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Sauces, Salsas and More

Chicken Grilling Pork Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Pineapple Mango Chutney

Ok everyone, hold on to your seats, this is one of my new favorite sauces.  I’m over the moon excited about this flavorful, fresh and gloriously pretty chutney.  It looks like sunshine and tastes like heaven.

It beautifully complimented my roasted salmon, allowing the rich flavors of the salmon to mellow under the tangy sweetness of the fruit.  Oh, and just a little zip from the roasted chili sauce.  Mmmm.

Bright, beautiful and spicy sweet I was so thrilled with this recipe I talked about it all through dinner; until I saw my gals eyes rolling to the back of their heads.

My little gal, who is quite animated, pretended to fall asleep over her plate.  I think that was my hint to change the subject.

I can see Suzie Q’s daily journal headline… My crazy Mother’s obsession with food.  🙂

Pineapple Mango Chutney


1 small fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

3 mango’s, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup white wine or water

1-2 teaspoons roasted red chili paste (Thai Kitchen)


Combine all the ingredients except the chili sauce in a medium saucepan.

Heat over medium heat and keep at a slow simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the ingredients become soft and a bit saucy.

If the chutney becomes dry add a little more water or wine to the mixture.

When the chutney is done fold in the chili sauce.

Keep in the frig for up to one week.

Great over grilled pork, chicken and fish, especially salmon!  Sam Choy serves his chutney with wok stir fried shrimp over rice.  Yum!

Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Salmon Crepes Mornay and Salmon Giveaway!

Crepes are so easy to make.  Really.  Once you get the hang of it, its just like making pancakes.  Nope, I’m not crazy (I know that’s what you’re thinking) just completely in love with crepes.  Crepes are fun food.  They make dinner a little more special, or dessert a little more tasty and make the loveliest of presentations. 

I wanted to create a recipe using canned Alaskan salmon sent to me from my friends at Pure Alaska Salmon Co. in Bellingham, Washington.  Actually, I don’t even need a recipe for this salmon.  It’s so good I usually eat it right out of the can.  Sometimes I mix it with a little lemon juice, homemade mayo and season it with a pinch of salt for a delicious salmon salad sandwich. 

The Redhead canned salmon makes the yummiest filling for these delicious savory crepes Mornay.  Simply prepared and then richly sauced, it’s decadence on a plate! 

Pure Alaskan Salmon

Shirley Zuanich, Owner of Pure Alaskan Salmon  Co, has generously sent me a case of her canned salmon for recipe testing and a case to giveaway!  An entire case of Pure Alaskan Salmon Redhead, wild sockeye salmon from Alaska.    All you have to do is leave a comment about the post and how you would use canned salmon in a recipe.  Karista’s Kitchen will choose one reader from the comments to receive the case of salmon.

The contest will last for one week, from June 28th – July 5th.  In the meantime, if you’d like to try this delicious salmon you can find it at Whole Foods, PCC Natural Markets and on the website Pure Alaskan Salmon Co.  Check out the website for fabulous information and health benefits of this sustainable canned salmon. 

Can’t wait to read all the recipe ideas.  Good luck everyone!

Salmon Crepes Mornay


8 – 10 crepes (crepe recipe below)

2 cans Pure Alaska Salmon Co. Redhead or ThinkPink

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mixed herbs (thyme, Italian parsley, oregano, chervil, marjoram, basil, chives)

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Sauce Mornay (sauce recipe below)

Chopped chives for garnish


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a saute pan, add a tablespoon of butter and saute shallots for a minute or two or until fragrant and wilted. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the two cans of salmon, shallots, and mixed fresh herbs.  Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

For each crepe, mound a generous 1/4  cup of the salmon mixture in a log shape in the center of the crepe. Fold over about 1/2 inch of the side edges to hold in the filling, then roll the crepe up.  Place the crepes seam side down in a greased baking dish. 

Ladle the Mornay sauce over the top, and then place in the oven and let the crepes bake for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Garnish with fresh chopped chives and serve immediately. 

Basic Crepe Recipe

I love this website for visual instructions

Makes 12 crepes, or six servings.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk (maybe a little more)
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl (an electric whisk works great).   Add the flour, 1/2 the milk, vegetable oil, and salt and begin whisking. Pour in the remaining milk as you whisk – this helps to ensure a smooth batter. Depending on the size of the eggs, you may need to add a little more milk. The consistency of the batter should be about like heavy cream. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to age for an hour.

