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Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

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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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2017/01/09/shredded-beef-machaca/

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

    Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

    Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme // Karista's Kitchen

    These happy little peppermint chocolate pots de créme combine two of my family’s favorite flavors. It seems that peppermint and chocolate are the Ying and Yang of dessert flavors around here. 

    If I make a trip to the chocolate shop they ask me to bring them chocolate covered peppermint patties.  If I make chocolate cake, my family asks me to add peppermint chips to the frosting.  And when we have homemade hot cocoa, they love to add a peppermint stick or peppermint schnapps.

    So naturally when I was making chocolate pots de créme this week, I had to include peppermint.

    I love to serve pots de créme for dessert.  I’m not a huge fan of sweets, I’m more of a salty kind of gal, but I do love all things creamy and chocolate. Which is why if I serve a dessert, it’s usually a creme brûlée, pudding, custard, mousse or pots de créme.  And what could be more seasonal than peppermint chocolate pots de creme.
    Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme // Karista's Kitchen

    I have to admit, this festive dessert made me smile. They look so happy and cheerful and full of everything delicious this holiday season.  So rather than place them in the fridge to serve with dinner, I proceeded to pull out the equipment and photograph the little lovelies.

    What I captured certainly mimics my current holiday mood.  These peppermint chocolate pots de créme look like little snow-capped mountain peaks, laced with the flavors of holiday celebrations.  Although deliciously perfect for the holiday dessert table, they will be just as refreshing for a summertime treat.

    Wishing you a tranquil yet festive holiday season of good cheer, warm hugs and delicious food!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

    Makes 4, 4ounce cups

    Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

    Ingredients

    • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons Peppermint Schnapps (optional) or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
      For the Whipped Cream
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

    Instructions

  • Combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or use a double boiler over simmering water.
  • Heat the chocolate mixture over medium heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture has come to a simmer. Take it off the heat.
  • Put the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl and whisk smooth. While whisking the eggs, carefully drizzle a tablespoon of warm chocolate mixture into the eggs. Continue to do this three or four times until the eggs have been tempered and are slightly warm.
  • Whisk in the remaining chocolate and then add the peppermint schnapps.
  • Return the mixture back to the pan and heat while stirring until the liquid is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  • If you have any lumps, pass the mixture through a sieve. Pour the chocolate into small jelly jars, ramekins or pots de créme cups and place them in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours or overnight.
  • Before serving make the whipped cream.
  • Whisk together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and peppermint extract until soft peaks form. Dollop or pipe the heavy cream onto the pots de creme and garnish with peppermint chips, chopped candy canes or just dig in and enjoy!
  • Notes

    This recipe is easily doubled.

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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2016/12/15/peppermint-chocolate-pots-de-creme/

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Holiday Cheese Board with Nibbles // Karista's Kitchen

     

    If there is one moment during the year that no one will ever question how long you (I) linger around the hors d’oeuvre table, it’s during the holidays when the table is loaded with glorious amounts of creamy, lush cheese.  After all, what can be more fun than nibbling on new types of cheese or an excuse to indulge in your favorite cheese?

    Putting together a holiday cheese board couldn’t be simpler.  I like to include at least five kinds of cheese ranging from soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard from different regions of the US or International.  You could always create a “local” cheese board with cheese made only from your region.  This would be a delicious way to support not only your local cheese makers but introduce your guests to the cheese produced in your area.

    I also like to assemble an international cheese board, sort of “around the world in cheese”.  This is delectable fun and creates interesting conversation around the food table.  It’s also a great way to introduce guests to new cheese!

    Holiday Cheese Board with Nibbles // Karista's Kitchen

    I like to label the cheese on the holiday cheese board and if there is room on the label, give a short tasting description.  You can find tasting descriptions online or simply ask your local cheese specialist.  They love to talk cheese. 😉 I should know, I worked as a cheese specialist once upon a time – and I still like to talk about cheese.

