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Grilling

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

Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote) // Karista's Kitchen

If there is one food I could eat every day of summer, it’s Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob or what is referred to as Elote.  

This popular Mexican street food can be found prepared a variety of different ways.  However, it’s typically highly seasoned, grilled and then served on a stick for easy eating.

What sets Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob apart from a typical summer grilled corn are all the delicious ingredients that can be found covering this very humble vegetable. Some of the recipes I found include chile powder, smoked paprika, garlic, Mexican oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander, lime juice and of course mayonnaise.

Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote) // Karista's Kitchen

For my recipe, I’ve slathered the corn cob in a lime juice laced mayonnaise and then rolled it in the salty Mexican cheese called Cotija.  Then I dust it lightly in the Mexican seasoning Tajin, which is a little sweet but also a little spicy. The result is so delicious I can’t stop at just one!

I adore making Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob for Cinco de Mayo, but I also like to serve it at all my summer barbecues. Grilled corn on the cob is always a good thing but Mexican grilled corn on the cob makes my taste buds sing.

A little side note, I have a new instagram handle @lifearoundmytable.  I’ve had one heck of a time trying to resolve my @karistaskitchen account and it seems hopeless. So onward and upward and meeting all sorts of new challenges this month like growing a second Instagram account. Which isn’t on the top of my fun things to do list. Ha! Me and social media have a love/hate relationship.  So if you’re on Instagram, I’d truly appreciate the follow and a few shares.  Thank you all for your support!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elote)

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 ears of corn, husks pulled back or removed
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • Tajin Classic Mexican seasoning

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the grill or a grill pan to 350F.
  • Brush the ears of corn with vegetable oil and grill the corn for about 8-10 minutes or until the corn is nicely charred and soft. Watch the heat to be sure you don’t burn the corn.
  • Once the corn is done, transfer them to a platter. Mix together the mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic. Place the crumbled cotija in a plate. Brush each ear of corn with the mayonnaise mixture and then roll it in the crumbled cotija. Sprinkle with Tajin Classic Mexican Seasoning and serve immediately.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad vegetarian

    Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

    Grilled Romaine Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing // Karista's Kitchen

    This summer has proven to be quite a diverse and eclectic season thus far.  My home has been filled to the brim with loveliness and laughter and blonde heads roaming the halls.  

    My niece came to stay with us for a college internship and of course my two sassy gals had to be in the thick of things with her.  The girls have grown up together and are separated by two and half to three years each.  I used to call them my stair step kids.  My two girls, six years apart and my niece smack in the middle.  I tell her she’s my middle child.  She laughs her infectious laugh and then we all move on to reminiscing about when the girls were young and watch home movies of dances and plays they performed.

    the girls

    We spent weekends touring the state and showing our niece the beauty of Oregon and I had the opportunity to try a few new things – like riding the dunes and nearly losing my breakfast on those dunes.  We prepared loads of family meals, barbecues and baked goods and sat around the patio table or living room sofa discussing life, love, dreams, health and nutrition, because one cannot leave the Bennett house without a little discussion on health and nutrition.  We’re just a little weird that way. 😉

    Our sweet niece went back to school for her summer quarter and we went back to summer weekends walking the beach (and missing her) and eating seafood to kayaking the alpine lakes in the mountains and stopping for barbecue on the way home.  Time spent together, adventuring, enjoying the outdoors and most importantly, dining together.

    Life around my table is never short of interesting conversation, stories of times past or delicious food.  Life – just the way I like it.

    Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing // Karista's Kitchen

    This lovely Grilled Romaine Salad has been on our summer menu for years.  I started grilling romaine years ago, as a way to get my girls to think the salad was a bit more special and therefore needed to be tasted.  I’d make my sisters sweet and spicy dressing (which I love!) and then top it with gorgonzola, bleu cheese or feta.  When my girls decided they loved goats cheese, I’d sub with goat cheese crumbles.  This Grilled Romaine Salad was served with dressing and cheese, or with dressing, sliced summer tomatoes and fresh cucumber with a sprinkling of cheese on top.  Sometimes I’d include grilled shrimp and make this a meal or crumbled bacon and make it just a bit more indulgent.

    However, I served this grilled romaine salad, it was always a favorite way to enjoy our summer meals.

    I adore sharing my recipes that represent not only precious times past but also lovely times present.  Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Grilled Romaine with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 2 -3 heads of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise with root end still intact
    • salt and pepper
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup for brushing, 1/2 cup for the dressing)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon grated onion
    • 1 tablespoon ketchup
    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 3-4 ounces bleu cheese, gorgonzola or feta, crumbled (or more if you love cheese)
    • Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the grill to 350F, or heat a grill pan on medium high. Brush the halved romaine hearts with the 1/4 cup olive oil on both sides and then season with salt and pepper.
  • While the grill is heating, whisk together the garlic, onion, ketchup, mustard, sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil and the water. The dressing should be slightly pink. Add just a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  • When the grill is hot place the halved romaine hearts cut side down on the grill.
  • Let the romaine halves grill for about 1 – 2 minutes and then turn the halves over and grill the other side of the romaine for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  • I like my romaine hearts just a little wilted with a bit of crisp still left in the romaine. Ranger Craig however, likes his romaine hearts a little more grilled and wilted. Feel free to grill them to your tastes.
  • Take the romaine off the grill and place on a platter. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Spring Pea and Mint Pesto with Grilled Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

    Is it me or is the summer sailing by at mach speed? It’s been a busy summer so far, which I don’t mind but posting recipes here on the blog seem to take a back seat.  I did promise Facebook readers I’d get this lovely Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto posted as a few readers have some fresh fish in their kitchens and they wanted some new ideas for preparing it.  I’ve always got an idea about food and recipes so feel free to ask for recommendations! I love to make meal time delicious. 🙂

    I realize I say this often but seafood is one of the easiest, most delicious meals to prepare, especially when paired with a sauce, salsa or pesto.

    I serve fish at least three nights a week and pairing seafood with a simple pan sauce, a beurre blanc (which I know sounds fancy and complicated but it’s truly very simple) a fresh salsa or pesto makes the weeknight meal fuss free and delicious.  If you’re not a seafood fan, this pea and mint pesto is just as tasty paired with grilled chicken or lamb.

    Grilled Salmon with Spring Pea and Mint Pesto // Karista's Kitchen

    Fresh mint seems to be making its way into many of my meals this season – due to my exploding mint plant.  I cut it back but it still took over the herb garden so I transplanted it in it’s very own container.  It still grew back in the herb box and now it’s fighting with the oregano.  I’ll probably dig it up once again and find another spot in the garden to re-plant it.

    Mint is a pretty little plant that is usually bright green in color (depending on which type of mint plant it is) and stays fairly healthy during our Pacific Northwest winters.  It makes a nice shrub in the yard but as I learned the hard way, mint needs its own space.  Much like an emerging teenager.  😉

    So today it’s a Pea and Mint Pesto.  Tomorrow it’ll probably be this Mediterranean Couscous Salad with fresh mint and maybe grilled lamb chops with mint, rosemary and garlic on Sunday.  Mint is definitely in the Bennett Crew’s culinary future.

    Happy Weekend!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I begin with 1/3 cup and then add as needed)
    • 1 cup fresh peas that have been blanched, or frozen peas that have been thawed
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
    • 1-2 cloves garlic
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts if you prefer
    • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Place the olive oil, peas, mint, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, nuts and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is smooth.
  • Add the lemon and pulse once more and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or roasted salmon, lamb or chicken.
  • This is also tasty on crostini with shaved, aged provolone and grilled asparagus tips.
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    Grilling Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood Uncategorized

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

    It’s the little things that make me smile.  When a cool, gentle breeze on a warm day catches me by surprise, unexpectedly finding a bright red tomato while I’m watering my garden, a random hello text from a friend, finding old photos of my sassy gals that remind me how sassy they were (and still are!) and walking the docks in Newport to find the prettiest seasonal halibut.

    Just ask Ranger Craig, that halibut made me smile for at least an hour.

    Buying Halibut right off the boat in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

     

    Fish boat on the docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    I daydreamed all the way home how I was going to prepare that 13lb. halibut.  Yesterday it was Baja-style tacos with a chipotle crema and pineapple cilantro slaw and tonight it’s a Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut.  I could eat the Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with a spoon!

    The docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    The combination of fruit and fish has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It seems the sweet from the fruit combined with spice from aromatics like onion and peppers pair so perfectly with the salty, briny and savory flavors of fish.  Whether it’s salmon, halibut, cod, snapper or sea bass, fruit seems to make most fish festive and a bit more intriguing.

