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fresh

Karista's Kitchen Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Cucumber Greek Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Cucumber Greek Salad

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

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

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

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

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup coarsely chopped or torn fresh mint leaves

Optional: Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

Salt and pepper

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

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

Directions

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

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

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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.

Karista's Kitchen Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Roasted Beet and Cucumber Salad

Roasted Beet Salad with Cucumbers, Red Onions and Smokey Bleu Cheese

Roasted Beet Salad with Cucumbers, Red Onions and Smokey Bleu Cheese

Today, my heart is filled with overwhelming appreciation.  Friends and family who share in my fear and anxiety, my sadness and hope.

Beautiful dishes of food, cookies, desserts and love arriving on my doorstep.  Meant to comfort and heal.

Phone calls, texts, emails, messages of well wishes, friendship, love.

My Tink

My Tink

Today, my heart is grateful.  Grateful my precious Tink is home with us, healthy and recovering.  She’s not the first adult child to be ill or endure a difficult surgery.  There are those who have suffered much more.   For this my heart grieves.

I wish I could write this post about something comical Tank has done this week.  Even he has been a bit somber.  Missing his girl, knowing something was different.  Giving her tons of kisses when she returned home and not wanting to leave her bedside until I insisted.

I’m sure no one needs reminding… life is messy.  It’s scary, it’s heartbreaking.  But it’s also glorious.  A reminder to cherish every moment.  Even when those moments are less than Norman Rockwell, or the prettiest, perfect blog.

Me and My Two Sassy Gals

Me and My Two Sassy Gals

You know the old saying “when it rains, it pours”.  It poured this week.  We endured.  Together. With love and friendship, generosity and kindness.

I am humbled and reminded… Life doesn’t just happen to me.  It happens around me.  To everyone who touches my heart.

I wish you all the best of health, love and happiness.

Loads of Love,

Karista

To Good Health and Happiness… A Roasted Beet Salad with Cucumbers, Red Onions and Smokey Bleu

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 beets, roasted and sliced

1 cucumber, sliced (as much or as little as you like)

1/2 red onion sliced

Handful of Rogue Smokey Bleu

Balsamic Vinegar

Your favorite good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the sliced roasted beets on a plate, arrange however you like.  Layer the sliced cucumber on top of the beets, followed by a sprinkling of sliced red onion and a dash of smokey bleu.  Spritz with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Season with a pinch or two of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Enjoy with the ones you love 🙂

Karista's Kitchen Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

Roasted Red Peppers, Hazelnut, sauce for pork

Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

I always keep a spare pork tenderloin, or two, in the freezer.  It’s one of those quick fix meals that pairs beautifully with most any sauce or roasted winter fruit.  I had planned to use this tenderloin with a spiced apple compote, which is delicious, but I just wasn’t feelin’ the apples that day.

I must be longing for summer, or maybe I need extra vitamin C,  because my taste buds have been craving the flavor of roasted red peppers.  A little smoky, slightly sweet with a touch of tang, that makes for a lovely pairing with pork, lamb, poultry, pasta and veggies.

And don’t get me started with the mini roasted sweet peppers.  I can eat them like candy.  So sweet and so flavorful, I often roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper and serve them as a side dish.  They’re also fabulous stuffed with cheese.

Bell peppers (and mini sweets) make the loveliest sauces, salsas, and relishes.  Complimenting grilled or roasted meats and fish so beautifully.  I read somewhere that bell peppers are like the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world.  All that bright beautiful color in all those wonderful shapes and sizes.

This sassy little sauce is no exception.  Combined with toasted hazelnuts, fresh herbs and olive oil, this sauce’s bright orange/red color is pleasing to the eye and tantalizing to the taste buds.

Extravagant in taste, but simply prepared.  My favorite kind of weeknight meal 🙂

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 to 1 inch medallions

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons high heat oil, or clarified butter (ghee)

Fresh chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

Sauce Ingredients

2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

1/3 cup Hazelnuts, roasted and skinned

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Thai Kitchen roasted red chili paste or a dash of hot sauce

½ cup extra virgin olive oil  (decrease the olive oil to ¼-1/3 to use this sauce as a pesto or dip)

Directions

To Prepare the Sauce:

Place all the sauce ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

Next, with the processor running, pour the olive oil over the mixture until well blended.  The sauce should have a very thick salad dressing consistency.  You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl several times in between blending.

The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one week.   Bring the sauce to room temperature before using or warm lightly in a double boiler, never getting the sauce to hot as the oil will separate.

Serve over any grilled meats and poultry.  Or serve as a dip for crudités or pesto for Crostini. 

To Prepare the Pork Tenderloin Medallions:

Season the medallions with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot and shimmering,  add the medallions (you may need to cook in batches) adding more oil as needed.

When they are brown on the first side, flip and brown them on the second side.  It shouldn’t take long for the pork medallions to cook through, 2 minutes on each side depending on thickness.  Pork should be cooked to 145F internal temperature for perfectly moist and juicy pork.

Ladle the sauce on a platter and place the cooked pork on top of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Chef Jerry Traunfeld, The Herbfarm Cookbook (a must have in your cook book library!)

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn with green onions and cilantro

I created this Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad many years ago when I was teaching culinary classes.

I originally wrote this post in 2011 when I was creating new recipes for my students to prepare in class. There still is nothing quite as wonderful as hearing from readers (or students) how delicious my recipe is or how easy it is to make. Or how it made everyone come to the table with a smile on their face.

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My winter quarter classes begin next week and I couldn’t be more excited about the menu.  I’m proud to say this will be my fourth year teaching cooking classes for our local Co-op market here in Seattle.

