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fresh herbs

Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken

Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Whole Chicken

One of the first classes on my culinary school schedule was devoted solely to the art of preparing poultry.   I drove to class that day over the moon excited about tackling the preparation of poultry.

Finally, I was going to learn how to prepare a roasted chicken without mangling it with kitchen twine and drying it out to a tasteless plate of bones.

Sadly… my excitement faded shortly after class began.

Not only was half the chicken skin missing on the chicken legs, due to my wrangling the chicken with kitchen twine, my lovely chicken was terribly over cooked and nearly a platter of chicken bones.  (The Thanksgiving dinner scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation came to mind)

After all my classmates roasted chickens had been presented, it was my turn to step up and talk about my very dark and dismal looking roasted chicken.  Something I did NOT want to do.

My chef instructor was quite the perfectionist.  A somewhat gruff and bigger than life demeanor – he was a wee bit intimidating.  He appeared absolutely frustrated by my inability to roast a chicken to perfection and decided to make an example of my over cooked chicken.

“Bennett” he said, in his thick German accent. “Zee. cheeken. iz dead! No need to keel it again.” Yes, I’ve spelled and punctuated the words just the way I remember him saying this in the class.  Although I could feel my face turning several shades of bright red, I knew then what he was trying to tell me.  Stop over cooking the chicken!

Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken Before and After

The key to making a perfect roasted chicken?  Don’t take it out of the oven until it’s reached an internal temperature of 165F.  And, be sure to purchase a local, hopefully pasture raised, chicken.  Chicken that has traveled across the country to rest in your local market’s refrigerated poultry bin is probably not going to yield a tasty or moist result. Finding a local farmer that sells fresh chicken to your local co-op or market or even to the public, is definitely the tastier and moister choice.   And, you will be helping your local farmer stay in business, which supports the local community.

If you live in Western Washington, check out the online marketplace for local produce, poultry, eggs, meat and seafood called Farmstr.  Coming soon to new locations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond!

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In honor of over-roasted chicken, I thought I’d share my grandma’s method for a moist and tasty chicken using mayonnaise.  Yep, mayonnaise.  Grandma used to massage mayonnaise all over her roasters before popping them in the oven.  And when she ran out of mayo, she used butter.

I took this mayonnaise slathering technique a little further and incorporated fresh chopped herbs and garlic into the mayo and then added the step of placing some of that herb mayo under the skin of the chicken breast, legs and thighs.  This creates not only flavor, but a tender, juicy roasted chicken.

Delicious Wishes and loads of love,

Karista

Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken

The key to creating a perfectly roasted chicken is making sure you remove the chicken from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 165F. Testing the meat temperature at the joint between the thigh and leg is best.  Then take it out of the oven and tent the chicken with foil and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes.  This will raise the internal temperature another 5 degrees and allow the juices to re-distribute.  The final result should be a moist and perfectly roasted chicken. 

Ingredients

1  4-5lb fresh, organic whole chicken

1/3 cup organic regular or homemade mayonnaise

Small handful of fresh herbs finely chopped.  (thyme, oregano, Italian parsley, basil, chive, rosemary)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lemon, quartered

Salt and Pepper

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Mix together the fresh herbs, garlic and mayonnaise.  Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken and stuff with the lemon quarters.  And some extra garlic cloves if you like.

Next spread about half the herb mayonnaise under the skin of the chicken breast, leg and thighs.  It’s typically fairly tough but if it breaks don’t worry…  it’ll still be fabulous.

Slather the remaining mayonnaise over the outside of the chicken and then lightly season with some cracked black pepper and salt.

Place it in a roasting pan or baking dish, or even on a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Once the chicken has reached 165F, remove it from the oven and tent it with some aluminum foil.  Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before carving or breaking down to serve.

I adore this roasted chicken all by itself but during the spring months I serve it with baby spring greens tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  Or serve it with this lovely spring salad from Pink Patisserie.  A lovely meal!

** Rarely do I truss my chicken unless I’m serving a roasted chicken for guests or a holiday meal.  It does help seal the cavity and therefore technically keep the chicken from drying out.  However, I’m typically in a time crunch to get the chicken in the oven and stuffing the cavity with extra herbs and lemon will usually achieve the same result.  The chicken just won’t look quite so Julia Child.  But it’ll still taste delicious.  However, if you’d like to learn how to truss a chicken, click here. It’s a great technique to add to your culinary skills.  Bon Appetit!

Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

Baked Eggs in a Basket

Soft baked eggs and cheese in Canadian bacon

My twin sister will cringe when she reads this blog post.  Sunshine was my nickname in high school which made me think of these delicious Baked Eggs in a Basket.  Yep, I was quite the perky gal.  Too perky probably.  Annoyingly positive.

