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Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

It’s the little things that make me smile.  When a cool, gentle breeze on a warm day catches me by surprise, unexpectedly finding a bright red tomato while I’m watering my garden, a random hello text from a friend, finding old photos of my sassy gals that remind me how sassy they were (and still are!) and walking the docks in Newport to find the prettiest seasonal halibut.

Just ask Ranger Craig, that halibut made me smile for at least an hour.

Buying Halibut right off the boat in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen


Fish boat on the docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

I daydreamed all the way home how I was going to prepare that 13lb. halibut.  Yesterday it was Baja-style tacos with a chipotle crema and pineapple cilantro slaw and tonight it’s a Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut.  I could eat the Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with a spoon!

The docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

The combination of fruit and fish has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It seems the sweet from the fruit combined with spice from aromatics like onion and peppers pair so perfectly with the salty, briny and savory flavors of fish.  Whether it’s salmon, halibut, cod, snapper or sea bass, fruit seems to make most fish festive and a bit more intriguing.

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut just might be your new favorite.  It’s certainly my new favorite of the season. 🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

Serving Size: 4

Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut


  • 1 cup diced papaya (about 1 medium papaya)
  • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • Squeeze of lime to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2lbs fresh halibut cut into four pieces
  • lime wedges for garnish


  • Pre-heat the grill to 400F.
  • To prepare the salsa, combine the red pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, ground chile powder and lime juice. Gently fold in the papaya and then season to taste with salt and pepper and give it just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you'd rather grill your halibut on a piece of foil or in a fish basket that works well. I have an electric grill with small grill grates so I typically brush my halibut with oil, season with salt, pepper and a little cumin or smoked paprika, or even my fave fish seasoning and then place it flesh side down on the grill. Halibut will stick however, so oiling the grill and your fish is key to success. If you are using foil, place the seasoned and oiled halibut on the foil and then place the foil on the grill. If you're using the fish basket, well you're already a pro!
  • Halibut will cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Don't overcook the fish or it can become dry.
  • Once the halibut is done, place salsa on the bottom of plates and top with the grilled halibut. Serve with lime wedges and lots of white wine!
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    DaVinci Wine Recipes Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

    White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

    Halibut Florentine from Karista's Kitchen


    This White Fish Florentine is a lush and flavorful dish inspired by my visit to Tuscany with DaVinci Wine a few years ago.  

    Spinach is used in all sorts of Tuscan dishes and it’s also prevalent in many coastal seafood recipes like my Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole.  I love the simple list of ingredients combined with fresh white fish, which is typically easy to find year round.   This gorgeous recipe makes for a fuss free weeknight meal or an elegant meal for entertaining.

    Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I use several different types of white fish for this recipe, depending on the season.  I adore this dish when halibut is in season or when I can snag a gorgeous piece of black or ling cod.

    I like to enjoy the fresh and enticing flavors of this White Fish Florentine paired with a bottle of DaVinci Pinot Grigio. Perfection!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

    Serving Size: 4

    White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

    A great way to use all that fishing trip fish stocked in the freezer or the spinach you froze from summer. Substitute with fresh winter greens instead of spinach and spike with your favorite spices rather than the Dijon.


    • 1lb fresh spinach (or 1 large pkg frozen organic chopped spinach)
    • Olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream (for a saucier dish add ½ cup cream)
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh fish (Cod, Ling Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Sole, if using snapper try to remove the bones prior to cooking)
    • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
    • Serve with fresh lemon wedges


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • In a sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and add the fresh spinach, in batches if you need. Sauté just until the spinach is wilted and transfer to a dish. Continue until all the spinach has been sautéed. Let the spinach cool a bit and then squeeze all the excess liquid from the spinach. Coarsely chop the sautéed spinach and set aside.
  • Or, if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out all the excess liquid.
  • In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots and garlic for one minute or until fragrant. Next, stir in the heavy cream, Dijon mustard and lemon zest. Take the pan off the heat and fold in the chopped spinach until combined with the sauce. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, just enough so the fish won’t stick. Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper and place the fish in the baking dish in a single layer.
  • Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the fish. Then squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the spinach and fish. Mix together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan and then sprinkle on top of the spinach.
  • Place the fish into the oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and done. Typically you can cook fish about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, however, because we’ve layered with spinach and breadcrumbs cooking time may be longer.
  • When the fish is done, remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.
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    This dish is inspired by my visit to Tuscany with the 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience and adapted from many versions of Fish Florentine.  I dined on something similar and I was so impressed with the simple but flavorful meal I had to re-create it for this website. Enjoy! 

