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Seafood Shrimp

Tropical Shrimp Curry over Coconut Rice

Tropical Shrimp Curry over Coconut Rice

Ranger Craig and I found a beautiful blue summer sky in the mountains yesterday.  Our first cross-country ski of the season.  It was glorious.  Except when I was laying face first in the snow.  The first snow is always a little slippery.  Right?

First Cross Country Ski of the Season

Today, I was thinking about that beautiful blue sky.  Then I thought of all the sweet tropical fruit at the market. It seems my mind and taste buds have wandered off in search of summer.

Fragrant Aromatics

I’m devoted to seasonal cooking, but when the organic tropical fruits arrive from South America, I just can’t help myself a little indulgence.

Fresh Gulf Shrimp from Gemini Fish Market

This is one of those recipes that is a compilation of about five different recipes that didn’t quite strike my fancy.  So I fudged and tweaked… and this is what I ended up with.

A little winter indulgence to celebrate the warmth of the season.

Tropical Shrimp Curry Over Coconut Rice

I know it looks like a long ingredient list, but it’s mostly spices and fresh aromatics.  It’s truly an easy stove top recipe prepared in about 30 minutes.


1 ½ lbs large fresh Gulf shrimp, shelled and deveined

For the Curry:

1 tablespoon high heat veggie or peanut oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

½ cup diced onions

½ cup diced green bell pepper

4 green onions, chopped

1 ½ cups coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen Organic)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 cup diced mango (or diced pineapple)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (Thai Kitchen), or 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Sriracha is good)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup fresh chopped basil

Squeeze of lime

Salt to taste

Coconut Rice (recipe follows)


Start the rice (recipe below) and while you are preparing the curry your rice is cooking.

In a large sauté pan, sauté the onions, bell pepper, green onions, oil and curry powder over medium heat until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add a little extra oil if needed.

Stir in the coconut milk, diced mango, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, fish sauce and sweet chili sauce or hot sauce and sugar.

Let the sauce simmer on low for about 10 minutes to meld all the delicious flavors together.  While the sauce is simmering, prepare the shrimp.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of ghee (clarified butter) or high heat veggie oil or peanut oil.  Sprinkle the shrimp with a little salt and pan sear the shrimp on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Once the shrimp are done, place them in the curry.  I like to let the shrimp sit in the curry for a few minutes to absorb all the delicious flavors.

You can also grill the shrimp if you prefer.

To serve:

Place the rice in the middle of a large serving bowl.  Pour the shrimp curry over the top and sprinkle with the fresh basil.

Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from multiple sources

Coconut Rice (recipe can be easily doubled)


1 cup coconut milk

¾ cup basmati rice

½ cup water

2 T sugar

¼ t salt


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, cover, and keep warm.

Appetizers Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Shrimp

Shrimp Cakes with Apricot Ginger Glaze and Coconut Rice

Shrimp Cakes with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce

Washingtonians love festivals.  Yep, we have a festival for pretty much everything.  Apples, wine, lavender, birds, art, music, aviation (Ranger Craig’s fave),and Octoberfest in almost every region of our state.

You name it, we celebrate it.  We even celebrate fish.  Salmon Days in Issaquah.

Issaquah, WA

Every year half of Western Washington attends this lively festival.  Well, probably not half of Western Washington but that’s what it feels like for two days in October.  Food, art, glass, crafts, music and more food!  I love the food.

Smoked Salmon on a Bagel!


Our very own chocolate factory… Boehms Chocolates!

Of course all that walking around looking at art, crafts, and food made me hungry.  I “taste tested” a few bites of Ranger Craig’s Philly Steak Sandwich and then decided I was still hungry and ended up with smoked salmon on a bagel.  But then I couldn’t leave without a crab cake, and just had to top it all off with ice cream dipped in decadent Boehms dark chocolate.

Suzie Q with her very own Boehm’s dark chocolate dipped ice cream

Now we had to walk home. Up a very long and steep mountain.  I’m in pretty decent shape but after Philly steak sandwich, smoked salmon on a bagel, crab cakes, and a Boehms dark chocolate dipped ice cream… our mountain walk felt like a three-day hike.

On the bright side, hiking back up the mountain gave me time to think.  Time to think about food.

