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Karista’s Kitchen

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Rosemary Creme Brûlée

Rosemary Creme Brûlée from Karista's Kitchen for Home By Design Magazine

It was the moment when a subtle woody, fragrant scent wafted in my direction that I knew cooking and baking with fresh herbs would forever be in my culinary repertoire.   One of my first classes at culinary school, an intensive course in the use of fresh herbs, we prepared a Rosemary Creme Brûlée.  I couldn’t imagine how it would taste or if I’d even like it.  But I had to like it.  I was in culinary school and I couldn’t be the only student that appeared to have the palate of a five year old.  I was over the moon in love with every other dish we’d made in that unit, but what is traditionally a savory herb was now being paired in a sweet custard. It totally worked!  Since that day sixteen years ago, I’ve been using fresh herbs in all my recipes, savory as well as sweet.

If you know me or you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know another herb I can’t seem to get enough of is lavender. I adore lavender shortbread cookies, lavender scones, pinches of lavender combined with other fresh herbs over roast chicken, lemon thyme biscuits, Arugula Lemon Risotto, Arugula Chimichurri, and the list goes on.  It’s a rare occasion that I don’t incorporate some type of herb or spice in my recipes; they simply enhance and elevate flavor and create food moments to remember.

Rosemary Creme Brûlée is definitely memorable.  Although I prepare this dessert at home and for friends and clients (I originally created this photo and recipe for one of my favorite clients, Home By Design Magazine), I don’t think I’ve ever posted it here. Until now.

Creme Brûlée is a lush and silky custard that is so perfect any time of year.  I prepare this dessert most often around the holidays but I also make it during the warmer months because I can make it in advance, pop it in the fridge and then serve it when I’m ready.  Pairing it with fresh herbs changes the flavor profile but not the well loved custard.  I’ve used my beloved lavender a few times as well as lemon thyme, but rosemary has to be my favorite herb in creme brûlée.

I’ve prepared this recipe a few different methods, but I think the best method is when the fresh rosemary is gently steeped in the cream, allowing the oils to subtly scent and flavor the custard.  It’s a simple yet impressive dessert that will WOW your guests and your family.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Rosemary Creme Brûlée

Serving Size: serves 4

Rosemary Creme Brûlée

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
  • 1- 3 to 4 inch sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, cold
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
  2. Place four ramekins into a baking dish or cake pan. Heat enough water to fill the bottom of the baking dish and come halfway up the side of the ramekins. This is called a Bain-Marie, a hot water bath.
  3. In a sauce pan heat the heavy cream and sprig of rosemary over medium heat. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and then remove the sauce pan from the heat and let the heavy cream and rosemary hang out for about fifteen minutes or so, allowing the rosemary oil to infuse the heavy cream.
  4. In an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is light and creamy, adding in the ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. Strain the heavy cream removing any and all rosemary leaves and then while whisking, slowly add the rosemary infused cream to the egg and sugar mixture.
  6. Divide the custard evenly among the four ramekins and place the baking dish carefully into the oven.
  7. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, just until the custard is set. Allow the custard to cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Remove the crème brulee from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the top of each custard with about ½ teaspoon of sugar. Using a culinary torch*, scorch the sugar creating the traditional burnt sugar topping.
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. *Culinary blow torches can be found at most kitchen and bath stores or larger home and garden stores.
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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta

Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera with red and green peppers, peas, asparagus fresh basil and light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

We had only been in our new home in Washington state for a few weeks when we were invited to our neighbors home for dinner.  Mr. Neighbor was an excellent home chef and prepared the most divine slow cooked tomato sauce with locally produced Italian sausages.  I’m sure we had other dishes of food that night, but all I can remember are the sausages.

As we were chatting about food, Mrs. Neighbor mentioned the sausages were from Isernio’s Sausage Company in Seattle.  Well that was all she had to say because the next day I was on the hunt for Isernio’s sausages.  Thirteen years later… I’m still cooking with Isernio’s products.

If there is one thing that will completely grab my attention, it’s a great story.  The Isernio story is one of timeless traditions shared with friends and family, combined with hard work and passion that led to the making of a great sausage company.  Flavor, quality, product selection and value are just a few reasons I’ve been a long time fan of Isernio’s products.  From traditional mild and hot Italian sausages to fresh ground meats and chicken sausages, Isernio’s has a product to make every meal inviting and delicious.

Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera prepared with fresh garden product and laced with a light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

Over the years I’ve created dozens of tasty recipes with Isernio’s products. These Chile Lime Chicken Burgers were one of the first recipes I created with Isernio’s Ground Chicken, making a flavorful and healthy alternative for burger season.  Isernio’s Ground Chicken is perfect for most any recipe you would use ground beef.  I use the ground chicken in tacos and enchiladas and of course I use it in all sorts of Italian pasta recipes.

This beautiful pasta primavera, prepared with linguine, is perfect for the spring and summer season.  It’s filled with fresh garden produce, beautifully balanced with Isernio’s Ground Chicken and laced with a light cream sauce.  Loads of flavor that make a healthy and hearty meal for any occasion.

Here’s wishing you a most delicious week!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

Serving Size: 4-6

Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Isernio's ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus or asparagus tips
  • 1 cup sweet peas
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 12 oz to 1 lb linguine
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add water to a large pasta pot, add a generous pinch or two of salt and heat to a boil over high heat. When the water boils add the linguine and boil according to package directions. About five minutes before the pasta is done, add the bell pepper and asparagus to the pasta. The veggies will cook crisp tender in the pasta water. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and veggies in a colander and place it in a large bowl.
  2. While the pasta water is heating, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic, Italian parsley and oregano and sauté a minute longer. Then add the ground chicken and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until the ground chicken is browned. If it's not cooked through, that's ok because it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  3. Next add the 1/2 cup of white wine to the ground chicken mixture and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  4. Then stir in the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has reduced a bit and slightly thickened. Stir in the sweet peas and grated parmesan. Add a splash of lemon juice to the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the the sauce over the pasta and veggies, add the fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve with extra grated parmesan and warm, fresh Italian bread.
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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Strawberry Jam Crostata

Strawberry Jam Crostata - Karista's Kitchen

I’m guest posting over at my friend’s website Pastry Craft.  I know you’re probably thinking “you, pastry, really?”  I don’t often post a pastry, however, when Chef Laurie kindly asked me to prepare a lovely pastry and guest post for her blog, I was happy to oblige.

Actually,  I’m honored.  Chef Laurie is an accomplished and exceptional chef who I greatly admire.  She’s also become a friend who I cherish.  Besides both working in the culinary field, we share the love of an excellent Single Malt Scotch.  Yes, this is how we spend our time when we’re together.  That or dining on delicious cuisine… or both.

So head on over to Pastry Craft to snag this lovely little Strawberry Jam Crostata recipe by clicking HERE.   And be sure to check out Chef Laurie’s pastry classes HERE.  She’s an amazing pastry chef and chef instructor with an impressive and extensive background in pastry.  I’ve had the pleasure of taking Chef Laurie’s classes and I can personally tell you they were so much fun, informative and I felt confident I could re-create the recipes at home.  If you live in the greater Seattle area these classes are not to be missed!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista