Browsing Tag

summer

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table vegetarian

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // karista's kitchen

It’s zucchini week in my kitchen.  This delectable Summer Zucchini Cake recipe is just one of many zucchini recipes I’ve been preparing lately.

You could say I’m extremely well stocked with zucchini this summer.  I have to admit, it wasn’t my intention to plant four zucchini plants.  My plan was to plant two zucchini this summer.  Because you know how zucchini plants grow in the warm weather and last year they took over my garden.

So this year I decided to plant two zucchini and four cucumber plants – because I wanted to put up pickles this summer.

Instead, I unknowingly purchased four zucchini and two cucumber plants.  Obviously my pickling plans are on hold. 🙁

When zucchini and cucumber plants are starts, they look similar.  At least they look similar to me.  I’m also guessing one of the high school garden area workers at my local garden store thought the same and mis-labeled the zucchini as cucumber.

Summer Zucchini Cakes with Cilantro Lime Crema // Karista's Kitchen

I suppose I could say “lucky you!” because I’ve got a few more zucchini recipes to post before the summer is over.  Despite my little rant, I do adore zucchini.  It’s my go to veggie in the summer because it pairs deliciously with just about anything.  It’s also fabulous diced raw and tossed into a summer corn and tomato salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s delicious in stir fry’s and just simply roasted, which is what I do with it most the time.

These summer zucchini cakes are simple to make and can be served as a starter, snack or even light entrée.  Enjoy!

Summer Zucchini Cakes

8-10 large cakes 10-15 small cakes

Summer Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or sub with bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup or handful of sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Ghee or oil for pan frying
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Splash of Sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and honey until thoroughly combined. Hold in the fridge.
  • In a large bowl mix together the grated zucchini, almond flour, green onions, Dijon mustard, pepper jack cheese and egg. Just before making the cakes, stir in the salt and pepper.
  • Heat over medium heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottom skillet. Once the oil is hot and almost smoking, for tablespoon sized zucchini balls and then drop onto the skillet pressing the top to make a little cake. You can also use muffin scoops to portion out the zucchini cake mix.
  • Brown the cake on both sides about 3-5 minutes each side depending on the thickness. Transfer the cakes to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with just a bit more salt or parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with additional green onion and serve warm with the Cilantro Lime Crema
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
    http://karistaskitchen.com/2016/07/29/summer-zucchini-cakes-with-cilantro-lime-crema/

    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

     

    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

     

    Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Sassy French Lentils

    French Lentils with vegetables or squash

    What a summer it’s been.  Another move, a bit of travel, family visits, lots of delicious recipes tested and photographed, a new driver in the family, our college student returning to the city soon and Tank and I found new trails to run, cows and chickens to photograph and juicy ripe blackberries to snack on while we’re supposed to be running.  I think Tank loves the blackberry breaks more than me.

    Life is in perpetual motion and although this is a good thing, there are moments I need to put on the brakes, settle into a comfy chair and enjoy a quiet moment.  Hopefully with something tasty to sip – and always with a good book.  This does not happen often enough unfortunately, but today, I find myself scheming to find that moment in the near future.  I think you should to!  My little soapbox speech for the day. 🙂

    Mirepoix for French Lentils

    I’m in a bit of a sassy mood (can you tell?) and in honor of my sassiness, I’m posting this sassy little French lentil recipe.  Lentils have never thrilled my culinary taste buds – they’ve always just been there.  A side dish or ingredient that has useful qualities.  Mashed and blended with other exciting ingredients into lentil cakes or stirred into soups and stews to create a hearty texture.  Sometimes I’ll toss them into salads for extra texture and protein but I think I love them best prepared in the French style.

    French Lentils with vegetables or squash

    This is a recipe I can get excited about.  Layering flavor after flavor and then combining all those lush flavors with the lentils and summer vegetables makes for the loveliest entrée or side dish.   This dish is so simple and so delicious, I often pair it with grilled salmon or steak.  My oldest gal adores this dish a la carte, 0ften taking the leftovers for lunch.

    So, my friends, plan a quiet moment with something tasty to sip, a good book…  and make yourself some Sassy French Lentils.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Sassy French Lentils

    I use organic canned lentils for time sake, but feel free to use dried lentils that have been cooked.

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 red onion, diced

    2 anchovies

    1 medium carrot, diced

    1 rib celery, diced

    3 cloves garlic, finely diced

    1 3 inch sprig rosemary

    3 sprigs fresh thyme

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

    1 cup diced summer tomatoes (or canned)

    1 15 ounce can organic lentils or 2 cups cooked lentils

    1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground mustard (optional)

    Squeeze of  lemon juice

    Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

    Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Add ins:  sliced roasted or grilled summer squash and zucchini, eggplant, green beans, corn and any other summer vegetable you adore, just stir them in or layer them on top of the finished dish.  If preparing this dish Fall/Winter I love to stir in diced roasted sweet potato or butternut squash.

    Directions

    In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and when it’s hot, but not smoking, add the onions, anchovies, carrots and celery.  Sauté until the veggies are nice and soft.

    Then stir in the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

    Next stir in the rosemary, thyme, Italian parsley, oregano, tomatoes and lentils.  Let them heat through and then simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Remove the sprig of rosemary and then stir in the Dijon or stone ground mustard, squeeze of lemon juice (about a teaspoon), and drizzle of olive oil.  Continue to simmer on low for another 5-8 minutes.

    Take them off the heat and let them sit covered while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Or let them sit for about 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld together.  Taste for seasoning before serving.

    If you are pairing the lentils with veggies, ladle the lentils onto a platter and then top with the veggies.  If using diced roasted sweet potato or butternut squash, I like to gently fold those into the lentils and then ladle onto a platter.

    Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and dollops of plain Greek yogurt.

    Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

    Bon Appetit!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    I got a Facebook message one evening from my friend Jan.  She told me she had just made a mango sorbet and ginger beer float and it was fantastic!

    As I was reading the message I thought to myself “how brilliant!”.  But of course, I’d expect nothing short of brilliant from Jan.  She’s a passionate foodie as well as a fantastic home chef.

    So I had to try it.  However, me, being me, I plowed through the market at mach speed because my to do list was much longer than my day, grabbed a carton of mango sorbet and what I thought was ginger beer.

    I got home and put it all together for dessert one sultry, hot evening and realized my ginger beer was ginger “brew”, a very nice high quality version of ginger ale.

    I decided to try it with the ginger ale and it was delicious.  Topped with a sprig of mint, this Mango Sorbet and Ginger Brew Float made a lovely after dinner treat.  Not too heavy and perfectly refreshing.

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    Although this float made a tasty little dessert, I had to try the float with ginger beer.  Why you ask?  Because ginger ale or ginger brew is not the same as ginger beer.  Ginger beer goes through a brewing and fermenting process and isn’t quite as sweet as ginger ale. Ginger beer also tastes more like real ginger.  Some ginger beer can even be a bit spicy – and it’s also less carbonated.  Ginger ale is much sweeter and more like a soda than a beer.

    Both versions of the float were fabulous.  Although the ginger beer float was much less sweet and a bit more spicy.

    I would absolutely serve both versions.  If you don’t like ginger beer, ginger ale works beautifully. Ginger ale is also a great sub for the kiddos.

    If you’re a fan of ginger beer, you’ll love this refreshing, tropical and slightly sassy dessert.

    Thanks Jan for this fantastic recipe! xo

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Jan’s Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Float

    Makes 6 floats

    Ingredients

    2 pints mango sorbet

    2-3 12 ounce bottles ginger beer or ginger ale

    Sprigs of mint

    Festive straws and long spoons

    Directions

    Scoop the sorbet into frosty mugs and then poor the ginger beer or ginger ale slowly over the sorbet.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and a pretty straw.

    Sip and enjoy.

     

     

     

     

     

    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Shrimp

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

    I wish I could tell you this is a new recipe.  It’s not.  Actually it’s a revision, maybe adaption is a better word.  Most likely due to changes in my palate as well as changes in my culinary style.   I’ve been making assorted fish tacos for years.  Assembling the little lovelies differently each time.  Allowing my playful culinary visions to shine through.   I posted the original recipe way back in 2010, when I used my little point and shoot Canon to take food photos.  A hearty little silver blue camera that did the job for a while.

