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Socca (chickpea flatbread)

Socca (Chickpea Flatbread) // Karista's Kitchen

Sometimes I feel this humble blog is my somewhat ignored child.  I think about this blog all the time and I’m constantly planning a million things to post here.  But alas, paid work must come first and sometimes that work takes up most of my time… which is a good thing is it not?

You should see my list of recipes I’ve got going.  Every season I make this long list of recipes to prepare, photograph and post here for you to completely revel in and enjoy.   However, half of those recipes never make it onto the blog. The really delicious recipes that I feel you MUST have come rain or shine or snowstorm or vacation actually get posted.  Other recipes sort of hang around season after season until before I know it, it’s been a full year and the recipe is still on my “to post” list.

This Socca (chickpea flatbread) is one such recipe.  I can’t say for certain why it’s taken me so long to post this other than it often disappears before I can snap a few photos.

Socca (Chickpea Flatbread) // Karista's Kitchen

Socca is such a simple, fragrant, tasty little recipe that I prepare at least two or three times a week.  Sometimes I’ll make Socca on the weekends and we nibble on it with cheese and wine for a light dinner or snack.  My sassy gals love socca with fresh herbs and garlic as a compliment to a dinner salad or soup.

Socca is so versatile I use it for pizza crust on occasion or serve it for breakfast with fried eggs and wilted greens.

Socca, also referred to as Farinata, originated in Italy.  It’s a simple flatbread made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and typically rosemary.  Although, many versions of socca can be found all over the world.  Some recipes call for resting the batter for several hours prior to baking.  I’ve tried it both ways. Whisking the batter and baking it off within minutes of preparation. Or letting the batter sit for several hours before popping it in the oven before dinner.  Personally, I love the end result when the batter has had time to rest and flavors meld and allow all the delicious magic to happen.  But if you’re in a hurry and just need to get it in the oven, it will still taste delicious.

I’ve listed a basic socca recipe but feel free to add your favorite fresh chopped herbs, garlic, sautéed onions, shallots or garlic.  I love it simply with rosemary, salt and pepper and eaten right out of the pan.  Which is how I finally managed to photograph the socca.  I suppose I could have fancied up the photo but socca is simple goodness and truly needs nothing fancy added.  Maybe just hungry family members. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Socca (chickpea flatbread)

Serving Size: Makes 8 slices

Socca (chickpea flatbread)


  • 1 cup chickpea flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup - 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or a mixture of fresh herbs or chives)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided


  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, 3/4 cup water (adding more for a thinner flatbread), salt, fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes or covered in the fridge for about 2-3 hours or overnight if you're preparing for breakfast.
  • When you are ready to bake the socca, pre-heat the oven to 425F. Place a 10 inch cast iron or iron skillet in the oven and let it pre-heat with the oven.
  • When the oven is ready, carefully remove the pre-heated skillet and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Pour in the socca batter.
  • Carefully place the skillet back in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until it's golden brown and a little cracked on top.
  • Remove it from the oven and slice into 8 wedges and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

    Retro Crab Salad with Toast Points

    Retro Crab Salad with Toast Points // Karista's Kitchen // A perfectly delicious way to start a dinner party or holiday gathering.

    I call this crab salad, Retro Crab Salad, because its much like the crab salad I used to nibble on “back in the day”.

    This is the kind of crab salad that would have been beautifully displayed on my mom’s orange and yellow fruit covered table-cloth.  I didn’t always remember every dish of food that would grace the table but for some reason, I always remember that table-cloth.  Funny how we remember the most unusual things from our childhood.  This table-cloth (and the food that adorned it) and my gram’s tapioca pudding are two of my favorite food memories.

    A few months ago when I was visiting my mom, she reminded me to browse through her old linens and take what I wanted.  Well wouldn’t you know it… the first linen I saw was the old orange and yellow fruit covered table-cloth.  Of course, I had to have it – and I had to use it for a retro menu that I created for one of my clients.