    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Shrimp

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

    I wish I could tell you this is a new recipe.  It’s not.  Actually it’s a revision, maybe adaption is a better word.  Most likely due to changes in my palate as well as changes in my culinary style.   I’ve been making assorted fish tacos for years.  Assembling the little lovelies differently each time.  Allowing my playful culinary visions to shine through.   I posted the original recipe way back in 2010, when I used my little point and shoot Canon to take food photos.  A hearty little silver blue camera that did the job for a while.

    But then I started getting fussy about my food pictures.  I read somewhere that chef’s are the worst food photographers.  At first glance I took offense to that statement.  But it couldn’t have been more true, especially way back in the day when I started this website.  For me, It’s always been about the food.  The explosion of flavor that happens when something delectable hits the palate.  But somewhere in the mix, I realized a great photo was a true representation of my masterpiece.  And it should look as good as the food tastes.  Not to mention, the old photo made me cringe.  Literally, it kept me up at night.

    This is a lovely dish that certainly deserves a lovely photo.  And it’s a lovely dish that can be prepared so many different ways.  Grilled or Roasted Salmon (or any fresh fish you have on hand), spicy or sweet crema, spicy or sweet slaw, with our without pineapple and/or mango.  And if you love avocado as much as I do, toss a slice on top of your taco to complete this lush recipe.

    I’ve included some fun options for these tacos in the recipe below.  Different ideas to season, additional options for the slaw and the crema… or as my family likes to say “the sauce”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Serves 4


    For the Salmon

    1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon filets

    Olive oil

    ½  teaspoon chili powder

    ½ teaspoon ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    Options:  Instead of using my fish spice mixture, feel free to use your favorite spicy fish taco seasoning or Emerils Essence Seasoning also makes a delish option for these tacos. 

    For the Chipotle Lime Crema

    ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (you may want to begin with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and then add more if you like)

    1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream

    zest of 1 lime

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon sugar

    Options: substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream and Sriracha or hot sauce for the chipotle chili powder. 

    For the Cilantro Slaw

    2 cups shredded fresh cabbage

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    2  tablespoons sugar

    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Options:  add diced fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to the slaw. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with sliced green onions.


    Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

    8 – 10 corn tortillas, steamed or warmed (I either warm them over my grill, gas stove top or in the microwave.

    Fresh sliced Avocado (optional)

    Lime wedges


    Heat the grill to 400F. Brush the grill racks with oil.

    Mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with oil and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

    When the grill is hot, place the salmon flesh side down on the grill. Let the salmon sear and cook for about 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula and grill another 4 minutes, or a little longer for salmon that is cooked through.  If the salmon doesn’t want to flip, it’s probably not ready.  Just let it sit for another minute or two, turning the heat down if needed.  Rule of thumb: fish should cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter to cool.

    While the salmon is cooling, whisk together the creme fraiche, chipotle chili powder, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

    Wisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage and cilantro.

    Flake the grilled salmon, removing any bones. Fill the steamed tortillas with the grilled salmon, top with chipotle lime crema, your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, and the shredded cabbage with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!



    Appetizers Halibut Karista's Kitchen Salad Seafood VRAI Magazine

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen Perfect for a summer evening!

    The vibrant and colorful foods of South America beg to be tasted, savored and celebrated.  South America provides a garden of gorgeous and unique regional produce, oceans of seafood, tropical fruits that remind us of sunshine and summer; and spicy flavors that feel festive and indulgent.

    Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m so excited about the newest issue of VRAI Magazine!  Head on over to snag this fantastic summer recipe, Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones; and while you’re there, stay a while and browse.  VRAI Magazine is evolving and I’m so proud to be working with the most amazing and talented team.

    Check out the “Getting to Know” page to find out more about all the amazing and talented people behind this fabulous magazine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood Shrimp

    Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

    Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

    The day has arrived!  VRAI Magazine has launched!

    I feel honored to have been asked to be a VRAI Magazine Food Contributor and beyond delighted to be a part of this spectacular team of professionals.  VRAI Magazine is a lifestyle magazine reinvented for true living. “Real bloggers, true stories, genuine conversations”.

    Along with other fantastic articles, DIY projects, travel and fashion, you can find my newest recipe, Brazilian Fish Stew, also known as Moqueca, at VRAI Magazine.

    Moqueca is a traditional seafood soup from Brazil.  Every Brazilian family has their own special recipe for this dish, as does every chef who creates it.  Typically, Moqueca is a slow cooked seafood soup.  However, I’ve created a lovely simple and quick version that is big in flavor but doesn’t take a lot of time.  So simple, I sometimes prepare this stew on a weeknight, skipping the shrimp and just adding in the white fish.

    This light and enchanting spring soup is perfect for the season.  A base of coconut milk and seafood stock – it boasts huge flavor.  A lovely addition to your spring menu rotation.

    Click HERE to download the recipe and all the other fantastic articles and recipes at VRAI Magazine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!



    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

    Halibut Montalcino

    halibut with fennel, orange and green olives

    By choosing to click and read this blog post, you confirm you are of legal drinking age in the country where this site is accessed.

    It’s officially halibut season here in the Pacific Northwest.  One of my favorite spring milestones – when the halibut is fresh and sweet and beautifully abundant at the fish markets.   The texture is firm but flaky and moist when cooked; and the meat is sweet and mild.

    Last year I developed this lovely little recipe for DaVinci Wine after my glorious visit to Tuscany.  It pairs perfectly with the DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

    This is a fish dish that can be prepared quickly for a weeknight meal.  Just have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go and the dish will be done in less than 30 minutes.

    It’s also a dish that is easily adjusted to preference.  Maybe you prefer more fennel and less olives? Or maybe you prefer more orange zest and an added squeeze of orange juice.  However you prepare this dish, it will be fresh and flavorful and delight the palate.

    Halibut Montalcino

    Serves 2 (can be easily doubled)


    ¾ -1lb Halibut (thinner filet’s if you can find them as they are easier to pan sear), or your favorite firm white fish, cut into two pieces or 4 smaller pieces for ease of cooking.

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    1 tablespoon clarified butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil

    1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

    1 orange, zested

    1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

    Handful of sliced green olives

    2 tablespoons of mixed chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme

    ¼ cup dry white wine (I used the DaVinci Pinot Grigio)


    Season the halibut filet’s with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

    Heat a large non-stick or fish friendly skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and oil, combining the two as the butter melts.

    When the butter/oil is hot but not smoking, add the halibut filets flesh side down.  Let the filets cook in the pan for about 5 minutes or until the flesh side down has formed a nice golden brown crust and comes off the pan easily.

    Flip the fish to skin side down and finish cooking, turning the heat down to medium if needed.  Fish typically cooks 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.  This is true for most medium to thick fleshed fish such as halibut, salmon, swordfish, etc.

    When the fish is done, transfer to a platter and keep warm.

    Over medium to medium high heat, add the unsalted butter to the fish pan and let it melt.  Add the sliced fennel bulb and allow it to caramelize a bit, turning golden brown.  Just before the fennel is done, add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.

    Stir in the ¼ cup of white wine and chopped fresh herbs.  Let the wine reduce by half and then add the orange zest and green olives.

    Hold the skillet over the heat just until the mixture is warmed through, season the mixture with additional salt and pepper to taste and add one more pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and then divide the fennel mixture onto two plates.

    Top the fennel mixture with a piece of halibut and garnish with additional chopped Italian parsley and orange zest.

    Serve with a side of fresh pasta tossed in olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic and parmesan and a glass of DaVinci Pinot Grigio.


