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Feta Cheese

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

Arugula, spring peas, asparagus and feta in an herbed vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

My spring greens are wildly growing out of the garden boxes and it’s only mid-April!  Every morning Tank and I walk outside to preview the spring greens that have popped up or grown an inch overnight.  We fight with nagging slugs that are taking pleasure in dining on my Pok Choy and then we snip greens for salad and sautéing.  Tank pretends to be interested in my garden boxes but I’m not fooled; he only accompanies me outside to chase imaginary critters out of the back yard.

This week it was all about pok choy and arugula.  Although some of the spinach found it’s way into breakfast.  I had so much arugula, I was making arugula, granny smith apple and hummus roll ups and this lovely arugula salad all week long.  I even ate it one morning for breakfast… with a fried egg on top. Delicious!

Sal de Ibiza from Little Lace Box and Karista's Kitchen

Spring produce is the first gift of the the growing season.  The bright green leafy produce have endless amounts of uses and can be combined with so many other delicious produce of the season.   Using these delicious greens should be effortless and simply prepared.  The flavors are so delightful, I wouldn’t want to overshadow them with additional heavy ingredients.  So I’ve kept this salad light and happy – dressing it with finely chopped fresh herbs from my garden, a splash of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper and finished with a lovely Sal de Ibiza Fleur de Sel from Karista’s Kitchen Store.  A lovely spring salad for a lovely spring day.

Wishing you everything beautiful and delicious in this spring season!

Loads of Love,


Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

Serving Size: 4

Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette


    For the Salad
  • 2-3 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 cup baby sweet peas (thawed if using frozen)
  • 1 cup roasted or steamed asparagus
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (I love to use Valbreso Sheep's Milk Feta on this salad)
    For the Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice from one large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • Fleur de Sel to finish


  • Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chopped herbs and Dijon Mustard if using. Season to taste with black pepper and a little sea salt.
  • In a bowl, add the arugula, peas and asparagus. Toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette (to your taste) and then plate the salad onto 4 salad plates or one large platter.
  • Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and then garnish with Feta Cheese. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    Sometimes I serve this salad as a lunch entree with brie or goat cheese on crostini, slightly warmed and toasted in the oven and then drizzled with honey.

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    Stuffed Pork Loin with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Golden Raisins

    I just might have a thousand recipes for pork (exaggerating a wee bit), but for some reason I’m completely bored with all of them.  I think it’s time to get a little fancy with this week’s pork. 

    And by fancy I don’t mean lots of work,  just really fresh and delicious and maybe a little different from the usual.  Something that’ll make me smile and maybe even impress the Bennett Crew.  They are my toughest critics.  So far anyway.   

    I had the prettiest pink pork loin in my frig.  I asked my butcher to butterfly the pork loin so I could stuff it.  With what I wasn’t sure.  I had spinach in the frig, and I always have feta cheese.  I love feta cheese and my absolute favorite feta is Valbreso French Sheep’s Milk Feta.  Yum!

    I keep lots of dried fruit on hand (for those scones I’m always going to make but never get to), and I was thinking the golden raisins would go nicely with the spinach and feta.  Throw in some onions, garlic and toasted walnuts and my boring pork just got exciting. 

    The pretty pink pork turned out beautiful.  What was the first thing the Bennett Crew asked?  Mom, does it come with a sauce? (if you know me, you know why that’s funny) So much for impressing the Bennett Crew. 

    And the answer is yes.  I did whip up a little sauce for the stuffed pork and I’ve added it at the end of the recipe.  A simple pan sauce that you can use for any meat dish.  Just in case your family asks “does it come with a sauce?”. 

    Serves 4-6


    3lb pork loin, butterflied (ask your butcher to butterfly)

    5-6 oz fresh spinach (I like to use organic fresh baby spinach)

    ¼ cup golden raisins

    1/3 cup white wine, warmed (you can substitute with warm water)

    Olive oil

    Butter (if needed)

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 small onion, chopped (I used a Walla Walla sweet onion and it was delish!)

    ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts

    3 1/2 – 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


    Kitchen twine

    Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

    Shortcut Rosemary White Beans (recipe below)

    I know the directions look long and tedious… but it’s just me being wordy again.  It’s really very easy to put together and then pop it in the oven.  Add some shortcut rosemary white beans and dinner is not only beautiful, but delicious.  


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Place the warm wine (or water) in a bowl and then add the raisins.  Let the raisins sit and plump while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

    Heat a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil.  Add the fresh spinach to the pan and let the heat wilt the spinach.  Try not to cook the spinach; you just want it wilted, not fully cooked where it omits lots of liquid.  Transfer the wilted spinach to a bowl and set aside. 

    In the same skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon oil or butter.  Sauté the onions until translucent or nicely wilted.  Then add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds longer just until fragrant. 

    Remove from the heat and place the onions and garlic in the bowl with the spinach.

    Drain the raisins and then add them to the spinach mixture, along with the chopped walnuts and crumbled feta. 

    Gently toss the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Unfold the butterflied pork loin and season both sides with salt and pepper.

    Spread the filling on the pork.

    Roll the pork and then place seam side down in a baking dish or roasting pan.  With kitchen twine, tie the pork in two or three places. 

    Place the pork in the oven and roast at 400F for about 10 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350F for another 30. 

