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Feast of the Seven Fishes with DaVinci Wine

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

A holiday table set with seven fish dishes is a glorious sight to behold. Especially if you’re a lover of seafood but also enjoy the Italian holiday tradition, Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Why seven fish dishes? The Italian tradition began as a religious observance when fish was served for Christmas Eve dinner. Some say the seven fish dishes were served to represent the seven sacraments or the seven virtues. Over the years however, Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a holiday celebration enjoyed by many here in the U.S., including my family.

I read about Feast of the Seven Fishes years ago when studying culinary history and cultural food traditions. I found it so fascinating that I decided to implement something similar for my family’s celebrations of the holiday season.

I started out strong the first year. I put my heart and soul into that event – although I can’t quite remember all the dishes I prepared. I just remember how fun and delicious the evening had been. Each year since, I’ve continued the tradition of fish on Christmas Eve. Some years I go all out with an impressive spread of seafood dishes and other years it’s as simple as a Lobster alla Arribiata with braised Chard and homemade Focaccia or a large pot of seafood stew.

This year I was asked by the amazing team at DaVinci Wine to create a Feast of the Seven Fishes to pair with the DaVinci Chianti and the DaVinci Pinot Grigio. Two of my favorite Italian wines.

I have to admit, I was thrilled. Not only was I going to have the opportunity to play with food (which is a favorite part of my job) and create gorgeous, mouth-watering recipes, but because I have a giant heartfelt adoration and deep attachment to everyone involved in creating this approachable yet lush wine. I feel like part of the DaVinci family.

To begin, I created two sumptuous starters to set the festive mood and tantalize the palate.

The first appetizer is a simple crab stuffed mushrooms recipe filled with a fluffy and flavorful mixture of cream cheese, crab, fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and Parmesan cheese. Then topped with breadcrumbs for a slightly crisp finish.

The second seafood dish is another lovely nibble prepared with smoked salmon lox and an herb and lemon ricotta on garlic crostini.   The creamy herb ricotta creates a gorgeous backdrop for the smoked salmon and of course pairs beautifully with the crisp, clean flavors of DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

Smoked Salmon Crostini with Herbed Ricotta for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

For the next course, I created a gorgeous Insalata Frutti de Mare (an Italian seafood salad) filled with marinated and poached baby octopus along with additional treasures from the sea and paired with the fresh and distinct flavors of fennel and orange – two of my favorite combinations to pair with seafood.

This lovely seafood salad reaches absolute perfection when served with DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

Insalata Frutti di Mare for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

The last two dishes we paired with the crisp, clean flavors of the DaVinci Pinot Grigio is the Seafood Risotto and Pesce all’ Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water).

Seafood Risotto for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

The Fish in Crazy Water is not only tantalizing in flavor but a gorgeous and impressive dish to serve your guests.

A whole fish, pan seared and then poached in flavorful aromatics, creating a lush entrée for your holiday celebration.

Fish in Crazy Water for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

These four fish recipes served with DaVinci Pinot Grigio will captivate your guests and create a memorable holiday celebration.

You will find these little lovelies HERE on the DaVinci Wine Facebook page. I’ll be posting soon about the next three fish recipes that I’ve paired with the lush DaVinci Chianti.

Wishing you and your family a most joyous and delicious holiday season!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Pasta vegetarian

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

You know that feeling you get when you bite into a fork full of food so lush, so decadent, it causes a sort of euphoria? And for a moment, you’re senses are transported to another place – relishing the taste, the textures and aroma.  That’s Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter.

This isn’t just another lovely dish, it’s a dish to be savored, served with the best wine and the best company.  It’s a perfect “date night in” recipe, or something you’d serve to a few close friends.  When you prepare this dish, give your self plenty of time in the kitchen.  You know the old saying, the one your mom probably said a thousand times, “stop taking your sweet time and get a move on it”?  Well this is the time to ignore that saying.   Although it’s not a difficult recipe to prepare it does take a gentle hand and a little “sweet” time.

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

When I was thinking about what I’d write for VRAI Magazine’s December issue, I knew I wanted it to be special.  I’d planned a roasted Tri-Tip that turned out sumptuous in every way – but it just didn’t feel right for the season.  It had to be Raviolo al Uovo.

Raviolo al Uovo with Brown Butter // Karista's Kitchen

I know you’ll love this recipe and you can find it at VRAI Magazine.   If you make it,  I’d love to know how it turned out.  And of course, you can always email me with questions.

Wishing you all a beautiful and very delicious Holiday Season!

