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seafood recipes

Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

Baked Oysters Mornay

Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

If there is one shellfish I had to learn to love, it’s oysters. But when I finally decided that I truly loved oysters, I became a wee bit obsessed. Thus began my fascination with cooking and baking with oysters. Which is how this lovely Oysters Mornay happened.

Actually, I was testing several different recipes for Oysters Rockefeller a few years ago and I’ve decided I really love my baked oysters covered with a sauce and maybe some cheese and a little something crunchy for added texture.

In the beginning I made a boozy béchamel to use on my baked oysters but then I decided it needed more than just a boozy béchamel. It needed a Mornay. Mornay sauce is much like a boozy béchamel but with cheese. Gruyère to be specific.

I also love the spinach included in Oysters Rockefeller so why not just merge the two recipes and call it grand! To complete this opulent little shellfish recipe, I top the Oysters Mornay with a Panko and grated parmesan and bake.

The result is a spinach laden baked oyster topped with boozy cheese sauce and crunchy Panko. Who’s hungry now?

Baked Oysters Mornay // Karista's Kitchen

These Baked Oysters Mornay are so fun (and sort of messy) to make and even more fun to eat. They work well for a light dinner with a glass of white wine or as a starter for dinner guests.

Now you’re probably thinking, I’m not shucking all those oysters only to bake them in boozy cheese sauce.  Me neither. However there are two methods to securing oysters for your Baked Oysters Mornay. Often times you can find them in jars in the seafood area of your market. They will come in size small, medium or large. You want to purchase the small or medium oysters. They’re sweeter and tastier. As well, some seafood markets sell shucked oysters just like they sell shelled crab or shrimp.

I know you’re wondering how to find oyster shells. I found stainless steel oyster shells online here. They work beautifully for this recipe.  Or, I ask my fishmonger if they’ve got fresh oyster shells they can give me. The fresh oyster shells only last one or two recipes but they look great on the platter. However, the stainless are just as easy and also create a lovely presentation.

This is such a festive recipe for the summer and I promise it’s easy to prepare and it’ll impress your guests.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Baked Oysters Mornay

Makes 12


  • One dozen shelled oysters
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or aged Swiss
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked and squeezed spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • Dash of tabasco
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Heat the oven to 375F.
  • Place the oyster tins (or shells) on a baking sheet and place one oyster in each tin.
  • Mix together the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan over medium heat add the butter. When the butter is melted stir in the flour. Let the flour and butter cook for a minute or two and then slowly whisk in the warm milk. Just as the sauce thickens add the 1/4 cup white wine. Then stir in the pinch of nutmeg and shredded cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly salt and pepper the cooked spinach and place a little on each oyster. Then drizzle a tablespoon or two of Mornay sauce over the spinach and then top with the parmesan and Panko bread crumbs mixture.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until bubbly and the tops are golden brown. Often times the tops don't brown well enough for me, so I place the baking sheet under the broiler for a minute to get the color I like.
  • Remove the oysters from the oven and give them a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately with Tabasco.
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    Grilling Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood Uncategorized

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

    It’s the little things that make me smile.  When a cool, gentle breeze on a warm day catches me by surprise, unexpectedly finding a bright red tomato while I’m watering my garden, a random hello text from a friend, finding old photos of my sassy gals that remind me how sassy they were (and still are!) and walking the docks in Newport to find the prettiest seasonal halibut.

    Just ask Ranger Craig, that halibut made me smile for at least an hour.

    Buying Halibut right off the boat in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen


    Fish boat on the docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    I daydreamed all the way home how I was going to prepare that 13lb. halibut.  Yesterday it was Baja-style tacos with a chipotle crema and pineapple cilantro slaw and tonight it’s a Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut.  I could eat the Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with a spoon!

    The docks in Newport, Oregon // Karista's Kitchen

    The combination of fruit and fish has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It seems the sweet from the fruit combined with spice from aromatics like onion and peppers pair so perfectly with the salty, briny and savory flavors of fish.  Whether it’s salmon, halibut, cod, snapper or sea bass, fruit seems to make most fish festive and a bit more intriguing.

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut just might be your new favorite.  It’s certainly my new favorite of the season. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut

    Serving Size: 4

    Papaya Red Pepper Salsa with Grilled Halibut


    • 1 cup diced papaya (about 1 medium papaya)
    • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 cup diced red onion
    • 1 jalapeno, finely minced
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
    • Squeeze of lime to taste
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2lbs fresh halibut cut into four pieces
    • lime wedges for garnish


  • Pre-heat the grill to 400F.
  • To prepare the salsa, combine the red pepper, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, ground chile powder and lime juice. Gently fold in the papaya and then season to taste with salt and pepper and give it just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you'd rather grill your halibut on a piece of foil or in a fish basket that works well. I have an electric grill with small grill grates so I typically brush my halibut with oil, season with salt, pepper and a little cumin or smoked paprika, or even my fave fish seasoning and then place it flesh side down on the grill. Halibut will stick however, so oiling the grill and your fish is key to success. If you are using foil, place the seasoned and oiled halibut on the foil and then place the foil on the grill. If you're using the fish basket, well you're already a pro!
  • Halibut will cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Don't overcook the fish or it can become dry.
  • Once the halibut is done, place salsa on the bottom of plates and top with the grilled halibut. Serve with lime wedges and lots of white wine!
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood

    Ling Cod with Summer Spanish Salsa Verde

    Ling Cod with Summer Spanish Salsa Verde with Couscous // Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve always felt that good food should be fresh and simple – ingredients from the earth lovingly combined to create pleasure for the palate and nourishment for the body.  Ling Cod with Summer Salsa Verde is a perfect example.  

    I am constantly reminding my family (often upon deaf ears because they hear this so often) “eat from the earth and all will be well”.   My gentle reminder that eating from the earth as opposed to pre-packaged processed foods or take-out will help heal our bodies, keep us healthy, make our skin glow, clear our fog brain (most the time) and give us energy.   This doesn’t mean that the local barbecue take-out on a Friday night isn’t fun on occasion or that going for afternoon sushi isn’t a treat… I’m not a total food Grinch. 😉  I do love my weekend local IPA and Pacific Northwest fish and chips; although I usually spring for fish and salad.

    At home however, I adore the pure clean flavors of whole foods, often combined with a few indulgent gourmet ingredients like truffle salt, truffle oil, white anchovies or Italian capers; a  little special ingredient to dress up my earthy cuisine.  I can’t help it, I think it’s the chef in me always trying to make an appearance.

    My little backyard garden in the Willamette Valley

    My Little Backyard Garden

    I’ve dressed up this Ling Cod with a Summer Spanish Salsa Verde that is brimming with not only fresh ingredients but a few of those indulgent ingredients like marinated artichokes and Italian capers.  Tossed into the dish are summer tomatoes, fresh lemon and toasted pine nuts all so beautifully placed over pearled couscous that has been cooked in an herby vegetable broth.

    Typically, Ling Cod isn’t my favorite seafood because it’s a bit stronger in flavor than true cod and requires just the right ingredients to compliment the fish, like the bold flavors of a Spanish Salsa Verde.  Which is why you most often find ling cod beer battered or crusted in Panko and parmesan.  These preparations are also delicious but for the summer months I wanted to pair this popular Pacific cod with fresh ingredients that felt light and seasonal.  The end result almost feels a little festive!

    If you can’t find ling cod where you live, not to worry, this recipe can be prepared with any white fish you love to eat or is local to your region.   If you’re gluten-free, this dish would be lovely over brown or white rice, buckwheat or even quinoa.  If you use quinoa, be sure to cook it in vegetable broth and add some fresh herbs to elevate the flavor.  I’ve also used Einkorn berries, which is extremely low in gluten and is tolerated well by most gluten intolerant individuals like my youngest gal.  It’s also nutty in flavor and so delicious with this recipe.  You can find my favorite Einkorn berries HERE.

