

    Serving Size: makes 24 mini's

    Ingredients

    • 12 slices of good quality white bread
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pint of fresh blackberries
    • 2 tablespoons blackberry or apricot preserves
    • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
    • 8 slices of Havarti cheese

    Instructions

  • Butter both sides of each slice of bread.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the blackberries and preserves.
  • Pre-heat a grill pan or skillet over medium to low heat.
  • Place a slice of cheese on 6 slices of bread and then top the cheese with fresh basil leaves. Carefully place a spoonful or two of blackberries and preserves over the fresh basil leaves and then top with the remaining bread slices to make 6 full sized sandwiches.
  • When the pan is hot, add 2 or 3 of the sandwiches to the pan, or as many sandwiches that will fit in the pan. Brown both sides of each sandwich, being careful when flipping the sandwich. Continue until all the sandwiches have been grilled.
  • Place the sandwiches on a cutting board and when they’ve cooled a bit, cut them into quarters making mini sandwiches. I like to skewer two mini sandwiches together with a short skewer or party pick and serve. This way they won’t fall apart while serving.
  • Notes

    Originally created for Home By Design Magazine June 2017

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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad vegetarian

    10 Easy 4th of July Recipe Ideas

    Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers with a Balsamic Drizzle // Karista's Kitchen

    When I’m cooking for a crowd I want it to be fuss-free with loads of deliciousness. You might think that’s a lot to ask, however, it couldn’t be easier. I use a few fresh ingredients and then combine them with some amazing flavors. The end result is a delicious menu that makes everyone smile, including me.

    These 10 easy 4th of July recipe ideas are meant to compliment your menu and help make an enjoyable day for the cook. I’ve totally got your back here. 😉

    First up is an easy starter or dessert, Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers. They’re fantastic simply grilled, but sometimes I like a drizzle of balsamic vinegar over the top.

     

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote) // Karista's Kitchen

    How could corn on the cob be more fun or even more delicious? This Elote recipe says it all. Elote is Mexican grilled corn that has been slathered in a lime laced mayonnaise and then rolled in cotija and sprinkled with the Mexican seasoning called Tajin. This will definitely be the star of the meal.

     

    Bacon Wrapped Peaches // Karista's Kitchen

    When I made these Bacon Wrapped Peaches for my family the first time the rave reviews were never-ending. Consequently, I keep these lovelies on my “quick and easy” appetizer list. You won’t regret it!

    Hugos Texas Barbecue Shrimp with Bleu Cheese Slaw // Karista's Kitchen

    Hugo’s Texas BBQ Shrimp is divine. I’m not kidding when I tell you I could easily sip the sauce. But I’ll refrain and let others do the sipping. 🙂

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza from Karista's Kitchen

    Not only is this Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza perfect for a starter, but it’s also divine for a light lunch or dinner. This can be prepared on the grill, making 4th of July easy and delicious.

    Grilled Romaine Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing // Karista's Kitchen

    During the summer months we grill everything. Even the salad. I adore Grilled Romaine and I especially love this salad when it’s topped with my favorite festive sweet and spicy dressing.

    Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m not a huge fan of dessert but I love fruit and I love ice cream. And I love caramel sauce. I’ve added a fun and festive butter rum spiked caramel sauce to these grilled peaches and I must say I could eat that entire tray.Summer Fruit Cocktail laced with wine or your favorite liquer

    Speaking of “spiking”… I love to spike my fruit. Which is why I literally call this recipe my boozy “fruit cocktail“. Just a hint of white wine and brandy or even some rum and a delicious dessert is ready for serving.

    Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Garlic Lemon & Thyme Butter // Karista's Kitchen

    Along with grilling my salad I love to skewer. I skewer just about everything during the summer. I especially like skewered veggies paired with skewered pineapple and mango and then served over coconut rice. It makes a lovely vegetarian option for you or your guests.

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    Last but not least is the playful Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. This pairs with literally everything. I serve it with grilled ribs, chicken, steak, burgers, pork chops and veggies. Fun, delicious and so completely festive.

    10 easy 4th of July recipes to make your holiday enjoyable and delicious. 

    Wishing you all a very delicious and safe holiday!

    Loads of love,

    Karista

     

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table vegetarian

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza from Karista's Kitchen

    Summer for me is all about easy, seasonal meals that delight the senses and tame the hunger like my Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza.