    But then I started getting fussy about my food pictures.  I read somewhere that chef’s are the worst food photographers.  At first glance I took offense to that statement.  But it couldn’t have been more true, especially way back in the day when I started this website.  For me, It’s always been about the food.  The explosion of flavor that happens when something delectable hits the palate.  But somewhere in the mix, I realized a great photo was a true representation of my masterpiece.  And it should look as good as the food tastes.  Not to mention, the old photo made me cringe.  Literally, it kept me up at night.

    This is a lovely dish that certainly deserves a lovely photo.  And it’s a lovely dish that can be prepared so many different ways.  Grilled or Roasted Salmon (or any fresh fish you have on hand), spicy or sweet crema, spicy or sweet slaw, with our without pineapple and/or mango.  And if you love avocado as much as I do, toss a slice on top of your taco to complete this lush recipe.

    I’ve included some fun options for these tacos in the recipe below.  Different ideas to season, additional options for the slaw and the crema… or as my family likes to say “the sauce”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the Salmon

    1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon filets

    Olive oil

    ½  teaspoon chili powder

    ½ teaspoon ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    Options:  Instead of using my fish spice mixture, feel free to use your favorite spicy fish taco seasoning or Emerils Essence Seasoning also makes a delish option for these tacos. 

    For the Chipotle Lime Crema

    ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (you may want to begin with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and then add more if you like)

    1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream

    zest of 1 lime

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon sugar

    Options: substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream and Sriracha or hot sauce for the chipotle chili powder. 

    For the Cilantro Slaw

    2 cups shredded fresh cabbage

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    2  tablespoons sugar

    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Options:  add diced fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to the slaw. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with sliced green onions.

    Garnish

    Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

    8 – 10 corn tortillas, steamed or warmed (I either warm them over my grill, gas stove top or in the microwave.

    Fresh sliced Avocado (optional)

    Lime wedges

    Directions

    Heat the grill to 400F. Brush the grill racks with oil.

    Mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with oil and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

    When the grill is hot, place the salmon flesh side down on the grill. Let the salmon sear and cook for about 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula and grill another 4 minutes, or a little longer for salmon that is cooked through.  If the salmon doesn’t want to flip, it’s probably not ready.  Just let it sit for another minute or two, turning the heat down if needed.  Rule of thumb: fish should cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter to cool.

    While the salmon is cooling, whisk together the creme fraiche, chipotle chili powder, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

    Wisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage and cilantro.

    Flake the grilled salmon, removing any bones. Fill the steamed tortillas with the grilled salmon, top with chipotle lime crema, your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, and the shredded cabbage with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!

     

     

    Appetizers Halibut Karista's Kitchen Salad Seafood VRAI Magazine

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen Perfect for a summer evening!

    The vibrant and colorful foods of South America beg to be tasted, savored and celebrated.  South America provides a garden of gorgeous and unique regional produce, oceans of seafood, tropical fruits that remind us of sunshine and summer; and spicy flavors that feel festive and indulgent.

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m so excited about the newest issue of VRAI Magazine!  Head on over to snag this fantastic summer recipe, Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones; and while you’re there, stay a while and browse.  VRAI Magazine is evolving and I’m so proud to be working with the most amazing and talented team.

    Check out the “Getting to Know” page to find out more about all the amazing and talented people behind this fabulous magazine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sweets vegetarian

    White Peaches in Sangria with Fresh Mint

    White Peaches in Sangria // Karista's Kitchen  The perfect summer dessert!

    This is one of those summer desserts that I love to prepare when it’s super hot outside and something sweet and refreshing is in order.  Not to mention, all that needs to be done is peel and slice the peaches and add them to a bowl of sangria to marinate for 30 minutes.  It’s also a great way to use a flat of local sun ripened white peaches.

    A few years back Ranger Craig and I bought a few flats of white peaches from a local farmer.  We ate peaches all the way home (a two hour trip).  Windows down, warm air filling the jeep while drips of the sweet, juicy peaches slid down our chins.

    Super excited about our white peach stash, I made a pie with the white peaches and local blueberries, I added them to pancakes, muffins and a lovely steak salad with gorgonzola.  Froze a few bags for a peach pie and slow roasted pork mid-winter, but I still had plenty left to use.  That’s when I decided we’d be using the rest for some White Peaches in Sangria.

    White Peaches in Sangria // Karista's Kitchen The perfect summer dessert!

    Most often I purchase the sangria but you can certainly make your own.   I have a few sangria recipes I adore, but most of the time I’m so deeply involved in preparing the starters, entrees and sides… I forget to make the sangria.  So I always keep a bottle in stock.   I’ve found a few lovely sangrias at several Spanish food shops and my local market.  Something light, sweet and a bit spicy will do.  If you don’t have a favorite Sangria recipe, HERE is a fabulous article from Wine Enthusiast “The Anatomy of Sangria“.  I highly recommend the article.

    I’m going to be MIA for a little while, we’re moving again and I know it’ll take some time to put a kitchen back together as well as set up my office.  It’s not a big move like last year, but nonetheless, its still packing, unpacking and trying to figure out where to put things.  As well, I think I’m going to enjoy the weather a bit and spend a little time with my lovely family.  I hope you have the chance to do the same!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    White Peaches in Sangria

    Although I typically serve these White Peaches in Sangria for dessert, often I will serve this as a light cocktail starter.  It’s refreshing and the perfect warm weather starter for a gathering mid-summer.

    Ingredients

    White Peaches, peeled and sliced

    Sangria

    Mint leaves

    Directions

    Place white peach slices in a large glass or non-reactive bowl.  Pour Sangria over the peaches and let them marinate for about 30 minutes.  Then ladle peaches and sangria into martini glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint.

     

     

     

     

    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!

     

     

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Seafood

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

    I can’t think of any dish that feels more comforting to me than a big ‘ole bowl of steamers.  Whether it be clams or mussels, my enjoyment level that comes from a big bowl of steamers placed in front of me at the table is mountainous.  Living on both coasts of the U.S. has made a seafood lover out of me.  And with that seafood love comes my deep affection for these lovely shellfish.

    I remember my first encounter with mussels.  Living on the East coast years ago, we frequented a little seafood restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island called The Black Pearl.  There, I dined on the most succulent of mussels bathed in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs.  From that moment, I became a huge fan of steamed shellfish whether they be bathed in wine, beer, broth, with chorizo or homemade sausage, fresh herbs, onions and garlic… no matter, I’ll eat them.

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

    To mix it up a bit I thought why not steam these little lovelies in curry?  And just as I was toying with the thought, Ranger Craig and I dined at a fabulous restaurant in Bend, Oregon which served Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry.  This absolutely proves the point – if it’s a good idea, someone, somewhere, has already thought of it.

    So now I’m passing along this dish to you.  Whether it be spring, summer, fall or winter, this dish seems to compliment any season.  Be sure to serve with a bowl of rice to add to the curry when you’ve polished off the mussels.  Or crusty garlic crostini to dip into the curry is also quite divine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

    Just a quick note.  When I purchase fresh mussels at my market or fish market they are bagged and tied.  When you get home, untie the bag, place the open bag of mussels in a bowl and set the bowl in your refrigerator.  It’s best to use the mussels the same day they are purchased, however, they are fine if used the very next day.

    Serves 2 for an entrée or 4 for a starter

    Ingredients

    2lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed and rinsed in cold water and little “beards”s pinched off.  Don’t add any mussels that are open or broken.  If you squeeze the mussel shut and it opens again, it’s not any good.  It’s rare I can find the smaller mussels, but if you find them, snag them.  They are sweeter and less briny than the larger mussels.

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 tablespoons green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste)

    1 can organic coconut milk (don’t use the “light” coconut milk)

    2-3 lime leaves (now easily found in the fresh herb section of most markets)

    1 stalk lemongrass, split lengthwise (also found in the herb section of most markets)

    1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

    1-2 cloves garlic, smashed

    1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

    1/2 small red hot pepper or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you don’t like spicy food omit the pepper)

    Squeeze of fresh lime

    Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onions

    Directions

    In a large pasta or soup pot (you can also use a large skillet but I prefer a large pot), heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the green curry paste.  Let the paste warm and mix with the oil for about 30 seconds or so.

    Then add the coconut milk, lime leaves, lemongrass, Asian fish sauce, smashed garlic, fresh ginger slices and red pepper if using.  Stir to combine and simmer on medium to medium low for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The coconut milk will thicken a bit.

