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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

Italian Porketta with Apple Cherry Chutney

Italian porketta with apple cherry chutney

My little buddy Tank and I went for our run this morning and it didn’t take us long to complete our laps.  Instead of spring approaching it felt like winter! Yep, I think the polar vortex is about to swoop down onto the Willamette Valley and give us a few more weeks of winter.

I’ve seen the trees and plants start to bud and I was hoping that was a sign warmer weather would be arriving soon.  I guess not.

Apple Cherry Chutney with Braised Italian Porketta

So with the impending cold front and gray skies above, I thought we needed a little warm and cozy for dinner tonight.   This boldly seasoned pork roast pairs beautifully with my favorite Apple Cherry Chutney.  A little spicy, a little sweet.  Ha! Just like me.

I’m off to stuff a few more tasks into my busy day, so I’ll leave you with this lovely little recipe to entice your taste buds and warm your evening.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Braised Italian Porketta with Apple Cherry Chutney

Serves 4-6

This is best when the pork is bathed in the dry rub and sits overnight in the refrigerator.  It can be popped in a slow cooker but I prefer this prepared in the Dutch oven as it’s not browned prior to cooking.


The Porketta:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3-4lbs pork shoulder, boneless

1 small onion, halved and then sliced

1 cup white wine or chicken broth

Kitchen Twine

Serve with Apple Cherry Chutney (recipe follows) 


Mix together the dry ingredients.  Cut the pork down the center, just midway and open like a book. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the rub in the crevice.  Close it up and tie it with kitchen twine.  Then use the remaining rub on the outside of the pork.   Wrap it in plastic wrap and place the pork in the refrigerator at least overnight.  I promise, this will taste so good!

When you are ready to prepare the pork, pre-heat the oven to 350F.   Heat a little oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven and sauté the onions.  Remove the plastic wrap and place the pork into the Dutch oven and then add the cup of white wine or broth.  Bring the wine/broth to a boil.  Turn off the stove and place the lid on the Dutch oven and transfer it to the preheated oven.

The pork will cook for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on weight.  Check the internal temperature after one hour.  The final cooking temperature should reach 145F.

While the pork is braising prepare the Apple Cherry Chutney.

Apple Cherry Chutney


2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced (I like larger pieces for a heartier chutney)

1 cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 stick cinnamon

2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon diced shallots

Olive oil


In a medium pan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, sauté the shallots for  a minute or two, or until wilted and soft.  Next stir in the apples, drained dried cherries, brown sugar, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a lively simmer.  Simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and it reaches your desired consistency.  If you feel the chutney isn’t soft enough, add a little water and continue simmering.

Lightly season with a pinch of sea salt.

To Serve:

Once the pork is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Remove the kitchen twine and slice thin against the grain.  Place the slices of Porketta on a platter and ladle the chutney around the pork.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  Serve warm.

*I love this dish served with roasted or steamed broccoli or broccoli rabe with parmesan and garlic.








Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

spicy black bean soup with lime crema and avocado

I have selected two words for 2014.  I think I’m only supposed to choose one but I couldn’t make a decision between these two words.

Maybe my new word for the year should be decisive.

Someone once told me I had a talent for connecting.  Ok, never thought I’d hear that described as one of my talents.  But I’ll take it.

A bright young professional, a former business acquaintance, visionary; someone that waltzed through my life but for a season.  Although much younger and less life experience, this astute and intuitive young professional was correct.  Without ever paying attention to that little habit of mine, I realized, I like to connect people.  Of course, if it’s a love connection I’m even more delighted.  But I don’t think I’ll be changing my career path to match maker anytime soon.

Shortly after that thought provoking moment, one of my dearest friends told me her Mom once said “one of the most important things in life is our relationships”.  That too struck me and I’ve never forgotten. (Thank you Kristen… and Lola)

My friends Mom was correct. Relationships, connections, for a lifetime or for a season, help shape us, make us who we are and who were meant to be;  often helping us and others find a solid path.

A New Year's Weekend at the Beach

So, I started this year thinking my word for 2014 would be connect.  However, I’m also quite fond of the word listen.  If I hadn’t been listening I would never have “heard” both my business acquaintance or my friend.  Two words that allowed me to pause and reflect, and then proceed with open ears and an open heart.

I admit, it’s not always easy to actively listen. I have so much swimming around in my head most of the time.  I’d like to tell you I often contemplate super cool subjects like why stars split or why some years we have La Nina or El Nino. And, although the weather and astronomy interest me, my head is usually swimming with a list of seasonal ingredients and how I might pull them deliciously together in a new recipe.  Among other things of course, like being a Mom.

And how will I segue into this lush little recipe?  Well… I’ve been listening to my readers and I’m now connecting you with this delightful, seasonal and delicious recipe that simmers warm and cozy for the winter months. (apparently, I also like adjectives)

It’s a new year with new recipes and hopefully a few new food projects. I love hearing from my readers.  If you have recipe ideas or questions, meal ideas or meal idea questions feel free to email me at  I’ll answer as quickly as I can.  I promise I will listen and hopefully connect you with the information you need.