    I call this playful food; because it combines such fun ingredients that play so well together. I have to admit, fruit and cheese are like long-lost lovers meant to be together. Whether they’re used in a sweet or savory recipe, they always happily compliment each other.

    I like my pizza simply topped with just a few fresh ingredients. During the summer months I like to dress pizza with fresh made pesto from basil, arugula or spinach. If I’ve got a plethora of Swiss chard, kale and collard greens in the garden, I’ll often toss those into the pesto as well.  Then I top it with fresh summer fruit and either feta, brie or goat cheese.

    The end result is a light but flavorful Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza that enchants my palate. Not to mention, it brings many happy faces to my table.

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza from Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve got a delicious pizza crust recipe included however, because I’ve got a gluten intolerant kiddo, I often make a low-carb pizza crust instead. It uses almond flour and mozzarella cheese as the base and I must say it’s divine. A little work to prepare but the end result is worth it. You can find the recipe here. There are several versions of this low-carb crust, however, I like this recipe and the website gives step by step instructions which makes it much easier when preparing the crust for the first time.

    Cheers to the summer and all the summer deliciousness ahead!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Serving Size: 4

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Ingredients

    • 1-2 12-inch pizza crusts or pre-made pizza crusts, flatbread, Naan or pita bread rounds
    • 1/2 – 1 cup traditional basil pesto or your own homemade pesto
    • 4 apricots, pitted and sliced
    • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
    • 1 bunch basil, whole leaves only
      Easy Pizza Dough
    • ¾ cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
    • 1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
    • 2 cups (10 ounces) bread flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    Instructions

    To Make the Pizza Crust
  • Heat the oven to 500° F. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the middle of the oven.
  • Mixing the pizza dough - Measure the water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it dissolve, about 30 seconds. Stir the water to dissolve the yeast.
  • Add the flour, salt and sugar to the water and mix with a wooden spoon or bowl scraper until the dough starts to come together.
  • Lightly dust the counter or board with flour and move the dough to the floured space. With floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Resting the pizza dough - With a bench knife, divide the dough into 2 pieces. Round each piece of dough and place the dough rounds on a lightly floured counter to rest for 30 minutes. (While the dough is resting, prepare your toppings.)
  • After 30 minutes, fold the dough by stretching each side and folding it into the middle of the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest again for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Shaping the pizza dough - Handling one piece of dough at a time, gently stretch the dough with floured hands. You can also use a rolling pin, but I prefer using my hands. Once the dough is about ¼ - ½ inch thick, lay it on a piece of very lightly floured parchment. You can adjust the shape at this point, but don’t worry about it being perfectly round. Shape the second piece of dough.
  • Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
  • To Assemble the Pizza
  • If using homemade pizza dough, spread ¼ cup or more of basil pesto on the pizza dough. Top with crumbled goat cheese, apricot slices and basil leaves.
  • Bake the pizza on the parchment in a 450°F oven either on the heated pizza stone or on a cookie sheet. The pizza is done baking when the crust is brown and crisp on the edge and bottom. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven, garnish with additional basil leaves if desired. Let it cool for about five minutes, then cut and serve.
  • If using a pre-made pizza crust, Naan, flatbread or Pita round
  • Reduce the oven heat to 400F and place them on a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  • Top the crusts with ¼ cup or more of basil pesto, crumbled goat cheese, apricot slices and basil leaves. Bake in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or just until the goat cheese looks soft and slightly melted and the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and garnish with additional basil leaves if desired. Let it cool for about five minutes then cut slices and serve.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Bacon Wrapped Peaches

    Bacon Wrapped Peaches // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m here to tell you that Bacon Wrapped Peaches are addictive. I have to limit how many I make, otherwise I end up eating half the tray before it makes it to the table. 

    These little lovelies can be baked in the oven or grilled outdoors. Although, I typically bake them in the oven while Ranger Craig is outdoors grilling the entrée.

    During the summer I adore using ripe, fresh peaches.  During the winter months, when I want to make these for football season or the holidays, I use local frozen peaches. Both work beautifully.

    If I want the bacon extra crispy, I’ll pre-bake the bacon in my oven, just until it renders some of the fat and begins to cook.  Just before it gets crispy, I wrap the bacon around the peaches and then finish in the oven.  However, if I’m using a thin sliced bacon, I typically wrap and bake all at one time.

