Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spinach Mushroom Omelet [ 4 Mom ]

Last week I got a call from my mom. It had been raining, and she was running to the car. Long story short, she fractured her leg in THREE PLACES! Now, she is stuck elevating her leg and catching up on cooking shows. Even though her and I love slow mornings watching the Cooking Channel, we both share the need to be on the move. To help distract her, I decided to come over and cook her a surprise breakfast. Luckily, her pain level was down a little and she could enjoy the omelet I made. I knew she needed something fresh, filling, and flavorful. So grab some butter, some eggs, crimini mushrooms, and spinach. (Yes, I am in LOVE with mushrooms now...!)

Let's get down to business. Grab two saute pans, a medium bowl, whisk, cutting board, and sharp knife. The trick to cooking GREAT eggs is to keep things simple. Cook your veggies separately before adding in. Keep the heat low, and use lots of butter. And because we are making an omelet, don't move the eggs around too much. You ready? I am!

Spinach Mushroom Omelet
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large handful spinach, roughly chopped 
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Crack three eggs into a medium bowl and whisk vigorously. You want them to look a little foamy. Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop spinach and mushrooms. 
  3. Grab one saute pan and heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Once melted, add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute and stir for about 5 minutes. Add spinach, saute until just wilted. Turn heat to low.
  4. Grab the other saute pan and heat another tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. When the butter stops sizzling, then you know it's time for the eggs. 
  5. Add the eggs and swirl the pan so they coat the bottom. Let them cook on medium low. Once the eggs look set (about 4 minutes), use a spatula to loosen the eggs from side of the pan. Then use a flipper and flip the omelet! Cook for 1 more minute (add cheese at this point if you want!) Note: if you do not want to flip the eggs, check out the Kitchn for different technique. 
  6. Add the veggies and fold the sides of the eggs inwards. 
  7. Take off the pan and serve!

Hope this brightens your day. I'm pretty sure it brightened my mom's (and mine)!
Enjoy and follow by email below :)
xoxo - karen

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chloe's Hipster Brunch Bowl

Mercury is in retrograde. I have no idea what that means. But I can say with great certainty I know how it feels now. Everything, literally everything ... and everyone ... in my life is off. Here is a quick check list from the last two weeks (not comprehensive):
  • I lost the ring my grandparents gave to me for my 16th birthday
  • I smacked my head twice within a matter of minutes while entering the gym
  • The expensive amazon package I ordered got stolen ... or lost ... or something
  • My mom broke her leg
  • Don't even get me started about work ...the people...the kids...the drama...
  • And then there is my brilliant friend Chloe. A genius in the kitchen, has lost her ability to bake... trust me, that's a BIG deal. She is LITERALLY a genius. 
According to, everything in our lives are out of whack is because Mercury is in retrograde. And, "It's because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth and travel, so when the planet goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it's going backwards in the sky — all those things go backwards. They start to get ugly and tangle up". I'm going to call truth on this one. But luckily, things are starting to look up again and it sound like Mercury is going back to doing its job. I hope you find the same is true for you in the coming week!

So, let's meet Chloe:

She's part biostatistician, part whiz kid in the kitchen. She was my neighbor in college, and a forever dear friend. I always look forward to going over to her house. It's straight out of a West Elm magazine. There's a place for everything, and its beautifully adult and adorable. I'm obsessed. Apparently, for the last two weeks, everything she has tried to bake has turned out wrong. That doesn't happen to her. I was floored to hear her mishaps and frustration. 

Anyway, then she pulled out this large bowl of greens and starting to put together our brunch. I quickly realized her mishaps definitely hadn't spilled over to her cooking skills ... and most likely her baking skills will rapidly return. JUST LOOK AT THIS TABLE, PEOPLE! Everything you see was made by her, including the bread. 


So let's take a closer look at the huge bowl of goodness. We enjoyed it on a rainy Saturday morning with pour over coffee, and asked Chloe what the creation was called. "The Hipster Brunch Bowl", she said. And yes, it was practically perfect in every way. 

*note: Chloe didn't measure much, because cooking is not an exact science. Mix and match with ingredients that you like most! 

  • 0.5 pound arugula
  • 0.5 pound red leaf butter lettuce
  • 2 cups roasted sweet potato 
  • 1 cup roasted fennel 
  • 2 cups roasted brussel sprouts 
  • 2 cups roasted cremini mushrooms 
  • 4 sliced Easter Egg radishes 
  • 0.5 cup pickled red onion 
  • 4 soft boiled eggs
  • 2 cups crispy-skinned slow roasted pork belly
  • Parsley dressing (see directions below)

  • Make a bed of lettuce and arugula in the biggest bowl you have.
  • For the roasted veggies, you need very large baking sheets and parchment paper. Slice up the veggies, toss in olive oil and salt, and bake at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes. They need to be brown and a little crispy. 
  • For the roasted pork belly, check out this resource
  • For the soft boiled eggs, boil the eggs for 2-3 minutes and put directly into ice bath. Let sit for 4-5 minutes. Peel and slice in half. 
  • Slice up the easter egg radishes, thinly 
  • For the pickled red onion, check out this resource
  • Layer veggies and meat on top of the lettuce into quadrants and top with parsley dressing (see below!)

    For the Parsley Dressing 
  • Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and add...
    • dried oregano
    • thinly sliced garlic (2 cloves)
    • zest from 1 lemon
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp anchovy paste 
  • Cook over medium low heat until garlic is golden. Let it cool.
  • NEXT... Add the oil+goodies to food processor with....
    • 2 bunches parsley 
    • handful toasted walnuts
    • 1 spoonful dijon mustard 
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
    • dash salt
    • dash black pepper
    • water to thin

I had a blast catching up with Chloe, and an equally awesome time spending brunch with her enjoying this delicious food. I look forward to it becoming a staple in my future weekend mornings. Thanks for hanging out Chloe, you are amazing in the kitchen, no matter what. 

Here's to no more baking mishaps!
Goodbye Mercury Retrograde!


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Monday, January 18, 2016

College Orzo Salad

Like most in college, I didn't know my way around a kitchen and I definitely didn't have the money to do anything about that. But I did know I liked pasta and I was trying to eat healthy. Not really easy to do on a tight budget. But I did my best and it helped me discover my creative side in the kitchen. That's how this orzo salad came to be. I needed something cheap, filling, and wholesome. My dorm room became the place for my friends to escape a little from all the demands of school. I'd make this easy salad and we would forget that we weren't at home. Those simple dinners turned into long nights chatting and dreaming, and then finally, without realizing it, we had created a new home together. It's silly for pasta to mean this much, but then why does it taste so delicious?

Back in the day with two crazy fellas
Anyway, throughout all these years, I still make this salad. It's great for a light dinner and can do double duty as a filling lunch the next day. But I decided it was time to "ADULT UP" if you know what I mean. It used to be a very simple salad, not a whole lot of flavor ... just straight forward and simple. But it needed more .... so I gave it more. Now it's a complete meal in one bowl with a kick of flavor and spice to boot. So, let's go for it! 

  • 2.5 cups cooked orzo
  • 5 ounces spinach, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • Two 18 ounce jarred, diced tomatoes (find it at Whole Foods ... canned works too)
  • 1/4 fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers 
  • 4 links chicken sausage 
  • Salt, pepper, chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1.5 cups feta cheese 

  1. Heat a quart of salted water, and bring to boil. Add the orzo and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and toss with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium high heat for about 1 minute. Add the jarred tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, pepper, chili flakes and basil. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Cook your chicken sausage according to the package and slice. I like to bake mine.
  4. Add the spinach and sausage to your tomato mixture and then turn off the heat once fully combined. You don't want the spinach to get too wilted. 
  5. Grab a big bowl and combine the tomato sauce and orzo. Once combined, toss in the feta cheese. 
Enjoy! Follow by email below to never miss a beat with Karen's place :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Deconstructed Fish Taco // SALAD

The time has come to end the all day snacking on sugar, the lazy days in front of the TV watching sappy Christmas movies, and the late nights experimenting with gin and whisky. It's a new year, so many of you are thinking about healthier habits. 

Some of you may need to just hit the reset button, try a cleanse, and start fresh. If you're looking for something like that, may I suggest the Taco Cleanse? Yes. You just heard me correctly. There is such thing as a TACO CLEANSE. I believe this is the best thing to ever come out of the internet. The "Taco Scientists" in Austin, Texas have come up with a 30-day plan to help you put a healthy twist on your favorite recipes and justify eating tacos morning, noon, and night. If you don't believe me, read more here

Alright, alright. Let's get to reality here. Today, I do have a fantastically healthy recipe for you and it does involve tacos. It is NOT an officially approved Taco Cleanse recipe, though. Thanks to Rick Bayless, an amazing chef who cooks Mexican inspired dishes, I have learned the art form of the fresh fish taco. I've added my own twists and made the tacos a salad, but if you decide to put all of these ingredients into a tortilla ... I will not blame you.

Let's start by getting a sauce pan out and filling it with water, juicing a lime, smashing some garlic, and pinching some salt. You get the picture, we are going to poach that fish. And yes, leave the juiced lime in there while you cook it. 

Don't be afraid of this recipe. There are a lot of steps, but it IS NOT complicated. Just read it through and go for it! I promise it'll become a new favorite :)

Fish Taco Salad
*Adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

For the fish:

  • 4 tilapia loins
  • The juice from 1 lime (use the whole lime rind for poaching process)
  • 1 quart of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed 
For the salad:
  • 1 small radicchio
  • 1 small carrot, grated 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
  • 1 small white onion, diced 
  • 1 small bunch radishes, sliced thinly 
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and finely chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, cored and diced 
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 
  • Salt 
For the dressing (optional and only to be tossed on the radicchio & carrot)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced 
  • 2 tablespoons whole goat yogurt (greek yogurt would work too)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Agave syrup to taste

  1. Start by making the fish filling. Heat water, lime juice, lime rind, salt, and garlic in saucepan. Bring to boil. Place tilapia in water and wait for it to come back to boiling. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes. After that, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let it rest and cool in the saucepan while you prep everything else. 
  2. Next, chop the radicchio and grate the carrot and toss in the dressing. Set aside in the fridge to marinate. Note: this mixture will stay separate from the fish and the rest of the ingredients. It's acting like a SLAW and the fish is acting as the topping. Also note, this part is all optional. You can top the fish on some regular lettuce and it'll still taste great.
  3. Now, you still have more ingredients to combine with the fish. Let's keep going. Get a big bowl out. Chop the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, radish and mince the garlic. Combine these ingredients with lime juice and salt. 
  4. Now that your fish has cooled in the water and is fully poached, place the tilapia loins in the big bowl with the tomato/onion mixture. Grab a potato masher to shred and combine the fish with the vegetables. 
  5. Serve with EVEN more limes (because they are the best), hot sauce, and tortillas if you want. 
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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ginger Orange-Cucumber Salad

Ethan really likes things to taste "fresh". It took me a long time to really understand what he meant by that. But in essence, it means he likes eating things that are good for him. Food that won't feel heavy in his stomach but still give him the energy to play all those Dota games .... As for me, I really need things to be full of flavor. A lot of times, straight veggies and plain chicken WILL NOT cut it for me. It's caused some differences in the kitchen, but after a year or so of trial and error, I think we are finding a new palate path together. Today's post is a perfect example of that. It's really, really, fresh but also PACKED with unique flavor. It's a great salad that will infuse some awesome Asian inspired tones into to your next meal. Or just add some simple baked chicken (or chickpeas) to the bowl for a compete, light, meal. 

I think this one is coming just at the right time for the New Year, don't you think?
So, here we go:


For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the salad:
  • 1 medium Orange, peeled, sectioned, and diced
  • 2 Satsumas, peeled and sectioned 
  • 1 cup English Cucumber, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup Green Onion, thinly sliced (green part only)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Mint, minced  

  • Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl
  • Chop and prep all of the main ingredients for the salad and combine in a bigger bowl
  • Toss in the dressing and combine the salad. Serve immeadiately.

And that's it! Good for you and it actually tastes good. 
Maybe sticking to those resolutions won't be so hard after all? 

Eat well!
Be well!
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