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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Peach Salsa… a Guest Post by Alaska From Scratch


It’s amazing how new friendships are born.  I’ve been following Maya at Alaska From Scratch for a while now and after a few blog comments and email correspondence she has become a cherished colleague and dear friend.  Her delicious food blog captured my attention, but Maya’s writing, her sweet, kind spirit and love of family and friends brings me back almost daily.  It’s an honor and pleasure to have Maya of Alaska from Scratch Guest Posting on Karista’s Kitchen today.  You are in for a treat!


Hugs from Alaska to all of my new friends here at Karista’s Kitchen. Of course, an extra big squeeze to my special blogging buddy, Karista, for inviting me to guest post here today. She is a real gem, bursting with talent and grace, and I am blessed to know her and to get to count her as both a colleague and a friend.

July in Alaska means seemingly endless amounts of daylight, lush green scenery, sparkling blue waters, and fishing. Gobs of fishing. There is nothing more seasonal in Alaska in July than a wild-caught salmon directly from our local shores. We have a dear friend living with us for the summer while he fishes commercially in Cook Inlet. One evening, after 13 hours out on the water, our friend came home with a marvelous king salmon. Although it was late, it was still light out, and he and my husband (known affectionately on my blog as Pastor Alaska) made quick work of filleting while I pulled up a recipe. It wasn’t long before the fish was sizzling in a hot pan, filling the house with the aroma of spices and saltwater mingling together.

Ocean to table. There is truly nothing better.

Salmon CollageThat night, we made this flavorful Sugar-Crusted Salmon recipe. Together, we oohed and ahhed over the smokiness of the paprika and the cumin, the kick of the chili powder and dry mustard, the nice sweetness from the sugar and a surprising pinch of cinnamon. And can we just talk about that beautiful charred crust for a moment… the stunning caramelization you get when a hot pan swirled with olive oil meets a perfectly fresh fillet of salmon, patted dry (this is key), and rubbed generously. “I have to blog about this,” I said aloud between bites, squeezing a wedge of lime over my fillet before diving back in, “We have to make this again.” Two nights later, we indeed made it again, and this time I made a bright, summery avocado peach salsa to go with it.

Sugar-Crusted Salmon with Avocado Peach Salsa

Serves 4

For the Salsa: 2 sweet, but firm peaches (I used yellow saturn peaches), pitted and finely chopped 2 ripe avocados, finely chopped 1 small red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped 1/2 cup red onion, diced 1-2 jalapeños (to taste), seeds removed and minced 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped 1 lime, juiced salt and pepper, to taste

For the Salmon: 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard pinch of cinnamon 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 4-6 wild-caught salmon fillets (about 4-6 ounces each), pin bones and skin removed 2 tablespoons neutral olive oil

Directions In a bowl, gently stir together the peaches, avocados, bell peppers, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, mustard, cinnamon, pepper, and salt.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the salmon fillets dry and liberally season the top of each fillet with the rub, patting it so it will adhere. Place the fillets seasoned side down into the hot pan. Cook about two minutes, until rub is fragrant and caramelized, but not burnt. Flip each fillet and continue to cook on the other side 2-6 minutes more, being careful not to overcook (cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets and your preferred doneness. I like my wild salmon fillets medium in the center, so mine were ready after 4 minutes). Plate the salmon and top with Avocado Peach Salsa.

Sugar-Crusted Salmon recipe adapted from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute via Chena Girl Cooks.

Grilling Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More

Roasted Mini Pepper and Fresh Basil Relish over Grilled Salmon

Roasted Mini Pepper and Fresh Basil Relish

My youngest gal told me this morning that I talk about food all the time. Really?

Fresh Mini Peppers

This, after my subtle launch into why we don’t consume sugary chocolate cupcakes on an empty morning tummy.  (can you see her eyes rolling?) I know, I know, once in a while we just have to have a sweet for breakfast.  I promise, I’m not a complete food ogre.

I am a bit obsessed with good food however, and totally in love with mini peppers.  I could eat them by the bucket full.   We picked up these divine little peppers at the Port Townsend Farmer’s Market.  And of course I had to snap a few pictures to share.