Heat a 10  inch round non stick crepe pan  or a 12 inch non stick pan on medium heat until hot. Ladle about 1/3 cup batter into the pan, turning and tilting the pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until the top surface is no longer wet and the edges starting to brown (one to two minutes), then turn with a spatula and cook 15 seconds more on the other side.

Remove from the pan and place in a folded clean dish towel. Continue making the crepes and stacking them in the folded dish towel. Set aside to use in above recipe.

Classic Mornay Sauce by Emeril


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated cheese, such as Gruyère


In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is pale yellow and frothy, about 1 minute. Do not allow the roux to brown.

Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. This is now called a bechamel sauce, and may be used as is to top any number of dishes.

Stir in the cheese and whisk until melted. If the sauce seems to thick, thin with a little milk.

The sauce is now called a Mornay Sauce.  If not using right away, cool, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several days.

This sauce is also delicious over steamed vegetables!

Grilling Halibut Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Chimichurri Sauce

Colombian Chimichurri Sauce for Fish, Beef, Pork or Chicken

I love the reaction I get when I serve this bright green Chimichurri sauce to dinner guests.  The color is brilliant green and the flavors are explosive.  I know this word doesn’t truly describe the flavor, but when you taste the blend of flavorful fresh herbs with spicy aromatics and the zing of lemon the only word that comes to my mind is explosively delicious.   And the beauty of this sauce is its versatility.  It’s fabulous over grilled fish, but just as divine served with a veggie platter.  Substitute the lemon with red wine vinegar, and it’s the lovliest compliment to a thick and juicy grilled steak.

Grilled Fresh Ono with Colombian Chimichurri

Although Chimichurri sauce originated in Argentina, many South American countries have created their own versions of the flavorful herb sauce.  This particular recipe is adapted from my Sister in law’s family recipe originating in Colombia, South America.  They use this beautiful and delicious sauce for chicken, beef, fish and veggies.

The recipe makes enough sauce for 6-8 people, but I always make a little extra because I probably sneak  a good 1/4 cup  of  “little tastes” while I’m preparing dinner.  I promise you’ll love this sauce, it makes me want to lick my plate!

Chimichurri for Grilled Fish

3 large garlic cloves

½ cup fresh basil

1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup coarsely chopped green onions (or 4 green onions trimmed)

Leaves from two sprigs fresh oregano

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Chimichurri for Grilled Steak, Pork or Chicken

This is an excellent drizzle sauce, dipping sauce and even marinade for Chicken!

3 large garlic cloves

½ cup fresh basil

1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup coarsely chopped green onions (4 green onions trimmed)

Leaves from two sprigs oregano

¼ cup sherry or rice vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

Fresh Raspberry Pan Sauce over Roasted Cornish Hens

When I was little I couldn’t wait for the  summer sun to ripen all the bright red raspberries in our garden.  

I’d spend hours milling about the sweet smelling berry bushes eating the sun warmed berries, when really I was supposed to be picking them for my Mom to bake a cobbler.   It was always a happy day at our house when Mom made her famous rasbperry cobbler.  And if for some reason I didn’t collect enough of those delicious little red berries, Mom would add in other fruits from our garden creating what I called “every fruit in our garden cobbler”  It was divine. 

Raspberries are still one of my favorite berries.  They jazz up a scoop of vanilla ice cream, top flourless chocolate cake with beautiful color and sweetness, add festive flair and fresh taste to cereal or oatmeal, or simply delicious as a quick sweet melt in your mouth snack. 


Another favorite way to enjoy berries is in a sauce over poultry or pork.  Raspberry pan sauces deliciously compliment the distinct flavors of roast pork or Cornish hens.  If Cornish hens aren’t your favorite, this delightful sauce would compliment split chicken breasts, pan seared chicken breasts or thighs, or a whole roasted chicken.  You’ll often find raspberry sauce served with pan seared or roasted duck.  The rich flavors of the duck beautifully compliments the fresh flavors of the raspberries. 

For the best flavor, I highly recommend free range and naturally or organic raised poultry.  Not only is it a much healthier option, but it tastes so much better and the texture is more palatable. 

This is definitely a dish that is dressed to impress.  A new favorite in the Bennett house, it’s so beautiful and delicious I could lick my plate!

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4 – 6


4-6 Cornish Hens (substitute with split chicken breasts or one whole chicken)

6-8 cloves of garlic, slivered

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1/3 cup raspberry preserves

1 ½ teaspoons raspberry vinegar

1 ½ pints fresh organic raspberries (or more, however I always end up eating the other half pint while cooking)

Dash of port or red wine, I like to add about ¼ cup (optional)

Grated fresh ginger, about 1 teaspoon (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Place the four Cornish hens in a large baking dish.