    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Roasted Dover Sole


    Blueberry Ginger Salsa over Halibut // Karista's Kitchen


    I wrote this post in 2013. It seemed cooking was just as therapeutic then as it is now. To preface this Blueberry Ginger Salsa recipe… 

    This Blueberry Ginger Salsa is a result of my love for fish and fruit (and an overflowing mint plant).  I’ve always felt fish and fruit were two fresh ingredients made for each other. The salty essence of the seafood combined with the fresh sweetness of the fruit is complimentary in flavor and intoxicating to the palate.

    Just like seafood, grilled chicken also pairs well with most fruit and it pairs especially well this Blueberry Ginger Salsa.  On occasion, I’ll whip up this salsa and serve it as a starter with seasoned pita chips and creamy goat cheese.  However, most of the time you’ll find yourself eating this Blueberry Ginger Salsa with spoon.  It’s that good!


    Funny how sometimes life rolls in a direction never anticipated.  Catching us by surprise, with both trepidation and promise.

    It’s been an eventful year for my family.  My first-born conquering a long and tedious health challenge, my youngest discovering the heartbreak and joy of her first year in high school.   A brilliant year of cooking classes filled with the most wonderful home chef’s I’ve ever met.  New clients, new colleagues, new recipes and articles created and new friends made.   And we’re only half way through the year!

    Change happens.  It’s inevitable.  I’ve had a lifetime of change.  I thought I’d become familiar with the word, until I realized the memories I will soon leave behind.  Yes, we’re moving down the road a bit, to a darling little town in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Still the beautiful Pacific Northwest that I know and love.

    It’s bittersweet.  I have the best friends here.  Friends who bring our grieving family delicious baked goods, flowers and cards when our sweet old Airedale, Elwood, passed.  Friends who cooked meals for a week when my sweet oldest Sassy Gal came home from surgery.  Beautiful flowers arriving daily, cards that expressed love and sympathy, happy thoughts and prayers.

    Karista's Kitchen

    Friends that have loved and continue to love my children like their own.  I love that.  I’ve always felt it takes a village to raise a child.

    I know my friends and I will remain close.  After all,  this is the era of social media and I’ll only be a few hours down the road.  But I will miss them.

    Brilliant, strong, independent, artistic, supportive, beautiful women who have made a huge impact on my life.  I would list you all, but I’m afraid I might miss someone!  You know who you are.  I love you!

    So, in a few weeks, Karista’s Kitchen will have a new home on the world-wide web.   And, Karista Bennett (and the Bennett Crew) will make their new home in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.

    I proceed with trepidation, but also promise.  Promise of new discoveries, new challenges, new ideas, new farms to visit, new places for Ranger Craig and I to fly :), new recipes to share and new friends to be made.

    It may take me a few weeks until I post next.  I’d like to say I’m a good multi-tasker, but unfortunately, that will never be included in my list of talents.

    So until next time, I wish you happy trails, lots of summer sunshine, good health and loads of love!

    Delicious Wishes,


    Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa

    Savory Blueberry Ginger Salsa


    • 1 pint fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
    • 1 small - medium shallot, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint (extra for garnish)
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, gently toss together the blueberries, shallot, fresh ginger, chopped mint, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let it sit room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • I love to serve this salsa with grilled chicken or fish. Or, for a starter, serve with seasoned pita chips and creamy goat cheese.
  • Notes

    I’ve paired this salsa with fresh Dover Sole that I seasoned, rolled and then pan seared in a skillet with a tablespoon or two of ghee. Dover sole is such a delicate fish, sometimes it’s easier to prepare when it’s rolled and cooked. You can also place these Dover sole rolls in a greased baking dish and then pop it in a pre-heated oven at 350F. Brush the fish with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and cook just until done. A good rule of thumb for cooking fish is to cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

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    Appetizers Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood Shrimp

    Mixed Seafood and Avocado Ceviche

    ceviche with halibut, bay shrimp, cilantro, white onion, sriracha, and avocado

    Mixed Seafood and Avocado Ceviche

    I’ve forgotten how much fun it is to take a road trip.  Cruising down the highway to some cool tunes, aptly selected and managed by my teenage daughter.

    Stopping for a coffee and then a little snack. Talking, laughing, reminiscing about my daughter’s childhood and the adorable things she did and said when she was little.

    Thought provoking discussions about life, love and the pursuit of dreams; and how my little girl will someday help shape the world and make it a better place.

