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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

Chicken Veronique

Chicken Veronique // One of the easiest and most delicious weeknight meals // Karista's Kitchen

Chicken Veronique sounds fancy but it’s truly one of the easiest weeknight meals I prepare.

Typically, I make this dish in the summer with halibut, sole (which is traditional) or another seasonal white fish.  However, this recipe works just as beautifully with chicken.

The traditional recipe calls for poaching the sole in white wine and then topping it with a white sauce and garnishing with fresh grapes.  Although I do love a wine poached fish, I prefer to pan sear my fish and chicken for this recipe.

Because the chicken takes a bit longer to cook, I finish it in the oven.  Once it’s done, I transfer the chicken to a platter and then make the sauce in the same pan.  Using any juices that have collected in the pan makes for a deeper flavored sauce.  Chicken Veronique is one of the easiest and most delicious weeknight meals! // Karista's Kitchen

Fresh tarragon makes this Chicken Veronique sing! I’ve used dried tarragon and it just doesn’t taste the same, although if you can’t find fresh, dried tarragon will do.  I adore the combination of fresh grapes with fresh tarragon and they both pair well with white fish and chicken.  I do typically use chicken breasts that I’ve butterflied and cut in half so they’re more of a “cutlet” size. This also makes them easier to cook stove top.

However, you can certainly use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if it strikes your fancy. 😉

A little prep, a bit of dancing about at the kitchen stove and in 25-30 minutes you’ll have a delightful one dish meal.  Because the sauce is quite lush, I serve Chicken Veronique with herbed farro, quinoa, rice pilaf or cauliflower rice and a steamed or roasted, seasonal veggie.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Chicken Veronique

3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied and then halved, making 4 "cutlets"
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional but it does give a nice bit of crisp to the chicken)
  • 2-4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 medium to large shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup halved seedless grapes (red or green)
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. In a large bowl, mix together the one tablespoon fresh tarragon and the all-purpose flour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In a large oven proof skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons ghee. While the ghee is heating, lightly dust the chicken with the tarragon and flour mixture.

When the ghee is hot, add the four chicken cutlets to the ghee and brown, about 5 minutes. Then turn each chicken breast over and then place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking, about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. The chicken breast should reach at least 160F internal temperature.

When the chicken is done, carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a platter.

Over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee to the same pan. When the ghee is melted, add the shallots to the pan and stir, pulling up those lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the shallots are wilted and translucent, stir in the wine and then the heavy cream.

Let the liquid come to a boil and then simmer on low until it begins to reduce and thicken slightly. The sauce should coat the back of spoon.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and then stir in the tablespoon of fresh tarragon and the grapes. Let the grapes warm in the sauce for a few minutes.

Place the chicken either back in the pan, nestled in the sauce or place the chicken on a platter and ladle with the sauce.

Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve.

Notes

This recipe serves 3-4 and can be doubled.

If you'd like a smooth sauce, strain the sauce prior to adding the fresh tarragon and grapes. Then add the sauce back to the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper and then add the fresh tarragon and grapes.

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Shredded Beef Machaca

Shredded Beef Machaca // Karista's Kitchen

If I’m being totally honest, I’m not a huge fan of leftovers.  Unless its pot roast, roasted or fried chicken and maybe my Tuscan lasagna; which is always better the second day.  Often, a recipe can lose some of the fresh flavor and texture during the process of re-heating and then I promptly lose interest.  I sound like a food snob.  I promise I’m not a food snob, just a little picky about the flavor and texture of my food.

The beauty of leftover pot roast are the many ways it can be re-invented into another recipe.  I adore pot roast sandwiches smothered with caramelized onions and Havarti cheese, a simple pot roast soup with pearled barley and porcini mushrooms and of course this gorgeous shredded beef machaca.

You can certainly prepare a pot roast specifically for this recipe, but it tastes just as delicious with leftovers.

As a child, this dish was a staple in our home.  Although we call it machaca, it’s not a traditional Mexican machaca. Mexican machaca is actually a dried, marinated beef (much like our beef jerky).  However, because we include scrambled eggs in the shredded beef, it was dubbed “machaca” in my house. Sort of a riff on the very popular machaca con huevos, a Mexican beef and egg scramble.

