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Karista's Kitchen Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Today, I’m talking sauce! Ask anyone who has known me for a while and they will tell you I love to make sauce.  Sauce seems to elevate a meal and make it feel special.  It adds another layer of flavor and texture that engages the taste buds and keeps the recipe entertaining bite after bite.

A sauce can be as simple or as complex as you like.   It can be intense with flavor or subtly infused.  Sauce is all about dressing up a dish and making it shine.

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Beurre Blanc is a classic French butter-based sauce. Translated it literally means “white butter”.  It’s considered an emulsion sauce and requires the butter to be chilled before using in order to keep the sauce from breaking. Now that I’ve mentioned this, don’t let the possibility of the sauce “breaking” deter you.

Cooking (and sauce making) requires prep, patience and practice.  If you’ve never made this sauce before, just take your time.  I promise, before long you will be a sauce making pro.

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc  // Karista's Kitchen

A basic Beurre Blanc requires white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots and cold butter. This Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc only requires Meyer lemon juice, shallots, cold butter and lemon zest. That’s it! A little salt to taste and your sauce is done.

I prefer Meyer lemon versus conventional lemon in this sauce.  Meyer lemons have a sweeter flavor and are less acidic than regular lemons which creates a subtle and balanced citrus flavor in the sauce. For additional lemon flavor I add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the finished sauce.

I’ve paired this sauce with pan seared salmon.  I think these two were made for each other.  The creamy butter sauce laced with lemon combined with the unique flavor of the salmon makes for a  delicious and beautiful dish.  This sauce is also exquisite drizzled over pan seared or grilled scallops and I’ve also been known to ladle this silky sauce on grilled oysters.

Truly a beautiful sauce that will make you fall in love with seafood all over again.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Some chefs leave the shallots in the sauce which is also fine. This, I call the "rustic" version. It also adds a bit more texture to the sauce.


  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about a tablespoon)
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced (about a stick and a half)
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh chive for garnish


  • In a nonreactive saute pan over medium low heat, add the lemon juice and shallots Simmer until half the liquid has been reduced; it will feel almost dry or what is referred to as "au sec".
  • Take the pan off the heat and whisk in several pieces of diced butter (about a 1/4 of the butter). When it's nicely incorporated whisk in a few more pieces butter (another 1/4 of the butter). The sauce should begin to feel smooth.
  • Place the pan back over medium low heat and whisk in the remaining butter until the sauce is smooth.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and gently stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt.
  • Strain the sauce into a container and ladle over pan seared, roasted or grilled salmon.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chive or little tender sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin



    Chicken Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

    Chicken in Coconut Sauce

    Chicken in Coconut Sauce
    School is back in session and I’m doin the happy dance!  I love back to school days.  Crisp cool evening breezes, a new season of fruits and veggies, that are almost ready to roll into Autumn’s delish dishes and Monday night football!  Whoo hoo!
    Not that I love watching hours of football, but for some reason it just makes me feel festive hearing all that noise in the background while I whisk away at a new recipe in the kitchen. 
    And speaking of something new…  Colombian inspired and simply prepared.  This chicken dish even impressed Ranger Craig.  And he doesn’t like coconut. 

    Santa Marta, Colombia courtesy Tourism Colombia

    I’m deeply intrigued by Colombian cooking,  Ummm…. probably obsessed at this point.  I routinely bug my beautiful sister-in-law, who happens to be from Colombia, for Colombian recipes.   

    Colombian Chicken Soup from Simply Recipes

    I love the unique blend of flavors in Colombian and South American food.  And I try my best to re-create those dishes as often as possible.  Although we don’t have some of the ingredients needed here in the states, there’s always a good substitute.  (or at least that’s my motto!)