Port Townsend, WA looking at Admirality Inlet

Me… at the beautiful marina in Port Townsend

I’m enamored with the Bald Eagle

The perfect evening in Port Townsend

Flying Home

These little peppers are perfect for salads, snacking or stuffed as an appetizer.  But I like them best roasted.

After roasting the first batch, I think I ate half the peppers off the baking sheet.  Well, I know I did.  Because I had to run to my local market for more peppers.

After roasting the second batch of mini peppers I only snacked on two (so yummy right out of the oven!) and the rest went straight into the relish.

Then Ranger Craig came into the kitchen while I was grilling the salmon and “sampled” the relish.  Several times.  I started to wonder if we’d have any relish left for the salmon!

I was not going back to the market a third time.  I’ve done that.  It’s so embarrassing.

We ended up with just enough relish to serve with two pieces of salmon (we should have had enough for four pieces).  It was delicious.

Roasted Mini Pepper and Fresh Basil Relish with Grilled Salmon

Perfectly roasted and sweet with a hint of fresh basil and subtle tang of balsamic vinegar.  It’s going to be a tasty summer!

Roasted Mini Pepper and Fresh Basil Relish

Serves 4


16 oz Mini Sweet Peppers

1 heaping tablespoon chopped or chiffonade fresh basil, plus extra for garnish

Dash of olive oil

Dash of good quality balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste


To Roast the Peppers

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Brush the foil or parchment with a little oil so the peppers won’t stick.

Place the peppers on the baking sheet, pop them in the oven and let them roast.  This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on how crisp tender or tender you like them.  I personally like my peppers very soft and toasty.

Once the peppers are done let them cool for a few minutes.

Pull the stem from each pepper and dice.  No need to skin or seed the peppers as we’re using the whole pepper for this relish.

Once the peppers are diced, add the fresh basil, dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Gently toss and taste for seasoning.

Serve with grilled salmon or chicken.  Or toss with fresh greens and feta cheese for a delightful summer salad!

Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Cilantro Salmon

Cilantro Salmon

Last week I told Ranger Craig I’m in need of a field trip.  For those of you who don’t know Ranger Craig, he’s my main man, best bud, adventure partner, resident food critic and husband.  I had a reader ask me once if he was my boyfriend. (Hee hee, that gave me a good chuckle!)  So I went back to my about page and made it clear he’s legally mine. 🙂

Ranger Craig... with Charley, our Cessna 182

Ranger Craig is not a Forest Ranger. Although he’d love to be one.  He served in the US Army as an Army Airborne Ranger.  So, I call him Ranger Craig.  And he’s fearless. Which is why I don’t usually let him plan our little field trips lest we end up jumping out of an airplane and that’s where I draw the line.  I don’t mind flying in the airplane, I just don’t want to jump out of it.

I should have known his inclination for adventure years ago when our first date was a long hike up our local lone Mountain.  Ranger Craig came prepared. Hiking shorts, hiking shoes, appropriate hiking shirt, water canteen, one of those handy tool knifes just in case of an emergency, and would you believe he even had a few Band-Aids in his backpack.

Me? Adorable pink shorts, bright pink and white matching off the shoulder shirt (it was the 80’s), and gold sparkle sandals with hot pink painted toes. I looked great.  For about 10 minutes.

Fast forward twenty-five years and I’ve got my own water bottle, travel medical kit, sensible shoes and an appropriate outfit for every adventure occasion. Lucky for me, this field trip didn’t even require sensible shoes.  I could look cute and wear my favorite cowgirl boots.

My favorite boots from El Paso, Texas

The Glass Art Museum was breathtaking. Art beyond my imagination. I couldn’t wait to photograph every piece.  Until, to my huge disappointment, I spotted the “No Photography” sign.

Glass Art by Chihuly

I did manage a few snaps of the Chihuly Art display. Breathtaking.  So full of vibrant color it inspired my desire for a vibrantly colorful dinner.

