Dec 31, 2016

Top Ten Recipes for 2016

These recipes are the most popular reader favorites for 2016. 


Top Ten Recipes for 2016 on Karen's Kitchen Stories

Here they are! Karen's Kitchen Stories Top 10 most popular recipes for 2016! These were your favorite recipes, and I thank you so much for visiting, commenting, critiquing, and following Karen's Kitchen Stories. I can't believe it's been another year!

Dec 30, 2016

The Last Word Cocktail

The Last Word Cocktail is reputed to be an old-timey cocktail, originating in Detroit, and dating back to pre-Prohibition. All I know is, it's pretty tasty. 


The Last Word Cocktail is reputed to be an old-timey cocktail, originating in Detroit, and dating back to pre-Prohibition.

Evidently, The Last Word Cocktail, after languishing in obscurity for about 80 years or so, enjoyed a sudden resurgence when a Seattle bartender recreated it and began serving it around 2006. According to folklore, he discovered the cocktail in a book that was written in 1951.

Dec 28, 2016

Smoked Gouda Cheese Spread

This Smoked Gouda Cheese Spread is a wonderful appetizer spread on crackers, mini toasts, and crudités. It's perfect for cocktail and bowl game parties. 


This Smoked Gouda Cheese Spread is a wonderful appetizer spread on crackers, mini toasts, and crudités. It's perfect for cocktail and bowl game parties.

I love this Smoked Gouda Cheese Spread on garlic melba toast or Carr's Table Water Crackers, but any good cracker will do.

Dec 27, 2016

Shanghai-Style Shrimp, Sweet and Sour Cabbage, and Slow Stir-Fried Red Peppers | Wok Wednesdays

For the months of November and December, the Wok Wednesdays group made three recipes from the book The Breath of a Wok. The recipes include Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Shanghai-Style Shrimp, and Slow Stir-Fried Red Peppers. 


Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Shanghai-Style Shrimp, and Slow Stir-Fried Red Peppers

This dish is Florence Lin's Slow Stir-Fried Red Peppers. This recipe is so simple, and so delicious. Other than oil and a little bit of salt and sugar, there is just one ingredient, red bell peppers.

Dec 26, 2016

Countdown to 2017: Best Appetizers and Snacks

The following are my favorite appetizers and snacks from 2016. 


The following are my favorite appetizers and snacks from 2016.
I can't believe that 2016 is coming to a close. I know, it's just a date, but still, time seems to be flying by.

Cheddar Muffins | #MuffinMonday

These Cheddar Muffins could really be delicious cheesy bread masquerading as muffins... or maybe cheddar biscuits disguised as muffins. 


These cheddar muffins are loaded with cheese and flavored with just a bit of cornmeal, Dijon mustard, freshly ground black pepper, and Tabasco sauce, and they have just the right amount of kick.

These cheddar muffins are loaded with cheese and flavored with shallots, just a bit of cornmeal, Dijon mustard, freshly ground black pepper, and Tabasco sauce. They have just the right amount of kick.

Dec 21, 2016

Espresso Chocolate Sablés

These Espresso Chocolate Sablés are filled with the rich flavor of coffee and chocolate, and have a wonderful crumbly texture. 


These Espresso Chocolate Sablés are filled with the rich flavor of coffee and chocolate, and have a wonderful crumbly texture.

Sablés you ask?  A sablé is the French shortbread! It's just fancier because of the name... and maybe a little more grown up.

Dec 20, 2016

Salted Chocolate Pecan Caramel Bars | #CreativeCookieExchange

These Salted Chocolate Pecan Caramel Bars are incredibly decadent and sophisticated at the same time. 


These salted chocolate caramel bars consist of a delicious deep chocolate shortbread cookie base, topped with a salted chocolate caramel, and then sprinkled with toasted pecans.

These salted chocolate pecan caramel bars consist of a delicious deep chocolate shortbread cookie base, topped with a salted chocolate caramel, and then sprinkled with toasted pecans.