    A Table of Colombian Food

    I found this lovely chicken dish on one of my fave Colombian food blogs, My Colombian Recipes.  Simple, fresh, delicious!  However, in typical Karista fashion, I fudged. 
    Yep, I’m like the gal that can’t keep her fingers out of the chocolate chip cookie dough.  Or out of the frosting bowl. 
    I always say to myself, I’m going to prepare the recipe as written. And then, somehow, when it’s done, I’ve changed something.  Usually because I didn’t have an ingredient or two and needed to substitute, or… I suppose I should say I can’t leave well enough alone. 
    So you guessed it, I changed a few things.  I revise for my family’s tastes, and sometimes for my mood.  You can make this recipe a little more Thai style by adding fresh grated ginger, some diced jalapeno and maybe some curry powder.   
    Let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear your version!  Post a comment in the comment section with your changes and/or comments about the dish.   Let’s have some food fun!

    Chicken in Coconut Sauce

    Serves 4 (recipe easily doubled)

    Recipe adapted from the blog My Colombian Recipes


    8 pieces chicken, bone in and skin on (or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)

    Salt and fresh ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons high heat veggie oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil

    1 small white onion, diced

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 small red pepper, small diced

    1 chicken bouillon cube (or 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon)

    My favorite broth base

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    2 tablespoons tomato paste

    1 14oz can coconut milk (I prefer Thai Kitchen)

    ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    White Rice for serving


     Season the chicken with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. 

    Heat the oil in a large skillet, sauce pan or Dutch oven, over medium high heat. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

    Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

    Add the onions and red pepper to the sauce pan. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and sauté a minute longer. 

    Add the tomato paste and cumin and cook stirring constantly for a minute or two. 

    Return the chicken to the skillet and stir in the coconut milk and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. If using chicken breasts, cook time will be shorter. Check after about 10 minutes. 

    Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.

    Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve warm over brown or white rice.

    * This recipe is also fabulous over fish! 

    Beef Grilling

    Smokey Bleu Cheese Burgers with Walla Walla Sweet Onions and Horsey Sauce

    You might be saying to yourself this doesn’t look like a typical Karista’s Kitchen recipe post.  Well, unique it’s not, but fresh it is!  Yep this was a night that dinner had to happen, but it needed to be simple.  And of course delicious.

    Mt. Rainier as I'm looking out my window

    Ranger Craig decided we all needed a peak of Mt. St. Helen!

    After flying home (4 1/2 hours in Charley), from a fantastic weekend trip visiting my beautiful Taylor family in San Francisco, we landed at our little airport right around dinner time.  The Bennet Crew was famished.

    A picture of the two mountains! Beautiful!

    I had some grass-fed organic ground beef in the frig, Rogue Smoky Bleu Cheese, Walla Walla sweet onions and some horsey sauce.  Just needed to stop for some buns and we were good to go.  And maybe a beer. 🙂

    Smoky Bleu Cheese Burgers!

    Whoo Hoo! Dinner was delightful.  Warm summer breezes, a simple but delicious dinner, ice-cold beer (yes I keep mentioning that beer.  I can’t help it, I really love a cold one once in a while)  and a most fabulous weekend with the family.  Ahhh… life just can’t get any better. 

    Smokey Bleu Cheese Burgers with Walla Walla Sweet Onions and Horsey Sauce

    Serves 4-6


    1 1/2 lbs ground beef

    4 ounces Smoked Bleu Cheese, crumbled  (My favorite is Rogue Smokey Bleu)

    Rogue Smokey Bleu Cheese

    1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or substitute with 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt)

    1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

    3/4  teaspoon sea salt

    1 small Walla Walla Sweet onion, thin sliced (these are yummy thick sliced and grilled too!)

    Romaine lettuce leaves

    Your favorite Horseradish sauce

    Your favorite Buns


    Pre-heat the grill to 350F.

    In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper and bleu cheese.  If your hamburger mix needs a little extra help to stay formed, add in a whisked egg. 

    Form the hamburger patties and transfer them to a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush lightly with a little oil to keep them from sticking to the grill.

    Grill on each side for about 4-5 minutes or until done to taste.  For a little help, here is a fabulous post all about perfectly grilled burgers.

    When the burgers are done, place them on buns and layer with horsey sauce, romaine leaves and sliced Walla Walla sweet onions.  Enjoy!

    Halibut Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa with Pan Seared Scallops

    Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa

    It’s been a busy summer.  And we’re not done yet!  Although school starts soon (doin’ a happy dance right now) it still feels like summer in these parts and I’ve got a few more summer recipes to post.  Here in the Northwest, we hang on to summer as long as we can. 