    Wishing you a delicious summer season filled with fun, family, adventure and loads of love!


    Ling Cod with Summer Spanish Salsa Verde

    Serving Size: 3-4


    • 1 1/2lbs Ling Cod or other white fish, cut into 3-4 pieces
    • 2-3 tablespoons Ghee or extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • one good handful of Italian parsley leaves
    • 6-8 fresh mint leaves (optional, but I do love a little fresh mint in this salsa verde)
    • 1 clove of garlic (medium size)
    • 2 anchovies
    • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • 1/3 cup your best extra virgin olive oil
    • Handful cherry tomatoes or baby heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered
    • Handful artichoke hearts, grilled artichoke hearts or marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
    • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or more if you love pine nuts)
    • Additional teaspoon or two of capers for garnish
    • 2-4 cups cooked pearled couscous or rice


  • In a small food processor or you can always chop ingredients by hand, add the Italian parsley, mint, garlic, anchovies, capers, squeeze of lemon and olive oil. Pulse until you have a nice salsa consistency. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. It doesn't have to be pureed like a pesto, just nicely blended.
  • If you decide to chop all ingredients by hand (which is a traditional method), finely chop the parsley, mint, garlic, anchovies and capers. Add them to a bowl and mix them with the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Either method is delicious.
  • Season the ling cod with salt and pepper and any other fish seasoning you like. We have a local spice shop in Portland that blends the most amazing fish seasoning, so I often use my fish seasoning blend.
  • Heat a large skillet with ghee or olive oil over medium heat and when the oil is hot add the ling cod flesh side down. Let the ling cod cook until it's formed a crust or easily lifts off the pan. Flip to the skin side down and cook until the fish is done. As a rule, fish typically cooks 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if your fish is a thin filet, it may only require a few minutes on each side.
  • Once the fish is done, place some couscous or rice on plates or a platter and then place the fish over the couscous or rice. Drizzle with Spanish salsa verde and garnish with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle with a few additional capers if desired and serve with additional lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    This Spanish Salsa Verde recipe can easily be doubled or ingredients adjusted to your tastes.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

    I just realized I may be a tiny bit obsessed with ricotta cheese.  My last two recipes have included ricotta cheese and now I’m posting this lovely Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with a Spicy Tomato Sauce.  Completely unintentional as it may be, I must have a sub-concious need for ricotta cheese. Maybe I’m simply channeling my inner Italian, or my need to return to Italy. 🙂 Yep, it’s my need to return to Italy.

    This is a dish that keeps a regular rotation on my dinner menu.  Which is why I’m surprised I’ve never shared this enchanting recipe until now.  I’m fairly certain it was due to the food being eaten before I could snap a photo.

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole is a simple entree that assembles easily and can be popped into the oven and served with a lovely Citrus and Arugula Salad or Pesto Broccolini for a beautiful meal.

    On occasion I’ll prepare the ricotta stuffing the night before and let it sit in the fridge until needed the next evening; making it even easier to assemble, bake and serve this saucy and creamy Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole.

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

    I’ve prepared this dish with fresh spinach, sautéed, chopped and squeezed, but I find for reasons of time and texture that frozen, chopped spinach which has been thawed and squeezed works better in this recipe.

    That said, once, I forgot to pick up frozen spinach at the market so I walked outside, snipped some Swiss chard from my garden and used it instead.  Not quite as delicate in flavor as the spinach, but still lovely and delicious.

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

    I love it when dinner comes together quickly and involves cheese and sauce.  Not too mention, it’s a great way to serve more seafood during the week without a lot of fuss.

