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

    Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

    Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata // the perfect spring meal from Karista's Kitchen

    It’s the first full week of spring and my mint plant is blooming the prettiest Chartreuse green leaves. These gorgeous green leaves are inspiring a constant stream of recipe ideas like this Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata.  

    I adore adding fresh mint to my recipes and I often add it to my quinoa salads, cucumber and papaya salsa, and even a few stir fry recipes. And now mint has made it’s way into my lemon risotto with a crispy mushroom and mint gremolata.

    Mixing fresh herbs with sautéed mushrooms compliments a dish and gives it a little extra something special.  I like to combine fresh mint, parsley and basil in my gremolata because each of those herbs play so well together. Not to mention, the herbs compliment the lemon risotto so beautifully you’d think they were made for each other.

    Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata // Karista's Kitchen

    This lovely recipe is bright with flavor but still comforting in texture. Lemon risotto with crispy mushroom and mint gremolata highlights the dawn of a new season with  a playful twist of fresh ingredients.

    This is a short, although delicious, post today but I’ll be back soon with more tempting recipes from a new kitchen!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

    Serving Size: serves 4 (recipe can be doubled)

    Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 - 3/4 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
    • 1 cup arborio rice
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 4-5 cups warm vegetable broth (I like a creamy risotto so I use extra broth)
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 medium lemon zested
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups sliced assorted seasonal mushrooms
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • A squeeze of fresh lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • To make the risotto add 2 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir for one minute longer. Add ½ cup dry white wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  • Next, stir in 1 cup of the warm broth and simmer until it’s absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is almost tender, al dente.
  • When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To make the gremolata, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and saute until slightly browned and a little crispy. Then stir in the minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs and squeeze of lemon. Take the skillet off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve the risotto, ladle risotto into individual bowls or one large serving bowl. Top the lemon risotto with the crispy mushroom and mint gremolata and serve with additional grated parmesan cheese.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad vegetarian

    Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

    Asian Noodle Salad Bowl // Karista's Kitchen

    Who doesn’t love bowl food? I’ve loved bowl food since before bowl food was a thing.

    When I was a twenty-something I’d bake diced potatoes or cook some rice or noodles. Then I’d add one of them to a bowl and layer it with any complimentary ingredients I could find in my fridge or pantry. I’d top it off with something creamy or saucy and then proceed to enjoy every last bite.

    There is something so fresh, simple and comforting about beautiful bowl food.  This Asian Noodle Salad Bowl is easily assembled with seasonal ingredients that are combined with a few pantry staples. The result is a beautiful recipe with loads of flavor.

    Asian noodle salad bowls are the perfect lunch or dinner bowl, combining the comforting texture of soba noodles with an array of fresh ingredients.  Top the ingredients with the plate-licking spicy peanut sauce and you’ll find yourself adding this beautiful bowl to your regular menu rotation.

    I make this Asian noodle salad bowl with all or just a few of the ingredients, depending on what I have on hand.  Sometimes I simply throw a handful of baby greens in the bowl and top with sliced mushrooms, sliced green onions and sesame seeds.  This Asian noodle salad bowl is also delicious with grilled or pan seared Gulf shrimp, tofu or tempeh. This beautiful Asian noodle bowl is always a favorite at my kitchen table.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

    Serving Size: Makes two bowls

    Asian Noodle Salad Bowl

    Ingredients

    • 1 package buckwheat or traditional soba noodles cooked according to package directions and cooled
    • ¼ cup peanut butter
    • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2-4 tablespoons warm water
    • Salt (optional)
    • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
    • 1/3 cup sliced or diced red pepper
    • 1/3 cup mung beans
    • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
    • ¼ cup sliced radishes
    • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
    • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    • ½ avocado, sliced

    Instructions

  • In a food processer add the peanut butter, chili sauce, lime juice, vinegar, hoisin sauce, olive oil and two tablespoons of warm water. Blend until the sauces is smooth and creamy. Add additional water to thin the sauce if desired. Season to taste with salt if needed.
  • To assemble the salad bowl, place about one cup of noodles in each bowl. Top with the carrots, red pepper, mung beans, green onions, radishes, basil, cilantro, sesame seeds and avocado. Drizzle with the spicy peanut sauce and serve. Serve with extra sauce for the noodles.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine February/March 2017 issue.