    Pan Seared Scallops over Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa

    For me summer is all about gardens, farms, farmer’s markets, pea patches, and anything that’ll give me fresh ingredients to create a great meal.  But alas (big sigh), I do not have a green thumb.  I hear you all gasping for air.  I wish I had a green thumb.  My peppers pooped out, my lettuce greens and strawberries were eaten by the bunnies and I think I probably planted my squash in the wrong location. 

    Pineapple Mint

    But I can grow a bumper crop of herbs.  That’s my specialty.  Yesiree I grow the prettiest mint, the prettiest oregano and the prettiest thyme, rosemary, chives and parsley.  I’m so proud of my herb garden.  It’s beautiful and I feel like Farmer Karista when I look out my window at my beautiful box of herbs. 

    The lettuce thief!

    To celebrate my bumper crop of herbs I created this tasty little salsa.   Sweet, tangy and full of fresh herbs and capers, the salsa made a beautiful and delicious plate for my pan seared scallops.   I love it when enticing and mouth-watering flavors come together to make a surprisingly decadent dish.  Ah… it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. 

    Cherry Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa with Pan Seared Scallops

    Serves 4


    2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quarterd

    1 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

    1/4 cup capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped

    1/4 cup chopped fresh Oregano and Italian parsley

    Drizzle of Olive oil (this is the perfect time to pull out the good stuff!)

    Squeeze of lemon

    Sea salt and Fresh ground black pepper


    Gently toss together the tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, capers, squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

    Serve with pan seared scallops, grilled halibut or chicken.  Yum!

    Kid Friendly vegetarian

    Perfect British Pasties! Guest Post

    I love pasties!  And my friend Suzie Kuflik is the Queen of pasties.  And the Queen of other fine foods like her Thai Chicken Salad, Sausage Rolls, Lemon Tarts and I could go on and on.  Suzie grew up in England and has a flair for fine food, along with a beautiful British accent.  Enjoy!

    A Cheese and Potato Pasty

    Let’s talk about pasties. Pasties originated in Cornwall on the southern tip of England as a lunch for miners. The miners wives would bake meat, potatoes and vegetables (usually carrot, onion and rutabaga) into one end of the pasty and then fruit (usually apple) into the other end. This tasty treat was standard fare and provided a convenient hand-held lunch that was easy to transport down the mine.

    Cornwall, England

    Today the humble pasty is sold in every bakery in the United Kingdom and comes in several varieties from cheese and onion to chicken curry. The tradition of baking fruit into one end as a dessert has long been lost and I can’t decide if that is for the better or not…

    I always keep puff pastry on hand in my freezer. I buy it from the Cash and Carry in Bellevue (right behind Skate King) and it costs around $25 for a box of 108 (very good quality I may add) 5” squares. With these handy-dandy pastry squares I can bake up sausage rolls, fruit tarts (simply place fruit on the square leaving a small border and bake) and of course pasties in no time at all.

    I have come to love transforming leftovers or all kinds into pasties but probably my favorite is Moo-shu chicken or pork which I make fairly often. I have come to adore the pasty more than the actual moo-shu itself and find myself making it just to have leftovers to make pasties with  the next day. Simply place some hoi sin sauce in the middle of the pastry and top with moo-shu, seal and bake. Chicken curry is my husband’s favorite pasty, while my children adore cheese and mashed potatoes.

    So the next time you are in the grocery store grab a box or two of frozen puff pastry and throw it in your freezer and the next time you have interesting leftovers transform them into pasties… you won’t be sorry!


     18 5” squares or rounds of puff pastry or regular short crust pastry

    1 lb mixed shredded cheese (cheddar, white cheddar, parmesan, smoked gouda) your choice

    3 cups of mashed potatoes

    ½ cup of caramelized or sautéed onions (optional)

    ½ stick of butter

    2 Tbsp of flour

    1 cup of milk, warmed

    ½ tsp of each or the following: salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder plus a pinch of nutmeg

    Milk for sealing


    Melt the butter in a heavy skillet and add the flour and seasonings. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until well combine and continue to cook for one minute.