    An interesting wine tip…  I’ve paired this recipe with a dry, un-oaked chardonnay as well as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Although these two wines have completely different flavor profiles, both wines were complimentary.  🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole

    Serving Size: 4

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole


      For the Dover Sole
    • 1lb Dover Sole
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 8 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 1 package (about 8-12oz) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
    • 1-2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped Italian parsley, divided
    • ½ cup shredded Mozzarella
    • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
    • Salt and pepper to taste
      For the Tomato Sauce
    • ½ cup diced yellow onion
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
    • ½ cup red wine
    • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
    • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil an 8 ½ x 11 baking dish.
  • In a food processor add the ricotta, spinach, garlic, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, oregano and Italian parsley. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Season each Dover sole filet with salt and pepper. Place a teaspoon or two of the spinach ricotta mixture on one end of the filet and then roll, being careful not to squeeze the filling out of the sides. Some will inevitably escape during cooking. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the filets have been stuffed and rolled.
  • Mix together the mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the stuffed, rolled filets and then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and let it cook for about 10-12 minutes. Turn the broiler on for a minute or two, just before the fish is done to toast the bread crumbs and melt the cheese.
  • To make the sauce, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot sauté the onions until wilted, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté one minute longer.
  • Next, stir in the red wine and let it reduce by half. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Once incorporated put it back over medium heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, adding a little water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, ladle sauce on a plate and then place a stuffed filet or two over the sauce and garnish with additional chopped fresh Italian parsley.
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    Appetizers DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Pork Seafood

    Part Two Feast of the Seven Fishes with DaVinci Wine

    Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a delicious Italian tradition where seven delectable fish dishes are served for Christmas Eve dinner.

    This year DaVinci Wine asked me to create seven festive and delightful fish dishes for their Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is the part of my job I absolutely love – especially when it involves fish and DaVinci wine.

    The first five dishes we paired with DaVinci Pinot Grigio. You’ll find them HERE along with the first Feast of the Seven Fishes post HERE.

    In this second post, I’m highlighting the last two fish recipes that we’ve paired with DaVinci Chianti. As well as one of the seven fish dishes that I believe pairs beautifully with both the DaVinci Pinot Grigio and DaVinci Chianti.

    When I visited Italy with DaVinci Wine in 2013, I dined on the most decadent food but also the most decadent seafood dishes. One particular starter that struck me as simple but so lovely in flavor was a crostini with homemade ricotta topped with a single anchovy. I call it Bruno’s Crostini – named after our gracious lunch host and DaVinci grower, Bruno Rossetti.

    Smoked Salmon Crostini with Herbed Ricotta for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    Although I prepare this starter often, I love using smoked salmon with ricotta cheese. Going a step further, I added fresh chopped herbs to the ricotta for a little more “bite” to the recipe. Salmon pairs extremely well with DaVinci Pinot Grigio, so I included this lovely starter in the first post.

    However, I adore pairing both salmon and smoked salmon with DaVinci Chianti as well. Because DaVinci Chianti is well balanced with jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit, it beautifully compliments the smoked salmon and herbed ricotta crostini – making it another lovely wine pairing for this gorgeous starter.

    Italian Sausage and Shrimp Stew for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    Another recipe from our Feast of the Seven Fishes is an impressive dish everyone will enjoy. An Italian Sausage and Shrimp stew that warms the soul and delights the taste buds. This is an intensely flavored dish, filled with aromatics, fresh herbs that bring earthiness to the recipe, tangy tomatoes and spicy Italian sausage combined with fresh shrimp and clams.   Sounds like a winning combination to me! Although I use the DaVinci Pinot Grigio in the stew, I think this stew is best served with DaVinci Chianti.

    The last fish dish in this series, is the gorgeous Spaghetti alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce). Just the name of this dish sounds enticing.

    Spaghetti Vongole for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The Vongole sauce is distinctive and lush, prepared with fresh ingredients and a cup of DaVinci Chianti to round out flavors. It’s a hearty sauce that beautifully envelops the pasta and compliments the steamed clams – garnished with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh Italian parsley.

