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

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

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

This summer has proven to be quite a diverse and eclectic season thus far.  My home has been filled to the brim with loveliness and laughter and blonde heads roaming the halls.  

My niece came to stay with us for a college internship and of course my two sassy gals had to be in the thick of things with her.  The girls have grown up together and are separated by two and half to three years each.  I used to call them my stair step kids.  My two girls, six years apart and my niece smack in the middle.  I tell her she’s my middle child.  She laughs her infectious laugh and then we all move on to reminiscing about when the girls were young and watch home movies of dances and plays they performed.

the girls

We spent weekends touring the state and showing our niece the beauty of Oregon and I had the opportunity to try a few new things – like riding the dunes and nearly losing my breakfast on those dunes.  We prepared loads of family meals, barbecues and baked goods and sat around the patio table or living room sofa discussing life, love, dreams, health and nutrition, because one cannot leave the Bennett house without a little discussion on health and nutrition.  We’re just a little weird that way. 😉

Our sweet niece went back to school for her summer quarter and we went back to summer weekends walking the beach (and missing her) and eating seafood to kayaking the alpine lakes in the mountains and stopping for barbecue on the way home.  Time spent together, adventuring, enjoying the outdoors and most importantly, dining together.

Life around my table is never short of interesting conversation, stories of times past or delicious food.  Life – just the way I like it.

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

This lovely Grilled Romaine Salad has been on our summer menu for years.  I started grilling romaine years ago, as a way to get my girls to think the salad was a bit more special and therefore needed to be tasted.  I’d make my sisters sweet and spicy dressing (which I love!) and then top it with gorgonzola, bleu cheese or feta.  When my girls decided they loved goats cheese, I’d sub with goat cheese crumbles.  This Grilled Romaine Salad was served with dressing and cheese, or with dressing, sliced summer tomatoes and fresh cucumber with a sprinkling of cheese on top.  Sometimes I’d include grilled shrimp and make this a meal or crumbled bacon and make it just a bit more indulgent.

However, I served this grilled romaine salad, it was always a favorite way to enjoy our summer meals.

I adore sharing my recipes that represent not only precious times past but also lovely times present.  Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

Serving Size: 4-6

Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 -3 heads of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise with root end still intact
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup for brushing, 1/2 cup for the dressing)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3-4 ounces bleu cheese, gorgonzola or feta, crumbled (or more if you love cheese)
  • Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

Pre-heat the grill to 350F, or heat a grill pan on medium high. Brush the halved romaine hearts with the 1/4 cup olive oil on both sides and then season with salt and pepper.

While the grill is heating, whisk together the garlic, onion, ketchup, mustard, sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil and the water. The dressing should be slightly pink. Add just a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

When the grill is hot place the halved romaine hearts cut side down on the grill.

Let the romaine halves grill for about 1 – 2 minutes and then turn the halves over and grill the other side of the romaine for another 1 – 2 minutes.

I like my romaine hearts just a little wilted with a bit of crisp still left in the romaine. Ranger Craig however, likes his romaine hearts a little more grilled and wilted. Feel free to grill them to your tastes.

Take the romaine off the grill and place on a platter. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Spring Pea and Mint Pesto with Grilled Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Is it me or is the summer sailing by at mach speed? It’s been a busy summer so far, which I don’t mind but posting recipes here on the blog seem to take a back seat.  I did promise Facebook readers I’d get this lovely Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto posted as a few readers have some fresh fish in their kitchens and they wanted some new ideas for preparing it.  I’ve always got an idea about food and recipes so feel free to ask for recommendations! I love to make meal time delicious. 🙂

I realize I say this often but seafood is one of the easiest, most delicious meals to prepare, especially when paired with a sauce, salsa or pesto.

I serve fish at least three nights a week and pairing seafood with a simple pan sauce, a beurre blanc (which I know sounds fancy and complicated but it’s truly very simple) a fresh salsa or pesto makes the weeknight meal fuss free and delicious.  If you’re not a seafood fan, this pea and mint pesto is just as tasty paired with grilled chicken or lamb.

Grilled Salmon with Spring Pea and Mint Pesto // Karista's Kitchen

Fresh mint seems to be making its way into many of my meals this season – due to my exploding mint plant.  I cut it back but it still took over the herb garden so I transplanted it in it’s very own container.  It still grew back in the herb box and now it’s fighting with the oregano.  I’ll probably dig it up once again and find another spot in the garden to re-plant it.

