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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Carrot Cilantro Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Ginger Peanut Dressing

Carrot Cilantro Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing and Pumpkin Seeds

It’s Wednesday and it’s already been a whirlwind of a week.   I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten you, so I thought I’d drop by and deliver this lovely little salad.  Truly, if you lived next door I’d bring you this salad. 🙂

Perfect with grilled shrimp or chicken for a busy weeknight, or a delightful and flavorful side for your grilling or slow cooked weekend.  Lush, gorgeous color and mouthwatering flavor.  A little summer sunshine on a plate.

Carrot Cilantro Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing and Sesame and Pumpkin Seeds

More deliciousness posting soon!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Carrot Cilantro Salad with Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds in a Ginger Peanut Dressing

Serves 4 – 6


4 cups shredded organic carrots

½ -3/4 cup cilantro leaves

¼ cup pumpkin seeds, raw or roasted

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, white or black


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch Everyday Fresh EVOO)

¼ cup raw honey (I buy local raw honey)

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon creamy organic peanut butter

¼ -1/2 teaspoon of Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste or a dash of Sriracha

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger (or more if you love ginger)

1 small clove garlic, peeled and smashed

A squeeze of fresh lime juice

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste Directions


Puree dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender and then season to taste with salt and pepper.  If the dressing feels too thick, add a tablespoon of cold water.

In a medium to large bowl, toss together the shredded carrots, cilantro leaves and seeds.  Gently toss the carrot mixture with just enough dressing to coat the carrots.  You don’t want the carrots swimming in dressing.  Reserve remaining dressing for a marinade for shrimp or chicken, or another salad.

Pour onto a large platter and garnish with additional cilantro and seeds.

The salad ingredients can easily be adjusted to your tastes.  A little more red chili paste or hot sauce or a little less ginger, however you prefer.  Pair with grilled shrimp or chicken for a one dish meal.


Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Black Dog Ginger Cookies

Black Dog Ginger Cookies from Martha's Vineyard

Tis the Season for cookies and sweets and beautiful desserts that cause my heart to flutter; with a possible nose dive right into all the taunting deliciousness that abounds this time of year.

But I refrain.  Most of the time.  I do however have a few baking traditions during the holidays. My favorite?  Black Dog Ginger Cookies.

Prepared with fresh ginger, spices and molasses, these cookies are perfectly moist on the inside and ever so slightly crisp on the outside. This original recipe makes a large quantity of cookies, so you have some to keep and some to share.

Black Dog Ginger Cookies

The Black Dog Ginger Cookies

The recipe originated at the famous Black Dog Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard.  I fell in love with the area while living back east years ago and of course I couldn’t leave without this divine cookie recipe.

I love giving the gift of food.  My virtual gift to you this season…  A big batch of these cookies!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


The Black Dog Ginger Cookies

Makes about 6-8 dozen


1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger 1 1/2 cups Safflower or vegetable oil, divided use
3 cups granulated sugar, plus 1 cup for rolling dough balls
3/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
5 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
7 cups pastry flour (I mixed 5 cups all-purpose flour with 2 cups cake flour)  You may need an extra ½ cup flour if the dough isn’t stiff enough.


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make a ginger-flavored oil by mixing the chopped fresh ginger with 1/2 cup of the oil in a food processor fitted with steel blade. Don’t labor over peeling the ginger, because it will be discarded. Cover and process until well minced.

In a large mixing bowl, mix 3 cups sugar, molasses and eggs. Strain the minced ginger/oil mixture, reserving the liquid only. Add this liquid, plus the remaining cup of oil to the egg mixture and blend until smooth. Discard ginger pulp.

In a smaller mixing bowl, mix together the salt, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and flour. Add the dry mixture to the wet mix and blend well. The dough should be stiff enough to hold its shape but not so stiff that it won’t flatten during baking.  Start with the 7 cups of pastry flour and add ½ cup more if you feel the dough isn’t’ stiff enough.

Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop cookie dough using a tablespoon or small scoop and roll in the reserved cup of granulated sugar. Place on a prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, just until the tops crack and the cookies are flat.

Cool cookies completely on wire racks; store in airtight containers. Perfect for sharing.  These also freeze well.

Recipe from The Black Dog Restaurant– Summer on The Vineyard Cookbook by Joseph Hall and Elaine Sullivan

(ever so slightly adapted by me)


Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Roasted Dover Sole


Blueberry Ginger Salsa over Halibut // Karista's Kitchen


I wrote this post in 2013. It seemed cooking was just as therapeutic then as it is now. To preface this Blueberry Ginger Salsa recipe… 

This Blueberry Ginger Salsa is a result of my love for fish and fruit (and an overflowing mint plant).  I’ve always felt fish and fruit were two fresh ingredients made for each other. The salty essence of the seafood combined with the fresh sweetness of the fruit is complimentary in flavor and intoxicating to the palate.

Just like seafood, grilled chicken also pairs well with most fruit and it pairs especially well this Blueberry Ginger Salsa.  On occasion, I’ll whip up this salsa and serve it as a starter with seasoned pita chips and creamy goat cheese.  However, most of the time you’ll find yourself eating this Blueberry Ginger Salsa with spoon.  It’s that good!


Funny how sometimes life rolls in a direction never anticipated.  Catching us by surprise, with both trepidation and promise.

It’s been an eventful year for my family.  My first-born conquering a long and tedious health challenge, my youngest discovering the heartbreak and joy of her first year in high school.   A brilliant year of cooking classes filled with the most wonderful home chef’s I’ve ever met.  New clients, new colleagues, new recipes and articles created and new friends made.   And we’re only half way through the year!

Change happens.  It’s inevitable.  I’ve had a lifetime of change.  I thought I’d become familiar with the word, until I realized the memories I will soon leave behind.  Yes, we’re moving down the road a bit, to a darling little town in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Still the beautiful Pacific Northwest that I know and love.

It’s bittersweet.  I have the best friends here.  Friends who bring our grieving family delicious baked goods, flowers and cards when our sweet old Airedale, Elwood, passed.  Friends who cooked meals for a week when my sweet oldest Sassy Gal came home from surgery.  Beautiful flowers arriving daily, cards that expressed love and sympathy, happy thoughts and prayers.

Karista's Kitchen

Friends that have loved and continue to love my children like their own.  I love that.  I’ve always felt it takes a village to raise a child.

I know my friends and I will remain close.  After all,  this is the era of social media and I’ll only be a few hours down the road.  But I will miss them.

Brilliant, strong, independent, artistic, supportive, beautiful women who have made a huge impact on my life.  I would list you all, but I’m afraid I might miss someone!  You know who you are.  I love you!

So, in a few weeks, Karista’s Kitchen will have a new home on the world-wide web.   And, Karista Bennett (and the Bennett Crew) will make their new home in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.

I proceed with trepidation, but also promise.  Promise of new discoveries, new challenges, new ideas, new farms to visit, new places for Ranger Craig and I to fly :), new recipes to share and new friends to be made.

It may take me a few weeks until I post next.  I’d like to say I’m a good multi-tasker, but unfortunately, that will never be included in my list of talents.

So until next time, I wish you happy trails, lots of summer sunshine, good health and loads of love!

Delicious Wishes,


Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa

Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa


  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small - medium shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint (extra for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, gently toss together the blueberries, shallot, fresh ginger, chopped mint, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let it sit room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • I love to serve this salsa with grilled chicken or fish. Or, for a starter, serve with seasoned pita chips and creamy goat cheese.
  • Notes

    I’ve paired this salsa with fresh Dover Sole that I seasoned, rolled and then pan seared in a skillet with a tablespoon or two of ghee. Dover sole is such a delicate fish, sometimes it’s easier to prepare when it’s rolled and cooked. You can also place these Dover sole rolls in a greased baking dish and then pop it in a pre-heated oven at 350F. Brush the fish with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and cook just until done. A good rule of thumb for cooking fish is to cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

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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

    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!


    Slow Cooked Red Ginger Chicken

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Slow Cooked Red Ginger Chicken


    • 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


  • 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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    Halibut Seafood

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Halibut

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Fresh Mint

    I discovered something about myself this weekend.  I really love to talk ( I should know this, my two sassy gals tell me often).

    I like talking much more than writing.  Sometimes when I’m writing I try to imagine you sitting in my living room chatting over a steamy cup of fresh hot coffee and snacking on slightly sweet and buttery scones. The kind with those little crunchy sugar sprinkles on top. 🙂

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Fresh Mint

    I adore meeting new people.  Learning about what they do and what they might be passionate about.  I love it when I’m deeply touched by their story or intrigued by their special talents.  I met many of those people this weekend at the BlogHer Food Conference here in Seattle.

    All attending for the collective love of food.  But all different in life stories and experiences.  Unique and fascinating.  I was pleasantly overwhelmed.  And somewhat disappointed.  All at the same time.

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Opah

    Overwhelmed with the feeling of being blessed with new friendships, acquaintances and delicious memories.  Disappointed with how much I thought I knew, but really don’t know.  I gained a mountain of insight, information and a good dose of reality.

    What delights me most is how many new friends I’ve gained.  How many deliciously wonderful professional women (and one man!) I had the pleasure of meeting.

    I’d love to share them with you.  All lovely, deeply passionate, professional, knowledgeable individuals who have now made my life much richer.

    Kelley at

    Kayln at

    Heidi at

    Irvin at

    Veronica and Yvette at

    Melanie  at

    Erina at

    Janelle at

    Emmy at

    Keren at

    Thank you for being SO PATIENT.  It’s been a while since I posted a recipe and certainly an unintentional hiatus.  Just know that if you don’t get a new recipe in your inbox on a regular basis, I’m teaching fun and exciting cooking classes, or cooking for my fabulous clients, family and friends.  Or maybe I was at a food conference.  🙂

    Loads of Love,


    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Halibut

    I love this salsa served with grilled white fish.  My favorite pairing is with halibut, but black cod, opah and grilled scallops are equally divine.   Delicious Wishes!

    Serves 4


    1 pint fresh blueberries

    1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped shallots

    ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (cilantro would also be a delish substitute!)

    Squeeze of Lemon (about a tablespoon)

    Dash of Olive oil (a few teaspoons)

    Teaspoon or two of honey

    Salt and pepper


    Half the blueberries if you can, or lightly chop.

    Toss together the blueberries, shallots, ginger, and mint.  In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey.

    Toss the lemon oil with the blueberries and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    This is definitely one of those recipes you can prepare to taste.  A little more ginger, a little less mint or maybe a little more honey.  Whatever you decide, it’ll be delicious!

    I love this fresh and flavorful salsa over grilled white fish; halibut, black cod, Hawaiian opah and grilled scallops.

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Carrot Ginger Soup

    Carrot Ginger Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    A beautiful, local Artist, who is now a new friend of mine, asked me to prepare a few dishes for her birthday celebration last week.  It was one of the most fun events I’ve ever had the pleasure of catering.  Sandy loves vegetarian, and she loves color.  So we came up with a vegetarian menu that was fresh, colorful and delicious.

    Carrot ginger soup was one of Sandy’s requests.  I had a few recipes for carrot soup but nothing that truly “wowed” me.  After browsing through some old recipes I found a carrot ginger soup recipe from the famous five star restaurant, Victoria and Alberts.

    However, to keep the vegetarian theme and because I always have to “adapt” recipes to my tastes, I used the Victoria and Albert’s recipe as a guideline and came up with my own version.  I must admit, it is fabulous!  And, if you’d like to keep the recipe Vegan, just omit the small amout of cream that’s in the recipe.

    Although I haven’t served this as a cold soup, another friend of mine suggested this might make a fabulous summer soup.  Cathy, an excellent idea for all those summer carrots!

    However or whenever you serve this soup, it’ll refresh your taste buds and warm your soul.  A delicious and simple soup to be savored. 

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Carrot Ginger Soup

    Serving Size: 4-6


    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 12 carrots, diced
    • 1 large shallot, diced (about 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
    • 2 ribs celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, diced
    • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
    • ¼ cup sliced fresh ginger
    • 4 cups carrot juice (you can substitute with veggie broth, or use equal parts broth and juice)
    • 1 pint heavy cream (optional, but it does make it creamier)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Pinch of dried Basil, crushed


  • Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the garlic, bay leaves, shallots, parsley, celery and carrots. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.
  • Add 3 cups of the carrot juice and sliced ginger to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaves. Add the pinch of dried basil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the soup into a blender or vitamix and puree. You may need to do this in stages as all the soup may not fit in the blender all at once. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir in the cream. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • If the soup is too thick, add the remaining 1 cup of carrot juice to thin the soup.
  • Serve immediately. You can keep it warm on the stove if needed. Just keep the heat on low. This soup can be refrigerated and reheated stove top, or microwave. But it’s best freshly prepared.
  • Serve with seasoned croutons and a dollop of crème Fraiche.
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    Grilling Kid Friendly Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Maple and Fresh Ginger Glazed Salmon

    I have to admit, this is one of those dinners that just happened.  I stopped at my favorite fish market, Gemini Fish Market, and grabbed what Fishmonger Jim calls “springer salmon” which is actually spring Columbia River King.  It’s a divine spring salmon that has the highest amounts of omega oils and is extra rich and delicious. 

    On the way home I was thinking I’d just throw it on the grill with a little lemon, salt and pepper.  Salmon is delicious simply grilled, but I was in the mood for something more than just plain salmon.  So I rummaged around my pantry and my frig and came up with Vermont maple syrup and fresh ginger.  I wanted to keep things simple and not add too many ingredients, not to mention, I was in a bit of a rush to get dinner served.  And honestly, a great piece of salmon doesn’t need too much fuss, especially if it’s being grilled. 

    I sprinkled the salmon with lemon juice, salt and pepper and then heated some maple syrup and fresh ginger on the stove.   A little basting while the salmon was cooking and then a little drizzle of the gingered syrup over the top when it was done.  Fabulous and Simple!  Yes, you could always jazz up the glaze with a little soy sauce, dijon mustard, five spice powder, or even a few tablespoons of brandy.  However, for something quick, this simple little glaze did the job.

    Have fun experimenting with the glaze, or just keep it simple.  Either way, it’ll compliment your grilled salmon and make dinner a snap.  Happy Cooking!


    1 lb fresh Salmon

    1/2 cup Vermont maple syrup

    1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or more if you like)

    Squeeze of lemon

    Salt and pepper

    Options:  dash of soy sauce, 1/2 -1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder, or a few tablespoons of brandy


    Preheat the grill to 400F.

    In a small pan heat the maple syurp and ginger to a slight simmer.  Transfer half the glaze to a bowl for serving with the salmon and use the other half to baste the salmon while grilling.

    Sprinkle the salmon with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Grill the salmon skin side down or on a piece of foil.  While the salmon is cooking, brush with the glaze several times.  Turn the heat to medium if necessary and grill until the salmon reaches your preference of doneness.  Most Chef’s prepare salmon with the center still very pink, however, I like my salmon fully cooked. 

    When the salmon is done, transfer to a plate and drizzle with a little more glaze.  Serve with a mixed wild rice or white rice and grilled, roasted or stir fried mixed seasonal veggies.  Enjoy!