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Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

Miso Sake Glazed Cod with Jasmine Rice

Miso Sake Glazed Cod

Miso and Sake seem to be made for each other.  Although not as a cocktail, but as two lush ingredients that pair sublimely together in this Miso Sake Glazed Cod.

I’ve been preparing this glaze for years and because it was so popular among blog readers, as well as my family, I added it to the menu of one of my culinary classes.  Today this glaze continues to garner all sorts of food love.

I completely fell in love with the Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake I sipped at a sake tasting tour last month. I was in Forest Grove, Oregon, just outside Portland, attending the Pacific Northwest Food Blogger Conference with some of the most amazing food bloggers.  We were treated to the loveliest and most interesting sake tour at SakeOne in Forest Grove. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted so much exquisite sake in one evening – every sip was divine.

Miso Sake Glazed Cod // Karista's Kitchen

The coconut lemongrass Nigori sake is roughly filtered which gives it a cloudy appearance – the result of leaving sediment in the sake. This sake is lovely for sipping chilled or for using in this Miso Sake Glazed Cod recipe. I’m also thinking a coconut and lemongrass sakétini is in my future.

Among the incredible sake tour, we dined on luscious food and cocktails from the talented chefs, mixologists and kitchen staff at McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel and at the most glorious Korean fusion restaurant in Forest Grove called Bites Restaurant. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I wanted to lick my plate after eating almost all the chicken wings on the table. And I’m not typically a chicken wings kind of gal.  Along with delicious food, excellent class sessions, information and brainstorming, I met the most wonderful group of women.

McMenamins Chefs and Me // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

Chef Mary, Chef Andreas and Me at McMenamins for the PNW Food Blogger Retreat

Amazing food from McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

I don’t think I could ever say enough kind things about these ladies. Intelligent, savvy, thoughtful, impressive, funny as heck and now my forever friends. It was such a lovely few days connecting with like minds and loads of girl power.  Each blogger brought something unique to the table and I want to introduce you to this impressive group of food bloggers.

Alyssa from Everyday Maven is a total rock star and I’m proud to say we’ve been friends for several years. I first met Alyssa in 2012 at another food blog conference in Seattle, when I lived in Washington state. I’ve adored her since the beginning. Alyssa was one of the co-hosts and coordinators of the Pacific Northwest Food Blog Conference this year, along with the very talented Carolyn of All Day I Dream About Food.  Honestly, every time I browse Carolyn’s blog I always end up dreaming about her food… all day long. Big thanks to these two ladies for coordinating the event!

Mary's Harvest Fresh Foods // Sponsor of PNW Food Retreat 2017

Along with Alyssa and Carolyn, talented food bloggers, Meghan from Fox and Briar, Dara from Cookin Canuck, Fabiola (I love to say her name!) from Not Just Baked, Deseree from Life’s Ambrosia, Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen, Dani from The Adventure Bite, Taylor from Food, Faith, Fitness and Heather from Farmgirl Gourmet and the brilliant mind behind the divine Spiceologist Spices line also attended.

Spiceologist Spices // PNW Food Blog Retreat 2017

Jcoco Chocolates // PNW Food Retreat 2017

San Juan treats from // PNW Food Retreat 2017

I want to thank our local sponsors Organic Valley, Bob’s Red Mill, New Season’s Market, Mary’s Harvest and Pacific Foods for their gift of quality and delicious fresh food and food products that fueled our mornings and afternoons.  Also a huge thanks to Tualitin Valley Travel and the Washington County Visitors Association, San Juan Islands Travel and Jcoco Chocolates for all the delicious treats and leather-bound notebook in our blogger swag bags. Not only did I enjoy the treats, but my family did as well.

Visit the Tualitin Valley in Washington County Oregon // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

Enjoy this fun and delightful recipe and let me know how you like it!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Miso Sake Glazed Cod

Serving Size: 4

Miso Sake Glazed Cod


  • 1 1/2 lbs cod, cut into four pieces (true cod, black cod, halibut or any other firm white fish)
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (start with 1 tblsp and add more to taste)
  • ¼-1/3 cup sake (add more to thin the sauce if you like) Use a good quality sake. I used Moonstone's Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake from SakeOne in Forest Grove, Oregon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Thai Kitchen Chili paste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sliced green onion (garnish optional)
  • Serve with Jasmine rice or brown rice and steamed broccolini


Heat the oven to 350F.