    1. Gradually stir in the milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens (it will be quite thick)
    2. Stir cheese, potatoes and onions if using them into the thickened roux mixture and set aside.
    3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper; this will stop the pastry for sticking.
    4. Place about 3 Tbsp of the filling onto the middle of each piece of pastry and brush milk around the edges. Fold the pastry over and press out all of the air. Seal the edges with a fork.
    5. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and make a couple of small slits in the top of each pasty, this will allow steam to escape and help avoid them from bursting during cooking.
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pasties are golden brown.
    7. If some of the pasties burst during cooking don’t worry… simply use a butter knife to scoop the filling back inside.

    Note: if you need to reheat the pasties place them in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes. Resist the urge to microwave them since microwaved pastry becomes soggy.

    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.

    Sassy Side dishes Seafood

    My Favorite Steamers

    Spring, summer, fall or winter, these are my favorite steamers!

    On July 4th the sun finally arrived.   It was a glorious day.  We have a joke around these parts, summer begins day after 4th of July because that’s usually when our sunny weather arrives.  This year we got summer one day early.  A happy day. 
    I love spending as much time as possible (without doing yard work) outside in this beautiful weather.  So dinner ends up being served outside on the deck most summer nights.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  Well… it’s also because with the sunshine comes warm weather, and it usually gets to warm to eat in the house.  My little mountain cottage did not come with central AC.  Not that we’d need it.
    Yesterday, I spotted fresh littleneck clams at Gemini Fish Market. That was it, my mind was made up.  We were having steamers for dinner.  What a simple and simply delicious dinner to serve outside on the deck.  I paired the yummy steamers with warm rosemary artisan bread for dunking and then grilled some romaine halves for a little greens with our dinner.  

    Grilled Romaine Salad

    Yep, got to have those greens with dinner or I’ll be sure to hear Ranger Craig say… do we have any greens with dinner?   And you all thought he only asked for sauce. 🙂
    My Favorite Steamers

    Serves 2 (can be doubled)

    Substitution: Wine can be substituted with seafood stock, fish stock or clam juice.


    2-3 lbs Fresh littleneck or manilla clams, washed, scrubbed and rinsed in cool water

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 small onion, small diced or 2 medium leeks chopped

    8-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

    1 sprig fresh oregano

    1 sprig fresh parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

    Pinch of red pepper flakes

    1 cup dry white wine

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Squeeze of fresh lemon


    In a large stock pot heat the butter over medium high heat until melted and frothy.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent and then add the garlic and sauté a minute longer. 

    Toss in the fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and then add the clams.  Coat the clams with the herb mixture and then add the white wine.  Let the wine come to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. 

    Let the clams steam in the broth for about 5 minutes then lift the lid to check the clams.  When all the clams have opened they are done.  It can take 5-10 minutes to cook all the clams, depending on the size of the stock pot.  Toss them around in the broth and check for seasoning.  Pour them into a large serving bowl and top with a squeeze of fresh lemon. 

    Serve with crusty fresh bread for dipping. 

    Options:  Add in 1/2 lb of chorizo with the onions and garlic.  It’ll really kick up the spicy flavors so you won’t need to add the red pepper flakes.

    Add in whatever fresh herbs you like.  Lemongrass would be nice, and maybe rosemary.  But be careful with rosemary as it can be overpowering to the broth. 

    Recipe Idea: Another idea is to serve these clams over a spaghetti or linguini pasta.  My daughter likes to take a few tablespoons of melted butter and pan sear about 1/4 cup bread crumbs in the butter until toasty.  Then she mixes in her cooked spaghetti and pours the clams and broth over the buttered spaghetti!  Divine!!!  Top with grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.


    Miette Inspired Macarons – Guest Post

    Every month or so my friend, Maria Nelson, posts a picture on Facebook of  glorious looking pastry she’s just created.  And usually I drool all over my computer.  I loved these darling little sweets so much that I asked Maria to write a Guest Post.  I know you’ll love them as much as I do.  Thanks Maria!