Season the cavity of each hen with salt and pepper.  Divide the garlic slivers and place in the cavity of each hen. 

Rub each hen with a little butter and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Place the baking dish in the oven. 

The hens will need to cook for about 45 minutes, but the best way to test doneness is with a meat thermometer.  When the thermometer reads 160F around the leg joint area the chicken will be done.  Remove from the oven and let the hens sit for about 5 minutes.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.  When the butter is melted and frothy add the shallots and sauté until nicely wilted, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in the raspberry preserves, whisking until the preserves have melted and combined with the butter and shallots. 

Whisk in the vinegar, and then add 1 pint of fresh raspberries. At this point, feel free to add the wine and ginger if using.  I love a dash of port in this sauce!

Let the sauce come to a lively simmer and then take it off the heat. 

Place each hen on a plate.  Add another half pint of raspberries to the sauce and then ladle the sauce over each hen.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley. 

This dish is delicious served with a wild and brown rice, quinoa or couscous to soak up the chicken juices and sauce.  Yum!

Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Lemon, Tarragon and Mustard Cream Sauce over Grilled Salmon and Spring Peas

Spring is in the air… or at least it was in the air on Saturday.  Yes, I make lots of subtle but possibly sarcastic remarks about the fantastic weather (oops there’s one!) here in the Pacific Northwest, but truly, there is no place more beautiful.  And of course, it’s so beautiful because it rains much of the time.  Not really hard pelting rain, but that lovely thing we call the Seattle mist… which sounds more romantic.

With spring comes a flurry of gardening and getting ready for what we all cross our fingers and hope is a good summer growing season.  One of the first produce to arrive in our misty and cloudy location is the spring pea.   Asparagus is also among the spring produce along with rhubarb, artichokes, spring greens and a few more lovely pieces of produce.

Spring peas however are my one of my favorites, and beautifully compliment a spring meal.  Not only are they complimentary, but they can certainly take center stage.  I love fresh spring peas in my risotto with a little diced ham, or a mix of fresh carrots and spring peas in a decadent chicken or veggie pot pie.

One of my favorite spring meals is this tasty grilled King salmon with fresh spring peas topped with a divine lemon tarragon and mustard cream sauce.  The lemon, mustard and fresh tarragon pairs beautifully with the richness of the salmon and delicate peas.  It looks so lovely on the plate, if you  light a few candles you’ll think you’re dining at a five-star restaurant.

Lemon, Tarragon and Mustard Cream Sauce over Grilled Salmon and Spring Peas

Serves 4


4 pieces fresh wild King salmon

Veggie oil or high heat peanut oil

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1 cup (or a little more) organic heavy cream

Squeeze of lemon (about two tablespoons)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, and a little extra for garnish

2 cups organic spring peas or baby peas (can be frozen or fresh) lightly steamed or sautéed and seasoned with salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  In an ovenproof skillet, heat over medium high heat a few tablespoons high heat oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the skillet.

Sear the salmon for about 5 minutes and then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. Salmon typically cooks about 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until you see the opaque white juices emerging.  Remove the salmon from the oven and keep warm.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil.  When the butter is melted and frothy, add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two until the shallots are fragrant and wilted.

Whisk in the white wine and let the wine reduce by half.  Add the whole grain mustard and heavy cream.  Whisk and simmer until the cream thickens slightly.

Whisk in the squeeze of lemon and fresh tarragon and then remove from the heat. Taste the sauce and add a pinch of salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, place a few spoonfuls of peas on a plate, top with a piece of salmon and then ladle a spoonful of sauce over the salmon.  Garnish with fresh chopped tarragon.  Enjoy!

Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Roast Pork Loin with Cranberry Port Sauce

Thin shaved pork tenderloin with Yakisoba noodles and veggies, or pounded pork tenderloin medallions with an exquisite sauce.  And we can’t forget the good ole pork chop smothered in spices and apples.  However you like to prepare your pork, the important factor to remember is to purchase a naturally raised pork, free of antibiotics and hormones. 

In the past, pork has gotten a bad rap as being a dry and tasteless alternative to chicken.   Today, we can find a variety of naturally raised pork as well as heirloom or specialty pork.  These cuts of pork are succulent and tasty and definitely worth the little extra in price. 

This is a fun and tasty pork recipe perfect for the holiday season and makes a delicious dinner meal for family and dinner guests.  Add leftover sauce to smoked turkey breast sandwiches with provolone or gouda cheese.  As well, the cranberry port sauce is complimentary to Thanksgiving turkey.  So slice it and sauce it!  A fabulous pork dinner that’ll make you look like a culinary superstar. 