Loads of Love,

Karista

 

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Tips and Techniques

Holiday Gift Guide from Karista’s Kitchen

Holiday Appetizers from Karista's Kitchen

I’ve got some special gifts I’d love to share with you, including links to these delightful appetizer recipes which you’ll find at the end of this post. 🙂

This Holiday Gift Guide is filled with products from very special companies and artists that I completely adore – companies and artisans with integrity in their products and their mission.  

Maybe you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone or for family members that seem to stump the gift giving every year.  I’m certain you’ll love one or more of these unique gift ideas that won’t break the bank but will warm the loved one’s heart.

I don’t know about you but I love Little Lace Box delivery day.  The excitement that wells up inside of me when I see that red little box on my door step is literally overwhelming.

A fruit spoon from Little Lace Box

My fruit spoon from Little Lace Box

Little lace box is dedicated to seeking out only the most talented and creative up-and-coming designers, whose products might not have even hit the market yet.  This year you can choose to “gift” your box to whoever you choose at any time during the year. This creates an easy and fun way to remember birthdays, holidays, special occasions or just because moments.

Not only can you subscribe to the gift box but Little Lace Box also hosts my Karista’s Kitchen store. We carry a gorgeous line of products on the website that are carefully curated for our customers from new designers and artisans. Truly the unique and special gift for that special someone.  

For the food lover or home chef in your life, I have two food companies that provide the perfect food gifts to give.

smoked salmon from Two If By Seafoods

Smoked Salmon from Two if By Seafoods and Barn2Door

Barn2Door is a marketplace to help consumers purchase clean, sustainable, local and regional food. This is a company near and dear to my heart. As a culinary professional with time spent in nutrition, I can’t advocate enough for local, clean, healthy food.

Barn2Door makes it easier to find local growers and food from your area, or specialty foods from other regions that ship directly to you, the consumer.  It’s truly a win-win for everyone – supporting our local farmers and food artisans and preparing healthy food for our family.

I’ve been a fan of Jovial foods for many years now. I bake with Einkorn flour and I use many of their pasta products in my recipes. Jovial has created this lovely Einkorn baking gift set that is the perfect gift for the home chef in your life. If you’d like to read more about the Einkorn cookbook and flour, check out my book review here.

Einkorn - Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat Fudgey Chocolate Brownies

Fudgey Brownie Recipe from the Einkorn Cookbook

If fine art is what you’re looking for, look no further.  A dear friend, who happens to be one of the most talented artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, has an Etsy shop filled with her gorgeous prints.  Krystyna has an impressive resume and has sold her paintings and commissioned work all over the world.  I feel so lucky to own four of her prints, proudly displayed in my home.

Another friend of mine, Jim O’Donnell, is an experienced and amazing travel photographer, writer and archeologist.  He also has a lovely collection of photography prints that makes me swoon every time I see them.  Jim writes a fabulous travel and photography blog Around the World in Eighty Years.  You won’t want to miss it!  Jim O’Donnell prints make a perfect gift for the photography enthusiast, or for someone who is a connoisseur of photographic art.

Now I’m hungry and I want to go shopping. 🙂

Happy gift giving!

Karista

To find the appetizer recipes click on the links below:

Honey Dijon Glazed Pork Belly with Rosemary White Bean Puree 

Asian Salmon Cake Sliders

Sausage Rolls

Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates 

 

 

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Soup Turkey

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup // Karista's Kitchen

Although Thanksgiving turkey dinner is a treat, it’s really the leftovers that excite my family.  During the cooler months, soup is king in my house.

This Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup is the perfect way to use leftover turkey, along with the loads of delicious turkey stock I prepare the day after Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t long ago we lived back east and visited Plymouth Village every Thanksgiving.  It felt surreal to walk through the village on Thanksgiving day, soaking up the history while giving thanks for family and friends.

A few Thanksgiving dinners we dined at the village for their annual feast. Other times we would dine at one of the many local restaurants in the area serving Thanksgiving dinner.

One particular year we dined at the sweetest restaurant which was in a renovated Victorian home.  This was of course before my days at culinary school, so something as simple as a delicious soup still mystified me.  Honestly, I don’t think I had ever tasted such an exquisite soup like the Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup we had that day.  So rich and flavorful with tender pieces of roast turkey and the woody, heady scent of the mushrooms combined with aromatics of thyme and sherry… I was in soup heaven.

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup // Karista's Kitchen

Each Thanksgiving since, I re-create that soup.  And each Thanksgiving I always think I’ve done a pretty good job with my re-creation.  This Thanksgiving season, I decided it was time to share the recipe for my Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup. 🙂

This year we had a lovely Thanksgiving day with our family that began with Mimosa’s and then continued with silly faces for the camera, everyone in the kitchen cooking and singing – and a few peeled off into the family room for a dance off. We’re a crazy lot, but I love our zest for life and love and family and for the gratefulness we all share.

