Spring is in the Air

April 30, 2012 by Kari Karch

When my friends at Kenmore asked me to join their genius blogger team, my first reaction was quite like my favorite Muppet character “who, moi?” I asked with a whimsical flip of my locks and beaming smirk. My mind began racing with ideas of past recipes I’ve created, recipes that have been handed down to me from my family, healthy tips on eating, being able to help cooks across America become one with their kitchen, unifying the world on farm to plate cooking practices! Deep breath Kari, let’s not over think this in post number1. So, before I get too engulfed with the notion of saving the world with my culinary know-how’s, let me just start off with a little background about moi.

Having grown up the daughter of a Master Sergeant in the Army, my childhood youth was spent stationed abroad in places such as Austria and Germany. My most vivid memories of food started about the age of 5 when I was helping the German waitresses at the Molkerei, which was the diary where my father was a food inspector. These robust women would sling 4 litres of beer steins on each arm and be in constant rotation with European delicacies such as sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, and leberknodel soup (liver dumpling soup) which is hands down one of the most divine eats you should ever ingest. The smells alone have the Proustian Effect on me whenever I head to the Chicago Brauhaus or the Austrian Bakery in Lincoln Park. Those sorts of memories were merely one of the reasons I put myself through culinary school and wanted to further an education in the universe of edible entertainment.

Today, my love and passion for cooking, have been marked by exciting opportunities including owning my own catering company, becoming the In-House Chef for Kenmore, making my Food Network debut on the Cooking Channel’s ‘From The Kitchens Of’, and hosting a bevy of food related shows and how-to cooking demos. Each day is filled with excitement and entertainment, and my passion grows stronger and more inclined to learn from every mentor who crosses my path. After all, you never really stop learning in this business, and I am a bona fide sponge willing to soak up the knowledge. I love what I do. And that’s what I want to share with you in this blogging journey. I want to help those in need of culinary inquiries and food-related issues. So bring it on! Think of me as your culinary fairy godmother or a much younger version of godmother; just forget I said godmother, friend..let’s use the word friend.

So to kick off the first blog, I wanted to invite you into the new Kenmore Craftsman Brand Live Experience studio and show you a day in the life of a busy entertainment chef.  Spring is in the air and it’s a time for new beginnings and healthy recipes to boot. My recipe for Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula Pesto Pizza will not only tantalize your taste buds, but will hopefully evoke a childhood memory like it did for me. Auf Wiedersehen!!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula Pesto Pizza

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ c pine nuts
  • ½ c parmesano reggiano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 (1- pound) ball store bought pizza dough
  • flour for dusting


Preheat oven to to 250°. Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet. Toss with the garlic, thyme, oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 2 hours or until shriveled but still moist. Remove and allow to cool. While the tomatoes are roasting, make the pesto by placing the arugula, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined and slowly drizzle in the oil making a paste. Turn the heat up to 450° after the tomatoes are done. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, ¼ to ⅛ inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the pesto mixture on the pizza leaving a 1 inch border. Top with mozzarella slices and scatter the roasted tomatoes on top. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Right before serving, drizzle with olive oil and grate cheese on top. ENJOY!!

Kari Karch

Kari Karch is a 19-year veteran of the culinary industry, creator of Kiss the Cook, and the head chef and spokesperson for the Kenmore brand. She has made many notable appearances on ABC Morning News, on WGN, on the Cooking Channel and as a judge for the World Food Championships.