    Turn the heat up to medium high and add the mussels.  Cover with a tight lid and let them cook for a few minutes, or until all the mussels are open and opaque.

    Give them a toss in the curry and then pour into a large serving bowl.  Garnish with lots of fresh chopped cilantro or green onion.

    Serve with rice to eat with the curry when all the mussels are gone.  Or some toasty garlic bread for dipping.

    Recipe inspired by my Thai Green Curry Steamers in Bend, Oregon

     

     

    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,

    Karista

    Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa

    Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa

    Ingredients

    • 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

    Instructions

  • 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.

    Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
    http://karistaskitchen.com/2013/08/28/blueberry-ginger-salsa-with-roasted-dover-sole/

     

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen vegetarian

    A Summer Cheese Tray

    DaVinci Wine and Cheese Tray

    Al Fresco dining on a summers eve; sun kissed breezes dancing gracefully through the tree tops.

    Bringing with them the fragrant scent of  herbs and warmed pine.

    This is the moment I’ve waited for all year.

    Time slows and with it comes a sense of languish.  Justifying the inability to pull myself out of a cozy deck chair and prepare the evening meal.

    Tonight, it’s simple.  It’s indulgent and it feels just a little naughty.

    A lovely granite tray, reminding me of the dear friend who gave it to me, filled with local artisan cheeses, aged parma harm, fresh chevre lightly bathed in homemade fig preserves and topped off with a bottle (or two) of DaVinci Italian Chianti.

    DaVinci Chianti

    A little excitement has come my way.  Well, a lot of excitement actually.

    I’ve been selected 1 of 12 Finalists in the DaVinci Wine Storytellers Experience, and 1 of 3 Culinary Finalists.  I am deeply honored to be a finalist and feel humbled to be in such lovely company.

    There are 4 categories being judged.  Culinary Arts, Photography, Language Arts and Fine Arts.  1 from each category (4 total) will win a trip to Vinci, Tuscany to visit the birth place of DaVinci Wine.  An extraordinary opportunity.

    I’d love to win.  I’d love to visit Tuscany and share with you my DaVinci Storytellers Experience via blog posts, Facebook updates, Pinterest pics, Tweets and Instagrams.   And if I could pack you all in my suitcase, I would!

    If you could take a moment of your time to click on the link below, I’d love your vote.  You can vote once per day until July 31st (unfortunately the link does not work on mobile devices).

    My deepest Thanks!

    https://www.facebook.com/DaVinciWine/app_120503418159819

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Setting a Summer Cheese Tray

    Determine the number of people you will be serving and allow 1 to 2 ounces of cheese per person.  Although 1-2 ounces is a good rule of thumb, I always end up with 3-4 ounces per person.  But I’m a cheese nut.

    Include a few other nibbles such as parma ham, aged prosciutto, assorted artisan salumi, Castelvetrano olives (I could eat buckets of these but beware of the seeds!) and fresh fruit.  During the summer I love our Washington cherries served with my cheese tray.

    Arrange the cheese according to the type of milk used.  Cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goats milk. If using a creamy cheese, serve it separately and try pairing it with homemade preserves or red pepper jelly.  My new fave is creamy goats cheese topped with red pepper jelly.

    Keep the bleu’s together and try an assortment.  Rogue Creamery has a lovely smokey bleu which pairs well on a cheese tray with an English or locally produced stilton.  Pecorino Romano, Parrano, aged Parmesan, and other hard cheeses are best paired together.  An excellent local cheese that I paired with a Balsamic Vinegar washed Pecorino Romano is Cascadia Creamery’s Sleeping Beauty.

    A few local Washington cheese favorites: Willapa Hills Orange Blossom Yoghurt Cheese, Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Trufflestack and of course no cheese tray is ever complete without Beecher’s Cheese.  They’re all delicious but my fave is “No Woman”.  I know, funny name – excellent cheese.

    Whatever you decide, don’t stress over your cheese tray.  Choose cheese that you love, cheese that pairs well with the wine your serving and be sure to leave plenty of room between each cheese so they’re easy to slice or spoon.  Add the fruit and salumi and a beautiful summer evening begins.