    Retro Crab Salad and Toast Points // Karista's Kitchen

    This lovely little retro crab salad was one the recipes I created for that menu.  Along with a few other delectable retro dishes, this crab salad has been a staple in my kitchen all summer long. Mostly because Ranger Craig and I went deep-sea fishing and crabbing and came home with 16 crab.  I made scores of crab salad, crab cakes, crab stuffed Dover sole and crab beurre blanc.  Crab landed in every dinner meal that week.  And I wasn’t a bit sad about that. 😉

    Crab is a staple here in the Pacific Northwest.  It can be pricey certain times of the year, but when it’s in season, or we go crabbing, it’s economical and the perfect seafood to add to our dinner menu.  Although, crab has ended up in breakfast omelets a time or two.

    I love this retro crab salad any time of the year.  But I think this dish is especially fun during the holiday season.  You can certainly serve it with crostini or crackers, but serving it with toast points somehow feels befitting.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Retro Crab Salad with Toast Points

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Retro Crab Salad with Toast Points

    This retro crab salad includes all the traditional elements of crab salad using pimentos, mayonnaise and cheddar cheese. However, the addition of thinly sliced green onions gives it a little bite that blends so deliciously with the other ingredients.


    • 8-12 ounces of crabmeat (if fresh crab is not available, feel free to use good quality canned crabmeat)
    • ¼ -1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
    • 2-ounce jar of pimentos, drained
    • ¼ cup thin sliced green onions
    • ¼-1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 8-12 slices of good quality white bread or dark rye
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • Squeeze the excess water from the crabmeat. In a medium bowl, mix together the crabmeat, mayonnaise, pimentos, green onions, cheddar cheese and squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place it in the refrigerator while you make the toast points.
  • Pre-heat the oven to broil. Brush each slice of bread with butter on both sides. Place the bread slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and then place the baking sheet in the oven.
  • Once the bread is golden brown on the first side, turn the slices over to toast the other side. This shouldn’t take long so watch your toast carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove the baking pan from the oven, sprinkle each slice of bread with a pinch of salt and let the toast cool. Trim the crust and slice each piece of bread diagonally to make two triangles.
  • Serve the chilled crab salad with the toast points.
  • Notes

    This recipe originally created for Home by Design Magazine

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

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes on an egg and biscuit // Karista's Kitchen

    These days, my kitchen counter looks more like a market produce bin.  Which is why I’ve got these lush jammy roasted tomatoes incorporated into almost every meal this season.  I honestly thought I was a bit modest in planning my summer garden this year – it appears I may have over estimated yet again.

    I’m sure my exuberance was due to the long winter and my yearning for fresh tomatoes and zucchini.  I certainly got my wish.

    Every morning Tank and I walk out to the garden boxes and pick produce, pull weeds, water the plants and then stand around and lovingly admire all the work. I never fail to walk back into the house with a smile on my face and usually a small cherry tomato in Tank’s mouth.

    Tank the Terrier and the tomato bowl // Karista's Kitchen

    This summer, I’ve prepared every fresh tomato recipe my family likes to eat as well as every zucchini and poblano recipe I can think of making.  One of my favorite ways to use the fresh zucchini and tomatoes is to small dice the zucchini and combine them with diced tomatoes, summer corn, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  This is one of my family’s favorite summer salads… it’s a bit like this salad, only with the addition of diced zucchini.

    These jammy roasted tomatoes are my attempt to do something different with all the summer tomatoes other than make a salad, sandwiches or tomato pie.  I adore the sweetness of roasted tomatoes and I love to toss them into pastas, wilted greens, smear onto sandwiches or breakfast biscuits.  I like to add them to summer soups and stews, homemade pizza and of course spread them over goat cheese crostini.  I’ve canned these jammy roasted tomatoes but I also like to freeze small packages for use this winter in my sauces and stews.

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes // Karista's Kitchen

    I also adore these jammy roasted tomatoes dolloped into the center of cheesy polenta or served as a sort of sauce for grilled or pan seared fish, chicken or pork.  They’re so good,  sometimes I snag a spoonful out of the jar for a snack.

