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Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Salad vegetarian

Salad Lyonnaise

Salad Lyonnaise from Karista's Kitchen

Warm soups and stews are typically what I like to serve during the colder months. However, this Salad Lyonnaise also makes a lovely addition to my seasonal menu.

Traditional French cuisine is earthy, fresh, flavorful and fairly simple to prepare.  Classic French food can also be quite hearty – pleasing a table of very hungry diners. This Salad Lyonnaise is both hearty enough for an entrée and light enough to pair with a soup or stew.

Salad Lyonnaise has been tempting taste buds for years and there is a good reason why – crispy bacon and a poached egg set atop fresh greens all tossed in a lovely vinaigrette.  

I’ve given my Salad Lyonnaise a bit of a contemporary twist by adding in some baby spinach. As always, the poached egg sits atop the salad, just waiting for the pierce of a fork.

This is a salad I serve year round. But I must say it feels the most special during the holiday season. The simplicity of ingredients is fitting for such an indulgent time of year. It almost feels like a light wool shawl encompassing chilled shoulders.

‘Tis a busy time of year and this year is no different. Although I’m not here often enough, I think of you every time I create something new and tasty. I’ve got quite a list of recipes to share in the new year; now to find the time to sit and write!

My sassy gals are home for the holidays and my kitchen is in full work mode. The tree has been trimmed and all the decorations set up and the house smells of oranges and cloves and fresh pine from the Christmas tree. These are the moments I relish. Moments I reflect on throughout the new year and give thanks for all the love and good health in my life. I’m so very grateful for my friends and family – and for each of you that follow this life around my table.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Salad Lyonnaise

Serving Size: 4

Salad Lyonnaise

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 8 ounces thick sliced bacon, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 head frisee lettuce, washed, shaken and lightly chopped
  • 1-2 packed cups of baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
    For the poached eggs:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-4 quarts of water, or as needed
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    For the vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small-medium shallot, finely minced
  • ¾ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • To prepare the vinaigrette, add the vinegar, mustard, shallot and olive oil to a small bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth and emulsified. You can also add the ingredients to a jar, seal with a lid and shake until the vinaigrette is smooth and blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the bacon to the warm skillet and cook the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon fat and reserve the bacon pieces.
  • Toss the frisse with the baby spinach and divide among four plates. Top each plate of greens with the bacon pieces, chopped Italian parsley and chopped chives.
  • In a deep pan over medium heat, add 2-4 quarts of water, the distilled vinegar and salt and then bring the water to a gentle simmer. The water should be about 3 inches in depth. Break each egg into a small cup and then gently slide each egg into the simmering water. Cook until the egg whites are opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Top each salad with a poached egg and then drizzle with the French Vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table vegetarian

    Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

    Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

    My oldest daughter is holding this lovely tray of Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers.

    It had been a year since her brain tumor surgery and she was working hard to get back on her feet and back to college. I think that’s why I love this photo so much. She was beginning to feel better and she was quite determined that day to help me shoot my food photos.

    I love that about my kids. They are strong, brave and determined young women who have a heart for helping others. Although when it comes to helping mom in the kitchen… not so much. 😉

    I’ve been planning my Thanksgiving menu and these delicious little nibbles will be on the appetizer table. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers are simple to make, a little spicy, a little sweet and the creamy goat cheese brings all the unique flavors together. Honestly I could eat my weight in these peppers. 

    If goat cheese isn’t your preference, these are just as tasty with feta cheese combined with mascarpone cheese or garlic and herbs laced cream cheese. On occasion I’ve even added a little bleu cheese to mascarpone and piped it into these little red beauties.

    Top them with chopped toasted nuts, a Marcona almond or a pistachio for a little festive flair. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers make such a bright and cheerful presentation and pair deliciously with cocktails. I’ve also been known to make them my dinner.

    Wishing you all a warm, joyous and delicious Thanksgiving holiday. May your hearts and home be full of love and laughter!