    I adore a smokey, sweet combination of flavors and these Bacon Wrapped Peaches completely deliver.  I love that I can use my locally raised bacon with my locally raised peaches for a locally prepared recipe. 😉

    I also make this dish with pineapple spears. Yep, bacon wrapped pineapple. Also amazing!

    I’m off to the races this week. Not actually the “races”, but I’m racing time and my schedule so this post is short and sweet. Literally!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Bacon Wrapped Peaches

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Bacon Wrapped Peaches

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2-3 summer peaches, halved, pitted and each peach sliced into 6 wedges
    • 8 ounces thin sliced bacon, each slice halved
    • Toothpicks or party picks for serving

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Brush a parchment lined baking sheet with the one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Wrap a halved bacon slice around each slice of peach and place on the baking sheet seam side down.
  • Bake the peaches for about 10-12 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then carefully transfer the bacon wrapped peaches to a serving platter. Serve with toothpicks or party picks.
  • Notes

    On occasion when I want to make these delicious treats but I can’t find fresh peaches or peaches are not in season, I’ll use good quality frozen peaches. Method of cooking is the same using the frozen peach. Don’t thaw the peaches prior to baking.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

    Baked Oysters Mornay

    Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

    If there is one shellfish I had to learn to love, it’s oysters. But when I finally decided that I truly loved oysters, I became a wee bit obsessed. Thus began my fascination with cooking and baking with oysters. Which is how this lovely Oysters Mornay happened.

    Actually, I was testing several different recipes for Oysters Rockefeller a few years ago and I’ve decided I really love my baked oysters covered with a sauce and maybe some cheese and a little something crunchy for added texture.

    In the beginning I made a boozy béchamel to use on my baked oysters but then I decided it needed more than just a boozy béchamel. It needed a Mornay. Mornay sauce is much like a boozy béchamel but with cheese. Gruyère to be specific.

    I also love the spinach included in Oysters Rockefeller so why not just merge the two recipes and call it grand! To complete this opulent little shellfish recipe, I top the Oysters Mornay with a Panko and grated parmesan and bake.

    The result is a spinach laden baked oyster topped with boozy cheese sauce and crunchy Panko. Who’s hungry now?

    Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

    These Baked Oysters Mornay are so fun (and sort of messy) to make and even more fun to eat. They work well for a light dinner with a glass of white wine or as a starter for dinner guests.

    Now you’re probably thinking, I’m not shucking all those oysters only to bake them in boozy cheese sauce.  Me neither. However there are two methods to securing oysters for your Baked Oysters Mornay. Often times you can find them in jars in the seafood area of your market. They will come in size small, medium or large. You want to purchase the small or medium oysters. They’re sweeter and tastier. As well, some seafood markets sell shucked oysters just like they sell shelled crab or shrimp.

    I know you’re wondering how to find oyster shells. I found stainless steel oyster shells online here. They work beautifully for this recipe.  Or, I ask my fishmonger if they’ve got fresh oyster shells they can give me. The fresh oyster shells only last one or two recipes but they look great on the platter. However, the stainless are just as easy and also create a lovely presentation.

    This is such a festive recipe for the summer and I promise it’s easy to prepare and it’ll impress your guests.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Baked Oysters Mornay

    Makes 12

    Ingredients

    • One dozen shelled oysters
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or aged Swiss
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 cup cooked and squeezed spinach
    • 1 lemon
    • Dash of tabasco
    • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

    Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 375F.
  • Place the oyster tins (or shells) on a baking sheet and place one oyster in each tin.
  • Mix together the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan over medium heat add the butter. When the butter is melted stir in the flour. Let the flour and butter cook for a minute or two and then slowly whisk in the warm milk. Just as the sauce thickens add the 1/4 cup white wine. Then stir in the pinch of nutmeg and shredded cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly salt and pepper the cooked spinach and place a little on each oyster. Then drizzle a tablespoon or two of Mornay sauce over the spinach and then top with the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs mixture.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until bubbly and the tops are golden brown. Often times the tops don't brown well enough for me, so I place the baking sheet under the broiler for a minute to get the color I like.
  • Remove the oysters from the oven and give them a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately with Tabasco.
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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood Shrimp

    Hugo’s Barbecue Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Slaw

    Hugo's Texas Barbecue Shrimp with Bleu Cheese Slaw // Karista's Kitchen

    There is nothing quite like Hugo’s barbecue shrimp with bleu cheese slaw. This is an impressive and simple barbecue shrimp recipe that’ll absolutely become a family favorite. 