In a food processor or blender add the miso, brown sugar, sake, ginger, garlic and Thai chili paste. Process until it's a smooth, somewhat thick sauce.

Place the fish in a buttered or oiled baking dish and season lightly with cracked black pepper. Spread the miso sake glaze over the top of each piece of fish and then place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes. However, the rule of thumb for baking fish is to bake it for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if it's a thicker piece of fish you'll bake longer and if it's a thinner piece of fish you'll bake a shorter amount of time.

When the fish is done, transfer to plates or a platter and garnish with sliced green onions and serve with white or brown rice.


This Miso Sake Glaze is lovely over grilled or pan seared scallops as well.

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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Spring Pea and Mint Pesto with Grilled Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Is it me or is the summer sailing by at mach speed? It’s been a busy summer so far, which I don’t mind but posting recipes here on the blog seem to take a back seat.  I did promise Facebook readers I’d get this lovely Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto posted as a few readers have some fresh fish in their kitchens and they wanted some new ideas for preparing it.  I’ve always got an idea about food and recipes so feel free to ask for recommendations! I love to make meal time delicious. 🙂

I realize I say this often but seafood is one of the easiest, most delicious meals to prepare, especially when paired with a sauce, salsa or pesto.

I serve fish at least three nights a week and pairing seafood with a simple pan sauce, a beurre blanc (which I know sounds fancy and complicated but it’s truly very simple) a fresh salsa or pesto makes the weeknight meal fuss free and delicious.  If you’re not a seafood fan, this pea and mint pesto is just as tasty paired with grilled chicken or lamb.

Grilled Salmon with Spring Pea and Mint Pesto // Karista's Kitchen

Fresh mint seems to be making its way into many of my meals this season – due to my exploding mint plant.  I cut it back but it still took over the herb garden so I transplanted it in it’s very own container.  It still grew back in the herb box and now it’s fighting with the oregano.  I’ll probably dig it up once again and find another spot in the garden to re-plant it.

Mint is a pretty little plant that is usually bright green in color (depending on which type of mint plant it is) and stays fairly healthy during our Pacific Northwest winters.  It makes a nice shrub in the yard but as I learned the hard way, mint needs its own space.  Much like an emerging teenager.  😉

So today it’s a Pea and Mint Pesto.  Tomorrow it’ll probably be this Mediterranean Couscous Salad with fresh mint and maybe grilled lamb chops with mint, rosemary and garlic on Sunday.  Mint is definitely in the Bennett Crew’s culinary future.

Happy Weekend!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Serving Size: 4-6

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto


  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I begin with 1/3 cup and then add as needed)
  • 1 cup fresh peas that have been blanched, or frozen peas that have been thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts if you prefer
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place the olive oil, peas, mint, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, nuts and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is smooth.

Add the lemon and pulse once more and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or roasted salmon, lamb or chicken.

This is also tasty on crostini with shaved, aged provolone and grilled asparagus tips.

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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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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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DaVinci Wine Recipes Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

Halibut Florentine from Karista's Kitchen


This White Fish Florentine is a lush and flavorful dish inspired by my visit to Tuscany with DaVinci Wine a few years ago.  

Spinach is used in all sorts of Tuscan dishes and it’s also prevalent in many coastal seafood recipes like my Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole.  I love the simple list of ingredients combined with fresh white fish, which is typically easy to find year round.   This gorgeous recipe makes for a fuss free weeknight meal or an elegant meal for entertaining.

Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I use several different types of white fish for this recipe, depending on the season.  I adore this dish when halibut is in season or when I can snag a gorgeous piece of black or ling cod.