    Creating a festive and exquisite Christmas Eve celebration is as simple as these seven fish dishes. Feast of the Seven Fishes paired with DaVinci Wine will delight your guests and bring delicious merry making to your holiday celebration.

    Wishing you warm and Delicious Holidays!

    Loads of Love,




    Appetizers DaVinci Wine Recipes Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Risotto Seafood

    Feast of the Seven Fishes with DaVinci Wine

    Crab Stuffed Mushrooms for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    A holiday table set with seven fish dishes is a glorious sight to behold. Especially if you’re a lover of seafood but also enjoy the Italian holiday tradition, Feast of the Seven Fishes.

    Why seven fish dishes? The Italian tradition began as a religious observance when fish was served for Christmas Eve dinner. Some say the seven fish dishes were served to represent the seven sacraments or the seven virtues. Over the years however, Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a holiday celebration enjoyed by many here in the U.S., including my family.

    I read about Feast of the Seven Fishes years ago when studying culinary history and cultural food traditions. I found it so fascinating that I decided to implement something similar for my family’s celebrations of the holiday season.

    I started out strong the first year. I put my heart and soul into that event – although I can’t quite remember all the dishes I prepared. I just remember how fun and delicious the evening had been. Each year since, I’ve continued the tradition of fish on Christmas Eve. Some years I go all out with an impressive spread of seafood dishes and other years it’s as simple as a Lobster alla Arribiata with braised Chard and homemade Focaccia or a large pot of seafood stew.

    This year I was asked by the amazing team at DaVinci Wine to create a Feast of the Seven Fishes to pair with the DaVinci Chianti and the DaVinci Pinot Grigio. Two of my favorite Italian wines.

    I have to admit, I was thrilled. Not only was I going to have the opportunity to play with food (which is a favorite part of my job) and create gorgeous, mouth-watering recipes, but because I have a giant heartfelt adoration and deep attachment to everyone involved in creating this approachable yet lush wine. I feel like part of the DaVinci family.

    To begin, I created two sumptuous starters to set the festive mood and tantalize the palate.

    The first appetizer is a simple crab stuffed mushrooms recipe filled with a fluffy and flavorful mixture of cream cheese, crab, fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and Parmesan cheese. Then topped with breadcrumbs for a slightly crisp finish.

    The second seafood dish is another lovely nibble prepared with smoked salmon lox and an herb and lemon ricotta on garlic crostini.   The creamy herb ricotta creates a gorgeous backdrop for the smoked salmon and of course pairs beautifully with the crisp, clean flavors of DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

    Smoked Salmon Crostini with Herbed Ricotta for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    For the next course, I created a gorgeous Insalata Frutti de Mare (an Italian seafood salad) filled with marinated and poached baby octopus along with additional treasures from the sea and paired with the fresh and distinct flavors of fennel and orange – two of my favorite combinations to pair with seafood.

    This lovely seafood salad reaches absolute perfection when served with DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

    Insalata Frutti di Mare for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The last two dishes we paired with the crisp, clean flavors of the DaVinci Pinot Grigio is the Seafood Risotto and Pesce all’ Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water).

    Seafood Risotto for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    The Fish in Crazy Water is not only tantalizing in flavor but a gorgeous and impressive dish to serve your guests.

    A whole fish, pan seared and then poached in flavorful aromatics, creating a lush entrée for your holiday celebration.

    Fish in Crazy Water for Feast of the Seven Fishes // Karista's Kitchen and DaVinci Wine

    These four fish recipes served with DaVinci Pinot Grigio will captivate your guests and create a memorable holiday celebration.

    You will find these little lovelies HERE on the DaVinci Wine Facebook page. I’ll be posting soon about the next three fish recipes that I’ve paired with the lush DaVinci Chianti.

    Wishing you and your family a most joyous and delicious holiday season!

    Loads of Love,


    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood Shrimp

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas // Karista's Kitchen

    I was playing around with tostada recipes the other day and I decided I needed ceviche to top my tostada shells.  I was hungry at that moment and it just sounded delicious.  This is often how my recipes happen.  I’m hungry and something sounds delicious so it’s created and posted.