    Maria's Miette Inspired Macarons

    Written by Maria Nelson

    Macarons, Macaroons however you choose to spell it, this delightful little treat is quickly on its way to becoming the next big thing.  For the French of course they have been a big thing for a very long time.  Considered by many to be the national cookie of France, they can be found there in any patisserie in a variety of flavor combinations. On a trip to France recently my mother told me that the price of macarons is exorbitant.  Expect to pay the equivalent of $30 US dollars per dozen.  Given their macaron mania the French gladly pay it.

    The ubiquitous coconut macaroon has really nothing in common with these lovely almond meringue cookies.  Finely ground almonds with skins or blanched, combined with icing sugar and whipped egg whites create a delicate, moist crumb. Filling options abound, flavored Swiss meringues or buttercream fillings are usually preferred for their taste and ability to withstand storage and refrigeration.

    I will admit for years I would only admire these beauties from the confines of the pastry case as fear of failure prevented me from attempting to make them.  Recently I stumbled on the Miette Bakery Cookbook and became emboldened to give them a try.  While a bit fiddly, the intermediate baker can make these with ease.  The Miette cookbook does a fantastic job of demystifying the process and making it approachable for the home baker.  While the cookie recipe belongs to Miette, the buttercream filling is mine and quite easy to prepare.  Vive la macaron!  Happy Baking!!

    Miette Macarons

    Makes 18 1-inch cookies


    1 ½ cups, (7 ½ ounces) whole almonds with skins or blanched

    2 ¼ cups (10 ounces) powdered sugar

    3 large egg whites at room temperature

    1 ½ tsp. Cream of Tartar

    1 ½ cups vanilla butter cream icing

    Butter Cream Icing

    2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

    2 cups, powdered sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

    Dash of salt

    Gel food coloring of choice

    In the bowl of a mixer whip butter until fluffy and pale yellow, slowly add powdered sugar and extract and salt.  Tint with color if desired. Combine thoroughly.


    Using a 1 inch circle (a bottle cap works great) as a template, trace circles on parchment in rows 1 inch apart on the paper.  Repeat on second sheet of parchment. You should have room for 18 circles on each paper.  Flip paper over and place on baking sheets.

    Place half of the almonds and half of the powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until almonds are finely ground.  Repeat with the other half of almonds and sugar.  Mixture should have flour like consistency.  Sieve out any large pieces for additional processing if necessary. Set mixture aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk attachment combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Be sure to use only room temperature egg whites.  This ensures a beautiful fluffy meringue and prevents macarons from collapsing. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form.

    Gently fold about 1/3 of the almond mixture into the egg whites.  Fold the remaining mixture in two more additions, just until ingredients are combined, no longer.

    Fit a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag with a ½ or 5/8 inch round pastry tip and fill the bag with the meringue.  Using the template as a guide, pipe the circles ½ inch high onto the sheets and set the cookies aside at room temperature for 2 hours. This step is critical for the development of the crisp outer shell of the cookie and its distinctive base often times called the “foot”.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    Bake macarons until set and the foot develops a light tan color 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets completely.  Once cool carefully remove from the paper and turn them upside down. Fit an additional pastry or Ziploc bag with a ½ inch round pastry tip and squeeze a nickel sized amount of icing onto the bottom half of each cookie. Cap with the remaining un-iced macarons.

    Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Can also be refrigerated or frozen.

    Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Salmon Crepes Mornay and Salmon Giveaway!

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

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

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

    Pure Alaskan Salmon

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

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

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

    Salmon Crepes Mornay


    8 – 10 crepes (crepe recipe below)

    2 cans Pure Alaska Salmon Co. Redhead or ThinkPink

    1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

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

    Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

    Sauce Mornay (sauce recipe below)

    Chopped chives for garnish


    Preheat oven to 350F.

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

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

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

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

    Garnish with fresh chopped chives and serve immediately. 

    Basic Crepe Recipe

    I love this website for visual instructions

    Makes 12 crepes, or six servings.

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

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

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

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

    Classic Mornay Sauce by Emeril


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


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

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

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

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

    This sauce is also delicious over steamed vegetables!

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Breakfast Cookies with Oatmeal, Cinnamon and Raisins

    I wish my house could smell like fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies all the time.   The sweet smells of  cinnamon and brown sugar remind me of  my childhood, when I’d come home from school and my Mom had made her famous oatmeal cherry chocolate chip and everything but the kitchen sink cookies.  That was always a happy day.