    When putting together your holiday cheese board be sure to add in a few extra nibbles either on the board or on platters around the board.  I recently found these lovely parmesan cheese crisp crackers that are divine when paired with cheese.  I also love an interesting selection of charcuterie paired with the cheese, possibly from your local charcuterie shop or butcher.  Assorted oil cured or stuffed olives (I adore lemon rind stuffed green olives), candied or truffle laced nuts, peppers or peppadew peppers, grapes, apple or pear slices dipped in chocolate.  A small assortment of fresh bread, crostini or crackers rounds out this lovely holiday cheese board.

    A holiday cheese board makes a perfect first course for all your dinner parties or celebrations, but it can also make a fabulous last course with cocktails or aperitif.

    Wishing you all a most delicious and happy holiday season!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Holiday Cheese Board

    Ingredients

    • Five types of cheese ranging from soft, semi-soft, semi-hard to soft
    • Oil cured or stuffed olives
    • Charcuterie, assorted (salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, etc)
    • Fresh fruit such as grapes, pear or apple slices
    • Peppers or Peppadew Peppers (goat cheese stuffed peppadews are divine!)
    • Candied, smoked, herbed or truffled nuts
    • Assorted crackers, crostini, fresh bread, slices of pumpkin or banana bread is always fun

    Instructions

  • On a large platter, platters or wood board, place your cheese around the board/platter, spacing it out and cutting a few slices of each to get the slicing started.
  • In between the cheese place bits of grapes/fruit, tiny bowls of nuts, peppers and olives, roll or stack the charcuterie and then wedge the crackers in if there is space. If not, serve the crackers, crostini, bread pieces, etc in small bowls or platters.
  • Label the cheese and serve. Simple and delicious!
  • Notes

    This Holiday Cheese Board was created for Western Horse & Gun Magazine 2016 Holiday Issue.

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    http://karistaskitchen.com/2016/12/08/holiday-cheese-board/

     

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Pear and Cardamom Crisp

    Pear and Cardamom Crisp with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

    Have you ever tasted an ingredient that made your taste buds fall instantly in love? Cardamom is my instant love ingredient and it couldn’t pair more beautifully than in this Pear and Cardamom Crisp. 

    I know, I often associate emotions with ingredients.  It can’t be helped.  So I will regale you with yet another tale of my childhood. (can you see me smiling?)

    It started when I was little and I could smell Grandpa’s coffee brewing in the wee hours of the morning.  Grandpa got up before the sun and always spent a quiet hour sipping his coffee while deep in thought and ponder. I’d sneak out of the guest room and walk down the long hall that led to the kitchen and where I would be greeted with a toothy grandpa grin.  He’d ask me if I’d like to join him for a cup of joe, that it would make me tough and grow up faster.  Then he’d laugh and smile again.  He was a crusty old soul but a sweet pile of marshmallows with his grandchildren.

    Scent, taste, touch and often sight, all play a large roll in how we perceive food and if it feels worthy of our taste buds.  This Pear and Cardamom Crisp meet all those requirements and can be visually enticing. Which is perfect when you’re serving this for a dinner party.

    The soft, silky texture of baked pear and the floral citrus scent of cardamom makes this Pear and Cardamom Crisp perfect for any occasion.

      I thought I’d dress it up even more and top it with a Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.  Because who doesn’t love whipped cream?

     

    Pear and Cardamom Crisp ready to given as edible gifts

     I do love a large baking dish of fruit crisp, often making gift size dishes to give to friends and neighbors.  For a festive celebration or dinner party, this Pear and Cardamom Crisp is gorgeous in individual ramekins and then topped with edible flowers or even a few lavender buds or sprinkle of vanilla sugar.

    Although it’s a simple preparation, this is a beautiful and delightful dessert.  Sweet, yet fragrantly spiced – and it would work well for a brunch or a holiday dessert.  Sometimes I make a large baking dish of Pear and Cardamom Crisp on the weekend and then my family nibbles on it throughout the week.  Occasionally having a scoop for breakfast ( I see the fork marks in the pan but no one admits to it) and always a little dish at night after dinner. A special seasonal treat that always makes my family smile (and apparently sneaky).

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Pear and Cardamom Crisp

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Pear and Cardamom Crisp

    If you love cardamom this just might be your new favorite spring dessert. Simple to prepare and a delight to the senses. Sweet and fragrant and a perfect way to end a spring meal. It can be prepared in an 8x8 or 9x11 pan or individual ramekins.