PCC is the Puget Consumer and Co-op Natural Market that began in 1953.  An amazing story about 15 founding families who wanted to improve the quality and nutrition of available food.  Now over 45,000 members strong, PCC continues to support our local farms with the PCC Farmland Trust and educate our community through our IACP Award winning PCC Cooks.

It does my heart good to see the community supporting our local farms and farming communities.  I think you know how much I’d love to be a farmer. 🙂  Until then, I savor the opportunity to do my part in food education.

Teaching people to cook is essential to good health.  Teaching home chef’s how to make local, seasonal produce, meat, fish and poultry taste delicious is my goal.

Black beans, sweet potatoes, lime vinaigrette

This brightly colored Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad couldn’t be more tempting.  Beautiful to the eye and bursting with flavor to the tongue.  I love versatile and this is one of those versatile salads that can be tweaked to your tastes.

I personally love it loaded with cilantro and green onions.  But I have a friend who doesn’t care so much for cilantro.  Leaving out the cilantro and replacing it with chive or Italian parsley would be also be fabulous.

Sweet potatoes are divine in this recipe but feel free to substitute with winter squash. Especially if that’s what you have on hand. Pumpkin would also be fabulous as a substitute.

Delicious wishes for a healthy and happy winter!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Serving Size: 4-6

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced (if the limes are large and juicy, only one may be needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or 1 teaspoon chili powder)
  • 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup corn, I use local organic frozen corn during the winter months (or a little more, especially if you're making this in the summer when fresh sweet corn is readily available)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Or, if your oven runs cool pre-heat to 425F.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cubed sweet potatoes with a little high heat oil, such as sunflower, safflower or coconut and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, just until crisp tender. Be sure not to overcook. We wouldn’t want mashed sweet potato salad.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the lime juice, zest, salt, pepper, honey, olive oil and chipotle chili powder.
  • Add the cooled potatoes, scallions, beans and cilantro. Toss gently.
  • You may serve at room temperature or refrigerate.
  • Notes

    Roasting the sweet potatoes or squash is preferred. I’ve tried it both ways, boiled and roasted. Roasting brings out the sweetness in the sweet potato and squash, and adds a nice subtle “crisp” on the outside.

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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Slow Cooked Red Ginger Chicken

    slow cooked chicken thighs, ginger, soy and tomato sauce

    www.karistaskitchen.com

    One of my dear friends in Washington state makes a fantastic Chicken Adobo and Chicken Long Rice which she has so graciously shared with me several times.  So heavenly, I keep begging her for the recipes.  Of Filipino decent, my friend used to watch her Grandfather prepare these traditional dishes when she was little.  She now prepares them for her family, and her extremely grateful friends.  Since then, I’ve come to know another friend and colleague of Filipino decent (Danny, you know who you are!) and I continuously drool over his very delicious looking Instagram feed.

    Because I’m of the curious sort and I’m inspired by my friends ancestral cuisine, several years ago I decided to explore the flavors of the Philippines.  Many recipes and full tummies later, this fragrant and enticing slow cooked red ginger chicken was created. This recipe is simple and brimming with the flavors I was craving.  

    As well, at that time I had a full private chef client list and I was on a mission to create more slow cooker meals for our very busy family schedule.

    When I originally posted this slow cooked red ginger chicken recipe I was raising backyard chickens (laying hens only, they were not raised for consumption) and posted the photos below.  I adored my chicken gals, and you know, I think they adored me too.  When we left Washington state, my girls landed a cushy gig at a local farm where they would live out their sweet chicken lives in chicken luxury.  Since that time I haven’t had the opportunity to build another chicken coop and raise backyard chickens, but I’m sure that time will come again.

     

    Urban Farm Chickens

    Rosemary, Cocoa and Pepper

    I still dabble with this recipe at times, adding a little heavy cream to the sauce when the mood strikes.  On occasion I’ve prepared the sauce stove top, added a little heavy cream and then ladled the sauce over grilled chicken breasts.  I like chicken breasts either grilled or pan seared and then finished in the oven.  Slow cooked chicken breasts can have a strange chewy texture and for some reason I just don’t find that palatable. Surprisingly I do have a bit of a fussy palate. 😉

    If you make this recipe let me know how it turns out for you and how you like it. I’d love your thoughts. This is one of those recipes that keeps evolving and one day it just might be perfected.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love to you!

    Karista

    Slow Cooked Red Ginger Chicken

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Slow Cooked Red Ginger Chicken

    Ingredients

    • 8-10 chicken thighs, no skin but you can use bone in or boneless
    • 1- 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
    • 1 cup tomato sauce (a great way to use your canned tomatoes!)
    • ½ cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
    • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
    • Fresh ground pepper
    • Chopped fresh cilantro or green onions for garnish
    • White Rice

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the slow cooker on low.
  • Thick slice the ginger into 5-6 pieces. Whisk together the tomato sauce, tamari, garlic and ginger and reserve.
  • Season the chicken pieces with pepper and brown in a skillet on both sides. You’ll want to achieve a nice deep brown color on the chicken as this will give the chicken a lot of flavor. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to the slow cooker.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and slow cook on low for about 5-6 hours or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F. Chicken thighs and legs cook up better in the slow cooker, rather than chicken breasts.
  • When the chicken is done, transfer the chicken to a platter. Strain the *sauce through a mesh colander and ladle over the chicken. Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped fresh green onion or cilantro.
  • To make a thicker sauce, heat the strained sauce in a small sauce pan. In a small bowl, mix together a spoonful or two of the heated sauce with about 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch. Then whisk that mixture back into the sauce pan and let it come to a boil for only a few seconds or until you've reached desired consistency.
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