    All the while driving through cities and the green valley floor; over the rugged mountains to the end of the road that lead to the blue-gray Pacific ocean.  A magnificent vision.

    Angry storm clouds rolling past with wind and light rain, as if to say winter isn’t leaving just yet.  It was beautiful.  Magical.

    oregon oceanside

    My Sassy Gal, The Photographer

    After sharing such a lovely few hours with my daughter, once we arrived to our destination she was ready to kick off her shoes, lounge in her room and watch a movie.  Most likely, while texting or snap chatting her friends about how they were enjoyng their spring breaks.

    With the Sassy Gal happily lounging in her room, Ranger Craig and I were ready to explore the little seaside village.  First things first, we found a pub.  The cutest Irish pub with the freshest seafood, and of course, beer.

    A festive little pub filled with cheerful souls that made me want to stand on my chair and sing an Irish tune.  But I didn’t.  I gracefully refrained.  Although, I’m sure Ranger Craig wouldn’t have minded.  He’s watched me sing a tune or two.  Thankfully he’s charmed by my somewhat overzealous personality.

    Home again, home again and dreaming of the ocean, I decided it was time to bring out the ceviche recipe.  It’s a permanent resident in my frig most of the summer.  Typically prepared with different ingredients depending on my food mood or what I found at the Farmer’s Market.

    I hope you love the ceviche so much, it makes you want to stand on your chair and sing an Irish tune. 😉

    Mixed Seafood and Avocado Ceviche

    Feel free to add in your favorite ingredients.  Sometimes I add diced cucumber, diced red pepper, diced mango or diced pineapple.  Just for fun.


    1lb fresh pacific halibut, diced into small bite sized pieces

    ½ lb bay shrimp

    1/2 cup white onion, small diced (1 small – medium onion)

    5-6 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

    1 teaspoon or more of Sriracha hot sauce

    1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (add additional cilantro if desired)

    Fresh lime juice, enough to cover the diced halibut (about 1/2 cup)

    sea salt and pepper

    1 ripe avocado, diced


    Place the diced halibut and lime juice in a glass or non-reactive bowl. Let the halibut marinate refrigerated for about an hour or two until the small halibut pieces have been cooked through.

    Once the halibut is done, drain the all the liquid and then place the halibut back in the glass bowl.

    Add the diced onion, tomatoes, bay shrimp and cilantro. Toss gently with the Sriracha and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Before serving squeeze lime juice over the avocado and then gently fold into the ceviche.

    Serve with blue or yellow corn chips as an appetizer or light dinner.  But my favorite way to enjoy this ceviche is in warm tortillas as tacos!  Top with a little Cotija or Mexican cheese and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

    Recipe from

    Halibut Seafood

    Simple Roasted Halibut Tacos with Spicy Slaw

    Halibut Tacos

    Simple Roasted Halibut Tacos with Spicy Slaw

    I can’t believe I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years and I just made my first trip to Portland, Oregon.  I’ve been everywhere else in this part of the country but for some reason a visit to Portland just never seemed to happen.

    Pacific Halibut

    Roasting Pacific Halibut

    So, because we were highly intrigued, Ranger Craig and I recently visited Portland for a long weekend.  It was a road trip.  Much to my husbands dismay.  He hates driving longer than 30 minutes at a time.

    We were going to fly Charlie, our Cessna, but the weather wasn’t as cooperative as we’d like.  Or,  let’s just say it wasn’t as cooperative as I like.

    We thought about the train, but I had the bright idea of a road trip.  We should have taken the train.

    Mexican slaw

    Spicy Slaw

    Traffic, traffic and more traffic.  I knew we’d (Ranger Craig) need a pint or two once we got to Portland.  And we were in luck!  We found Rogue Brewery in the Pearl District.  Whoo Hoo!

    As we were enjoying our pints of refreshing beverages, I spotted the famous Powell’s Bookstore down the street.   I couldn’t finish my pint fast enough.  I just had to browse this famous Portland landmark.

    Powell’s Bookstore in Portland

    They say (Powell’s) it’s the largest bookstore in America.  And large it is.  Ranger Craig and I were in book heaven browsing that gigantic store.  I barely made it out of the gardening, food and cooking section to sneak a peak at the mysteries.

