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dinner

Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly VRAI Magazine

The Perfect Roast Turkey

The perfect roast turkey // Karista's Kitchen // VRAI Magazine

For me, Thanksgiving is a celebration of family and friends.

I don’t always write about what goes on in my day to day life.  After all, this is a recipe website and delicious food is the focus.   I feel there is enough hardship, sadness and turmoil going on in the world.  Watching it splattered all over the news, I feel I shouldn’t add to the chaos with what happens in my little space in the world.  I’m typically an optimistic person and I believe it’s healthier to share my optimism rather than any negativity.

But I will tell you this – although it’s been a long and arduous few years navigating through my oldest daughters health issues, resulting from a brain tumor in 2012, I am thankful.  I am so thankful she’s brain tumor free. I am so thankful it wasn’t the C word.  I am so thankful she’s able to continue college and move forward with her life.  Has it been hard?  YES. There have been days I just wanted to sit on my living room floor and sob tears of frustration and sadness.  There are still tough moments, but I have the best friends and family in the world that supported me and continue to support me every step of the way –  so that I can support my daughter.   This is truly a Thanksgiving.

As a Contributing Food Editor with VRAI Magazine, I’m sharing this Perfect Roast Turkey recipe for our VRAI Magazine Friendsgiving in Oregon.  Everyone is coming to my house for Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to share this recipe, but I’m even more excited to share with you VRAI Magazine Friendsgiving.  Delicious recipes, home and holiday décor, DIY holiday projects, gift giving ideas, holiday fashion, travel and more.  New friends coming together to celebrate around the table.

To snag this lovely and simple Perfect Roast Turkey recipe click HERE.  Don’t forget to browse the fantastic articles and subscribe to the magazine so you don’t miss a beat. You can also find VRAI Magazine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I am truly grateful and thankful for devoted readers like you.  I wish you the most beautiful and heartwarming holiday season.  May you bask in the deliciousness!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love to you all!

Karista

 

DaVinci Wine Recipes Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

Halibut Florentine from Karista's Kitchen

 

This White Fish Florentine is a lush and flavorful dish inspired by my visit to Tuscany with DaVinci Wine a few years ago.  

Spinach is used in all sorts of Tuscan dishes and it’s also prevalent in many coastal seafood recipes like my Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole.  I love the simple list of ingredients combined with fresh white fish, which is typically easy to find year round.   This gorgeous recipe makes for a fuss free weeknight meal or an elegant meal for entertaining.

Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I use several different types of white fish for this recipe, depending on the season.  I adore this dish when halibut is in season or when I can snag a gorgeous piece of black or ling cod.

I like to enjoy the fresh and enticing flavors of this White Fish Florentine paired with a bottle of DaVinci Pinot Grigio. Perfection!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

Serving Size: 4

White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

A great way to use all that fishing trip fish stocked in the freezer or the spinach you froze from summer. Substitute with fresh winter greens instead of spinach and spike with your favorite spices rather than the Dijon.

Ingredients

  • 1lb fresh spinach (or 1 large pkg frozen organic chopped spinach)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (for a saucier dish add ½ cup cream)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh fish (Cod, Ling Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Sole, if using snapper try to remove the bones prior to cooking)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • Serve with fresh lemon wedges

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • In a sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and add the fresh spinach, in batches if you need. Sauté just until the spinach is wilted and transfer to a dish. Continue until all the spinach has been sautéed. Let the spinach cool a bit and then squeeze all the excess liquid from the spinach. Coarsely chop the sautéed spinach and set aside.
  • Or, if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out all the excess liquid.
  • In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots and garlic for one minute or until fragrant. Next, stir in the heavy cream, Dijon mustard and lemon zest. Take the pan off the heat and fold in the chopped spinach until combined with the sauce. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, just enough so the fish won’t stick. Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper and place the fish in the baking dish in a single layer.
  • Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the fish. Then squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the spinach and fish. Mix together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan and then sprinkle on top of the spinach.
  • Place the fish into the oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and done. Typically you can cook fish about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, however, because we’ve layered with spinach and breadcrumbs cooking time may be longer.
  • When the fish is done, remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.
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    This dish is inspired by my visit to Tuscany with the 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience and adapted from many versions of Fish Florentine.  I dined on something similar and I was so impressed with the simple but flavorful meal I had to re-create it for this website. Enjoy! 

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

    No Cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta

    No cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce over Pasta

    Recently I came across an opinionated article about dinner posted on Social Media. It left me speechless. It read more like whining rather than a valid concern or issue. When I shared the article on my social media expressing my inability to find words to respond to this article, I was bombarded with passionate comments from friends.  Dinner is a touchy subject.

    As I began to respond to the comments, I soon realized it would take more than a few words to describe why I held utter disdain for the article.

    Today, I’ve decided to stir the pot. This is a subject to important not to discuss and its near and dear to my heart.