I’m not sure why.  Life certainly wasn’t always sunshine and roses.  But for me, survival was optimism.

Perky is nice, but I would have rather been sassy.  Like my two sassy gals and these Baked Eggs in a Basket.  I love sassy.

Soft Baked Eggs in Canadian Bacon

Baked Eggs in a Basket with Chive and Havarti

I’ve had several comments on this blog about the word “sassy”.  Thankfully, they found the word as endearing as I do.  Although, many have verbally pondered the meaning of sassy.

So I thought I’d share my definition of sassy.  According to the dictionary, sassy has several meanings, naughty and nice. (this makes me giggle)

However, for my two sassy gals it simply means lively, bold, confident, a little cheeky and very clever.  Emphasis on the clever.

Baked Eggs and Havarti

Soft Baked Eggs with Canadian Bacon, Fresh Herbs and Havarti

I call these little lovelies “Baked eggs in a Basket”. They remind me of sunshine.  Which reminded me of my nickname years ago.  Which I hadn’t thought of for years.  My sister will call me.  She will cringe over the phone.  I love my sister.  She keeps me grounded.  But if truth be told, my sassy gals got some of that sass from their Auntie.  😉

This dish is perfect for breakfast weekdays or weekends. Only a few minutes to assemble and a few minutes to bake.  My youngest gal loves this dish with eggs that are scrambled, but I love them soft baked with a little chive and Havarti.  I probably don’t make these the same way twice.  I use what I have on hand, assorted fresh chopped herbs, Gruyere cheese and sometimes I sneak in a little Brie.  Maybe I should have called this dish “Heavenly Breakfast in a Basket”.

Baked Eggs in a Basket

These Baked Eggs in a Basket were inspired by the fabulous Chef David Rocco. This is basically a guideline rather than recipe so make as many as you like. I usually make 6-8, and always wishing I made more.

Ingredients

  • Canadian bacon
  • Fresh eggs
  • Grated fresh Havarti, Cheddar, Jalapeno Jack, or whatever you might have in the frig
  • Fresh chopped chive or other fresh herbs you may have on hand
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Veggie or coconut oil
  • Muffin tin

Instructions

  • Directions
  • Pre-heat the oven to at least 450F.
  • Brush oil in each muffin cup. Don’t skip this part even with a non-stick pan. This will help remove the baked eggs in a basket easily.
  • Place a slice of Canadian bacon in each muffin cup. Then drop in one egg. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and fresh chopped chive.
  • Top with grated cheese and pop in the pre-heated oven for about 5-10 minutes, depending how soft or hard you like your eggs.
  • Let the eggs cool for a minute and then remove with a small spatula. Serve immediately. Or, you can make these ahead with scrambled eggs and re-heat when needing breakfast or a little snack.
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    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

    Ingredients

    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

    Directions

    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!

    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.

    Ingredients

    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

    Directions

    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.

    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

    Ingredients

    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

    Directions

    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!

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Italian Slow Roasted Pork with Rosemary White Beans

    Italian Slow Roasted Pork with Rosemary White Beans // Karista's Kitchen

    This Italian Slow Roasted Pork with Rosemary White Beans is what the Bennett crew calls “pork and beans”.  Most definitely not the traditional pork and beans I grew up on, you know, the kind that’s heavily laced with sweet barbeque sauce and lots of smoky bacon.

    Although the traditional pork and beans is a delicious dish, especially at a summer barbecue, this Italian slow roasted pork with rosemary white beans is a lovely and aromatic alternative for the Autumn and Winter months.  It’s a simple and humble dish that is herby and lush in flavor and hearty in texture.

    If I’m making this dish on a weeknight, and I forgot to soak the beans the night before, I use organic canned beans and it works just as well.  I also use these rosemary white beans on my Arugula and White Bean Salad. 

    Italian Slow Roasted Pork with Rosemary White Beans // Karista's Kitchen

    I have several pork recipes on Karista’s Kitchen, and I must say they’re all divine.  But this dish definitely highlights some of my favorite flavors… Italian herbs (which happen to grow abundantly almost year round in my herb garden).