And what better way to celebrate color, than with one of my favorite colors, green.  Fresh Pan Seared Salmon with bright spring green Cilantro Pesto.  It’s a plate licking good sauce that goes with anything.  Just like my favorite cowgirl boots.

Cilantro Salmon

Serves 4

For the Pesto:

1 large bunch cilantro, lower thicker stems trimmed (upper stems are fine in pureed pesto’s or sauces)

½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or substitute with walnuts)

1-2 cloves garlic

1 lemon juiced

¼ cup grated parmesan

Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

Salt to taste


Place the cilantro, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and parmesan in a blender or food processor.  As you pulse/puree the ingredients add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth.

Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.

For The Salmon:

1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh wild salmon cut into 4 pieces

1-2 tablespoon high heat oil ( I love using Spectrum’s Asian flavored oil for pan searing salmon)

Salt and pepper

Lemon slices and fresh chopped cilantro for garnish


Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add the oil.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

When the oil is hot add the salmon flesh side down. Let the salmon cook for about 3 minutes or until the salmon easily lifts off the pan.  It should be a lovely golden brown.

Flip the salmon skin side down and continue cooking until just pink inside, about another 3-4 minutes depending on thickness.

If the salmon is thick, turn the heat down to medium and cover with a lid and let the salmon finish cooking.  The salmon should lift off the pan easily, leaving the skin in the skillet.

Drizzle the pesto on a platter or plates and lay the skinless salmon filets on top and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and lemon slice.

This pesto is fantastic on grilled salmon and grilled chicken too! Enjoy 🙂

Appetizers Grilling Salmon Sassy Side dishes Seafood vegetarian

Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salsa with Fresh Basil

I’ve got a big yellow bowl sitting on my kitchen counter.  I love that bowl.  It looks like sunshine.  And it’s overflowing with all my beautifully delicious fruits and veggies.   I also love my big yellow bowl because one of my dear friends gave it to me for my birthday, and because it’s so big it holds my prized summer produce.
And right now my prized summer produce are avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers.  During the spring and summer I find myself consuming major amounts of these lovely pieces of yumminess.  It seems the tasty trio can always be found on my plate.  I should be various shades of green and red by now.

Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salsa with Fresh Basil over Grilled Alaskan Salmon

I got a little excited last week and purchased a few too many avocados and tomatoes.  Yes, I was grocery shopping while hungry.  Not a good idea.  By the time I reached the checkout counter my grocery cart was overflowing.  I’d definitely need to come up with some nifty new recipes for my embarrassingly large purchase.  I think I need to add the word “restraint” to my vocabulary.

Home with my unrestrained purchase, I whipped up this quick little salsa to top our dinner of grilled Alaskan salmon.  My nifty new salsa almost didn’t make it to dinner.  The Bennett crew kept sweeping though the kitchen, subtly scooping little bites of the salsa with blue corn chips.

It’s another two for one recipe!  Serve the salsa as a starter or a dinner.  Or in the case of the Bennett crew, it was a starter dinner.

Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salsa with Fresh Basil


2 Avocados, diced

2 Fresh Summer tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 cup fresh diced cucumbers

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

Squeeze of lemon

Drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


Toss together the avocado, tomato, cucumber and basil.  Drizzle with fresh lemon and olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.

Options:  Instead of fresh chopped basil, substitute with fresh oregano and Italian parsley, or add in a little fresh mint.  Fresh chopped cilantro is also a fabulous compliment to this salsa.

Serve over grilled chicken or fish.  Or serve as an appetizer with a basket of blue corn chips.


The Great Alaskan Canned Salmon Giveaway!

Pure Alaskan Salmon Co

Huge gigantic thanks to everyone who entered the Pure Alaskan Salmon Company canned salmon giveaway! 

This is the most difficult part of giveaways,  there can only be one winner.  🙁   I wish I could send each entry a case of canned salmon, all your recipe ideas were fantastic!  Keep checking back though… there are more giveaways this summer!

The case of Pure Alaskan Salmon Co. canned Redhead goes to Joanne Davin!  Thank you Joanne for your fabulous recipe idea of salmon stuffed Portobello mushrooms.  A tasty recipe for every season. 