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut just might be your new favorite.  It’s certainly my new favorite of the season. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

    Serving Size: 4

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup diced papaya (about 1 medium papaya)
    • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 cup diced red onion
    • 1 jalapeno, finely minced
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
    • Squeeze of lime to taste
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2lbs fresh halibut cut into four pieces
    • lime wedges for garnish

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the grill to 400F.
  • To prepare the salsa, combine the red pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, ground chile powder and lime juice. Gently fold in the papaya and then season to taste with salt and pepper and give it just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you'd rather grill your halibut on a piece of foil or in a fish basket that works well. I have an electric grill with small grill grates so I typically brush my halibut with oil, season with salt, pepper and a little cumin or smoked paprika, or even my fave fish seasoning and then place it flesh side down on the grill. Halibut will stick however, so oiling the grill and your fish is key to success. If you are using foil, place the seasoned and oiled halibut on the foil and then place the foil on the grill. If you're using the fish basket, well you're already a pro!
  • Halibut will cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Don't overcook the fish or it can become dry.
  • Once the halibut is done, place salsa on the bottom of plates and top with the grilled halibut. Serve with lime wedges and lots of white wine!
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

    Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    The brilliant orange and red summer peaches are certainly delicious all on their own. Ranger Craig and I can certainly testify to how juicy, fragrant and sweet a flat of summer peaches can be.

    Still heavily imprinted on my brain is our drive home from a farm market stand in Central Washington one summer; trying so hard to wait until we got home before digging into the peaches.  Our will-power did not stand up to the test.  I think we might have consumed 1/3 of that flat before pulling into our driveway.

    Summer peaches feel like the crown jewel of summer… other than those backyard tomatoes that I am so patiently waiting to turn a perfect shade of red-orange.

    I love using peaches in sweet and savory dishes, simply pairing them with grilled fish and pork or just tossing them on the grill and serving with a big scoop of ice cream and a butter rum sauce.  Which is a lovely way to serve dessert since it’s been so hot here in the Pacific Northwest.   And who doesn’t love a buttery rum sauce?

    The summer is passing quickly and my days seem busier than spring; so this post is short and sweet. Literally. 😉

    Wishing you all a most delicious weekend!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

    Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 4-6 ripe yellow or white peaches, halved and pitted
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • ¼ cup rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract
    • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
    • Fresh mint for garnish

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the grill to 350F.
  • In a sauce pan whisk together over medium heat the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and rum or rum extract. Bring to a boil and then while whisking, simmer for a minute or two until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and reserve.
  • Brush the peach halves with olive oil and then set them cut side down on the grill. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes each side until soft and tender. If the peaches are very ripe you may only want to grill cut side down. Moving the extra ripe peaches too much may result in a broken peach.
  • Once the peaches are done, transfer them to a platter or plates and top with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle with Butter Rum Sauce. Garnish with a mint leaf if desired.
  • Notes

    Most summer peaches are perfect for grilling, but I especially like white peaches. Sweeter in flavor and perfect for grilling.

    I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015 grilling issue.

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    Beef Chicken Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Tips and Techniques vegetarian

    Three Compound Butter Recipes

    Grilled Fresh Corn on the Cob with Compound Butter // Karista's Kitchen

    Have you ever grilled a piece of fish or chicken and then wish you had a little something to dollop on top – just for a little extra flavor and fun?

    Compound butter is perfect for grilled, pan seared or roasted meat, fish and veggies.  

    Just make a few of these compound butters and keep them in the fridge.  They will hold for several months and when you’re ready to use them just slice a coin of  compound butter and dollop it on your “hot off the grill” fish, meat or veggies.

    Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Garlic Lemon & Thyme Compound Butter // Karista's Kitchen

    Compound butter is simply butter that has been mixed with a few ingredients of your choice; like garlic & herbs or anchovies and capers or lemon zest and cumin…  and most often used to enhance a simple pan seared or grilled fish, meat and veggies.   I typically make my compound butters savory, but during grilling season I also make a sweet compound butter spiked with spices and vanilla beans to use over grilled fruit or cake.

    You’re going to love these three compound butter recipes but feel free to experiment and make your own.  It’s a great way to use up the excess fresh herbs from the herb garden or citrus that might have seen better days. I also like to use finely chopped toasted nuts or cheese in my compound butters.