I like to enjoy the fresh and enticing flavors of this White Fish Florentine paired with a bottle of DaVinci Pinot Grigio. Perfection!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

Serving Size: 4

White Fish Florentine with DaVinci Pinot Grigio

A great way to use all that fishing trip fish stocked in the freezer or the spinach you froze from summer. Substitute with fresh winter greens instead of spinach and spike with your favorite spices rather than the Dijon.


  • 1lb fresh spinach (or 1 large pkg frozen organic chopped spinach)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (for a saucier dish add ½ cup cream)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh fish (Cod, Ling Cod, Halibut, Snapper, Sole, if using snapper try to remove the bones prior to cooking)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • Serve with fresh lemon wedges


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and add the fresh spinach, in batches if you need. Sauté just until the spinach is wilted and transfer to a dish. Continue until all the spinach has been sautéed. Let the spinach cool a bit and then squeeze all the excess liquid from the spinach. Coarsely chop the sautéed spinach and set aside.

Or, if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out all the excess liquid.

In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots and garlic for one minute or until fragrant. Next, stir in the heavy cream, Dijon mustard and lemon zest. Take the pan off the heat and fold in the chopped spinach until combined with the sauce. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, just enough so the fish won’t stick. Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper and place the fish in the baking dish in a single layer.

Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the fish. Then squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the spinach and fish. Mix together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan and then sprinkle on top of the spinach.

Place the fish into the oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and done. Typically you can cook fish about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, however, because we’ve layered with spinach and breadcrumbs cooking time may be longer.

When the fish is done, remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.

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This dish is inspired by my visit to Tuscany with the 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience and adapted from many versions of Fish Florentine.  I dined on something similar and I was so impressed with the simple but flavorful meal I had to re-create it for this website. Enjoy! 

Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Shrimp

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

I wish I could tell you this is a new recipe.  It’s not.  Actually it’s a revision, maybe adaption is a better word.  Most likely due to changes in my palate as well as changes in my culinary style.   I’ve been making assorted fish tacos for years.  Assembling the little lovelies differently each time.  Allowing my playful culinary visions to shine through.   I posted the original recipe way back in 2010, when I used my little point and shoot Canon to take food photos.  A hearty little silver blue camera that did the job for a while.

But then I started getting fussy about my food pictures.  I read somewhere that chef’s are the worst food photographers.  At first glance I took offense to that statement.  But it couldn’t have been more true, especially way back in the day when I started this website.  For me, It’s always been about the food.  The explosion of flavor that happens when something delectable hits the palate.  But somewhere in the mix, I realized a great photo was a true representation of my masterpiece.  And it should look as good as the food tastes.  Not to mention, the old photo made me cringe.  Literally, it kept me up at night.

This is a lovely dish that certainly deserves a lovely photo.  And it’s a lovely dish that can be prepared so many different ways.  Grilled or Roasted Salmon (or any fresh fish you have on hand), spicy or sweet crema, spicy or sweet slaw, with our without pineapple and/or mango.  And if you love avocado as much as I do, toss a slice on top of your taco to complete this lush recipe.

I’ve included some fun options for these tacos in the recipe below.  Different ideas to season, additional options for the slaw and the crema… or as my family likes to say “the sauce”.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

Serves 4


For the Salmon

1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon filets

Olive oil

½  teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Options:  Instead of using my fish spice mixture, feel free to use your favorite spicy fish taco seasoning or Emerils Essence Seasoning also makes a delish option for these tacos. 

For the Chipotle Lime Crema

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (you may want to begin with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and then add more if you like)

1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream

zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Options: substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream and Sriracha or hot sauce for the chipotle chili powder. 

For the Cilantro Slaw

2 cups shredded fresh cabbage

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup mayonnaise

2  tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Options:  add diced fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to the slaw. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with sliced green onions.


Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

8 – 10 corn tortillas, steamed or warmed (I either warm them over my grill, gas stove top or in the microwave.

Fresh sliced Avocado (optional)

Lime wedges


Heat the grill to 400F. Brush the grill racks with oil.

Mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with oil and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

When the grill is hot, place the salmon flesh side down on the grill. Let the salmon sear and cook for about 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula and grill another 4 minutes, or a little longer for salmon that is cooked through.  If the salmon doesn’t want to flip, it’s probably not ready.  Just let it sit for another minute or two, turning the heat down if needed.  Rule of thumb: fish should cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter to cool.