    I was set on my traditional halibut ceviche because I haven’t made it since the fall and the family keeps asking for it; but there was no halibut at the fish market.  So I grabbed the fresh smallish dry packed scallops, which are best in a recipe like this anyway, and some bay shrimp.  The small dry packed scallops, not to be confused with bay scallops, dwindle to nothing when they’re cooked.  It almost feels like a waste of time to pan sear the small ones, so I either poach them or use them in a ceviche.  I’m all about getting the most out of my ingredients.

    Well this turned out to be a grand idea.  I diced the small scallops and cold poached them in fresh lime juice overnight.   Then I drained them and combined them with the bay shrimp, along with lots of additional lush ingredients.  I think what I love about this ceviche is it’s easily adapted to suit everyone’s favorite flavors.  I love traditional ceviche with tomatoes, white onions and cilantro but instead of diced jalapeño I like a dash of hot sauce and diced cucumber pairs so beautifully with the bay shrimp.  Of course it’s all laced with additional fresh lime juice and a salt to taste.

    I smeared the tostadas with guacamole because it holds the ceviche onto the tostada.   Little pieces still roll off but at least most of it stays planted firmly on the guacamole.  Garnishing with crumbled goat cheese or salty Cotija cheese completed my tostadas and I couldn’t eat just one.

    While I was photographing for this post, one of the tostadas broke – and darn it, I had to eat that one too.

    These little lovelies were a hit with the family and perfect for a mid-week casual meal.  I have to admit however, these will be so much fun to serve on a warm summer day with Sangria and a locally brewed beer.

    Wishing you all a very happy end of the week and weekend!

    Loads of Love,


    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

    Serving Size: Serves about 4 as an entree or 6 as an appetizer

    Scallop and Bay Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas


      For the Ceviche
    • 1lb small dry packed scallops, diced
    • 1/2 lb cooked bay shrimp (sometimes called shrimp meat)
    • Fresh squeezed lime juice (enough to cover the diced scallops and a little extra)
    • Handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
    • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1/2 - 3/4 cup diced white onion
    • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
    • Dash of hot sauce, or to taste
    • 1-2 cups Guacamole (recipe follows)
    • Tostada shells (usually found in the market or you can fry small corn tortillas)
    • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled or crumbled Goat cheese
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh cilantro for garnish
    • Serve with lime wedges
      For the Guacamole
    • 2-3 ripe avocados
    • 1-2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Lime juice and salt to taste


  • Place the diced scallops in a glass or non-reactive bowl. Cover with fresh lime juice and refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain the scallops and discard the lime juice. Place the scallops in a large bowl with the bay shrimp, diced tomatoes, diced onion, cilantro, cucumber, dash of hot sauce and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice and pinch of salt. Toss gently until the ingredients are nicely blended. Taste for salt and lime juice, adding more to your tastes. I usually end up adding more to suit my tastes.
  • Let the ceviche sit while you prepare the guacamole.
  • With a fork, mash the avocado and then gently blend it with the tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Season with a squeeze of lime juice and salt to taste.
  • Spread the guacamole onto the tostadas and then top with the ceviche. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro and crumbled Cotija or Goat cheese. Serve with lime wedges and extra hot sauce.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon and a Virtual Baby Shower

    Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri // Karista's Kitchen

    I remember when my oldest daughter was about four years old and we were hanging out on the living room floor, reading books and talking about how someday she would have a baby brother or sister.

    As we were chatting, she turned her rosy cheeked, sweet blue eyed, blonde head to me and said “Mom, how did you know to pick me?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I asked “what do you mean?” She replied “you know, how did you know you wanted ME?”  The question caught me by surprise and as I tried to recover I said “Well… Dad and I saw all the baby angels playing in heaven and that’s when we spotted you. We instantly fell in love and knew we wanted you for our baby.”

    Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration


    Now, I know some of you might think that’s one tall tale to tell a four year old, but honestly, that is what I came up with.  My heart was so warmed by the question, I wanted my answer to reflect how much we wanted her and how much we cherished our little sassy blonde girl.

    Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

    She clung to those words for years to come and when our second daughter arrived, my sassy little gal said to her Dad, “I guess this is the one you picked?”

    As you know, I have two sassy gals now and they are the food for my soul.  Motherhood and parenting have been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade a minute.

    My Two Sassy Gals on Mother's Day 2014

    My Two Sassy Gals on Mother’s Day 2014

    I’m truly honored to have been asked to participate in my sweet friend’s virtual baby shower.  Alyssa, of Everyday Maven, her handsome husband and their adorable little boy will soon know the joy of welcoming a new baby boy to their family.

    Several years ago, I met Alyssa at a blog conference in Seattle – while noshing on the most divine appetizers.  I liked her immediately.  A breath of fresh air, exuding a warm and genuine personality, Alyssa is a most beautiful and lovely lady.

    I’m happy to say, we’ve been friends ever since.

    Alyssa writes the delicious food blog Everyday Maven and has published two fantastic e-Books.  Her recipes are drool worthy and written with good health and nutrition in mind. I think one of my favorite Everyday Maven recipes has to be the Cabbage Rolls.  And of course her guest post for my blog, Karista’s Kitchen,  gluten free Banana Chip Cookies.

    Today, several other bloggers and myself are hosting a virtual baby shower for Alyssa.  A plethora of delicious recipes to celebrate but also recipes to prepare during the first few months after the new baby’s arrival.  Recipes to comfort and nourish with ease of preparation for a quick meal or leisurely weekend.  Although as we know, there is nothing “leisurely” about a new baby in the house; just lots of love and smiles and hopefully, soon to be restful nights.

    Congratulations Alyssa and family!

    Here is a list of Alyssa’s Virtual Baby Shower Recipes, lovingly prepared by some fabulous food bloggers!


    Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

    Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

    Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others


    Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

    Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road


    Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from Girlichef

    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugala from Virtually Homemade

    Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic


    Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

    Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

    Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

    About 1 1/2 cups

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon


    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 cup fresh baby arugula leaves, packed
    • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
    • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  • In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over pan seared or grilled halibut and serve with wild rice pilaf, white rice and/or roasted veggies.
  • For a step by step pictorial on how to pan sear salmon, click here
  • Notes

    I love serving this Arugula Chimichurri with roasted salmon, but it's also fabulous with pan seared or grilled scallops and makes a tasty dipping sauce for grilled or poached shrimp.

    Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin


    Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

    How To Pan Sear Fish with a Quick Pan Sauce

    How to pan sear salmon with a quick pan sauce

    One of the questions I hear most is “how do I pan sear fish and make a quick sauce?”.  Pan seared fish with a quick pan sauce is one of the easiest meals to make.  And, it can be on the table in less than 20 minutes.  There is a method to this quick dish, which is why I’ve created a pictorial with step by step instructions for my September food article at VRAI Magazine.

    If you’ve ever wanted to know how to achieve the perfect pan seared fish head on over to VRAI Magazine to snag this delicious pictorial.  And while you’re there, don’t forget to browse the collection of deliciousness created by our Co-Founder Kristin Hoffman of Baker Bettie, Lifestyle Editor, Sheri Silver as well as our enchanting food contributors.  VRAI Magazine Food is the perfect resource for your Fall and Holiday recipes.

    Coming soon to Karista’s Kitchen…  I’ll be posting a Peruvian Stir Fry called Lomo Saltado and an apple dessert you won’t want to miss!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,




    Chicken Halibut Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Mango Cilantro Avocado Salsa over Grilled Halibut

    Tropical salsas can take a fish dinner from good to great! I adore tropical fruits and especially like them paired with fresh fish of the season. 

