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cherry tomatoes

Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Sliced Red Onions and Fresh Basil // Karista's Kitchen

This is the time of year I’m in food heaven. Summer produce is at its peak and it adorns my table with gorgeous color and delicious flavors, like this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad.  

Most of the plants in my garden are ready to harvest, with the exception of the few plants that have suffered little critter attacks, the heat and my apparent lack of gardening knowledge.  I was so excited about my little strawberry patch, only to walk out one morning and notice tiny teeth marks on my sweet red berries.  Darn bunnies. 🙁

I have a short list of plants I probably won’t attempt growing next year.  I have completely failed at sugar snap peas – and I love sugar snap peas.  Disappointment is looming.  I’m not sure what happened but I think I may have planted them in the wrong spot in the yard.  My knack for growing cauliflower never emerged this season… and then the white flies noticed the fledgling cauliflower hanging about and pretty much decimated what was left of the cauliflower crop.

I’ve had a few successes however.  I am awesome at growing greens!  Which is great because we eat loads of greens in my house.  Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Collards are being harvested daily.  My spring lettuce flourished as did the arugula.  Tomatoes will be ready soon and the cucumbers are popping out everywhere.  Another huge success are the peppers, which is making Ranger Craig very happy.  He could eat peppers daily.  And of course my herb garden is overflowing with the most beautiful and fragrant herbs.  Ok, so I have somewhat of a green thumb.  I believe it may be more determination than an actual green thumb. 🙂

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Red onion and Fresh Basil in a Sherry Vinaigrette

The one vegetable I do wish I’d grown in my garden this year is corn –  so I could make this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad straight from my garden.  

Summer isn’t summer without corn. And well… potato salad, grilled ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled stuffed peppers, macaroni salad and I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes, noshing on corn on the cob with smears of butter on warm summer days, or watching my family dig into a bowl of this sweet corn and tomato salad.

Grilled summer corn and tomato salad is a staple on our summer table.  

It’s easy to prepare and it holds well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Although it doesn’t last that long in my house.   Slightly sweet from the corn and a little tang of fresh cherry tomatoes combined with a little spice of sliced red onion and then topped with fresh and fragrant basil.  The simplicity of clean, fresh flavors shines through and is melded together by a little taste of char from the grilled corn.  Earthy, fresh, fragrant and most of all, delicious.

Cheers to a delicious and fun-filled summer!

Loads Of Love,


P.S. Having a little trouble with my print plugin but hopefully it will be fixed soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad


5-6 cobs of fresh summer corn, husks peeled and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade (Julienne)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons and taste, if you need more add the extra tablespoon)

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Brush each corn on the cob with a little oil and then wrap each corn on the cob in aluminum foil and place them on the grill.  Note: Some people like to soak the corn on the cobs in water for about 10-15 minutes prior to grilling.  But if the corn is fresh and kernels look plump, this step won’t be needed. I don’t typically soak my corn prior to grilling unless its end of the season and the kernels look less than plump.

Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every five minutes to insure even cooking.  Once the corn is done, remove from the heat and let them rest for about five minutes.  Then unwrap the corn and let them rest another five minutes if they are too hot to handle.  Then scrape all the corn off the cob and place it in a bowl.

To assemble the salad, gently toss together the corn, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Italian parsley and basil.  Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar and then gently toss with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This salad is fabulous when it’s had about 30 minutes to sit on the counter at room temperature.  This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together.  Place any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.



Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs

Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs

Summer is winding down and I find myself in a mad dash to use every last summer tomato I can get my hands on.  Which is absolutely why this spicy little pasta dish happened.

I whipped this up on the fly the other day, trying to use up all my baby tomatoes before they went bad.  Normally I can’t keep tomatoes around due to all the “tomato snacking” that goes on in my house.

Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs

Pasta Puttanesca is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  Onions, garlic, anchovy, a bell pepper from the garden along with a handful of chopped fresh summer herbs, salty capers and olives and last but not least, summer baby tomatoes.  All nicely sautéed and warmed in my favorite extra virgin olive oil and then splashed with a hearty handful of fresh grated parmesan.  For extra spice,  I sneak in a few sliced pickled jalapeno.

Ahhh… food just doesn’t get any tastier.

Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs

I’m going to miss the sweet little red beauties when they’re gone. I rarely purchase them out of season and only when my family feels they need a cherry tomato fix.  Hands down, fresh tomatoes taste best in summer.  However, in the fall and winter months I use organic canned tomatoes.  They’ve been canned at the peak of ripeness and infuse a sweet tomato flavor in the winter version of this dish.

During the winter months, I often fold in some cooked ground Italian sausage for a hearty one dish meal.

What I love most about Pasta Puttanesca is it’s many versions and interpretations swimming around recipe land.  Many chefs and home chefs prepare cherished versions of this dish.  It’s one of those lovely recipes that lends itself so beautifully to the variety of the season.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Spicy Pasta Puttanesca with Loads of Fresh Herbs

Pair this lovely dish with my fave DaVinci Chianti

serves 4-6


1 lb thin spaghetti or linguine, cooked according to package directions

1 small red onion, diced

1 small red, orange, purple or yellow bell pepper, thin sliced

3-4 anchovies

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapeno (or more to taste) or a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes

1 heaping tablespoon of capers

Handful of assorted olives, sliced

Handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Handful of fresh basil, chiffonade sliced

1-2 sprigs oregano, leaves removed and finely diced

1 pint cherry or baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced

2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.  I use California Olive Ranch Arbosana Olive oil

Squeeze of lemon

Handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese

Fresh cracked black pepper

You may or may not need any additional salt, so be sure to taste for seasoning


Prepare your pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Sauté the onion, peppers and anchovies until onions and peppers are soft.  The anchovies will melt into the oil.  This creates lovely, deep and rich flavors.

Next, stir in the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

Turn the heat to medium low and stir in the jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes, capers, olives and fresh herbs.  Let the mixture heat and simmer for a few minutes, allowing all the delicious flavors to meld together.

Fold in the tomatoes, add a squeeze of lemon and then sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and taste for salt.  You may or may not need any additional salt due to the anchovy, capers and olives.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet of veggies tossing to coat.  Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and then pour the pasta onto a platter, ladling all the stray olives and tomatoes on top.

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.





Appetizers vegetarian

Caprese Rosemary Skewers

Caprese Rosemary Skewers

Caprese Rosemary Skewers


Summer has arrived and alfresco dining has begun!  I’m loving these seasonal appetizers that help me use the abundance of rosemary growing in my garden.

They’re also a delicious way to use summer’s sweet cherry tomatoes.  Although if I have a bowl of cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter they don’t seem to last long.  A favorite snack for the Bennett Crew.

Beautifully arranged on a platter, drizzled with my favorite California Ranch Olive Oil and aged balsamic vinegar, and served as an appetizer or last course with a favorite summer cocktail or wine.  To complement this lovely little nibble, I place a basket of fresh Italian bread on the table, you know, to soak up the extra oil and vinegar .

A little announcement and the reason I’ve been a bit tardy about posting new recipes… we’re making a move.  Karista’s Kitchen is going to be a self-hosted website soon.  You will see a new look and much easier navigation.  New recipes coming with a more user-friendly method for printing recipes.  My super, duper fabulous web guy, Steve from SteveWare Labs is working hard, long and tedious hours to re-create Karista’s Kitchen.  It’ll be launching soon so I’ll keep you posted.

Enjoy the deliciousness of summer!

Loads of love,


Caprese Rosemary Skewers


Cherry Tomatoes

Small Mozzarella Balls

Sprigs of rosemary, preferably older rosemary so the sprigs are sturdier

Basil leaves, torn into pieces

Olive oil, I like the Arbequina from California Olive Ranch Olive Oil Company

Balsamic vinegar, preferably aged


Remove leaves from the rosemary stalks, leave just a sprig of leaves at the top for decoration.

Skewer the rosemary, alternating with cherry tomatoes, torn basil leaves and mozzarella balls.  Once they are all skewered, drizzle with good quality balsamic vinegar or glaze and then with the olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve.


Kid Friendly Pasta Seafood Shrimp

Shrimp Scampi Linguine With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Lemon

Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Lemon

There’s a new guy in my life.   And I’ve fallen in love.  Again.  Another dark brown-eyed, silky smooth haired, cute as a bug Terrier.

Gucci, a Biewer Terrier,  came to visit for a few days and we’re all smitten.  Especially Suzie Q.

Gucci, the Biewer Terrier, and his new favorite girl 🙂

I walked into my youngest daughter’s room to check on our handsome little guest.  He was as snug as a bug in one of my old willow clothes baskets.  My daughter had padded it down with lots of soft, fluffy blankets and set the basket at her feet while she finished her homework.  Gucci barely opened his sleepy eyes when I peeked in her room.  He gave me what I could swear was a half-smile, and then went back to sleep.

Gucci Bear

As you can tell I love dogs.  Actually I love most animals.  Except snakes.  But those aren’t animals.  Thankfully.  And I don’t care for rodents of any kind especially after the squirrel incident.  That’s a long story.

But to make it short… years ago, a very large and wooly, less than friendly squirrel decided I had invaded his portion of the parking lot.  He made that very clear when he started slowly walking toward me, watching me intently with those brown beady and terrifying eyes.  I thought I might be in a Stephen King movie.

No matter how far I ran, he ran after me.  Finally jumping on my leg and scaring me speechless.  Actually, I was screaming.

After doing a little jig and lots of leg shaking around my side of the parking lot, the less than friendly squirrel decided I was too much trouble and let go of my pant leg.  I can truly say this squirrel incident was one of the most horrific animal experiences of my life.

Although I may need to re-think “most horrific”.  I’ve been bitten on the bum by my pet pig, bucked off my horse into a ditch (because she wanted to chase the hay truck),  had a little standoff on my front porch with a cantankerous raccoon and the ONE camping trip my family took when I was a child, ended after the first day.  Yes…a bear attacked our camp.  I should have known early on that my love of animals came with a price.

Maybe that’s why I only have dogs.  Though I’d love a miniature donkey.  And I’ve been rallying the Bennett Crew for a chicken coop.  Ranger Craig is always telling me I need to live on a farm.  One day. 🙂

You may be wondering how in the heck is she going to bring this post back to the subject of food?  I’ll show you a picture.

Shrimp Scampi Linguine... a perfect spring meal!

I whipped up this little dish while Gucci was visiting. I had gone a little nuts with the cherry tomatoes and decided to roast the last two pints for a lovely pasta dish.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

What could be more delicious with roasted cherry tomatoes than fresh basil, lemon and shrimp scampi.  All ladled beautifully over linguine.  A perfect spring meal!

For more information about our adorable little Gucci and Biewer Terriers check out my friends website:

Spicy Shrimp Linguine with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Basil and Lemon


Serves 4-6

1 lb linguine, cooked according to package directions

1 lb shrimp, larger size,  peeled and de-veined (preferably fresh and not farm raised as the farm raised can be mushy)

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil, chiffinade (cut into ribbons) Or hand torn

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ pint heavy cream

¼ cup white wine

½ teaspoon roasted red chili paste (Thai Kitchen) or a good pinch red pepper flakes or even a good splash of Sriracha hot sauce will do the trick.


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Drizzle the tomatoes with a tablespoon or two of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet  and roast in the oven until wilted, about 10 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and set aside.

To prepare the shrimp:  Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add two tablespoons of oil.  Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, to aid in carmelization.

As soon as the oil is hot but not smoking, add the shrimp in a single layer.

If your pan isn’t large enough you may need  cook your shrimp in two batches.  Let the shrimp cook on one side and then flip them to cook on the other side.  You’re looking for some nice golden brown color on your shrimp.  Total cook time should be about 2-4 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.  Once the shrimp are done, remove to a plate or bowl and reserve.

To prepare the sauce:  In a sauce pan or cleaned skillet, add the butter to the pan over medium high heat.  Once the butter is frothy add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.  Then whisk in the white wine and heavy cream.  Turn the heat down to medium and let the sauce simmer to thicken a bit.  Don’t worry if the sauce doesn’t look thick and creamy.  This is a “lightly” sauced pasta dish allowing the flavors of the ingredients to shine through.

Whisk in the chili paste or sriracha, lemon juice and zest and take the pan off the heat. Taste for salt and pepper.

Fold in the fresh basil and toss the sauce with the pasta.

Before serving, lightly toss the pasta with the shrimp and tomatoes and add one more drizzle of really good olive oil if desired.

Garnish with fresh chopped basil and shredded parmesan.  Enjoy!

Flying Grilling Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Spring Onion Salad… and a trip to San Juan Island Farmer’s Market!

Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Leek Salad

The summer is coming to an end, school is in session and I’m feeling a slight chill in the morning air.  Ahhh… I’m loving this time of year.

I did manage to freeze a fair amount of my farmer’s market finds, but if I’d really been on top of things I would’ve canned some produce as well.  I’d like to think I’m super woman.  It looks like I’ve fallen short this year.  Bummer.

Our sweet little airfield

The drizzly weather will be here soon so Ranger Craig and I decided we’d fly to one last farmer’s market.  Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Wow.  I’ve been there a hundred times and every time I’m in awe.  A beautiful spot in the world.

Landing on San Juan Island

Thankfully, it’s always an easy landing on San Juan, nice and smooth and lots of room.  Just the way I like it!

Beautiful San Juan Island Produce

A Farmer’s Market With A View

The farmer’s market did not disappoint.  Although, I was scolded by a very pleasant-looking lady for having my little guy Tank with me at the market.  I guess dogs aren’t allowed.  I didn’t get the memo. 🙁

The most deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes!

While Ranger Craig and Tank walked around town, my little gal and I walked around the market gathering loads of fabulous food (and other good stuff!).  Grass fed beef, organic fruits and veggies, beautiful baskets of baked goods, and the loveliest quilts and crafts.  And did I mention the jam?  Lots of jam.

I fell in love with this quilt!

Ok, so I had to exit the farmer’s market at some point or I’d never be able to carry my loot back to the plane.

Ranger Craig and Tank cruising the town.

No, this is not our cab.  Although Ranger Craig thought it was pretty cool.  Tank was more worried about lunch.  Me too.


We found lunch. Grilled oysters, fish and chips and of course clam chowder.  I now needed a nap.

We took a stroll down to the marina, you know, to walk off lunch.  I think Ranger Craig just wanted to check out all the sailboats.  And score!  We saw a sea plane take off in the bay.

Grilled Grass Fed Rib Eye Steak and Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Spring Onion Salad

Home we flew. Dinner was delicious!

Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Spring Onion Salad with a White Balsamic and Olive Oil Drizzle

Serves 4


1 pint sweet cherry tomatoes, halved1 cucumber, diced into bite sized pieces

1-2 spring onions, diced (substitute with scallions if you can’t find spring onions)

Fresh chopped Italian parsley to taste (I like 2-3 tablespoons)

Drizzle of white balsamic vinegar (pull out your good stuff for this salad)

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (pull out your good stuff for this salad)

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


Gently toss together the tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions and parsley.  Drizzle with the vinegar and oil and then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with grilled meats or chicken.  Or enjoy all by itself!