    Karista

    Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

    Serving Size: 3 peppers per person

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 jars of Peppadew peppers (I allow three peppers per person)
    • 4 ounces goat cheese (try to find a nice cream goat cheese that will be easy to pipe into the peppers)
    • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (optional)
    • Chopped toasted nuts or Marcona almonds for garnish (optional)

    Instructions

  • Mix together the goat cheese and mascarpone (if using). The mascarpone or cream cheese will make the goat cheese easier to pipe into the peppers. Although, I've found a brand of creamy goat cheese that works well on it's own.
  • Place the peppers on a tray. Fill a pastry bag with the cheese and pipe the cheese into each pepper. Garnish if desired and serve. You can make these a few hours in advance and leave them in the fridge before serving. Just remove them from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I think the peppers and cheese taste best at room temperature.
  • Notes

    This recipe was first published in Home by Design Magazine 2014.

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

    Spring Roll Bowl

    Spring Roll Bowl from Karista's Kitchen

    Last week, I made this Spring Roll Bowl for at least the fifth time in the past month. It’s nothing fancy but it makes the tastiest and most satisfying lunch.

    Why do I love this little bowl of goodness so much? Well, the veggies for one, but I also love the dressing. Or maybe it’s a sauce. Whatever it is I could sip it. And it makes this bowl of veggies and baby shrimp sing with flavor and make my taste buds smile.

    Spring Roll Bowl from Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve listed the “recipe” below but it’s really just a guideline for whatever Spring Roll Bowl you’d like to make. Most days I add whatever is leftover in my fridge. But for photos I thought I’d be a bit more traditional. I do love shredded carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, avocado, edamame, fresh chopped mint, green onion and rice noodles. These are the ingredients I try to cram into my bowl most days – if I can make it all fit.

    This lovely little Spring Roll Bowl can also be filled with Oregon bay shrimp, which we have a lot of here.  Sometimes I load it with leftover roasted chicken, salmon or shredded pork. But most of the time it’s just filled with veggies.

    The dressing (or sauce) is simply peanut butter or almond butter, honey or Thai chili sauce, Hoisin, soy sauce and water. Whisked together to my desired consistency and then drizzled over my bowl. And sometimes, just for kicks, I’ll throw a little Sriracha Mayo over the top.

    However you like your Spring Roll Bowl, I know it’ll make your lunch hour a delicious one.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Spring Roll Bowl

    Spring Roll Bowl

    Ingredients

      Choose a handful of five or six ingredients to fill your bowl
    • Shredded carrots
    • Shredded cucumber
    • Edamame
    • Bean sprouts
    • Sliced green onion
    • Fresh chopped mint
    • Fresh chopped basil
    • Rice noodles
    • Avocado slices
    • Bay shrimp
    • Poached shrimp
    • Diced chicken
    • Diced or shredded pork
    • Leftover cooked salmon
      For the dressing/sauce (you can double or triple these amounts)
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
    • 1-2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Thai Chili Sauce or honey
    • Dash of soy sauce (to taste)
    • Water to desired consistency

    Instructions

  • Layer the five or six ingredients in a bowl. I can tell you that including at least one fresh herb really makes this salad sing. Either mint or basil is best. To assemble the salad you can either layer ingredients beside each other like I did in my bowl or layer them on top of each other beginning with the rice noodles. Rice noodles or something of the sort is important in this bowl.
  • Whisk together the peanut or almond butter, Hoisin sauce, Thai chili sauce or honey, dash of soy sauce and a dash of water to begin. As you mix the sauce add more water as desired. Season to taste with the soy sauce or additional Hoisin, peanut butter or honey. This is clearly a sauce to your tastes. I make it different every time.
  • Drizzle the dressing/sauce over the spring roll bowl and enjoy!
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta vegetarian

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

     

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

    I am having the biggest love affair with Spaghetti Squash right now; especially when its Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce. 