    Ingredients

    • 3 – 3 ½ lbs ripe pears, cored and sliced
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • ½ cup all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the baking dish/dishes
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and seeds scraped out
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F
  • Grease one 8” or 9” baking dish with butter or 6 – 8 oven safe ramekins. If using ramekins or small oven proof dishes, place them on a baking sheet.
  • Mix together the 3 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cardamom. Toss the cardamom sugar with the sliced pears. Place the sliced pears in the baking dish or divide among ramekins.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the rolled oats, flour, dark brown sugar and pinch of salt. Then mix in the butter. I like to mix this with my hands to make a well infused buttery crumble. You should end up with pea sized crumbles.
  • Spread the crumble mixture over the pears. Place the baking dish or baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pears are bubbly on the sides and crisp topping is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let them rest while you make the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.
  • In a kitchen aid mixer or with a hand held mixer, whisk together the whipping cream, vanilla bean seeds and powdered sugar until thick and fluffy.
  • Once the crisp has cooled slightly, serve the crisp with the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for the lovely folks over at Home By Design Magazine.

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

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters // Karista's Kitchen

    I know I’ve been MIA lately and like all busy working Mom’s, I have a good excuse.  I simply took a break. I decided the world would not end if I didn’t post a new recipe or if I didn’t check my social media to see what I might be missing.

    I spent quality time with my family trekking around the Pacific Northwest, ate TONS of great food, (including these Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters) walked miles and miles like a tourist in Europe and found myself taking deep breaths and stopping to smell a few roses.  It was time well spent.

    I came back to a garden overflowing with tomatoes, cucumbers and Swiss Chard… and of course loads of laundry.  Tank came home from his vacation at the Muddy Dog Ranch and promptly walked to his fluffy blue bed and fell asleep.  We haven’t seen him since. 🙂  I think he had a good time.

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters // Karista's Kitchen

    Once I got back into my office I realized I’d better get these soup shooters posted before labor day or I’d have to rename them something other than Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters.

    These lovelies are creamy with a burst of fresh herbs and slightly sweet with the option of adding a dash of hot sauce for a little extra punch.  

    I paired this soup with fresh Oregon Bay Shrimp but you can use any size shrimp you have on hand or prefer. Lush and brilliant in color, these corn and shrimp soup shooters are a perfect starter for any meal and great for entertaining.

    Happy and successful wishes to all the kiddos headed to back to school!  And happy and restful wishes to all the parents. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Summer Corn and Shrimp Soup Shooters

    Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 2 cups fresh summer corn, plus ½ cup cooked corn to finish the soup
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 3-4 cups vegetable broth (enough to just cover the potatoes)
    • Dash of hot sauce
    • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 cup cooked bay shrimp
    • 10-12 cooked large shrimp
    • Garnish with a dollop of Crème Fraiche and chopped fresh cilantro

    Instructions

  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the onion and sauté until the onion is wilted. Then stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
  • Next, stir in the diced potatoes, 2 cups fresh corn, oregano, thyme, parsley and 3 cups of vegetable broth; just enough broth to cover the potatoes. Depending on how large the potatoes, you may need the 4th cup.
  • Cover and turn the heat to low and simmer the vegetables for about 20 minutes. The potatoes should be soft to the touch. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool slightly. With an immersion blender or in a standing blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
  • Stir in the ½ cup cooked corn and then season the soup to taste with a dash of hot sauce and salt and pepper. This soup can be prepared a day in advance. In fact, it will taste even better after sitting in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the soup from the refrigerator about one hour before serving and gently warm before serving.
  • To serve the soup, add a few small bay shrimp to the bottom of each shooter glass or small bowl. Pour the soup over the bay shrimp and then top the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and one large shrimp. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
  • Notes

    I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine August 2015 Issue

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Cubano Sliders – Small Plate Entertaining

    Cubano Sliders with Marinated Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Pickles and Mustard on Sweet Slider Buns // Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve always had a love affair with the Cubano sandwich.  What’s not to love?  These Cubano Sliders are packed with so much flavor and texture, it makes me happy just to look at one sitting on my plate.

