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Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder

Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder

The taste is familiar yet somehow completely new. This gorgeous Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder is everything you want a chowder to be. It’s slightly creamy, infused with aromatics, potatoes, spices and smoked salmon.

I have to admit, this chowder is a tasty change to the chowder I usually prepare. Although many of the ingredients are similar, Scandinavian cuisine includes an abundance  of fresh dill and allspice in their recipes.

Scandinavian cuisine has always intrigued me. Ever since my dear friend, Maria, gave me her Aunt Dagmar’s Swedish Meatballs recipe, I’ve been hooked. Those tender and tasty gravy drenched meatballs are on a regular menu rotation in my house during the fall and winter months.

When I planned to make my smoked salmon chowder for dinner this week I remembered reading about the Finnish Salmon Chowder called “Lohikeitto”, pronounced LOWHEE – KAY – TOE. A dish commonly found in Nordic countries but often varying in ingredients. Some say milk should be used rather than cream. But I’m a cream kind of gal so I used cream. 🙂

Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder // Karista's Kitchen

Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder is so simple to prepare and can be ready in about 30 minutes. I used 1 large leek and included one garlic clove minced for a smidgen of extra flavor. After sautéing the leeks and garlic, I added the cubed yellow potatoes and one carrot that I sliced into rounds.

Instead of fish or seafood stock, which is traditional, I used vegetable broth. Traditional recipes typically use a quick homemade fish or seafood stock. But since I didn’t have any shellfish shells or fish bones, rather than buy fish stock I just used what I had on hand.

I adore vegetable broth in the place of seafood stock. I do this often as some store-bought seafood stock is too fishy for me. You’d think I wouldn’t mind a fishy seafood stock if I’m eating a seafood stew or soup. But somehow when the broth is too fishy, it overpowers the actual fish in the soup or stew. Leaving me with fish flavors on my palate instead of all the beautiful ingredients combined. However, vegetable broth isn’t terribly overpowering in flavor and works well with most seafood soup and stew recipes. I’m not saying don’t use seafood stock. But if you can’t make your own and you don’t like a packaged brand, use vegetable broth as a tasty alternative.

Once the potatoes and carrots were soft I added the cream, chopped fresh dill, allspice and smoked salmon. I let the soup come to a slow boil and then I let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. After seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, I ladled it into our bowls and topped it with more fresh chopped dill.

This Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder is such a treat to the taste buds. We loved it so much I’m making it again next week. 🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder

Serving Size: 4

Scandinavian Style Smoked Salmon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small leeks) finely diced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4-1lb potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 large carrot sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds
  • Enough vegetable broth to cover the potatoes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 10-12 ounces smoked salmon, shredded or diced (not the lox)
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a soup pot over medium heat add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the leeks. Cook the leeks until they are soft and wilted.
  • Then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.
  • Stir in the potatoes, carrot slices, bay leaf and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer and let it cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft. About 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the potatoes are soft, stir in the heavy cream, allspice, smoked salmon and about 3/4 of the chopped dill.
  • Let the chowder simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The starch from the potatoes combined with the heavy cream will allow the broth to thicken. It's not a super thick broth but it will be creamy.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Serve with sprigs of dill for a garnish and some warm crusty bread for dunking.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Lentils with Sausage and Spinach

    Lentils with Sausage and Spinach // Karista's Kitchen

    The simplest meals are often my favorite. Lentils with Sausage and Spinach comes together without too much fuss and fulfills the need for healthy comfort food.

    This dish usually happens when dinner inspiration has gone missing. Or when I didn’t make it to the market as planned. Which happens all too often.

    I’ve sort of been in a Fall slump lately and I think it might be because my kids are away at college and there are no little ones to share the beginning of the holiday season. When my kids were little, we would spend an entire weekend decorating the house for fall and for Halloween. Then I’d let the girls choose one Halloween movie to watch each weekend. We’d usually make pizza or their favorite pasta and always Tamale Pie on Halloween night.  Weekend mornings I’d make bat and ghost shaped pancakes for breakfast and then we’d launch into Halloween cookie baking.

    The only kids at home now are my two fur babies. Tank really doesn’t care about fall festivities unless there is a comfy sofa and tasty bone involved. Gus however, is very happy to accommodate my need to be outside in the falling leaves and brisk cool air.