Shredded beef machaca was served as a celebration meal, a meal for dinner guests and on occasion a Sunday supper.  My parents used to make it into burritos with the usual assortment of delicious Mexican condiments.  I serve this machaca with warm corn tortillas, lime wedges, cotija cheese, avocado slices, red chili sauce or my brothers delicious salsa recipe.

When I prepare this for my family I like to make dinner a casual event and place the shredded beef machaca and layering ingredients in the center of the table. Then everyone can assemble their own taco or burrito with their favorite condiments.

The result is loads of easy conversation, laughter, smiling faces and very happy bellies. Which always makes me happy.

Shredded beef machaca makes a delightful meal and can be served a la carte or with salad greens, black beans and a little cerveza to top it off!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Shredded Beef Machaca

Serving Size: 6

Shredded Beef Machaca

Ingredients

    For the pot roast (or use your favorite basic pot roast recipe)
  • 3-4lbs beef chuck roast, halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the Machaca
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or high heat oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 poblano peppers, roasted, skinned and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup red chile sauce or your favorite salsa
  • 2-3 large eggs, whisked
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • Dash of hot sauce, optional
  • Crumbled cotija cheese
  • Avocado slices
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Salsa

Instructions

To make the pot roast

Pre-heat the slow cooker on low. Season both halves of the beef chuck with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium high heat and brown all sides of the chuck roast. Transfer the chuck roast pieces to the slow cooker and add the beef broth, bay leaf, onions and garlic. I don't add too much liquid when preparing a pot roast in my slow cooker as I want the pot roast to slowly cook in as much of it's own juices as possible. This will make for a very tasty pot roast. Adding too much liquid will cause the roast to boil which will give it a bland and chewy texture.

Let the pot roast cook on low for about 6-8 hours.

When the pot roast is done, shred the beef and set aside.

To prepare the Machaca

Heat a large skillet and add another two tablespoons of ghee or high heat oil. Sauté the diced onions until soft and slightly caramelized and then add the garlic. Sauté for one minute longer. Stir in the diced poblano peppers, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika.

Add the shredded beef and chile sauce and toss to combine.

In another small pan, add a little butter to the pan and cook the eggs, scrambled style. When the eggs are done, fold them into the machaca.

Add a squeeze of lime and season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of hot sauce.

Serve with crumbled cotija, avocado slices, warm tortillas, sour cream, fresh cilantro and additional salsa.

Notes

I like to cook the eggs in a separate pan rather than in the machaca directly, to keep the texture from being soggy.

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Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

 

Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Cream Polenta // Karista's Kitchen

 

When I dream about sitting down to the perfect meal, paired with the perfect wine, this Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and a glass of Yao Ming 2013 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon rings my dinner bell to the core. 

There is something so completely indulgent about sitting down to a plate of beef short ribs.  It’s on my Sunday supper menu at least once a month during the fall and winter months and for good reason.  Typically it’s a simple meal to prepare and it pairs deliciously with creamy polenta, rice or gnocchi.  I’m a huge polenta fan, so if I’m cooking, the side dish is creamy polenta. 🙂 Although this recipe is exquisite in flavor as well as presentation, it can be served as fancy or as casually as you like.

I created this dish with Five Spice Powder along with traditional aromatics and dry red wine because I felt the flavors could definitely live up to the bold notes of the gorgeous Yao Ming 2013 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (and I adore Five Spice Powder). “The 2013 vintage will prove to be one of the most outstanding in Napa history, and this wine is one of the most artful expressions of the vintage. 96% Cabernet, 100% new French oak for 24 months. An absolute classic in the making”.

Five Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta // Karista's Kitchen

I am completely in love with this wine.  Yes, they sent me a bottle to “taste test” for this recipe, and I was oh so happy to do that taste testing. Pure heaven. Ranger Craig and I sipped and savored every last drop of this wine.  So impressive and unlike any Cabernet Sauvignon my palate has ever had the pleasure of tasting. If you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone in your life or you want to add to your fabulous wine collection, this is the wine to purchase.

I hope your holidays have been joyous!  I wish you loads of love, delicious food and everything warm and cozy in life.

