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Our Premiere Digital Food Issue

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine premiere food issue Fall 2016

I’ve partnered with VRAI Magazine and we wrote our very first digital food issue, A View to Delicious! 

We’ve been working hard to craft a beautifully photographed food and lifestyle digital food issue featuring the freshest farm-to-table recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, articles on unique destinations that dot the landscape of this scenic region and more cooking inspiration, tips and advice from my years in the culinary profession.

A View to Delicious is a little taste of what I create at home in my kitchen.  This digital food issue is a glimpse into where I live and why I adore my region of the world.  It’s also a little insight into how I feel about healthy and happy living and inspiration for creating life the table.  It also contains lovely verse and poetry by a few of my friends and lots of farm animals. Did I mention the farm animals?

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen

Our premiere digital food issue, A View to Delicious, is available for pre-order now and until the 25th of September.  You can snag it HERE. The magazine will launch on Monday, September 26th!

As I’m writing this, I’m filled with over the moon excitement.  I can’t wait to share with you the delicious new recipes and a peek into my crazy delicious world. 🙂

I hope you’ll pre-order A View to Delicious and then tell me what you think when you read it. I always love hearing from my readers!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy fall season.

Loads of Love,



Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Butternut squash soup with apple and coconut milk

Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

I never met a squash I didn’t like.  Roasted, steamed, grilled, sautéed, battered and fried, pureed for tarts and desserts and of course soups.  Paired with additional Autumn ingredients, butternut squash is a lush and mouthwatering seasonal produce that’s not only good for the soul, but good for the body.

Ok, I could totally go nerdy here.  I LOVE (can you hear me singing that word?) sharing the health benefits of whole foods.  However, for the sake of time, my time – as I’m supposed to be in my car picking up my teenager at this very moment – I’ll keep the nerdy stuff to a minimum.

Low in fat, heart healthy, significant amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.  Not too mention it’s beautiful rich and orange hue signifies it’s abundance of carotenoids and beta carotenes.  All of which keep the heart, eyes and immune system healthy.  It’s also been known to help decrease inflammation caused by arthritis and asthma.  Phew!

There is no doubt butternut squash is a power food.  A power food with a velvet and creamy texture when cooked and can be prepared sweet or savory.

butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

I adore this soup. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl.  Combined with the sweet tart of the Autumn apple and tropical flavor of coconut milk, this soup is a staple in my frig during the holidays and winter months. Easy to prepare and stays in the frig for up to 5 days.   Make an extra batch to freeze in small bowls for after school snacks or a light lunch.  It also makes an excellent holiday party starter, served in small pretty bowls.

I like to pair the soup with my favorite grilled Irish cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread.  Lovely flavors that compliment the rich and creamy butternut squash soup.  When I serve this to the Bennett Crew for dinner, I include roasted green beans or broccoli or a spinach salad to round out the meal.   Perfecto! (yes, I still believe I’m in Italy)

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

All the ingredients can be adjusted to taste and preference.  I’ve given approximates, but feel free to add a little more of this or a little less of that to create a soup to your family’s tastes.

Serves 6 for a dinner meal or 12 for a party starter


1 medium to large butternut squash

1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2-3 tablespoons)

1 medium to large apple, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger (or more to taste at end of cooking)

2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

Olive oil

1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (whole coconut milk in a can.  I prefer Thai Kitchen Organic)

2-3 cups vegetable broth (or more if needed)

Pinch of cinnamon (or as an option, pinch of curry spice)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Serve with Grilled Irish Cheddar on Cinnamon Raisin Bread


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the butternut squash in half vertically – lengthwise (very carefully).  Scoop out the seeds.

Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  Remove from the oven and  when the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl, mashing it as much as possible.  Set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat add the butter or coconut oil.  When the butter/oil is melted and hot, but not smoking, add the shallot and diced apple.  Sauté until the shallot is translucent and the apple is starting to soften.

Next, stir in the mashed butternut squash, pinch of cinnamon, coconut milk and veggie broth (start with 2 cups and add more as needed).  Heath through and bring to a very slow simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

With an emulsion blender, or in your vitamix, carefully puree the soup. It will be very hot.  Continue to adjust seasoning and liquid to your tastes.

Allow the soup to slowly simmer covered for about 15 minutes.  Watch the soup as you don’t want it to burn.  Turn off the heat and let the soup sit stove top for another 15 minutes.

This soup intensifies in flavor the longer it sits.  If serving for dinner I’d prepare it as early as possible so the flavors have time to develop and meld together.  Better yet, prepare the soup a day before and re-heat stove top for the evening meal.

The soup will hold in the frig for about 5 days.  However, if you have leftovers, freeze after 3 days.  The soup will hold in the freezer for about 3 months.






Karista's Kitchen Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Shrimp vegetarian

Spicy Pomodoro with Creamy Polenta

spicy tomato sauce with pan seared shrimp over polenta

Spicy Pomodoro with Pan Seared Gulf Shrimp over Creamy Polenta

The Autumn fog has settled onto the valley landscape and created a halo of diffused light.  Intensifying the seasons colors and keeping just a little chill in the air.

This is the time of year I pull out the heavier throw blankets and roam the house in search of the warmer socks and slippers.  Most of them in various unmarked boxes since our move.

Even the dinner meals become spicier. Rich and flavorful tomato sauces lace the seasons dishes and create a welcome evening reprieve from the shorter and cooler days.

spicy tomato sauce with pan seared shrimp over polenta

Italian Inspired Spicy Pomodoro over Creamy Polenta

This beautiful dish was inspired not only by the season but by my recent visit to Italy.  While pouring through delicious pictures of the loveliest people, mouth-watering food and soul soothing landscape, I knew I needed a spicy pomodoro over creamy polenta this week; and shrimp would make a lovely addition.

If shrimp isn’t on your list of shellfish love, try serving this rich and satisfying sauce with roasted Autumn veggies.  It pairs well with roasted eggplant and zucchini as well as sautéed seasonal mushrooms.

Top with plenty of pecorino Toscana and you just might think you were dining in Italy.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Spicy Pomodoro with Creamy Polenta

Serves 4


¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch Arbosana)

½ cup finely chopped onion

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Pinch or two of red pepper flakes  (I usually add about 1/4 teaspoon) (also a smoked chipotle powder is a fun substitution)

1  28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 – 2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar (if needed)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a sauce pan over medium heat add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the onions to the pan and sauté until golden.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté one minute longer.

Take the pan off the heat (or you’ll be splattered with crushed tomatoes) and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and basil.  Put the pan back on the heat and then bring the sauce to a very slow simmer.  Let it cook for about 15-30 minutes.  The longer the sauce cooks the richer the flavor.

Stir in the sugar if the sauce is too “bright”.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.

Add pan seared or grilled shrimp directly to the sauce and let the shrimp swim in the sauce for a few minutes to absorb those delicious flavors and then serve over creamy polenta (recipe below).  Garnish with plenty of pecorino Toscana or parmesan.

Vegetarian:  Add roasted eggplant, red onions, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and anything else you think would be delicious.  Garnish with lots of cheese!

Creamy Polenta

3 cups whole or 2% milk

2/3 cup quick cooking polenta

¼ cup grated Pecorino Toscana or Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, stirring as you bring it to a boil. While stirring, add the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and continue to keep the polenta at a simmer for about 5 minutes. Once the polenta has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Lightly salt and pepper to taste.




Chicken Karista's Kitchen Soup vegetarian


Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

Every morning I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor in front of my baby chick’s crate, coffee cup in hand, chatting and playing with my four fuzzy little gals. This morning was no different.

I heard Ranger Craig walk up the stairs to the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye, I caught a  slight smile forming around his mouth.  He tells me I need a farm.  I tell him I’ve known this for years. 🙂

My oldest gal suggested we get a pig.  Not a “raise it for ham” sort of pig, but a “play with the cute little piggy” pig.  That’s out of the question… but did mention I’d love a goat?

Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

Mulligatawny Soup

My new friend and local blogger Wendy, over at Chez Chloe , recommends two Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  I agree!  I have a Washington cold rain forest jungle behind my house.  I’ve often thought a few goats might take care of that jungle for me.  And fresh goats milk for cheese sounds delightful.

If you’re my neighbor and you’re reading this, never fear.  I won’t be getting goats any time soon.  Mostly because my two sassy (human) gals would probably sneak them into the house.  That would not be good.

Until then, I’m completely happy sitting on the kitchen floor… talking to my baby chickens.


This is a soup with many variations.  A tumeric laced soup with huge flavor and usually includes beef, chicken or lamb.  My version of Mulligatawny is filled with all the wonderful flavors of Autumn.

Apples, sweet potatoes and the lovely Indian blend of spices, Garam Masala.  Instead of rice, I’ve used wheat berries.  I adore Jovial Foods Einkorn Wheat Berries, nutty, with a little hint of sweetness, these wheat berries make a delicious substitute for rice.

Serves 4-6  can easily be doubled


2  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1  tablespoon Garam Masala or:

2  teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, diced

1 carrot diced

4-6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarian version)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2  teaspoons Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chile Paste (or a teaspoon of hot sauce)

1 apple peeled and diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1-2 cups cooked wheat berries

Salt to taste


Mix together the black pepper and Garam Masala.  If using the individual spices, mix together the spices and black pepper and set aside.

Heat the butter over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot and then add the onion and carrots.  When the veggies have softened and wilted add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture, stirring for about one minute.

Then slowly mix in the chicken broth.  Stir in the tomato paste, roasted red chile paste, apples and sweet potatoes.  Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Add the diced cooked chicken and cooked wheat berries.  Taste for seasoning adding salt as needed.  If you feel the soup needs a “lift” in flavor, add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar.  The longer this soup sits the better it will taste.

An excellent soup for freezing.

Additional add ins:  Diced parsnips, diced turnips, or winter greens.

Flying Karista's Kitchen Pasta vegetarian

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna

The enchanting colors of Autumn are beginning to make their appearance.

The beautiful colors remind me of harvest and make me crave Beef Barley soup, squash and hearty leafy greens and sometimes grilled cheese and apple butter on dark rye.

butternut squash and swiss chard lasagna

So, I prepared lasagna.  Not my typical hearty meat and sauce lasagna; instead a decadent harvest lasagna.  I used a beautiful butternut squash from my dear friends garden, and some Swiss chard that was singing to me at the market.

Autumn in a baking dish.

It was divine.  Paired with a captivating new Italian wine I found at my local market, the dinner was as lovely as the weather.

The following day the weather was even lovelier.  So exquisite, Ranger Craig and I decided to ditch the chore list and enjoy the day flying.  🙂

Rather than tell you all about our adventure, I thought I’d show you.

Flying San Juan Islands

Early morning flight to Orcas Island with Mt. Baker in the background

Orcas Island

A beautiful day in the neighborhood… or nearby anyway

Orcas Island

The bay at Eastsound


Leaving Orcas Island with Mt. Baker and Eastsound in the background


A sunset flight home

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna


1 Butternut Squash, about 1 ½ – 2 lbs

Lasagna sheets, cooked or use the Barilla no boil lasagna, enough for  9×13  pan

Ricotta cheese, 16 ounces whole milk or part skim

1 large bunch Swiss chard, leafy greens only  (I freeze the stalks for soups and stews)

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage

1 egg, lightly whisked

1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 ½ cups Mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Salt and pepper

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients

1 quart whole milk, warmed

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup flour

¼ cup grated parmesan

Salt and pepper

Pinch of allspice


To prepare the Squash

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the butternut squash in half (very carefully).  Scoop out the seeds.

Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  While the squash is roasting, prepare the Swiss Chard.

When the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.

To prepare the Swiss Chard

Give the greens a good chop.  Add about a tablespoon of oil to a skillet or sauté pan and heat over medium heat.  Sauté the chopped onion and just as it’s wilted and slightly golden add the chopped Swiss chard and fresh sage.  Sauté until the chard is nicely wilted.

Drain any liquid that has accumulated and then lightly season the chard and onion with a dash of salt and pepper.

Add the chard onion mixture to the bowl with the roasted squash.  Mix lightly to incorporate all three ingredients.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and a dash of allspice.

To prepare the Ricotta

Whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg, ¼ cup grated parmesan, dried basil or oregano and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the Béchamel Sauce

In a sauté or sauce pan (enough for 4 cups liquid) heat the butter until melted and frothy over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk until incorporated into the butter.  Much like making a roux or gravy.

Then slowly add the warmed milk about 2 cups at a time.  Whisk until it’s smooth and lightly simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Whisk in the pinch of allspice, grated parmesan and taste for salt and pepper.

Putting the Lasagna together

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

This is how I layer the lasagna:

In the bottom of a 9×13 pan, ladle a little béchamel sauce.  Then layer the lasagna pasta over the béchamel.

Ricotta mixture and a drizzle of Béchamel

Lasagna pasta

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard mixture

Lasagna pasta

Ricotta mixture and a drizzle of Béchamel

Lasagna pasta

Any leftover Béchamel or ricotta and then top with Mozzarella and shredded parmesan

Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes until bubbly on sides and cooked through. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden on top.

Let the Lasagna sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!