    We all face the dinner hour every single day. It will always be there, it will never change or go away.  We have to eat. Right?  So why do so many of us want to bury our “dinner making” heads in the sand?  Because it’s one more thing to do after a very long day.  I get it. I really do get it.

    Friends, I’ll begin by saying… the weeknight meal does not have to be Sunday dinner.  Even though I’m a chef and food is my job and I post lots of fun and intriguing recipes on my website… my family doesn’t always get a five course meal for dinner.  In fact, many evenings dinner is something fresh and quick or leftovers.

    With that being said, I do believe dinner is important. It isn’t just about the food. It’s about the time of day – the feelings and emotions the dinner hour evokes in our family.  It’s a time when my kids talk about their day;  their proud moments or their worries.   Whether we’re eating dinner in shifts because of school activities or work, my family finds dinner the most comforting moment of the day.  Dinner gives children a sense of security – and whether it be sandwiches and soup or pasta with jarred pasta sauce, dinner says a great big I love you.

    Do I ever complain about making dinner?  Yes. There are days when I feel like I drag myself into my kitchen after a very long day or I’ve been sitting at my desk for hours and my head is nowhere near the subject of dinner. That’s when I pull the soup out of the freezer, ask my daughter to make a few grilled cheese sandwiches or my husband to throw together a quick bowl of greens for a salad. The point is – we all meet at the table.

    Quick No Cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce over Pasta

    Although dinner isn’t just about the food, studies have shown we eat healthier when we eat dinner at home. Not only is our physical health impacted by the dinner hour, our children’s mental and emotional health are impacted as well.

    I found an excellent article from Forbes Contributor Katie Kelly BellAccording to The Family Dinner Project website, “Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem.  Additionally, family meals are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression. We also believe in the power of family dinners to nourish ethical thinking.”  “What I find personally traumatizing is the fact that we even have a grassroots campaign dedicated to preserving the family meal. How far we have strayed.” 

    Let’s also chat about the financial impact of dinner. If you know me, you know my monthly food bill is higher than most. Yes, some of that cost is due to my occupation, and some of that cost is because I refuse to purchase fake or toxic food.  It is a crying shame that we as Americans are forced to make the choice whether or not we spend our money on quality food or a vacation. It’s a travesty.

    However, keeping my food purchases as close to home as possible helps cut my food bill by one third.  I try to purchase all my produce, meat and poultry  at my local farm market, co-op market or local farmers.  Even our local Costco has started stocking local grass fed beef and chicken, as well as many Oregon organic food products. And I’m there for bath tissue anyway.  Then, all I need are the basics from my local grocery store.  If I don’t have time for that many stops, we divide and conquer.

    My children are no longer children. One is in college and the other in high school. Did we have glorious idealistic dinners each night? No. But we did have dinner.  My girls may not remember the food they ate, but they will always remember the time spent together.  They still love to gather around the table for dinner.  I see it in their beautiful faces, the comfort, the internal joy found by sharing a meal. The sense of security and unconditional love.  Isn’t that what it’s really about?

    Friends I want you to know I will try my very best to post more dinner friendly recipes here at Karista’s Kitchen.  I will adhere to my personal nutritional values, but I promise to make the meals achievable. I’d love your feedback!  What types of meals are easy for you to prepare? Are there cooking techniques you would like me to demonstrate that would make it easier to achieve dinner?

    Until then, today I’m posting a no cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce over your Favorite Pasta. It can easily be prepared in under 20 minutes tops. As well, I’m listing a few of my favorite quick dinner websites. Remember, the weeknight meal does not have to be Sunday dinner.

    If you’d like to read the article that got me so wound up, click here.  But please read Joel Salatin’s response.  It’s excellent and I couldn’t agree with him more.

    Resources

    Jamie’s 15 minute meals – What is not to love about this chef or website?!

    The Nourished Kitchen – I love this as a nutritional resource as well as traditional recipes

    Foodista – an excellent resource for all types of recipes from quick and easy to holiday dinners

    Farmstr – For those of you living in Western Washington, this is an excellent resource for local produce, meat, fish and poultry!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    No Cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta

    Serving Size: 4-6

    No Cook Sun Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta

    Ingredients

    • One 8 ounce jar sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (with herbs if you can find it)
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    • ¼ cup heavy cream (omit if you eat dairy free)
    • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
    • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade or just chopped if you’re in a hurry
    • ¼ - ½ cup reserved pasta water
    • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
    • Squeeze of fresh lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions, reserving at least ½ cup of pasta water (I love Strozzapreti pasta or something similar. I think pappardelle would be great with this sauce as well)

    Instructions

  • In a food processor or blender add the sun dried tomatoes with oil (and herbs if included), smashed garlic, grated parmesan and ¼ cup pasta water. Pulse to a puree. If needed, add additional pasta water. Add the heavy cream and pulse one or two times just to blend, you don’t want to whip the heavy cream.
  • Toss the pasta with the sauce, chopped fresh basil, squeeze of lemon and plate. Drizzle each plate with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with extra parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
  • For a heartier dish serve with Sweet or Hot Italian Sausages. And don’t forget the DaVinci Chianti 🙂
  • Buon Appetito!
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Pork Chile Verde with Basmati Rice

    Pork Chile Verde with Basmati Rice // Karista's Kitchen

    I am deeply in love with Pork Chile Verde.  The tangy flavors of tomatillo and lime combined with the spicy heat from poblanos makes for a most delicious and comforting meal.  Add in a scoop of Basmati rice and I’m in comfort food heaven.  It’s a “warm you to the bones” dish that has once again returned to its rightful place on the Fall dining table.

    This dish is simple to prepare but it does have several steps involved.  Most often I make this on the weekend and let it simmer low and slow.  But sometimes I’ll roast the poblanos, cube and season the pork (not with the flour however) make the sauce Verde and make the rice the on a weeknight.

    Pork Chile Verde with Basmati Rice // Karista's Kitchen

    Then the next evening, I’ll put it all together and simmer until done.  We’re a late dinner family by American standards; most of the time dinner is served at 7pm. So prepping the night before and then making the dish next evening works well at my house.

    Cheers to the enjoying the new season with a bowl of comfort!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Pork Chile Verde with Basmati Rice

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    3-4lbs pork shoulder, boneless and cut into 2 inch cubes

    Salt and pepper

    Extra virgin olive oil

    ¼ cup all-purpose flour for dusting pork cubes (omit for GF recipe)

    2 12 ounce cans whole tomatillos, drained

    2 white onions, 1 onion coarsely chopped and 1 onion diced

    2 cloves garlic

    Juice of one lime

    Handful cilantro

    2-3 poblano peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded

    2 cups chicken broth

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Fresh cilantro or chopped green onion for garnish

    Serve with cooked basmati rice

    Directions

    If you have roasted the poblanos, start them now. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Then place the poblanos on a foil lined baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and roast until skins are blackish brown and blistered.  Remove them from the oven and wrap them in the foil from the baking sheet.  Let them rest for about 5-10 minutes while you prepare the Chile Verde.  When the poblanos are cool enough to handle, remove the skins, tops and seeds inside and then dice the poblanos.

    In a blender, vita mix or food processor, add the tomatillos, coarsely chopped onion, garlic, juice of one lime and handful of cilantro. Pulse until the sauce Verde is smooth. Set aside.

    Place the pork cubes in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Then toss the pork cubes with ¼ cup all purpose flour.

    Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add a little oil and when the pan and oil are hot add the pork cubes in batches.  You don’t want to add to much pork at one time or the pork cubes won’t brown.  It usually takes me 3-4 batches to brown the pork.

    Transfer the browned pork to a plate and then add the diced onion to the large pot or Dutch oven. Turn the heat to medium if needed.

    Saute the onions until they are wilted and a golden brown. Then add the pork cubes and any juice from the pork and the diced roasted poblano peppers back into the pot.  Stir in the sauce Verde and chicken broth.  Bring the Chile Verde to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer the Chile Verde uncovered for at least 1 ½ -2 hours.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper. I’ve found poblano peppers can be extremely hot or somewhat mild.  As with most peppers, the heat is in the seeds and veins.  If your Chile Verde isn’t spicy enough, add a dash of chipotle chile powder or hot sauce.

    The Chile Verde is ready when the pork is fork tender and the chile has thickened a bit. Serve in bowls with a scoop of Basmati Rice and chopped fresh cilantro or green onions.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Pasta Risotto Sassy Side dishes

    Chianti Risotto

    Chianti Risotto with DaVinci Chianti

    Chianti Risotto tastes like one giant food hug.

    Fall of 2013, I was in a whirlwind of excitement and slowly coming down off my travel and culinary cloud after being in Italy for two weeks.  I think in all that excitement I failed to post this lovely dish.

    I originally created this gorgeous Chianti Risotto for DaVinci Wine . I was one of four very lucky bloggers to join the DaVinci Wine team in Vinci, Italy to learn all about Chianti wine-making. It. Was. Glorious.

    Naturally, I had to pair these two ingredients together, making one very cozy and gorgeous looking dish.

    This Chianti Risotto is one of those special recipes I reserve for a weekend when everyone is home and gathered in the kitchen.  We take turns stirring the risotto, chatting, sipping wine, nibbling on bruschetta and savoring the precious moments together.  You can certainly make this on a weeknight (and I do that as well) but it’s such an indulgent and rich dish I love to sit and relish the dish over a long weekend evening.

    Risotto is a staple in most Italian kitchens and it’s served in many forms. Which is truly the beauty of risotto.  It travels through seasons adapting to a multitude of ingredients, never wearing out its welcome on the dinner table.