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

    Braised Red Cabbage

    Braised Red Cabbage pairs perfectly with slow cooked pork roast, roast pork tenderloin or roast chicken // Find it at Karista's Kitchen

    I often prepare braised thick-cut pork chops for dinner and I love to serve this braised red cabbage with the pork chops.

    I get juicy, perfectly thick-cut chops from my favorite Willamette Valley farm, Red Bird Acres.  I should have posted that recipe first but the chops always get gobbled up before I can snap a photo. I promise, I’ll post it soon.

    Although this braised red cabbage recipe is divine with pork chops, it’s also lovely with my Italian slow roasted pork, roasted pork tenderloin or roast chicken.  If I’ve got a bowl of apples to use up, I’ll toss in some apple slices during the last half of braising time which gives the braised red cabbage a bit of a sweet with savory flavor. Pears also “pair” nicely with this cabbage dish. 😉

    I’ve always had an affinity for cabbage. I adore it thrown in my weeknight greens and mushroom sauté which adds a bit of “crisp” to the greens.  I also like shredded cabbage mixed in with my salad, added to a soup or stew, grilled and topped with a chimichurri sauce or roasted in big “steaks” like my friend Alyssa’s recipe from Everyday Maven.  I even toss it in this pasta dish that was inspired by my trip to Italy.

    I believe cabbage is best when it’s in season from late fall through winter. It’s economical, satisfying and full of all the good stuff to make a body healthy.  

    When I was researching cabbage a few years ago, I stumbled across this little bit of trivia.  Ancient healers said cabbage contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight.  How dreamy is that?! I am such a romantic about food, I know it sounds weird. But I’ve always admitted to being a wee bit quirky.

    Cabbage is truly a power house of vitamins and an excellent source of folate. It contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is good for the immune system.  It also contains vitamin K, which helps with mental function and concentration. Not to mention it’s a great source of fiber and helps fill you up so you don’t grab that extra cookie after dinner.

    The next time you put the slow cooker on with a pork roast or you’re roasting a chicken for dinner, try pairing this braised red cabbage recipe with your entrée. It’s a simple, seasonal and fresh side dish that will compliment your fall or winter meals.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Braised Red Cabbage

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Braised Red Cabbage

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons of ghee, clarified butter, divided
    • 4 ounces of bacon, diced
    • 1 red onion, halved and thin sliced
    • 1 head of red cabbage, cored and shredded
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    • ½ cup vegetable broth
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of ghee over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy and fat is rendered.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan.
  • Next add the sliced onions, shredded cabbage and minced garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add the bacon back into the pan.
  • Stir in the vinegar and vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then cover the skillet or Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the oven for about 45 minutes. Give the cabbage a little stir about every 15 minutes or so.
  • Remove the cabbage from the oven, stir in the last tablespoon of ghee and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
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    Appetizers Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table vegetarian

    Socca (chickpea flatbread)

    Socca (Chickpea Flatbread) // Karista's Kitchen

    Sometimes I feel this humble blog is my somewhat ignored child.  I think about this blog all the time and I’m constantly planning a million things to post here.  But alas, paid work must come first and sometimes that work takes up most of my time… which is a good thing is it not?

    You should see my list of recipes I’ve got going.  Every season I make this long list of recipes to prepare, photograph and post here for you to completely revel in and enjoy.   However, half of those recipes never make it onto the blog. The really delicious recipes that I feel you MUST have come rain or shine or snowstorm or vacation actually get posted.  Other recipes sort of hang around season after season until before I know it, it’s been a full year and the recipe is still on my “to post” list.

    This Socca (chickpea flatbread) is one such recipe.  I can’t say for certain why it’s taken me so long to post this other than it often disappears before I can snap a few photos.

    Socca (Chickpea Flatbread) // Karista's Kitchen

    Socca is such a simple, fragrant, tasty little recipe that I prepare at least two or three times a week.  Sometimes I’ll make Socca on the weekends and we nibble on it with cheese and wine for a light dinner or snack.  My sassy gals love socca with fresh herbs and garlic as a compliment to a dinner salad or soup.

    Socca is so versatile I use it for pizza crust on occasion or serve it for breakfast with fried eggs and wilted greens.