While the salmon is cooling, whisk together the creme fraiche, chipotle chili powder, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

Wisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage and cilantro.

Flake the grilled salmon, removing any bones. Fill the steamed tortillas with the grilled salmon, top with chipotle lime crema, your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, and the shredded cabbage with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!



Appetizers Halibut Karista's Kitchen Salad Seafood VRAI Magazine

Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones

Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen Perfect for a summer evening!

The vibrant and colorful foods of South America beg to be tasted, savored and celebrated.  South America provides a garden of gorgeous and unique regional produce, oceans of seafood, tropical fruits that remind us of sunshine and summer; and spicy flavors that feel festive and indulgent.

Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones // Karista's Kitchen

I’m so excited about the newest issue of VRAI Magazine!  Head on over to snag this fantastic summer recipe, Peruvian Ceviche with Patacones; and while you’re there, stay a while and browse.  VRAI Magazine is evolving and I’m so proud to be working with the most amazing and talented team.

Check out the “Getting to Know” page to find out more about all the amazing and talented people behind this fabulous magazine.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Seafood

Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

I can’t think of any dish that feels more comforting to me than a big ‘ole bowl of steamers.  Whether it be clams or mussels, my enjoyment level that comes from a big bowl of steamers placed in front of me at the table is mountainous.  Living on both coasts of the U.S. has made a seafood lover out of me.  And with that seafood love comes my deep affection for these lovely shellfish.

I remember my first encounter with mussels.  Living on the East coast years ago, we frequented a little seafood restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island called The Black Pearl.  There, I dined on the most succulent of mussels bathed in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs.  From that moment, I became a huge fan of steamed shellfish whether they be bathed in wine, beer, broth, with chorizo or homemade sausage, fresh herbs, onions and garlic… no matter, I’ll eat them.

Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels // Karista's Kitchen

To mix it up a bit I thought why not steam these little lovelies in curry?  And just as I was toying with the thought, Ranger Craig and I dined at a fabulous restaurant in Bend, Oregon which served Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry.  This absolutely proves the point – if it’s a good idea, someone, somewhere, has already thought of it.

So now I’m passing along this dish to you.  Whether it be spring, summer, fall or winter, this dish seems to compliment any season.  Be sure to serve with a bowl of rice to add to the curry when you’ve polished off the mussels.  Or crusty garlic crostini to dip into the curry is also quite divine.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Thai Green Curry Steamed Mussels

Just a quick note.  When I purchase fresh mussels at my market or fish market they are bagged and tied.  When you get home, untie the bag, place the open bag of mussels in a bowl and set the bowl in your refrigerator.  It’s best to use the mussels the same day they are purchased, however, they are fine if used the very next day.

Serves 2 for an entrée or 4 for a starter


2lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed and rinsed in cold water and little “beards”s pinched off.  Don’t add any mussels that are open or broken.  If you squeeze the mussel shut and it opens again, it’s not any good.  It’s rare I can find the smaller mussels, but if you find them, snag them.  They are sweeter and less briny than the larger mussels.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste)

1 can organic coconut milk (don’t use the “light” coconut milk)

2-3 lime leaves (now easily found in the fresh herb section of most markets)

1 stalk lemongrass, split lengthwise (also found in the herb section of most markets)

1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

1/2 small red hot pepper or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you don’t like spicy food omit the pepper)

Squeeze of fresh lime

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onions


In a large pasta or soup pot (you can also use a large skillet but I prefer a large pot), heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the green curry paste.  Let the paste warm and mix with the oil for about 30 seconds or so.

Then add the coconut milk, lime leaves, lemongrass, Asian fish sauce, smashed garlic, fresh ginger slices and red pepper if using.  Stir to combine and simmer on medium to medium low for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The coconut milk will thicken a bit.

Turn the heat up to medium high and add the mussels.  Cover with a tight lid and let them cook for a few minutes, or until all the mussels are open and opaque.