    Food Truck

    Portland Food Trucks! This one sold cupcakes 🙂

    After an hour (probably more like two) I found Ranger Craig in the main aisle.  As I walked toward him juggling 7 books in my arms, Ranger Craig looked at me with those eyes that said… “how in the heck are you going to carry all those books back to the hotel”?

    So, I put a few books back (actually three) but left the fabulous bookstore with my four favorites.  (Ranger Craig carried them back to the hotel. 🙂 )

    Of course a visit to Portland isn’t a visit unless you dine at one of the many fantastic restaurants in town.  I admit, I hadn’t done much planning for this impromptu Portland visit and regretted my “see where the wind takes us” attitude.  I remember my Grandma saying to me once “Little Miss, you always fly by the seat of your pants. You may regret that one day”.  I think she was right in this case.

    LIttle Bird

    Little Bird in Portland

    I couldn’t get reservations at Little Bird, Gabriel Rucker’s new restaurant, or a few other delectable restaurant’s I’d heard about.  So, we dined in various small, but tasty, restaurants that provided the most divine oysters, seafood, fresh salads and fabulous wine.  I couldn’t complain a snippet!

    Just like Seattle, Portland loves their dogs.

    All delicious, fresh, locally sourced and mostly organic.  That’s what I love about Portland.  Attention to local, attention to quality and of course lots of creative flair.  Creative flair, truly unique, and as one building sign stated “weird”.   I love weird.  🙂

    Simple Halibut Tacos with Spicy Slaw

    Serves 4-6


    1 ½ lbs Halibut (or other white flaky fish)

    2 limes

    Chile powder

    Ground Cumin

    Ground Coriander

    Dried Oregano

    Salt and Pepper

    Drizzle of high heat oil (safflower, sunflower, etc)

    Spicy Slaw (recipe below)

    Corn tortillas

    Crumbled Cotija cheese if desired (optional)


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Assemble the Spicy Slaw (recipe below) and set aside.

    Place the Halibut in a baking dish and squeeze juice of one lime over the fish.  Then brush with oil.

    Season the fish with a healthy sprinkling of Chile powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Seasoning as much or as little as you like.

    Place the fish in the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through.  Typically, fish will cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Remove the fish from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Then flake the fish gently to fill the tacos.

    While the fish is resting prepare the tortillas.  I like these tacos served with freshly steamed or warmed corn tortillas.  I usually steam my tortillas in a stove top steamer, microwave steam bowl or the top rack of my rice cooker.

    Add the flaked fish to the steamed tortillas and fold like tacos, layering on a platter. Next fill each taco with some spicy slaw and serve with lime wedges and crumbled Cotija.  Enjoy!

    Spicy Slaw

    Serves 4-6


    2-3 cups thinly shredded Napa or savoy cabbage

    ¼ cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

    ¼ cup thin sliced green onions

    ¼ cup (or a little more if you like your slaw well dressed) Mayonnaise

    ½ – 1 teaspoon Sriracha or Tabasco or any other hot sauce you have on hand

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Pinch of sugar

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha, lemon juice, sugar salt and pepper.  Place the cabbage, cilantro and green onions in a medium bowl and toss with the dressing.

    Serve on tacos or pulled pork sandwiches.  Yum!

    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

    Moroccan Roasted Fish

    Roasted Moroccan Fish

    I have a long list of blogs I love to read.  As I was browsing one such blog today (The Faux Martha)  I noticed she mentioned “Wordless Wednesday”.  Hmmm…. I like the sound of that.  Could I possibly impose this on my two sassy gals today?  Just kidding! 😉

    Fresh herbs, lemon, and smoked paprika make this fish sing!

    Instead of imposing wordless Wednesday on my family, I thought I’d use this lovely little term in my blog post today.

    I love pairing this dish with roasted fennel and tomatoes

    Instead of paragraphs of words I’m sharing pictures of this delicious Moroccan Roasted Fish (recipe follows!) and a few highlights from our glorious hike on Mt. Rainier.  Enjoy!