Yes, I think about the next greatest recipe almost every minute of the day.  Ok, I’m embellishing again but I do think about food, a lot.

Shrimp Cakes with Apricot Ginger Glaze and Coconut Rice

This time I was thinking about crab cakes.  But I didn’t have crab on hand so I thought shrimp cakes might be a fun and tasty alternative.

Organic Green Onions

I was right. Score again. The Bennett Crew loved the shrimp cakes and told me I should make a double batch the next time.   And I think I need a double batch of the coconut rice. I could eat my weight in coconut rice!

Organic Cilantro

Luckily I had plenty of the Apricot Ginger Glaze on hand.  You know how the Bennett Crew feels about their sauces.  I should have a sign hanging in my kitchen…  “Don’t forget the sauce”.

Shrimp Cakes with Apricot Ginger Glaze and Coconut Rice

Serves 3-4


¾ – 1 lb cooked bay shrimp (also called shrimp meat, baby shrimp, salad shrimp)

1/3 cup chopped green onion/scallions

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 egg, lightly whisked

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I like a little more)

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or more to taste)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

½ teaspoon black pepper


Finely dice the bay shrimp and mix together with scallions, lemon juice, Dijon, cilantro, ginger, old bay seasoning, pepper and bread crumbs.  Add a dash of hot sauce if

Chill for about 10 minutes.  Form patties, making sure they are tightly formed, and pan sear on each side in grapeseed or coconut oil.  Try flipping the shrimp cakes gently, with a fork to keep them from falling apart.  A few crumbs will escape but if the cakes are tightly formed they will stay together.

Serve with apricot ginger sauce and white or coconut rice.

This recipe was adapted from multiple sources.

Apricot Ginger Drizzle

½ cup apricot preserves

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce from Thai kitchen

¼ cup water, white wine or sherry


In a small sauce pan, heat the preserves, grated ginger, chili sauce and white wine over medium heat. Let is simmer for a few minutes then take off the heat.  When it cools it will thicken.  Just re-heat the sauce to thin.

My shortcut creation… no adapting here. 🙂

 Coconut Rice


1 cup coconut milk

¾ cup basmati rice

½ cup water

2 T sugar

¼ t salt


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, cover, and keep warm.

Flying Grilling Seafood Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Slaw

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

During the summer Ranger Craig and I become the flying foodies.  Every fair weather weekend  (because you know I’m a fair weather flyer) we hop in our Cessna 182, Charlie as we like to call her, and fly to enticing locales in search of the most delectable food Washington State has to offer.  And if we’re feeling really adventurous, we might skip on over to Oregon or maybe even Idaho.  Whoo Hoo!  The Bennett’s are livin large.

A landing on the beach

A few weekends ago we decided to hit the beach.  Literally I suppose.  Yep, Ranger Craig talked me into landing at Copalis Beach.  A beach you might ask?  Yesiree Bob.  The only sand landing strip in Washington.

We’re landing where???

As we were circling the beach,  I kept asking “where do we land?”.   Well that question was quickly answered.  We landed smack dab in the middle of the beach.  Ok, that was my adventure seeking thrill ride for the year!

Tank, our flying Cairn Terrier, patiently waiting to get in the plane.

After a beautiful flight just shy of the Olympics, a long hike along the coast, and a little thrill seeking beach landing, Ranger Craig and I went in search of food.  Unfortunately all we found were a few Cliff bars and Sobe lite waters.  Ok, that was a bummer.

Flying by the beautiful Olympics.

But with all the beautiful scenery and sea air, Ranger Craig and I were inspired.  Inspired to dine on seafood for dinner.  On our flight home we tossed around a few ideas and yummy grilled shrimp tacos won the debate.

So I wonder what we’ll be up to next weekend?  I can most certainly tell you it won’t be sky diving.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Fresh Lime

Serves 4


1 lb large fresh Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 tablespoons butter

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne

Salt and pepper

8-10 corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled Cotija, Ranchero or Panela cheese

Sliced fresh avocados (optional, but super yummy with these tacos)

Salsa (optional)

Cilantro Slaw (recipe below)


Pre-heat the grill to 400F.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Just when the butter is melted and frothy, add the garlic, cilantro, pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Then take the butter off the heat and let it sit.

