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summer salad recipes

Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Sliced Red Onions and Fresh Basil // Karista's Kitchen

This is the time of year I’m in food heaven. Summer produce is at its peak and it adorns my table with gorgeous color and delicious flavors, like this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad.  

Most of the plants in my garden are ready to harvest, with the exception of the few plants that have suffered little critter attacks, the heat and my apparent lack of gardening knowledge.  I was so excited about my little strawberry patch, only to walk out one morning and notice tiny teeth marks on my sweet red berries.  Darn bunnies. 🙁

I have a short list of plants I probably won’t attempt growing next year.  I have completely failed at sugar snap peas – and I love sugar snap peas.  Disappointment is looming.  I’m not sure what happened but I think I may have planted them in the wrong spot in the yard.  My knack for growing cauliflower never emerged this season… and then the white flies noticed the fledgling cauliflower hanging about and pretty much decimated what was left of the cauliflower crop.

I’ve had a few successes however.  I am awesome at growing greens!  Which is great because we eat loads of greens in my house.  Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Collards are being harvested daily.  My spring lettuce flourished as did the arugula.  Tomatoes will be ready soon and the cucumbers are popping out everywhere.  Another huge success are the peppers, which is making Ranger Craig very happy.  He could eat peppers daily.  And of course my herb garden is overflowing with the most beautiful and fragrant herbs.  Ok, so I have somewhat of a green thumb.  I believe it may be more determination than an actual green thumb. 🙂

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Red onion and Fresh Basil in a Sherry Vinaigrette

The one vegetable I do wish I’d grown in my garden this year is corn –  so I could make this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad straight from my garden.  

Summer isn’t summer without corn. And well… potato salad, grilled ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled stuffed peppers, macaroni salad and I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes, noshing on corn on the cob with smears of butter on warm summer days, or watching my family dig into a bowl of this sweet corn and tomato salad.

Grilled summer corn and tomato salad is a staple on our summer table.  

It’s easy to prepare and it holds well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Although it doesn’t last that long in my house.   Slightly sweet from the corn and a little tang of fresh cherry tomatoes combined with a little spice of sliced red onion and then topped with fresh and fragrant basil.  The simplicity of clean, fresh flavors shines through and is melded together by a little taste of char from the grilled corn.  Earthy, fresh, fragrant and most of all, delicious.

Cheers to a delicious and fun-filled summer!

Loads Of Love,

Karista

P.S. Having a little trouble with my print plugin but hopefully it will be fixed soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

5-6 cobs of fresh summer corn, husks peeled and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade (Julienne)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons and taste, if you need more add the extra tablespoon)

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Brush each corn on the cob with a little oil and then wrap each corn on the cob in aluminum foil and place them on the grill.  Note: Some people like to soak the corn on the cobs in water for about 10-15 minutes prior to grilling.  But if the corn is fresh and kernels look plump, this step won’t be needed. I don’t typically soak my corn prior to grilling unless its end of the season and the kernels look less than plump.

Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every five minutes to insure even cooking.  Once the corn is done, remove from the heat and let them rest for about five minutes.  Then unwrap the corn and let them rest another five minutes if they are too hot to handle.  Then scrape all the corn off the cob and place it in a bowl.

To assemble the salad, gently toss together the corn, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Italian parsley and basil.  Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar and then gently toss with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This salad is fabulous when it’s had about 30 minutes to sit on the counter at room temperature.  This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together.  Place any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.

 

 

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad


Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad 2
The month of June has been filled with a plethora of emotions.  Professional angst led the way with big decisions looming and changes on the horizon.  I had exciting but tough decisions to consider that made my focus narrow and kept my head buried.  That’s when life came to a screeching halt.

We lost a beloved family member unexpectedly. And although this lovely lady led an adventurous and fulfilled life, it was heartbreaking to lose her.  We spent a week in my old stomping ground, sitting around the old wood table rehashing memories, sorting, giving things away and just when I thought there wasn’t a bright light to be seen, I stumbled upon an old friend that I haven’t seen since the age of 13.  We cried. We sat on sofas and visited, reminisced, laughed, shared stories of our children and remembered why we had been good friends.

Before leaving the old stomping ground, Ranger Craig and I found the sweetest cafe that serves traditional food of the region.  Cuisine I know well, food from my childhood and adolescence, meals that hold memories.  Ranger Craig and I indulged in Fried Catfish, hushpuppies, coleslaw, chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra and sweet tea.  It was a feast!  We left with smiles on our faces and memories swirling in our thoughts.

I returned home, washed clothes, took Tank to his favorite kennel and then headed to the airport for the second time in two weeks.  A family reunion was happening and I couldn’t miss it.  Exhausted but energized because I would see family that I haven’t seen in two years.  More tears, hugs and loads of chatter and conversation.  Nieces, nephew, brother, sisters, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and people I had no idea I was related to… all merging at my parents home for a celebration.

The noise levels raised as the house and backyard filled with familiar faces, children’s laughter and larger than life characters with a penchant for comical relief.  Once again food was central around this celebration table.  We served my Mom’s favorite eggplant parmesan, a penne with a tomato cream sauce, lasagna Bolognese, caprese salad, Caesar salad and of course cake for dessert.  I don’t think we have a speck of Italian heritage but it seems to be one of my family’s favorite types of cuisine.  It feels comforting.  It feels like home.

I’ve always identified with the familiar phrase “home is where the heart is”.  It seems a bit cliché sometimes, but it couldn’t ring more true this month.  I’ve left a piece of my heart in many places and with many people who I share memories and special moments.

Once again, I find food to be a common denominator.  Much of life is lived around the table (or, at least mine is).  Sharing a meal and sharing time; creating memories.  Cementing emotions and eventually leaving a piece of my heart with the moment.