    I still bake those cookies for my family, but I’ve come up with a version that’s perfect for breakfast, and my morning coffee. 

    Morning coffee in my favorite mug from Spruce Goose Cafe in Port Townsend, WA

    Whole grain flour, rolled oats, raisins and cinnamon baked just a little crispy outside and soft and chewy inside.  Mmmm… these are pure heaven in a cookie.  Especially at 5am in the morning when I’m summoned out of bed by my wooly mammoth pretending to be an old sweet Airedale.

    My wooly mammoth giving me a grin

    Makes about 24 Cookies


    1 Cup organic coconut oil, or ½ cup butter and ½ cup organic coconut oil

    3/4 Cup dark brown sugar (sometimes I use only ½ cup and they still taste great)

    2 eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 ½ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (King Arthur)

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    3 cups uncooked oats (quick cook or rolled oats)

    1 cup organic raisins


    Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil and brown sugar until light and creamy.  Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. 

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the oil brown sugar mixture and mix well.  Mix in the oats and raisins until thoroughly combined. 

    Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Using a small ice cream scoop, drop cookies onto the baking sheet two inches apart.  Bake 12 – 14 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown.  Cool for one minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.  Store tightly covered.

    Beef Kid Friendly

    Skillet Tamale Pie

    Skillet Tamale Pie

    I have a chalkboard hanging in my kitchen that says “Menu”.  Most of the time it displays Suzie Q’s artistic expressions and maybe a quote or two.  I hung it in the kitchen with the intention of posting our weekly menu, but most of the time I don’t have the heart to erase the creative artwork. 

    I think Suzie Q loves summer.

    On the occasion my menu board is undecorated, I post my own artistry, what were having for dinner.  And if I’m on task, I’ll post the dinner menu for the next two or three days.  I always feel so efficient when I plan more than two days at a time. 

    Tonight it’s Skillet Tamale Pie.  Tamale pie recipes have been around as long as I can remember.  It’s delicious comfort food with beefy filling and cornbread topping, usually with lots of cheese.  Mmmm.  

    I found this new recipe in Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters Cook Book.  Ok, I don’t usually get too serious on this blog because frankly, life is serious enough.  But… I strongly encourage watching these eye-opening food documentaries.  Food Matters, Food Inc and Food Fight.  Food does matter.  It’s what either keeps us strong and healthy, or sick and obese.  

    Tamale Pie baked in a ramekin... adorable

    Ok, so I could go on and on about buying local, buying organic and clearing all the pantry shelves of processed food, but I won’t.  Today anyway.  Today it’s all about Skillet Tamale Pie.  And my two gals love this Tamale Pie. (me too!).  Sometimes I just make the filling, let it cool and then serve it on top of a big bowl of crispy romaine with a little salsa and plain yogurt.

    Although I changed a few things in this recipe, to suit the Bennett Crew’s taste buds, the original recipe is just as fabulous.  The goal of this recipe is super tasty, simple, fresh and lots of smiles.  I definitely saw lots of Bennett smiles.

    Skillet Tamale Pie

    Adapted from the Food Matters Cook Book by Mark Bittman

    Serves 4


    1 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind, I like Bob’s Red Mill brand and I mix 1/2 corn masa with 1/2 medium grind)

    ½ – 1 cup hot water, or more as needed


    2 tablespoons olive oil or Grapeseed oil, or more as needed

    1 lb ground beef or pork or chicken or a mixture

    Black pepper

    1 onion, chopped

    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    1 tablespoon chili powder

    1  15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

    3 cups corn, fresh or frozen (I like Cascadian Organic)

    ½ teaspoon baking powder

    ¼ chopped fresh cilantro or green onions (or both) for garnish

    Dollop of sour cream (optional)


    Heat the oven to 400F.

    Combine the cornmeal, hot water and a large pinch of salt; stir with a fork until smooth.  Let it sit while you prepare the filling.

    Put the oil in a deep oven proof skillet.  If you are going to bake the tamale pie in a baking dish or individual single serving bowls, no need for the oven proof skillet, just use any large skillet. 