Karista

Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

Serving Size: 4

Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

Ingredients

  • 8-10 beef short ribs (I serve 2-3 short ribs per person)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 2-4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or microgreens for garnish
  • For the Creamy Polenta
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ -1 cup quick cook polenta (or according to package directions)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and then dust them with the corn starch. Place a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil. When the ghee/oil is hot but not smoking, brown the short ribs. You will need to do this in batches as placing too many short ribs into the pot at once will lower the temperature on the bottom of the pot and the short ribs won’t brown.

Transfer the browned short ribs to a platter and then add additional ghee/oil if needed to the pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are wilted. Then stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Stir in the Chinese Five Spice Powder, bay leaves, tomato paste and bottle of wine, about 4 cups of wine. Add the browned short ribs back to the pot and liquid and then add enough beef broth to cover the short ribs completely.

Cover the Dutch oven and place it into the oven and braise for about 2 hours. After 2 hours check the beef to see if it is fork tender. If not, place it back in the oven for another 30 minutes and then check again.

Once the short ribs are done, remove them from the pot and strain the liquid. Put the liquid into the pot and then add the short ribs back into the liquid. Keep the short ribs warm over low heat while you prepare the polenta.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the three cups of milk and two tablespoons butter, stirring occasionally until the milk comes to a boil. Then add the ½- 1 cup of quick cook polenta, depending on the package instructions. Cook the polenta for 3-5 minutes and then take it off the heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, pour the polenta onto a platter and place the short ribs over the polenta and then drizzle the sauce over the short ribs, or serve the sauce on the side. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or micro greens.

Notes

Braised beef short ribs are never short on flavor and remain one of the most sumptuous beef dishes one could serve. This recipe uses a fragrant Chinese Five Spice Powder along with traditional aromatics and dry red wine which lives up to the bold notes of this gorgeous cabernet sauvignon. The braised beef ribs are served over creamy polenta which balances flavor and texture for a lush and enticing meal.

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

Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loads of Love,

Karista

Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

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

Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat, add the ghee or olive oil and onions. Sauté the onions until wilted and then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, pinch of crushed red pepper, vegetable broth and sugar. Bring to a slow boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the croutons. Pre-heat the oven to broil. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place them buttered side down on a baking sheet. Add the cheese slices to the bread and then top with the remaining bread buttered side up. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and toast. Flip the sandwiches and toast the other side.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool. Slice them into small square croutons.

When the soup is done either transfer to a blender and blend until smooth or using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then stir in the heavy cream.

Serve the warm soup in bowls topped with the grilled cheese croutons.

Notes

This recipe first appeared in Home By Design Magazine Fall 2016

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

Creamed Swiss Chard

Creamed Swiss Chard // Karista's Kitchen

Creamed Swiss Chard is always a welcomed side dish on my dinner table. It never fails to bring a smile to my hungry family’s faces.  But really, who could ever resist creamy, cheesy, leafy green goodness?! 

This gorgeous leafy green is a staple in my kitchen and I use it in all kinds of recipes.  Swiss chard finds its way into our weeknight sautés, salads, rice bowls, weekend egg dishes, pastas and even my savory bread pudding.  Although I do love kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard greens, lately Swiss chard has been my “go to” green.   Mostly because it grows so voraciously in my garden and I typically get a good 7-8 months worth of chard each year.  It’s the leafy green that just keeps on giving!

Swiss chard is a tall leafy green that belongs to the same family as beets and spinach.  It tastes similar to spinach, which makes Swiss chard an excellent substitute in cooked dishes.  It doesn’t cook down quite as much as spinach and it omits less water – making it a meatier option for sautés and gratins.  Honestly, sometimes I prefer it to spinach because it holds up a little better when cooked. Not quite as hearty as kale, but not quite as delicate as spinach.

Creamed Swiss Chard // Karista's Kitchen

This gorgeous Creamed Swiss Chard makes a delightful side dish to any meal.  It’s especially complimentary to grilled or roasted meat or poultry or prepared in individual dishes for a light lunch or brunch.  For a one dish meal, I add diced ham to this recipe and serve with a warm crusty baguette and a glass of wine. Ahh… my kind of meal.