    This mango salsa recipe is simple, fresh and makes dinner a breeze.  Just top your fresh grilled, or even pan seared or baked fish, or chicken with this mango salsa and serve with an herbed rice, grilled sweet potatoes or grilled plantains and you have a fabulous and fast dinner. 

    This delicious salsa can even be served as an appetizier with blue corn chips!  In fact, I usually prepare enough salsa to top our fish or chicken and then serve a little extra with chips for snacking before dinner is ready.   You can prepare this recipe up to one day in advance, however, do not combine the avocado until you are ready to serve.  Happy Cooking!

    Mango Cilantro Salsa

    Serves 4

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: No cooking required

    2 large mangos peeled and diced

    1-2 large avocados diced

    ½ C purple/red onion diced

    ¼ C (or a good handful) packed chopped cilantro

    1 Serrano or jalapeño pepper seeded and diced (optional) or a pinch of chipotle powder

    1 Lime zested and juiced

    1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


    Fresh cracked black pepper

    Gently toss mangos, onion, pepper, cilantro, lime zest and lime juice.  Next add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and gently toss again.  Last, add the avocado and gently toss into the salsa.  Serve with blue corn chips as an appetizer or over grilled fresh Halibut or grilled Chicken for a main course.  Add a few yummy sides to make a great summer meal.


    Grilling Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Mixed Herb Italian Salsa Verde Over Seared Sea Scallops

    Every year when my herb garden is overflowing with fresh herbs I start making a multitude of different toppings and sauces for my weeknight menu’s.  I also dry my herbs for use in soups and stews or to marinate feta cheese.  I’ll get that feta cheese recipe posted soon! 

    One of the sauces I love to prepare is an Italian Salsa Verde.   This is a versatile sauce that can be used over fish, chicken, beef and even pork.  And even better, it’s a great dipping sauce for a veggie crudite platter or for skewered grilled meats and veggies.  I love it when I can get mulitple uses out of one sauce! Whoo Hoo!

    Italian salsa verde is similar to a South American chimichurri sauce and a pesto, but just a little different.  Just like a chimichurri sauce or a pesto, Italian salsa verde recipes vary from region to region or from family to family.  Many recipes of Italian salsa verde are simply prepared with only Italian parsley, which is delicious.  However, I like to include additional herbs such as basil, rosemary and sometimes oregano. 

    Remember, this is a versatile recipe that can prepared to your personal tastes.  Feel free to alter and substitute the herbs to create your perfect Italian salsa verde! 

    Happy Cooking!

    Mixed Herb Italian Salsa Verde

    Serves 4


    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

    ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

    1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

    2 teaspoons lemon zest

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

    6 anchovies

    Pinch of red pepper

    ¼ cup toasted pine nuts

    1 cup extra virgin olive oil

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Place all the herbs, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, anchovies, vinegar, and pinch of red pepper in a food processor.  Pulse to combine. 

    Add the olive oil and pulse until the salsa verde is completely combined.  This salsa doesn’t need to be smooth like a pesto or chimichurri, but a little more salsa like.  Last, add the pine nuts and just give it a quick pulse to combine but not puree.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Ladle over seared sea scallops, grilled, pan seared or roasted fish and meats.  Or use as a Bruschetta for Crostini or a dipping sauce for a crudités platter.

    To Sear Sea Scallops:  If using olive oil do not let it smoke, heat over medium heat only.  If you’d like the oil hot for a good sear, use a high heat refined oil such as a sunflower or safflower oil. Spectrum brand Organic oils is an excellent choice.

    Heat on medium high a large skillet or wok with a high heat oil.    Season the scallops with salt and pepper.  When the oil just begins to smoke a little, add the scallops to the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and let the scallops sear for about 2- minutes on each side, depending on thickness, forming a nice golden brown crust.  The scallop will turn easily when it’s done. 

    Transfer scallops to plates or a platter and then top with the Italian Salsa Verde.  Serve immediately.