Mint is a pretty little plant that is usually bright green in color (depending on which type of mint plant it is) and stays fairly healthy during our Pacific Northwest winters.  It makes a nice shrub in the yard but as I learned the hard way, mint needs its own space.  Much like an emerging teenager.  😉

So today it’s a Pea and Mint Pesto.  Tomorrow it’ll probably be this Mediterranean Couscous Salad with fresh mint and maybe grilled lamb chops with mint, rosemary and garlic on Sunday.  Mint is definitely in the Bennett Crew’s culinary future.

Happy Weekend!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

 

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Serving Size: 4-6

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I begin with 1/3 cup and then add as needed)
  • 1 cup fresh peas that have been blanched, or frozen peas that have been thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts if you prefer
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Place the olive oil, peas, mint, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, nuts and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is smooth.

Add the lemon and pulse once more and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or roasted salmon, lamb or chicken.

This is also tasty on crostini with shaved, aged provolone and grilled asparagus tips.

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Grilling Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood Uncategorized

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

It’s the little things that make me smile.  When a cool, gentle breeze on a warm day catches me by surprise, unexpectedly finding a bright red tomato while I’m watering my garden, a random hello text from a friend, finding old photos of my sassy gals that remind me how sassy they were (and still are!) and walking the docks in Newport to find the prettiest seasonal halibut.

Just ask Ranger Craig, that halibut made me smile for at least an hour.

Buying Halibut right off the boat in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

 

Fish boat on the docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

I daydreamed all the way home how I was going to prepare that 13lb. halibut.  Yesterday it was Baja-style tacos with a chipotle crema and pineapple cilantro slaw and tonight it’s a Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut.  I could eat the Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with a spoon!

The docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

The combination of fruit and fish has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It seems the sweet from the fruit combined with spice from aromatics like onion and peppers pair so perfectly with the salty, briny and savory flavors of fish.  Whether it’s salmon, halibut, cod, snapper or sea bass, fruit seems to make most fish festive and a bit more intriguing.

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut just might be your new favorite.  It’s certainly my new favorite of the season. 🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

Serving Size: 4

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced papaya (about 1 medium papaya)
  • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • Squeeze of lime to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2lbs fresh halibut cut into four pieces
  • lime wedges for garnish

Instructions

Pre-heat the grill to 400F.

To prepare the salsa, combine the red pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, ground chile powder and lime juice. Gently fold in the papaya and then season to taste with salt and pepper and give it just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

If you'd rather grill your halibut on a piece of foil or in a fish basket that works well. I have an electric grill with small grill grates so I typically brush my halibut with oil, season with salt, pepper and a little cumin or smoked paprika, or even my fave fish seasoning and then place it flesh side down on the grill. Halibut will stick however, so oiling the grill and your fish is key to success. If you are using foil, place the seasoned and oiled halibut on the foil and then place the foil on the grill. If you're using the fish basket, well you're already a pro!

Halibut will cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Don't overcook the fish or it can become dry.

Once the halibut is done, place salsa on the bottom of plates and top with the grilled halibut. Serve with lime wedges and lots of white wine!

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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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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

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

The brilliant orange and red summer peaches are certainly delicious all on their own. Ranger Craig and I can certainly testify to how juicy, fragrant and sweet a flat of summer peaches can be.

Still heavily imprinted on my brain is our drive home from a farm market stand in Central Washington one summer; trying so hard to wait until we got home before digging into the peaches.  Our will-power did not stand up to the test.  I think we might have consumed 1/3 of that flat before pulling into our driveway.

Summer peaches feel like the crown jewel of summer… other than those backyard tomatoes that I am so patiently waiting to turn a perfect shade of red-orange.

I love using peaches in sweet and savory dishes, simply pairing them with grilled fish and pork or just tossing them on the grill and serving with a big scoop of ice cream and a butter rum sauce.  Which is a lovely way to serve dessert since it’s been so hot here in the Pacific Northwest.   And who doesn’t love a buttery rum sauce?

The summer is passing quickly and my days seem busier than spring; so this post is short and sweet. Literally. 😉

Wishing you all a most delicious weekend!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4-6 ripe yellow or white peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Fresh mint for garnish

Instructions

Pre-heat the grill to 350F.

In a sauce pan whisk together over medium heat the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and rum or rum extract. Bring to a boil and then while whisking, simmer for a minute or two until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and reserve.