Thank you all so much for following Karista’s Kitchen. 

I adore you all!


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!

Halibut Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Swordfish

Roasted Fresh Seasonal Fish with Herb Butter, Tomatoes and Garlic

Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to dinner in the Bennett house.  This doesn’t mean we like to sacrifice quality or flavor, it just means some days we need dinner in a jiffy.  

Fresh fish is fast.  It’s easily paired with fresh herbs and aromatics and it cooks quickly.  When my little gal isn’t in the mood for fish (which is often) I substitute with a thin chicken cutlet.  It can be prepared with the fish and be done just as quickly.  But make sure the chicken is a cutlet, or a chicken breast that has been pounded very thin.

As you’ll notice I’ve used fresh cherry tomatoes in this recipe.  No, they are not really in season.  However, I did spot these little beauties while browsing the produce section of my market and because they were organic and from our neighbors in Canada, I decided a little summer treat in winter would be refreshing.  You could substitute fresh cherry tomatoes for a high quality canned organic tomato.  I love Muir Glen organic whole tomatoes and they would be just as delicious in this recipe.

Bring a little sunshine to your table with fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic and seasonal fresh fish.  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


1 ½ lbs seasonal fresh white fish or salmon (Sole, Flounder, Cod or Halibut are delicious in this recipe)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Dash of white wine or a squeeze of lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil

For the Herb butter

½ cup butter, softened

1 tablespoon assorted chopped fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme or marjoram

Mix together and set aside


To roast the fish, season fish with a pinch salt and pepper, and a small dollop of the herb butter on each fillet.  Place the fish in a baking dish and into a 350F pre-heated oven. 

Let the fish cook for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until you see the firm white juices bubbling in or on the fish.  Thinner fillets will cook quickly so check after about 5 minutes. 

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes until the tomatoes are ever so slightly wilted.  Add the fresh chopped basil and Italian parsley and season with a splash of white wine or squeeze of lemon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, plate the fish fillets and dollop with additional herb butter if desired.  Top with the tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs.  Serve immediately.

This dish is delicious with a butter lettuce salad with mandarin oranges and Italian parsley vinaigrette.  You can find this recipe under salads in this blog.  Enjoy!

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 Salmon Seafood

Sesame Seed and Nori Crusted Salmon

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer!  Travel to new locations, family visits and lots of delicious food that has inspired me to develop a new collection of tantalizing recipes for the approaching fall season.  

One of the highlights of our summer was the impromptu visit of my handsome little brother and his beautiful wife and children who came to stay with us for several weeks from Japan.  And of course little brother couldn’t arrive empty-handed knowing how much I adore Japanese cuisine.  It was like Christmas in August with all the delicious treats and menu ideas from their fascinating location.   

This distinctive little dish is one of my absolute favorite new recipes and highlights the delightful flavors of Japan.  Toasted sesame seeds and the unique flavor of nori (seaweed used in Asian cuisine) wrapped around a flavorful piece of salmon makes for a delectable and exquisite dinner.  Truly simple, fresh and delicious!

I like to serve this yummy salmon with stir fried or roasted mixed veggies and white sticky rice.  Ranger Craig likes a little wasabi on the side for dipping, and I prefer a bit of Tamari or soy sauce. If you can find pickled ginger near the sushi section of your local market, it’s also a delicious complement to the salmon.  And a little shout out for Japanese pickles!  Yes, they are my new favorite Japanese product.  We are fortunate here in Seattle as we have several Asian markets that carry a huge variety of Asian products.  The pickles also compliment this salmon dish and taste incredible with the sticky rice. 

New flavors, new season, always delicious.  Happy Cooking!  

Serves 4


4 salmon fillets or steaks, 4-6 ounces each

1/4 cup sesame seeds, black or white

1/4 cup crushed/chopped Nori, seaweed (you can find Nori in the Asian section of your market or near the sushi section. If you can’t find the Nori, just use the toasted sesame seeds.  It’ll still be delicious)

Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Condiments: Wasabi, soy sauce, Tamari, Japanese pickles, pickled ginger

Serve with sticky rice and stir fried or roasted mixed veggies


Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Mix together the sesame seeds and chopped nori. 

Brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the salmon with the sesame nori mixture and press it into the salmon. 

I like this salmon lightly pan seared on both sides, then popped in the oven to finish cooking.  However, if you’re short on time and you want to oven roast the salmon without searing first, this will be fine.  I’ve also grilled this salmon and it turned out succulent and delicious.

To pan sear first:  in a large oven proof skillet, heat a little olive oil on medium heat.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking, place the salmon in the skillet and sear on both sides.  Place the skillet with the salmon in the oven and roast for a few minutes longer until salmon has been cooked to your desired doneness. 

Transfer to a platter or serve on individual plates with sticky rice, mixed stir fried or roasted veggies and condiments.

Salmon Seafood

Salmon Stir Fry with Fresh Cilantro, Bean Sprouts, and Sugar Snap Peas

I believe I have worn out the welcome for Salmon in my house.  Recently the Bennett crew decided to hold a “family meeting” to discuss the constant appearance of salmon on the Bennett dinner table.  Not that the crew doesn’t love salmon, however, I may have exhausted every method of salmon preparation in my recipe repertoire.

I’ll admit, I adore salmon.  I am completely in love with the fact that it is so simple to prepare, so healthy, and so absolutely delicious, whether adorned with a multitude of ingredients or simply laced with fresh lemon and grilled to moist perfection.

Tiring of grilled salmon, I decided to create a quick stir fried salmon with fresh veggies and white rice.

Marinated in a bit of Dijon mustard and then sautéed with decadent Asian flavors of fish sauce and sesame oil, this salmon dish feels a bit more indulgent and a definite treat to the taste buds.

Even the Bennett crew gave this dish a high-five; which is peachy considering their intention to revolt if salmon didn’t take a back seat on the weekly menu.

It looks salmon has made a comeback in my house.  🙂

Serves 4


4 salmon fillets, skinless

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 lime, juiced

Peanut oil or high heat sunflower or safflower oil

¼ cup white wine or water

1 leek, white to light green part, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

Drizzle, sesame oil

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 cup sugar snap peas, fresh

½ cup bean sprouts

¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped


Place the salmon in a glass dish.  Mix together the Dijon mustard and a squeeze of lime juice.  Coat the fish fillets with the mustard and lime.

In a sauté pan, heat the oil on high or medium high until hot and sauté the salmon until lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a platter and set aside.

Turn the heat to medium and add the wine (or water) to the sauté pan and then sear the leeks until lightly wilted, adding additional oil if needed.  Stir in the garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, and dash of sesame oil.

Add the sugar snap peas and bean sprouts and sauté until just crisp tender.  Add the salmon back to the pan, coating with the salmon with the sauce and re-heating the salmon.

Place each salmon fillet on a plate and top with the sautéed veggies.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and another dash of lime juice.  Serve with your favorite white rice.

Grilling Kid Friendly Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon


Grilled Salmon with a Savory Strawberry Sauce

Many years ago when our family moved to the Pacific Northwest, one of our family’s first weekend trips was to the Washington Coast. This was long before the Twilight saga found light in contemporary society and made Forks, Washington a popular spot on the map.

As we were exploring the area, we found a sweet little seaside Inn that just so happened to have a restaurant.  Score!  Maybe.

It was in a remote area of Western Washington, and honestly, I was a little hesitant as to what this little Inn might offer in the way of a dinner menu.  Well hold the phone and pinch my arm!  My taste buds were pleasantly surprised.

Not only did they serve my two gals favorite food which was fried calamari but they also served grilled salmon with a savory strawberry sauce. It was a lovely sweet yet savory sauce that paired so beautifully with the grilled salmon.  

After the mini excursion I came home and promtply re-created the sauce.  Most fruit sauces are a reduction sauce of some sort and typically require time and attention.  However,  I wanted a simple sauce that allowed the pure, sweet, delicious taste of strawberries to prevail, while spicing it up with something fun – chipotle chili powder seemed the perfect kick.

The end result is a lovely, fresh and simple sauce that pairs perfectly with salmon. However, I also use this sauce for pork tenderloin, pork loin roast, chicken and duck. This is definitely a sauce to keep handy in the sauce repertoire.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon

Serving Size: about 2 cups


  • 1 lb fresh organic strawberries (watch for local organic strawberries at your Farmer's Markets)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ - 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle chili powder or 1/2 teaspoon Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste
  • ¼ cup white wine (you can substitute with water and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or lemon)
  • 1-2 tablespoons strawberry preserves (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve over grilled salmon or try it over grilled or roasted pork tenderloin.


  • Slice the strawberries. Transfer the strawberries to a sauce pan, add the oil and heat on medium heat.
  • Stir in the fresh grated ginger, chipotle chili powder or chili paste, white wine and preserves. Bring the sauce to a lively simmer and let the sauce simmer on low for about 5 minutes.
  • Take it off the heat and let it sit while you grill the fish or roast the pork. The longer it sits the more the flavors will develop. It can be served room temp over hot off the grill fish or hot out of the oven pork.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Notes

    Options: A nice chipotle substitution is Thai Kitchen’s Asian Roasted Red Chili Paste. If you prefer savory but not spicy, omit the chili powder/chili paste and add a teaspoon or two of lemon zest. Recipe tester, Ann Detlef, recommended substituting Gran Marnier for the white wine (less than 1/4 cup), especially if serving with roasted pork. Ann rolled her pork in olive oil, spices, kosher salt and ginger and then grilled the pork. You could also roast the pork as well. Yummy!

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    Grilling Kid Friendly Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Maple and Fresh Ginger Glazed Salmon

    I have to admit, this is one of those dinners that just happened.  I stopped at my favorite fish market, Gemini Fish Market, and grabbed what Fishmonger Jim calls “springer salmon” which is actually spring Columbia River King.  It’s a divine spring salmon that has the highest amounts of omega oils and is extra rich and delicious. 

    On the way home I was thinking I’d just throw it on the grill with a little lemon, salt and pepper.  Salmon is delicious simply grilled, but I was in the mood for something more than just plain salmon.  So I rummaged around my pantry and my frig and came up with Vermont maple syrup and fresh ginger.  I wanted to keep things simple and not add too many ingredients, not to mention, I was in a bit of a rush to get dinner served.  And honestly, a great piece of salmon doesn’t need too much fuss, especially if it’s being grilled. 

    I sprinkled the salmon with lemon juice, salt and pepper and then heated some maple syrup and fresh ginger on the stove.   A little basting while the salmon was cooking and then a little drizzle of the gingered syrup over the top when it was done.  Fabulous and Simple!  Yes, you could always jazz up the glaze with a little soy sauce, dijon mustard, five spice powder, or even a few tablespoons of brandy.  However, for something quick, this simple little glaze did the job.

    Have fun experimenting with the glaze, or just keep it simple.  Either way, it’ll compliment your grilled salmon and make dinner a snap.  Happy Cooking!


    1 lb fresh Salmon

    1/2 cup Vermont maple syrup

    1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or more if you like)

    Squeeze of lemon

    Salt and pepper

    Options:  dash of soy sauce, 1/2 -1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder, or a few tablespoons of brandy


    Preheat the grill to 400F.

    In a small pan heat the maple syurp and ginger to a slight simmer.  Transfer half the glaze to a bowl for serving with the salmon and use the other half to baste the salmon while grilling.

    Sprinkle the salmon with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Grill the salmon skin side down or on a piece of foil.  While the salmon is cooking, brush with the glaze several times.  Turn the heat to medium if necessary and grill until the salmon reaches your preference of doneness.  Most Chef’s prepare salmon with the center still very pink, however, I like my salmon fully cooked. 

    When the salmon is done, transfer to a plate and drizzle with a little more glaze.  Serve with a mixed wild rice or white rice and grilled, roasted or stir fried mixed seasonal veggies.  Enjoy!