    While I was feeling less than festive last week I whipped up this little dish of comfort. Lentils with Sausage and Spinach seem to always make the day a bit more cozy and delicious. Although I added ground sausage to this dish for a bit more hearty texture, you can certainly keep it vegetarian and add a mix of greens to the dish.

    Lentils with Sausage and Spinach

    I’ve found the key to making lentils soar with flavor is to add aromatics and herbs while cooking them. This creates the loveliest lentils and a delicious base in which to add additional ingredients.

    On occasion I’ll add diced pancetta or cooked bacon rather than sausage. And sometimes I load it up with extra veggies and skip the meat. However you prepare this dish, it’ll warm the heart as well as the belly.

    Wishing you a festive and delicious fall season!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Lentils with Sausage and Spinach

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Lentils with Sausage and Spinach

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large carrot, diced
    • 2 ribs celery, diced
    • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried chives
    • 2 cups lentils (I like the French green lentils but any kind will work)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2-4 cups of vegetable broth (enough to cover the lentils)
    • 1/2 lb cooked ground sausage (optional) You can also use ground chicken or turkey sausage
    • 3 handfuls of baby spinach or assorted greens such as kale, chard and mustard greens (about 1 5-ounce package)
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Shaved Pecorino or Parmesan to garnish

    Instructions

  • In a medium to large pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium to medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley, oregano, thyme and chives. Saute the vegetables just until soft and then stir in the lentils.
  • Add the bay leaf and enough vegetable broth to cover the lentils. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and continue to simmer five more minutes to allow some of the liquid to reduce. If you don't have much liquid left you won't need to drain the lentils. However, if you have more than a cup of liquid still in the lentils, you may want to drain at least half. I like a bit of liquid still in the lentils as they will absorb the liquid as they sit.
  • Next, take the pot off the heat and stir in the sausage and then the spinach. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and then give it another drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. I like to serve this dish with freshly shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese.
  • Notes

    This dish also makes a great side without the sausage. I pair it with hearty roasts or a whole roasted chicken.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Soup

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    Just the three words bacon, beer and cheese ignite a fire in my belly and my tastebuds.  Who couldn’t love a Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup?

    Unfortunately for me I love all three of those ingredients way too much.

    I live in Oregon which is home to over 260 craft breweries. I had never been much of a beer connoisseur until I moved to the Pacific Northwest 16 years ago. After trying several craft beers in Washington state and then moving to Oregon and “sampling” many of the craft beer here, I can truly say I’m a huge fan.

    It was a tasty job “testing” the beer for this recipe. I concluded however, that a lager or pilsner work best in this recipe. Using a beer that’s higher in IBU’s will create a bitter taste in the soup. So for this recipe, keep the beer on the “mellow” side and maybe the stronger stuff for sipping with the soup.

    And speaking of beer… one of my favorite people, Lori Rice, has just written a book Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer. Lori has created recipes with craft beer along with craft beer pairings that are divine. Her book is beautifully photographed, inspiring and drool-worthy. I cannot wait to dive in and make some of her recipes. If you love beer, you’ll love this book.

    Cheers to food and beer and all things warm and cozy this beautiful fall season.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    Serving Size: 4

    Bacon and Beer Cheese Soup

    This is a smooth, creamy soup that is also quite hearty. It’s a tasty first course for any meal or perfectly suited as a light meal or lunch with crusty bread and a pint of beer.

    Ingredients

    • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 rib of celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 8 ounces of beer, a lager or a pilsner
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ cups whole milk, warm
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • Salt and pepper

    Instructions

  • Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon to the soup pot and cook until the bacon is crisp and cooked through. Remove the bacon and reserve. Remove all but two tablespoons of bacon fat from the soup pot.
  • Add the diced onion and celery to the bacon fat in the soup pot over medium heat. Cook until the onion and celery are wilted and translucent. Then stir in the garlic and thyme and cook one minute longer.
  • Next, stir the flour into the vegetables and cook for a minute or two. Then whisk in the beer, vegetable broth and warm milk.
  • Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, half the bacon pieces and shredded cheese. Once the cheese is incorporated, season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup feels too thick, thin it with ½ cup of vegetable broth at a time.
  • Garnish with additional bacon pieces and serve warm.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup // Dairy Free // Karista's Kitchen

    This gorgeous Carrot Ginger Coconut soup is a revised version of my original carrot soup recipe.  As time passes, and the more I prepare a recipe, chances are it’s going to get a few makeovers now and again.