Dec 16, 2016

Sourdough Golden Beet Braided Bread

This Sourdough Golden Beet Braided Bread incorporates a puree of raw golden beets into the dough.

This Sourdough Golden Beet Braided Bread incorporates a puree of raw golden beets into the dough.

This Sourdough Golden Beet Braided Bread was chosen by Cathy of Bread Experience for the monthly Bread Baking Babes bake-along. Each month, one of us introduces a new recipe, and the rest of us make it our own.

Alaskan Seafood Bubbly Bake | #FishFridayFoodies

This Seafood Bubbly Bake, with halibut, crab, scallops, and shrimp, is so creamy and flavorful. 


This Seafood Bubbly Bake, with halibut, crab, scallops, and shrimp, is so creamy and flavorful.

This Alaskan Seafood Bubbly Bake is now one of my favorite recipes on this blog. This says a lot, because I luuurve all of the recipes I've posted here (well, maybe some of the baguettes and that darn pain de beaucaire have caused some frustration, but they were still tasty).

Dec 13, 2016

St. Lucia Buns | Lussebullar | #BreadBakers

St. Lucia Buns are a Swedish holiday tradition, symbolizing the winter solstice. Today, December 13 is St. Lucia Day in Sweden. It is also known as the Festival of Light, and ushers in the holiday season in the country. 


St. Lucia Buns are a Swedish holiday tradition, symbolizing the winter solstice. December 13 is St. Lucia Day in Sweden. It is also know as the Festival of Light, and ushers in the holiday season.

In its honor, I've made these St. Lucia buns, the official bread of this holiday. The buns are scented with saffron, which also gives them their lovely yellow color.

Dec 9, 2016

Make Ahead Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

These make ahead buttermilk dinner rolls are so soft and fluffy. 


These make ahead buttermilk dinner rolls are so soft and fluffy.

What is wonderful about these buttermilk dinner rolls, besides the fact that they are delicious, is that you can make the dough in advance, assemble the rolls, and then let them sit in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance of baking them.

Dec 5, 2016

Mini Ciabatta Loaves

These Mini Ciabatta Loaves are deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust. 

Mini Ciabatta Loaves, deeply flavored from the dark brown and shatteringly thin crust.

The dough for these mini ciabatta loaves is 92 percent hydration, which results in one of the lightest, airiest, and moistest loaves of bread. When you take them out of the oven, they sit there and crackle and sing for you for about five minutes! If you are a bread geek, you know exactly what I mean.

Dec 4, 2016

Bread Box Round Up for December 2016

Welcome to The Bread Box Round Up, a collection of wonderful loaves, rolls, and flatbreads from food bloggers who bake bread!


The Bread Box Round Up - Breads from your favorite bloggers


I am so grateful for the bloggers who have shared their posts this year!

Dec 3, 2016

Save or Splurge? Recommended Gifts for Your Favorite Cook or Baker

Save or Splurge? Recommended Gifts for Your Favorite Cook or Baker

When I first got into cooking and bread baking (not very long ago), I started collecting kitchen tools, gadgets, cookbooks, pots and pans, small electrics, and various other things one might find at Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma. Remodeling our 1960s kitchen and the completion of my master's degree collided. 

Nov 30, 2016

Five Spice Turkey Noodle Soup

This Five Spice Turkey Noodle Soup is not your average turkey noodle soup. 

This Five Spice Turkey Noodle Soup is not your average turkey noodle soup.

I started this Five Spice Turkey Noodle Soup on the day after Thanksgiving. I simmered the Thanksgiving turkey carcass to develop an amazing stock, and then used the stock the next day to make this soup.

Nov 28, 2016

Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl Muffins | #MuffinMonday

These Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl Muffins are light and moist, and have a decadent swirl of espresso enhanced chocolate throughout the middle. 


These Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl Muffins are light and moist, and have a decadent swirl of espresso enhanced chocolate throughout the middle.

The flavors in these banana chocolate espresso swirl muffins take muffin-osity to a whole new level. I promise you, if you bake them, they will disappear. Plus, you will be very popular.

Nov 23, 2016

Pumpkin Rolls with Salted Maple Butter

These pumpkin rolls with salted maple butter are over the top wonderful for a holiday dinner. They're also perfect for sandwiching leftovers the next day. 


These pumpkin rolls with salted maple butter are over the top wonderful for a holiday dinner. They're also perfect for sandwiching leftovers the next day.

You can pull the dough for these rolls together and set it aside in the morning to rise while you are assembling the rest of the holiday meal. You can even make the dough a day in advance, and let it rise in the refrigerator. The rolls themselves only take about 15 to 17 minutes to bake, which is perfect timing while your turkey or roast is resting.

Nov 22, 2016

Black and White Cookies | #CreativeCookieExchange

Black and White Cookies consist of a four inch diameter cake-like vanilla cookie thinly glazed with vanilla and chocolate icing. 


Black and White Cookies consist of a four inch diameter cake-like vanilla cookie thinly glazed with vanilla and chocolate icing.

Evidently, the question, "Who makes the best Black and White Cookie?" is hotly debated in New York, both throughout the state and all five boroughs of the city. Not being from New York, I did a little "research" on the interwebs, and came across lots of lively discussions about where to find the best Black and White Cookie.

Nov 18, 2016

Smoked Salmon Paté | #FishFridayFoodies

This smoked salmon paté is one of my favorite "go-to" appetizers. It is easy to make, and wonderful spread on crackers, crostini, or bagels.  


This smoked salmon paté is one of my favorite "go-to" appetizers. It is easy to make, and wonderful spread on crackers, crostini, or bagels.


I could pretty much eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's that tasty. To stop myself from eating the entire recipe, I took about half of it to work, set it in the break room, and it was wiped out by mid morning. This makes me happy.

Nov 16, 2016

Rye Porridge Bread (Pain Bouillie)

This Rye Porridge Bread is representative of French rye breads; dense, moist, and flavorful. 


This Rye Porridge Bread is representative of French rye breads; dense, moist, and flavorful.

This month the Bread Baking Babes, hosted by Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, are making a traditional rye bread with a porridge. The porridge in this case is a mixture of rye flour and rye chops that is mixed with boiling water and allowed to soak overnight. I had about half of the recipe of rye chops in my freezer, so I supplemented it with 10 grain cereal.

Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs

These Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs are such an elegant hors d'oeuvre. 


These Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs are such an elegant hors d'oeuvre.

They are topped with shredded smoked trout, chives, and bits of red onion. They were even better than I had expected.

Nov 12, 2016

Make Ahead Beef Stew

This Make Ahead Beef Stew is so rich and flavorful. The beef is browned and then simmered on the first day, and then refrigerated over night to more fully tenderize the meat. 


This Make Ahead Beef Stew is so rich and flavorful.

This make ahead beef stew is rich and flavorful. Instead of chuck roast, the beef is boneless short ribs, my new obsession because they are so "beefy." I don't know what took me so long to discover them, but now, every time I see them on a menu, I gravitate to them.

Nov 8, 2016

Sourdough Onion Pockets | #BreadBakers

I have wanted to make this Onion Pocket Bread for a long time, so when my friend David adapted it to include a sourdough starter, I couldn't put it off any longer. I'm so glad I made these. They are delicious, and a pleasure to make. 

Sourdough onion pocket bread.

These Onion Pockets were by far the most popular item at a New York City kosher dairy called Ratner's, which opened in 1905, and closed in 2004. They were served with a small bowl of butter, and according to Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg, the authors of Inside the Jewish Bakery, "..Jews from all over the New York metropolitan area would go to Ratner's just for the rolls."

Nov 6, 2016

Middle Eastern Steak and Potato Layered Casserole | Sainyet Bataba Tabakat

This Middle Eastern Steak and Potato Layered Casserole is such a wonderful savory dish. It's a great way to enjoy potatoes without frying, or adding cheese and cream. 