I’ve paired this Creamed Swiss Chard with leeks, however shallots work just as well.  And on occasion when I’m out of both leeks and shallots, a yellow onion will do the job just fine.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Creamed Swiss Chard

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 leeks, trimmed just as the light green turns to dark green, cut in half lengthwise, rinse and dice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard or about 2lbs, stems removed (I save the stems for stock or soup), leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Mix together the panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In a large oven safe sauté pan or skillet, add the butter and olive oil to the pan and place the pan over medium high heat.

Once the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chopped leeks and chopped fresh Italian parsley and sauté until wilted and slightly golden. Then stir in the minced garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

With tongs, add the chopped Swiss chard in batches to the pan and toss with the leeks, continuing to toss the greens and leeks gently, until all the greens are in the pan and wilted. Sprinkle with the grated nutmeg and season with ½ - 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

Pour the heavy cream into the pan and gently toss with the greens. Sprinkle the panko parmesan mixture over the top of the creamed Swiss chard and then place the pan in the oven.

Let the creamed Swiss chard bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the sides are bubbly and the cream has thickened. To toast the panko parmesan mixture, set the pan under the broiler for just a few minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the creamed Swiss chard sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

I originally created this recipe for Hobby Farms Magazine Spring 2016

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Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy

Deliciously simple Old Fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy // Karista's Kitchen

 

There’s nothing that says simple delicious goodness like an Old Fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy.

Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy was a regular dish on our family table and it was truly loved by my bright-eyed, character of a grandfather. Grandpa was born in the Southwest in 1901 and he loved to tell tall tales of how he’d been a cowboy in his younger days. Of course, grandpa had never been a cowboy, however, when he was very young, his family drove a covered meat wagon through Arizona and Southern California. My grandfather and his family hunted the wild game and then cleaned, packaged and sold it from their covered wagon.

My grandfather was a meat and veggie kind of guy and nothing made him happier than my grandmother’s pan-fried ground beef patties with beef broth gravy. Grandma would mix ground beef with onion, garlic and herbs and then form patties to pan fry and then serve them with a simple pan gravy. Sitting on the table alongside those ground beef patties were several large bowls of assorted vegetables. Green beans with bacon, creamed corn, honeyed carrots and always lima beans. When the food was done, the table was set and everyone was seated, my grandfather, with a knowing smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, would give thanks for his delicious “steak and gravy”.

Today I’ve re-created that steak and gravy dinner with my version of an old-fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy. 

I decided the creamed corn needed a little revision so it became a decadent Corn Gratin and who am I to disturb good ole Southern green beans and bacon so I left those just as grandma made them.  The honeyed carrots get a splash of spice and brown butter and the lima beans typically don’t make it to the table.  Sadly, I’m not a fan. Of course, now that we’re all grown-ups, there is nothing like following up grandpa’s cowboy meal with a “yippee-yo-ki-yay” Cowboy Bourbon Sour.

So, giddy on up to the table and chow down on this delicious meal and celebrate a season of food, flavor and of course, twinkly-eyed grandfathers. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    Salisbury Steak
  • 1lb ground beef 
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs, or your favorite brand of bread crumbs (skip the bread crumbs for wheat free or use GF bread crumbs)
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil, beef tallow or ghee
  • Beef Broth Gravy
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup organic beef broth
  • Dash of red wine (optional)
  • ½ cup sliced sautéed mushrooms (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Combine the bread crumbs and warm milk.  If you are preparing a wheat free meal, skip this step.

Mix together the ground beef, onion, garlic, bread crumb mixture, Worcestershire, egg, fresh Italian parsley, salt and pepper. 

Form the ground beef mixture into 4-6 round patties, pressing slightly thinner in the center of each patty for even plumping during cooking. 

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.  Place the patties in the skillet and pan fry on each side until the beef is done to your preference. 

Transfer the patties to a platter.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to the skillet.  Just as the butter melts whisk in the tablespoon of flour. 

Add the beef broth and a dash of red wine if desired.  I like about ¼ cup red wine.  Continue to whisk the gravy, pulling up all the yummy brown bits (called fond) off the bottom of the pan.

Once the gravy has thickened slightly, taste for salt and pepper.  If using mushrooms, add them to the sauce.  If the gravy is too thick add additional beef broth until it’s the desired consistency. For more sauce, the recipe is easily doubled. 

Pour the gravy over the patties and garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve with corn gratin, garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green salad, or roasted veggies.

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Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

This spiced pumpkin and ground beef chili didn’t last long in my house. It was gone by the second day and of course, that’s when I think chili tastes best.

This chili is slightly spiced with cinnamon and smoked paprika, flavored with fresh aromatics, vegetables, grass-fed ground beef and of course, a good beer. It’s rich in flavor and hearty in texture and it tastes like Autumn in a bowl!

Adding pumpkin or squash to chili during the fall season adds a festive quality to this dish.  Each year I experiment using different spices in my pumpkin and ground beef chili and I have to say my favorite combination is a bit of Korinje cinnamon and smoked paprika – along with my traditional chili spice blend.

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

In addition to my lovely Karista’s Kitchen spices, which you can currently find in the Karista’s Kitchen store, I love adding beer to my chili. A flavorful pilsner, which is what I use, light red ale or cream stout are excellent beer choices for chili.

Using beer in chili adds another layer of flavor and compliments the vegetables and spices as well as the ground beef. I don’t recommend using beer that is high in IBU (International Bitterness Units), like an IPA, because it’ll make your chili taste bitter. I adore sipping IPA’s but I don’t recommend using an IPA in chili.

I also prepare a vegetarian version of this chili using only the roasted pumpkin and beans. Although my crew enjoys the ground beef version, they also adore this cozy vegetarian version as well. 

Must I wrestle the pumpkin you might ask? No need. I cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with a little oil and place flesh side down in a baking dish. Then I fill the baking dish with about an inch of water and roast at 350F. until just slightly under cooked. Once the pumpkin has cooled, the skin is easily removed and you can dice the pumpkin for the chili. Don’t worry about uniform diced pumpkin, just dice it up however you like and once it’s in the chili it’ll look fabulous.

This pumpkin and ground beef chili is flavorful and satisfying and I know it will add a flair of festivity to your fall and holiday season.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Pumpkin Love!

Karista

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

Serving Size: 4-6

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4lb sugar pie pumpkin(you will need 2 cups cubed cooked pumpkin)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup corn flour or 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Korinje Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of pilsner beer (or red ale/cream stout)
  • 1-2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans or chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions and cheddar cheese

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then place the pumpkin halves flesh side down in a baking dish. Add about 1 inch of water in the baking dish and then place it in the oven. You want to slightly under bake the pumpkin so that you can cube it for the chili. Bake the pumpkin for about 20 minutes and then check for tenderness. If it's still a bit hard, bake the pumpkin for another 10 minutes or until it's tender but still firm. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

In a large pot over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté just until it's tender. Then add the garlic and the ground beef. While you're cooking the ground beef, mix in the 1/4 cup of corn flour or corn starch. Stir in the cinnamon, smoked paprika, chili powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar and pinch of cayenne.

Once the ground beef is mostly cooked, don't over cook, add the tomato paste and beer. Stir until incorporated. Then add the 2 cans of beans, dried bay leaf and at least one cup of broth. Reserve the second cup of broth and use it as needed.

Let the chili simmer on low for about 30 minutes to develop all the lush flavors.

While your simmering the chili, peel and cube the cooled pumpkin.

Gently stir the 2 cups pumpkin cubes into the chili and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional broth if needed.

Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onion and cheddar cheese if desired. This chili will keep for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. But I honestly don't think it'll be there in three days 🙂 .

Notes

Ack! I completely forgot the brown sugar in the recipe so I've just updated.

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Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca

Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca with Red Wine Pan Sauce

Oh the love and compliments I received when I served this Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca. I felt like a James Beard Award winning chef after my family finished thoroughly praising me and my saltimbocca.  And such praise doesn’t always happen. Nope, not at my house.

I have to admit, my palate was dancing with complete bliss after one bite of this Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca with Red Wine Pan Sauce.  I smiled to myself and felt utterly vindicated as dinner the night before was a total disaster.  My recipe testing didn’t go as planned. Which is what happens on occasion and which is why we call it recipe “testing” – as I so humbly told my family while they were making funny faces and critiquing my meal.  Even chef’s have dinner disasters.

Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca with Red Wine Pan Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

Typically prepared with veal, this saltimbocca is just as decadent when prepared with the most tender cut of beef – the tenderloin.  Medallions of tenderloin are pounded thin, layered with fresh sage leaves and pancetta, quickly pan seared and then finished with a sensuous red wine and butter pan sauce.