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 6


3 – 4 lbs boneless pork loin roast

Salt and pepper

High heat veggie oil (safflower or sunflower)

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence or French herbs

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1 1/2  cups chicken broth

2 cups fresh cranberries

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup port

pinch of ground cloves


Pre-heat the oven to 300F. 

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add a little oil.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and then brown the pork on both sides. 

Transfer the pork to a baking dish or roasting pan and sprinkle with the dried herbs de Provence or French herbs.  Place the roast in the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees using an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork roast.  Approximately 25-30 minutes per pound.  Prepare the sauce while the pork is roasting (recipe below).

Remove the pork from the oven and loosely tent with aluminum foil.  The internal temperature of the pork will rise about 5-10 degrees while resting.  Be sure to not let the internal temperature go past 165F or you will possibly have a dry or overcooked pork roast. 

Slice the roast thinly across the grain and place on a platter or individual plates.  Ladle the sauce over the top and serve. 

To prepare the sauce:

In a saute pan add 2 tablespoons butter and heat on medium.  When the butter is melted and frothy, add the shallots and saute until wilted.  Then add the garlic, orange zest, dried sage and saute for a minute longer.  Add the chicken broth and let the sauce lightly simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until there is about 1 cup liquid left. 

Strain the sauce into a heavy bottom saucepan.  Add the cranberries and sugar. 

Bring the cranberry sauce to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes or until the cranberries have popped. 

Add the port to the cranberries and continue to simmer for a few minutes longer. 

If the sauce seems to thin, blend a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of the hot liquid and then add to the cranberry port sauce, bringing to a boil until the sauce thickens.  Stir in a pinch of ground cloves and the last tablespoon of butter. Taste for seasoning. 

Cranberry port sauce can be prepared one day in advance and stored in the frig. 

Serve with roasted mixed root veggies of butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. 

OPTIONS:  If you have a pork tenderloin in the frig and need to use it, by all  means pan sear and roast the tenderloin instead of using a pork loin roast.  The sauce will taste fabulous over any cut of pork, chicken, turkey or DUCK.

Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Pork Chops with a Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Pork Loin Chops with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Ranger Craig loves a good pork chop.  I on the other hand prefer a pork tenderloin or decadent roast pork shoulder.  However, I need to keep my expert recipe taste tester happy, so once in a while I pull out the chops and start frying.

I think pork chops are best when lightly dusted with flour, salt and pepper and pan-fried.  When all that frying is done, a thick and rich pan gravy can be prepared and then drizzled over the tasty chops.

This yummy little recipe is a nice alternative to the traditional pan seared or grilled chop.  Although this recipe requires some pan searing, the pork chops can be browned and then placed in the oven to finish cooking.  Gotta love that!  Prepare a quick spiced sauce of dried plums, cloves and cream and you’ve got a delightfully flavored sauce to drizzle over juicy pork chops.

It’s a happy day when I see smiles at the dinner table.  Life is good when pork chops are on the menu!

Pork Chops with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce

Serves 4-6


6 pork chops, about ¾ inch thick and trimmed of excess fat

½ cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

High heat oil, such as a sunflower or safflower

10 oz package dried plums

1 ½ cups white wine (you can substitute with apple juice plus one tablespoon apple cider vinegar)

½ pint heavy cream

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon red currant jelly (this is a lovely condiment to have on hand for grilled meats and poultry, and it’s also yummy on ham and turkey sandwiches)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish


Heat the oven to 350F.  In a large skillet or frying pan heat the oil on medium high.

Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper on both sides and then lightly dust with flour.  When the oil is hot and smoking, sear both sides of the chops until golden brown and then transfer to a baking dish.

Place the chops in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the chops are done.  Be careful not to overcook as the pork can dry out quickly.  While the pork is cooking prepare the sauce.

In a sauce pan heat the wine on medium heat and add the dried plums.  Let the wine and plums simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.  Gently fold in the cream, cloves, cinnamon, and red currant jelly.  Bring the heat back to a boil and then reduce to a lively simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the pork chops on a platter or individual plates.  Ladle the sauce over the pork chops and garnish with Italian parsley.  Serve immediately.