    Rosemary, oregano, and Italian parsley are all exquisitely aromatic and beautifully flavor this pork recipe.  Combined with tomatoes, onions and garlic and set on a bed of rosemary white beans, this delicious Italian slow roasted pork makes a distinctive and enticing fall meal.  And of course it’s a slow cooker meal which is a super plus!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Slow Roasted Italian Pork Shoulder with Rosemary White Beans

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Slow Roasted Italian Pork Shoulder with Rosemary White Beans

    Ingredients

    • 3-4 lb Pork shoulder, boneless, cut into 3 inch cubes
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
    • Sunflower or Safflower oil, or any high heat oil is fine
    • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
    • 2 3-4 inch stalks fresh oregano (can substitute with 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
    • 2 3-4 inch stalks fresh rosemary (can substitute with 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed)
    • 2 3-4 inch stalks fresh Italian parsley
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 1 28 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic)
    • 1 bay leaf
      For the beans
    • 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans with liquid
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
    • 2 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (for garnish)

    Instructions

  • In a large skillet, or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and brown the pork in the hot skillet. Once the pork has browned transfer to a slow cooker, or a platter if using a Dutch oven.
  • Next add the onions to the skillet and saute until just wilted, then add the garlic and saute one minute longer. Add the fresh herbs, white wine, tomatoes and bay leaf. Stir the ingredients until blended. If using a slow cooker, pour the sauce over the pork and cover with the lid. Set on low for about 5-6 hours, or until the pork is fork tender.
  • If using a Dutch oven, place the pork back in the Dutch oven with the sauce. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in a pre-heated 300F oven for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The pork will be done when it is fork tender. If using a bone in pork shoulder, braising time will be up to 2 1/2 hours.
  • While pork is braising, prepare the beans. Place beans in a medium pot and heat on low. Add the fresh rosemary and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pot and let the beans slowly simmer for about 15 -20 minutes. The rosemary white beans can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. Just reheat when ready to serve.
  • To serve, place warm rosemary white beans on a platter and top with the slow roasted Italian pork. Ladle a bit of sauce over the top and garnish with fresh Italian rosemary and fresh sage. Serve remaining sauce on the side.
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    Grilling Halibut Seafood Swordfish

    Fresh Seasonal Fish Topped With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Shallots, Lemon and Fresh Herbs

    It’s that time of year when I suddenly realize all the beautiful fresh local tomatoes will soon be a distant memory until they arrive once again next summer.   I’m now in a full-fledged panic to use as many of those juicy tomatoes as I possibly can.  I may have a small revolt on my hands as tomatoes are showing up daily in all three meals at the Bennett house.

    Fluffy whipped French omelets with the distinctive Gruyère cheese and fresh chopped heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella en carrozza (Tuscan cheese sandwiches) with fresh sliced tomatoes piled high and grilled fish and chicken with roasted cherry tomatoes, smashed garlic cloves, diced shallots, a squeeze of lemon and fresh herbs.  And I have more recipes yet to prepare!  I think the Bennett crew will be “oh so happy” when tomato season is over. 

    I do love a good tomato.  The smell of a ripe tomato takes me back to my childhood when I would pick the sun warmed fruits off the vines in our little garden and sit in the grass to eat them.  No salt, pepper, herbs or mayo, just a juicy fresh picked off the vine tomato.  Tomatoes make delicious additions to most recipes; adds fresh flavor, a little zing, and one would have to admit, the color of a tomato is hard to duplicate. 

    Sometimes the simplest of preparations are the best.  Simply roasting tomatoes with garlic and shallots, fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and lemon makes for a tasty side dish or exquisite topping for most entrees of fish or chicken.  Serve with a fresh arugula salad drizzled with rice wine vinegar and olive oil. 

    Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1 1/2 lbs seasonal fresh white fish (halibut, cod, rockfish, snapper, swordfish, mahi mahi) If the fish is fresh, it will taste delicious and hold up to roasting in the oven. 

    2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

    4 cloves garlic, smashed and lightly chopped

    2 tablespoons diced shallots

    1 lemon, zested and juiced

    3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (Oregano, Italian parsley, basil, rosemary or thyme)

    Olive oil

    Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Mix together tomatoes, garlic, shallots, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Toss with a drizzle of olive oil until lightly coated and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Pour the tomato mixture into a baking dish or foil lined cookie sheet and roast for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are wilted and slightly toasty.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  

    Drizzle the fish with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, and then sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Roast the fish until opaque in the center and flaky.  Fish roasting times vary according to thickness.  Start with 5-8 minutes and then check for doneness.  If it isn’t done, let it continue roasting, checking every 5 minutes. 

    Once the fish is done, transfer to a platter.  Mix the tomatoes with lemon zest and remaining fresh herbs.  Top the fish with the tomatoes and herbs and serve immediately.

    Grilling Halibut Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Grilled Halibut with Fresh Blueberries and Lemon

    This is one of those recipes that truly came together last-minute.  I had a pint of fresh organic blueberries starting to shrivel in my frig and I really needed to use them.  I was thinking I’d make muffins or possibly pancakes, but then I thought why not use them for dinner?  I had a beautiful fillet of fresh halibut in the frig and the blueberries would make a delightful sweet but savory topping.   