    At 30 minutes, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  The pork will be done when the meat thermometer reads 145F.  These are new guidelines for cooking pork.  For more information about the new guidelines here is an informative website.

    When the pork is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes before slicing.

    If you’d like a quick pan sauce for your pork, heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  When the butter is frothy, whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and then about 1/3 cup of white wine or chicken broth.  Let the sauce simmer and reduce a bit.  It will be not be a thick sauce, just a nice au jus type sauce to ladle over the pork once it’s sliced. 

    Season the sauce with salt and pepper and if you have any fresh herbs lying around, chop an assortment of fresh herbs and add to the sauce.  I love fresh chopped oregano and Italian parsley with this sauce. 

    Slice the pork and place on individual plates or a platter.  Sprinkle with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  If you made the sauce, drizzle it over the sliced pork. 

    Serve with Shortcut Rosemary White Beans and a mixed green salad for a beautiful and delicious meal. 

    Shortcut Rosemary White Beans


    1 15oz can organic white beans

    2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Add the beans and rosemary to a small pot.  Heat the beans to a simmer, being careful not to over mix as they will lose their shape. 

    Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.  Let the beans sit for a few minutes to absorb the rosemary flavors.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Refrigerate the beans to top a salad or serve warm as a side dish.

    Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

    Mediterranean Pasta with Feta, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Lemon and Fresh Basil

    Pasta seems to be one of the most requested dinner selections in my house.   After dropping off the menu radar for a while, I brought back this divine little recipe and served it for dinner last week, and I must say it left my crew speechless.  Typically I serve pasta with a heavier sauce, something a bit more “stick to your ribs” kind of sauce.   However, with the warmer weather arriving (someday soon!) I thought this snappy little pasta should make a comeback.

    Italian cappellini, or Angel Hair as we say, is completely delightful in this recipe.  It’s delicate shape pairs well with the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean.  Sweet and tangy sun dried tomatoes, fresh lemon and basil combined with the lightly salty flavor of the feta makes for a mouth watering meal that will be sure to make your family smile.   Happy Cooking!

    Valbreso French Sheep's Milk Feta Cheese

    Option:  Try this fabulous recipe with Jovial Einkorn Linguine, a nutty, rich tasting ancient whole wheat pasta that tastes great in this dish, or all on it’s own with a little parmesan and fresh butter. You can find the Jovial brand of pastas at Whole Foods or PCC Natural Markets.  Delicious!

    Jovial Einkorn Pasta

    Serves 4


    2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 jar (8oz) sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained

    ½ cup kalamata or Greek olives, pitted and halved

    1 lemon zested

    ½ cup white wine

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    ¼ cup fresh chopped basil

    ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (I completely adore Valbreso French Sheep Feta)

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Optional add ins:  Diced roasted chicken, grilled shrimp or 1 cup bay shrimp

    Your favorite Pasta (I like Cappellini pasta for this recipe)

    Fresh chopped oregano or Italian parsley for garnish


    Heat the water for the pasta. Cook the pasta as directed.

    Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom skillet and add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata or Greek olives and lemon zest.  Let the ingredients heat thoroughly. 

    Next stir in the white wine, and then stir in the cream.  Let the sauce come to a boil and then turn down the heat to a lively simmer for just a few minutes.  If adding chicken or shrimp, stir it in at this time.

    Toss in the fresh basil and feta and combine.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and a squeeze of fresh lemon if desired.

    Add the Cappellini to the sauce and combine, coating the delicate strands of pasta.  Transfer to a large Pasta serving bowl and garnish with fresh herbs.

    Bon Appetito!

    Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Mediterranean Couscous Salad

    spring peas, couscous, mint, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese

    Mediterranean Couscous Salad

    Several years ago my sister, Kristin, who is always on a mission to find the tastiest and simplest dishes, sent me this Couscous Salad recipe.  And since that time its been a staple at my house, especially during the warm summer months.  This salad makes a fabulous side dish to any barbeque or summer meal, but it can also make a great weeknight main meal by adding shredded or diced grilled chicken.

    And in daring, creative Kristin style, my sister will occasionally add an assortment of mediterranean olives and capers and a dash of lemon juice,  just to spice things up a bit.

    Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad (4 – 6  servings)

    Shopping List

    1 box Cous Cous (I prefer Near East brand) parmesan and garlic or pine nut and herbs (or substitute with quinoa for a wheat free version)

    1 Cup frozen organic spring peas

    1 Jar (about 1 Cup) julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs

    ¾ Cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more if you like) (I highly recommend Valbreso French Sheep’s Milk Feta, so yummy!)

    ¼ – ½ Cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

    Salt and pepper to taste

    To Assemble

    Cook the Cous Cous according to package directions and let cool slightly.

    Fluff with a fork and place the cous cous into a large mixing bowl.  Add the frozen peas and toss with the warm cous cous.

    Next, drain most of the oil, but not all, from the sun dried tomatoes and then add tomatoes and remaining olive oil to the cous cous, lightly toss.  Add the feta, mint, pinch of salt and pepper and toss once more.  Taste for seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed.

    Meal Ideas

    Add leftover chopped roasted or grilled chicken to your cous cous salad to make a delicious and healthy lunch or dinner.

    For something different, try fresh basil in place of the fresh mint, and pair it with fresh mozzarella in lieu of the feta.