    Although I do love my original recipe, I’ve created this version with coconut milk to appease my nagging dairy allergy and to create a different flavor twist to the soup.

    I prepare carrot ginger soup almost year round.  My family completely adores this soup in the fall and winter months because of the soothing properties of ginger.  It’s also equally as loved in the spring and summer for the bold taste of earthy, sweet carrots and the tropical flavors of coconut milk.

    Last week I topped the carrot ginger coconut soup with candied blood orange that my brother and sister-in-law sent me from Japan.  The simple touch of orange elevated the flavors yet again, creating the most delightful winter soup.

    I often make the soup on the weekend and store it in the fridge for quick weekday lunches or a light weeknight meal.  It also makes a delicious starter to Sunday dinner or a late night snack.

    And sometimes, I just find myself stopping by the fridge and snagging a spoonful of the silky, lush soup. It’s delicious room temp or warm and obviously, I eat it when it’s cold. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • 12-15 medium carrots, chopped
    • 2 ribs celery, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice (enough liquid to cover the veggies in the soup pot)
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • Pinch of ground cloves
    • 1 cup canned organic coconut milk (not the light coconut milk)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and dried thyme. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.
  • Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice and sliced ginger. (enough liquid to cover all the vegetables in the pot) Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the ginger slices, or as many as you can.
  • Either using a hand blender or pour the soup into a blender, Vitamix or food processor and puree. You may need to do this in stages as all the soup may not fit in the blender/food processor all at once.
  • Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir in the allspice, pinch of cloves and coconut milk. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until the consistency feels right.
  • Serve immediately. You can keep it warm on the stove if needed. Just keep the heat on low. This soup can be refrigerated for about 3 days and reheated stove top, or microwave.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Soup vegetarian

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons // Karista's Kitchen

    Can you believe I never liked tomato soup when I was a kid? I mean, really, who doesn’t love tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches? Well, I didn’t.

    I’m not sure why I didn’t like tomato soup; honestly I didn’t like any kind of soup.  My mom prepared all sorts of crazy grilled cheese sandwiches just to get me to eat soup. Which I ate. That is, I ate the grilled cheese sandwiches and usually left a nearly full bowl of soup at the table.

    However, somewhere along the years and with a more developed palate, I became obsessed with tomato soup.  So much that I serve tomato soup often in my kitchen and today, both my daughters love a bowl of tomato soup, tomato bisque, or just a chunky tomato stew.

    For me, it was the creamy texture of tomato bisque that first caught my attention.  I was working in Boston and there was a little Italian deli down the street from where I worked that served the most lush, creamy and cheesy soup.  In a word, it was divine.  The highly entertaining and charismatic deli owner, Giovanni, served it with crusty Italian bread and butter which paired perfectly with the creamy tomato concoction.

    I walked to that deli every day for my beloved tomato bisque, when finally, I realized I was developing a bit of an allergy to tomatoes.  I seriously had to back off the soup for a while. Thankfully at that time, spring was making an appearance and my soup days would hopefully be limited with the warmer weather.

    Of course, I continue to eat tomato soup – just not every day. I enjoy it the most when the weather is cool and rainy outdoors and when the soup is paired with my friend, Sheri’s, version of grilled cheese with apple butter.  For me, its food heaven.

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons // Karista's Kitchen

    When my client asked for a classic tomato soup recipe for a retro food article, I was thrilled.  I knew I wanted to include grilled cheese somehow, so I made little mini’s and called them grilled cheese croutons.  However, there are times when I really want a hearty grilled cheese and apple butter sandwich with my tomato soup, so feel free to indulge.