My messy kitchen from Thanksgiving Day // Karista's Kitchen My oldest sassy gal preparing the Thanksgiving dressing // Karista's Kitchen My two sassy gals at Thanksgiving // Karista's Kitchen Thanksgiving Table // Karista's Kitchen

Life around my table is always filled with love, inspiration and of course, tasty food.  Bringing us together, cementing our connection and supporting each other.  During this holiday season I try to extend my reach and bring others to the table that aren’t so fortunate by donating to our local food bank, giving to our local shelters and community centers as well as churches in our valley that support local families.

This year I encourage you to extend your love and life around the table by giving to a local family or a food bank in need;  filling their empty well with your love of food or service this holiday season.  After all, isn’t that what the holidays are for? For loving each other, giving freely and supporting each other.

In the past, I was the fortunate recipient of this kind of love.  It was extended to my family many years ago when I was a child.  A time when our family was at one of the lowest points of my childhood.  A time when my parents needed help, needed compassion and love.

Our community brought us food, not just for Thanksgiving dinner but for several weeks after.  That compassion made a huge impression on my 10-year-old self.  I’ll never forget the kindness and grace in our neighbors faces as they delivered the food.  For me, it meant survival – and a little joy during a joyless time in our lives.

I treasure you all and I’m so thankful for your support here at Karista’s Kitchen. I wish you the happiest, most delicious and joyous of holiday seasons.

Loads of love,

Karista

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Serving Size: 6-8

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sliced fresh seasonal mushrooms (I used cremini, shiitake and oyster)
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • 1 cup wild rice, not cooked
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 cups diced turkey meat (this recipe is also great with leftover roasted chicken)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat 1 cup of water to boiling. Place the dried porcini mushroom in a heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water over the mushrooms making sure all the mushrooms are moistened. Let that sit for about 15-20 minutes. The gently remove the mushrooms to a chopping board with a mesh strainer. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the mushroom liquid to add to the soup. Chop the porcini mushrooms and add them to the fresh mushrooms.
  • In a large pot, add the extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions and celery and sauté until wilted. Then stir in the garlic, the porcini and one cup fresh mushrooms and thyme and cook for one to two minutes longer or until the mushrooms begin to wilt.
  • Stir in the sherry and let it reduce by half. Then stir in the turkey or chicken broth, 1/2 cup of porcini mushroom liquid and bring it to a boil.
  • Stir in the rice and Italian parsley and then turn it down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer until the rice is cooked.
  • Stir in the diced turkey or chicken, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the 1/2 cup of mushrooms and minced garlic clove in a bit of butter and then season with salt and pepper. Use the mushrooms and chopped Italian parsley to garnish each bowl of the soup.
  • Notes

    This is a great recipe for leftover roasted chicken as well. Increase the fresh or dried mushrooms as you prefer. As well, add or delete broth depending on how thick or thin you like your soup. I prefer a heartier soup so often I'll only add five cups liquid instead of six.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Herbs

    Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Herbs in a white wine cream sauce

    What do I serve as a side dish in a pinch?  These gorgeous Sautéed Mushrooms in a White Wine Cream Sauce.  Seasonal mushrooms that are gently sautéed with garlic and fresh herbs and then finished with a light white wine cream sauce. 

    These sautéed mushrooms couldn’t be easier or more delicious.  Living in the Pacific Northwest, we’re fortunate to have a climate perfect for growing mushrooms.  It’s not difficult to find locally grown or wild mushrooms here in the Pacific Northwest; often finding them at the Farmer’s Market as well as local markets.

    Another option is to take a wild mushroom foraging tour.  Ok, I have to admit, I’ve never been on a wild mushroom foraging tour but it’s on my bucket list.  I know, it doesn’t sound exciting enough to be on a bucket list but because I’m such a food nerd it’s super exciting to me.  Not to mention, I’m smack in the middle of mushroom heaven. It’s just something we do up her in the far left hand corner of the U.S.

    Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Herbs in a white wine cream sauce

    Most markets carry a fair assortment of mushrooms.  Crimini’s, buttons, shiitake, seasonal chanterelle, seasonal oyster, seasonal truffle, and seasonal morels as well as a selection of dried mushrooms that I often incorporate into my sautéed mushrooms.  

    Because I adore porcini mushrooms, and it’s rare to find them fresh unless you’re in Italy, I reconstitute them in warm white wine and add them to these sautéed mushrooms.  Porcini mushrooms have a distinct, woody and nutty flavor that lends depth to this sautéed mushroom recipe.  I’ve also used dried morels, oyster and chanterelle in a pinch.  Truly any dried mushroom you like, mixed with fresh mushrooms will make a delicious and tantalizing side dish.