    I’ve dined on many Cubano’s, some good, but some so spectacular it’s all I could think about for days after dining on the sandwich.   Which is what happened after watching the movie “Chef“.  I stayed up late one evening, waiting for my teenager to arrive home by curfew, (because I can’t sleep until I know she’s home safe and sound) so I decided to watch the movie “Chef”.  I like the cast of actors and of course the premise for the movie intrigued me. 😉

    I laughed, I cried, I empathized, I cheered… and then I was hungry.

    The movie reminded me why I’m so passionate about cooking.  Why I love food and why I love to feed people.  Why I stick with a career that can be both physically and mentally demanding but completely creative and rewarding at the same time.

    Guess what was on the menu a few days later?  Cubano Sliders.

    Not long after my Cubano weekend, I was creating menu ideas for one of my clients “small plates” themed issues and I realized how much fun these Cubano Sliders would be for a small plates dinner party.  

    I couldn’t let the summer slip by without sharing these little lovelies with you.  These Cubano Sliders are perfect for entertaining or dinner or even and after school snack.  Personally, I could eat them any time of the day or night.

    A festive and delicious way to end the summer season and begin the new school year.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Cubano Sliders

    Serving Size: 8-10

    Cubano Sliders

    Ingredients

    • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ - 1lb
      For the Marinade
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup pineapple juice
    • 1 small onion sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic smashed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
      For the Slider
    • Marinated pork tenderloin
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • ½ lb sliced baked ham
    • 1 small jar of sliced pickles
    • 10 slices Swiss cheese
    • Yellow mustard
    • Slider Buns

    Instructions

  • To marinate the pork, place the tenderloin in a non-reactive or glass dish. Mix together the orange juice, pineapple juice, sliced onion, garlic, cumin, all-spice cinnamon stick, cilantro and salt. Pour this mixture over the tenderloin and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • To prepare the pork, preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade. Paper towel dry the pork and then rub it with one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix together the salt, pepper and the all-spice and rub it onto the pork. Place the pork in a baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145F.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and let it cool. Once the pork has cooled, thinly slice the pork and set aside.
  • Turn the oven down to 350F.
  • Slice the slider buns in half and place them on a baking sheet. Add a slice of Swiss cheese to both the top and bottom of each slider bun. Then add a dash of mustard on top of the cheese on both the bottom and top of each slider bun.
  • Place thin sliced pork tenderloin, thin sliced pickles and thin sliced baked ham on the bottom slider buns. Place the tops of the buns (with just the cheese and mustard) over the pork and pickles and the press down slightly to keep the sliders in tact.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and let them warm until the cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes or so.
  • Remove the sliders from the oven and serve.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine August/September 2015 issue.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Rosemary Creme Brûlée

    Rosemary Creme Brûlée from Karista's Kitchen for Home By Design Magazine

    It was the moment when a subtle woody, fragrant scent wafted in my direction that I knew cooking and baking with fresh herbs would forever be in my culinary repertoire.   One of my first classes at culinary school, an intensive course in the use of fresh herbs, we prepared a Rosemary Creme Brûlée.  I couldn’t imagine how it would taste or if I’d even like it.  But I had to like it.  I was in culinary school and I couldn’t be the only student that appeared to have the palate of a five year old.  I was over the moon in love with every other dish we’d made in that unit, but what is traditionally a savory herb was now being paired in a sweet custard. It totally worked!  Since that day sixteen years ago, I’ve been using fresh herbs in all my recipes, savory as well as sweet.

    If you know me or you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know another herb I can’t seem to get enough of is lavender. I adore lavender shortbread cookies, lavender scones, pinches of lavender combined with other fresh herbs over roast chicken, lemon thyme biscuits, Arugula Lemon Risotto, Arugula Chimichurri, and the list goes on.  It’s a rare occasion that I don’t incorporate some type of herb or spice in my recipes; they simply enhance and elevate flavor and create food moments to remember.

    Rosemary Creme Brûlée is definitely memorable.  Although I prepare this dessert at home and for friends and clients (I originally created this photo and recipe for one of my favorite clients, Home By Design Magazine), I don’t think I’ve ever posted it here. Until now.

