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

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil // Karista's Kitchen

A potato side dish can taste indulgent, comforting or even refreshing like this Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil.  

Although I’m a huge fan of classically prepared potatoes such as mashed potatoes, I do have an affinity for a simply roasted potato dish.  Roasting new potatoes or fingerlings gives a crisp outside and soft, creamy inside which pairs well with all sorts of lovely ingredients.

Often I use chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and lemon and finish with sea salt.  But this recipe uses the combination of lemon and basil, which I think are two ingredients that were made for each other.

Sometimes I’ll gently warm a bit of sliced garlic in extra virgin olive oil and then when the potatoes are done, I’ll toss the potatoes with the garlic infused oil and top with the lemon and basil.  And sometimes I skip the garlic and simply finish roasted new or fingerling potatoes with a sprinkling of lemon zest and basil chiffonade.

Or you can do what my youngest gal does… slather these potatoes with some sour cream, Irish cheddar cheese and dig in. 😉

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil // Karista's Kitchen

When I’ve had my fill of potatoes dauphinoise, gratin, scalloped or mashed potatoes, this lovely side dish is a most refreshing change and a delicious compliment to a meat or poultry entrée.

This potato dish is also fabulous in the spring paired with roast lamb or whatever you might serve for Easter or Mother’s Day Dinner.

This will be my last post until after the Christmas holiday, but until then, you can follow all my food finds and kitchen chaos on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you for your continual support and for sharing Karista’s Kitchen with your friends and family.

Wishing you loads of love, true joy and the most delicious food!

Karista

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Serving Size: 4-6

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Ingredients

  • 1lb red new potatoes or fingerlings, scrubbed clean
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 bunch basil, sliced chiffonade or chopped
  • Sea salt to finish

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 425F

Toss the potatoes in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and then season with some salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and place them in the oven.

Roast the potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until toasty brown on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the potatoes are done remove them from the oven and let them cool for five minutes.

While the potatoes are cooling, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over low heat and then add the sliced garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant, about 3-5 minutes, remove the garlic from the oil.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and toss with the garlic oil, lemon zest and basil chiffonade. Season to taste with sea salt and then transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Serve warm.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad VRAI Magazine

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Autumn Harvest Salad from A View to Delicious Magazine // Karista's Kitchen

I know I’m blasting your inbox with posts today and I’m hoping you don’t mind an extra post.  I wanted to mention that this gorgeous Autumn Harvest Salad recipe is included in our first digital food magazine, A View to Delicious!

We published A View to Delicious to highlight the bounty of the season and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  This magazine is our first issue and it won’t be our last.  We’re working on a second issue that is going to be jam-packed with even more recipes, stories, photos, tips and techniques that you won’t want to miss.  I’ll announce more about it later. 😉

Until then, A View to Delicious is on sale!  Click HERE  (and enter code “delicious 50” for 50% off ) to download your copy today and don’t miss all the delectable recipes that are so perfect for this time of year.  And so perfect for your holiday table!

As well, we have a new kitchen shop that is filled with the most unique and fun kitchen finds and so perfect for your holiday shopping.  You’ll find the link at the top of the front page under “Shop Karista’s Kitchen Store”.  Check out the new Karista’s Kitchen Fall Baking and Spice box. I love this little box for gift giving.

This beautifully curated box is perfect for the FOODIE and home chef!  The Karista’s Kitchen Fall Spice & Baking Box contains hand selected, high-quality spices that are perfect for all seasons but especially wonderful for Fall Baking! Included in the box are two packages each of fragrant smoked paprika and Korinje cinnamon and a delightful matcha green tea salt.  I completely adore the Matcha Green Tea Salt as a finishing salt for the Autumn Harvest Salad.

Also in the box are four Kilner square spice jars, crafted in the U.K., three recipes from Karista’s Kitchen and a gorgeous tea towel from Claudia Pearson or Belle & Union. Purchase the box as a hostess gift, birthday gift or gift to yourself.  Be sure to use the coupon code for 25% off this box! Coupon Code is: kkbox25

Karista's Kitchen Spice and Baking Box from the Karista's Kitchen Shop

 

Loads of love and gratitude to you all for reading and supporting Karista’s Kitchen!

Delicious Wishes,

Karista

 

Book Reviews Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

Our First Digital Food Magazine!

Sweet Potato and Apple Tarte Tatin // Karista's Kitchen // A View to Delicious Magazine digital food magazine

Friends, we’ve launched our first digital food magazine called A View to Delicious.