    I adore the subtle fruitiness of the DaVinci Chianti and I thought it would make a lovely addition to risotto. Top with crispy fried sage, fresh grated parmesan or shaved pecorino and this is comfort food at its most delicious.  For a heartier version of this deeply colored risotto, I topped it with a farm fresh fried egg.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Chianti Risotto

    Serving Size: 2-3 as an entree, 4 as a side dish

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2-3 tablespoons)
    • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
    • 1 cup DaVinci Chianti
    • 4 -5 cups beef broth, warmed
    • Knob of unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 6-8 large sage leaves
    • Shaved pecorino
    • Optional: top each serving with a fried egg

    Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium high heat add the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking add the shallots and sauté for just a minute or two and then add the rice. Stir the rice for about 2 minutes and then add the cup of DaVinci Chianti and stir until the wine is absorbed.
  • Turn the heat down to medium or medium low and stir in 1 cup of the warm beef broth. Simmer until the broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Repeat this process with about ½ cup of broth at a time and continue to cook until the rice is almost tender.
  • Be sure to allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next. This takes about 20 minutes. When the rice is done, add additional broth if you feel the risotto is too thick. I like a thinner risotto.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and a knob of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the risotto rest while you prepare the sage leaves and/or fried eggs.
  • In a small sauté pan heat some olive oil and when the oil is very hot add the sage leaves, turning them in the oil as they brown. Once crispy, take the pan off the heat and set the fried sage on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Place the risotto in individual serving bowls and garnish with a fried sage leave, shaved pecorino, and if you wish, a fried egg.
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    Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

    Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Beef Stir Fry)

    Lomo Saltado Peruvian Beef Stir Fry with Sweet Potato Fries

    It’s funny how I stumble across new recipes I’ve never heard about, tasted or seen like this Peruvian Beef Stir Fry called Lomo Saltado. 

    Sometimes I feel I must have my head buried in the traditional culinary sands so deeply,  I’ve missed some intriguing recipes.  However, all is not lost…  I have friends to thank for sharing the culinary light.

    I first heard about Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian Beef Stir fry, from my friend Cristina.  She visits Florida often and tasted this dish the last time she visited.  After she described the recipe, I was definitely intrigued.  A Beef Stir Fry that includes French fries.  Huh.

    So I did some research and it seems those who write about Lomo Saltado are passionate about one thing. Those fries. Although it seems a little odd,  it works. 

    The remaining ingredients vary according to author and culinary background.  Beef is the main ingredient and even the cut of beef varies from recipe to recipe.  I also found this dish served with yellow rice or steamed rice.

    Lomo Saltado Peruvian Beef Stir Fry with Sweet Potato Fries // Karista's Kitchen

    I decided to keep things simple and adapt several recipes into one – making this beef stir fry with a twist of my own.

    Some of the recipes I found use only the beef, onion, hot pepper and French fries.  A few add in a green bell pepper or hot pepper and one recipe included pickled jalapenos.  They all sound delicious but I decided to make a one dish meal and include more veggies.  Along with substituting the French fries for sweet potato fries.  But please feel free to keep the French fries.  I just happen to love sweet potato fries and I thought the sweetness of the fries would nicely balance the salty flavors of the sauce.

    In the recipe I’ve given several substitutions.  Feel free to experiment and personalize your Peruvian Beef Stir Fry.  I’d love to know how you mix it up, so keep me posted!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Beef Stir Fry)

    Serving Size: 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb Flat iron or skirt steak cut into ½ inch strips
    • Pinch of ground cumin
    • Pinch of ground coriander (optional)
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced for stir fry (optional)
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced for stir fry (optional)
    • 1 poblano pepper, sliced for stir fry (seeds can be hot so it’s up to you if you include them) or use a jalapeno or hot yellow pepper, diced
    • 2-4 tablespoons oil
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
    • Sweet potato fries, cooked according to package directions (you can also use traditional potato fries)
    • Handful of fresh coarsely chopped cilantro (I think sliced green onions would be a good substitute)
    • Salt and pepper
    • Dash of hot sauce if needed (I used Sriracha)

    Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Reserve.
  • In a large skillet or large wok, heat two tablespoons oil over high heat. Lightly season the beef with black pepper, ground cumin and ground coriander. When the oil is hot brown the meat and then transfer it to a plate.
  • When all the meat has been browned, add a little more oil to the skillet and then sauté the veggies until lightly wilted or crisp tender. Adjust heat as needed.
  • Stir in the garlic the last 30 seconds of cooking. Add the beef back in to the skillet with the veggies and then stir in the sauce. Let the sauce coat the beef and veggies and then remove from the heat.
  • Season with salt and a dash of hot sauce if needed.
  • Place the fries on a platter, top with the beef and veggie stir fry and garnish with the fresh cilantro. Serve with hot sauce if desired.
  • Notes

    Recipe adapted from multiple sources

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    Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

    How To Pan Sear Fish with a Quick Pan Sauce

    How to pan sear salmon with a quick pan sauce

    One of the questions I hear most is “how do I pan sear fish and make a quick sauce?”.  Pan seared fish with a quick pan sauce is one of the easiest meals to make.  And, it can be on the table in less than 20 minutes.  There is a method to this quick dish, which is why I’ve created a pictorial with step by step instructions for my September food article at VRAI Magazine.