    Typically, I don’t prepare spaghetti squash until the fall months roll around. However, I spotted one in my co-op market the other day so I bought it. I knew I was making a Vodka Sauce that week and I thought it would taste divine over roasted spaghetti squash.

    Well I was right! It was divine. Just like many other squash, when spaghetti squash is roasted, the roasting process caramelizes some of the squash, which makes it slightly sweet to taste. That slightly sweet flavor balances the vibrant flavors in my Vodka sauce.

    Vodka sauce is basically a traditional tomato based pasta sauce with a splash of vodka and heavy cream. Some recipes add roasted red peppers and/or crushed red pepper. Why vodka? Just like most tomato sauce recipes, adding a bit of alcohol enhances the flavor of the tomatoes. Most people add wine to their pasta sauce which enhances flavor, but also adds a bit of flavor. Vodka is flavorless (unless you use a flavored vodka which I don’t recommend) so it enhances the flavor of the tomatoes without adding flavor to the sauce. If you want a more lengthy explanation of why we add vodka to a tomato sauce, you’ll find this ARTICLE interesting.

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

    There are also several methods to roasting spaghetti squash. Typically, I slice it lengthwise down the center and scoop out the seeds. Brush it with olive oil, salt and pepper and then place it flesh side down and roast it for about 35-45 minutes depending on the size. You’ll get spaghetti like noodles out of the squash but they won’t be quite as long as a traditional spaghetti noodle. I read about a hack for getting longer spaghetti squash noodles which I haven’t tried yet, because honestly, it looked like more work than I was willing to do at that moment. Here is the ARTICLE. I’m sure I’ll try it at some point, however, if you do try this method, let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce is my new “go to” meal. Although, I may have served it one too many times over the last few weeks, or so I’ve been told. 🙂 My family likes diversity in their menu. 

    You’re going to love this combination of flavors and you’ll probably want to use the Vodka sauce on other kinds of noodles as well – like Zucchini noodles, lasagna, pasta and buckwheat soba noodles.

    I hope you’re enjoying the season and the warmer temperatures!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

    Serving Size: 2-4

    Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

    Ingredients

      For the Spaghetti Squash
    • 1 or 2 Medium sized spaghetti squash
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
      For the Sauce
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, diced
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 2 tablespoons vodka
    • 1 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil for garnish
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan for garnish

    Instructions

  • To roast the spaghetti squash, pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  • Cut the squash lengthwise down the center and scoop out the seeds. Then brush the flesh side of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 35-45 minutes or until soft to the touch. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before shredding.
  • To make the sauce, add the olive oil to a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute until soft. Then stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs and smoked paprika and saute about 30 seconds longer. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vodka and tomato sauce.
  • Bring the sauce to a slow simmer and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then slowly stir in the heavy cream and simmer for about five more minutes.
  • As with any sauce, it will be more flavorful the longer it sits. It's even better the next day.
  • Carefully scrape the inside of the spaghetti squash with a fork and add to individual bowls. Top the squash with some sauce and then garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan. Enjoy!
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table vegetarian

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches

     

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches 1_

     

     I adore warm and gooey grilled cheese sandwiches especially when they involve summer berries like these Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches.

    These playful little mini sandwiches are filled with blackberries, blackberry preserves, tangy Havarti cheese and fresh summer basil. I created them last year for one of my clients and I loved them so much I couldn’t wait until blackberry season to make them again this year.

    Blackberries are showing up in our local markets here in Oregon and they will soon be in the Farmer’s Markets. Our wild blackberries will also be ready for picking in the next few weeks. Truly, one of my favorite summer activities is to pick wild blackberries. I look forward to the few days I get to load up my mini step-stool, buckets and gloves and then head out in search of the best blackberry picking spot.

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches // Karista's Kitchen

    During the summer I put seasonal berries in everything. I make these grilled blackberry, basil and Havarti mini sandwiches, I add them to this blackberry and burrata salad, I use them in this Huckleberry Ginger Upside Down Cake, make blackberry barbecue sauce to pair with pork chops and pretty much anything else I can think of.  I even pair blackberries with fish, subbing the blackberries for the blueberries in this RECIPE.

