Tis the season for peppermint bark

December 17, 2013

If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has just about overwhelmed you and the thought of making one more treat or wrapping one more gift is more than you can bear, I hear you.

Every year, with the best intentions, I set out to make and bake an ambitious list of treats and goodies. Every year, I fail miserably to accomplish even a fraction of what I intend. Life, work, holiday merry making and all the other responsibilities just simply get in the way.

PeppermintBarkFood 2013120 copy

By Maria Nelson
Don’t let your sweet tooth go into the new year before trying this recipe for holiday crispy curnch peppermint bark.

I’ve made peace with doing less over the years, and as my children have gotten older I’ve realized that really the most important thing is just to make a priority of enjoying the season. Spending time together in the kitchen is a great way for us to do that.

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Got leftovers?

November 26, 2013

Serve up a strata the morning after a holiday feast

By Maria Nelson Thanksgiving Day leftovers make for the perfect ingredients to put into a morning after holiday strata.

By Maria Nelson
Thanksgiving Day leftovers make for the perfect ingredients to put into a morning after holiday strata.

 

One of the most wonderful by-products of the Thanksgiving meal, in my mind, is the abundance of leftover turkey.

If you haven’t completely exhausted yourself in the kitchen on the day of, there are a plethora of recipes to be found online and in magazines that will help you turn the humble bird into another spectacular meal.

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Savor the season with a salty cake

October 22, 2013

In my mind, there is nothing quite as representative or symbolic of fall than baked apple desserts. Caramelized in sugar, sprinkled with cardamom and cinnamon or stewed in compotes on pancakes, or eaten unadorned from a bowl, warm and tart and sweet, I think you get the idea.

Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Beautifully versatile, apples beg to be included in not only the sweet, but they are also perfect companions to the savory. They are best simply roasted in a pan with onions, and sausages, drizzled with maple syrup or slipped into crispy, melty cheese sandwiches. Serve along side roasted tomato soup and you really cannot go wrong.

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Soup is a good way to welcome fall

September 24, 2013

Easy, flavorful French onion soup is a perfect way to welcome fall.

With shorter days approaching, leaves beginning their slow, vibrant metamorphosis and wafts of fall greeting us at every turn, it’s time to turn our thoughts to warm and comforting food.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

September is often our bonus month of summer. However, despite our lovely, frequently sunny days, a change in the air is most often immediately felt once the calendar turns and Labor Day has come and gone. Cooler, shorter evenings require soups, slow-cooked dinners and hopefully more time around the dinner table enjoying them.

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No need to churn this ice cream

August 20, 2013

There are few foods that epitomize summer more than ice cream. Lazy afternoon days soaking up the rarefied Pacific Northwest sun are just somehow made better, more poignant with a bowl or cone of meltingly creamy ice cream at hand.

The plethora of summer fruits available in markets right now are just begging to be included in virtually everything we eat. In salads, on the grill brushed with olive oil, in desserts and in this case, specifically in ice cream.

By Maria Nelson Blackberry no churn ice cream is an easy concoction to create to stay cool during summer.

By Maria Nelson
Blackberry no churn ice cream is an easy concoction to create to stay cool during summer.

August is the perfect month to dive into some homemade ice cream if you haven’t had the chance yet. Gone are the days when in order to make ice cream you needed a bulky, hand-crank-and-rock-salt contraption. Gone even are the days when you need an ice cream maker of any kind. Easy no-churn ice cream recipes abound and the beauty of them lies in their versatility.

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Summer fruits are delicious

July 23, 2013

One could say I’m a bit over zealous when it comes to our summer fruit here in the Northwest. After all, we do have to wait several seasons for the sweet treasures. So, it’s no surprise when I end up with loads of stone fruit and berries on my kitchen counter. Every year, I justify my lack of summer fruit restraint by telling myself I’m going to can the bulk of my stash.

By Karista Bennett Summer fruits, like blueberries, make the perfect ingredients for this salsa recipe.