    Socca, also referred to as Farinata, originated in Italy.  It’s a simple flatbread made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and typically rosemary.  Although, many versions of socca can be found all over the world.  Some recipes call for resting the batter for several hours prior to baking.  I’ve tried it both ways. Whisking the batter and baking it off within minutes of preparation. Or letting the batter sit for several hours before popping it in the oven before dinner.  Personally, I love the end result when the batter has had time to rest and flavors meld and allow all the delicious magic to happen.  But if you’re in a hurry and just need to get it in the oven, it will still taste delicious.

    I’ve listed a basic socca recipe but feel free to add your favorite fresh chopped herbs, garlic, sautéed onions, shallots or garlic.  I love it simply with rosemary, salt and pepper and eaten right out of the pan.  Which is how I finally managed to photograph the socca.  I suppose I could have fancied up the photo but socca is simple goodness and truly needs nothing fancy added.  Maybe just hungry family members. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Socca (chickpea flatbread)

    Serving Size: Makes 8 slices

    Socca (chickpea flatbread)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup chickpea flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
    • 3/4 cup - 1 cup lukewarm water
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or a mixture of fresh herbs or chives)
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, 3/4 cup water (adding more for a thinner flatbread), salt, fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes or covered in the fridge for about 2-3 hours or overnight if you're preparing for breakfast.
  • When you are ready to bake the socca, pre-heat the oven to 425F. Place a 10 inch cast iron or iron skillet in the oven and let it pre-heat with the oven.
  • When the oven is ready, carefully remove the pre-heated skillet and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Pour in the socca batter.
  • Carefully place the skillet back in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until it's golden brown and a little cracked on top.
  • Remove it from the oven and slice into 8 wedges and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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    Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Salad vegetarian

    Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad

    Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad for the win! // Karista's Kitchen

     

    Sometimes the simplest ingredients come together easily like this Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad.  

    I adore warm salads during the cooler months, which is why I probably make a warm salad almost every night for dinner. I like to serve warm salads with roast beef, pork and chicken as well as  fish or shellfish.  Warm salads also make a fabulous one-dish meal.

    When I make a warm salad, I use every kind of green that’s available this time of year – or any leftover leafy greens that might be growing in my fall garden. Kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, spinach and arugula are all perfectly delicious slightly warm and dressed in a sweet or spicy vinaigrette.

    Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad for the win! // Karista's Kitchen

    Kale and collard greens hold up best to the slight heat and vinaigrette – and they hold really well on the dinner table.  If I’m using Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens or arugula, I heat the vinaigrette first, add the delicate greens and then take the pan off the heat, tossing the greens in the warm vinaigrette.

    I especially adore the flavor combination of this warm kale, Delicata squash and quinoa salad.  The slight peppery flavor of kale, sweetness of the Delicata, and nutty flavor of quinoa pair so deliciously together.  I use thinly sliced red onions for the aromatics and roasting the squash with maple syrup adds another beautiful layer of flavor.  I toss the salad in a sweet and spicy mustard vinaigrette and I like to finish this salad with pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds or dried cherries.

    For me, the weeknight meal is all about taking fresh, seasonal ingredients and pairing them with a few pantry staples.  This makes dinner delicious, healthy and achievable.  Achievable is good, right? 

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad

    Serving Size: 4

    Warm Kale, Delicata Squash and Quinoa Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 Delicata Squash, halved, seeded and chopped into bite size pieces
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
    • 1-2 cups cooked quinoa (cook according to package directions)
    • 1 bunch purple or green kale, stemmed and chopped
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
      For the Vinaigrette
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2-3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • Dash of water
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • Toss the bite sized Delicata squash with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Place the squash in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until the squash is slightly soft and golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  • Whisk together the 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes and dash of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the salad
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and heat. When it's hot add the sliced red onion and sauté just until slightly soft. Then stir in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds longer. Fold in the chopped kale and tossing it with the onion and garlic. When the kale is warm and slightly wilted, remove the skillet from the heat and season the kale with salt and pepper. Toss the kale with the squash and quinoa, adding more vinaigrette as needed.
  • Transfer the warm salad to a platter or individual bowls and garnish with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cherries or cranberries. Serve.
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