Loads of Love and Delicious Wishes,


Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

I know the ingredient list looks long.  But I promise you’ll probably have most the ingredients on hand and I’ve broken down the ingredient list in order of use.  Sectioning ingredients always helps me when I’m preparing a new recipe.  So I thought it might be helpful for you as well.  Enjoy!!

Serves 4-6


The Veggies:

Tablespoon or two of olive oil

1 white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned, seeded and diced

The Spices:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

¼ – ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

The Base of the Soup:

1 14 ounce can organic diced tomatoes with juice

4 cups vegetable broth

6-8 cups cooked black beans OR 4 14 ounce cans organic black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lime, squeezed

The Garnish:

1 lime sliced

Sliced green onions

Hand torn cilantro

Sliced avocado

½ cup sour cream mixed with a squeeze of lime juice


Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent.  Then stir in the garlic and roasted poblano pepper and stir for a minute longer.

Next stir in all the spices, the tomatoes, vegetable broth and *black beans *reserving  two cups or 1 can of black beans. This is a semi pureed soup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let the soup simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add a squeeze or two of lime juice, about a tablespoon, and then take it off the heat.  Puree the soup with either a hand blender or carefully transfer the soup in batches to a vitamix or blender and puree.

Add the soup back to the soup pot and stir in the last two cups of black beans or last can of black beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and extra lime juice if needed.

Serve the soup in small bowls and garnish with sliced green onions, torn cilantro leaves, sliced avocado, a slice of lime and dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Karista's Kitchen Sides vegetarian

Winter Roasted Beet Salad

roasted beet salad with gorgonzola and candied walnuts

Winter Roasted Beet Salad

You may be surprised to learn that beets haven’t always topped my favorite veggie list.  It wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve completely embraced this lush red or golden root veggie.  My favorite method of consumption?  Roasted.  Roasting brings out the sweetness in most vegetables but especially root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and beets.

Often I’ll bring home 2 or 3 bunches of local beets, clean them, roast them and store them in the frig.  When I need a quick side or salad, voila!

roasted beet salad with gorgonzola and candied walnuts

This salad is easy to prepare with ingredients that can be prepped in advance.  Not only is it delicious, it looks like art on a platter.  Which makes this the perfect holiday or winter salad.

I’m keeping this post short and sweet today.  Tank hasn’t had his morning run and he’s sitting at my feet staring at me with his “please take me for a walk” look.  And really, who could resist those terrier eyes.

Wishing you all things merry and bright this holiday season!

Loads of Love,


Winter Roasted Beet Salad

Serves about 6-8


About 6 medium size red or gold beets (or a mixture of both)

1 – 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 – 1 cup good quality crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (Rogue Creamery and Salemville have nice mid-range rice options that are quite delicious)

1/2 cup chopped candied walnuts (found in most markets, especially during the holidays.  However, I’ve given a quick recipe below)

Good quality Balsamic Vinegar (this is the time to break out the good stuff)

Good quality Olive oil, about 1/4 cup (I used California Olive Ranch Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive oil.  One word, divine!)


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Wash the beets and trim just a bit.  Place in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil and wrap, tenting it a little.  Roast for about 45 minutes or until the beets can be pierced with a fork or knife.  I like my beets slightly undercooked, otherwise the texture tends to be a bit mushy.  So check them at 35 – 40 minutes.  Let the beets cool and then peel off the skins.  This is a colorful and messy job but well worth the effort.  If you are roasting the beets in advance, place the roasted whole beets in a Ziploc bag and pop them in the frig until they are ready to use.

Place the thinly sliced shallots in a small bowl and toss with a drizzle or two of balsamic vinegar.  I love the shallots marinated in the balsamic vinegar. Cuts the harshness of the shallot and adds extra balsamic flavor to the salad.  Let the sliced shallots hang out in the vinegar while you prepare the salad.

Slice the beets, not too thick, and layer them on a platter.  Dust lightly with a little sea salt.

Next, toss the marinated shallots over the beets.  Then sprinkle the beets and shallots with Gorgonzola and garnish with the chopped candied walnuts.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Serve immediately.

Option:  During the summer months, I add sliced or coarsely chopped cucumber to the salad for a little fresh, clean, crisp flavor.

Quick candied nuts

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Pinch of salt

In a heavy bottom pan over medium heat add the sugar.  Let the sugar melt.  Once melted, sprinkle the chopped nuts into the sugar and give it a stir.  Once the nuts look well coated pour them out onto wax paper to cool.  Sprinkle lightly with a pinch of salt.  Break with a knife or by hand.





Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sides vegetarian

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn with green onions and cilantro

Slightly Spicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

My winter quarter classes begin next week and I couldn’t be more excited about the menu.  I’m proud to say this will be my fourth year teaching cooking classes for our local Co-op market here in Seattle.

PCC is the Puget Consumer and Co-op Natural Market that began in 1953.  An amazing story about 15 founding families who wanted to improve the quality and nutrition of available food.  Now over 45,000 members strong, PCC continues to support our local farms with the PCC Farmland Trust and educate our community through our IACP Award winning PCC Cooks.