    Summer is in full swing and using compound butter to enhance the flavor of our grilled meals makes a delicious ending to a busy day.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Three Compound Butter Recipes

    Each recipe makes 8 tablespoons

    Three Compound Butter Recipes

    Ingredients

      Chipotle Orange Butter
    • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
    • One canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely diced
    • 2 teaspoons orange zest
      Garlic Lemon Thyme Butter
    • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
      Cilantro Lime Butter
    • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
    • 1 lime, zested
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

    Instructions

  • Compound butter can either be mixed by hand or in a food processor. If mixing by hand, add the ingredients to a small bowl and mix with a fork until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • If you are using a food processor, add the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface and spoon the butter onto the plastic wrap forming a log. Fold the plastic wrap over the butter and twist the ends. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
  • Notes

    I created this recipe originally for the beautiful Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015

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    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m jumping right to the point today.  No fluffy words or poetic verse, grand descriptions or other bits of loveliness because this post is all about kitchen equipment.. and delicious Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with a zany Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.

    There is one kitchen appliance that I’ve owned since culinary school… my Cuisinart Food Processor.  It’s 16 years old this summer and it’s seen a load of use.  My food processor is a work horse.  I love it so much I now own the 4 cup mini-prep food processor and the Quick prep hand blender.  I’ve had these last two appliances for 10 years and they are still functioning as if they are new.

    I’m not a kitchen gadget chef, I prefer to do most things by hand.  However, the few appliances that I do keep stocked in my kitchen must be able to handle all the heavy use.  Which is why I typically always reach for a Cuisinart product.  As you may have guessed this is a post sponsored by the lovely folks at Cuisinart.  They know how much I admire their products and they were kind enough to send me a new product to test and review.  And test we did!

    Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa // Karista's Kitchen

    I think my family was more excited than me about the arrival of the Griddler Deluxe.  Well built with solid construction, simple to use, no fussy buttons, just a straight forward high quality indoor grill.   The real test?  How well did it work.

    We grilled pork chops, lamb chops, flank steak, asparagus, lettuce wedges, white peaches and of course, quesadillas.  The sear-blast feature is ideal for grilling meat and locks in the fresh juices and flavor.  It also has six cooking options with removable/reversible non-stick cooking plates that are dishwasher safe.  To say the least, I am impressed.  The Griddler Deluxe is easy to use, easy to clean and works like a charm.  My daughter has now claimed it for her college apartment but I doubt my husband will let it out of the house.

    One of our favorite weekend dinners is quesadillas.  Sometimes I set out an assortment of fresh ingredients on the counter along with all the usual condiments so each of my family members can create their favorite quesadilla.  This time however it was fresh crab from the coast and ripe avocados along with several different kinds of cheese, cilantro, lime wedges and my Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.  A refreshing combination of flavors and texture that pair so deliciously together you will absolutely want seconds.

    Get your grill on and create a delicious summer weekend with these Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.  All that’s missing is the chilled Sangria!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Serving Size: 4-6 as an entree

    Grilled Crab and Avocado Quesadillas with Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 - 1 lb of crab meat
    • 2-3 avocados, sliced
    • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
    • 2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican queso, Ranchero, Cotija, Mozzarella)
    • 12 flour tortillas (regular or gluten free)
    • Olive oil for brushing
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • Serve with lime wedges
      For the salsa
    • 2 cups diced pineapple
    • 1 cup diced red onion
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
    • Juice of one lime
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Heat the Griddler Deluxe to 450F. Push the Sear button for the bottom plate.
  • Brush the tortillas with olive oil and then on one half of the tortilla layer your ingredients; cheese, crab, pickled jalapeños, avocado, cilantro and then cheese. Cheese on both sides helps the quesadilla to stay together.
  • Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling and place it on the grill. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until the outside of the tortilla is golden brown and cheese is melting.
  • Transfer the quesadillas to a plate and let them sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
  • While the quesadillas are cooling make the salsa.
  • Combine the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the quesadillas with the Pineapple Cilantro Salsa, lime wedges and a dollop of sour cream.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork VRAI Magazine

    Marinated Pork and Mango Skewers with Coconut Rice

    Pork and Mango Skewers with Coconut Rice // Karista's Kitchen for VRAI Magazine

    It’s starting to feel like spring and I am beyond elated! The high today is 67 here in the valley and it’s going to be a great day for prepping the new garden.  Ranger Craig is building the rest of the garden boxes while I prepare a quick meal for my friends over at Red Bird Acres.  We’re off to see baby chicks and piglets again!  Ok, I admit, I’m really excited about seeing the baby chicks and piglets this afternoon.