By Karista Bennett
Summer fruits, like blueberries, make the perfect ingredients for this salsa recipe.

But only a small portion of the summer ripened local berries makes it into my canning day. Most of it ends up in the bellies of the Bennett Family. That’s really how we like it best. In a bowl on the kitchen counter for snacking, breakfast, lunch and dessert.

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Summer means heading to the grill for meals

June 25, 2013

One of the best things about summer is grilling season. Juicy flavorful burgers topped with thick slices of locally made Beecher’s cheddar, slow grilled ribs that fall off the bone and locally raised bone in chicken, grilled to perfection with just a little crisp outside and slathered in my favorite barbecue sauce.

Summer is a time of celebration and revisiting all of those beloved seasonal flavors that come but once a year.

By Karista Bennett This grilled yogurt and basil pesto marinated chicken recipe is a great way to start off your backyard grilling season.

By Karista Bennett
This grilled yogurt and basil pesto marinated chicken recipe is a great way to start off your backyard grilling season.

Although The Bennett Crew could consume grilled chicken weekly, by the middle of summer, we’re hankering for some new flavors. Marinating chicken is a great way to infuse new flavors into a chicken dish, as well as keeping your chicken moist and juicy. This marinade uses yogurt to tenderize the chicken, and the basil pesto infuses it with a lot of enticing summer flavor.

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Chicken makes great grilled burgers, too

May 21, 2013

It’s grilling time!

There is nothing quite like a big, juicy beef burger. Loaded with all sorts of fresh, delicious toppings and capped with a soft and tasty bun. Served up with a side of Grandma’s macaroni salad and, of course, a big jar of chilled pickles.

Nothing makes my family happier than a weekend barbecue. Especially when I serve Chile Lime Ground Chicken Burgers. A flavorsome alternative to those big, juicy ground beef burgers and every bit as delicious.

By Karista Bennett Chile-lime chicken burgers are easy to prepare on the home barbecue grill.

By Karista Bennett
Chile-lime chicken burgers are easy to prepare on the home barbecue grill.

Spiced with chili powder and cumin and flavored with chopped fresh green onion with a squeeze of lime juice. Add in my secret ingredient, mayonnaise, to keep the ground chicken burger moist and delicious.

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Strawberry season pairs well with this savory, salmon recipe

April 23, 2013

Although I can’t seem to grow a tomato in my garden, for the past few years I’ve had strawberries popping up everywhere in my yard. I’ve been feeling just a tiny bit triumphant about my unexpected crop of strawberries. Combined with my weekly trips to the Issaquah Farmers Market and Jubilee Farms last summer, my kitchen table and countertops overflowed with the sweet red berries.

Strawberry shortcake, spinach and strawberry salad, strawberry preserves, strawberry coconut sorbet and, of course, the Bennett Crews favorite, strawberry salmon.

By Karista Bennett Savory strawberry sauce served over grilled salmon features the best of seasonal ingredients.

By Karista Bennett
Savory strawberry sauce served over grilled salmon features the best of seasonal ingredients.

Fruit has long been used to flavor savory sauces and nothing seems more well-paired than berries and salmon: a perfect celebration of spring and summer.

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For the love of all things Irish

March 26, 2013

I’m deeply enamored with Ireland. It feels a poetic and romantic place. Melodic Celtic music seems to transcend time, lush green landscapes, drifting fog and rugged shores. All create visions of charm and daydreams.

I’m just as enamored with Irish cuisine. Deep, rich flavors warm a belly and comfort the soul. It’s hearty fare my grandmother used to call “stick to your ribs” cuisine. Perfect for the cool evenings still to come.

By Karista Bennett Irish cuisine is delicious anytime, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

By Karista Bennett
Irish cuisine is delicious anytime, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

There’s no celebrating the arrival of spring at my house without some festive and hearty Irish fare. One of my favorite dishes to prepare is Colcannon. Traditionally a mashed potato, cabbage and green onion side dish, I decided to recreate this lush recipe into a one-pot meal.

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