    I serve these sautéed mushrooms with beef, pork, poultry, salmon and sometimes over mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies, or rice.  They’re also divine when topped with a fried egg. 

    They’re a lovely and complimentary side dish and I love them served with leftover turkey and gravy.  On the rare occasion you have leftover sautéed mushrooms, add them to a soup or stew for a little extra texture and flavor.

    Once you make these sautéed mushrooms you’ll love them so much, you’ll want to make them a regular rotation on your side dish menu.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Sautéed Mushrooms in a White Wine Cream Sauce

    Serving Size: 4

    Sautéed Mushrooms in a White Wine Cream Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb assorted fresh mushrooms (cremini, shitake, oyster, morels), sliced
    • 1 ounce dried porcini or morels (reconstituted in warm water or wine), chopped
    • 2 large portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs (Italian parsley, chive, thyme, oregano, marjoram or rosemary)
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • ¼ cup white wine
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

    Instructions

  • In a medium sauté pan heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted stir in all the sliced mushrooms. The mushrooms will soak up the butter, but will release the oils once the mushrooms have wilted.
  • Continue tossing the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms until wilted or slightly browned. Stir in the fresh herbs and garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
  • Add the white wine and stir. Then add the heavy cream and stir. Allow the cream to thicken and then take the pan off the heat, toss with a squeeze of lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and serve.
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    Appetizers Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pork

    Back to School Sausage Rolls

    Cuisinart Back to School Sausage Rolls 5

    “After school is my favorite part of the day Mom”. This is what my youngest daughter used to tell me when she was little.  I once asked why it was her favorite part of the day and she replied “because when I open the front door it smells like home”.   Tell me that wouldn’t melt your heart into a giant puddle?!

    After melting into that giant puddle I asked “what smells like home?”  My daughter said “it smells like delicious food”.

    I didn’t always work from home so on those days I’d try to have something tasty (and mostly healthy) in the fridge to warm up or on the counter in the treat bin.  Because after that heart melting statement, how could I not have an after school snack for my little gal who obviously cherished that one moment every day?

    Back to School Sausage Rolls with your favorite sausage, cheese and puff pastry // Karista's Kitchen

    Making these sausage rolls is a snap. I first learned of these tasty little treats from my friend Suzie, who is from the UK.  

    She used to bring them to elementary school for events or teacher appreciation day.  I must have been the one adult to eat my weight in these delectable bite sized nibbles.  So when Cuisinart sent me the Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven to review, I thought these savory baked sausage rolls would be a perfect first recipe to prepare and test out this fabulous piece of kitchen equipment.

    Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m not one to load my kitchen with lots of equipment but I have to tell you this toaster oven has gotten a lot of use since it’s arrival.  During the hot summer I cooked everything in it.  From salmon filets and burgers to flatbread pizza, blueberry crisp and brownies.  It was so hot this summer I didn’t want to turn on my oven and grilling outside often seemed way too much effort in the scorching heat.

    The Cuisinart convection feature is perfect for quickly cooking and searing in juices of fish, poultry, pork and meat and it cooked salmon burgers and stuffed portabella mushrooms perfectly.  My family thoroughly enjoys the toaster oven feature. It makes preparing flatbread or pizza and warming up leftover macaroni and cheese simple and quick.  It’s also easy to clean and just the right size so it doesn’t take up too much counter space.

    These tasty sausage rolls keep well in the fridge and can be warmed up in the toaster oven as well.  But I have to admit, they are pretty darn delicious right out of the oven.

    Wishing you a happy and safe school year and a most fabulous Autumn season!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Back to School Sausage Rolls

    6-12 depending on the size of the sausages

    Back to School Sausage Rolls

    Ingredients

    • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
    • 9-12 small sausages or hot dogs, if using sausages gently cut the casing and slide the sausage out of the casing. (I used chicken apple breakfast sausages)
    • 3-4 slices cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
    • 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
    • Yellow Mustard, Honey Mustard or Maple Syrup for dipping
    • Serve with assorted cut or sliced veggies for a delicious and healthy snack

    Instructions

  • This recipe makes 6-12 sausage rolls depending on the size of your sausages. I used smaller chicken apple breakfast sausages, removed from the casing and then cut in half.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F and place a piece of parchment on the baking tray.
  • Roll out the puff pastry and cut three even strips.
  • Depending on the size of your sausages, divide each strip of puff pastry into thirds or half. Cut the cheese slices into halves or thirds.
  • Whisk the egg with the water for the egg wash.
  • At one end of a square of puff pastry, brush with a little egg wash and then place a strip of cheese and then a piece of sausage on the end of the pastry square. Roll up the pastry to enclose the sausage, pinching the seam a bit to keep the pastry closed and then place it seam side down on the baking tray. Repeat the process for each piece of pastry.
  • Once the rolls are done, score the top of each sausage roll with a knife and then brush with the remaining egg wash.
  • Place them in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the sausages look done.
  • Let them cool for about 5 minutes before serving. The sausage will be very hot! I like to serve these with honey mustard, yellow mustard or maple syrup for dipping.
  • Store in a closed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Notes

    To serve these for a party, I also like to serve them with tomato jam or chutney.

