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goat cheese

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table vegetarian

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

My oldest daughter is holding this lovely tray of Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers.

It had been a year since her brain tumor surgery and she was working hard to get back on her feet and back to college. I think that’s why I love this photo so much. She was beginning to feel better and she was quite determined that day to help me shoot my food photos.

I love that about my kids. They are strong, brave and determined young women who have a heart for helping others. Although when it comes to helping mom in the kitchen… not so much. 😉

I’ve been planning my Thanksgiving menu and these delicious little nibbles will be on the appetizer table. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers are simple to make, a little spicy, a little sweet and the creamy goat cheese brings all the unique flavors together. Honestly I could eat my weight in these peppers. 

If goat cheese isn’t your preference, these are just as tasty with feta cheese combined with mascarpone cheese or garlic and herbs laced cream cheese. On occasion I’ve even added a little bleu cheese to mascarpone and piped it into these little red beauties.

Top them with chopped toasted nuts, a Marcona almond or a pistachio for a little festive flair. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers make such a bright and cheerful presentation and pair deliciously with cocktails. I’ve also been known to make them my dinner.

Wishing you all a warm, joyous and delicious Thanksgiving holiday. May your hearts and home be full of love and laughter!

Karista

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Serving Size: 3 peppers per person

Ingredients

  • 2-3 jars of Peppadew peppers (I allow three peppers per person)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (try to find a nice cream goat cheese that will be easy to pipe into the peppers)
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (optional)
  • Chopped toasted nuts or Marcona almonds for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Mix together the goat cheese and mascarpone (if using). The mascarpone or cream cheese will make the goat cheese easier to pipe into the peppers. Although, I've found a brand of creamy goat cheese that works well on it's own.
  • Place the peppers on a tray. Fill a pastry bag with the cheese and pipe the cheese into each pepper. Garnish if desired and serve. You can make these a few hours in advance and leave them in the fridge before serving. Just remove them from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I think the peppers and cheese taste best at room temperature.
  • Notes

    This recipe was first published in Home by Design Magazine 2014.

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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad



    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I’m in salad mode these days and this gorgeous Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad is my obsession as of late.

    I’m harvesting a plethora of produce from my garden and what I didn’t grow or can’t grow, I’m finding at our local farmer’s market and farms around the valley.  I feel like a kid in a candy store!

    My arugula grew beyond my expectations and my Swiss Chard is still going strong, which makes me super happy.  Swiss Chard is my favorite leafy green; I adore it for it’s peppery bite and it’s a bit more hearty when sautéed.  It makes the loveliest fillings for morning omelets or frittatas and works well in my simple weeknight one dish meal of white rice, sliced green onions, sliced fresh mushrooms, diced roasted poblanos (optional) and ground Italian sausage for the Bennett Crew and a poached egg for me. 🙂

    Due to my exploding arugula, I’ve created more recipes to include arugula this year than ever before.  However, with the heat recently, I try not to turn on the oven, so this Roasted Fig and Arugula salad plus a grilled entrée is often served for dinner.  Actually, I can eat this salad without anything else, that’s how much I love it.

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad

    I roast the figs early in the day and then refrigerate them.  Or I’ll grill the figs if I get busy and forget to roast them.

    I dress the arugula with a honey balsamic vinaigrette, a pinch of salt and pepper and then layer with the roasted figs and crumbled goat cheese for the yummiest and most indulgent Roasted Fig and Arugula salad.

    Although it’s been a hot summer, it’s been a lovely summer.  Quick day trips to the coast and dining at my absolute favorite coastal seafood restaurant, Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, hikes in the mountains with Tank and a visit with my sweet family.  The best part of this summer?  No moves! I’ve moved the last two summers and it feels so nice to be settled and enjoying the season.  Even if it’s been brutally hot.

    I hope you’re enjoying your summer, staying cool and spending lots of time gathered around the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Roasted Fig and Arugula Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 4-6 cups of baby arugula leaves
    • 1-2 pints fresh figs
    • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or more to taste)
    • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons
    • 2-3 tablespoons honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the figs in half and then toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Place the figs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they are soft and a little caramelized.
  • Remove the figs from the oven and let them cool.
  • Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over the arugula and toss. Plate the arugula and then layer with the roasted figs, drizzling a bit more vinaigrette over the figs if desired, and then sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly vegetarian

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey // Karista's Kitchen

    I can never have too many appetizer recipes floating in my head and at the top of the list are these creamy Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates.

    Last minute guests, teenagers invading the kitchen looking for food or a quick treat to pair with a glass of my favorite wine or evening cocktail; these Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates are deliciously simple. I love that word. Maybe that’s because life is busy and hearing the word  “simple” seems to instantly infuse calm and tranquility into my moment.

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey // Karista's Kitchen

    I love to use locally sourced goat cheese and honey along with sweet holiday Medjool dates.  If I feel extra fancy, I’ll toast finely chopped hazelnuts or pistachios and sprinkle them on top.  These Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates are so easy to prepare while your guests, friends or family are mingling in the kitchen, chatting, laughing and of course, general merry-making.  Once out of the oven, I walk around with the baking sheet in hand, napkins and little party picks. Casual finger food that is gooey, warm, sweet and a little savory. Perfectly “simple” and delicious.

    I wish you the happiest and most delicious of holidays!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey

    Ingredients

    • Medjool dates, remove the pits which will create a nice opening for the goat cheese
    • Goat cheese, try to find one that is creamy for easy filling
    • Honey
    • Toasted chopped hazelnuts or pistachios

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Fill each date with goat cheese. If the goat cheese is creamy, I sometimes put it into a ziploc bag, snip a corner and pipe the goat cheese into the dates.
  • Place each goat cheese filled date on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the pre-heated oven. Let the dates bake for about 10-15 minutes.
  • As soon as you remove the dates from the oven, either transfer to a fancy platter or leave them on the baking sheet and then drizzle with a little honey. Top with crushed toasted nuts if you like.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    There really isn't much of a recipe here... just a container of dates, goat cheese, honey and nuts. Enjoy!

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    As often as we possibly can, Ranger Craig and I head to the ocean.  Just to stroll, hike if we’re feeling ambitious, tour the light houses or sit quietly on the cliffs watching for passing whales and playful seals.  Snapping pictures each with our own cameras and then comparing photos to see who got the best shot.

    Whether its cloudy, foggy, misty or sunny – just spending time by the sea makes me feel a little more renewed and seems to refill my artistic coffer.  Sort of clearing my mind of the busy week behind me and all the tasks that had to be tackled.

    Newport, Oregon

    My most treasured reason for spending time at the ocean is of course, the seafood.  And there is none better than the delightful, inventive, fresh and delicious cuisine at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon.  It’s such a pleasure to dine at Local Ocean, watching the all the talented prep cooks and chefs create their art in the open kitchen.

    Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon

    The fantastic and professional staff at Local Ocean Seafood!

    After our meal we always stop by Amber’s fish counter for fresh oysters and my absolute favorite chevre, a smoked goats cheese called “Up in Smoke” from our local award-winning Rivers Edge Chevre created at Three Ring Farm here in Western Oregon.

    Rivers Edge Chevre

    Rivers Edge Chevre from Three Ring Farm

    A soft but slightly firm chevre that is wrapped in large maple leaves and smoked to perfection.  Not overly smoky, just ever so slight – enhancing the flavor and texture of this lovely little cheese.  I serve this chevre with assorted crackers or crostini and sometimes alongside a local red pepper jelly or fig preserves.  Such a delicious cheese, I thought it would pair beautifully with summer green beans, dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.  Tossed in a balsamic vinegar and my best California extra virgin olive oil.

    Although this salad is perfectly delicious on its own, while sipping on a little glass of red or white wine, it paired beautifully with our dinner of Chicken Gaston Gerard.  This salad will also make a lovely summer side for grilled meats, poultry and fish.

    If you ever venture to Newport, Oregon, dining at Local Ocean Seafood is a must.  Tell Ms. Amber that Karista sent you by!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat’s Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1 lb fresh green beans

    4 oz smoked chevre or more if you love your chevre (if you can’t find smoked chevre feel free to sub with your favorite soft goats cheese.  A flavorful goats cheese is excellent on this salad)

    A handful of dried cherries

    ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

    2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

    3-4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

    Directions

    To Blanch the green beans:

    Begin by filling a large pot half way up with water or enough to cover the beans.  Do not salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil.

    While the water is heating, snap the stem end off the green beans.  I like snapping them by hand but feel free to use a small knife.

    Fill a large bowl with ice water to create an ice bath for the green beans. Have it ready before adding the green beans to the boiling water.

    Add the green beans to the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  You want them crisp tender.  Just this side of raw. Not mushy.

    The easiest way for me to quickly get them from boiling water into ice water is to pour the green beans into a large strainer in the sink and then transfer the beans to the ice bath.   But you can also scoop them out of the boiling water with a handheld mesh strainer and transfer them into the ice bath.

    Let them sit in the ice bath for about 3-4 minutes and then drain.  I like to lightly blot them dry so the vinaigrette will stick to the green beans.

    Prepare the salad:

    Salt and pepper the green beans and then arrange them on a platter.  Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the green beans.  Next sprinkle with crumbled chevre, the dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.

    Serve as a side dish with meat, poultry or seafood.  This is also lovely as a main dish over a bed of mixed greens and a few more veggies, like pickled beets and roasted carrots.  Enjoy!

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

    Sweet Pepper Chicken

    Sweet Pepper Chicken

    As I’m desperately trying to write this post, Suzie Q (my youngest gal) decides to catch up on her shows.  It’s Saturday morning and I don’t have the heart to tell her to move the party downstairs to the less than fabulous television.

    Sweet Pepper Chicken

    This is what I get for parking myself, and my office, in the dining room.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  It has the most wonderful views of the mountains and it’s the most peaceful room in the house.

    Until now.  I have no door, so I’m resorting to noise reduction headphones and Josh Bell’s Vivaldi.

    Sweet Pepper Chicken

    I think this morning however I’m more in need of some Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies.  But I can’t write when Miranda’s singing.

    She makes me want to grab my spatula and hold a concert in my kitchen.  Not conducive to writing a food post.  So back to Vivaldi I go.

    Peppadews from Divinia

    Now that the television canceling music is in place, I can truly tell you I totally winged this recipe.  This dish was born out of my intense passion for peppadew peppers.  My compelling need to eat a few peppadews with my dinner.  Sounds crazy I know.

    But sometimes I get fixated on a food and that’s that.  Nothing can be done.  Like the time I fell in love with Valbreso Sheep’s Milk Feta (actually, it’s in this recipe too).  I used Valbreso feta in everything I could think of.  I’d even sneak little bites straight out of the frig!  It’s my affliction.  I did the same two summers ago with fresh peaches from Eastern Washington.  I posted peach recipes for a month. 🙂

    If you favor goats cheese crumbles over the feta, I say go for it! It’ll be just as tasty.  Enjoy this little dish while we wait for the spring produce to arrive 🙂

    Sweet Pepper Chicken

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    4 – 6 chicken cutlets (these are thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

    2 tablespoons of your favorite oil (I like coconut, grapeseed and olive)

    1/2 cup sliced peppadew peppers found either in the mixed olive section near the deli or jarred in the pepper aisle… or cherry peppers (seeded)

    1 leek, chopped (white part only)

    1/2 cup feta cheese (I love Valbreso brand sheep’s milk feta; or goat cheese crumbles are delish as well)

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano and/or Italian parsley

    2 tablespoons butter

    1/2 cup white wine

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Directions

    In a large skillet heat a little oil over medium high heat and pan sear the chicken cutlets on both sides until they are cooked through.  Cutlets should be “thin cut” and easily cooked stove top.  If you have a thicker cut of chicken breast, brown the chicken on both sides and then pop them in a 350F pre-heated oven to finish cooking.  Thicker boneless skinless chicken breasts shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes cook time in the oven.

    Once the chicken is done transfer to a platter and keep warm.  In a smaller skillet over medium heat, add the butter and saute the leeks until nicely wilted.  Add the garlic and fresh herbs and saute for about one minute longer.

    Then add the white wine and let the wine simmer and reduce by half.

    Take the leeks off the heat and fold in the sliced peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Ladle the leeks and peppers over the chicken and sprinkle with the crumbled feta.  Serve immediately.

    Because this dish is so flavorful I serve it with roasted or steamed asparagus and a lovely saffron infused rice.