What made this gorgeous Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca even more perfect was the wine I paired with it – 2013 Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon.  This sumptuous wine is from one of the most celebrated vintages in the history of the Napa Valley.  “It displays a level of balance, elegance, structure and ageability”.  Silky and lush, the 2013 Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon pairs elegantly with the saltimbocca, allowing the uncomplicated and bright flavors of the dish to shine while complimenting the beauty of the wine.

Although this exquisite dish might seem fancy, it’s perfectly simple to prepare.  I love to serve this with a seasonal green and vegetable salad with a light vinaigrette such as a lemon Dijon or balsamic or roasted zucchini, broccoli or braised bitter greens.  If you’re looking for a little more substance to add to the meal, good old-fashioned mashed potatoes pair nicely. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

*Although I’ve been a huge fan of Yao Ming Family Wines for a while now, I was fortunately gifted with a bottle for this recipe.

Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca

Serving Size: 4-6

Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca

Ingredients

  • 2lbs beef tenderloin, cut into 8-10 medallions
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 8-10 slices pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine (any wine that you would drink)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

On parchment paper or a cutting board, pound out each medallion to about ½ inch thick. Season each medallion with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place a sage leaf on each medallion and then layer with a slice of pancetta. You can use a toothpick to secure the sage and pancetta to the beef or you can try placing them in the pan completely assembled.

In a large skillet, add the two tablespoons of ghee or olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Once the ghee/oil is hot but not smoking, add the medallions to the pan, pancetta side down. You may need to pan sear in batches so that you don’t over crowd your skillet.

Cook each medallion for about 2 minutes on each side or until the beef is done to your liking. Transfer the beef to a platter when done. Cover lightly with a piece of foil to keep warm.

When all the beef has been cooked, turn the heat down to medium and add the red wine, scraping all the fond (brown bits) off the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time and bring the sauce to a lively simmer. Let the sauce simmer until it’s been reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the pan sauce on the bottom of a serving dish and then place the Beef Tenderloin Saltimbocca over the pan sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley and serve with Roasted fingerling potatoes or mashed potatoes and roasted or steamed seasonal vegetable.

Notes

The fragrant and earthy flavors in this gorgeous beef dish pair exquisitely with the Mao Ying 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Sip, savor and enjoy.

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Beef Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Sauces, Salsas and More

Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

Pan Seared Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction // Karista's Kitchen

I overheard my daughter talking to her friends back home in Washington state and when she was asked what it was like living in the Willamette Valley she replied, “well, there are sheep, sheep, farms, cows and more sheep.”

Her description made me laugh because only my teenager could describe this diverse and lush valley by the animals that dot the landscape.

Actually, we have a lot more in the valley than just farms and animals and ranches – we’re also home to Oregon State University and just south is University of Oregon.

Most of our little towns are filled to the brim with farmer’s markets, a brewhouse or local pub on every street corner, James Beard award winning chef’s (yes, even here in the valley), vineyards, wineries and the most emerald green rolling hills mixed with the occasional forest.

We’re flanked by the Pacific Cascade range to the west and the Cascades Mountains to the east.

The Willamette Valley, Oregon

I adore my drive to the market because inevitably, I’ll see pastures filled with sheep and lamb, and at least one very stern faced lama working as the guard dog.  

Northwest pasture raised lamb has been gaining popularity recently and it’s one of the most abundant meats found in my local markets and co-ops.  Raised on the lush green pastures in the valley, without grains and free of antibiotics, no growth hormones, additives or preservatives, the lamb from the valley is typically lower in fat and an excellent source of iron and vitamin B-12. I’m a huge fan of most of our local lamb producers like Anderson Ranch, SuDan Farm and Cattail Creek Farms; raising lamb sustainably and responsibly.

This gorgeous Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb chop recipe was originally created for one of my favorite clients, Home By Design Magazine’s spring issue.  

Of course, I chose the most delicious cut of lamb for this recipe, the lamb chop.  Lamb chops are typically well marbled with fat and when they are pan seared, they remain juicy and flavorful.  All you need are fresh herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and these chops can be done in 15 minutes or less.  I adore these Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops paired with a balsamic reduction and often in the spring, I’ll serve them with a minted pea pesto that is plate licking good.  I’ll post that recipe soon!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

Serving Size: 4

Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

  • 8 single rib lamb chops (2 per person)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1 cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

In a small bowl combine the rosemary and garlic.