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

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters // Karista's Kitchen

    I know I’ve been MIA lately and like all busy working Mom’s, I have a good excuse.  I simply took a break. I decided the world would not end if I didn’t post a new recipe or if I didn’t check my social media to see what I might be missing.

    I spent quality time with my family trekking around the Pacific Northwest, ate TONS of great food, (including these Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters) walked miles and miles like a tourist in Europe and found myself taking deep breaths and stopping to smell a few roses.  It was time well spent.

    I came back to a garden overflowing with tomatoes, cucumbers and Swiss Chard… and of course loads of laundry.  Tank came home from his vacation at the Muddy Dog Ranch and promptly walked to his fluffy blue bed and fell asleep.  We haven’t seen him since. 🙂  I think he had a good time.

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters // Karista's Kitchen

    Once I got back into my office I realized I’d better get these soup shooters posted before labor day or I’d have to rename them something other than Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters.

    These lovelies are creamy with a burst of fresh herbs and slightly sweet with the option of adding a dash of hot sauce for a little extra punch.  

    I paired this soup with fresh Oregon Bay Shrimp but you can use any size shrimp you have on hand or prefer. Lush and brilliant in color, these corn and shrimp soup shooters are a perfect starter for any meal and great for entertaining.

    Happy and successful wishes to all the kiddos headed to back to school!  And happy and restful wishes to all the parents. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 2 cups fresh summer corn, plus ½ cup cooked corn to finish the soup
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 3-4 cups vegetable broth (enough to just cover the potatoes)
    • Dash of hot sauce
    • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 cup cooked bay shrimp
    • 10-12 cooked large shrimp
    • Garnish with a dollop of Crème Fraiche and chopped fresh cilantro

    Instructions

  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the onion and sauté until the onion is wilted. Then stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
  • Next, stir in the diced potatoes, 2 cups fresh corn, oregano, thyme, parsley and 3 cups of vegetable broth; just enough broth to cover the potatoes. Depending on how large the potatoes, you may need the 4th cup.
  • Cover and turn the heat to low and simmer the vegetables for about 20 minutes. The potatoes should be soft to the touch. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool slightly. With an immersion blender or in a standing blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
  • Stir in the ½ cup cooked corn and then season the soup to taste with a dash of hot sauce and salt and pepper. This soup can be prepared a day in advance. In fact, it will taste even better after sitting in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the soup from the refrigerator about one hour before serving and gently warm before serving.
  • To serve the soup, add a few small bay shrimp to the bottom of each shooter glass or small bowl. Pour the soup over the bay shrimp and then top the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and one large shrimp. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
  • Notes

    I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine August 2015 Issue

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Cubano Sliders – Small Plate Entertaining

    Cubano Sliders with Marinated Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Pickles and Mustard on Sweet Slider Buns // Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve always had a love affair with the Cubano sandwich.  What’s not to love?  These Cubano Sliders are packed with so much flavor and texture, it makes me happy just to look at one sitting on my plate.

    I’ve dined on many Cubano’s, some good, but some so spectacular it’s all I could think about for days after dining on the sandwich.   Which is what happened after watching the movie “Chef“.  I stayed up late one evening, waiting for my teenager to arrive home by curfew, (because I can’t sleep until I know she’s home safe and sound) so I decided to watch the movie “Chef”.  I like the cast of actors and of course the premise for the movie intrigued me. 😉

    I laughed, I cried, I empathized, I cheered… and then I was hungry.

    The movie reminded me why I’m so passionate about cooking.  Why I love food and why I love to feed people.  Why I stick with a career that can be both physically and mentally demanding but completely creative and rewarding at the same time.

    Guess what was on the menu a few days later?  Cubano Sliders.

    Not long after my Cubano weekend, I was creating menu ideas for one of my clients “small plates” themed issues and I realized how much fun these Cubano Sliders would be for a small plates dinner party.  

    I couldn’t let the summer slip by without sharing these little lovelies with you.  These Cubano Sliders are perfect for entertaining or dinner or even and after school snack.  Personally, I could eat them any time of the day or night.