    This is totally off topic but notice the sweet table-cloth printed with apricots? Yep, it’s my mom’s tablecloth from the 1950’s and it was so perfect for this shoot.  😉

    Wishing you warm and cozy days all curled up with this Classic Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

    Serving Size: 4

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 28-32 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 8 slices good quality white bread
    • 1-2 tablespoons of butter
    • 4 slices cheddar cheese

    Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the ghee or olive oil and onions. Sauté the onions until wilted and then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, pinch of crushed red pepper, vegetable broth and sugar. Bring to a slow boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the croutons. Pre-heat the oven to broil. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place them buttered side down on a baking sheet. Add the cheese slices to the bread and then top with the remaining bread buttered side up. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and toast. Flip the sandwiches and toast the other side.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool. Slice them into small square croutons.
  • When the soup is done either transfer to a blender and blend until smooth or using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then stir in the heavy cream.
  • Serve the warm soup in bowls topped with the grilled cheese croutons.
  • Notes

    This recipe first appeared in Home By Design Magazine Fall 2016

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

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Loads of love,

    Karista

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

    Ingredients

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

    Instructions

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

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

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

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Ingredients

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

    Instructions

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

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

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup vegetarian

    Watercress Soup

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche and Chopped Chive

    The French have this unique way of turning the simplest ingredient into the most lush of recipes.  A filet of fish can be transformed into the loveliest meal; slightly bathed in butter, shallots, fresh Tarragon and red grapes with a touch of cream – bringing elegance to a simple pairing of ingredients.  How about peppercorns pounded into a beautiful cut of beef, pan seared in butter and then topped with a quick pan sauce?  This dish makes for a scrumptious meal that is simply prepared but rich with flavor.

    So it didn’t surprise me when I found this recipe for Watercress Soup in one of my cherished French cookbooks.  A few years ago, my daughters had the pleasure of visiting France with their most generous and adoring Great Aunt and Uncle.  Yes, my Aunt and Uncle spoiled the girls completely and it was a trip of a lifetime that they still talk about today.  Visiting Paris with all it’s history and architecture and of course the food, the girls couldn’t help but bring me back a cookbook to add to my ever expanding collection.  Filled with the loveliest recipes that are beautifully prepared with seasonal ingredients in methods only the French could create.

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche and Fresh Chives // Karista's Kitchen

    This watercress soup recipe brought back memories of a soup I dined on back East years ago.  It was also a watercress soup but it included additional ingredients of spring peas and asparagus.  It was beyond delicious.  This soup however is simply prepared but certainly not lacking in flavor.  With a nice base of creamy potatoes, onions and garlic, it’s an easy soup to make and holds beautifully in the fridge.  I topped the soup with a dollop of creme fraiche but a dollop of plain Greek yogurt would also be delicious.

    Comforting, warm and so completely perfect for spring, I adore the pale green color of the soup.  It would make a lovely presentation on a Mother’s Day Brunch table or even a family dinner.  I served this soup a la carte with warm crisp baguette slices topped with apple slices and Gruyere cheese and then melted slightly in the oven.   Yes, it was fabulous!

    Wishing you all a most delicious week!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche

    Serving Size: 6

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
    • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
    • 2 lbs watercress, trimmed and coarsely chopped
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (if needed)
    • 1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream or half n half
    • Garnish with chopped fresh chives and creme Fraiche (or plain Greek yogurt)

    Instructions

  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot and add the onions. Let the onions soften for a few minutes and then add the garlic, potatoes, thyme and Italian parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in 2 cups vegetable broth, enough to cover all the veggies. Bring the broth to a boil and then turn down the heat, cover and let the veggies cook until the potatoes are soft. About 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the potatoes are soft, stir in the chopped watercress, adding additional broth 1/4 cup at a time if needed. You want the soup to be thick with ingredients as you will puree it into a smooth soup and if there is too much liquid, the pureed soup will have too thin a consistency. You can always add more liquid at the end if the soup is too thick.
  • Let the watercress simmer for about 5 minutes, until it's nicely wilted. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool a bit. Then either transfer it to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  • Once the soup has been pureed, transfer it back to the soup pot. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. To heighten the flavor of soups and to bring all those flavors together, I add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the soup. Stir this in now if you like.
  • To finish the soup, stir in the one cup of cream if desired. I used about 1/2 cup heavy cream in my soup. Ladle into bowls or one large serving bowl and garnish with creme Fraiche and fresh chopped chive. Enjoy!
  • Notes

    This soup recipe was adapted from a recipe I found in my French book written by Maria Villegas and Sarah Randell. As usual, I made some changes to suit my tastes, but that's what I adore so much about a recipe, making it my own. Feel free to do the same!