Grilling Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Grilled Salmon with Arugula and Lemon Mayonnaise

It was one of those days… again.  You know, the kind of day that’s filled with lots of running errands, returning phone calls, scheduling meetings, school activities, and let’s not forget the dreaded laundry.  Yes, my least favorite chore… in the whole wide world!  Sometimes I just ignore it hoping the laundry fairy will magically appear and finish it for me.  But alas, the laundry fairy didn’t appear and I still had dinner to prepare.

Of course it was a busy weekend and I didn’t get my menu planned on Sunday.  Monday afternoon arrived quickly and I found myself scrambling for a great dinner idea only to find myself power walking through the grocery store once again.  I might as well terminate my gym membership as I’m forever power walking my local market in 30 minutes or less, which is also how much time I had to get dinner on the table. Yes, even a Chef has an occasional “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner” day.

Fish always seems like a good idea especially when I’m short on time.  King salmon is in season in my neck of the woods and it’s one of those immensely versatile fish that can be topped with as little as fresh lemon, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, or as fussy as a white wine beurre blanc.  However, I decided to try something a little different, a bit retro if you will. 

When I was young, eating fish and veggies with mayonnaise was all the rage.  In fact, as I was perusing my Mom’s old cookbooks I found several of these delicious little mayonnaise recipes.  Many of the recipes sounded more like an aioli than a true mayonnaise.  Aioli is much like a mayonnaise, although, it can be prepared with or without eggs, mustard and garlic.   

Why not use mayonnaise as a base and create a delicious herbed dipping sauce for fish? So the experiment began.  Ranger Craig grilled the fresh salmon with a bit of lemon, sea salt and pepper and I prepared the sauce.  Using fresh arugula, lemon and shallots I blended the sauce with additional milk, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper; fresh, basic ingredients that beautifully complimented the grilled salmon and made for a quick and exquisite meal. Add a salad of baby greens tossed in a light vinaigrette and your tasty meal is complete.

If you are a purist at heart and would love to prepare your own mayonnaise I’ve included some information and a recipe below.  I like using an olive oil or safflower oil based mayo whenever possible, but feel free to use your favorite brand.  As well, these divine little sauces can be used on any fish you might have on hand.  

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4


For the Arugula Mayonnaise:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup milk (or more for a thinner dipping sauce)

¼  cup fresh arugula, packed

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Kosher or sea salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or if using an emulsion blender place the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. 

Blend ingredients until the arugula is nicely incorporated into the sauce.  Taste for seasoning and serve with your favorite grilled, roasted or pan seared fish.

Serve with a salad of spring greens and little tomatoes tossed in a little olive oil and seasoned rice wine vinegar. 

For a simple roasted salmon:

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Place a piece of foil in the bottom of a shallow baking dish and then set the salmon skin side down on the foil. Season the salmon with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs if you like. 

Roast the salmon just until the outside is firm and opaque but the inside is still a tiny bit pink.  For an average sized piece of salmon it might take about 8-10 minutes, however the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fillet or steak.

Remove the salmon from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with the arugula mayonnaise and salad of spring greens.

TIP: This mayonnaise is fabulous for cold cut sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches or cold salmon or fish cakes. 

Julia’s Homemade Mayonnaise (From

Mayonnaise is one of the many foods that is referred to as an emulsion. An emulsion is a combination of two unlike components. According to Julia Child, mayonnaise is also something every cook must confidently and rapidly whip up on command with nary a qualm, because it is one of the elemental cookery procedures.

The Science of Mayonnaise: Before attempting to make homemade mayonnaise, it is important to understand just how mayonnaise works. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in lemon juice that has been stabilized by the molecule lecithin found in the egg yolks.

The key to making mayonnaise is to avoid having the components of the emulsion separate back into their individual components. This is called “turned” or “broken” mayonnaise. No matter how long you mix the oil and lemon juice together, it will always separate into a gooey mess unless the egg yolk is added as a stabilizer.

Why To Make Your Own Mayonnaise: There are two (2) main reasons for making your own mayonnaise – freshness and flavor. Homemade mayonnaise is fast and easy to make in a blender or food processor. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

2 egg yolks, room temperature*
1 whole egg, room temperature*
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Big pinch freshly-ground white pepper
Up to 2 cups vegetable oil or pure olive oil (all one or a mixture)**

* Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

** For a basic mayonnaise, use an oil with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. If you plan to refrigerate your mayonnaise, then choose a refined oil such as pure olive oil or sunflower oil. An unrefined oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, will solidify when chilled and cause separation later as it returns to room temperature.

Put the egg yolks, egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and white pepper in the work bowl of the food processor; process for 10 seconds or more, until creamy.

With the food processor running continuously, pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion process. NOTE: Add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time. The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait about 30 second between additions.