Brush the peach halves with olive oil and then set them cut side down on the grill. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes each side until soft and tender. If the peaches are very ripe you may only want to grill cut side down. Moving the extra ripe peaches too much may result in a broken peach.

Once the peaches are done, transfer them to a platter or plates and top with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle with Butter Rum Sauce. Garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Notes

Most summer peaches are perfect for grilling, but I especially like white peaches. Sweeter in flavor and perfect for grilling.

I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015 grilling issue.

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

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Sliced Red Onions and Fresh Basil // Karista's Kitchen

This is the time of year I’m in food heaven. Summer produce is at its peak and it adorns my table with gorgeous color and delicious flavors, like this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad.  

Most of the plants in my garden are ready to harvest, with the exception of the few plants that have suffered little critter attacks, the heat and my apparent lack of gardening knowledge.  I was so excited about my little strawberry patch, only to walk out one morning and notice tiny teeth marks on my sweet red berries.  Darn bunnies. 🙁

I have a short list of plants I probably won’t attempt growing next year.  I have completely failed at sugar snap peas – and I love sugar snap peas.  Disappointment is looming.  I’m not sure what happened but I think I may have planted them in the wrong spot in the yard.  My knack for growing cauliflower never emerged this season… and then the white flies noticed the fledgling cauliflower hanging about and pretty much decimated what was left of the cauliflower crop.

I’ve had a few successes however.  I am awesome at growing greens!  Which is great because we eat loads of greens in my house.  Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Collards are being harvested daily.  My spring lettuce flourished as did the arugula.  Tomatoes will be ready soon and the cucumbers are popping out everywhere.  Another huge success are the peppers, which is making Ranger Craig very happy.  He could eat peppers daily.  And of course my herb garden is overflowing with the most beautiful and fragrant herbs.  Ok, so I have somewhat of a green thumb.  I believe it may be more determination than an actual green thumb. 🙂

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Red onion and Fresh Basil in a Sherry Vinaigrette

The one vegetable I do wish I’d grown in my garden this year is corn –  so I could make this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad straight from my garden.  

Summer isn’t summer without corn. And well… potato salad, grilled ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled stuffed peppers, macaroni salad and I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes, noshing on corn on the cob with smears of butter on warm summer days, or watching my family dig into a bowl of this sweet corn and tomato salad.

Grilled summer corn and tomato salad is a staple on our summer table.  

It’s easy to prepare and it holds well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Although it doesn’t last that long in my house.   Slightly sweet from the corn and a little tang of fresh cherry tomatoes combined with a little spice of sliced red onion and then topped with fresh and fragrant basil.  The simplicity of clean, fresh flavors shines through and is melded together by a little taste of char from the grilled corn.  Earthy, fresh, fragrant and most of all, delicious.

Cheers to a delicious and fun-filled summer!

Loads Of Love,

Karista

P.S. Having a little trouble with my print plugin but hopefully it will be fixed soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

5-6 cobs of fresh summer corn, husks peeled and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade (Julienne)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons and taste, if you need more add the extra tablespoon)

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Brush each corn on the cob with a little oil and then wrap each corn on the cob in aluminum foil and place them on the grill.  Note: Some people like to soak the corn on the cobs in water for about 10-15 minutes prior to grilling.  But if the corn is fresh and kernels look plump, this step won’t be needed. I don’t typically soak my corn prior to grilling unless its end of the season and the kernels look less than plump.

Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every five minutes to insure even cooking.  Once the corn is done, remove from the heat and let them rest for about five minutes.  Then unwrap the corn and let them rest another five minutes if they are too hot to handle.  Then scrape all the corn off the cob and place it in a bowl.

To assemble the salad, gently toss together the corn, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Italian parsley and basil.  Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar and then gently toss with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This salad is fabulous when it’s had about 30 minutes to sit on the counter at room temperature.  This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together.  Place any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.

 

 

Beef Chicken Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Tips and Techniques vegetarian

Three Compound Butter Recipes

Grilled Fresh Corn on the Cob with Compound Butter // Karista's Kitchen

Have you ever grilled a piece of fish or chicken and then wish you had a little something to dollop on top – just for a little extra flavor and fun?

Compound butter is perfect for grilled, pan seared or roasted meat, fish and veggies.  

