Browsing Tag

Garam Masala

Karista's Kitchen Sweets vegetarian

Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

pear galette

Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

My culinary journey has been a winding road.  Sometimes with hairpin turns and sometimes with steep uphill jogs. (If you know me, you know I am NOT a jogger) A few downhill walks and some lovely flat, grassy roads have led me from the past to the present.

And it seems that in every phase, I gain a little more passion and a bit more vision into my culinary world.  Often scribbling words that become my foodie quotes.  Pieces of paper with the written word littering the top of my desk.  I find notes in my handbags, in my drawers,  in my files, and a few found their way into the kitchen junk drawer.  🙂

Today, I often find myself thinking of this quote.  The one that truly speaks my heart. “Food should not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul and nourish our bodies while delighting our senses”.  So with every recipe I create, or cook, or teach, this is always my reminder.

Pear Galette

Delighting the senses is exactly what I had in mind when I created this dish.  I’m often asked to review new food products. Most of them I turn down.  However, a few have captured my attention.

The Spicy Gourmet company contacted me and asked if I would review their new line of organic and fair trade spices.  They had me at organic and fair trade.  But would flavor be just as impressive?  I was delighted and intrigued.

Dinesh Perera of The Spicy Gourmet sent me the Classic Garam Masala Spice Kit.  So off to testing I went.

Thinking seasonal, thinking spicy, thinking holiday parties made me think of something sweet.  Festive and just a little indulgent.  But just a little.  😉

Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce.  A little spicy, a little saucy and a lot of delicious.  The Classic Garam Masala is an exquisite spicy blend, perfect for all savory dishes.  But I loved the idea of this spicy blend in a sweet dish.

I did cut the black pepper in half as well as the cumin and then added in a little ginger and nutmeg.  Perfect.

I adore fresh, whole, spices, ground as needed for optimum flavor.  I was so impressed with the quality, taste and fragrance of my new spices, I chucked my old bottles of cardamom and cloves!

Many thanks to Dinesh Perera at The Spicy Gourmet for allowing me the opportunity to test their products.  This is a small company with big flavor.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and most delicious holiday season.

Loads of Love,


Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Serves 6-8


Galette Dough

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold butter, cubed

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup ice-cold water


3-4 pears, sliced

1 tablespoon butter, diced

2 teaspoons Spicy Gourmet Garam Masala*

½ teaspoon Ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar (I love using Coconut Palm Sugar in this recipe)

Chocolate Drizzle

4 ounces dark chocolate

¼ cup heavy cream

2-3  tablespoons water


Prepare the dough –  In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

While the food processor is on slowly add ½ cup water.  The dough should form a ball to one side of the food processor bowl.  If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.

Place the dough in the center of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling – Place the pears in a large bowl and toss with the diced butter, Garam Masala, ginger and nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the dough into a large circle.  Place the galette dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Reserve about 5-6 slices of pear.  Place the remaining pears in the center of the galette dough, leaving about a 2 inch border.  Pull up the sides to form an open face tart.  Artfully place the remaining pears on top of the other pears in the center of the galette.  Brush the galette with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Place the galette into the oven and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.  Turn down the heat to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the galette is golden brown.

While the galette is baking make the chocolate sauce.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate and whisk in the heavy cream and water until smooth and glossy. Adding all the water if you’d like the sauce a bit thinner.

When the galette is done, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Drizzle the chocolate sauce on top, reheating the sauce if necessary.

Drizzle dessert plates with a little more chocolate sauce and then place slices on top of the sauce. Serve immediately.

*Each Garam Masala will have a different blend of spices.  I highly recommend blending your own Garam Masala with spices from the Spicy Gourmet.  However, if you have your own Garam Masala blend, or purchased a prepared Garam Masala, be sure it doesn’t include the ginger or nutmeg.  If it does, then feel free to omit the ginger and nutmeg in the recipe, or add in a little less if desired.

Chicken Karista's Kitchen Soup vegetarian


Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

Every morning I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor in front of my baby chick’s crate, coffee cup in hand, chatting and playing with my four fuzzy little gals. This morning was no different.

I heard Ranger Craig walk up the stairs to the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye, I caught a  slight smile forming around his mouth.  He tells me I need a farm.  I tell him I’ve known this for years. 🙂

My oldest gal suggested we get a pig.  Not a “raise it for ham” sort of pig, but a “play with the cute little piggy” pig.  That’s out of the question… but did mention I’d love a goat?

Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

Mulligatawny Soup

My new friend and local blogger Wendy, over at Chez Chloe , recommends two Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  I agree!  I have a Washington cold rain forest jungle behind my house.  I’ve often thought a few goats might take care of that jungle for me.  And fresh goats milk for cheese sounds delightful.

If you’re my neighbor and you’re reading this, never fear.  I won’t be getting goats any time soon.  Mostly because my two sassy (human) gals would probably sneak them into the house.  That would not be good.

Until then, I’m completely happy sitting on the kitchen floor… talking to my baby chickens.


This is a soup with many variations.  A tumeric laced soup with huge flavor and usually includes beef, chicken or lamb.  My version of Mulligatawny is filled with all the wonderful flavors of Autumn.

Apples, sweet potatoes and the lovely Indian blend of spices, Garam Masala.  Instead of rice, I’ve used wheat berries.  I adore Jovial Foods Einkorn Wheat Berries, nutty, with a little hint of sweetness, these wheat berries make a delicious substitute for rice.

Serves 4-6  can easily be doubled


2  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1  tablespoon Garam Masala or:

2  teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, diced

1 carrot diced

4-6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarian version)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2  teaspoons Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chile Paste (or a teaspoon of hot sauce)

1 apple peeled and diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1-2 cups cooked wheat berries

Salt to taste


Mix together the black pepper and Garam Masala.  If using the individual spices, mix together the spices and black pepper and set aside.

Heat the butter over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot and then add the onion and carrots.  When the veggies have softened and wilted add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture, stirring for about one minute.

Then slowly mix in the chicken broth.  Stir in the tomato paste, roasted red chile paste, apples and sweet potatoes.  Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Add the diced cooked chicken and cooked wheat berries.  Taste for seasoning adding salt as needed.  If you feel the soup needs a “lift” in flavor, add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar.  The longer this soup sits the better it will taste.

An excellent soup for freezing.

Additional add ins:  Diced parsnips, diced turnips, or winter greens.

Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

Curried Sweet Potato and Chicken Stew

I have a sweet potato fascination.  You’d think this time of year I’d be talking pumpkin, butternut squash, maple syrup and apples.  I’m getting to those.  But right now I’m stuck at sweet potato.

Organic Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes for so many reasons.  They’re a superfood, über versatile (I put them in everything) and they really are a tad sweet.  Especially with a little pat of butter (I did say little), a sprinkle of brown sugar (yes, just a sprinkle) and then I lay it on thick with the cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cloves.


Only a pinch of cloves. Otherwise your mouth will be numb for days.  As my little brother knows oh so well; ever since the pumpkin pie full of cloves incident. That’s another
funny story for another day.

My favorite brand of spices, Simply Organic

This season, I believe I’ve used sweet potatoes in everything.  Muffins, biscuits, pie, as a side with mixed roasted winter veggies and red onions, coconut mashed, and now they’ve found their way into a stew.  With chicken.

I’m sure I’m wearing out the sweet potato welcome in the Bennett house.  I should probably scoot on over to pumpkin soon.

Curried Sweet Potato and Chicken Stew

Serves 6


1 tablespoon veggie or grapeseed Oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

¾ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon Garam Masala

2 medium organic carrots, diced

1 large organic sweet potato, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces

3 cups chicken or veggie broth

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon (or more) Thai Kitchen Roasted Chili Paste (or a pinch of cayenne)

2 cups diced cooked chicken (a great way to use leftover roasted chicken)

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Sauté the onions until wilted and then add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more.

Add the carrots, sweet potato, chili paste and spices to the onions and garlic.

Stir in the broth and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and carrots are soft.

Optional:  With a wooden spoon or spatula, press some of the carrots and sweet potatoes into the sides of the pot, smashing them to create a creamy stew without adding dairy.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add additional chili paste, cayenne or red pepper flakes if desired. (Ranger Craig likes this stew spicy!)

Stir in the diced chicken and cook another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.

Stir in the fresh cilantro and serve.

** Omit the chicken and use veggie broth and this will make a fabulous vegetarian/vegan dish!

Recipe adapted from multiple sources and my love of all things sweet potato.