    The key to this recipe had to be simplicity.  I wanted the true fresh flavors of the blueberries to shine through, but I also wanted the lemon, shallot, garlic and white wine to compliment the sweetness of the blueberries, making it a delightful combination when paired with Halibut.  And… if I am to be completely honest, Ranger Craig hadn’t eaten all afternoon and was famished!  Dinner needed to be simple and quick.

    It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully fresh summer fruit compliments most meats and fish.  Even in their whole and raw state, just a handful of blueberries mixed with a few fresh herbs tossed over a warm halibut fillet would be delicious. 

    So, the next time you see fruit going south in your frig, think about using it over grilled meats or fish, or a delicious roast of beef or pork.  You just never know what fabulous combination you’ll come up with.  Happy Cooking!

    Check out Peter Cottontail!  For some reason he’s decided to take up residence in my garden.  Thankfully he doesn’t enjoy my Italian parsley or chives.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1 ½ lbs Halibut

    Olive oil

    Salt and pepper

    3 tablespoons butter

    2 tablespoons chopped shallots

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon Fresh chopped herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Oregano)

    1 lemon, zested and juiced

    ½ cup white wine (or substitute with 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons blueberry preserves)

    1 cup fresh blueberries

    Directions

    Grill, pan sear or roast the halibut. 

    To grill, brush the halibut with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Preheat the grill to 350F.  Grill the halibut on each side for 3-5 minutes depending on thickness, or until cooked through. 

    To pan sear, heat a high heat oil such as sunflower or safflower oil on medium heat in a large skillet.  When the oil is hot, season the halibut with salt and pepper and pan sear on each side until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes on each side depending on thickness. 

    To roast, brush the halibut with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  To keep the halibut from drying out, drizzle about ½ cup white wine over the halibut.  Roast in a 375F preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the halibut is cooked through.

    In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  

    When the butter oil is melted and frothy, add the shallots.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are wilted and aromatic. 

    Next add the garlic and sauté just a minute or two longer, careful not to brown the garlic. 

    Add the fresh chopped herbs, lemon zest and wine.  Give the sauce a good stir and then add the blueberries. 

    Let the sauce come to a lively simmer and then turn the heat down to low and let the blueberries heat through for 4-5 minutes.  Allow the blueberries to heat through and soften but not fall apart. 

    Take the sauce off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter.  Taste the sauce and add additional salt and pepper if needed. 

    To serve, squeeze a little fresh lemon over each halibut fillet or steak.  Place the halibut on a platter or individual plates and top with the blueberries.  Garnish with additional fresh chopped herbs.

    Seafood

    Spring Steamers

    With four busy schedules, two terrier’s (dubbed “The Burly Bennett Boys”, and for good reason), garden’s that constantly need weeding or clean up of some sort, not to mention our ongoing house renovations, life can seem chaotic.  So, when Ranger Craig and I find ourselves on our own for dinner without the rest of the Bennett crew, we often contemplate eating out at one of our new local restaurants or one of our favorite places in Seattle.  I do emphasize the word “contemplate” because that’s usually how far we get to actually eating out.  Especially when the weather isn’t so spring like and it feels more of a chore to get out than stay in. 

    We wanted to keep dinner simple, fresh and enjoyable.  For Ranger Craig and I that’s usually some sort of seafood, a beautiful bottle of white wine and a warm artisan bread or crostini.  Steamers with sautéed leeks, garlic, fresh herbs and white wine sounded perfect!  A simple dinner that was quick and delicious.  

    I’ve blogged this recipe previously and after enjoying the steamers once again, I just had to give it a second posting.  If you love clams, you’ll love this simple and delicious recipe.  And… I just had to include a few photos of the famous “Burly Bennett Boys”, our in house comediens and chasers of UPS delivery people! 

    Happy Cooking!

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    2-3lbs Manilla Clams (or any small clams from your neck of the woods), washed

    2 leeks, chopped (white to light green part), or substitute with one large shallot or medium onion

    6-8 (or more if you love garlic!) cloves garlic, chopped

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 tablespoons butter

    1/4 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (Italian parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, oregano, chive)

    1 cup dry white wine

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    1 lemon

    Directions

    In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Saute the leeks and garlic for 2-3 minutes until wilted but not browned.  Stir in most the fresh herbs, reserving a tablespoon for garnish.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

    Turn the heat to medium high and toss the clams with the onions.  Add the white wine and bring to a boil.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low and let the clams steam in the broth. 

    Once all the clams have opened, about five minutes or so, toss the clams in the broth and season the broth to taste.  Place the clams in a large bowl and squeeze fresh lemon over the top.  Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs.  Serve with warm crusty bread for soaking up the delicious broth!

    Enjoy!

    OPTION:  For something a little spicy, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or 1/2 lb cooked chorizo.  Yum!

    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

    Ingredients

     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

     Directions

    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.