    Besides thinking of new ways to prepare my plethora of produce, I’ve been busy working on a fun project that I know you’re going to love!  A View to Delicious is the autumn food issue that is written by me and published by VRAI Magazine.  It’ll include new seasonal recipes, stories and photos of the Pacific Northwest, reader questions, cooking tips and techniques and more.  I’ve put my heart into this issue and I hope you’ll read it and love it as much as I do.  It’ll launch September 26th! So stay tuned.

    In between work and gardening, family vacation and getting my sassy gal ready for college, I also took a little time to visit the parents. My youngest gal and I went to the local farmers market with pop, had a lovely crepe prepared by Chef Tarek for breakfast and shopped for the weekly produce under the warm summer sun.

    Chef Tarek making crepes at the Temecula farmers market // Karista's Kitchen

    It was a quick visit but it was fun for the grandparents to visit with their granddaughter and see her witty but somewhat eccentric style.  Yep, as you can see, this one always thought she was a mermaid.  While touring an art museum she found a mermaid chair and claimed it as her throne.

    Amelia and her Mermaid Chair // Karista's Kitchen
    Today I’m back in the office (kitchen) working on new, exciting and of course, delicious, recipes for the fall and winter seasons.  The kiddos are back to school and soon the weather will carry a chill in the air and it’ll be time to put a simmering pot of soup on the stove again.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes


    • About 5-6 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes, drained as much as possible (enough to spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet)
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and then toss the chopped tomatoes with the brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian herbs and olive oil.
  • Spread them in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before using, canning or freezing.
  • Notes

    I make two or three batches of these jammy roasted tomatoes. One batch stays in the fridge, one goes in the freezer and the other one is used for dinner. Delicious!

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

    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema

    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // karista's kitchen

    It’s zucchini week in my kitchen.  This delectable Summer Zucchini Cake recipe is just one of many zucchini recipes I’ve been preparing lately.

    You could say I’m extremely well stocked with zucchini this summer.  I have to admit, it wasn’t my intention to plant four zucchini plants.  My plan was to plant two zucchini this summer.  Because you know how zucchini plants grow in the warm weather and last year they took over my garden.

    So this year I decided to plant two zucchini and four cucumber plants – because I wanted to put up pickles this summer.

    Instead, I unknowingly purchased four zucchini and two cucumber plants.  Obviously my pickling plans are on hold. 🙁

    When zucchini and cucumber plants are starts, they look similar.  At least they look similar to me.  I’m also guessing one of the high school garden area workers at my local garden store thought the same and mis-labeled the zucchini as cucumber.

    Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // Karista's Kitchen

    I suppose I could say “lucky you!” because I’ve got a few more zucchini recipes to post before the summer is over.  Despite my little rant, I do adore zucchini.  It’s my go to veggie in the summer because it pairs deliciously with just about anything.  It’s also fabulous diced raw and tossed into a summer corn and tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s delicious in stir fry’s and just simply roasted, which is what I do with it most the time.

    These summer zucchini cakes are simple to make and can be served as a starter, snack or even light entrée.  Enjoy!

    Summer Zucchini Cakes

    8-10 large cakes 10-15 small cakes

    Summer Zucchini Cakes


    • 3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed
    • 1/2 cup almond flour (or sub with bread crumbs)
    • 1/2 cup or handful of sliced green onion
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
    • 1 egg, lightly whisked
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • Ghee or oil for pan frying
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    • Juice of one lime
    • Splash of Sriracha or hot sauce
    • 1 tablespoon honey


  • In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and honey until thoroughly combined. Hold in the fridge.
  • In a large bowl mix together the grated zucchini, almond flour, green onions, Dijon mustard, pepper jack cheese and egg. Just before making the cakes, stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Heat over medium heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottom skillet. Once the oil is hot and almost smoking, for tablespoon sized zucchini balls and then drop onto the skillet pressing the top to make a little cake. You can also use muffin scoops to portion out the zucchini cake mix.
  • Brown the cake on both sides about 3-5 minutes each side depending on the thickness. Transfer the cakes to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with just a bit more salt or parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with additional green onion and serve warm with the Cilantro Lime Crema
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table

    Strawberry Sangria

    Strawberry Sangria // light and refreshing for warm spring and summer months // Karista's Kitchen

    Mother’s Day is upon us and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate mom than to toast her with this lush and enchanting Strawberry Sangria.

    When I was working on this cocktail I remember thinking how much I adore its pink color.  It totally screams “drink me because I’m pretty!”  It reminded me of my gals when they were little and how much they loved the color pink… although now mostly grown up gals, they still love the color pink. 🙂

    Strawberry season is in full swing, although our local berries are still a few weeks out.  We’re getting berries from our neighboring state of California and they are pretty darn delicious right now. Sweet, juicy and bright red, brimming with flavor and the perfect addition to a spring sangria.

    Although I do love this for a Mother’s Day brunch or dinner and even spring entertaining, I adore this cocktail so much I’ll probably continue to serve it throughout the hot summer months when I might add fresh summer berries to the mix.

    Celebrate mom in style this year and give her a big CHEERS! with this lovely cocktail… for which I’m most certain she deserves.  😉

    Wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day!

    Loads of Love,


    Strawberry Sangria

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Strawberry Sangria

    Pretty in pink, this gorgeous strawberry sangria sings with flavor and elegance. However, it’s perfectly suited to serve at your backyard barbecue!


    • 1 bottle dry rose wine
    • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries plus ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries for garnish
    • ½ cup fine sugar
    • Club soda


  • Place the strawberries in a blender and puree. Pour the puree into a fine mesh strainer and strain the juice from the pulp. Discard the pulp.
  • Mix the strawberry juice with the sugar until the sugar has been dissolved and you have a strawberry syrup.
  • Mix together the strawberry syrup with the rose wine until nicely blended and then add the ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries to the sangria.
  • Chill the sangria for about an hour and then serve over ice and top with club soda.
  • Notes

    Originally published in Home By Design Magazine 2015

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen VRAI Magazine

    Small Bites for Winter Weddings


    Greek Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Spiced Yogurt Sauce

    May is shaping up to be a busy work and family filled month and I’m looking forward to every moment.  My youngest sassy gal will be graduating high school soon and then off to college in the fall.  Family is visiting and there will be loads of fun dinners to prepare – some of which I’ll try to share here.  🙂  I have a bistro steak coming soon!

    Until then, I want to share this link with you… because I think you’d love these recipes and this magazine.  VRAI Magazine asked me to write about small bites for winter weddings – to be published in their first winter wedding guide.  I was honored, mostly because I admire the editor of this magazine, Danny de la Cruz, and his impressive professional background.  Not to mention he’s a dream to work with.

    Puff Pastry Crostini with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Pepper Jelly // Karista's Kitchen

    Can I just say I’m so pleased with the final result?! This Winter Wedding Guide is gorgeous and filled with quality information every winter bride-to-be needs.  It also contains a bit of deliciousness (by moi)  in the form of small bites for winter weddings and a guide to chocolate fondue by the fabulous Ksenia Skvortsova from the blog Saffron and Honey.   Flowers, decor, planning tips and advice, gorgeous gowns and more.  I know you’ll love it!

    Click here to sign up for your free copy and be sure to snag my small bites recipes. You won’t want to miss my Greek Lamb Sliders with Cucumber and Spiced Yogurt Sauce, Crab Stuffed Mini Peppers and Goat Cheese and Strawberry Pepper Jelly in Puff Pastry Crostini!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



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

    Easy Baked Boudin Balls

    Easy Baked Boudin Balls with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    I know what you’re thinking.  What is a Baked Boudin Ball?   That’s the question I asked when I first moved to Louisiana many years ago.

    Baked Boudin Balls are a Cajun and Creole tradition, steeped in one of the most delicious culinary histories.

    Friends and co-workers would bring Tupperware bowls of Boudin Balls to work for Friday potluck or birthday celebrations.  I remember the first time I bit into one of those tempting treats, filled with a regional spicy boudin sausage and white rice, rolled in bread crumbs and then fried to perfection.  They were so delicious and so addicting, I found myself standing around the potluck table stuffing my face with the savory nibbles.

    I left that event telling myself I had to learn how to make Boudin Balls at home.