We’re home now and I find myself missing my loved ones.  My twin sister and my brother who I feel so connected it would be hard to breathe without them.  My beautiful and loving sister-in-law who is the best sister-in-law in the world.  So much that I call her simply, my sister.   My precious kids. All of them. My own daughters, my nieces, my nephew – giving me so much joy in my life that my heart just might burst.  As my Auntie Ellen would say… they are completely delicious. 🙂

I’ve gotten terribly mushy with this post. I try to keep these posts mostly about food but I couldn’t help myself today.  Although I don’t know each of you individually, I want to thank you for following Karista’s Kitchen.  Thank you for loving the recipes, for your kind comments and for using them to create your “life around the table”.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Marinated Mozzarella // Karista's Kitchen

Roasted Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1-2 pints cherry tomatoes or Heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 container or 2 cups marinated mozzarella balls, cherry tomato size (ciliegine)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons aged, good quality balsamic vinegar

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (Julienne) or hand torn (save a little for garnish)

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Toss the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Transfer the tomatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast them in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or just until they are wilted.  You only want to bring the sugars (sweetness) out of the tomatoes so don’t leave them in too long or they will be too mushy.

In a large bowl toss the marinated mozzarella with the fresh basil.  Then gently fold in the tomatoes and then pour onto a platter.  Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil on the salad and then the 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and then garnish with remaining fresh basil.

Serve room temperature or slightly chilled.

*This recipe was originally created for Home By Design Magazine

 

Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Cabbage, Carrot and Dried Cherry Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dijon Dressing

This is my new “go to” salad.  For some reason I’ve been on a cabbage kick lately.  Not sure what got that started but my frig has constantly been full of purple cabbage, savoy cabbage, and Napa cabbage.  I think it’s due to all that beautiful cabbage staring at me when I walk through the produce section of the market.  It can’t help but jump into my basket!  

I often prepare a broccoli slaw recipe from cookbook Author, Kathleen Daelman.  She uses broccoli slaw with dried cranberries and a tangy buttermilk Dijon dressing.    It’s fantastic, but because I had all that cabbage in my frig, and lots of carrots, maybe I could come up with something similar, only using the cabbage.  

As you can see, it was a delicious idea; thin sliced Napa and purple cabbage, and shredded carrots.  I was completely out of dried cranberries but I had a huge bag of dried cherries.  No buttermilk either, however, I always have plain yogurt hanging around.  A great substitution! 

My new “go to” salad is born!  I love it when dishes on a whim come together so beautifully and so tasty!  Crunchy sweet carrots, spicy purple cabbage and tender, mellow Napa cabbage all tangled together in a tangy and spicy, but sweet yogurt dressing.  Add a little grilled chicken or fish and voilla!  You just made dinner.  🙂

Serves 4 (or 2 if you really love salad!)

Ingredients

1 small head organic purple cabbage, thinly sliced

1 head organic Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

2 cups shredded carrots (I buy the bagged organic carrot shreds)

1 cup dried cherries (use more if you like)

Salt and pepper

1 cup (or a little more if you love dressing) plain yogurt ( I love Nancy’s plain lowfat organic yogurt)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2-3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (a little more if you love spicy)

Directions

Place the purple cabbage, Napa cabbage and carrot shreds in a large bowl.  Hold the cherries until the end or they all fall to the bottom of the bowl.  Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper.

Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, honey and Dijon.  Taste to be sure flavors are perfectly suitable for you.  Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper if needed. Sometimes I’m feeling my dressing a little sweeter so I add a dash more honey.  And sometimes I want a little more spice so I’ll add a dash more Dijon.  This is definitely a dressing you can play with to make it your own.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Now toss the salad with the cherries and serve!

This is a delightful spring and summer salad and it pairs deliciously with grilled meats and fish.  Great for barbeques and picnics.  If you’d like to make this a travel dish, prepare the salad and dressing but don’t toss them together until you are ready to serve the salad.  Enjoy!

Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Red Cabbage, Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

Photo credit: Food Matters Website

Recently, Ranger Craig and I watched the full length feature film documentary, Food Matters.  A compelling look at the food we eat and how it affects our health and well-being.  It’s an absolute truth that we are what we eat.  Food can affect our bodies and minds either positively or negatively;  all the more reason to keep your food real and consume less processed foods.

Fresh and flavorful whole foods are a treat to the taste buds.  Whole and healthy foods don’t have to be tasteless, but can be transformed into divine and delicious meals. Using fresh herbs, aromatics (onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, peppers, etc.), spices, healthy oils and whole seasonings keep the fresh foods bursting with flavor while nourishing our bodies.

So, when you serve your next barbecue pork, chicken or beef (all natural and organic of course), try serving this delicious fresh whole foods mixed coleslaw salad with your meal.  It will complement your main dish, give your body health boosting nutrients and satisfy your taste buds.

I loved this recipe so much I wanted to share!  Recipe (and photo) adapted from the Food Matters website. 

Serves 3-4 (recipe easily doubled)

Ingredients

  • 3 cup of red cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 6 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 granny smith apple (thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spring greens (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
(toasted if you like)
  • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (raw or organic if you can find it)
  • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

handful of pecans or walnuts for garnish (I like the nuts toasted)

Directions

Use a knife or food processor to chop the cabbage, carrots and apple Julienne style. Throw your sesame seeds in (I like using black and white sesame seeds) or toast them lightly in a frying pan.
 Toss all of this together.

For the dressing combine the ginger, vinegar and oil and stir with a spoon.  Add this to the cabbage, carrots and apples evenly.
Top with more sesame seeds (fantastic source of Calcium).  Salt and pepper to taste and add pecan nuts for a delicious nutty taste.

Enjoy!