    One could say my food is “berry” intense during the summer months. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

     

    Grilled Blackberry, Basil and Havarti Mini Sandwiches

    Serving Size: makes 24 mini's

    Ingredients

    • 12 slices of good quality white bread
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pint of fresh blackberries
    • 2 tablespoons blackberry or apricot preserves
    • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
    • 8 slices of Havarti cheese

    Instructions

  • Butter both sides of each slice of bread.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the blackberries and preserves.
  • Pre-heat a grill pan or skillet over medium to low heat.
  • Place a slice of cheese on 6 slices of bread and then top the cheese with fresh basil leaves. Carefully place a spoonful or two of blackberries and preserves over the fresh basil leaves and then top with the remaining bread slices to make 6 full sized sandwiches.
  • When the pan is hot, add 2 or 3 of the sandwiches to the pan, or as many sandwiches that will fit in the pan. Brown both sides of each sandwich, being careful when flipping the sandwich. Continue until all the sandwiches have been grilled.
  • Place the sandwiches on a cutting board and when they’ve cooled a bit, cut them into quarters making mini sandwiches. I like to skewer two mini sandwiches together with a short skewer or party pick and serve. This way they won’t fall apart while serving.
  • Notes

    Originally created for Home By Design Magazine June 2017

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

    Blackberry Burrata Salad and a farm tour of the Tualatin Valley

    Blackberry Burrata Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    What do three U-pick berry farms, a cafe, a diner, a farm co-op, a vineyard and an amazing new Portland restaurant have in common? They all inspired this lush and seasonal Blackberry Burrata Salad. 

    Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to tour the lovely Tualatin Valley here in Oregon, compliments of Washington County Visitors Association. I’d heard of the Tualatin Valley but I’ve never had a chance, until now, to tour the area and get to know this warm and vibrant community.

    The Tualatin Valley is situated in the northern part of the Willamette Valley, in the Tualatin River Basin. It’s nestled just outside of Portland, Oregon, which makes it a lovely little paradise for city dwellers as well as visitors.

    Our first stop was Hoffman Farms Store, a U-pick berry farm with a gorgeous farm store filled with a plethora of berry inspired products, jams, pies and ready-picked produce.  For a little more berry adventure you can grab a wagon and a bucket and head out to the scenic berry patches for some berry picking.

    On the way to the berry patches I completely enjoyed the incredible views of the valley from this beautiful farm. Hoffman Farms also has a new wedding venue that is spectacular for the barn wedding inspired bride and groom. Every inch of the barn is warm and festive and plenty of space for catering and dancing.

    Hoffman Farms is run by first-generation farmers, Jay and Kelly Hoffman, since 1983. They began with blueberries and now grow strawberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries and tayberries. After touring the berry patches we went back to the farm store to do a little browsing. I left with the most heavenly tayberry jam and an enchanting mixed berry pie with a crust that could rival my southern grandmother’s crust.

    Thank you to Kelly, Megan and Jayson for your warm hospitality and for making our berry farm tour delicious.

    Hoffman Family Farms in Beaverton, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    After leaving Hoffman Farms Store we drove over to the South Store Cafe, which happens to be right across the street from Smith Berry Barn, the second berry farm on our tour. But first, lunch!

    I’d heard diners talking about the South Store Cafe Reuben so that’s exactly what I ordered. I was not disappointed. A perfectly prepared corned beef with just the right amount of melted cheese, sauerkraut and dressing. All on home-baked toasted rye. The coffee and hospitality were just as delicious. A fun and tasty stop while touring the Tualatin Valley.