It does my heart good to see the community supporting our local farms and farming communities.  I think you know how much I’d love to be a farmer. :)  Until then, I savor the opportunity to do my part in food education.

Teaching people to cook is essential to good health.  Teaching home chef’s how to make local, seasonal produce, meat, fish and poultry taste delicious is my goal.

Black beans, sweet potatoes, lime vinaigrette

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and a hint of Spice

This brightly colored dish couldn’t be more tempting.  Beautiful to the eye and bursting with flavor to the tongue.  I love versatile and this is one of those versatile salads that can be tweaked to your tastes.

I personally love it loaded with cilantro and green onions.  But I have a friend who doesn’t care so much for cilantro.  Leaving out the cilantro and replacing it with chive or Italian parsley would be also be fabulous.

Sweet potatoes are divine in this recipe but feel free to substitute with winter squash. Especially if that’s what you have on hand.  My friend and colleague, Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes, grew a bumper crop of pumpkin this past year.  Pumpkin would also be fabulous as a substitute.

Delicious wishes for a healthy and happy winter!

Loads of Love,


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad // Karista's Kitchen

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Roasting the sweet potatoes or squash is preferred.  I’ve tried it both ways, boiled and roasted.  Roasting brings out the sweetness in the sweet potato and squash, and adds a nice subtle “crisp” on the outside.

Serves 4- 6


2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon oil

2 limes, zested and juiced (if the limes are large and juicy, only one may be needed)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or 1 teaspoon chili powder)

3-4 scallions, finely chopped

1 cup corn, I use local organic frozen corn during the winter months (or a little more, especially if you’re making this in the summer when fresh sweet corn is readily available)

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Or, if your oven runs cool pre-heat to 425F.

In a large bowl, toss the cubed sweet potatoes with a little high heat oil, such as sunflower, safflower or coconut and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, just until crisp tender. Be sure not to overcook.  We wouldn’t want mashed sweet potato salad.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the lime juice, zest, salt, pepper, honey, olive oil and chipotle chili powder.

Add the cooled potatoes, scallions, beans and cilantro.  Toss gently.

You may serve at room temperature or refrigerate.

Recipe adapted from

Contact vegetarian

Winter Vegetable Cobbler

Winter Vegetable Cobbler

I have a fierce affinity for the little cookbook that was.  Or that didn’t.  Or that’s sitting alone on a shelf, in the bookstore.  The edges frayed from having sat there too long and being shuffled about while the new books takes its place.

Winter Delicious

And I have another fierce affinity for cookbooks from yesterday.  Cookbooks from founding members of the culinary world.  Escoffier (given to me by my Mother), Dione Lucas and Julia Child (given to me by my dearest Auntie Ellen). They are my most cherished books.

Food Love

Sometimes, when I find myself with a rare quiet moment, I love to browse my collection of cookbooks.  So diverse, unique and all so delicious.

Reminds me of the world in which we live.

Winter Vegetable Cobbler

A lovely little dish I found in a fabulous Irish Pub Cookbook.  Here in the U.S. we find cobblers typically served as a sweet dish.  But in Ireland, and other parts of Europe, you’ll find hearty savory cobblers with meat, poultry and vegetables.  This recipe is a delicious vegetarian version.  But for those who’d like to make this a bit heartier, add some diced roasted chicken to the dish.  Divine!

Serves 4-6

The ingredient list looks long, but it’s really a breeze.  Just a little bit of chopping and then it all goes in the pot and into the oven.


1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large onions, chopped

2 celery stalks, sliced

1 rutabaga, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 parsnip, chopped

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 14oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

2-4 cups vegetable broth (I love the Rapunzel brand Veggie bouillon cubes with sea salt and herbs)

1 sprig fresh oregano

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Dash of Tabasco, or your favorite hot sauce

Fresh chopped Italian parsley or chive (for garnish)

Cobbler Topping

*2 cups self rising flour

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup cheddar cheese, shred

2 teaspoons fresh chive

1 egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup milk

For the cobbler topping:

Cut butter into flour and then add the chive and cheese.  Whisk together the egg and milk and add all but a tablespoon of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until the dough is soft.  Set aside until ready to top veggies.

For the veggies:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Heat a Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot over medium high heat with the tablespoon of oil or butter.

Then add the onions.  Let the onions cook down and wilt and caramelize a bit.  When the onions are golden add the garlic, sautéing for one minute.

Then add the celery, carrots and remaining veggies.  Cook until the veggies are softened and wilted.

Then add the mushrooms and tomatoes.

Next, mix together the cornstarch and water.  Then stir it into the pot with the broth, Tabasco, dried and fresh herbs.

Place in the oven and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

To Finish the cobbler:

Drop the biscuits onto the vegetables, brush with remaining liquid  and bake the cobbler at 400F for about 10-12 minutes.

Options:  Add diced roasted chicken to the veggies before adding cobbler topping. 

Recipe adapted from the cookbook Irish Pub Cooking, Parragon Books ltd.

*To make self rising flour:

For each cup of all-purpose flour add 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Mix to combine.