    Heat the oil over medium high heat and then add the meat.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.

    Brown the meat for 5-10 minutes and then lower the heat and add the garlic and onion.  Cook until the vegetables soften, adding more oil if needed.

    Stir in the chili powder, tomatoes and corn and turn off the heat.

    Stir the baking powder into the cornmeal mixture until it’s completely incorporated.  The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter; if not add a little more water.

    If using the oven proof skillet, spoon the batter into the skillet on top of the filling and spread it around a bit.  If using a small baking dish or individual bowls, pour the filling into the dish or dishes and then spoon the cornbread mixture over the top of the meat filling. 

    Bake until the cornbread has cracked and turned golden and is cooked all the way through, about 20 to 25 minutes for a large skillet or baking dish, a little less time for individual bowls. 

    Garnish with cilantro, green onion, pepper jack cheese and sour cream.

    Chicken Kid Friendly Pasta vegetarian

    Summer Lasagna

    I suppose you’re wondering what in the world is Summer Lasagna?  Well, it’s lasagna I make in the summer.  🙂  Naw!  Just kidding. 

    Summer lasagna is my answer to lasagna all year-long.  Just like soup, I like to eat lasagna in all seasons.  So I decided to change it up a bit, use a bechamel sauce (fancy name for white sauce), add some spinach, ground chicken and of course all the regulars… mozzarella and parmesan.   And if I have my fave Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese in the frig, that get’s tossed in too. 

    The Bennett Crew wasn’t so sure they were going to like Summer Lasagna because they really love my rich red sauced Lasagna Bolognese.  Luckily I got three thumbs up from the crew and they asked me to make it again this week. 

    I’ve also made this yummy white sauced lasagna without ground meat and it’s just as delicious.  I added in steamed asparagus, extra spinach and fresh chopped herbs.  And course extra garlic and cheese just to create a little decadence. 

    Serves 6-8


    1 lb ground chicken

    1-2 tablespoons veggie oil

    ½ cup chopped shallots

    4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced

    1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    5-6 ounces baby spinach

    Salt and pepper

    6-9 Dry lasagna noodles, cooked according to directions

    Béchamel sauce (recipe below)

    1 lb Ricotta cheese

    ¼ cup shredded or grated parmesan

    1 egg

    1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or seasoning

    2 -3 cups fresh mozzarella shredded or sliced

    ½ cup shredded or grated parmesan

    ½ cup shredded fontina, optional

    1 8×8 or 8×11 baking dish


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

    In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil and the ground chicken.  Cook until the chicken is almost done.

    Add the shallots and mushrooms to the chicken mixture and let them cook for a 2-3 minutes.  Then add the garlic and sauté a minute longer. 

    Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the oregano. Then add the fresh spinach.  Let the spinach wilt down a bit and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Take the mixture off the heat.

    Wilting spinach into chicken mixture


    The spinach wilted nicely

    Prepare the béchamel and set aside.

    In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, ¼ cup parmesan, egg, dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.

    Ladle a little béchamel sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and then cover the sauce with lasagna noodles. 

    Spread more sauce over the noodles and then top with some of the meat mixture.  Top the meat mixture with some of the ricotta, and then sprinkle with a bit of the mozzarella.

    Repeat the layers 2 or 3 times depending on pan size.  Be sure to reserve enough mozzarella to sprinkle on top and then sprinkle with parmesan and fontina (if using).  This is definitely a recipe that can be layered however you like so feel free to be creative!

    Place a sheet of foil over the baking pan and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and let the top of the cheese crisp to a golden brown.  At the end of the 20 minutes, sometimes I turn on the broiler and toast the cheese quickly.  Be sure to watch or it might burn.  (I’ve done this!)

    When the lasagna is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.  It’ll be easier to cut and serve.  This lasagna is definitely delicious the day its prepared, but it’s also fabulous the next day.

    Serve with a light Spinach and Raspberry salad and crusty Italian bread. 

    Mario Batali’s Bechamel (one of my favorites)


     5 tablespoons butter

    4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    4 cups milk

    2 teaspoons salt

    ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


    In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.