Brush the shrimp with a little veggie oil and then season with salt and pepper.  The best way to grill shrimp is to skewer them.  Once they are skewered, grill the shrimp for about 1-2 minutes on each side, just until they’ve turned color.  Cooking them too long will make them rubbery and tough.

Remove the shrimp from the grill and the skewers, and place them in a bowl.  Toss the shrimp with the warm cilantro garlic butter and then squeeze with half a lime.

Let the shrimp sit in the cilantro butter while you prepare the tortillas.  I like these tacos served with steamed tortillas.  I steam my tortillas in the top rack of my rice cooker on the steam function.  Or steam them in a stove top steamer.  And if I’m feeling super lazy I just put them in my handy dandy microwave steam bowl and there ya go.  Once steamed, wrap the tortillas in a warm towel.

I like to serve this dish as a “make your own taco” dinner.  Serve the bowl of shrimp with the steamed tortillas, crumbled cheese, cilantro slaw and sliced avocados.   Serve some salsa for a little extra heat.  Enjoy!

Cilantro Slaw

2 cups shredded fresh green cabbage

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup olive oil

1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)

Pinch of salt and pepper


Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the cilantro with the cabbage and then toss with the dressing.  Serve with shrimp, fish, or pork tacos.  Yum!

Flying Seafood Shrimp

Crab and Bay Shrimp Omelettes… and a Day Trip to Orcas Island

Seafood and Asparagus Omelette

Many years ago, when I first met Ranger Craig, he told me one of his favorite pastimes was flying.  I remember saying “that’s so nice”.  Never imagining, not even in my wildest dreams, that someday I’d actually fly with him.

Tying down on Orcas Island

My first flight in our little single engine plane was over the desert from Arizona to California.  The air was hot and kickin up a fuss, and it was rocking our single engine cherokee around like a little toy plane.  Ok, so my first flight was not the most enjoyable, memorable YES.  And lets say Ranger Craig was lucky I got back in the plane to fly home.

Bay at Eastsound, Orcas Island

It’s been twelve years since that first rocky flight and I must say I’m now a passionate aviation enthusiast.   Well, actually a “fair weather” passionate aviation enthusiast.  And this fair weather flyer loves to fly to the islands.  No not the Hawaiian Islands, although they are west from where I live, but the San Juan Islands.  I wish I could tell you which San Juan Island is my favorite.  I love them all for different reasons.

Orcas Island

It was Orcas Island today and first on the list was finding food.  Which isn’t very difficult given the assortment of eateries and restaurants on the island.  Lucky day!  It was also the first day of the Orcas Island summer farmer’s market. Can anyone say score?

Farmer's Market... score!

We had a tasty brunch at the New Leaf Cafe, and while Ranger Craig was enjoying his brunch I pulled out my handy cam and snapped a few photos of our food.  Ranger Craig is used to his food being photographed, but my two gals still feel the need to slink under the table when they see Mom pull out the camera.

Mmmm... seafood

I ordered a beautiful seafood and asparagus omelette with Gruyère cheese.  Light, airy and full of fresh crab, bay shrimp, baby asparagus and Gruyère.  The cheese was a lovely touch imparting a distinct nutty, yet earthy flavor, that complemented the flavors of the seafood and asparagus.  So delicious I decided I needed to re-create this dish at home.

Beautiful Old Church on Orcas Island

And re-create I did.  Light and fluffy eggs with fresh herbs from my garden, crab and bay shrimp from my guys at Gemini Fish Market, aged Gruyère cheese and organic asparagus from the farmer’s market.  A beautiful reminder of a beautiful day on the island.

Seafood Omelette

Adapted from the New Leaf Cafe

Serves 2


4 eggs, whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water, divided

2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 – 1/3  lb fresh crab meat

1/4 – 1/3 lb fresh bay shrimp

4 stalks fresh asparagus, steamed or roasted and diced

2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, basil and Italian parsley)

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese


In a small saute pan or skillet (10-inch), heat one tablespoon butter over medium heat.  When the butter is hot and frothy swirl it around the pan to coat and then add half the whisked eggs.

Let the eggs set, becoming firm on the bottom, with the top slightly runny.  At this point I usually flip the omelette, however, if you don’t feel comfortable flipping the omelette, no worries.  Keep the heat on medium low and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Then add half the fresh seafood, asparagus, fresh herbs and last, the cheese.  Fold the omelette over and slide onto a warm plate.  Repeat the process for the second omelette.  Serve immediately.

Chicken Grilling Pasta Pork Shrimp vegetarian

Spicy Tomato And Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Years ago when I lived in Arizona, there was a delightful little Mexican cantina that we loved to frequent.  The food was simply divine.  The atmosphere transported you to another time, another place, and made sipping their signature Blueberry margarita a little piece of heaven.

I don’t think I could tell you what dish on that menu I liked best.  It was all delicious.  Fresh flavors prepared with fresh ingredients and blended together in unique Mexican and Spanish inspired dishes.

One of the recipes I often ordered was a Romesco like red sauce gently ladled over Mexican shrimp.  It was a little spicy, a little smoky, and rich with ripe tomatoes and roasted red peppers.

I’ve strived to achieve that red sauce at home and I think I’ve come pretty darn close.  Like a Spanish Romesco sauce, this sauce is made of toasted almonds, fresh herbs, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and the secret ingredient that I love so much but my family begs me to stop using… chipotle chili powder!  I love the way the chipotle chili powder creates a smoky spicy flavor to the sauce.

And to make this sauce even more exciting, it’s simply prepared in a blender or food processor!  Whoo Hoo!

It pairs beautifully with grilled, roasted or pan seared meats, shellfish, herbed white beans and your favorite pasta.

Beautiful in color and fresh in flavor, it’s a perfect spring and summer sauce.  Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4


1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer Muir Glen)

2 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

¼ cup toasted almonds (can substitute with pecans or hazelnuts)

2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons assorted coarsely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, Italian parsley,

Rosemary, basil)

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can substitute with regular chili powder)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, roasted pepper, garlic, almonds, vinegar, sugar, fresh herbs and chile powder. Pulse until the ingredients are nicely blended.

Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate unused portions for up to a week. When re-heating, bring to room temperature and if needed, gently warm on the stove top. Over-heating the sauce could cause it to separate.

Serve over grilled meats, shellfish, herbed white beans, or your favorite pasta.

Halibut Seafood Shrimp

Spicy Seafood Stew

With the cool weather comes the yearning for comforting stews and soups and hearty winter dishes that warm the soul and satisfies the hunger.  One of my family’s favorites is a spicy seafood stew served over saffron or white rice.  Mildly spicy, delicious and simple to prepare.  Once you get the hang of it, this recipe could easily be prepared in under 30 minutes.  It’s so yummy, it could be served as a family weeknight meal or for holiday dinner guests. 

Mix it up a bit and add fresh basil instead of the parsley, or add lemon thyme instead of English thyme and squeeze of lemon.  This recipe is definitely easy, can be prepared everyday and as always, it tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours. 

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Spicy Seafood Stew


 2 medium leeks

1 red bell pepper, diced

6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

1 sprig of fresh oregano

1 sprig of fresh thyme

½ lb Chorizo sausage

Olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 15oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)

½ cup water

1-2 lb small clams

1lb firm white fish (cod, halibut, mahi mahi)

1 lb bay shrimp

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Saffron rice or white rice (optional)

1 lemon


Trim the leeks by cutting off the root end, and then cut the leek at the point it begins to turn dark green.  Slice each leek length wise making 4 halves total, and then slice each half into thirds lengthwise and then chop into small pieces. 

Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven.  Heat on medium and then sauté the leeks and bell pepper.  Once the veggies have wilted, add the garlic and sauté a few minutes more. 

Next add the chorizo and sauté until cooked through.

Add the fresh thyme, oregano and white wine.  Let the wine reduce a bit, a minute or two, and then add the diced tomatoes.  Bring to a lively simmer and add the ½ cup water if more liquid is needed. 

Once the broth is simmering add the clams and cover tightly with a lid.  Turn the heat down a bit and let the clams steam in the hot broth for about 5-8 minutes.  Once the clams have opened, taste the broth for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Next add the white fish and shrimp, giving the stew a little stir.  Put the lid back on and let the stew simmer on medium low for another 5 minutes.  Once the fish is cooked through, taste stew for seasoning and then sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top. 

For a warm and delicious winter meal, serve over saffron rice (Spanish rice) or white rice, and a squeeze of lemon juice.