When the sauce has definitely thickened, you may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. NOTE: Add about 50% of the oil at this time.

Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups of oil are incorporated. NOTE: You may not need to use all the remaining oil at this time.

Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very thick, process in drops of lemon juice or warm water to thin. The mayonnaise may be used at this point, or you can process in some of the remaining oil for a thicker sauce.

Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a bowl. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for a good week.

Makes approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups.

Precautions for Preparing Mayonnaise:

IMPORTANT:  All the ingredients must be at room temperature. If necessary, eggs may be immersed in warm water for 10 minutes to bring them up to temperature before breaking them into the blender jar.

Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

Eggs keep the fat (oil) and the liquid (vinegar or lemon juice) of the mayonnaise evenly blended together. If egg yolks weren’t used to emulsify the mayonnaise, the heavier liquid would sink and the lighter fat would float just as they do in vinegar and oil dressing.

Never use aluminum bowls or saucepans to prepare mayonnaise, as they will turn the mayonnaise gray. Stainless steel, enameled, plastic (food processor) or glass may be used.

Add the oil very slowly, especially at the beginning.

Since homemade mayonnaise has fresh eggs in it, the mayonnaise should not be left at room temperature for more than a couple hours, as food poisoning is always a concern.

Grilling Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish Topped With a Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce

There are moments when I believe I must eat, drink and sleep “food”.  I wake up most mornings thinking about the next delicious dinner creation, contemplating ideas during most of my day, and mentally assembling those ideas into what I hope will be a winning combination.   

Once I’ve created the tasty dish, I spend precious moments trying to capture the true essence of the sumptuous food.  Much to my husbands dismay,  when he finally gets his beautiful plate of food it’s usually cooled and needs to be reheated.  I can’t tell you how many times my family has been sitting at the dinner table and I’m somewhere outside snapping photos of our meal.  My little gal will tell you if you eat dinner at our house you need to grab your plate and get your food before Mom grabs the camera. 

Fish really does taste best served right off the grill, stove top or from the oven. Especially when it’s lightly covered in this fragrant, flavorful sauce.  Once the sauce has been lightly ladled over the fish, top it with diced fresh pineapple and cilantro.  It’s tropical, fresh, and tastes like vacation!

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life.  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


1 ½ – 2 lbs Fresh Swordfish or Mahi Mahi (I think it would also be yummy over halibut)

Olive oil

1 3 inch stalk fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed (if you can’t find lemongrass, substitute with ½ teaspoon lemon zest)

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1 15oz can whole Coconut milk

½ cup flaked coconut, toasted

¼ cup fresh cilantro, torn or coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups fresh pineapple, small diced

1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste


To make the sauce: Add the coconut milk, lemongrass and grated ginger to a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Let the milk reduce by half, until it’s thickened and creamy.

Add a 2 tablespoons toasted coconut and a teaspoon of fresh cilantro.  Continue to simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes longer.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Gently toss together the remaining cilantro and fresh pineapple, adding a squeeze of fresh lime. 

For the Fish: Pre-heat the grill to 400F. 

Brush the fish with olive oil and then dust with salt and pepper.  When you are ready to grill your fish, soak a paper towel with veggie oil.  Using grilling tongs, rub the oiled paper towels over the grill grates. 

Place the fish on the grill, turning down the heat to medium so it doesn’t burn.  Flip the fish only once, or it will fall apart.  Cook until desired doneness.  Transfer the fish to individual plates or a platter.  Squeeze with fresh lime.

To Serve:  Ladle a little sauce over the fish and then top with the fresh cilantro and pineapple.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut and enjoy!

Grilling Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Spicy Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach and Ginger Compote

This time of year fresh summer peaches are a staple in our fruit bowl.  But with all those peaches I’m usually scrambling to use them before they turn soft and end up as peach preserves.  One of Ranger Craig’s favorite peach dishes is white peaches in Sangria.  I’ve posted this recipe previously and you’ll find it under the category “sweets”.  It’s fun and festive, not to mention beautiful and delicious! 

However, this week I wanted to use my summer peaches in a dinner recipe.  The main ingredient would have to be pork, as most stone fruit beautifully compliments the flavor of pork, and well, I happened to have a tenderloin or two on hand.  I just love it when I’ve got all the ingredients in-house and don’t need to make a run to the market!