    Before I get my day started, I want to share with you my latest recipe and article for VRAI MagazineMarinated Pork and Mango Skewers with Coconut Rice. The blend of marinated pork with sweet mango, peppers and red onion make for the tastiest combination of flavors.  Perfect for a casual weekend with friends and family.  If it’s too cold to grill outdoors, these skewers can easily be prepared indoors on a grill pan.  Or stir fried and then ladled over the coconut rice.

    Enjoy your weekend!  Just in case you haven’t seen pictures from the last piglet visit, I’ve posted a few for you 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Red Bird Acres in Corvallis, Oregon

     

    Chicken Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

    Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and The Writing Process Tour

    Pineapple Juice, soy sauce marinated and grilled chicken // karista's Kitchen

    Recently my friend and colleague, Wendy of Chez Chloe the food blog (and also by the same name – a gorgeous Home and Kitchen store on Orcas Island, Washington) asked if I would participate in an online writing process tour.

    Because I am completely nosy and curious about how other writers pen their poetic or educational prose, and because often, I stalk my favorite writers and then proceed to ask lots of writing related questions – I thought it would be fun to participate.

    What are you working on? 

    Hmmm… I think the best question would be, what am I not working on?  My work takes me in many different directions.  Which feeds my generous love for diversity in my daily schedule.

    Currently, I’m writing and testing recipes for a winter/holiday magazine issue for one of my lovely clients; writing and testing wine-pairing recipes for two more fantastic clients; writing and testing recipes for future issues of VRAI Magazine; writing food related content for an online e-commerce fashion and home accessories website; desperately trying to finish a small e-cookbook on salmon (to be released soon) and posting my personal recipes and musings on my website.

    How does your work differ from others of its genre?

    I learned a long time ago I’m not a traditional food blogger.  I tried. But I soon realized I arrived late to the party, as usual, and I’m not fiercely competitive.  I am however, passionate. Passionate about culinary arts, culinary education and quality, clean, local food.  I am passionate about the local farmer and how we can help each and every one of them sustain their farms. I am passionate about food products that use only the best, cleanest ingredients to help keep our bodies healthy.  In a sentence… I want my work to reflect my passion.

    I don’t typically write personal posts, going on and on about my day or how I’m feeling at the moment.  I don’t mind reading blogs that share more personal information, sometimes I rather enjoy them. But I feel my job and professional strengths are to inform, educate, inspire and sometimes amuse.  I love to laugh and I love to hear laughter.

    On occasion though, I might write about my sweet pup, Tank, who amuses me terribly. Or my two sassy gals – who make my life worth living.  Or my adventurous husband who always seems to take adventure to a new level.  He most definitely feeds my generous love of daily diversity!

    Karista's Kitchen

    The Bennett Five

    I believe my work only differs in that it reflects me.  It reflects my deep and profound love for what I do.  The passion, the art, the education and all the deliciousness that’s infused into every recipe and post I write.  I write to share. That’s how it all began.

    Why do you write what you do?

    I think I answered that in the paragraph above.  I’m famous for not directly answering a question.  Ask my husband.  He get’s half a novel with each question he asks.

    How does your writing process work?

    This too differs daily.  I develop recipes, write content about the recipe and photograph the recipe. Each portion is equally important, which is why I give lots of thought and research to every recipe I develop.

    Writing the related content about the recipe depends on my clients specifications.  Much of what I write is written specifically for the publication and their demographic.  I tailor the content as beautifully as I can, weaving in non-fiction stories if warranted, or poetic verse about the season.

    When I write, it’s usually always while sitting at my small, rather rustic, painted black desk in front of a window that faces east… with morning light.  Sometimes I play a little Josh Bell or cello music.  Vivaldi is my preferred music to write by, but on occasion some Wailin Jenny’s or Allison Krause will do the job.  I like the house to be quiet when I write. Which is why I write in the morning.  I never, ever answer my phone while I’m writing.  In fact, I turn it off.  This annoys my children.

    There are times when I’m testing a recipe – cooking, plating, photographing – when verse will come to mind and I’ll stop and jot it down.  I keep pens and notepaper all over the house and in my handbag.  I never know when something inspirational will pop into my head and I’ll need to write it down.

    Often my husband and I will be out and about or having dinner somewhere and I’ll grab my phone and start making notes.  It’s amazing how so many things around me can inspire me.  A beautifully plated creation at a new restaurant, a farmer’s market brimming with brilliantly colored produce,  dark and ominous storm clouds rolling past, threatening to unleash at any moment; an older couple strolling the sidewalk holding hands or a songbird singing his best song outside my window.  Little things that provoke or awaken and inspire.

    pineapple and tamari marinated grilled chicken // Karista's Kitchen

    Today, I’m sharing a recipe as well. This, a consolation for reading my very wordy post.

    This grilled chicken dish is one my husband and I have been making for at least the last 20 years. Prior to culinary school the marinade was extremely simple.  Teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice.  Recently I jazzed it up a bit adding garlic and honey and using gluten free Tamari instead of a Teriyaki sauce.

    Flavorful, moist and juicy grilled chicken that will have you licking your lips.  I serve this dish with my Carrot Cilantro Salad or my Mother in laws Macaroni Salad.  Perfect for the casual summer barbecue.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

    This is one of my simplest chicken recipes.  So easy, so delicious and perfect for a casual summer meal.

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    4-5lbs bone-in, skin on, chicken pieces (breast, legs, thighs)

    3 cups pineapple juice (not sweetened)

    10 ounces Tamari (soy sauce)

    1/4 cup honey

    4-5 garlic cloves, smashed

    1/4 cup sliced green onions for garnish

    Directions

    Whisk together the pineapple juice, Tamari, honey and garlic.  Place the chicken pieces in a large non-reactive dish or bowl and pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.  On occasion, I’ll prepare it first thing in the morning and it’s ready to grill by dinner time.

    Heat the grill to at least 400F.  Brush the grill grates with oil.  The chicken will stick at first, but should turn easily after a few minutes.  Watch the flame as the marinade can burn.  Turn the chicken a few times while grilling and in between turns, keep the grill lid down so the chicken will cook evenly.  Adjust the heat as needed.

    The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165F.  Depending on the type of grill you use it will take about 20-30 minutes.  Place the chicken on a platter and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with grilled corn on the cob and my Carrot Cilantro Salad or Macaroni Salad.  A perfect summer meal!

     

     

     

    Beef Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly VRAI Magazine

    Grilled Rib-Eye with Tomato & Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

    Grilled Rib-Eye With Tomato Gorgonzola Vinaigrette Karista's Kitchen

    We’ve just launched the 4th fabulous issue of VRAI Magazine and I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting and new online magazine!  Filled with food, travel, DIY, Gardening and more.

    VRAI Magazine is made up of real bloggers, with varying backgrounds, expertise and unique perspectives, who are passionate about sharing stories. In these stories, you’ll also find wonderful ideas, inspirations and information for everyday living, as well as topics of interest that are designed to spark genuine conversations. “Life is filled with stories both big and small. They can be found in big events and milestones throughout life or even in the most mundane acts of each day — there is always a story worth telling.  Through VRAI Magazine, we hope to capture and share some of them with you.”

    In this issue of VRAI Magazine I talk GRILLING!  Here’s a sneak peek:

    I get positively giddy this time of year.  With the longer days and warmer temperatures, grilling once again becomes my preferred method of cooking.  Gone are the cooler days and Pacific Northwest winter weather that requires rain gear while grilling. 

    Although I enjoy most methods of cooking, there is something about grilling that feels just a bit festive, carefree and whimsical. Maybe it’s the feeling of warm summer months when life is slower and less scheduled.  Fresh produce arriving with color and intense ripened flavors just aching to be tossed into some delicious concoction to share.

    Grilling steak couldn’t be easier, but there are a few simple steps that will make your steak taste like perfection. 

    1. Quality is key –  Purchasing a quality cut of beef is key to a delicious and flavorful steak.  I prefer purchasing local beef that has been grazing in a nice open pasture and preferably grass-fed only. (I know, I sound like the television show Portlandia) Truly, fresh is best for optimum flavor.  Not only does buying local mean your steak will be fresh, you will be supporting your local economy.  If  you don’t have access to a  local beef rancher, try to purchase beef from your region.  Most local markets purchase regionally,  or ask your local butcher.

    For the Grilled Rib-eye with Tomato Gorgonzola Vinaigrette and a Grilled Romaine Recipe head on over to VRAI Magazine…  Click Here!

    Stay Tuned – Coming up this week, I will be posting a most delicious and special pastry recipe from Italy.   Buon Appetito!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

     

    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,

    Karista

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

    Serves 4 – 6

    Ingredients

    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

    Dressing

    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

    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 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!