    Creme Brûlée is a lush and silky custard that is so perfect any time of year.  I prepare this dessert most often around the holidays but I also make it during the warmer months because I can make it in advance, pop it in the fridge and then serve it when I’m ready.  Pairing it with fresh herbs changes the flavor profile but not the well loved custard.  I’ve used my beloved lavender a few times as well as lemon thyme, but rosemary has to be my favorite herb in creme brûlée.

    I’ve prepared this recipe a few different methods, but I think the best method is when the fresh rosemary is gently steeped in the cream, allowing the oils to subtly scent and flavor the custard.  It’s a simple yet impressive dessert that will WOW your guests and your family.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Rosemary Creme Brûlée

    Serving Size: serves 4

    Rosemary Creme Brûlée

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
    • 1- 3 to 4 inch sprig fresh rosemary
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2-3 teaspoons sugar
    • 4 egg yolks, cold
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
  • Place four ramekins into a baking dish or cake pan. Heat enough water to fill the bottom of the baking dish and come halfway up the side of the ramekins. This is called a Bain-Marie, a hot water bath.
  • In a sauce pan heat the heavy cream and sprig of rosemary over medium heat. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and then remove the sauce pan from the heat and let the heavy cream and rosemary hang out for about fifteen minutes or so, allowing the rosemary oil to infuse the heavy cream.
  • In an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is light and creamy, adding in the ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Strain the heavy cream removing any and all rosemary leaves and then while whisking, slowly add the rosemary infused cream to the egg and sugar mixture.
  • Divide the custard evenly among the four ramekins and place the baking dish carefully into the oven.
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes, just until the custard is set. Allow the custard to cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the crème brulee from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the top of each custard with about ½ teaspoon of sugar. Using a culinary torch*, scorch the sugar creating the traditional burnt sugar topping.
  • Serve immediately.
  • *Culinary blow torches can be found at most kitchen and bath stores or larger home and garden stores.
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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Chicken Scarpariello

    Chicken Scarpariello recipe from Rao's in Las Vegas // Isernio Sausage Company // Karista's Kitchen

    Chicken Scarpariello from Rao’s in Las Vegas using hot and mild sausage from Isernio’s Sausage Company

    Chicken Scarpariello is definitely a mouth full of words. When I stumbled upon this recipe years ago I was completely intrigued by the name of this dish.

    You’re probably asking yourself “how do I pronounce Scarpariello?” Well, I say it like this, “scar/par/ee/ello”.  Say it several times quickly and it’ll eventually roll off your tongue as if you’ve been speaking Italian for years.

    After doing a bit of research, I found that most culinarian’s believe this Chicken Scarpariello likely originated in the United States. However, because Chicken Scarpariello is similar in ingredients and preparation to many traditional Southern Italian recipes, many feel it’s an evolution of Southern Italian recipes that have been translated from one generation to the next.

    Chicken Scarpariello recipe from Rao's in Las Vegas // Karista's Kitchen // Isernio's Sausage Company

    This hearty dish, often referred to as Shoemakers Chicken, is filled with ingredients that are big and bold in flavor. Chicken that has been pan seared along with my favorite Isernio’s hot and mild Italian sausages, red peppers, potatoes, onions, garlic, oregano and a few sweet but spicy vinegar hot peppers.   Then all the ingredients are tossed together in a light white wine sauce making the most delicious chicken dinner you’ve ever tasted.

    I describe Chicken Scarpariello as a lusty and robust dish that is rich in flavor, delightful to the palate and welcomed anytime of the year.

    Chicken Scarpariello is perfect for large gatherings with friends or family or a Sunday supper. I love making this dish for a weekend meal, serving it with bottles of Chianti or Pinot Grigio, fresh tomato and basil bruschetta over ricotta, drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar.