    South Store Cafe's Signature Reuben Sandwich // Karista's Kitchen

    Just across the street from the South Store Cafe is the Smith Berry Barn Farm and Garden Market run by first generation farmers, Rich and Joelle Hildner.  While touring the farm with Rich, we found gorgeous seasonal berries, hanging flower baskets galore and the most lovely garden plants. Among the garden and berries there are a few friendly Pygmy goats for feeding and several large berry patches for U-pick berries. During the fall months, this is also a great place to do some apple and pear picking!

    In the center of all the beautiful produce and garden plants is an impressive farm market with a gourmet gift shop with farm inspired decor, custom gift baskets, homemade jams, jellies and local honey. Toward the back of this charming little farm store is an espresso bar that also happens to create amazing berry milkshakes.

    Thank you Rich for giving us a tour of your enchanting farm!

    Smith Berry Barn // Karista's Kitchen

    Last stop of the first day was Our Table Farm Co-operative. They are a regional co-op helping to create a resilient and interdependent local food culture. Food for the community! I am absolutely in love with what this co-op is doing.

    As I walked through the co-op building, the market, the kitchens, the produce gardens, the chicken yard and beyond, my heart was leaping with joy and hope. What an impressive organization helping to feed the community with locally grown produce, meat, poultry and beef. Among everything they grow and raise at the co-op, they also host farm dinners, barbecues, Friday night pizza night and happy hour. Truly a community hangout with a mission.

    Our Table Cooperative // Karista's Kitchen

    After the delicious day of berries we checked into McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. A unique hotel and spa with 77 European style guest rooms, several bars, a restaurant and as we were walking the hotel grounds we found the prettiest little produce garden. McMenamins is a Oregon treasure with several locations throughout Oregon.

    Bites Restaurant in Forest Grove, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    Bites Restaurant is located in downtown Forest Grove, Oregon just a few miles from our hotel. A quaint suburb of Portland, Forest Grove now boasts of this glorious new restaurant in town.  I’m not surprised Bites Restaurant won the 2016 Reader’s Choice Award for best fine dining, best new restaurant and best appetizers. Our meal was exquisitely delightful, beginning with Kalbi Tacos, Bites Korean BBQ Wings and the Crab Cake Bites. Every bite of food so delicious, I could have ordered a second plate of everything.

    We moved on to our entrée’s of Ahi Tuna Salad and the Seoul Noodles – heaven on plates! The ahi tuna was perfectly prepared, the salad greens and vegetables were fresh and vibrant in color and the wasabi ranch dressing was cleverly layered on the bottom of the plate, so that one could conveniently swirl the vegetables and ahi in as much or as little dressing as desired. The Seoul noodles were balanced in flavor and spice and deliciously laced with fresh cabbage, onions, celery, bell pepper and the optional addition of pork belly.  To complement our meal we had the Bites signature mojito that is prepared with quality ingredients. Truly one of the best mojito’s I’ve sipped!

    Thank you Fon and Thomas for your gracious and delicious hospitality!

    Unger Family Farms // Karista's Kitchen

    The next morning we drove out to our third and final U-pick berry farm, Unger Family Farms. What a scenic and magical farm it is. It was a typical cloudy and cool Oregon summer day but the views of the surrounding landscape from Unger Family Farms were so beautiful, the weather never got a second thought.

    Along with ready-picked produce, farm made jams, jellies and farm inspired decor, the delightful Unger Farm Store has a cafe called The Berry Cafe. The cafe serves an assortment of home-baked berry goods, sandwiches and salads for a light breakfast or lunch – with a tranquil seating area to enjoy all the delicious.

    Unger Family Farms is a third generation farm run by Matt and Kathy Unger. Along with their four adult children, Matt and Kathy run a 144 acre farm, U-pick berry patch, the farm store, along with booths at 10 farmer’s markets around the area. Needless to say they are one busy family! Thank you Kathy and Laura Unger for your time and gracious hospitality while visiting your farm.

    Ardiri Vineyards in the Tualatin Valley, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    After leaving Unger Family Farms it was on to wine tasting! The drive to Ardíri Winery was nothing short of spectacular. A beautiful hilltop winery with surrounding vineyards and the most spectacular view of Mt. Hood – voted one of Oregon’s top wineries with panoramic views.

    Ardíri Vineyards and Winery is located in the heart of the Chehalem Mountains in the Tualatin Valley. They specialize in Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. On that lovely day we sipped the gorgeous Pink Tractor Rosé along with a Pinot Gris and several Pinot Noir. Breathtaking views, a lovely open-air facility for wine tasting and of course excellent Oregon wine. Yes, we left with a few bottles. 🙂

    Kitty who jumped in my car at the Cruise In Country Diner // Karista's Kitchen

    Last stop was lunch at the Cruise-In Country Diner where the warm and welcoming owner, Terry Hummel, makes his rounds to each table to chat with guests and diners. The diner kitty, Tiger, also greets guests and this particular day she decided to greet us and hop in my car. After several minutes of pets and purrs, she hesitantly jumped out of my car and followed us to the front door of the diner.

    Country Cruise-In Diner is a family run burger joint decorated with classic car memorabilia from the 1950’s – 1960’s and a menu that features organic and sustainable local produce and quality oils for frying. So of course I had a beer, burger and a few french fries. Yep nothing like going all out at lunch time. Right?
    Blackberry Burrata Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    After much reflection of my Tualatin Valley Tour, loads of photos edited, notes re-written and memories jotted down, I knew a berry inspired seasonal recipe was in order. Blackberries are currently in season and make the loveliest addition to sweet and savory recipes.

    I personally adore fruit in savory recipes so I created this Summer Blackberry Burrata Salad drizzled with a silky balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with Oregon toasted hazelnuts. Each of the ingredients mingles tastefully with each other and makes for a dreamy plate of seasonal deliciousness. Because who can resist blackberries and burrata?

    Thank you to Jackie Hagan and the Washington County Visitors Association for the opportunity to tour this lovely area of Oregon.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Blackberry Burrata Salad and a farm tour of the Tualatin Valley

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Blackberry Burrata Salad and a farm tour of the Tualatin Valley

    Ingredients

    • 1-2 pints fresh seasonal blackberries
    • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved or 1-2 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
    • 6 cups fresh, washed salad greens or 4 good handfuls (I used an assortment of butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce and romaine, friseé and baby spinach would also be lovely)
    • 2 knobs of burrata cheese, sliced right before placing on the salad
    • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • Dash of water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Pinch of gourmet finishing salt (grey salt, etc)

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and dash of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • On a large platter, scatter salad greens, layer with sliced tomatoes or cherry tomato halves, fresh torn basil, burrata cheese, blackberries and toasted hazelnuts. Eyeball the ingredients and create the salad to your tastes.
  • Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette and then sprinkle with finishing salt. Serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Summer Ratatouille

    Summer Ratatouille // Karista's Kitchen

     

    I posted this decadent Summer Ratatouille photo on my Instagram page last week. I also thought I had posted the recipe here.

    Maybe I had thought about posting it but I never followed through. I usually have excellent follow through but this delicious recipe definitely slipped through the cracks. I can only blame my busy schedule and although I have the best of intentions, sometimes I miss a few things. My apologies if you searched for this recipe and couldn’t find it!

    This photo got a lot of love on my Instagram page and for good reason. It’s a beautiful dish, easy to prepare and completely delicious. I made this Summer Ratatouille at least 20 times last summer.

    Because I was late getting my seeds started last summer, I went to my local farm and found loads of beautiful new starts. I wanted to plant a lot of cucumbers so I could use them in salads, do a bit of canning and then make some pickles. So I purchased 6 cucumber plants and 1 zucchini plant. That should be enough. Because zucchini plants can quadruple in size and produce a mountain of zucchini, I only bought one plant. Or so I thought.

    Zucchini starts look almost identical to cucumber starts. Apparently, someone also thought the same and put all the zucchini starts with the cucumbers. I ended up with 5 zucchini and 2 cucumber starts. So by the end of summer I had way more zucchini than I could use and started giving them out to the neighbors and friends, freezing zucchini noodles and shredded zucchini, I canned a few and the rest went into various zucchini recipes like this Summer Ratatouille.

    I certainly didn’t mind making this ratatouille. It’s truly one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. The combination of flavors combined with aromatics and fresh herbs makes this dish light and lush all at the same time. 

    It makes a lovely presentation and pairs beautifully with grilled meats, fish and poultry or doubles as a delicious vegetarian entrée. I could eat this alone with a glass of white wine and be completely happy. 🙂

    Cheers to a delicious summer!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Summer Ratatouille

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Summer Ratatouille

    This lovely vegetable dish is beautifully flavored with herbs and aromatics and looks impressive when placed on the dining table.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, finely diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
    • ¼ cup red wine
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thin, but not paper thin
    • 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup grated parmesan
    • ½ cup crème fraiche for garnish
    • 9 or 10 - inch baking dish, either round, oval, square or rectangular

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until soft and wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce, wine, chives, parsley and smoked paprika.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Beginning at one side of the baking dish, alternate slices of zucchini, yellow squash, roma tomato and eggplant until the baking dish is filled. I usually get about 3-4 rows of vegetables in my baking dish.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then the grated parmesan.
  • Cover loosely with foil and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. If you’d like the top a little toasted, I let the ratatouille sit under the broiler for a few minutes before I take it out of the oven.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with dollops of crème fraiche and extra grated parmesan.
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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

     

     

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

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

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

    Summer for me is all about easy, seasonal meals that delight the senses and tame the hunger like my Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza.

    I call this playful food; because it combines such fun ingredients that play so well together. I have to admit, fruit and cheese are like long-lost lovers meant to be together. Whether they’re used in a sweet or savory recipe, they always happily compliment each other.

    I like my pizza simply topped with just a few fresh ingredients. During the summer months I like to dress pizza with fresh made pesto from basil, arugula or spinach. If I’ve got a plethora of Swiss chard, kale and collard greens in the garden, I’ll often toss those into the pesto as well.  Then I top it with fresh summer fruit and either feta, brie or goat cheese.

    The end result is a light but flavorful Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza that enchants my palate. Not to mention, it brings many happy faces to my table.

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

    I’ve got a delicious pizza crust recipe included however, because I’ve got a gluten intolerant kiddo, I often make a low-carb pizza crust instead. It uses almond flour and mozzarella cheese as the base and I must say it’s divine. A little work to prepare but the end result is worth it. You can find the recipe here. There are several versions of this low-carb crust, however, I like this recipe and the website gives step by step instructions which makes it much easier when preparing the crust for the first time.

    Cheers to the summer and all the summer deliciousness ahead!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Serving Size: 4

    Apricot, Basil and Goat Cheese Pizza

    Ingredients

    • 1-2 12-inch pizza crusts or pre-made pizza crusts, flatbread, Naan or pita bread rounds
    • 1/2 – 1 cup traditional basil pesto or your own homemade pesto
    • 4 apricots, pitted and sliced
    • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
    • 1 bunch basil, whole leaves only
      Easy Pizza Dough
    • ¾ cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
    • 1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
    • 2 cups (10 ounces) bread flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    Instructions

    To Make the Pizza Crust
  • Heat the oven to 500° F. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the middle of the oven.
  • Mixing the pizza dough - Measure the water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it dissolve, about 30 seconds. Stir the water to dissolve the yeast.
  • Add the flour, salt and sugar to the water and mix with a wooden spoon or bowl scraper until the dough starts to come together.
  • Lightly dust the counter or board with flour and move the dough to the floured space. With floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Resting the pizza dough - With a bench knife, divide the dough into 2 pieces. Round each piece of dough and place the dough rounds on a lightly floured counter to rest for 30 minutes. (While the dough is resting, prepare your toppings.)
  • After 30 minutes, fold the dough by stretching each side and folding it into the middle of the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest again for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Shaping the pizza dough - Handling one piece of dough at a time, gently stretch the dough with floured hands. You can also use a rolling pin, but I prefer using my hands. Once the dough is about ¼ - ½ inch thick, lay it on a piece of very lightly floured parchment. You can adjust the shape at this point, but don’t worry about it being perfectly round. Shape the second piece of dough.
  • Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
  • To Assemble the Pizza
  • If using homemade pizza dough, spread ¼ cup or more of basil pesto on the pizza dough. Top with crumbled goat cheese, apricot slices and basil leaves.
  • Bake the pizza on the parchment in a 450°F oven either on the heated pizza stone or on a cookie sheet. The pizza is done baking when the crust is brown and crisp on the edge and bottom. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven, garnish with additional basil leaves if desired. Let it cool for about five minutes, then cut and serve.
  • If using a pre-made pizza crust, Naan, flatbread or Pita round
  • Reduce the oven heat to 400F and place them on a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  • Top the crusts with ¼ cup or more of basil pesto, crumbled goat cheese, apricot slices and basil leaves. Bake in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or just until the goat cheese looks soft and slightly melted and the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and garnish with additional basil leaves if desired. Let it cool for about five minutes then cut slices and serve.
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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/06/18/apricot-basil-and-goat-cheese-pizza/

     

     

    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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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/04/30/mexican-grilled-corn-cob-elote/

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

    Food Segment on KATU Afternoon Live

    Food Segment with Tra'Renee Chambers of Afternoon Live and Karista Bennett

    I had so much fun yesterday! But I always have fun when I’m filming a food segment with Host Tra’Renee Chambers at Portland’s KATU Afternoon Live. 

    I’m sure you can tell I was having a good time by the many expressive faces I made during the 7 minute segment. 🙂 I’ve been told I speak with my eyes. Ha!

    Karista and Tra KATU 1 Karista and Tra KATU 2

    Yesterday we cooked up my famous Pasta Cortona which is one of my favorite spring and summer pasta dishes. Check out the video HERE for a step by step tutorial on how to bring this lovely dish together. Let me know what you think! 

    Sad news… someone has hacked my Instagram account. So if you follow me on Instagram, my account is down and I’m working hard to bring it back to life. We shall see. It’s not an easy fix apparently. 🙁 But you can still keep up with all the deliciousness on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And here on the blog of course.

    Wishing you a most delicious week!

    Karista

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

    Radish and Mandarin Orange Salad

    Radish and Mandarin Orange Salad with Zesty Lime Vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m writing today from my new office which has the loveliest view of rolling hills and a menagerie of deep green trees. I think this is going to be the perfect spot for loads of creativity and mouth-watering recipes. I’m still in the midst of unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything so this post is short and sweet; and of course, delicious.

    This Radish and Mandarin Orange Salad is vibrant in color, not to mention quite sassy in flavor. 

    This salad is filled with spicy watercress and radishes mixed with sweet mandarin sections drizzled with a zesty lime vinaigrette creates a flavorful, beautiful and refreshing salad.  If watercress isn’t to be found, this is just as delicious over shredded cabbage. I like to garnish with fresh cilantro but you can certainly use fresh mint or basil.

    I’ve got several new recipes to post soon so stay tuned!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Radish and Mandarin Orange Salad with Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Radish and Mandarin Orange Salad with Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz red radishes, thinly sliced
    • 16 oz canned mandarin orange wedges, or 2 cups fresh mandarin orange wedges
    • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
    • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
    • 1 lime juiced, about 2-3 teaspoons
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
    • ¼ - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the lime juice, mustard and ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, adding additional oil to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Next, layer the watercress on a platter, then layer the oranges and then top with the radishes and cilantro. Drizzle with lime vinaigrette and serve immediately.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine in 2016.

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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/04/04/radish-and-mandarin-orange-salad-with-zesty-lime-vinaigrette/