    The first time I made this recipe I swear I could have sipped the barbecue sauce. It’s that delicious!

    I first heard about this now famous recipe many years ago when I was working as a private chef and culinary instructor.  I was scheduled to cook for a holiday party for my good friend, Michele, and her husband Ron. When we discussed the menu, they asked me to include their favorite barbecue shrimp recipe, Hugo’s Barbecue Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Slaw.

    The sauce is much simpler than I would have guessed but it works. Although, I backed off on the lemon juice because I felt the amount listed was a bit too intense for my palate. Otherwise, I followed the recipe for the sauce as written.

    I also deviated from the recipe a bit by seasoning the shrimp with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. It happened to be a cold and rainy December during that time so I decided to pan sear the shrimp in ghee which gave them a deep, creamy flavor along with a hint of smokey flavor from the smoked paprika.

    Hugos Texas Barbecue Shrimp with Bleu Cheese Slaw // Karista's Kitchen

    As if that isn’t enough, I plated them along with the bleu cheese slaw and I promise I heard angels singing the hallelujah chorus. 🙂

    The sauce holds for at least three days so when I serve it for dinner guests I’ll prepare the sauce a day in advance.  Then all I need to do is grill, pan cook or bake the shrimp and assemble the slaw.

    I also like to serve this with warm garlic crostini or a crusty baguette for dipping into the extra sauce.

    If you make this recipe let me know what you think. You’re going to love it!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Hugo’s Barbecue Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Slaw

    Serving Size: 6

    Ingredients

      For the barbecue sauce
    • 5 ounces Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
    • 5 ounces soy sauce
    • Strained juice from half a lemon (I used 1/2-1 tablespoon lemon juice)
    • 5 ounces tomato purée
    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 1 cup heavy cream
      For the slaw
    • 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) Maytag blue cheese (I used Rogue Creamery's Smokey Bleu Cheese)
    • 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise
    • Lemon juice, to taste
    • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
    • 2 scallions, sliced thin
    • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
      For the shrimp
    • 36 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I leave the tail on for easy eating)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/4 cup peanut oil (I use olive oil or coconut oil for grilling and ghee for pan cooking)
    • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (see recipe above)
    • 1 to 2 scallions sliced, to garnish
    • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, to garnish

    Instructions

  • To make the barbecue sauce base, combine all the ingredients except the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the cream to a boil. Simmer until the cream has reduced and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Gradually stir the barbecue base into the heavy cream, stopping when you like the flavor. Bring the combined mixture back to a boil, then simmer until it coats the back of a spoon. The shrimp cook quickly, so have your sauce ready before you begin to cook them.
  • To make the slaw, combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice, to taste. Right before cooking the shrimp, toss the cabbage with just enough mayonnaise to coat. Add the scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
  • Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil or ghee until smoking. Add the shrimp, being careful not to crowd. Cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  • To serve, place a mound of the slaw in the middle of each plate and lean six shrimp against it. Drizzle the shrimp with the barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with scallion slices and blue cheese.
  • Notes

    When the shrimp are done I usually take half the sauce and add it to the shrimp, allowing the shrimp to soak up all the flavor. Then when I plate, the shrimp are already sauced and I serve extra sauce with the platter.

    This is fun set up on a platter for an appetizer or even shared entree.

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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote) // Karista's Kitchen

    If there is one food I could eat every day of summer, it’s Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob or what is referred to as Elote.  

    This popular Mexican street food can be found prepared a variety of different ways.  However, it’s typically highly seasoned, grilled and then served on a stick for easy eating.

    What sets Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob apart from a typical summer grilled corn are all the delicious ingredients that can be found covering this very humble vegetable. Some of the recipes I found include chile powder, smoked paprika, garlic, Mexican oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander, lime juice and of course mayonnaise.

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote) // Karista's Kitchen

    For my recipe, I’ve slathered the corn cob in a lime juice laced mayonnaise and then rolled it in the salty Mexican cheese called Cotija.  Then I dust it lightly in the Mexican seasoning Tajin, which is a little sweet but also a little spicy. The result is so delicious I can’t stop at just one!

    I adore making Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob for Cinco de Mayo, but I also like to serve it at all my summer barbecues. Grilled corn on the cob is always a good thing but Mexican grilled corn on the cob makes my taste buds sing.