    This particular Chicken Scarpariello recipe is from the world-renowned restaurant Rao’s and I created the photo for my friends at the fabulous Isernio’s Sausage Company.  Buon Appetito!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Chicken Scarpariello

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Chicken Scarpariello

    Ingredients

    • 4 Isernio’s Italian Sausages, 2 Mild Italian and 2 Hot Italian
    • 4 - 6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, about 1.5 lbs.
    • about 1/8 cup flour
    • 2 red potatoes, about 1 lb.
    • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips
    • 2 bell peppers, red & yellow, cored, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips
    • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
    • 3 Tbsp. fresh oregano, coarsely chopped or 1 1/2 tps. dried
    • 2 hot cherry peppers, in vinegar from a jar, seeded and quartered - Optional
    • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 3 - 4 tsp. Salt
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Scrub potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a sauce pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt and boil, partially covered for 10 minutes. Drain well, cool slightly, peel and cut into 3/8" slices. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large 12" skillet on medium heat, cook the sausage on both sides, until browned, about 8 minutes total. Remove sausages from pan, cut into 3/4" slices and set aside. Sausage does not need to be cooked through, just browned on the outside.
  • Pat chicken dry, salt & pepper both sides and dust in flour. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan, saute chicken until browned, 5-7 minutes per side, about 14 minutes total. Remove chicken from pan, cut into 2" pieces and set aside.
  • Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, peppers, 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. of the oregano (if using dried, put all in now), mix well and saute for 4 minutes until slightly softened. Add the chopped garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom for another 5 minutes. Add the sausage, chicken, potatoes, cherry peppers, white wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano and chicken broth. Mix well and place in oven uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Taste for salt & pepper, serve immediately with remaining fresh oregano.
  • Notes

    This recipe is from Rao's Las Vegas and using Isernio's Hot and Mild Italian Sausage.

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    Appetizers Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Avocado Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers // Karista's Kitchen

    There is nothing quite like a beautiful salad. The color, the scent of fresh greens and produce, all collectively creating edible art on a plate.

     Not only is this Avocado and Watercress Salad impressive in presentation, but it’s mouth-watering delicious in taste.  

    Fresh avocado and watercress tossed with a light lemon vinaigrette, gently stacked and then topped with brilliantly colored edible flowers.

     

    Spring Vegetable Strata // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine

    The Avocado and Watercress Salad is simple to prepare – either with round food rings or you can layer the salad on a platter or on individual plates.   This salad is so delicious served with either a quiche or this lovely Spring Vegetable Strata I created for VRAI Magazine.  The fresh flavors of the avocado and peppery watercress pair beautifully with eggs dishes or even a spring lamb chop or roasted rack of lamb would be lovely.

    A gorgeous table of food for Mother’s Day brunch or any casual weekend entertaining.  I often serve the strata for Sunday breakfast and fancy it up with the salad if I’m serving it for brunch.  However you decide to serve these dishes, your guests will be completely delighted. Especially if there is a Mimosa sitting next to the plate!

    Wishing you all a beautiful and delicious week!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Serving Size: 4

    Avocado and Watercress Salad with Edible Flowers

    Ingredients

    • 1 large bunch watercress, thin stems and leaves only
    • 2-3 large firm but ripe avocados, diced
    • ½ to 1 cup edible flowers (usually purchased in the fresh herb section of a market)
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • Juice of one lemon, about 3 tablespoons
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 3-4 inch round food molds, if desired (optional). If you don’t have food molds, a washed and dried tuna with both ends removed will also work.

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, gently toss the diced avocados with a splash of the lemon vinaigrette. In a seperate bowl, gently toss the watercress with a splash of lemon vinaigrette. The watercress will wilt quickly once it’s dressed with vinaigrette so don’t dress the watercress until right before serving. The avocado should be dressed with vinaigrette as soon as it’s been diced.
  • If using food molds (or tuna cans), brush the inside with a little olive oil. Set each mold on a plate. Divide the avocado among the plates. Press the avocado firmly into the mold. Next, press the watercress into each mold. Gently remove the molds. It’s ok if the watercress falls, it will still look beautiful. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over each salad if desired and once last pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Garnish each salad with edible flowers and serve.
  • If you’d like to make the salad without molds, layer the avocado on plates, top with watercress and then the edible flowers.
  • Notes

    If you can't find edible flowers, not to worry. Garnish with fresh chopped chives and some grated fresh carrot and beet or spiralized carrot and beet for some color.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood Shrimp

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas // Karista's Kitchen

    I was playing around with tostada recipes the other day and I decided I needed ceviche to top my tostada shells.  I was hungry at that moment and it just sounded delicious.  This is often how my recipes happen.  I’m hungry and something sounds delicious so it’s created and posted.

    I was set on my traditional halibut ceviche because I haven’t made it since the fall and the family keeps asking for it; but there was no halibut at the fish market.  So I grabbed the fresh smallish dry packed scallops, which are best in a recipe like this anyway, and some bay shrimp.  The small dry packed scallops, not to be confused with bay scallops, dwindle to nothing when they’re cooked.  It almost feels like a waste of time to pan sear the small ones, so I either poach them or use them in a ceviche.  I’m all about getting the most out of my ingredients.

    Well this turned out to be a grand idea.  I diced the small scallops and cold poached them in fresh lime juice overnight.   Then I drained them and combined them with the bay shrimp, along with lots of additional lush ingredients.  I think what I love about this ceviche is it’s easily adapted to suit everyone’s favorite flavors.  I love traditional ceviche with tomatoes, white onions and cilantro but instead of diced jalapeño I like a dash of hot sauce and diced cucumber pairs so beautifully with the bay shrimp.  Of course it’s all laced with additional fresh lime juice and a salt to taste.

    I smeared the tostadas with guacamole because it holds the ceviche onto the tostada.   Little pieces still roll off but at least most of it stays planted firmly on the guacamole.  Garnishing with crumbled goat cheese or salty Cotija cheese completed my tostadas and I couldn’t eat just one.

    While I was photographing for this post, one of the tostadas broke – and darn it, I had to eat that one too.

    These little lovelies were a hit with the family and perfect for a mid-week casual meal.  I have to admit however, these will be so much fun to serve on a warm summer day with Sangria and a locally brewed beer.

    Wishing you all a very happy end of the week and weekend!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

    Serving Size: Serves about 4 as an entree or 6 as an appetizer

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

    Ingredients

      For the Ceviche
    • 1lb small dry packed scallops, diced
    • 1/2 lb cooked bay shrimp (sometimes called shrimp meat)
    • Fresh squeezed lime juice (enough to cover the diced scallops and a little extra)
    • Handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
    • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1/2 - 3/4 cup diced white onion
    • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
    • Dash of hot sauce, or to taste
    • 1-2 cups Guacamole (recipe follows)
    • Tostada shells (usually found in the market or you can fry small corn tortillas)
    • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled or crumbled Goat cheese
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh cilantro for garnish
    • Serve with lime wedges
      For the Guacamole
    • 2-3 ripe avocados
    • 1-2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Lime juice and salt to taste

    Instructions

  • Place the diced scallops in a glass or non-reactive bowl. Cover with fresh lime juice and refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain the scallops and discard the lime juice. Place the scallops in a large bowl with the bay shrimp, diced tomatoes, diced onion, cilantro, cucumber, dash of hot sauce and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice and pinch of salt. Toss gently until the ingredients are nicely blended. Taste for salt and lime juice, adding more to your tastes. I usually end up adding more to suit my tastes.
  • Let the ceviche sit while you prepare the guacamole.
  • With a fork, mash the avocado and then gently blend it with the tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Season with a squeeze of lime juice and salt to taste.
  • Spread the guacamole onto the tostadas and then top with the ceviche. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro and crumbled Cotija or Goat cheese. Serve with lime wedges and extra hot sauce.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly vegetarian

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey // Karista's Kitchen

    I can never have too many appetizer recipes floating in my head and at the top of the list are these creamy Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates.

    Last minute guests, teenagers invading the kitchen looking for food or a quick treat to pair with a glass of my favorite wine or evening cocktail; these Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates are deliciously simple. I love that word. Maybe that’s because life is busy and hearing the word  “simple” seems to instantly infuse calm and tranquility into my moment.

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey // Karista's Kitchen

    I love to use locally sourced goat cheese and honey along with sweet holiday Medjool dates.  If I feel extra fancy, I’ll toast finely chopped hazelnuts or pistachios and sprinkle them on top.  These Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates are so easy to prepare while your guests, friends or family are mingling in the kitchen, chatting, laughing and of course, general merry-making.  Once out of the oven, I walk around with the baking sheet in hand, napkins and little party picks. Casual finger food that is gooey, warm, sweet and a little savory. Perfectly “simple” and delicious.

    I wish you the happiest and most delicious of holidays!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Ingredients

    • Medjool dates, remove the pits which will create a nice opening for the goat cheese
    • Goat cheese, try to find one that is creamy for easy filling
    • Honey
    • Toasted chopped hazelnuts or pistachios

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Fill each date with goat cheese. If the goat cheese is creamy, I sometimes put it into a ziploc bag, snip a corner and pipe the goat cheese into the dates.
  • Place each goat cheese filled date on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the pre-heated oven. Let the dates bake for about 10-15 minutes.
  • As soon as you remove the dates from the oven, either transfer to a fancy platter or leave them on the baking sheet and then drizzle with a little honey. Top with crushed toasted nuts if you like.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    There really isn't much of a recipe here... just a container of dates, goat cheese, honey and nuts. Enjoy!

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    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Shrimp

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

    I wish I could tell you this is a new recipe.  It’s not.  Actually it’s a revision, maybe adaption is a better word.  Most likely due to changes in my palate as well as changes in my culinary style.   I’ve been making assorted fish tacos for years.  Assembling the little lovelies differently each time.  Allowing my playful culinary visions to shine through.   I posted the original recipe way back in 2010, when I used my little point and shoot Canon to take food photos.  A hearty little silver blue camera that did the job for a while.

    But then I started getting fussy about my food pictures.  I read somewhere that chef’s are the worst food photographers.  At first glance I took offense to that statement.  But it couldn’t have been more true, especially way back in the day when I started this website.  For me, It’s always been about the food.  The explosion of flavor that happens when something delectable hits the palate.  But somewhere in the mix, I realized a great photo was a true representation of my masterpiece.  And it should look as good as the food tastes.  Not to mention, the old photo made me cringe.  Literally, it kept me up at night.

    This is a lovely dish that certainly deserves a lovely photo.  And it’s a lovely dish that can be prepared so many different ways.  Grilled or Roasted Salmon (or any fresh fish you have on hand), spicy or sweet crema, spicy or sweet slaw, with our without pineapple and/or mango.  And if you love avocado as much as I do, toss a slice on top of your taco to complete this lush recipe.

    I’ve included some fun options for these tacos in the recipe below.  Different ideas to season, additional options for the slaw and the crema… or as my family likes to say “the sauce”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the Salmon

    1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon filets

    Olive oil

    ½  teaspoon chili powder

    ½ teaspoon ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    Options:  Instead of using my fish spice mixture, feel free to use your favorite spicy fish taco seasoning or Emerils Essence Seasoning also makes a delish option for these tacos. 

    For the Chipotle Lime Crema

    ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (you may want to begin with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and then add more if you like)

    1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream

    zest of 1 lime

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon sugar

    Options: substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream and Sriracha or hot sauce for the chipotle chili powder. 

    For the Cilantro Slaw

    2 cups shredded fresh cabbage

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    2  tablespoons sugar

    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Options:  add diced fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to the slaw. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with sliced green onions.

    Garnish

    Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

    8 – 10 corn tortillas, steamed or warmed (I either warm them over my grill, gas stove top or in the microwave.

    Fresh sliced Avocado (optional)

    Lime wedges

    Directions

    Heat the grill to 400F. Brush the grill racks with oil.

    Mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with oil and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

    When the grill is hot, place the salmon flesh side down on the grill. Let the salmon sear and cook for about 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula and grill another 4 minutes, or a little longer for salmon that is cooked through.  If the salmon doesn’t want to flip, it’s probably not ready.  Just let it sit for another minute or two, turning the heat down if needed.  Rule of thumb: fish should cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter to cool.

    While the salmon is cooling, whisk together the creme fraiche, chipotle chili powder, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

    Wisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage and cilantro.

    Flake the grilled salmon, removing any bones. Fill the steamed tortillas with the grilled salmon, top with chipotle lime crema, your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, and the shredded cabbage with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!