    Mt. Rainier

    Trailhead at Mt. Rainier

    Mt. Rainier

    Hiking Lodge and Trailhead at Mr. Rainier

    Mt. Rainier

    Hiking toward McClure Rock on Mt. Rainier

    Mt Rainier

    A breathtaking journey up the mountain


    My little friend the Marmot… followed me up the mountain. 🙂

    Mt. Rainier

    Trying desperately to keep up with Ranger Craig!

    Mt. Rainier

    Made it to McClure Rock!

    Mt. Rainier

    Amazed by the beauty that surrounds me

    Moroccan Roasted Fish

    1 ½ lbs Halibut cut into 4 filets (I love this with Halibut filets but can be used with most any thick fleshed fish)

    Cilantro, a handful finely chopped

    Italian Parsley, a handful finely chopped

    Capers, tablespoon coarsely chopped

    Garlic, 2 cloves minced

    Smoked paprika, 1 ½ teaspoon

    Ginger, 1 teaspoon grated, or a little more if you love ginger

    4 thin slices of lemon

    Lemon juice of one lemon

    3 tablespoons oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne (optional)


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

    I like this hand chopped instead of pureed in a food processer.  Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

    Season the fish with salt and pepper and lay the fish skin side down on the parchment.

    Spread the herb caper lemon mixture evenly over the top of the fish filets and place a lemon slice on each piece of fish.  Then place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.  For every inch of thickness cooking time is about 8-10 minutes.

    When the fish is done, flaky and opaque, take it out of the oven and either place on a platter to serve or individual plates.  Garnish with additional fresh lemon wedges.

    I love this dish served with roasted fennel and tomatoes.  Delicious!

    Halibut Seafood

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Halibut

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Fresh Mint

    I discovered something about myself this weekend.  I really love to talk ( I should know this, my two sassy gals tell me often).

    I like talking much more than writing.  Sometimes when I’m writing I try to imagine you sitting in my living room chatting over a steamy cup of fresh hot coffee and snacking on slightly sweet and buttery scones. The kind with those little crunchy sugar sprinkles on top. 🙂

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Fresh Mint

    I adore meeting new people.  Learning about what they do and what they might be passionate about.  I love it when I’m deeply touched by their story or intrigued by their special talents.  I met many of those people this weekend at the BlogHer Food Conference here in Seattle.

    All attending for the collective love of food.  But all different in life stories and experiences.  Unique and fascinating.  I was pleasantly overwhelmed.  And somewhat disappointed.  All at the same time.

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Opah

    Overwhelmed with the feeling of being blessed with new friendships, acquaintances and delicious memories.  Disappointed with how much I thought I knew, but really don’t know.  I gained a mountain of insight, information and a good dose of reality.

    What delights me most is how many new friends I’ve gained.  How many deliciously wonderful professional women (and one man!) I had the pleasure of meeting.

    I’d love to share them with you.  All lovely, deeply passionate, professional, knowledgeable individuals who have now made my life much richer.

    Kelley at

    Kayln at

    Heidi at

    Irvin at

    Veronica and Yvette at

    Melanie  at

    Erina at

    Janelle at

    Emmy at

    Keren at

    Thank you for being SO PATIENT.  It’s been a while since I posted a recipe and certainly an unintentional hiatus.  Just know that if you don’t get a new recipe in your inbox on a regular basis, I’m teaching fun and exciting cooking classes, or cooking for my fabulous clients, family and friends.  Or maybe I was at a food conference.  🙂

    Loads of Love,


    Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Grilled Fresh Halibut

    I love this salsa served with grilled white fish.  My favorite pairing is with halibut, but black cod, opah and grilled scallops are equally divine.   Delicious Wishes!

    Serves 4


    1 pint fresh blueberries

    1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped shallots

    ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (cilantro would also be a delish substitute!)

    Squeeze of Lemon (about a tablespoon)

    Dash of Olive oil (a few teaspoons)

    Teaspoon or two of honey

    Salt and pepper


    Half the blueberries if you can, or lightly chop.

    Toss together the blueberries, shallots, ginger, and mint.  In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey.

    Toss the lemon oil with the blueberries and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    This is definitely one of those recipes you can prepare to taste.  A little more ginger, a little less mint or maybe a little more honey.  Whatever you decide, it’ll be delicious!

    I love this fresh and flavorful salsa over grilled white fish; halibut, black cod, Hawaiian opah and grilled scallops.

    Grilling Halibut Sassy Side dishes Seafood Swordfish

    Garam Masala Crusted Fish with Cucumber Mango Raita and Coconut Rice

    Garam Masala Crusted Swordfish with Cucumber Mango Raita and Coconut Rice

    Score! A beautiful day on a weekend in September… in Western Washington.  This can only mean one thing.  It’s flying weather.  O Happy Day!

    Pretty Puffy Clouds at Jefferson Co. Airport, Port Townsend

    As soon as the sun came up Ranger Craig and I were packing for a quick little day trip over to one of our favorite spots, Port Townsend, WA.  Fresh seafood, beautiful produce, my favorite espresso cafe and a little shopping to round out the day.

    Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

    But… Ranger Craig was thinking more along the lines of a hike from Fort Worden into town and maybe a little kayaking or a visit to the wooden boat museum.  All really great ideas, yesiree bob.  But ya know,  I was ready for a little less action and a little more food shopping.

    My little flying foodie, who's taller than her Mama!

    Adventure Bound Bennett's

    And of course, as soon as my youngest gal heard the word shopping, her adventure meter tipped the scale and she was in.

    What a 13 year old will do to shop!

    How much longer do I have to hike this beach?

    Ok, so we compromised.  We hiked the long beach from the fort into town.  And conveniently for Ranger Craig, the wooden boat museum was on the way.

    Finding a little happy in hiking

    Kayaking sort of fell by the wayside, after the hour and half hike on the beach.  My hunky hiking guy had two hungry gals following him and he knew from experience that finding lunch should be next on our list of activities.  🙂

    Halibut Fish and Chips

    Seafood Stew with a splash of Gruyere

    The Public House on Water Street was the perfect spot for lunch.  The halibut was so fresh and moist and delightfully beer battered with fresh herbs; served with Asian slaw and of course french fries.  I’d love to tell you I was a very health concious diner and didn’t eat my fries.  I ate every last one off my plate.

    Ranger Craig had a seafood stew with white wine, garlic, fresh herbs and topped with a little Gruyere.  Suzie Q opted for her favorite, a grilled chicken burger which she ate in record time.  I think she was just a little hungry.

    Flying Home

    On the way home I had fish on the brain and more fish for dinner sounded divine.  I love swordfish and coconut and Ranger Craig loves sauce.   I’d been craving coconut rice and had a new sauce to test over fish.  I think dinner was just decided.

    Tank, my Toto in disguise.

    Although, I was so full from all those fries!  You’ll be glad to know, I hiked an hour with Tank the next day.  See… we can have our fries and eat them too. 🙂

    Garam Masala Crusted Fish with Cucumber Mango Raita and Coconut Rice

    Recipe adapted from multiple sources

    Serves 2


    For the Fish:

    2 Swordfish or Mahi Mahi Steaks (halibut or Hawaiin Opah is also a great alternative) Buying fresh fish is the key to any delicious fish dish.  If the fish isn’t fresh, eat chicken.

    1 tablespoon Garam Masala

    Pinch of salt and Pepper

    2 T high heat oil (I like pan searing in grapeseed oil)

    For the Raita:

    ½ cup cucumber, finely diced

    ½ cup mango, finely diced

    ½ teaspoon ground cumin

    2 tablespoons plain yogurt

    Juice of ½ lime

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Mix together the cucumber, mango, cumin, yogurt and lime juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    In a skillet, heat the oil on medium high.  Season the two steaks on both sides with salt, pepper and garam masala.

    For pan searing fish, use a well seasoned cast iron pan or ceramic coated pan.

    Pan sear the fish for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

    Serve warm with the cucumber mango raita and coconut rice.

    Classic Coconut Rice

    Serves 2-4


    1 cup coconut milk

    ¾ cup basmati rice

    ½ cup water

    1 T sugar

    ¼ t salt

    1/4 cup raisins (optional)


    Combine coconut milk, rice, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, then cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork and add the raisins if desired.  Cover and keep warm.