I’m so excited to share this beautiful and mouth-watering food issue with you. It’s been a fun, challenging and adventurous project all rolled up into a magazine that I hope you’ll enjoy. We’ve filled the magazine with new seasonally inspired recipes, stunning visuals, stories about the pacific northwest life as well as healthy living tips and cooking advice.

And we’ve got our first review!

 “I just want to cook today. Make it all. Love the question and answer page! Things I’ve wondered answered. All the recipes simply put and so understandable. Gentle. Like you are wanting people to succeed not overpower them with your knowledge” ~Marni Zarr 

Along with VRAI Magazine Editor, Danny de la Cruz and Creative Designer Mary Jo Cadiz, we’ve created this premiere digital food magazine to celebrate the season and of course all things food, farm and healthy living.

My editor also talked me into a little “getting to know” section about me and how in the world I ended up in this most delicious profession of culinary arts. You don’t want to miss all the fun  –  cooking tips and techniques, cooking questions answered, new recipes, holiday recipe round-up and loads of cute farm animals. 🙂

Just click HERE  to purchase your downloadable copy!

A View to Delicious Magazine digital food magazine // Fall 2016 // Karista's Kitchen

Thank you friends for following along this delicious journey. I’d so appreciate if you’d share this post with friends and family or check out my Facebook page or Instagram page and share on our social media sites.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

 

 

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

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // karista's kitchen

It’s zucchini week in my kitchen.  This delectable Summer Zucchini Cake recipe is just one of many zucchini recipes I’ve been preparing lately.

You could say I’m extremely well stocked with zucchini this summer.  I have to admit, it wasn’t my intention to plant four zucchini plants.  My plan was to plant two zucchini this summer.  Because you know how zucchini plants grow in the warm weather and last year they took over my garden.

So this year I decided to plant two zucchini and four cucumber plants – because I wanted to put up pickles this summer.

Instead, I unknowingly purchased four zucchini and two cucumber plants.  Obviously my pickling plans are on hold. 🙁

When zucchini and cucumber plants are starts, they look similar.  At least they look similar to me.  I’m also guessing one of the high school garden area workers at my local garden store thought the same and mis-labeled the zucchini as cucumber.

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // Karista's Kitchen

I suppose I could say “lucky you!” because I’ve got a few more zucchini recipes to post before the summer is over.  Despite my little rant, I do adore zucchini.  It’s my go to veggie in the summer because it pairs deliciously with just about anything.  It’s also fabulous diced raw and tossed into a summer corn and tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s delicious in stir fry’s and just simply roasted, which is what I do with it most the time.

These summer zucchini cakes are simple to make and can be served as a starter, snack or even light entrée.  Enjoy!

Summer Zucchini Cakes

8-10 large cakes 10-15 small cakes

Summer Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or sub with bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup or handful of sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Ghee or oil for pan frying
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Splash of Sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and honey until thoroughly combined. Hold in the fridge.

In a large bowl mix together the grated zucchini, almond flour, green onions, Dijon mustard, pepper jack cheese and egg. Just before making the cakes, stir in the salt and pepper.

Heat over medium heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottom skillet. Once the oil is hot and almost smoking, for tablespoon sized zucchini balls and then drop onto the skillet pressing the top to make a little cake. You can also use muffin scoops to portion out the zucchini cake mix.

Brown the cake on both sides about 3-5 minutes each side depending on the thickness. Transfer the cakes to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with just a bit more salt or parmesan cheese.

Garnish with additional green onion and serve warm with the Cilantro Lime Crema

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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

8-10 Salmon Cakes

Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe by Chef Karista Bennett

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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon and a Virtual Baby Shower

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri // Karista's Kitchen

I remember when my oldest daughter was about four years old and we were hanging out on the living room floor, reading books and talking about how someday she would have a baby brother or sister.

As we were chatting, she turned her rosy cheeked, sweet blue eyed, blonde head to me and said “Mom, how did you know to pick me?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I asked “what do you mean?” She replied “you know, how did you know you wanted ME?”  The question caught me by surprise and as I tried to recover I said “Well… Dad and I saw all the baby angels playing in heaven and that’s when we spotted you. We instantly fell in love and knew we wanted you for our baby.”

Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration

 

Now, I know some of you might think that’s one tall tale to tell a four year old, but honestly, that is what I came up with.  My heart was so warmed by the question, I wanted my answer to reflect how much we wanted her and how much we cherished our little sassy blonde girl.

Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

She clung to those words for years to come and when our second daughter arrived, my sassy little gal said to her Dad, “I guess this is the one you picked?”

As you know, I have two sassy gals now and they are the food for my soul.  Motherhood and parenting have been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade a minute.

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother's Day 2014

My Two Sassy Gals on Mother’s Day 2014

I’m truly honored to have been asked to participate in my sweet friend’s virtual baby shower.  Alyssa, of Everyday Maven, her handsome husband and their adorable little boy will soon know the joy of welcoming a new baby boy to their family.

Several years ago, I met Alyssa at a blog conference in Seattle – while noshing on the most divine appetizers.  I liked her immediately.  A breath of fresh air, exuding a warm and genuine personality, Alyssa is a most beautiful and lovely lady.

I’m happy to say, we’ve been friends ever since.

Alyssa writes the delicious food blog Everyday Maven and has published two fantastic e-Books.  Her recipes are drool worthy and written with good health and nutrition in mind. I think one of my favorite Everyday Maven recipes has to be the Cabbage Rolls.  And of course her guest post for my blog, Karista’s Kitchen,  gluten free Banana Chip Cookies.

Today, several other bloggers and myself are hosting a virtual baby shower for Alyssa.  A plethora of delicious recipes to celebrate but also recipes to prepare during the first few months after the new baby’s arrival.  Recipes to comfort and nourish with ease of preparation for a quick meal or leisurely weekend.  Although as we know, there is nothing “leisurely” about a new baby in the house; just lots of love and smiles and hopefully, soon to be restful nights.

Congratulations Alyssa and family!

Here is a list of Alyssa’s Virtual Baby Shower Recipes, lovingly prepared by some fabulous food bloggers!

Breakfast 

Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others

Lunch 

Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road

Dinner

Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from Girlichef

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugala from Virtually Homemade

Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic

Snack

Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

About 1 1/2 cups

Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh baby arugula leaves, packed
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over pan seared or grilled halibut and serve with wild rice pilaf, white rice and/or roasted veggies.

For a step by step pictorial on how to pan sear salmon, click here

Notes

I love serving this Arugula Chimichurri with roasted salmon, but it's also fabulous with pan seared or grilled scallops and makes a tasty dipping sauce for grilled or poached shrimp.

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DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

 

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

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

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

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

For additional DaVinci Chianti recipes click HERE.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

Serving Size: 4-6

Apricot and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast and DaVinci Chianti

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuffing the pork loin roast

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

Fettuccine Caprese

Fettuccine Caprese with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella balls

Pasta seems the perfect medium for fresh seasonal produce.  It allows the complex flavors of fresh ingredients to shine, while gently caressed in pillows of soft pasta.

Pasta is one of my family’s preferred meals.  And although I indulge them once in a blue moon with honest to goodness fresh homemade pasta, often,  I use a high quality prepared gluten-free pasta.  I’ve always had one particular favorite brand; now I have two.

Typically, I don’t post product reviews unless it’s one of my few absolute faves; and it meets my quality ingredient standards.  But when Cappello’s asked me to review their line of gluten-free, grain free pastas and cookie dough, I happily agreed.

Fettuccine Caprese with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Mozzarella Balls and lemon

Fettuccine Caprese

Not only is each Cappello’s products delicious in every way, the company itself is impressive.  I received a custom eco-cooler of product and immediately thought to myself, what can I do with this box? I didn’t have to do anything except attach the return shipping label that was included and then drop it off at the post office.  What a fabulous way to re-use and re-purpose!

Here is a short review of each product:

Gnocchi:  Earth friendly, gluten-free and grain free, Cappello’s has produced a most tantalizing line of products.  I prepared the Gnocchi with a classic Italian herb brown butter.  The Gnocchi are soft and fairly pillow like, just as you would expect.  They’re made with almond flour and potato which gives a smooth and creamy texture, but feel a bit more dense than conventional Gnocchi.  They were a huge success in my house.  I now have requests for more Cappello’s Gnocchi.

Lasagna:  The lasagna sheets are easy to use, especially once they’ve warmed to room temperature.  No need to boil these noodles, just assemble your ingredients and bake.  The ease of preparation is impressive, as is the finished product.  Made with mostly almond flour, the pasta is a bit more dense than conventional pasta but it doesn’t feel too heavy.  It also held up well to my spinach ricotta base and I think would be fantastic for meat sauces and squash lasagna’s as well.

Cookie Dough:  The cookie dough is tastefully flavored and the cookies bake in 10-13 minutes.  A gluten-free, grain free cookie that tastes delicious?  Now there’s a novelty!  I’m completely in love with these little treats and aim to get my hands on a few more packages.

Fettuccine:  Last but certainly not least, the Fettuccine is every bit as delicious and easy to prepare as the other products.  Again, an almond flour base that is more dense than conventional pasta but still light enough in texture be enjoyed in a pasta dish.

It held up beautifully to my Fettuccine Caprese with lovely bite that feels like conventional pasta and the chew was delicious. My pasta test has always been “how good does this pasta taste with butter and grated parmesan alone?”  This fettuccine passed the butter and cheese test with flying colors.

Gnocchi in Herbed Brown Butter

Cappello’s Gnocchi in Herbed Brown Butter

Although an outstanding product, it is priced higher than most gluten free pastas. That being said, I’m all about quality and flavor.  As well, one must remember Cappello’s products aren’t just gluten free, they are grain free.  For those of us who cannot eat grain of any kind on a regular basis, or for those who prefer to consume a paleo or mostly paleo diet, this is the perfect alternative.

And I suppose I could also make the argument that if we left out a few of those $4 latte’s each week, we could certainly afford to use a higher quality pasta for the stellar meals we create.  “Ahem”… my little soap box speech for the week.

Cappello’s products are carried in a variety of markets, mostly in Colorado, however, I’ve found them here in Oregon and Washington State.  Check your local natural market, co-op market or Whole Foods.  If you can’t find them there, you can order on the Cappello’s website.  Better yet, ask your favorite market to stock Cappello’s products.

I know this was an extra long post. Thanks for reading!  I’m usually not this chatty, unless of course you’re sitting across from me at the table.  My friends can tell you this is true.

Enjoy this lovely seasonal dish for dinner or lunch.  I think it’s best when it’s served warm – when the fresh mozzarella balls become a little melted and gooey.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Fettuccine Caprese

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 package Cappello’s gluten-free, grain free Fettuccine, cooked according to package directions

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 15 ounce container Bocconcini or Ciliegini Mozzarella balls (the small size)

1 good size bunch fresh basil, cut chiffonade or torn

Handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped (oregano, Italian parsley, sage)

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil ( a little extra for drizzling)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Squeeze of lemon

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Fresh grated parmesan for garnish if desired

Directions

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, toss in the handful of fresh chopped herbs and pinch of red pepper flakes.  Let them cook for about thirty seconds to one minute. You want the herbs to release their gorgeous scented oils.

Next stir in the garlic and let it cook for about one minute.  Take the pan off the heat and toss in the cherry tomatoes.  You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, you just want to warm them in the herb and garlic olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the pasta.  It doesn’t take long to cook the pasta, only about 45 seconds to one minute.  I cooked it a little longer, maybe two minutes.  Mostly because I forgot to set my timer. It turned out beautifully.

Once the pasta is done, drain it, put it back into the pasta pot and toss it with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Gently toss the pasta with the tomato, herb and garlic olive oil, mozzarella balls and half the fresh basil.  Squeeze with fresh lemon and then turn the pasta onto a serving platter or bowl.  Garnish with the remaining fresh basil.

Serve warm with fresh grated parmesan.  I adore this pasta served with fresh green salad or lettuce wedge and a crisp dry pinot grigio or chianti.

Buon Appetito!

Karista's Kitchen Salad vegetarian

Butter Lettuce Wedges with Green Goddess Dressing

Butter Lettuce Wedges with Green Goddess Dressing / Karista's Kitchen

Do you remember this blast from the past?  Green Goddess Dressing.  My Mom used to serve this dressing with our dinner salad at least once a week.  As a kid I thought it was such a peculiar name for a salad dressing and I remember I liked to say “Green Goddess” as if it were some magical word that might turn me into a super hero.  Yes, those were the days I was watching Electra Woman and Dyna Girl on Saturday mornings.  Ah… the mind of a child.

Butter Lettuce Wedges with Green Goddess Dressing / Karista's Kitchen

Today, the dressing doesn’t quite hold the same meaning for me – but it’s still magical to my taste buds.  Although this dressing is prepared with a mayonnaise and sour cream base, it’s rather light with fresh lemon and assorted fresh herbs, garlic, intensely flavored anchovies and of course the crowning glory of my version of this lovely dressing, avocado.  Whipped up into a lovely pastel colored dressing for greens, vegetables, salads, shrimp and fish.

I adore Oregon pink shrimp, the small bay size shrimp, and if I have them stocked in my frig, I’ll toss those over the top as well.   And on occasion, I’ll slather it on toast and then proceed to make myself a summer tomato and avocado sandwich.

Wishing you all Loads of Love and Delicious Wishes!

Karista

Butter Lettuce Wedges with Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients

1 ripe medium avocado

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

2 anchovies

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (I like Italian parsley, basil, oregano and chive)

1/4 cup fresh chopped chive for garnish

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Sprinkling of diced cooked bacon (optional)

Bay Shrimp (optional)

Avocado slices

lemon wedges

Directions

Place in a blender or food processor the avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovies, lemon juice, fresh herbs and garlic clove. Puree until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Serve over fresh butter lettuce wedges and garnish with chopped fresh chive, avocado slices and lemon wedges.  For a heartier meal I love sweet bay shrimp tossed onto the butter lettuce wedges or diced cooked bacon.

This dressing is also lovely over mixed greens, grilled romaine or romaine wedges.

Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

Colcannon

Colcannon with Swiss chard, ground pork sausage, green onions and Irish cheddar / Karista's Kitchen

I’m deeply enamored with Ireland.  It feels a poetic and romantic place.  Melodic Celtic music that seems to transcend time, lush green landscapes, drifting fog and rugged shores. All creating visions of charm and daydreams.   

I’m just as enamored with Irish cuisine.  Deep, rich flavors that warm a belly and comfort the soul.  Hearty fare my Grandmother used to call “stick to your ribs” cuisine.  Perfect for the cool evenings still to come.

Colcannon Bake text

There’s no celebrating the arrival of spring at my house without some festive and hearty Irish fare.  One of my favorite dishes to prepare is Colcannon. Traditionally a mashed potato, cabbage and green onion side dish, I decided to re-create this lush recipe into a one pot meal.

Sautéed onions and ground sausage with wilted Swiss chard and green onion all gently swirled in mashed potatoes – and then topped with creamy Irish cheddar.  A perfectly enchanting one-dish meal.   Skip the ground sausage and serve it as a Sunday side dish with corned beef and cabbage or a traditional pot roast.    I promise, there will not be a speck of leftovers.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Karista’s Kitchen Colcannon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1-2 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1lb ground mild or sweet pork or turkey sausage

1 large bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed and chopped

2 green onions, chopped

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes

4-6 tablespoons butter

½ cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups Shredded Irish Cheddar (I used Kerrygold Dubliner Irish Cheddar)

8×8 or 9×11 buttered baking dish

Directions

Heat the oven to 350F.  Prepare the mashed potatoes.

Place the cubed potatoes in a medium or large pot and cover with cold water.  Add a few pinches of salt.  Bring the water to a boil and continue a lively simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.

Drain the potatoes and then place back into the pot.  Add the butter and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  For smoother potatoes, I transfer them to my kitchen aid mixer (with the paddle attachment) and mix until smooth.

Gently mix in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and try not to sneak bites. 🙂

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon or two of oil and sauté the onions.  When the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and ground meat and cook until done.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer the ground meat to a bowl and reserve.

Using the same skillet, sauté the Swiss chard over medium heat until wilted. Take the skillet off the heat and toss with the green onions.

Next, gently fold together the mashed potatoes, wilted Swiss Chard/green onions and ground sausage.

Pour into a buttered baking dish and sprinkle evenly with shredded Irish cheddar.

Place the baking dish in the oven and heat until the cheddar is melted and sides are bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

Let the Colcannon cool slightly – then garnish with additional sliced green onions and serve.  This can certainly be served as a one dish meal; or serve with spring greens dressed in lemon or citrus vinaigrette.

Original publication March 2013, Issaquah Press
Recipe and article by Karista Bennett
Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta

Tuscan Lasagna al Forno

Tuscan style lasagna with bechamel and sugo

Tuscan Lasagna al Forno

Due to legalities you have to promise you’re 21 or older before proceeding to read this post.  Yes, we are talking wine and food.  But it’s the wine that’s the tricky part.  Thanks!

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Nothing could have prepared me for the magic and beauty of Tuscany.  Although I’ve read about Tuscany for years, viewed what feels like a million photographs and watched several films, it didn’t even begin to compare to the moment I stepped onto the gloriously beautiful landscape.

Now, never a day goes by that Tuscany doesn’t come to mind. The lovely memories of decadent food and wine, beautiful landscape, warm and hospitable residents and our DaVinci Wine team… seem to linger and cause my heart to long as if I’ve lost a true love.

Glorious Tuscan Cuisine and Franco the Sous Chef

Glorious Tuscan Cuisine and Franco the Sous Chef

Sounds dramatic I know.  But as my sister said to me after her trip to London – I feel forever changed.  Traveling abroad and experiencing life in a new land is an enlightening feeling.  Probably because I’ve always been so intrigued by people and their food.  Our own food culture here in the states is beautifully diverse as well and possibly some of the most intriguing.  But to experience Tuscany was indeed a highlight that makes me feel forever changed.

My trip was full of little surprises – like when Ranger Craig and I were in search of breakfast.  Eggs?  I think not. A pastry and espresso is found on every corner.  Ask for an egg and you just might be tossed out of the pastry shop.  Honestly , I didn’t mind.  Who wouldn’t mind having a gorgeous pastry and espresso for breakfast.  Nothing terribly sweet, just a little something to start the day.    Or when my fellow Storyteller, Jim O’Donnell asked for an Americano at a little establishment just outside Monteriggioni. He promptly received a “no”; with an espresso instead. A hilarious moment that you can read all about it here.

DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience

Harvesting the Sangiovese grapes and Photographer Leela Cyd catching the action.

While dining at a restaurant in Florence, I was surprised by the lasagna I ordered.  Not at all the version we prepare here in the states.  Although our Italian American version is divine, this thing of beauty included layers of lush and buttery lasagna pasta sheets with rich béchamel, parmesan, pecorino and rich Bolognese sauce, or as they call it here, sugo.

The absence of ricotta and mozzarella was startling. But I must say it wasn’t missed.  So when I arrived home, I simply had to re-create this lovely dish I so vividly remember.

Because this Tuscan Lasagna al Forno was created for my friends at DaVinci Wine, you can find it on the DaVinci Wine Facebook page.   To check out the websites of our other two Storytellers, just click on their names… Kristina Laurendi Havens and Leela Cyd.

I wish you all Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Tuscan Lasagna al Forno

Ingredients

For the Sugo:

¾ – 1 lb ground beef or ground Italian sausage

1 red onion, diced

1 carrot, small diced

1 rib of celery, small diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup DaVinci Chianti

2-3 cups tomato sauce

Pinch dried oregano

Pinch of allspice or pumpkin pie spice (I know  this seems unusual but a kind Trattoria Chef told me this ingredient is always included in his Sugo for Lasagna al Forno)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a heavy bottom skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until nicely golden brown, almost caramelized. Add the ground meat and garlic to the soffrito (diced veggies) and cook until done, breaking up any big pieces.  The meat should be small and somewhat minced.

Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the wine, scraping up the bits of good stuff (fond) on the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the tomato sauce, oregano and allspice or pumpkin pie spice and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.  Put the skillet back on the heat and bring to a low simmer.  Let the sauce simmer while you prepare the béchamel.

Bechamel or White Ragu:

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons flour

3 cups warm whole milk

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  When the butter is melted whisk in the flour.  Then slowly whisk in the warm milk.

Continue whisking until your milk comes to a simmer and begins to thicken.  Turn the heat down so you don’t burn the sauce and continue whisking until the sauce thickens.

Stir in the pinch of fresh grated nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.

You will want this béchamel (white ragu) thicker than a béchamel that you might toss with pasta.  So if it feels heavy or thick that’s ok.  It’ll be perfect for the lasagna.

For the Lasagna:

Ingredients

Fresh lasagna sheets, cooked – enough to fill a lasagna baking dish or a 9×13 baking dish.  I love a deep baking dish for this lasagna.

3-4 cups Sugo

3-4 cups Béchamel

½ cup grated parmesan

½ cup shaved pecorino Toscana

Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Ladle a little Sugo in the bottom of the baking dish and line with pasta sheets.  Ladle the pasta sheets with béchamel, sprinkle of parmesan and pecorino. Continue alternating the béchamel and Sugo until you’ve created 5-6 layers or used all your pasta sheets.  Be sure to save a cup of Sugo for the top of the lasagna.

Sprinkle the lasagna with the remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the sides are bubbly.

Raise the heat to 400F.  Remove the foil and cook the lasagna until the top is toasty and cheese is golden brown, another 10 minutes or so.  Sometimes I put it under the broiler for extra color.

Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.  This will allow the béchamel and cheese to firm for slicing.

Serve with a side of extra Vinci sauce and grated parmesan if desired.