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    Karista's Kitchen Pork Soup VRAI Magazine

    Spanish White Bean Stew


    Spanish White Bean Stew 1 VRAI Magazine

    There is a new article and recipe over at VRAI Magazine today.  It’s all about the gorgeous Spanish White Bean Stew called Fabada.  January is all about reinvention at VRAI Magazine and my version of Fabada certainly qualifies as a reinvention.  I think that’s what I love most about world cuisine – finding beautiful and delicious recipes that can stand alone and please the palate or can be recreated to suit my family’s taste buds.

    As always, you will find a fantastic selection of recipes at VRAI Magazine as well as travel, DIY, lifestyle and fashion articles.  Not to be missed!

    Wishing you a most delicious Sunday!

    Karista

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves // Karista's Kitchen

    Because I have a curious nature, recently I’ve been reading about the Scandinavian tradition called Hygge – pronounced Hoo-Gah.  A word that doesn’t quite translate into English except that Scandinavians will tell you it roughly means “cozy atmosphere” or “coziness”.

    I’ve always loved the word cozy.  In fact, after watching the play Les Miserable at least 20 times, I vowed to name my first daughter Cozette, and call her Cozy for short.  That didn’t happen, although now my oldest gal tells me she would have loved that name.

    My dear friend Maria of Pink Patisserie is Norwegian.  She tells me Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life.  The warm glow of candlelight, friends and family gathering around a table of food discussing the little things and the big things… this can all be translated as Hygge.

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves // Karista's Kitchen

    After reading about Hygge, I realized I’ve been practicing it in my home for years.  During the winter months in the Pacific Northwest, we live through very short days and very long nights.  When the day is lit, it’s typically gray and overcast; sometimes with a misty fog that rolls through.  I’ve never minded the winter months.  I’ve always felt it was a time of renewal, a time to take deep breaths and re-fuel for the spring and summer months.

    To keep things feeling more cheerful, I often light candles in the house.  Setting them in key visual locations.  Sort of my version of keeping the home fires burning.  I typically light all the candles just as twilight begins so that when everyone returns home the house feels warm and cozy.

    Thanks to my very wise sister in law, I just invested in flameless candles.  They look and feel as warm and cozy as real candles.  They give the room a warm glow which is so nice when we’re sitting in the family room reading or chatting about the day or hearing stories and drama of the life of a teenager.

    During these low lit days I often make myself a sipping broth for my working lunch or when I’m not feeling up to my usual self – creating a little Hygge in my day.  This sipping broth is so lovely for when we’re sick or when we just need a cup of comfort and nourishment.   I make my own chicken stock and usually make my sipping broth from that homemade stock.  But when I’ve run out and need a cup, I’ll use an organic chicken or vegetable broth purchased from my local co-op market. Currently, I’m really loving the organic Better than Bouillon brand for chicken and beef broth and Rapunzel brand for vegetable broth.

    I’ve listed my basic chicken stock recipe below as well as instructions on how to make this simple sipping broth.  If you can’t find fresh lime leaves, a squeeze of lime works well.  I usually find fresh lime leaves in the produce herb section of my market.  Sometimes I can find dried Kaffir lime leaves in the Asian food section of my market.  You can also order them online.

    Wishing you warm and cozy and all things Hygge!

    Karista

    I’ve also included my simple chicken stock.  I don’t follow the rules here.  (When do I ever follow the rules?)  This stock has never failed me and it’s the base for all my soups, stews and this little sipping broth. The key is to begin with quality ingredients. This is a “flavored” stock, although not heavily flavored.  I find the fresh herbs to be fragrant and slightly apparent, but not overwhelming.  There are all kinds of stock one can prepare.  I don’t add carrots or celery to my stock, I think it completely changes the flavor.  I don’t salt or pepper my stock until I need to use it for a recipe.  So when you taste the stock, it should taste flavorful, but in need of salt and pepper.  This is a good thing.