    A little side note, I have a new instagram handle @lifearoundmytable.  I’ve had one heck of a time trying to resolve my @karistaskitchen account and it seems hopeless. So onward and upward and meeting all sorts of new challenges this month like growing a second Instagram account. Which isn’t on the top of my fun things to do list. Ha! Me and social media have a love/hate relationship.  So if you’re on Instagram, I’d truly appreciate the follow and a few shares.  Thank you all for your support!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

    Serving Size: 8

    Ingredients

    • 8 ears of corn, husks pulled back or removed
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • ½ cup mayonnaise
    • 1 lime juiced
    • 1 garlic, minced
    • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
    • Tajin Classic Mexican seasoning

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the grill or a grill pan to 350F.
  • Brush the ears of corn with vegetable oil and grill the corn for about 8-10 minutes or until the corn is nicely charred and soft. Watch the heat to be sure you don’t burn the corn.
  • Once the corn is done, transfer them to a platter. Mix together the mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic. Place the crumbled cotija in a plate. Brush each ear of corn with the mayonnaise mixture and then roll it in the crumbled cotija. Sprinkle with Tajin Classic Mexican Seasoning and serve immediately.
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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/04/30/mexican-grilled-corn-cob-elote/

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad

    Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

    Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches // Karista's Kitchen

     

    I may have lived on these Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches during our move. I like to make a batch of this egg salad and keep it in the fridge for a quick bite. Especially when both breakfast and lunch have eluded me. I also sneak a spoonful here and there as I’m walking past the fridge. 

    Not only does this avocado egg salad contain two of my favorite ingredients, it’s also a great source of protein and healthy fats. It makes a tasty sandwich when paired with fresh sourdough or gluten-free bread and a good handful of microgreens. Sometimes I add the egg salad to dressed spinach and arugula which makes a lovely grain free lunch.

    Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches for Spring Brunch or Mother's Day // Karista's Kitchen

    The way I love this Avocado Egg Salad the most, is when I smear it on a thick piece of toast. Ha! I rhymed again. 

    I originally created this egg salad to be used as tea sandwiches for a spring or Mother’s Day brunch. However, this avocado egg salad is so divine, I think it works well served a multitude of ways.

    Although I adore onions, I do not like them in my egg salad. I think something a bit more subtle, like chives, works best in egg salad. I do however, LOVE dill pickle relish in my egg salad. It gives this recipe a little tang and sweetness that blends nicely with the lemon juice and mayonnaise.

    You definitely want to use a good quality mayonnaise in this recipe.  If you make your own mayonnaise that’s even better. If you don’t, choose a mayo with olive oil, sunflower or safflower oil or even avocados as a base. I don’t want to sound the canola oil police, but frankly, canola oil is a dirty word in my house.

    Feel free to use this delectable egg salad for everyday sammies, special brunch tea sandwiches, dolloped on a spring green salad, smeared on a giant piece of toast or right out of the bowl. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

    Serving Size: Makes about 2 cups

    Avocado Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

    Ingredients

    • 6-8 large hard boiled eggs, peeled and lightly mashed
    • 1-2 ripe avocados, lightly mashed
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more as needed
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, or more to taste
    • 1/4 cup dill pickle relish, or more to taste
    • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Fresh microgreens, optional

    Instructions

  • Gently fold together the mashed hard boiled eggs, avocado, mayonnaise, pickle relish, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate for an hour and then use for tea sandwiches, sandwiches and salads with fresh microgreens.
  • Notes

    I've given approximate measurements of ingredients, however, feel free to adjust all the ingredients to suit your tastes.

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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/04/12/avocado-egg-salad-tea-sandwiches/

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup // Dairy Free // Karista's Kitchen

    This gorgeous Carrot Ginger Coconut soup is a revised version of my original carrot soup recipe.  As time passes, and the more I prepare a recipe, chances are it’s going to get a few makeovers now and again.

    Although I do love my original recipe, I’ve created this version with coconut milk to appease my nagging dairy allergy and to create a different flavor twist to the soup.

    I prepare carrot ginger soup almost year round.  My family completely adores this soup in the fall and winter months because of the soothing properties of ginger.  It’s also equally as loved in the spring and summer for the bold taste of earthy, sweet carrots and the tropical flavors of coconut milk.

    Last week I topped the carrot ginger coconut soup with candied blood orange that my brother and sister-in-law sent me from Japan.  The simple touch of orange elevated the flavors yet again, creating the most delightful winter soup.

    I often make the soup on the weekend and store it in the fridge for quick weekday lunches or a light weeknight meal.  It also makes a delicious starter to Sunday dinner or a late night snack.

    And sometimes, I just find myself stopping by the fridge and snagging a spoonful of the silky, lush soup. It’s delicious room temp or warm and obviously, I eat it when it’s cold. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • 12-15 medium carrots, chopped
    • 2 ribs celery, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice (enough liquid to cover the veggies in the soup pot)
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • Pinch of ground cloves
    • 1 cup canned organic coconut milk (not the light coconut milk)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and dried thyme. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.
  • Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice and sliced ginger. (enough liquid to cover all the vegetables in the pot) Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the ginger slices, or as many as you can.
  • Either using a hand blender or pour the soup into a blender, Vitamix or food processor and puree. You may need to do this in stages as all the soup may not fit in the blender/food processor all at once.
  • Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir in the allspice, pinch of cloves and coconut milk. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until the consistency feels right.
  • Serve immediately. You can keep it warm on the stove if needed. Just keep the heat on low. This soup can be refrigerated for about 3 days and reheated stove top, or microwave.
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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/01/06/carrot-ginger-coconut-soup/

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Holiday Cheese Board with Nibbles // Karista's Kitchen

     

    If there is one moment during the year that no one will ever question how long you (I) linger around the hors d’oeuvre table, it’s during the holidays when the table is loaded with glorious amounts of creamy, lush cheese.  After all, what can be more fun than nibbling on new types of cheese or an excuse to indulge in your favorite cheese?

    Putting together a holiday cheese board couldn’t be simpler.  I like to include at least five kinds of cheese ranging from soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard from different regions of the US or International.  You could always create a “local” cheese board with cheese made only from your region.  This would be a delicious way to support not only your local cheese makers but introduce your guests to the cheese produced in your area.

    I also like to assemble an international cheese board, sort of “around the world in cheese”.  This is delectable fun and creates interesting conversation around the food table.  It’s also a great way to introduce guests to new cheese!

    Holiday Cheese Board with Nibbles // Karista's Kitchen

    I like to label the cheese on the holiday cheese board and if there is room on the label, give a short tasting description.  You can find tasting descriptions online or simply ask your local cheese specialist.  They love to talk cheese. 😉 I should know, I worked as a cheese specialist once upon a time – and I still like to talk about cheese.

    When putting together your holiday cheese board be sure to add in a few extra nibbles either on the board or on platters around the board.  I recently found these lovely parmesan cheese crisp crackers that are divine when paired with cheese.  I also love an interesting selection of charcuterie paired with the cheese, possibly from your local charcuterie shop or butcher.  Assorted oil cured or stuffed olives (I adore lemon rind stuffed green olives), candied or truffle laced nuts, peppers or peppadew peppers, grapes, apple or pear slices dipped in chocolate.  A small assortment of fresh bread, crostini or crackers rounds out this lovely holiday cheese board.

    A holiday cheese board makes a perfect first course for all your dinner parties or celebrations, but it can also make a fabulous last course with cocktails or aperitif.

    Wishing you all a most delicious and happy holiday season!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Ingredients

    • Five types of cheese ranging from soft, semi-soft, semi-hard to soft
    • Oil cured or stuffed olives
    • Charcuterie, assorted (salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, etc)
    • Fresh fruit such as grapes, pear or apple slices
    • Peppers or Peppadew Peppers (goat cheese stuffed peppadews are divine!)
    • Candied, smoked, herbed or truffled nuts
    • Assorted crackers, crostini, fresh bread, slices of pumpkin or banana bread is always fun

    Instructions

  • On a large platter, platters or wood board, place your cheese around the board/platter, spacing it out and cutting a few slices of each to get the slicing started.
  • In between the cheese place bits of grapes/fruit, tiny bowls of nuts, peppers and olives, roll or stack the charcuterie and then wedge the crackers in if there is space. If not, serve the crackers, crostini, bread pieces, etc in small bowls or platters.
  • Label the cheese and serve. Simple and delicious!
  • Notes

    This Holiday Cheese Board was created for Western Horse & Gun Magazine 2016 Holiday Issue.

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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2016/12/08/holiday-cheese-board/