Just make a few of these compound butters and keep them in the fridge.  They will hold for several months and when you’re ready to use them just slice a coin of  compound butter and dollop it on your “hot off the grill” fish, meat or veggies.

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

Compound butter is simply butter that has been mixed with a few ingredients of your choice; like garlic & herbs or anchovies and capers or lemon zest and cumin…  and most often used to enhance a simple pan seared or grilled fish, meat and veggies.   I typically make my compound butters savory, but during grilling season I also make a sweet compound butter spiked with spices and vanilla beans to use over grilled fruit or cake.

You’re going to love these three compound butter recipes but feel free to experiment and make your own.  It’s a great way to use up the excess fresh herbs from the herb garden or citrus that might have seen better days. I also like to use finely chopped toasted nuts or cheese in my compound butters.

Summer is in full swing and using compound butter to enhance the flavor of our grilled meals makes a delicious ending to a busy day.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Three Compound Butter Recipes

Each recipe makes 8 tablespoons

Three Compound Butter Recipes

Ingredients

    Chipotle Orange Butter
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
  • One canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • Garlic Lemon Thyme Butter
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • Cilantro Lime Butter
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

Compound butter can either be mixed by hand or in a food processor. If mixing by hand, add the ingredients to a small bowl and mix with a fork until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

If you are using a food processor, add the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface and spoon the butter onto the plastic wrap forming a log. Fold the plastic wrap over the butter and twist the ends. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Notes

I created this recipe originally for the beautiful Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015

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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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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon and a Virtual Baby Shower

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri // Karista's Kitchen

I remember when my oldest daughter was about four years old and we were hanging out on the living room floor, reading books and talking about how someday she would have a baby brother or sister.

As we were chatting, she turned her rosy cheeked, sweet blue eyed, blonde head to me and said “Mom, how did you know to pick me?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I asked “what do you mean?” She replied “you know, how did you know you wanted ME?”  The question caught me by surprise and as I tried to recover I said “Well… Dad and I saw all the baby angels playing in heaven and that’s when we spotted you. We instantly fell in love and knew we wanted you for our baby.”

Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration

 

Now, I know some of you might think that’s one tall tale to tell a four year old, but honestly, that is what I came up with.  My heart was so warmed by the question, I wanted my answer to reflect how much we wanted her and how much we cherished our little sassy blonde girl.

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

She clung to those words for years to come and when our second daughter arrived, my sassy little gal said to her Dad, “I guess this is the one you picked?”

As you know, I have two sassy gals now and they are the food for my soul.  Motherhood and parenting have been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade a minute.

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother's Day 2014

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother’s Day 2014

I’m truly honored to have been asked to participate in my sweet friend’s virtual baby shower.  Alyssa, of Everyday Maven, her handsome husband and their adorable little boy will soon know the joy of welcoming a new baby boy to their family.

Several years ago, I met Alyssa at a blog conference in Seattle – while noshing on the most divine appetizers.  I liked her immediately.  A breath of fresh air, exuding a warm and genuine personality, Alyssa is a most beautiful and lovely lady.

I’m happy to say, we’ve been friends ever since.

Alyssa writes the delicious food blog Everyday Maven and has published two fantastic e-Books.  Her recipes are drool worthy and written with good health and nutrition in mind. I think one of my favorite Everyday Maven recipes has to be the Cabbage Rolls.  And of course her guest post for my blog, Karista’s Kitchen,  gluten free Banana Chip Cookies.

Today, several other bloggers and myself are hosting a virtual baby shower for Alyssa.  A plethora of delicious recipes to celebrate but also recipes to prepare during the first few months after the new baby’s arrival.  Recipes to comfort and nourish with ease of preparation for a quick meal or leisurely weekend.  Although as we know, there is nothing “leisurely” about a new baby in the house; just lots of love and smiles and hopefully, soon to be restful nights.

Congratulations Alyssa and family!

Here is a list of Alyssa’s Virtual Baby Shower Recipes, lovingly prepared by some fabulous food bloggers!

Breakfast 

Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others

Lunch 

Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road

Dinner

Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from Girlichef

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugala from Virtually Homemade

Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic

Snack

Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

About 1 1/2 cups

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh baby arugula leaves, packed
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over pan seared or grilled halibut and serve with wild rice pilaf, white rice and/or roasted veggies.

For a step by step pictorial on how to pan sear salmon, click here

Notes

I love serving this Arugula Chimichurri with roasted salmon, but it's also fabulous with pan seared or grilled scallops and makes a tasty dipping sauce for grilled or poached shrimp.

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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Tips and Techniques

Summer Grilling Ideas and Recipes Round-up

 

Nectarine Chutney with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

For some reason I always feel as if summer begins the day after 4th of July.  The weather feels warmer and dryer – and most people seem to have vacation on the mind rather than work.  This would be me.

Grilling season is in full swing and even though life feels just a bit more relaxed during the summer, on occasion I still draw a blank when it comes to dinner.  So when the good people over at Personal Creations put together their summer grilling guide they asked if I’d like to contribute to the fun as well.  Here are a few of my recipes, ideas and tips for the summer season.

1. Keep the grilling simple and go big on the salad or sides  – I love to marinate chicken and pork chops in all kinds of vinaigrettes and marinades.  I usually whip up my own vinaigrettes but in a pinch I’ll purchase a simple olive oil based vinaigrette and use it for a marinade.  One of my store bought fave’s is Newman’s Own  Caesar vinaigrette.  It’s one of my old stand by’s for marinating chicken.  It’s quick, easy and allows you the time to create the “big” salad or side.

Another quick and easy option is to whisk together 1 part balsamic vinaigrette with 2 parts olive oil, dash of honey, squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper.  This also makes a lovely marinade for pork chops or chicken.  I recommend letting chicken marinate for at least 4-6 hours and the pork chops for at least 2 hours, refrigerated.

Here are several links to a few of my family’s favorite grilled meats, poultry and fish:

Pancetta and Radicchio Wrapped and Grilled Scallops

Grilled Salmon with a Savory Strawberry Sauce

Yogurt and Pesto Marinated Grilled Chicken

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Chile Lime Chicken Burgers with Fresh Guacamole

Cilantro Salmon

Colombian Chimichurri for Steaks or Seafood

Tuscan Grilled Rib-eye

Summer Grilling Recipes and Menu Ideas from Karista's Kitchen

2. Go Big and Bold with Summer Salads – Summer is the crown jewel of produce.  All the glorious fresh greens, veggies and fruit just beg to be combined into big and bold salads of the season.

Here are a few salads that will get your salad creativity jump started.  Use the recipe as written, or get a little wild and crazy and use the recipes as a guideline for your own creations.

Cucumber Greek Salad

Carrot Cilantro Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Ginger Peanut Dressing

Arugula and White Bean Salad with a Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad

Spicy Cabbage Salad

Summer Salads from Karista's Kitchen

3. Get a little Saucy! – If you’re not a fan of marinated meat, poultry or fish, or you forgot to marinate (that would be me)…  no worries, because there is always a sauce option.  Another great way to grill your fresh meat, fish, poultry and veggies simply – and then pair with a delicious sauce.

Check out my post on:

10 Sizzling Summer Sauces

And just for good measure… here are a few of my blogging friends summer creations!

Grilled Citrus and Chicken Skewers from Pink Patisserie

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad from Alaska From Scratch

Berry Salsa from Taste, Love and Nourish

Plantain Chips with Chorizo, Guacamole and Pickled Jalapeno’s from Everyday Maven

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Chicken Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and The Writing Process Tour

Pineapple Juice, soy sauce marinated and grilled chicken // karista's Kitchen

Recently my friend and colleague, Wendy of Chez Chloe the food blog (and also by the same name – a gorgeous Home and Kitchen store on Orcas Island, Washington) asked if I would participate in an online writing process tour.

Because I am completely nosy and curious about how other writers pen their poetic or educational prose, and because often, I stalk my favorite writers and then proceed to ask lots of writing related questions – I thought it would be fun to participate.

What are you working on? 

Hmmm… I think the best question would be, what am I not working on?  My work takes me in many different directions.  Which feeds my generous love for diversity in my daily schedule.

Currently, I’m writing and testing recipes for a winter/holiday magazine issue for one of my lovely clients; writing and testing wine-pairing recipes for two more fantastic clients; writing and testing recipes for future issues of VRAI Magazine; writing food related content for an online e-commerce fashion and home accessories website; desperately trying to finish a small e-cookbook on salmon (to be released soon) and posting my personal recipes and musings on my website.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I learned a long time ago I’m not a traditional food blogger.  I tried. But I soon realized I arrived late to the party, as usual, and I’m not fiercely competitive.  I am however, passionate. Passionate about culinary arts, culinary education and quality, clean, local food.  I am passionate about the local farmer and how we can help each and every one of them sustain their farms. I am passionate about food products that use only the best, cleanest ingredients to help keep our bodies healthy.  In a sentence… I want my work to reflect my passion.

I don’t typically write personal posts, going on and on about my day or how I’m feeling at the moment.  I don’t mind reading blogs that share more personal information, sometimes I rather enjoy them. But I feel my job and professional strengths are to inform, educate, inspire and sometimes amuse.  I love to laugh and I love to hear laughter.

On occasion though, I might write about my sweet pup, Tank, who amuses me terribly. Or my two sassy gals – who make my life worth living.  Or my adventurous husband who always seems to take adventure to a new level.  He most definitely feeds my generous love of daily diversity!

Karista's Kitchen

The Bennett Five

I believe my work only differs in that it reflects me.  It reflects my deep and profound love for what I do.  The passion, the art, the education and all the deliciousness that’s infused into every recipe and post I write.  I write to share. That’s how it all began.

Why do you write what you do?

I think I answered that in the paragraph above.  I’m famous for not directly answering a question.  Ask my husband.  He get’s half a novel with each question he asks.

How does your writing process work?

This too differs daily.  I develop recipes, write content about the recipe and photograph the recipe. Each portion is equally important, which is why I give lots of thought and research to every recipe I develop.

Writing the related content about the recipe depends on my clients specifications.  Much of what I write is written specifically for the publication and their demographic.  I tailor the content as beautifully as I can, weaving in non-fiction stories if warranted, or poetic verse about the season.

When I write, it’s usually always while sitting at my small, rather rustic, painted black desk in front of a window that faces east… with morning light.  Sometimes I play a little Josh Bell or cello music.  Vivaldi is my preferred music to write by, but on occasion some Wailin Jenny’s or Allison Krause will do the job.  I like the house to be quiet when I write. Which is why I write in the morning.  I never, ever answer my phone while I’m writing.  In fact, I turn it off.  This annoys my children.

There are times when I’m testing a recipe – cooking, plating, photographing – when verse will come to mind and I’ll stop and jot it down.  I keep pens and notepaper all over the house and in my handbag.  I never know when something inspirational will pop into my head and I’ll need to write it down.

Often my husband and I will be out and about or having dinner somewhere and I’ll grab my phone and start making notes.  It’s amazing how so many things around me can inspire me.  A beautifully plated creation at a new restaurant, a farmer’s market brimming with brilliantly colored produce,  dark and ominous storm clouds rolling past, threatening to unleash at any moment; an older couple strolling the sidewalk holding hands or a songbird singing his best song outside my window.  Little things that provoke or awaken and inspire.

pineapple and tamari marinated grilled chicken // Karista's Kitchen

Today, I’m sharing a recipe as well. This, a consolation for reading my very wordy post.

This grilled chicken dish is one my husband and I have been making for at least the last 20 years. Prior to culinary school the marinade was extremely simple.  Teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice.  Recently I jazzed it up a bit adding garlic and honey and using gluten free Tamari instead of a Teriyaki sauce.

Flavorful, moist and juicy grilled chicken that will have you licking your lips.  I serve this dish with my Carrot Cilantro Salad or my Mother in laws Macaroni Salad.  Perfect for the casual summer barbecue.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

This is one of my simplest chicken recipes.  So easy, so delicious and perfect for a casual summer meal.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4-5lbs bone-in, skin on, chicken pieces (breast, legs, thighs)

3 cups pineapple juice (not sweetened)

10 ounces Tamari (soy sauce)

1/4 cup honey

4-5 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup sliced green onions for garnish

Directions

Whisk together the pineapple juice, Tamari, honey and garlic.  Place the chicken pieces in a large non-reactive dish or bowl and pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.  On occasion, I’ll prepare it first thing in the morning and it’s ready to grill by dinner time.

Heat the grill to at least 400F.  Brush the grill grates with oil.  The chicken will stick at first, but should turn easily after a few minutes.  Watch the flame as the marinade can burn.  Turn the chicken a few times while grilling and in between turns, keep the grill lid down so the chicken will cook evenly.  Adjust the heat as needed.

The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165F.  Depending on the type of grill you use it will take about 20-30 minutes.  Place the chicken on a platter and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with grilled corn on the cob and my Carrot Cilantro Salad or Macaroni Salad.  A perfect summer meal!