    Boudin Balls got their name from the Cajun/Creole sausage, Boudin, that originates in Louisiana.  You probably won’t find it outside of Louisiana or East Texas, unless you make it yourself.  Typically, Boudin is prepared with pork, rice, green peppers, onions and seasonings, put through a meat grinder and then stuffed into sausage casings.  Grilled, pan seared, steamed or sautéed, every Boudin recipe varies from region to region and family to family.

    Easy Baked Boudin Balls with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    When I left Louisiana, I moved to the northeast and there wasn’t a boudin sausage to be found.  So rather than try making my own, I substituted with local sausage specialties.  Now living in the Pacific Northwest, we have a local sausage house that makes a variety of pork and beef sausages from locally sourced meat that are perfect for making Boudin Balls.

    Sometimes I make Boudin Balls with mild ground chorizo or a sweeter pork breakfast sausage; and sometimes I’ll use a hot and spicy Cajun pork sausage or chicken sausage.  Once, I even used a duck sausage – just for kicks.

    Whatever sausage you decide to use, I’ve simplified my version of Baked Boudin Balls so everyone can make these at home and enjoy a little taste of Cajun and Creole cuisine.

    To make the Boudin Balls even more delicious, I’ve paired them with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce – because you know how much my family loves a good sauce. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Easy Baked Boudin Balls

    Serving Size: 10-12

    Easy Baked Boudin Balls

    These savory starters are perfect for game day, dinner parties, brunch, after school snacks or holiday celebrations. Or you can make some for a light and simple dinner and pair it with a glass of wine.


    • 1 lb ground pork breakfast sausage, ground mild chorizo or any ground artisan sausage you prefer
    • 2 cups cooked white rice, warm
    • ¼ cup finely diced green onion or chives
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
    • For the Honey Mustard Sauce:
    • 1 cup yellow or Dijon mustard
    • ¼ cup honey


  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the ground sausage, white rice and green onions until nicely incorporated. Then mix in the whisked egg.
  • Form tablespoon size balls and then roll them in the breadcrumbs and place them on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and cooked through.
  • While the Boudin Balls are baking, whisk together the mustard and honey and place in a serving bowl.
  • Let the Boudin Balls cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve with the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.
  • Notes

    I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine and originally published in the Feb/Mar 2016 Issue.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pork Seafood

    The Ultimate Super Bowl Menu

    Garlic Shrimp and Goat Cheese Toasts // Karista's Kitchen

    Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner and it’s time to start planning all those game day nibbles and feasts!

    The Super bowl menu is one of the most fun menu’s to plan – it almost feels like another holiday celebration.

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

    Even though my team isn’t in the Super Bowl (crying, sad face) this year, I’m rooting for my cousin Shelby’s team (sorry Carolina fans… Go Broncos!) and cooking up a delicious table of food to commemorate the day.

    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m posting some tasty food from the archives as well as a new appetizer that is over the top lush with creamy goat cheese and garlic goodness.  My Garlic Shrimp on Goat Cheese Toasts.

    Nori wrapped salmon with fresh herbs, dijon and wasabi

    I’ve also included these flavorful and hearty Cubano Sliders and Asian Salmon Sliders on the Super Bowl menu and for lighter fare, I’m serving my Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa and Nori Wrapped Salmon Bites.

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


    Rounding out the Super Bowl menu is my most requested recipe, Slow Oven Baked Ribs.  I like to plan a large table of food so there will be a little something for everyone. 

    Slow Oven Baked Ribs // Karista's Kitchen

    Of course we can’t skip dessert on this momentous occasion, so I’m going to totally step outside this wintry, cold season, reach into my freezer for the last few bags of blueberries that I froze over the summer to make Max’s Five Ingredient Blueberry Cobbler!

    Easy five ingredient blueberry cobbler // Karista's Kitchen

    Super Bowl Sunday never tasted so good!  Bet you wish you were eating at my house next weekend 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    The Ultimate Super Bowl Menu

    16-20 Toasts

    The Ultimate Super Bowl Menu

    Gulf prawns are tender and sweet and make a delicious pairing with these creamy goat cheese toasts. Combined with fresh garlic and butter, this decadent first course will bring pleasure to everyone’s palate.