Give them a toss in the curry and then pour into a large serving bowl.  Garnish with lots of fresh chopped cilantro or green onion.

Serve with rice to eat with the curry when all the mussels are gone.  Or some toasty garlic bread for dipping.

Recipe inspired by my Thai Green Curry Steamers in Bend, Oregon



Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote

Hands down this is one of the simplest and freshest seafood recipes.  Requiring only a few fresh ingredients…  fresh salmon, fresh herbs, sliced shallots, garlic, lemon and anything else you’d like to throw in – wrap in parchment or foil and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Done!

This recipe was always a favorite in my seafood cooking classes.  The ease of preparation led most of my students to believe this lovely little dish might lack flavor, due to the method of cooking.  Wow! Were they surprised.  One student remarked he couldn’t believe the fragrance that came from opening the packet – and the flavor was just as intense and enchanting.

Salmon en Papillote before and after roasting

Salmon en Papillote Before and After Roasting

Layering flavor is key.  Beginning with one or two aromatics such as delicate shallots, sweet onions, garlic, thinly sliced leeks, spring onions or fennel and then topping with fresh herbs.  An entire handful if you like.  An assortment.  I adore chive and lemon thyme but rosemary also holds up well to the richness of salmon.  Whatever herbs you have on hand or fresh herbs that are growing in garden will be fantastic.  The last layer is citrus; lemon, lime, oranges, kumquats, and again, whatever you have on hand.  I adore the flavors of lemon and salmon together, so that’s what I’ve used in this recipe.

However you layer the flavor in this dish it will be beautifully delicious.  A speedy and enticing weeknight meal, but also a lovely meal to serve for dinner guests. Prep the packets in advance and then all you need to do is pop them in the oven or on the grill and dinner is served.

I like serving this dish during the spring and summer months with my Arugula and White Bean Salad, a traditional Caesar salad or grilled veggies.  And of course, I always pair this with my favorite white wine, DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


Salmon en Papillote

If I’m using the grill as my cooking method I always prepare this in foil packets.  If I’m using the oven, I use parchment.  Unless of course I’ve run out of parchment because a certain teenage girl didn’t tell me she used the last of the parchment for her chocolate chip cookies. 😉

Serves 4


4 salmon filets

Kosher or sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Grapeseed or Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots (or more if you love shallots)

1 lemon zested and halved

4 – 3 inch stalks fresh rosemary

8-10 strands of fresh chive

4 – 3 inch stalks of fresh oregano

4 – 2-3 inch sprigs fresh thyme (I adore lemon thyme)

4 pieces of foil or parchment, about 12×12 inch square or large enough to enclose a salmon fillet.  Click here to learn how to fold the parchment.


Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

Place the foil squares on a flat surface or counter.  Place a salmon fillet in the middle of each square.

Drizzle a little lemon juice over each fillet, and then drizzle with a little oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

On each fillet, layer the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and then top with the fresh herbs.  Top each with a slice of lemon.

Next, wrap the foil over the fish so it’s “tented” and seal the edges.  You want the salmon to steam inside the foil packet.

Depending on thickness, roast the fish packets for about 8-10 minutes or until the salmon is done to your preference.

When the fish is done, remove the fillets from the packets and transfer to plates.  Remove the herbs, leaving the shallots, lemon and garlic and pour any remaining juices from the foil over the fish.  Serve with lemon wedges and fresh chopped Italian parsley if desired.

Halibut Karista's Kitchen Seafood

Halibut Montalcino

halibut with fennel, orange and green olives

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It’s officially halibut season here in the Pacific Northwest.  One of my favorite spring milestones – when the halibut is fresh and sweet and beautifully abundant at the fish markets.   The texture is firm but flaky and moist when cooked; and the meat is sweet and mild.

Last year I developed this lovely little recipe for DaVinci Wine after my glorious visit to Tuscany.  It pairs perfectly with the DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

This is a fish dish that can be prepared quickly for a weeknight meal.  Just have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go and the dish will be done in less than 30 minutes.

It’s also a dish that is easily adjusted to preference.  Maybe you prefer more fennel and less olives? