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

10 Easy 4th of July Recipe Ideas

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Bacon Wrapped Peaches // Karista's Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad // Karista's Kitchen

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

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

Wishing you all a very delicious and safe holiday!

Loads of love,

Karista

 

 

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

Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish with Halibut and Herbed Coucous

Roasted Green Olive and Kumquat Relish with Pan Cooked Halibut and Herbed Couscous

One can never have enough of a good thing, especially when that “good thing” is olives.

I came home from the California Ripe Olive Event in St. Helena, California a few weeks ago and after testing several recipes that included olives, I couldn’t decide which recipe to post.

So, I’m posting two olive recipes! Because I’ve made both recipes three times in three weeks. They really are that good. My family has requested the Olive and Rosemary Chicken Salad remain a staple in the fridge for snacking, lunching and whenever “tasting”.

This current post, a gorgeous Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish with Halibut and Herbed Couscous, has transitioned between a seafood dish, a pork dish and a grilled chicken dish. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’ve used this relish three times for three separate dinner meals.

Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish transitions beautifully between seafood, meat and poultry and pairs delightfully with either a herbed couscous or an indulgent goat cheese polenta. Always in the mix is roasted or grilled asparagus.

Roasted Green Olives and Kumquats // Karista's Kitchen

When my “team” and I were creating this recipe at the California Ripe Olive Experience, I knew this Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish was tasty but I never imagined I’d be preparing it so often at home.

Heather (Heather Likes Food), Leigh-Anne (Your Home-Based Mom) and Kelley (The Suburban Soapbox) were my teammates and between the four of us we created a stellar recipe.

The original recipe we created in the Culinary Institute of America kitchen in St. Helena, California, paired the relish with pan seared pork tenderloin medallions, a white wine and butter pan sauce over goat cheese polenta and pan cooked asparagus spears. In a word, divine.

Honestly, I found myself sneaking bites of the pork tenderloin with Kelley’s pan sauce, nibbling on spoonful’s of Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish and secretly wanting to shovel the goat cheese polenta into my mouth. Polenta just does that to me.

The buttery and slightly salty flavor of the roasted green olives blended perfectly with the tart citrus flavor of the sliced kumquats. We added a splash of garlic, ginger, Italian parsley and honey to the relish which resulted in a mellow but flavorful relish.

California Ripe Olive Experience St. Helena 7

When I prepared the relish again at home I used it to top fresh roasted halibut to change things up a bit. I also paired the relish with grilled chicken. All of which was delicious.

I love it when a recipe can be used with more than one specific ingredient. I suppose that’s simply what olives do best. They pair deliciously with most savory and even sweet ingredients, elevating flavor and texture and making a meal completely delightful.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

*This post was sponsored by California Olive Committee

Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish with Halibut and Herbed Coucous

Serving Size: 4

Roasted Olive and Kumquat Relish with Halibut and Herbed Coucous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced green olives, or more if you like
  • 1/2 cup sliced kumquats
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1- 1 1/2 lbs. halibut cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted pine nuts for garnish
  • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the sliced olives, kumquats and smashed garlic in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of cracked black pepper.
  • Transfer the olives and kumquats to a lined baking sheet and roast them in the pre-heat oven for about 10 minutes. If you like a little color on the olives, place them under the broiler for a minute or two.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the olives and kumquats cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and remove the smashed garlic.
  • Toss the olive and kumquats with parsley, oregano, ginger, sliced garlic, lemon zest and one tablespoon of honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional honey if needed.
  • To make the halibut, heat a fish proof skillet over medium heat and add the ghee. While the ghee is heating, season the halibut with salt and pepper.
  • When the ghee is hot, add the halibut flesh side down and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Then flip to the skin side down and cook another 3-5 minutes. Fish should be cooked about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.
  • Once the fish is done transfer to a platter and hold. With the skillet on the stove but the heat turned off, add the white wine and scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat back on and whisk while adding the butter. Once the sauce has reduced by 1/4-1/2, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the halibut over prepared couscous and then top the halibut with the pan sauce. Garnish the halibut with the relish and then garnish with additional chopped fresh Italian parsley and toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    This lovely relish is perfect over roasted pork, pan seared pork tenderloin medallions and grilled chicken.

    *When roasting the kumquats, be sure not to roast them too long as they can become a tiny bit bitter.

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

    Hugo’s Barbecue Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Slaw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Hugo’s Barbecue Shrimp and Bleu Cheese Slaw

    Serving Size: 6

    Ingredients

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

    Instructions

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

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

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

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

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

    Serving Size: 8

    Ingredients

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

    Instructions

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