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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 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 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!

Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

10 Sizzling Summer Sauces

Nectarine Chutney with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

If you haven’t noticed by now I’m a saucy gal. 😉

We love sauces here at the Bennett Camp.   All kinds of sauces, salsa, compotes, drizzles, chutney’s and relishes.  You name it, I can top it with a sauce.

So, in honor of all things saucy (and summer) I thought I’d share with you my 10 favorite sizzling summer sauces.  Enjoy!

1.  A very special Chimichurri Sauce and my most favorite sauce of all.  Fantastic over grilled beef or grilled fish.  It’s a plate lickin’ good sauce!

chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

2.  Savory Strawberry Sauce.  So perfect for grilled salmon but just as delicious with grilled chicken.

Savory Strawberry Sauce

Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon

3.  Huckleberry Barbeque Sauce.  One tasty sauce over barbecue pork or chicken and a great way to use all those summer huckleberries.

Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce

Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce

4.  Blueberry Ginger Salsa.  A savory fresh tasting salsa that will WOW your tastebuds!  Perfect over grilled halibut or chicken.

blueberry ginger salsa

Blueberry Ginger Salsa

5.  Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce.  I adore this sauce over grilled fish.  Almost any grilled fish but especially Black cod or Hawaiian Opah.

coconut, lemongrass, ginger sauce

Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce with Grilled Fish

6.  Mini Sweet Pepper Relish.  Perfectly delicious over grilled fresh salmon or grilled chicken.

mini pepper relish

Mini Pepper Relish

7.  Spiced Dried Plum Sauce.  A favorite sauce over any grilled or roasted pork.

spiced dried plum sauce

Spiced Dried Plum Sauce with Grilled Pork Chops

8.  Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce.  Perfect with grilled shrimp, poached shrimp, coconut shrimp or shrimp cakes!

Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce

Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce with Shrimp Cakes

9. Mexican Chocolate Sauce.  A perfect summer dessert sauce over pound cake, angel food cake, chocolate or vanilla cake or even homemade ice cream and topped with fresh papaya slices.

Mexican Chocolate Sauce

Mexican Chocolate Sauce with Fresh Papaya Slices

And number 10…  Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Powder Chutney served with Roasted Halibut or delightful over roast pork in the fall and winter months.

Mini Pepper Relish

Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Powder Chutney with Grilled or Roasted Halibut

Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Chutney with Roasted or Grilled Halibut


Serves 4

2-3 cups peeled and chopped nectarines (about 2-3 large nectarines)

½ cup diced onions

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon sugar, or more if needed

1/2 – 1 teaspoon five spice powder

Pinch red pepper flakes

¼ cup white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter), grapeseed oil or high heat veggie oil

1 ½ lbs fresh Halibut, cut into 3-4 pieces


In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the tablespoon of butter.

When the butter is melted and frothy add the onions and sauté for a minute or two to soften.

Next, stir in the chopped nectarines, raisins, sugar, five spice powder, pinch of red pepper flakes and white wine vinegar.

Turn the heat to low and let the chutney simmer for about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

While the chutney is simmering, prepare the halibut.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Add the Ghee or oil to a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  When the butter/oil is sizzling, add the halibut skin side down.

Let the halibut cook for a few minutes, until the skin side is nicely browned.  Place the skillet in the oven and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and plate the fish.  Top each piece of fish with a few tablespoons of chutney and serve immediately.

I like this dish with pearled couscous, brown rice, or coconut rice and mixed spring greens with a light vinaigrette.

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.

Chicken Grilling Pork Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Pineapple Mango Chutney

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

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

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

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

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

Pineapple Mango Chutney


1 small fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

3 mango’s, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup white wine or water

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


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

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

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

When the chutney is done fold in the chili sauce.

Keep in the frig for up to one week.

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


Sole Almondine

I love it when I am reminded of recipes past.  One of my friends, Jodi, asked if I had a recipe for classic Fish Almondine (or Amandine as it’s sometimes referred) as she had sampled a delicious Sole Almondine while traveling and wanted to re-create this recipe at home.

I was thrilled to start digging through my mountains of recipes as I haven’t thought about this simple but exquisite fish recipe in years.

Most people will recognize this recipe as Trout Almondine, however, many restaurants today will prepare it with a fresh regional fish.  One of the tastiest fish to use is Dover sole.  Delicate and sweet in flavor, Dover sole lends itself beautifully to this simple method of preparation and pure fresh ingredients.  However, if you’re well stocked in other types of white fish, or your local fish market has a great deal on a regional fish other than Dover sole, feel free to substitute.

Although I have about a half-dozen or so Almondine recipes, I think this recipe is the tastiest.  Fresh, simple and delicious!  Feel free to adjust ingredients and seasonings to suit your family’s tastes.

This dish is fabulous served with a traditional wild rice pilaf, or for a more contemporary side, I like to serve it with a brown rice and herb cous cous, and garlic wilted spinach.  My two Bennett gals love this dish with the Basil Lemon Smashed Potatoes found under “sides” in this blog.

(Thanks Jodi for reminding me of this yummy little dish!)

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life.

Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


1 lb fresh Sole fillets (about 6-8 fillets)

Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

All purpose flour for dusting (omit the flour for gluten-free or substitute with gluten-free bread crumbs)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a pat of melted butter

1 stick unsalted butter, divided

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley, plus a tablespoon for garnish


Season the sole with salt and pepper and then lightly dust in the flour.  In a large non stick skillet heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium to medium high heat until frothy and hot.  Pan sear the fish until done and then transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Turning the heat to medium, add the remaining butter to the skillet and add the shallots and parsley and sauté lightly until the shallots are wilted.  Stir the lemon juice and zest.

Pour the sauce over the sole and then sprinkle with the toasted almonds.  Serve immediately.

For a little extra zing, add 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, to the shallot and parsley mixture.

Grilling Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Swordfish

Grilled Fish Topped with a Garlic Lemon Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

Serves 3-4


1 1/2 lbs swordfish or tuna

1 tablespoon Anchovy paste

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup good extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


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

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

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

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