    If you’ve ever wanted to know how to achieve the perfect pan seared fish head on over to VRAI Magazine to snag this delicious pictorial.  And while you’re there, don’t forget to browse the collection of deliciousness created by our Co-Founder Kristin Hoffman of Baker Bettie, Lifestyle Editor, Sheri Silver as well as our enchanting food contributors.  VRAI Magazine Food is the perfect resource for your Fall and Holiday recipes.

    Coming soon to Karista’s Kitchen…  I’ll be posting a Peruvian Stir Fry called Lomo Saltado and an apple dessert you won’t want to miss!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

     

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Slow Cooked Italian Pork Roast with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Apples

    Italian Pork Roast with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Apples // Karista's Kitchen

    This was one of those meals I threw together on the fly.  I had a pork roast in the frig, sage from the garden and fresh apples from my local farmer.  Dinner needed to happen and it needed to happen with little effort from me, as my time was limited yesterday.

    This is exactly why I have learned to embrace my slow cooker.  For years I wouldn’t even think of using a slow cooker.  Heresy I said!  After all, chef’s don’t use a slow cooker.  But alas, I am a working Mom first and my time isn’t always my own.

    Yes, my slow cooker and I once again became friends.  Very good friends actually.

    Because this recipe happened on the fly, and my family was patiently waiting for dinner, my food photo isn’t terribly exciting.  Nothing fancy or creative, just the recipe plated in all it’s delicious Autumn glory, ready to be served and devoured.  The crispy sage and brown butter apples complimented the seasoned pork roast beautifully and kept my family coming back for more.

    Sweet, spicy, savory, earthy and fragrant. The first Autumn meal of the new school year – celebrated with lush harvest flavors.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Slow Cooked Italian Pork Roast with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Apples

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    3-4 lbs pork shoulder roast or pork butt

    Italian seasoning:

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    1 tablespoon fennel seeds

    2 teaspoons sweet paprika

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon granulated garlic

    1 teaspoon onion powder

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 teaspoon black pepper

    1 sweet onion, sliced

    2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

    ½ cup red wine or beef broth

    1 handful of fresh sage leaves

    2 apples, peeled and sliced

    4-6 tablespoons sweet cream butter

    ½ teaspoon sugar or brown sugar

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    Set the slow cooker on low heat.

    Mix together the Italian seasoning and rub on and into the pork roast.  This can be done the night before and allows the pork to marinate in the seasoning for better flavor.

    Heat a skillet and brown two or more sides of the pork roast.  Transfer to the slow cooker.

    Top with the onions, garlic and wine and cook on low for about 7-8 hours or until fork tender.

    Just before you are ready to serve the roast, heat a skillet over medium heat with the butter and when the butter is melted and hot add the sage leaves and cook for a minute or two until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

    In the same skillet add the sliced apples and additional butter if needed.  Let the apples cook until tender and then season with a little sugar, salt and pepper.

    Place the apples on a platter and then top with pieces of the cooked Italian pork roast.  Scatter crispy sage over the top and ladle the roast with a little of the au jus from the slow cooker.

    Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Sassy French Lentils

    French Lentils with vegetables or squash

    What a summer it’s been.  Another move, a bit of travel, family visits, lots of delicious recipes tested and photographed, a new driver in the family, our college student returning to the city soon and Tank and I found new trails to run, cows and chickens to photograph and juicy ripe blackberries to snack on while we’re supposed to be running.  I think Tank loves the blackberry breaks more than me.

    Life is in perpetual motion and although this is a good thing, there are moments I need to put on the brakes, settle into a comfy chair and enjoy a quiet moment.  Hopefully with something tasty to sip – and always with a good book.  This does not happen often enough unfortunately, but today, I find myself scheming to find that moment in the near future.  I think you should to!  My little soapbox speech for the day. 🙂

    Mirepoix for French Lentils

    I’m in a bit of a sassy mood (can you tell?) and in honor of my sassiness, I’m posting this sassy little French lentil recipe.  Lentils have never thrilled my culinary taste buds – they’ve always just been there.  A side dish or ingredient that has useful qualities.  Mashed and blended with other exciting ingredients into lentil cakes or stirred into soups and stews to create a hearty texture.  Sometimes I’ll toss them into salads for extra texture and protein but I think I love them best prepared in the French style.

    French Lentils with vegetables or squash

    This is a recipe I can get excited about.  Layering flavor after flavor and then combining all those lush flavors with the lentils and summer vegetables makes for the loveliest entrée or side dish.   This dish is so simple and so delicious, I often pair it with grilled salmon or steak.  My oldest gal adores this dish a la carte, 0ften taking the leftovers for lunch.

    So, my friends, plan a quiet moment with something tasty to sip, a good book…  and make yourself some Sassy French Lentils.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Sassy French Lentils

    I use organic canned lentils for time sake, but feel free to use dried lentils that have been cooked.

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 red onion, diced

    2 anchovies

    1 medium carrot, diced

    1 rib celery, diced

    3 cloves garlic, finely diced

    1 3 inch sprig rosemary

    3 sprigs fresh thyme

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

    1 cup diced summer tomatoes (or canned)

    1 15 ounce can organic lentils or 2 cups cooked lentils

    1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground mustard (optional)

    Squeeze of  lemon juice

    Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

    Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Add ins:  sliced roasted or grilled summer squash and zucchini, eggplant, green beans, corn and any other summer vegetable you adore, just stir them in or layer them on top of the finished dish.  If preparing this dish Fall/Winter I love to stir in diced roasted sweet potato or butternut squash.

    Directions

    In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and when it’s hot, but not smoking, add the onions, anchovies, carrots and celery.  Sauté until the veggies are nice and soft.

    Then stir in the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

    Next stir in the rosemary, thyme, Italian parsley, oregano, tomatoes and lentils.  Let them heat through and then simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Remove the sprig of rosemary and then stir in the Dijon or stone ground mustard, squeeze of lemon juice (about a teaspoon), and drizzle of olive oil.  Continue to simmer on low for another 5-8 minutes.

    Take them off the heat and let them sit covered while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Or let them sit for about 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld together.  Taste for seasoning before serving.

    If you are pairing the lentils with veggies, ladle the lentils onto a platter and then top with the veggies.  If using diced roasted sweet potato or butternut squash, I like to gently fold those into the lentils and then ladle onto a platter.

    Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and dollops of plain Greek yogurt.

    Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

    Bon Appetit!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Duck Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze and Chianti at Home

    Allspiced Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze over Coconut Rice

    By choosing to click and read this blog post, you confirm you are of legal drinking age in the country where this site is accessed.

    The mornings are felt with a slightly cool breeze from the west, drifting from the ocean that lies just beyond the small range of mountains.  As I sit on my back porch with my morning coffee in hand, I hear the sound of a train in the distance and my choir of bull frogs are beginning the morning hush after an evening of choir practice.

    My songbirds are chiming though, making it known the competition is on.  Their melodies much sweeter to the human ears.  I won’t tell my bull frog choir however.  They seem to delight in their nightly choir practice.

    Where the songbirds sing in my backyard // Karista's Kitchen

    And so now, as I sit on my back porch watching the warm sun rise from the east, sipping my coffee that I actually took the time to make via my French press (the one I so joyfully discovered at the bottom of a box yesterday).. this is home.

    They say, home is where you hang your hat.  Or at least that’s what I’ve always heard.  At the moment however, no hats have been hung in my house.  Most likely because we can’t find the box of hats.

    Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Asian Cherry Glaze // Karista's Kitchen

    We have however,  found the dishes, the cutlery, the pots and pans along with all the essentials for a well stocked kitchen.  Including our wine glasses. Definitely essential items for a well stocked kitchen.

    Along with our stash of kitchen items, I found the box filled with my very carefully wrapped selection of wine; including my favorite Chianti.

    Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze and Coconut Rice

    Although I pair DaVinci Chianti at home with our hearty winter dishes of pasta and slow cooked meats, I also adore DaVinci Chianti served with spring and summer dishes of grilled chicken, salmon and Ahi Tuna Tacos.

    Recently, I served our favorite chianti with an Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin topped with an Asian Cherry Glaze.  Simple to prepare, yet it feels slightly indulgent with the subtle flavors of Asian cuisine.

     

    Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze and Coconut Rice

    DaVinci Chianti pairs easily with the sweet, warm, earthy flavors of the Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin.  Typically used in desserts, the allspice, which is a single spice, has subtle notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg and is often used in Jamaican savory cuisine.

    I’ve paired the Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze which also uses one cup of DaVinci Chianti.  I love how easy it is to roll this tenderloin in the fragrant Allspice and either grill it outdoors during the summer months or roast it in the oven on a busy weeknight.  The glaze is easily assembled and prepared, and when served with the grilled or roasted tenderloin and coconut rice, it makes a delicious and beautiful meal for the weeknight or weekend dinner guests.

    For those who like wild game or want to prepare this dish for a special occasion, I’ve also included a version of this recipe using pan seared duck.  It makes a lovely presentation and the rich flavor of the duck is beautifully complimented by the rich fruit flavors and medium body of the Chianti.

    Pan Seared Duck Breast with an Asian Cherry Glaze and Coconut Rice // Karista's Kitchen

    Chianti at Home describes special moments in a day. Moments that bring family and friends, delicious food and great wine together.  Moments that remind me of my glorious visit to Tuscany, getting to know the beautiful people behind this gorgeous wine.

    The loveliest of individuals who take great pride in creating this enchanting Chianti.  I think of them as I sip, as I savor the lush flavors that dance on the tongue.  Flavors that mingle and play ever so nice together

    2013 DaVinci Wine Storytellers

    Almost a year has passed since traveling to Italy as a DaVinci Wine Storyteller.   It’s now time to pass the baton.  Twelve new finalists for the 2014 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience have now been revealed.  I’m riddled with anticipation and excitement for these fantastic twelve, talented individuals. Who will be the final four 2014 Storytellers?

    You can help select the final four Storytellers by voting for your favorite in each category: Photography, Travel, West Coast Foodie and East Coast Foodie.  Click HERE, be sure to “like” the DaVinci Wine Facebook page and then browse the list and categories and vote.

    2014 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Finalists

    2014 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Finalists

    Chianti at Home … a wine for every season, every occasion.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    All-Spice Rubbed  Pork Tenderloin with an Asian Cherry Glaze

    The tenderloin can be grilled or roasted as listed in the Directions

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    For the rub:

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

    1 teaspoon ground all-spice

    1 large pork tenderloin or 2 small; this can also be prepared with Duck Breast. Recipe Follows.

    Olive oil

    Coconut Rice (recipe follows)

    Green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

    For the sauce:

    1 cup sour cherries

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 cup DaVinci Chianti

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

    ½ teaspoon corn starch (optional)

    Directions

    Mix together the salt, pepper and ground all-spice.  Rub the tenderloin with oil and then season with the salt, pepper, all-spice mixture.  Let the tenderloin sit for a few minutes while starting the glaze.

    Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low or medium low, and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced.  The sauce should thicken as it cools, however, if you’d like to thicken it while it’s warm, add two tablespoons of warm glaze to a small bowl and then whisk in the ½ teaspoon of corn starch.  Once this mixture (called a slurry) is smooth, whisk it into the glaze and bring the glaze back to a boil for about one minute.  This will thicken the sauce.

    Preheat the oven or grill to 400F.   To roast the tenderloin, place it in a baking dish and then place the baking dish in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the center of the tenderloin reaches 145F.

    To grill the tenderloin, place it on the pre-heated grill, cover and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes for about 10-15 minutes, depending on size.  The tenderloin is done when the internal temperature reaches 145F.

    Let the pork tenderloin rest for few minutes before slicing.  This will allow juices to redistribute and keep the tenderloin moist and juicy.

    Place the coconut rice on a platter and then slice the tenderloin.  Place the tenderloin slices on top of the coconut rice and drizzle with the Asian Cherry Glaze.  Garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

    Serve with DaVinci Chianti!

    Pan Seared Duck Breast with Asian Cherry Glaze

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients

    For the rub:

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

    1 teaspoon ground all-spice

    2 Duck Breasts, thawed if previously frozen (Often I find them in the freezer section of my meat market)

    Olive oil

    Coconut Rice (recipe follows)

    Green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

    For the sauce:

    1 cup sour cherries

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 cup DaVinci Chianti

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

    ½ teaspoon corn starch (optional)

    Directions

    Mix together the salt, pepper and ground all-spice.  Rub the Duck Breasts with the seasoning. On a cutting board lined with parchment or plastic wrap, place the duck breast one at a time on top of the parchment or plastic and then place another piece of parchment or plastic on the duck breast.  Pound the duck breast with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until it’s a bit thinner and will cook a bit faster.  If you like, score the duck breast skin in a crisscross pattern.  Do not remove the skin.  The skin has delicious flavor and gets crispy when pan seared.

    Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low or medium low, and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced.  The sauce should thicken as it cools, however, if you’d like to thicken it while it’s warm, add two tablespoons of warm glaze to a small bowl and then whisk in the ½ teaspoon of corn starch.  Once this mixture (called a slurry) is smooth, whisk it into the glaze and bring the glaze back to a boil for about one minute.  This will thicken the sauce.

    To prepare the duck pre-heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a dash of olive oil.  Once the skillet is hot, place the duck breasts skin side down and brown, about 5 minutes.  Once the skin is nice and deep golden brown, flip the duck breasts to the other side and cook another 5 minutes.  I like my duck breasts medium rare, a little pink in the center.  Cook another 2-3 minutes if you prefer it cooked through.

    Once the duck is done, transfer it to a carving board and let it rest for a few minutes.  Place the coconut rice on a platter and then slice the duck.  Place the duck breast slices on top of the coconut rice and drizzle with the Asian Cherry Glaze.  Garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

    Serve with DaVinci Chianti!

    Coconut Rice

    This recipe is easily doubled

    Ingredients

    1 cup coconut milk

    ½ cup water

    ¾ cup basmati rice

    ¼ t salt

    Directions

    Combine coconut milk, rice, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, then cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork, cover, and keep warm.

     

    Recipe by Chef Karista Bennett

     

     

    Karista's Kitchen Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Cucumber Greek Salad

    Cucumber Greek Salad with Herbed Feta, Olives, Red Onion and Fresh Mint

    I can’t eat enough salad these days.  Maybe it’s the weather or maybe it’s all the beautiful produce at the Farmer’s Market and my Co-op – quietly taunting me with brilliant shades of summer color and fresh earthy scents as I slowly meander by.

    Salad is a lovely way to enjoy the warmer months.  No need to turn on a stove top or oven, fresh ingredients that are easily prepped and assembled and can be as fun and festive or as traditional as you desire.

    Cucumber Greek Salad with Herbed Feta, Olives, Red Onion and Fresh Mint

    I keep an assortment of vinegar and olive oil in my pantry for a quick dressing.  Don’t worry about getting to fancy or spending a lot of time making the dressing.  Just a dash of your best olive oil and favorite vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper will do.  Get a little wild and purchase a champagne, pinot noir or sherry vinegar or high quality flavored vinegar to keep on hand for all your summer salad creations.

    This enticing Cucumber Greek Salad was inspired by the traditional Greek salad that we all know and love.  I makes a lovely light lunch or paired with grilled salmon for the loveliest of summer al fresco dining.  Divine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Cucumber Greek Salad

    All the ingredients are approximate.  Feel free to adjust to your taste preference.  Sometimes I load the salad with olives and sometimes I keep it simple with just a few.  Let your taste buds be your guide.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    2 large cucumbers, peeled or partially peeled and sliced about 1/8 inch slices.

    1/2 cup pitted assorted olives (I like using stuffed green and pitted kalamata olives)

    1/2 cup small diced or crumbled herbed or marinated feta cheese

    1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

    1/4 cup coarsely chopped or torn fresh mint leaves

    Optional: Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

    Salt and pepper

    Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

    Drizzle of sherry, champagne, red wine, pinot noir or balsamic vinegar

    Directions

    Layer the cucumber on a platter or in a large serving bowl.  Next layer the olives, then the feta cheese, next the red onion and then last, top with the fresh mint.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with vinegar and olive oil.

    I love this served on a large platter but if you prefer, put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and vinegar.  Garnish with extra chopped mint.

    Enjoy!

     

     

     

     

    Beef Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly VRAI Magazine

    Grilled Rib-Eye with Tomato & Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

    Grilled Rib-Eye With Tomato Gorgonzola Vinaigrette Karista's Kitchen

    We’ve just launched the 4th fabulous issue of VRAI Magazine and I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting and new online magazine!  Filled with food, travel, DIY, Gardening and more.

    VRAI Magazine is made up of real bloggers, with varying backgrounds, expertise and unique perspectives, who are passionate about sharing stories. In these stories, you’ll also find wonderful ideas, inspirations and information for everyday living, as well as topics of interest that are designed to spark genuine conversations. “Life is filled with stories both big and small. They can be found in big events and milestones throughout life or even in the most mundane acts of each day — there is always a story worth telling.  Through VRAI Magazine, we hope to capture and share some of them with you.”

    In this issue of VRAI Magazine I talk GRILLING!  Here’s a sneak peek:

    I get positively giddy this time of year.  With the longer days and warmer temperatures, grilling once again becomes my preferred method of cooking.  Gone are the cooler days and Pacific Northwest winter weather that requires rain gear while grilling. 

    Although I enjoy most methods of cooking, there is something about grilling that feels just a bit festive, carefree and whimsical. Maybe it’s the feeling of warm summer months when life is slower and less scheduled.  Fresh produce arriving with color and intense ripened flavors just aching to be tossed into some delicious concoction to share.

    Grilling steak couldn’t be easier, but there are a few simple steps that will make your steak taste like perfection. 

    1. Quality is key –  Purchasing a quality cut of beef is key to a delicious and flavorful steak.  I prefer purchasing local beef that has been grazing in a nice open pasture and preferably grass-fed only. (I know, I sound like the television show Portlandia) Truly, fresh is best for optimum flavor.  Not only does buying local mean your steak will be fresh, you will be supporting your local economy.  If  you don’t have access to a  local beef rancher, try to purchase beef from your region.  Most local markets purchase regionally,  or ask your local butcher.

    For the Grilled Rib-eye with Tomato Gorgonzola Vinaigrette and a Grilled Romaine Recipe head on over to VRAI Magazine…  Click Here!

    Stay Tuned – Coming up this week, I will be posting a most delicious and special pastry recipe from Italy.   Buon Appetito!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista