84 posts by Sonya Keister

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is one of those comforting Fall dishes that makes us think of turning leaves, picking pumpkins and gathering around a fire on a cold night.  And this Butternut Squash Risotto makes the perfect weeknight meal or dish for entertaining, depending on how you serve it.  I've made it for my family in a big bowl as a side dish to a roast and I've served it in small little glasses as an elegant starter to a party.  My favorite way was served in this small, hallowed out pumpkins.  However ... Continue Reading

Fresh Tomato Soup and Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

When it's summertime and tomato season this is the perfect recipe for any cocktail hour or tapas night.  There is nothing like the sweet, tangy flavor of a fresh tomato soup with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese to dip into it.  And served in these soup shot glasses it makes a really elegant and fun presentation that can work for a casual tapas night or a wedding reception or engagement party! I used heirloom tomatoes but you can use any type of fresh tomato you like if you can't find ... Continue Reading

Watermelon Margaritas

Let's face it. Tacos are great and all but Cinco de Mayo is really all about having an excuse to have a really good, icy cool, fruity margarita.  So this Cinco de Mayo...or any hot day this summer...whip up a batch of these fresh and tasty Watermelon Margaritas to beat the heat.  They are light and refreshing because the fresh blended watermelon juice is so delicate and fruity but not overly sweet.  So to add the sweetness to the margarita I added in a little bit of lime simple syrup.  The ... Continue Reading

Olive & Artichoke Tapenade

Tapenade is traditionally made with Kalamata olives and capers and is a delicious, briny/salty spread that pairs really well with cheese.  My version is the same idea but with a few extra flavors that make this tapenade especially addictive.  I may be biased so please, you be the judge.  A great thing about tapenades are they are super easy to make.  Just a few seconds in a food processor and you are done.  And they keep for days or even up to a week or more (thanks to the acidic nature ... Continue Reading

Butter Leaf Salad with Citrus Dressing

This salad is the perfect winter salad because it combines citrus with the delicate, buttery winter lettuce named after it's smooth texture.  Butter leaf lettuce can often be found in a plastic case in the salad section with the leaves still attached to the root.  Other grocery stores sell it by the head in the same section as red leaf and green leaf lettuce heads.  I thought of this salad as part of a Valentine's Day menu that men can make for their special someone because it's super easy ... Continue Reading

Puff Pastry Pizza – Tomato, Red Pepper, Olive & Mozzarella

This is a beautiful dish for any special occasion because it's so colorful and so easy to make.  Plus it holds up well and can be served at room temperature.  So it's perfect for a holiday gathering, bridal shower or baby shower, book club night or Bunko night,  or even a special Valentine's Day dinner.  You really can use any toppings you like but this one idea of a delicious flavor combination that really gives a punch from the combination of the salty, briny Kalamata olives to fresh ... Continue Reading

Deviled Egg Trio – A Spicy Valentine

Do you have someone special in your life who loves spice?  And who doesn't love a deviled egg? I mean, c'mon.  What's not to love?  If you do then this is the absolutely perfect appetizer or first course to your valentine's day dinner.  The hard boiled eggs can be done ahead of time and then refrigerated.  And the creamy egg mixture with creme fraiche, mayo, vinegar and mustard is such a wonderful counterbalance to the spicy trio of toppings. The bacon jalapeno is crunchy and a tiny bit ... Continue Reading

Super Bowl Bites – Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp, Paprika & Pepper Jack Cheese Dip, and Candied Pecan Crostini with Gorgonzola & Honey

Looking to wow your guests with a super bowl menu that is both delicious and a little bit sophisticated?  This one has it all.  It’s perfect for a gathering of both sexes – a little something for everyone.  If you are having a larger crowd you can certainly double or triple the recipe to meet your needs.  And if you want something more substantial to round out the menu I’d recommend a slider bar.  Mini burgers served on slider buns or brioche rolls and then an array of fixins’ so ... Continue Reading

Creamy Citrus Coleslaw

A friend of mine recently reminded me that it's citrus season!  She was going to dinner party with a citrus theme to it - such a cute idea.  And citrus also happens to go nicely with my January goal of cooking light because citrus adds a ton of flavor to any dish (and acid) without the calories.  So off I went to the market to get inspired.  I noticed all kinds of oranges are available from the naval orange to mandarins and even one called a Cara Cara which had pinkish color to the ... Continue Reading

Crispy Potato with Flank Steak and Horseradish Creme Fraiche

The holidays are all about gatherings and good times and food is such a central part to that.  When I entertain at the holidays, whichever holiday it is, I like to pick dishes that use seasonal ingredients and where the flavors are reminiscent of that holiday.  For me, the Christmas season usually has some kind of a beef dish with horseradish sauce involved, which is a rich dish, so I though it would be fun to make a dish with those classic ... Continue Reading