This Middle Eastern Steak and Potato Layered Casserole is such a wonderful savory dish.

The flavors of this Middle Eastern Steak and Potato Layered Casserole are pretty amazing. I'm in love with how the different elements of this dish meld together.

Nov 5, 2016

Bread Box Roundup for November 2016

Welcome to The Bread Box Round Up, a collection of wonderful loaves, rolls, and flatbreads from food bloggers who bake bread! 

The Bread Box Round Up, a monthly collection of wonderful loaves, rolls, and flatbreads from food bloggers who bake bread!

I'm starting with these gorgeous Asiago Cheese Bagels from Are You Cooking? Zosia baked my recipe along with the The Bread Baking Babes as a Buddy. What does that mean? Check out her post! Thanks Zosia. I am so happy to feature your gorgeous bagels.

Nov 3, 2016

Sourdough Pumpkin Milk Bread

This Sourdough Pumpkin Hokkaido Milk Bread is so soft and flavorful, and perfect for breakfast toast. 


This Sourdough Pumpkin Hokkaido Milk Bread is so soft and flavorful, and perfect for breakfast toast.

It is the perfect bread for sandwiches and toast, and an excellent way to use up leftover pumpkin puree. The bread doesn't taste like pumpkin, but the puree adds a gorgeous color to the bread.

Oct 31, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | The Breath of a Wok

Beginning in September, after completing Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, the Wok Wednesdays group has begun wokking our way through Grace Young's earlier book, The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore. This is an intimate book, with so many stories about the chefs who contributed the recipes, as well as over 50 pages on buying and seasoning a wok. This is not just a cook book. It is a work of love and a cultural treasure.

Here's what I've made so far.....

Jean Yueh's Beef with Onions and Peppers

The photo above is of Jean Yueh's Beef with Onions and Peppers. According to the author, "this is a simple Shanghai-style family dish...." It's a simple dish, naturally sweet from the onions and peppers. We loved it.

Candied Ginger and Oatmeal Muffins | #MuffinMonday

These Candied Ginger and Oatmeal Muffins combine the goodness of oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and candied ginger. 


Candied Ginger and Oatmeal Muffins combine the goodness of oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and candied ginger.

The candied ginger adds just the right amount of spiciness to these muffins. Along with the rolled oats, I used a combination of white whole wheat flour and "regular" whole wheat flour.

Oct 23, 2016

Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Flatbread Pizza

This Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Flatbread Pizza is both sweet and savory. The no knead dough is so easy to make as well. 


This Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Flatbread Pizza is both sweet and savory. The no knead dough is so easy to make as well.

This Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Flatbread Pizza also includes red onions tossed in fresh thyme and olive oil, all baked on a bed of Fontina cheese.

Oct 20, 2016

Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Halibut and Tomatoes | #FishFridayFoodies

This Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Halibut and Tomatoes is such a satisfying Mediterranean style dish. 


This Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Halibut and Tomatoes is such a satisfying Mediterranean style dish.

This dish of spicy angel hair pasta with halibut and tomatoes includes the most amazing halibut from Alaska.

Oct 18, 2016

Caramel Apple Cookies | #CreativeCookieExchange

These Caramel Apple Cookies are soft and moist, and are so reminiscent of  the flavors of fall. 


These Caramel Apple Cookies are soft and moist, and are so reminiscent of  the flavors of fall.

As a nutritional bonus, these caramel apple cookies are made with whole wheat flour. I also used demerara sugar, which adds a wonderful caramel flavor... perfect with the apples.

Oct 16, 2016

Asiago Cheese Bagels

These Asiago Cheese Bagels are both stuffed and topped with melted cheese. Bread and melted cheese.... doesn't that sound magical?


These Copycat Panera Bread Asiago Cheese Bagels are both stuffed and topped with melted cheese. Bread and melted cheese.... doesn't that sound magical?

These bagels are a copycat of Panera Bread's most popular bagel. I had no idea these asiago cheese bagels existed, but when the "asiago cheese bagel incident" happened at work, I knew I had to figure out how to make these.

Oct 13, 2016

Potato Bread | Potato Pain de Mie

This potato bread is so perfect for toast or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. 


This potato bread is so perfect for toast or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches

I baked this potato bread in a pain de mie pan, also know as a Pullman pan, which results in a long loaf with four corners, but you can also make it in a regular 10" by 5" two pound loaf pan, or two 8 1/2" by 4 1/2"one pound loaf pans.

Oct 10, 2016

Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel

These Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel are so ridiculously delicious and creamy. 


These Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel are so ridiculously delicious and creamy.

I'm not sure what it its about this cheesecake recipe, but the combination of ingredients is pretty amazing.

Oct 8, 2016

Spelt Pita Bread

This spelt pita bread, made with a mixture of whole grain spelt and all purpose spelt, is so much fun to bake. 


This spelt pita bread, made with a mixture of whole grain spelt and all purpose spelt, is so much fun to bake.


Baking pita bread requires a super hot oven equipped with a baking stone, and a very short baking time. If you are like me, and love staring through the window of your oven as your bread bakes, you will enjoy making this bread.

Oct 4, 2016

Bread Box Round Up for October 2016

Welcome to the Bread Box Round Up for October 2016, a collection of wonderful loaves, rolls, and flatbreads. 
October Bread Round Up
Each month, I am posting a round up of homemade and artisan breads from around the blogosphere.

Want to add your bread to the Bread Box? I'd love to share your homemade bread. Check out the instructions at the end of this post. Send me your breads, flatbreads, pizzas, buns... anything with yeast or sourdough.

Oct 2, 2016

Greek Salad

This Greek Salad is really simple, but exceptionally tasty. 


This Greek Salad is really simple, but exceptionally tasty.

Greek salad has such a fresh flavor. It is typically tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives drizzled with an olive oil based dressing. It can also include red onions and green bell peppers. Unlike what you might find at a Greek fast food restaurant around here, there is no lettuce heavily drenched in creamy "Greek" dressing.

Sep 30, 2016

Ciabatta Bread with Poolish

This Ciabatta Bread with Poolish is really easy to make, and makes amazing sandwiches and crostini. 

This Ciabatta Bread with Poolish is really easy to make, and makes amazing sandwiches and crostini.

The dough for this Ciabatta Bread with Poolish is really simple to put together. You can shape it into one large loaf or several small loaves or rolls.

Sep 26, 2016

Cream Cheese Filled Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins | #MuffinMondays

These whole wheat pumpkin muffins are filled with a sweetened cream cheese filling in the center. They are also topped with an amazing streusel topping.


These whole wheat pumpkin muffins are filled with a sweetened cream cheese filling in the center. They are also topped with an amazing streusel topping.

While pumpkin is pretty much a cliche this time of year, these muffins are so worth it. I used 1/2 of a can of pumpkin puree, and saved the rest for pumpkin martinis, these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, cranberry pumpkin rolls, these pumpkin dinner rolls, and these cinnamon swirl pumpkin rolls later.

Sep 20, 2016

Chocolate-Toffee Crinkle Cookies | #CreativeCookieExchange

These Chocolate-Toffee Crinkle Cookies are essentially just soft and rich brownies or truffles in a cookie form. 


These Chocolate-Toffee Crinkle Cookies are essentially just soft and rich brownies or truffles in a cookie form.
They are loaded with dark chocolate chips and Heath toffee bits. They are really easy to make, and will make your favorite chocolate lovers very happy.

Sep 16, 2016

Cinnamon Coconut Rolls

These Cinnamon Coconut Rolls are a wonderful breakfast treat! 


These Cinnamon Coconut Rolls are a wonderful breakfast treat!

These cinnamon coconut rolls consist of a super soft and light dough wrapped around a moist coconut filling. They are wonderful warm, and can be reheated with a 20 second turn in the microwave.

Kale and Feta Pesto Stuffed Cod | #FishFridayFoodies

This Kale and Feta Stuffed Cod is so moist and succulent. It is so easy to make, and is the perfectly easy "company's coming" dish. You might actually get accused of being "fancy." 


This Kale and Feta Stuffed Cod is so moist and succulent. It is so easy to make, and is the perfectly easy "company's coming" dish.

Every year, my cousin goes fishing in Alaska. When he gets to the dock, the fish is cleaned and then flash frozen, shrink wrapped, and then shipped home. He ends up with a freezer full of amazing fish. Typically, he ends up with equal amounts of salmon, halibut, and cod.

Sep 13, 2016

Hearty Whole Wheat Bread with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds | #BreadBakers

This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seed "flour" as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds. 


This hearty whole wheat bread is infused with ground toasted pumpkin seeds as well as whole toasted pumpkin seeds.

The bread is wonderful slathered in butter with a meal of soup and/or salad. It is also excellent toasted and buttered, and stands up well to flavorful cheeses and cured meats. I haven't tried it toasted with avocado, but I suspect it would be pretty tasty. The toasted pumpkin seeds are perfect partner to the stronger flavor of whole wheat.

Sep 11, 2016

Vietnamese Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Peanuts

This Vietnamese Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Peanuts is incredibly light, refreshing, and flavorful.


This Vietnamese Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Peanuts is incredibly light, refreshing, and flavorful.

The dressing for this salad consists of lime juice, fish sauce, and a bit of sugar.

I've resisted the urge to buy a spiralizer gadget, mostly because I pretty much have run out of room for any more kitchen tools, but on a trip to an outlet center, I found this tiny one, which I bought. I don't even want to admit how long it sat without being used, but when my cousin gifted me with several zucchini from her garden, I decided to break it out of its box.

Sep 7, 2016

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli | Wok Wednesdays

This Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli is the final Wok Wednesdays recipe from the book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, by Grace Young. It's an amazing book filled with over 100 recipes of Chinese stir-fried dishes from around the world, as well as stories about the people who taught Grace the recipes. 

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli | Wok Wednesdays

This stir-fried beef and broccoli is so much more flavorful than any take-out version. Secret ingredients include fermented black beans, oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce.

Sep 4, 2016

Tortas de Chile Colorado de Res (Chile Colorado Beef Sandwiches)

Tortas de Chile Colorado de Res are Mexican sandwiches made with beef simmered in a wonderful red chile sauce. 

Tortas de Chile Colorado de Res are Mexican sandwiches made with beef simmered in a wonderful red chile sauce.

The beef is succulent, tender, and loaded with flavor. The chile colorado is amazingly easy to make, and is also perfect for making ahead. It can be served with beans, rice, and tortillas, or stuffed into bolillo rolls or French rolls for pretty amazing Mexican sandwiches.

Sep 3, 2016

Bread Box Round Up for September 2016

Welcome to the Bread Box Round Up for September 2016, a collection of wonderful loaves, rolls, and flatbreads. 


Bread Box Round Up for September 2016 from www.karenskitchenstories.com

Each month, I have been posting a round up of homemade and artisan breads from around the blogosphere.

Sep 2, 2016

Bolillo Rolls

Bolillo rolls are the Mexican version of French rolls. They are crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. 


Bolillo rolls are the Mexican version of French rolls. They are crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside.

This bread is also known as pan Francés. While the Spaniards introduced wheat to Mexico, I understand that these rolls were introduced by the French (maybe during the ill-fated reign of Maximilian), and are now one of the most popular breads used for Mexican sandwiches.

Aug 29, 2016

Doughnut Muffins | #MuffinMondays

These Doughnut Muffins are the perfect way to get muffins with a cake doughnut flavor without all of the fuss. 


These Doughnut Muffins are the perfect way to get muffins with a cake doughnut flavor without all of the fuss.

The technique for these doughnut muffins involves creaming the butter and sugar, which helps create a cake-like texture. Once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, the tops of the muffins are brushed with melted butter, and then dipped in cinnamon sugar.