    • 1 large baguette, sliced into 1-2 inch thick slices
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for brushing baguette slices
    • 8 ounces creamy goat cheese
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chive
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 – 1 ½ lb Gulf Prawns (about 20-24), deveined with tails on, patted dry with a paper towel
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • Squeeze of fresh lemon
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
    • Additional chopped fresh chive for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Brush each slice of baguette with olive oil, one side only, and place olive oil side up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, just enough to lightly toast the baguette slices. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • In a small bowl mix together the goat cheese and chopped chives. Spread a teaspoon or more onto each toast. Either keep the toasts on the baking sheet or place the toasts on a serving platter.
  • Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and then add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil. When the butter and oil are hot, almost smoking, place the shrimp in a single layer in the pan and brown on each side, about one to two minutes each side. You may need to brown the shrimp in batches depending on the size of your pan.
  • Once the last batch of shrimp is browned, add all the shrimp back into the pan and take the pan off the heat. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, chopped garlic and squeeze of lemon coating all the shrimp.
  • Place one or two shrimp on each goat cheese toast and then garnish with additional fresh chive. Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Pork Seafood

    Part Two Feast of the Seven Fishes with DaVinci Wine

    Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a delicious Italian tradition where seven delectable fish dishes are served for Christmas Eve dinner.

    This year DaVinci Wine asked me to create seven festive and delightful fish dishes for their Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is the part of my job I absolutely love – especially when it involves fish and DaVinci wine.

    The first five dishes we paired with DaVinci Pinot Grigio. You’ll find them HERE along with the first Feast of the Seven Fishes post HERE.

    In this second post, I’m highlighting the last two fish recipes that we’ve paired with DaVinci Chianti. As well as one of the seven fish dishes that I believe pairs beautifully with both the DaVinci Pinot Grigio and DaVinci Chianti.

    When I visited Italy with DaVinci Wine in 2013, I dined on the most decadent food but also the most decadent seafood dishes. One particular starter that struck me as simple but so lovely in flavor was a crostini with homemade ricotta topped with a single anchovy. I call it Bruno’s Crostini – named after our gracious lunch host and DaVinci grower, Bruno Rossetti.

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

    Although I prepare this starter often, I love using smoked salmon with ricotta cheese. Going a step further, I added fresh chopped herbs to the ricotta for a little more “bite” to the recipe. Salmon pairs extremely well with DaVinci Pinot Grigio, so I included this lovely starter in the first post.

    However, I adore pairing both salmon and smoked salmon with DaVinci Chianti as well. Because DaVinci Chianti is well balanced with jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit, it beautifully compliments the smoked salmon and herbed ricotta crostini – making it another lovely wine pairing for this gorgeous starter.

    Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    Another recipe from our Feast of the Seven Fishes is an impressive dish everyone will enjoy. An Italian Sausage and Shrimp stew that warms the soul and delights the taste buds. This is an intensely flavored dish, filled with aromatics, fresh herbs that bring earthiness to the recipe, tangy tomatoes and spicy Italian sausage combined with fresh shrimp and clams.   Sounds like a winning combination to me! Although I use the DaVinci Pinot Grigio in the stew, I think this stew is best served with DaVinci Chianti.

    The last fish dish in this series, is the gorgeous Spaghetti alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce). Just the name of this dish sounds enticing.

    Spaghetti Vongole for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The Vongole sauce is distinctive and lush, prepared with fresh ingredients and a cup of DaVinci Chianti to round out flavors. It’s a hearty sauce that beautifully envelops the pasta and compliments the steamed clams – garnished with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh Italian parsley.

    Creating a festive and exquisite Christmas Eve celebration is as simple as these seven fish dishes. Feast of the Seven Fishes paired with DaVinci Wine will delight your guests and bring delicious merry making to your holiday celebration.

    Wishing you warm and Delicious Holidays!

    Loads of Love,




    Appetizers DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Risotto Seafood

    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,


    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,



    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!


    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