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves

    Makes one cup

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves

    Ingredients

      For the Sipping Broth
    • 1 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth (chicken stock/broth recipe below)
    • 1/2 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
    • 1-2 lime leaves
      For the Chicken Stock
    • 1 whole chicken carcass/bones (After I roast a chicken and serve it for dinner, I take what's left and make this stock)
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 small head of garlic halved or coarsely chopped (with the skin on and everything, no need to peel)
    • 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano (I don't really count the sprigs, I usually just run outside and snip a small handful from my garden)
    • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (same as above with the thyme)
    • Handful of fresh Italian parsley
    • 1 dried bay leaf, optional

    Instructions

    For the Sipping Broth
  • In a small pan heat one cup of broth with the lime leaves and green curry. Stir to blend the curry with the broth and when the broth is heated through, pour it into your favorite mug. Savor and enjoy. The longer the lime leaves sit in the broth the more lime flavor and fragrance you will experience. The lime leaves are my favorite ingredient.
  • For the Chicken Stock
  • Place the chicken carcass/bones into a large pot. Throw in the onion, garlic, herbs and bay leaf if using. Fill with water until just covers the chicken and aromatics. Place it on the stove top over medium heat and just as it comes to a boil, turn it down to low and cover with a lid. Don't let it come to a rolling boil or it will foam. If it foams, just skim the foam off the top.
  • I keep my pot over the lowest heat setting and I let it simmer for at least 8-10 hours but most of the time I'll let it simmer for 16 hours. The longer you simmer the more flavorful the stock. Typically I'll put the stock on in the evening and let it simmer stovetop all night. The next day after about 16 hours I will uncover the pot, turn the heat up just a bit to medium low and let the stock continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, reducing the liquid a little and creating a more flavorful stock. I always end up with about 4-6 cups stock. Just enough to make one soup or stew recipe for my family. I make stock every week!
  • Take the stock off the heat and let it cool. Strain the stock into a clean container and either refrigerate or freeze. It will last in the freezer for up to three months and it will last in the refrigerator for about 7 days.
  • Use and season the stock as desired.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    I could eat my weight in cauliflower and in red curry cauliflower soup.  I like it steamed, roasted, pureed into mashers, served raw with pesto or Bagna Cauda and in soup.  Who knew this opaque and not terribly attractive veggie could light my culinary fire?

    I think it has to be in the top five of my favorite veggies.  Cauliflower is versatile, affordable, nutritious and relatively painless to prepare, just like this Red Curry Cauliflower Soup. 

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    This soup couldn’t be easier.  It also holds well in the frig for up to three days, as well as in the freezer for up to two months.  I love pairing this soup with a seasonal chopped salad and crusty bread or Naan for dipping.

    I also serve this soup as a starter for a dinner party or a light lunch with an Asian chicken salad.  And of course, you can dine on a bowl of this soup a la carte with your favorite glass of wine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Serving Size: 2-4

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) stemmed and chopped
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
    • 1 stick lemongrass, halved vertically
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 1 14oz can coconut milk (not light)
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 ½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric
    • Squeeze of lime juice to taste
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, lemongrass, fresh ginger, cilantro and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.
  • Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5-10 minutes to bring all the flavors together.
  • With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or vitamix and puree. Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.
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    Appetizers Beef Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes Seafood Soup

    Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round-up!

    8 Cinco de Mayo recipes from Karista's Kitchen

    There is nothing more delicious than a blog post filled with Mexican and South American inspired recipes.  The rich, bold and spicy flavors remind me summer is on the horizon and it makes this chef delirious with anticipation.  Outdoor grilling, fresh local summer produce, casual dining, flip flops or barefoot; it positively makes me giddy just thinking about it.

    Cinco de Mayo is Monday, May 5th and to celebrate,  I’ve got a fabulous line up of festive recipes.   So sit back, relax, fire up that grill, shake up a tasty cocktail and enjoy the deliciousness of the season.

     

    Spicy Cabbage Salad

    The Dreamiest Chocoflan

    Slow Braised Barbacoa with Cucumber Avocado Salsa

    Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

    Roasted Chicken Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema

    Enchiladas Poblano with Spanish Rice Cakes

    Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

    Smoked Salmon Wonton Tacos

     

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista