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Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

Chocolate, Almond Butter and Oatmeal Balls. Just the perfect amount of sweet. Find these at Karista's Kitchen

I had a whim today and I made these. Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls.

It’s Monday and I had a little bit of a craving for almond butter and then I thought some chocolate with that almond butter would be tasty.  As I was attempting to stir some organic unsweetened cocoa into my almond butter, I thought, why not add some oatmeal and honey and I’ll make some quick treats.

These kinds of recipes have been swimming around the web for quite some time now.  Some people call them energy balls, some people call them peanut butter oatmeal balls because they use peanut butter rather than almond butter.  But I call them treats. Anything with a smidge of sugar, sweetener or honey fall in the “treat” category for me.

Chocolate, Almond Butter and Oatmeal Balls // Karista's Kitchen

I’m not much of sweets eater as you know, but now and again I do like a little something that tastes a wee bit indulgent.  These chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls speak to my indulgence cravings but also adds a little of the good stuff to my diet.  Not only do I use organic unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe but I also add sunflower seeds and then I roll the balls in hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are definitely one of the super foods. It’s rich in antioxidants, fights bad cholesterol, contains the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, reduces inflammation and helps balance hormones among many other things.  I add it to salads, soups, pancakes, baked goods, sprinkle it over rice and now I roll my chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls in hemp seeds.

You can certainly roll these fun treats in whatever you like, but the hemp seeds are small enough they stick well to the balls and add just a little texture to the outside.

And the good news? No baking required.

Enjoy these chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls for a quick breakfast, snacks or as an after dinner treat. Or just whenever you walk by the fridge and you need a little something sweet. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

about 18-20 balls

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oatmeal (I used GF)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds

Instructions

  • In a food processor add the oatmeal, sunflower seeds, almond butter, unsweetened cocoa and honey. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together. It won't feel like a dough and could still be crumbly but it should stick together when forming a ball.
  • I used a small cookie scoop for uniform sized balls. Scoop out balls and gently pat to form a smooth ball. Roll each ball in the hemp seeds and then place them in an airtight container.
  • I keep these treats in the fridge and bring them out and set on the kitchen counter for a quick breakfast or snack.
  • Notes

    You can substitute with your favorite nut butter.

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

    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,

    Karista

    Socca (chickpea flatbread)

    Serving Size: Makes 8 slices

    Socca (chickpea flatbread)

    Ingredients

    • 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

    Instructions

  • 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 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!

    Karista

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

    Ingredients

    • 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

    Instructions

  • 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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    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

    Holly Bower's Zucchini Bread // Karista's Kitchen

    Anyone else have exploding zucchini plants?  I’ve made at least half a dozen loaves of my favorite zucchini bread over the past month and this particular batch may not be the last.  This is because I purchased what I thought were cucumber starters and later found out I’d planted zucchini.  :/

    Not that I don’t like zucchini, I adore zucchini!  I sauté it with garlic and shallots, I roast it with parmesan and olive oil, I stuff it with sausage and then slather it with homemade tomato sauce, I make zucchini cakes, zucchini fritters, ratatouille, grill it, dice it fresh and then toss it into an Italian chopped salad and obviously, I make zucchini bread.  The only thing I haven’t done is make zucchini noodles – which is on the list for the next batch of zucchini.

    But I’d really had my heart set on those cucumbers. I was going to make pickles all summer long!

    Now, I realized my mistake just as the starters began to grow because zucchini grows up and cucumbers grow out.  I feel like a failed farm girl wannabe.  Hence the wannabe part.

    So now I have all this zucchini that I’ve been passing out to neighbors, along with zucchini bread, making an assortment of recipes with my abundance of zucchini and including it in every meal.  I’m not kidding.  If I tell my family the side dish is zucchini one more evening, I may have a revolt on my hands.

    The upside to all this zucchini are the array of delicious recipes to be prepared.  I adore them all but one of my favorites is this lovely zucchini bread recipe.

    When we lived in Washington state we visited the San Juan Islands often.  Ranger Craig is a private pilot and he’d fly us over to the islands for the day or a long weekend.  Our girls grew up exploring the islands every other weekend during the summers and I absolutely cherish those sweet memories.  One summer we rented a home on Lopez Island and biked, hiked, explored, ate loads of yummy food and visited the local bakery, Holly B’s.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this bakery visit was the highlight of the day.  Holly B’s bakery is well known around the islands and for good reason.  Her baked goods, pastries, sandwiches and soups are some of the most delicious in the area.   Everything is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and as Holly says “with lots of butter and a warm heart”.  This is why her cookbook is called “With Love & Butter“.

    I’ve dogeared almost every page and there are stains, butter and batter splotches all over the book.  Well used and loved.  Holly B’s zucchini bread recipe is simple to make, fresh tasting with just a touch of clove and cinnamon and moist and lush and everything a perfect zucchini bread should be.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love (and Happy Baking!)

    Karista

     

    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

    1 medium loaf

    Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

    Ingredients

    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup mild tasting oil
    • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 cups coarsely grated unpeeled, firm zucchini, packed
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 2/3 cup walnut halves (optional)

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F with the rack in the middle position.
  • This bread is very tender and baking parchment really helps keep the loaf together during removal from the pan. So, butter the loaf pan well, then line with 2 strips of baking parchment as follows: Fit one strip lengthwise covering the bottom and ends of the pan, and the second crosswise on top of the first to cover the bottom and sides. Don't worry about small spaces of pan showing through. Now butter the paper.
  • Mix together the eggs,oil brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Fold in the grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices and walnuts if using. Stir thoroughly into the wet ingredients, making sure no flour lumps remain. The batter will be quite thin, so lumps can be a problem.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake another 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan 30 minutes, then turn out, remove the papers and set on a rack. Cool completely before slicing.
  • Notes

    Use a 4x8 inch loaf pan I've doubled this recipe for two loaves and it turns out great. I have also subbed the flour with Jovial Gluten Free pastry flour and it was delicious. Just keep the bake time to about 45 minutes versus 60 minutes.

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

    Sweet Potato Hash with Spring Greens and Fried Eggs

    Sweet Potato Hash with Spring Greens and Fried Eggs // Perfect for Brunch or easy Dinner // Karista's Kitchen

     

    Well, this was a most unintentional silence. 🙁  I got busy with work (which is a good thing) and I just haven’t had a minute to write a decent or articulate post.

    I haven’t had breakfast yet this morning and while rummaging through the fridge, I spied the Swiss chard from my garden and remembered this lovely Sweet Potato Hash.  I thought it would be a great time to share it!

    I have an over abundance of Swiss chard in my garden right now.  My Swiss Chard never died back this winter, it just kept growing and growing.  You’d think this is California with a year round growing season.  But no, this is Oregon where it rains 6 months of the year and it’s supposed to dip down below freezing now and again.  It rained, but we never got the hard freeze this winter, so my chard just hung out and lingered through the winter.  Which is fine with me.

    Sweet Potato Hash with Spring Greens and Fried Eggs // Karista's Kitchen

    I adore Swiss chard and use it in almost every meal.  We use it for breakfast smoothies, sautéed with eggs for breakfast, in quiche, egg muffins, dinner stir fry’s, salads and in this Sweet Potato Hash.  I make some sort of hash most weekends and my Swiss chard almost always ends up in the hash.  Along with any additional spring greens I’ve got hanging around like spinach, kale, mustard and dandelion greens.  Sometimes I even throw in the rest of the Napa cabbage from Taco Tuesday.  We waste nothing at the Bennett camp.  😉  And we love our greens!

    This delicious Sweet Potato Hash can easily be prepared with roasted potatoes or roasted butternut, acorn or other squash in the winter months.  And during the summer months when poblanos are in season, they get tossed in for some spice and a little heat, along with red and green peppers.  The icing on the cake?  Top it with a fried or poached egg – and a little goat cheese for good measure.

    Honestly, I could eat this for dinner with a glass of wine and I’d be ever so happy.

    Hope you’re all doing well and loving the spring weather!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Sweet Potato Hash with Spring Greens and Fried Eggs

    Serving Size: 8

    Sweet Potato Hash with Spring Greens and Fried Eggs

    Ingredients

    • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 red onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 cups coarsely chopped spring greens (Swiss Chard, Spinach)
    • 8 eggs
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  
  • Toss the diced sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are almost done.  
  • While the sweet potatoes are baking, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and then stir in the garlic, thyme, parsley and pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and sauté a minute longer.  
  • When the sweet potatoes are done, transfer them to the skillet and then add the chopped greens. Sauté just until the greens are nicely wilted and the sweet potatoes are done. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, transfer the sweet potato hash to a serving plate or platter and top with fried eggs and serve with a side of creme fraiche or sour cream. 
  • Notes

    Published in Home By Design Magazine April 2015

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    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup

    Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

    This is a sentence that popped into my ever-wandering brain while recipe testing several months ago. I couldn’t find a piece of paper, or my phone so I wrote it down on the inside of a plastic wrap box that was sitting on the counter.  I have pens and paper all over the house and yet, at that moment I was paperless.  This is so me.

    I’ve always felt life was lived at the table.  A place to breathe and dream, share thoughts and opinions (always opinions around the Bennett table), to connect and inspire.  I know it sounds cliché, but the table where we dine, truly brings us together.

    My family is typically all about dinner.  Breakfast has always been optional for some reason.  If my oldest gal is home she grabs a banana and my youngest has a handful of granola. I prefer a few cups of coffee and maybe an oatmeal cookie or a slice of gluten-free toast with grass-fed butter and local honey.  But when I do make breakfast, I go big.

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup // Karista's Kitchen

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup.  I said I go big. 🙂

    I make ricotta pancakes on occasion, usually laced with the typical citrus flavors and then topped with berries and cream or jam.  However, my sister was in NYC recently and came back raving about Lemon Ricotta Pancakes topped with Lemon Curd and drizzled with Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup and, well, I couldn’t stop thinking about Lemon Ricotta Pancakes so I had to make them.

    This is my tasty version of Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  I make my own lemon curd but you can certainly purchase it to save time.  I was wondering if I’d enjoy the vanilla bean maple syrup combined with all the lemon… I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to flavors, but these two flavors paired deliciously.  Just in case the vanilla bean maple syrup wasn’t a hit with the fam, I also served a wild blueberry syrup which was also complimentary.

    If you love this recipe, or other recipes that you prepare from Karista’s Kitchen, join me on Instagram @karistaskitchen and tag your photos #lifearoundmytable and @karistaskitchen.  I’d love to see what you’ve prepared! I’m totally a nosy person and I love to know what other people are cooking.  Just ask my friend Heidi.  I can’t email her without asking what she’s cooked that week.

    Thank you all for sharing this website and its social media.  I deeply appreciate your follow and support!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    PS: for those of you who follow me on social media, you’ll note I decided to use an out take photo… even though I didn’t see the black nail polish until editing.  Thank you all for your comments!!

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd

    Serving Size: 16-20 pancakes

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd

    Ingredients

    • 1 15oz tub whole milk ricotta (or scant two cups)
    • 1 large lemon zested and juiced
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup all-purpose
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      For the Lemon Curd
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
      For the Vanilla Maple Syrup
    • 1 -2 vanilla beans, sliced in half and beans scraped out (we're using the beans so don't toss)
    • 1 cup real maple syrup

    Instructions

    To make the Classic Lemon Curd
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
  • In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.
  • Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
  • To make the Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup
  • Heat the maple syrup in a small pan until warm and then stir in the vanilla beans. Let the syrup simmer slightly for a few minutes, take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes while you prepare the pancakes.
  • To make the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
  • In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs and sugar until well combined. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and then stir it into the ricotta mixture. Last stir in the lemon juice and zest. The batter should be thickish but easily dolloped on a griddle.
  • Heat a non-stick ceramic pan or a cast iron griddle over medium heat and add a little butter. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add 1/4 - 1/3 cup sized dollops of batter to the pan. Spread the batter a bit for thinner pancakes. Cook the pancakes for about 2-3 minutes or until you see the underside is golden brown and the top is bubbling. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer until the pancakes are cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pancakes.
  • Place the pancakes on plates, top with lemon curd, fresh berries and vanilla bean maple syrup. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    I've prepared a lot of lemon curd recipes and I have to say I like this one the best. It's from Elinor Klivans, Fine Cooking Magazine Issue 26

    Thanks to my sis, Kristin Bryan, for this exquisite recipe idea! Love you!

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    Appetizers Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Avocado Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers // Karista's Kitchen

    There is nothing quite like a beautiful salad. The color, the scent of fresh greens and produce, all collectively creating edible art on a plate.

     Not only is this Avocado and Watercress Salad impressive in presentation, but it’s mouth-watering delicious in taste.  

    Fresh avocado and watercress tossed with a light lemon vinaigrette, gently stacked and then topped with brilliantly colored edible flowers.

     

    Spring Vegetable Strata // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine

    The Avocado and Watercress Salad is simple to prepare – either with round food rings or you can layer the salad on a platter or on individual plates.   This salad is so delicious served with either a quiche or this lovely Spring Vegetable Strata I created for VRAI Magazine.  The fresh flavors of the avocado and peppery watercress pair beautifully with eggs dishes or even a spring lamb chop or roasted rack of lamb would be lovely.

    A gorgeous table of food for Mother’s Day brunch or any casual weekend entertaining.  I often serve the strata for Sunday breakfast and fancy it up with the salad if I’m serving it for brunch.  However you decide to serve these dishes, your guests will be completely delighted. Especially if there is a Mimosa sitting next to the plate!

    Wishing you all a beautiful and delicious week!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Serving Size: 4

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Ingredients

    • 1 large bunch watercress, thin stems and leaves only
    • 2-3 large firm but ripe avocados, diced
    • ½ to 1 cup edible flowers (usually purchased in the fresh herb section of a market)
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Juice of one lemon, about 3 tablespoons
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cold water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 3-4 inch round food molds, if desired (optional). If you don’t have food molds, a washed and dried tuna with both ends removed will also work.

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sugar and water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, gently toss the diced avocados with a splash of the lemon vinaigrette. In a seperate bowl, gently toss the watercress with a splash of lemon vinaigrette. The watercress will wilt quickly once it’s dressed with vinaigrette so don’t dress the watercress until right before serving. The avocado should be dressed with vinaigrette as soon as it’s been diced.
  • If using food molds (or tuna cans), brush the inside with a little olive oil. Set each mold on a plate. Divide the avocado among the plates. Press the avocado firmly into the mold. Next, press the watercress into each mold. Gently remove the molds. It’s ok if the watercress falls, it will still look beautiful. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over each salad if desired and once last pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Garnish each salad with edible flowers and serve.
  • If you’d like to make the salad without molds, layer the avocado on plates, top with watercress and then the edible flowers.
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    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Julia’s Banana Bread

    Julia's Banana Bread

    You know when you stumble onto food that stays in your food memories forever?  That is this banana bread.

    A few years ago Ranger Craig and I were exploring the more remote parts of Maui and stumbled onto a banana bread hut.  After driving miles of winding roads, up and down sloping and sometimes steep hillsides, between the greenest and lush valley’s, we found a place called Kahakuloa.  And we found banana bread.  Not just an ordinary banana bread.  This was hands down the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted.  Moist, the perfect amount of sweetness and the purest banana flavor with the most intense banana fragrance.  I’m not sure if it was because we were on vacation and I had just finished a harrowing scuba diving lesson but banana bread has never tasted so good.

    I’ve tried recreating this banana bread at least a dozen times.  I’ve come close but for some reason I could never achieve the same taste and texture as the banana bread in Maui.  I knew I was most likely over thinking the ingredient list. So, I decided to hit the web and do a little research.  It seems I’m not the only one smitten by this banana bread recipe.

    Julia's Banana Bread

    I found it on Bon Appetit  out of the kitchen section.  Julia’s Banana Bread.  There it was in black and white with a snapshot of the lush bread.  As I read the ingredient list I giggled.  So simple, so pure, no wonder this bread is so delicious.

    Now I pass it along to you! Just a few simple ingredients that most of us already have stocked.  It doesn’t take but a few minutes to whip up, pop it in the oven for about an hour and you will have the most delicious and pure tasting banana bread.  I baked it exactly as the recipe reads with the exception of using coconut palm sugar instead of granulated sugar (because that’s what I had in my pantry).  The second time I made this bread, I subbed the veggie oil with my favorite extra virgin olive oil.  It was perfection.

    Cheers to Fall and all the lush comforting foods that accompany the season!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Julia’s Banana Bread

    Serving Size: Makes one 9x3x5 loaf pan

    Julia’s Banana Bread

    Ingredients

    • Oil or butter for greasing the pan
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup mashed *ripe bananas (about 2 large)
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use either coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil)

    Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5x3” loaf pan with oil or butter.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  • Bake until a tester inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, 60–70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes.
  • Run a knife around inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely before slicing.
  • *For more intense ripe banana flavor I set my two peeled bananas in a glass bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Whisk the liquid that has accumulated with the banana pulp and use. This will help ripen a "less ripe" banana and intensify the banana flavors.
  • This bread can be prepared up to three days in advance and store in an airtight container. Which makes this a lovely food gift for the holidays.
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    Recipe by Julia’s Banana Bread Treehouse in Kahakuloa, HI

     

     

     

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Apple Gingerbread

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread // Karista's Kitchen

     

    When I lived back East many years ago, I took my then pre-school daughter apple picking every year.  We lived in beautiful New England where apple farms dotted the hillsides.

    Every year my little gal and I would layer up and slide on our wellies and go traipsing through apple orchards, picking the succulent juicy apples and filling our buckets.  I have vivid memories of my curly blonde haired gal bopping up and down singing and dancing through the orchards while picking apples off the ground instead of off the apple trees.

    Of course we never missed the hay ride and hot apple cider served at the barn.  I think that might have been my little gals most favorite part of apple picking.

    All that apple picking resulted in weeks of apple recipes.  Pies, breads, cakes, pancakes, waffles, baked apples, apple sauce and my little gal’s favorite, brown butter apples with her breakfast ham.  This was back in the day when I hadn’t a clue how to cook.  I faked it most the time and thankfully all that faking resulted in some pretty delicious food.  Which is how the brown butter apples and ham came to be.

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    During one of our apple farm visits I found a little paperback of apple recipes.  I’ve used the paperback so often it’s now tattered, torn, splattered and sporting a few coffee spills.  I love this little book.  Written by a cookbook author and illustrator who hand wrote her cookbooks in calligraphy with the sweetest illustrations.  One of my most loved recipes in this book is the Upside Down Apple Gingerbread.  I simply call it Apple Gingerbread.

    Rich in color and flavor but not overly sweet, this gingerbread deliciously pairs with a cup of coffee or tea.  I haven’t altered the recipe too much, although I omit the cloves.  The gingerbread is so rich and flavorful I felt it just didn’t need the cloves.  However, I’ve kept it in the recipe if you’d like to use ground cloves.  There is also a fun twist in this recipe – a 3/4 cup of black coffee, which subtly intensifies the rich flavor of the gingerbread.

    Truly an autumn treat that makes you want to gather at the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    Serves 8

    Ingredients in order of use

    1/4 cup butter, melted

    2 cups sliced apples

    1/3 cup brown sugar

    ——

    1/2 cup butter, melted

    1/2 cup molasses

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/3 cup brown sugar

    1 egg

    ——

    2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I leave this out but feel free to include it)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

    3/4 cup hot black coffee

    1 –  10inch springform pan

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

    Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into a 10″ springform pan.  Arrange the apples and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup brown sugar.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted butter with molasses, sugar, brown sugar and egg.

    In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients and then add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, alternating with the black coffee.

    Pour the batter over the apples.

    Bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool for 15 minutes before inverting pan and releasing the spring.  I baked my cake about 55 minutes.  The cake is very moist.

    Enjoy!

    Recipe from the book “Apples” part of the Country Kitchen Collection written and illustrated by Jean Childress

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

    Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

    Do you ever walk through your market and wonder what all those beautiful different types of winter squash are called?  Every time I see a new squash I go home and look it up.  So I have to tell you, I was feeling pretty darn smug about my squash knowledge… until last week.

    As I was power walking through my local co-op market, I spotted two cute little pumpkin like squash I thought would be delish for these muffins.  I was sure they were Sweet Lightening Squash but when I got home I kept thinking they were a little small for Sweet Lightening.  I was right.  These little darlings are called Hooligans.  What a name, right?

    winter squash muffins with oatmeal brown sugar topping

    The name alone would make me buy these again.  But the taste is the real reason for purchasing these lovelies.  Sweet like a Delicata but the texture less starchy.  So lip-smacking good,  I was eating pieces of the roasted squash right off the baking sheet.

    These little Hooligans made for a sweet, moist muffin.  I also think they’d make the most divine squash soup or a roasted squash side dish, sprinkled with my favorite Five Spice Powder or a little curry powder.  Hooligans are a nice little surprise during this very stormy and cold winter – and just enough to keep me going until spring.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

    Makes about 12

    Ingredients

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 cup rolled oats

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    1 ½ cups squash puree (recipe below) (from about 2-3 Hooligan squash, depending on size)  on occasion I sub with sweet potato puree

    ¼ cup coconut oil or healthy vegetable oil

    2 eggs

    ½ cup coconut palm sugar or  brown sugar, packed

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Optional: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger added to the squash puree

    Topping: (optional)

    3 tablespoons rolled oats

    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine squash, vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Divide muffins among 12 prepared muffin cups.

    Combine oats, sugar and oil in a small bowl. Divide mixture among the tops of muffin batter. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

    Let them cool before removing from tin. Because they are so moist, it’s best to store them in the fridge.

    Roasting Squash for Puree

    Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the squash in half, from top to bottom.  Scoop out the seeds.

    Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  Remove from the oven and  when the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl, mashing it as much as possible.  Set aside.

     

     

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Bacon Apple Cheddar Quiche

     

    bacon apple cheddar quiche

    Bacon, Apple, Cheddar Quiche

     

    Bacon Apple Cheddar Quiche… sound delicious?  I’m guest posting this boldly flavorful and savory tart over at my good friend’s blog, Pink Patisserie.  Read a sample of the post below and click on the link to snag the recipe.  While you’re there, stay a while and poke around.  Maria creates some of the most lush and beautiful recipes that will tantalize your taste buds and keep you coming back for more.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    quiche collage

    Winter greetings Pink Patisserie readers!  I’m Karista and I publish the recipe website Karista’s Kitchen.   Big love and thanks to Maria (Pink Patisserie) for asking me to guest post today! I’ve known Maria for many years now and I feel so blessed to call her friend.   A gracious, beautiful and talented lady who has an artistic eye for the naturally beautiful art of food and baking.  I love how Maria embraces the flavors of sweet and savory in her recipes.  Which is why I’ve chosen to guest post this tasty and satisfying Bacon, Apple, Cheddar Quiche.

    http://pinkpatisserie.blogspot.com/2014/01/bacon-apple-cheddar-quiche.html

     

     

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly vegetarian

    Frittata Florentine

    Frittata prepared with fresh spinach and pomodor sauce

    Frittata Florentine

    ~By choosing to click and read this blog post, you confirm you are of legal drinking age in the country where this site is accessed~

    Every morning in Vinci, Italy  I was greeted with lush beauty for the eyes, tranquility for the soul and exquisite food for the taste buds.   Food lovingly prepared by our Chef Ana.

    In the sweet quiet of the early morning,  I would hear Chef Ana arrive, softly making her way through the villa to the well stocked kitchen – to begin preparing our morning meal.

    My eyes would snap open and I’d lounge in my cozy bed unable to sleep; thinking about all the deliciousness I’d find on the breakfast table.

    After meandering around my 14th century room with modern amenities, peeking out the windows, snapping pictures of my breathtaking views, splattering my enthusiasm all over social media, I eventually found my way downstairs.  Following the heavenly scents to a delicious assortment of eggs prepared poached or over easy, frittatas laced with fresh baby zucchini and decadent pomodoro, pastry, cured meats and cheese.  And of course, perfectly brewed fresh coffee served with milk Chef Ana had taken the time to warm.

    Casale Leonardo da Vinci in Vinci Italy

    Chef Ana and Franco/Morning at the Villa

    This lovely Frittata Florentine is an adaption of the delicious frittatas Chef Ana served each morning.  And although this is quite an enticing version, nothing can compare to a frittata Chef Ana creates.

    Find this recipe as well as my other seven recipes inspired by this glorious adventure to Tuscany on the DaVinci Wine Facebook Page. You will be able to save and print a copy from their page.  Buon Appetito!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Frittata Florentine

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    6-8 large eggs (for a 10-12 inch non-stick oven proof skillet)

    1 tablespoon water

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Two or three handfuls of fresh baby spinach or chopped spinach from your garden

    2-3 tablespoon tomato sauce (I used my leftover Vinci sauce)

    ½ cup shredded or thinly shaved Pecorino

    Pinch or two of dried Oregano, crushed with fingers

    Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    Optional add ins: torn prosciutto, pancetta or coppa, diced bacon and fresh basil leaves

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

    Whisk together the eggs and water.  Heat a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the skillet over medium heat.

    When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggs and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, crushed oregano and crushed red pepper.  Allow the eggs to slightly set.

    Once you see a crust forming on the bottom of the eggs, top the eggs with as much baby spinach as you like.  Then dot with tomato sauce and top with the cheese.

    Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven and let it finish cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are just set and cooked through.  I like my eggs “wet” so I tend to pull the skillet out a little before the full 10 minutes.

    Let the frittata cool slightly then slide it onto a platter, slice and serve.