    A festive and delicious way to end the summer season and begin the new school year.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Cubano Sliders

    Serving Size: 8-10

    Cubano Sliders

    Ingredients

    • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ - 1lb
      For the Marinade
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup pineapple juice
    • 1 small onion sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic smashed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
      For the Slider
    • Marinated pork tenderloin
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • ½ lb sliced baked ham
    • 1 small jar of sliced pickles
    • 10 slices Swiss cheese
    • Yellow mustard
    • Slider Buns

    Instructions

  • To marinate the pork, place the tenderloin in a non-reactive or glass dish. Mix together the orange juice, pineapple juice, sliced onion, garlic, cumin, all-spice cinnamon stick, cilantro and salt. Pour this mixture over the tenderloin and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • To prepare the pork, preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade. Paper towel dry the pork and then rub it with one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix together the salt, pepper and the all-spice and rub it onto the pork. Place the pork in a baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145F.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and let it cool. Once the pork has cooled, thinly slice the pork and set aside.
  • Turn the oven down to 350F.
  • Slice the slider buns in half and place them on a baking sheet. Add a slice of Swiss cheese to both the top and bottom of each slider bun. Then add a dash of mustard on top of the cheese on both the bottom and top of each slider bun.
  • Place thin sliced pork tenderloin, thin sliced pickles and thin sliced baked ham on the bottom slider buns. Place the tops of the buns (with just the cheese and mustard) over the pork and pickles and the press down slightly to keep the sliders in tact.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and let them warm until the cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes or so.
  • Remove the sliders from the oven and serve.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine August/September 2015 issue.

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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad



    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I’m in salad mode these days and this gorgeous Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad is my obsession as of late.

    I’m harvesting a plethora of produce from my garden and what I didn’t grow or can’t grow, I’m finding at our local farmer’s market and farms around the valley.  I feel like a kid in a candy store!

    My arugula grew beyond my expectations and my Swiss Chard is still going strong, which makes me super happy.  Swiss Chard is my favorite leafy green; I adore it for it’s peppery bite and it’s a bit more hearty when sautéed.  It makes the loveliest fillings for morning omelets or frittatas and works well in my simple weeknight one dish meal of white rice, sliced green onions, sliced fresh mushrooms, diced roasted poblanos (optional) and ground Italian sausage for the Bennett Crew and a poached egg for me. 🙂

    Due to my exploding arugula, I’ve created more recipes to include arugula this year than ever before.  However, with the heat recently, I try not to turn on the oven, so this Roasted Fig and Arugula salad plus a grilled entrée is often served for dinner.  Actually, I can eat this salad without anything else, that’s how much I love it.

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I roast the figs early in the day and then refrigerate them.  Or I’ll grill the figs if I get busy and forget to roast them.

    I dress the arugula with a honey balsamic vinaigrette, a pinch of salt and pepper and then layer with the roasted figs and crumbled goat cheese for the yummiest and most indulgent Roasted Fig and Arugula salad.

    Although it’s been a hot summer, it’s been a lovely summer.  Quick day trips to the coast and dining at my absolute favorite coastal seafood restaurant, Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, hikes in the mountains with Tank and a visit with my sweet family.  The best part of this summer?  No moves! I’ve moved the last two summers and it feels so nice to be settled and enjoying the season.  Even if it’s been brutally hot.

    I hope you’re enjoying your summer, staying cool and spending lots of time gathered around the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 4-6 cups of baby arugula leaves
    • 1-2 pints fresh figs
    • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or more to taste)
    • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons
    • 2-3 tablespoons honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the figs in half and then toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Place the figs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they are soft and a little caramelized.
  • Remove the figs from the oven and let them cool.
  • Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over the arugula and toss. Plate the arugula and then layer with the roasted figs, drizzling a bit more vinaigrette over the figs if desired, and then sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes Sweets vegetarian

    Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers

    Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers with drizzle of honey and fresh mint // Karista's Kitchen

    Many of my childhood summers were spent at my Grandparents home.  It was usually hot and dry and the afternoons were begging for either a run through the sprinkler or playing tag with the water hose.

    To beat the heat, and most likely for some afternoon entertainment, my grandfather would bring home giant watermelons.  He’d head to his back porch and slice them up and then he’d bring out the juicy pink slices to the back yard and share with all of his grandkids (he had quite a few!).  We’d stand around the yard enjoying our watermelon treat and then inevitably, someone would start a watermelon spitting contest.  I’m not sure who would start it but it was usually one of the boys.  Whoever won the contest got the last piece of watermelon.  I have a feeling that Grandpa might have had the most fun with the seed spitting contest.  😉

    I can’t imagine summer without watermelon.  I buy a watermelon at our farm market every week and in only a few days it’ll be gone.  I cube half the watermelon for salads and snacking and the other half I slice and grill or add to fruit smoothies or granita’s.  I especially love to grill watermelon on skewers.  Once the watermelon has a few nice grill marks, I let it cool and then thread cubes of feta in between the watermelon.  A drizzle of honey and a few mint leaves finish the dish beautifully… sort of like a grilled fruit and cheese platter only it’s on a skewer.

    There are so many creative and delicious recipes for watermelon, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite watermelon recipes from a few of my favorite food websites:

    Chile Lime Watermelon Wedges from Alaska from Scratch  http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/06/19/chile-lime-watermelon-wedges-cilantro/

    Watermelon Jicama Salad from Taste Love and Nourish  http://www.tasteloveandnourish.com/2014/07/16/watermelon-jicama-salad-queso-fresco-honey-lime-vinaigrette/

    Watermelon Tequila Granita from Pink Patisserie  http://pinkpatisserie.net/2014/07/watermelon-tequila-granita.html

    Wishing you a fun and festive weekend… and let there be loads of watermelon seed spitting contests!

    Karista

    Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers with Fresh Mint

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    21-25 1-inch cubes of watermelon

    12-15 1-inch cubes of feta cheese

    Fresh mint leaves

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    ¼ cup honey

    8-15 small skewers or 8 large skewers

    Directions

    If you are using wood skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using.

    Pre-heat the grill to 350F.

    Thread the watermelon on 2-4 large skewers. Brush the watermelon with olive oil and when the grill is hot, place the watermelon skewers on the grill for about 3-4 minutes, turning the skewers every few minute or so. You only want the watermelon on the grill long enough to sear the outside of the watermelon and heat the sweet juices.

    Transfer the grilled watermelon skewers to a baking sheet or platter. Let them cool. When the watermelon has cooled, gently remove them from the long skewers. Using fresh skewers, small or large, thread watermelon and feta on the skewers; alternating until the skewer is filled. End with a sprig of mint.

    Place the watermelon and feta skewers on a serving platter and drizzle with honey and serve.

    *created for Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015 

     

     

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad


    Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad 2
    The month of June has been filled with a plethora of emotions.  Professional angst led the way with big decisions looming and changes on the horizon.  I had exciting but tough decisions to consider that made my focus narrow and kept my head buried.  That’s when life came to a screeching halt.

    We lost a beloved family member unexpectedly. And although this lovely lady led an adventurous and fulfilled life, it was heartbreaking to lose her.  We spent a week in my old stomping ground, sitting around the old wood table rehashing memories, sorting, giving things away and just when I thought there wasn’t a bright light to be seen, I stumbled upon an old friend that I haven’t seen since the age of 13.  We cried. We sat on sofas and visited, reminisced, laughed, shared stories of our children and remembered why we had been good friends.

    Before leaving the old stomping ground, Ranger Craig and I found the sweetest cafe that serves traditional food of the region.  Cuisine I know well, food from my childhood and adolescence, meals that hold memories.  Ranger Craig and I indulged in Fried Catfish, hushpuppies, coleslaw, chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra and sweet tea.  It was a feast!  We left with smiles on our faces and memories swirling in our thoughts.

    I returned home, washed clothes, took Tank to his favorite kennel and then headed to the airport for the second time in two weeks.  A family reunion was happening and I couldn’t miss it.  Exhausted but energized because I would see family that I haven’t seen in two years.  More tears, hugs and loads of chatter and conversation.  Nieces, nephew, brother, sisters, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and people I had no idea I was related to… all merging at my parents home for a celebration.

    The noise levels raised as the house and backyard filled with familiar faces, children’s laughter and larger than life characters with a penchant for comical relief.  Once again food was central around this celebration table.  We served my Mom’s favorite eggplant parmesan, a penne with a tomato cream sauce, lasagna Bolognese, caprese salad, Caesar salad and of course cake for dessert.  I don’t think we have a speck of Italian heritage but it seems to be one of my family’s favorite types of cuisine.  It feels comforting.  It feels like home.

    I’ve always identified with the familiar phrase “home is where the heart is”.  It seems a bit cliché sometimes, but it couldn’t ring more true this month.  I’ve left a piece of my heart in many places and with many people who I share memories and special moments.

    Once again, I find food to be a common denominator.  Much of life is lived around the table (or, at least mine is).  Sharing a meal and sharing time; creating memories.  Cementing emotions and eventually leaving a piece of my heart with the moment.

    We’re home now and I find myself missing my loved ones.  My twin sister and my brother who I feel so connected it would be hard to breathe without them.  My beautiful and loving sister-in-law who is the best sister-in-law in the world.  So much that I call her simply, my sister.   My precious kids. All of them. My own daughters, my nieces, my nephew – giving me so much joy in my life that my heart just might burst.  As my Auntie Ellen would say… they are completely delicious. 🙂

    I’ve gotten terribly mushy with this post. I try to keep these posts mostly about food but I couldn’t help myself today.  Although I don’t know each of you individually, I want to thank you for following Karista’s Kitchen.  Thank you for loving the recipes, for your kind comments and for using them to create your “life around the table”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Marinated Mozzarella // Karista's Kitchen

    Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad 

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    1-2 pints cherry tomatoes or Heirloom cherry tomatoes

    1 container or 2 cups marinated mozzarella balls, cherry tomato size (ciliegine)

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1-2 tablespoons aged, good quality balsamic vinegar

    1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (Julienne) or hand torn (save a little for garnish)

    Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Toss the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Transfer the tomatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast them in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or just until they are wilted.  You only want to bring the sugars (sweetness) out of the tomatoes so don’t leave them in too long or they will be too mushy.

    In a large bowl toss the marinated mozzarella with the fresh basil.  Then gently fold in the tomatoes and then pour onto a platter.  Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil on the salad and then the 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and then garnish with remaining fresh basil.

    Serve room temperature or slightly chilled.

    *This recipe was originally created for Home By Design Magazine

     

    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m jumping right to the point today.  No fluffy words or poetic verse, grand descriptions or other bits of loveliness because this post is all about kitchen equipment.. and delicious Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with a zany Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.

    There is one kitchen appliance that I’ve owned since culinary school… my Cuisinart Food Processor.  It’s 16 years old this summer and it’s seen a load of use.  My food processor is a work horse.  I love it so much I now own the 4 cup mini-prep food processor and the Quick prep hand blender.  I’ve had these last two appliances for 10 years and they are still functioning as if they are new.

    I’m not a kitchen gadget chef, I prefer to do most things by hand.  However, the few appliances that I do keep stocked in my kitchen must be able to handle all the heavy use.  Which is why I typically always reach for a Cuisinart product.  As you may have guessed this is a post sponsored by the lovely folks at Cuisinart.  They know how much I admire their products and they were kind enough to send me a new product to test and review.  And test we did!

    Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa // Karista's Kitchen

    I think my family was more excited than me about the arrival of the Griddler Deluxe.  Well built with solid construction, simple to use, no fussy buttons, just a straight forward high quality indoor grill.   The real test?  How well did it work.

    We grilled pork chops, lamb chops, flank steak, asparagus, lettuce wedges, white peaches and of course, quesadillas.  The sear-blast feature is ideal for grilling meat and locks in the fresh juices and flavor.  It also has six cooking options with removable/reversible non-stick cooking plates that are dishwasher safe.  To say the least, I am impressed.  The Griddler Deluxe is easy to use, easy to clean and works like a charm.  My daughter has now claimed it for her college apartment but I doubt my husband will let it out of the house.

    One of our favorite weekend dinners is quesadillas.  Sometimes I set out an assortment of fresh ingredients on the counter along with all the usual condiments so each of my family members can create their favorite quesadilla.  This time however it was fresh crab from the coast and ripe avocados along with several different kinds of cheese, cilantro, lime wedges and my Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.  A refreshing combination of flavors and texture that pair so deliciously together you will absolutely want seconds.

    Get your grill on and create a delicious summer weekend with these Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.  All that’s missing is the chilled Sangria!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Serving Size: 4-6 as an entree

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 - 1 lb of crab meat
    • 2-3 avocados, sliced
    • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
    • 2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican queso, Ranchero, Cotija, Mozzarella)
    • 12 flour tortillas (regular or gluten free)
    • Olive oil for brushing
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • Serve with lime wedges
      For the salsa
    • 2 cups diced pineapple
    • 1 cup diced red onion
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
    • Juice of one lime
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Heat the Griddler Deluxe to 450F. Push the Sear button for the bottom plate.
  • Brush the tortillas with olive oil and then on one half of the tortilla layer your ingredients; cheese, crab, pickled jalapeños, avocado, cilantro and then cheese. Cheese on both sides helps the quesadilla to stay together.
  • Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling and place it on the grill. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until the outside of the tortilla is golden brown and cheese is melting.
  • Transfer the quesadillas to a plate and let them sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
  • While the quesadillas are cooling make the salsa.
  • Combine the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the quesadillas with the Pineapple Cilantro Salsa, lime wedges and a dollop of sour cream.
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