In a small pan heat the balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Let the vinegar come to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your pan. Once the liquid has been reduced, whisk in the honey and set aside. If the reduction becomes too thick when cooled, gently re-heat for a more liquid consistency.

Place the lamb chops on a large cutting board or a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each lamb chop with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then rub the rosemary garlic onto each side of each lamb chop.

Cover the lamb chops with a sheet of plastic wrap and give each chop a little pound with either a meat mallet or the palm of your hand. This is so the rosemary garlic mixture will nicely stick to the lamb chop. Remove the plastic before cooking. This step can be done the night before and chops held in refrigerator until ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chops. You may need to pan sear the chops in batches.

After adding the chops to the pan turn the heat down to medium. Brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side should give you medium to medium rare. Transfer the chops to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Let them rest 5 minutes before serving.

Drizzle the Balsamic Reduction on each plate or a platter and then top with two rib chops per person. Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.

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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

Chicken Gaston Gerard

Chicken Gaston Gerard // French Chicken with Dijon, caramelized onions, paprika and creme fraiche // Karista's Kitchen for VRAI Magazine

Chicken Gaston Gerard… I love to say these words. Makes me feel as if I’m sitting in a cafe in Paris dining on decadent cuisine and sipping French wine.

Ahhh… but alas, I’m sitting in my upstairs office writing this little paragraph while sipping ginger tea that my sister in law sent me from Japan. Ha. Life’s crazy isn’t it?

Chicken Gaston Gerard may be familiar to many of you. I posted this gorgeous recipe years ago and I received such positive feedback and comments over the years, I thought it would be fun to share this lovely recipe in the February issue of VRAI Magazine.

If you haven’t made this recipe yet, head over to VRAI Magazine and snag it.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  In fact, I think you’ll love it so much it might just become a regular on your dinner menu rotation.  While you’re over at VRAI Magazine, feel free to stay a while and browse the new recipes from all the fantastic food contributors.  I spotted a pink cocktail that is calling my name. 🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers // Karista's Kitchen

Just when I think I’m tapped out and the creative well has gone dry, I stumble onto an interesting read or find a stack of old notebooks from years ago, brimming to the seams with ideas.  Some of the ideas are pretty darn clever and some not so good – which is why a few of those recipes never happened.

It’s been an interesting and creative few weeks (along with a monster of a cold that hung on like the winter back East).  I relish creative moments.  I write and I write and I write.  I don’t erase anything no matter how silly or gross tasting it might appear at that moment.  Because when I eventually come back to it, sometimes it makes perfect sense.  Creativity is a crazy process.  Creativity feels like freedom to think outside a box, letting imagination change perspective at will.

So, when new culinary companies approach me about their products, it’s one more opportunity to be creative.  I don’t promote too many food brands on this website but the few that I do promote must meet a few requirements. Does it identify with my food values? Would I serve it to my family?  Is it something my readers would enjoy?  Where and how is it made or grown or raised?

When Verlasso Salmon first contacted me about using one of my salmon recipes I was intrigued, and honestly, a little skeptical.  As you know I’m not a fan of farm raised fish of any kind. Verlasso Salmon is the exception; because it’s an exceptional product.

Not only is Verlasso Salmon the first and only farm raised Atlantic salmon to receive the “good alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood watch, the flavor and texture of Verlasso Salmon is almost identical to wild salmon.  I found the oil content balanced, the texture to be firm and less “mushy” than traditional farmed salmon and the taste every bit as flavorful as wild salmon.

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers // Karista's Kitchen

Verlasso says “Verlasso’s driving force has been the call for a more responsible aquaculture worldwide. It guides all of our business efforts and continues to shape our approach for the long-term. We are taking the lead in establishing a new model for fish farming, one that’s always in balance with nature. It’s an evolutionary way of thinking about—and raising salmon.”

You’re probably saying to yourself “Karista, you live in the Pacific Northwest, home of wild salmon. Why are you talking about Atlantic salmon?” Because you, my readers, subscribers and followers of social media, live all over North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  I feel lucky to live in the land of Pacific Northwest Salmon.  I value this resource and I’d like to keep it flourishing.  So when companies like Verlasso embark on such a noble cause, I want you to know about it.

For more information about Verlasso Salmon and their sustainable fish farming methods, along with additional salmon recipes, check out their website HERE.  

In the meantime, I created these delicious and festive Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers for Verlasso Salmon and now I’m sharing them with you.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

8-10 Salmon Cakes

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

Ingredients

    For the Salmon Cakes
  • 1 lb Salmon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Thai roasted red chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, slightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Panko style breadcrumbs
  • For the Aioli:
  • ½ - ¾ cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime zested
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon wasabi paste, optional
  • For the Cucumbers
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • Serve with slider buns and fresh arugula leaves

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

Place the salmon on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and brush with a little olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the oven and roast the salmon for about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. When the salmon is done, remove from the oven and let it cool.

While the salmon is cooking, whisk together the ½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise with the finely chopped cilantro, lime zest and garlic. Set aside.

In a non-reactive bowl, add the sliced cucumbers and enough rice wine vinegar to cover the cucumbers. Let them sit and marinate for about 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Once the salmon has cooled, shred the salmon, removing any bones and skin, and add it to a medium size bowl. Add the green onions, grated fresh ginger, Thai roasted red chili paste, lemon juice and about ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until nicely incorporated.

Next, gently mix in the egg, mayonnaise and panko breadcrumbs until all the ingredients are nicely incorporated. Don’t over mix, just enough so the salmon will form into patties. If the salmon mix is too dry, add one additional tablespoon of mayonnaise.

Place the salmon mix in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill. This will help form the patties.

Divide the salmon mixture into 8-10 pieces and form patties.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of the skillet.

When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the patties to the skillet. Let the salmon cakes cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until dark golden brown, almost toasted in color. Adjust the heat lower if the salmon cakes get too dark too quickly.

Once the salmon cakes are done, place each salmon cake on a slider bun and serve with the cilantro lime aioli, marinated cucumbers and fresh arugula leaves. Enjoy!

Recipe by Chef Karista Bennett

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DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

 

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin // Karista's Kitchen

This is a lovely and simple dish filled with sweet and savory flavors of the Tuscan countryside.  Herbs are abundant in Tuscany; fields of rosemary and sage, thyme and lavender dance about the hillsides creating the most fragrant Tuscan breezes.

This succulent pork loin roast is stuffed with fresh sage, dried apricots and a hint of garlic and then roasted to moist and exquisite perfection.  Serve this tasty dish with my Arugula and White Bean Salad and pair with my favorite DaVinci Chianti.

We wouldn’t want to forget dessert… How about a Lavender Panna Cotta with Dark Chocolate to finish the meal?

For additional DaVinci Chianti recipes click HERE.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

Serving Size: 4-6

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

Ingredients

  • 2-3lb pork loin roast
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 ½ cups white wine (DaVinci Pinot Grigio) If you don’t cook with wine use chicken broth with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450F.

In a small sauce pan warm one cup of wine and soak the apricots for about 15 minutes.

Remove the apricots from the wine (reserve the wine) and coarsely chop them. Add them to a bowl and then toss with the sage and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of oil to bind the ingredients.

With a long blade knife cut into the vertical center of the pork loin roast, making a nice size hole for the stuffing. Pierce all the way through to the other side.

Stuff the apricot sage mixture into the pork, spreading as evenly as you can. This takes a little bit of fiddling but it’s fairly easy.

Place the stuffed pork loin roast in a small baking dish or small roasting pan. Pour the reserved wine over the pork. Rub a little oil on the pork and season with salt and pepper.

Put the pork loin in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 350F and roast for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145F.

Remove the pork loin from the oven and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. While it’s resting, take the pan juices and pour them into a sauce pan.

Heat the juices over medium heat and add the butter. If needed, add additional chicken broth to the pan. Whisk until the butter is nicely incorporated and the pan sauce is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Slice the pork loin roast and lay the slices on a platter. Pour some of the pan sauce over the pork slices and garnish with additional chopped fresh sage.

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Here’s a not so great picture of me stuffing a pork loin.  Hope this visual is helpful!

Stuffing the pork loin roast