Pork tenderloin is one of the easiest cuts of pork to prepare.  It’s of course tender, a smaller cut that requires less cook time and can be cooked whole, in small medallions, or pounded into thin cutlets.  A great cut of pork to keep in the frig or freezer.  Check out all the delicious pork tenderloin recipes posts under the category “pork”.  Great ideas for simple, fresh and delicious meals. 

I decided to keep the peach and ginger compote as simple as possible.  Sauces, salsas, compotes, and chutney’s can include a lot of different ingredients, which works well with some dishes.  But I really wanted the clean flavors of the peach and ginger to shine through and compliment the tender cut of pork that had been rubbed with delicious spices. 

A little bit spicy and a little bit sweet (I’d love to be described the same, instead I’m describing a pork!)  A beautiful blend of fresh flavors that truly make a delicious dinner.  Enjoy this delicious taste of summer, and maybe your family will describe you a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet! 

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life.  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


1-1/2 lbs pork tenderloin (usually 2 pieces)

Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder)

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (you can substitute with 2 cups frozen peach slices)

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/4 cup peach preserves

1/4 cup dry white wine (or apple cider)

2 teaspoons butter

Fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish


Paper towel dry the tenderloins and shave off the silver membrane on each tenderloin.  This is a sliver of tissue that can be tough if left on the tenderloin.  Place the tenderloins in a glass baking dish and rub with a little olive oil. 

Mix together the cumin, salt, pepper, chipotle chili powder, oregano or Italian herbs, garlic salt and brown sugar.  Rub the mixture onto both tenderloins and then refrigerate for about an hour. 

To prepare the compote: In a medium sauce pan heat on medium the 2 teaspoons of butter and a dash of olive oil.  When the butter has melted and is warm, add the shallots and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. 

Next, add the peaches, ginger and preserves.  Let the mixture slowly simmer until the peaches become tender.  Add the white wine or apple cider and continue to cook on low for about another 10 minutes.  The mixture should have come together nicely and peaches should be soft but not falling apart. 

Add a pinch of salt and taste for additional seasoning.  It should be savory but sweet.  Remember, you’ll have lots of flavor on the pork, so the compote should taste clean and fresh, not over done. 

Pre-heat a grill to 400F, or an oven to 350F. 

To grill the tenderloin:  Oil the grates and sear the tenderloin, continually turning so they don’t stick.  Turn the heat down to a medium flame.  Once both tenderloin have been seared, turn one burner off and place tenderloin over the burner that is off.  This creates indirect cooking which is a preferred method of grilling for a pork tenderloin.  Otherwise the tenderloin will burn on the outside before the inside is done.  The tenderloin will be done when a meat thermometer reaches 160F.  It’s usually about 10-15 minutes on the grill. 

To oven roast: Place the tenderloin in the pre-heated oven and let it roast for about 20 minutes.  Check for doneness with a meat thermometer.  The center of the tenderloin should reach 160F. 

Once the tenderloin is done it’s very important to place it on a platter or dish and let it rest for 5 minutes or so to let all the juices redistribute.

Slice the tenderloin and place on a platter or individual plates.  Top with the peach ginger compote and garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  This is delicious served with fresh summer greens tossed in a light vinaigrette, or grilled asparagus and zucchini tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette and garlic parmesan cous cous. 

Bon Appetit!

Grilling Halibut Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Swordfish

Grilled Mahi Mahi With a Savory Strawberry Salsa

Recently Ranger Craig and I found ourselves without teenagers for a few weeks and decided to take off on our own summer adventure while our girls were away.  Of course my idea of summer adventure is somewhat different from Ranger Craig’s.  That being said, I was a good sport and decided I needed to increase my level of adventure and jump right in, literally. 

I adore nature, the outdoors and all things ocean, so it seemed scuba diving would be a perfect place to begin.  As you’ll notice in a photo I’ve included in this post, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.  You will detect a bit of fear on my face even through all the scuba diving equipment heaped on my body and my face.  Feel free to howl with laughter because that’s what I did when I saw the picture.  I eventually conquered my fear of the underwater world and enjoyed the spectacular beauty. 

While learning to scuba dive, Ranger Craig and I had the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Maui.  We found some of the most wonderful little cafes and deli’s off the main tourists streets that serve some of the best seafood I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.  Thanks to our fabulous scuba Instructor, Stan, one of our favorite places for lunch (and a few dinners) was Eskimo Candy Fish Market and Cafe.  The fish tacos were prepared with Ono, a fish found in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, and batter fried fish and chips prepared with Opah or Mahi Mahi.  The batter was a delicious blend of Island spices and coconut in a smooth beer batter.  Honestly, I’ve never tasted a beer batter so flavorful!

Most of the grilled fish were served with an array of tropical fruits and Island spices or coconut reduction sauces that made me want to lick my plate!   Of course now that I’m home and cooking in my kitchen I’ve been working to re-create some of these delicious dishes. 

I purchased some fresh Mahi Mahi from our local Gemini Fish Market this weekend and intended to create a decadent tropical salsa of sorts.  However, as I walked through the produce aisle, the deep red fresh Northwest strawberries were calling my name .  The salsa was going to have to include the beautiful strawberries.  I must admit, the salsa turned out beautiful and delicious and a fabulous compliment to the grilled Mahi Mahi.  This salsa would also taste wonderful over a grilled swordfish or Halibut.  I’ve added a few “options” to create variations of this salsa to utilize your regions fresh summer produce. 

And a “shout out” to the extremely patient and experienced dive Instructors at B&B Scuba in Kehei on Maui!  Thanks Stan for the quality scuba instructions and your recommendation of Eskimo Candy, our new favorite place in Maui!  You guys are the best!  (Along with the quality scuba instruction, photos are compliments of B&B Scuba! Check them out when you visit Maui.)

Enjoy this delicious taste of summer and check back often for new South Pacific inspired fish recipes.  Keep dinner simple… enjoy the flavors of life.  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


4 Mahi Mahi filets or steaks, about 6 ounces each (you can substitute with Swordfish or Halibut)

Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Olive oil

1 large lime, zested and juiced

1 cup diced strawberries

1/3 cup diced yellow or orange bell pepper

1/2 cup diced sweet onion such as Walla Walla

1 jalapeno, diced (can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chive

1/4 cup toasted coconut (optional)

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (optional)

1/2 cup diced pineapple (optional)


Preheat the grill to 400F.

In a baking dish or large platter drizzle the fish with olive oil and half the lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper on both sides. 

In a medium bowl gently toss together the strawberries, bell pepper, sweet onion, jalapeno, lime zest, cilantro, chive and remaining lime juice.  If you are adding the optional ingredients go ahead and add them now.

Place the fish on the grill and sear on both sides.  Turn the heat down and grill the fish to desired doneness.  I like my fish cooked through but not well done so keep a good eye on the grill while the fish is cooking.  Mahi Mahi and Swordfish will take a little longer to cook than Halibut.

When the fish is done, transfer to individual plates or a platter and top with a few tablespoons of salsa.  Garnish with additional cilantro or chive.

This dish is fabulous served with grilled sweet potatoes, fresh grilled summer veggies or a salad of fresh greens with a light and simple vinaigrette.

Grilling Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Swordfish

Grilled Fish Topped with a Garlic Lemon Sauce

In the interest of family harmony, I decided to bring this delicious but simple little recipe back to the dinner table tonight.

Ranger Craig has been a super good sport testing all my new recipes, however, he’s recently requested I prepare a few of my older recipes which happen to be his favorites.  Well, of course I couldn’t say no to my favorite recipe tester.

This is one of those perfect summer sauce recipes that compliments most grilled fish.  I really like this sauce over grilled swordfish or grilled tuna.  Similar to the Italian Bagna Cauda sauce used as a dip for crudite, this sauce includes fresh lemon, as it brightens the delicious flavors of the anchovy and garlic.   It’s so simple you almost feel as if you’re missing an ingredient.  It couldn’t be easier or more delicious.  Flavorful enough to serve to dinner guests, but simple enough for a weeknight meal.

It’s also versatile (would I have it any other way?).  If your family doesn’t care for fish, this sauce is delicious served over grilled, roasted or pan seared chicken breasts.  Add a variety of different chopped herbs such as oregano, thyme and a pinch of chopped fresh rosemary and you have one spectacular sauce.

Keep dinner simple… and enjoy the flavors of life!  Happy Cooking!

Serves 3-4


1 1/2 lbs swordfish or tuna

1 tablespoon Anchovy paste

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup good extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


In a blender or food processor, add the anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Taste for seasoning.

Drizzle about a third of the sauce over the fish and coat well.  Let the fish marinade for a few minutes while the grill pre-heats to about 375F.  Grill the fish on each side for about 3-5 minutes depending on thickness and preference.  I like my tuna and swordfish a little more well done, however, some prefer tuna just quickly seared.

When the fish is done transfer to a platter and drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with fresh herbs.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

I love this fish served with a salad of fresh greens or little sweet red tomatoes and baby arugula tossed in a bit of the garlic lemon sauce and seasoned to taste.   Also delicious with roasted broccolini or asparagus.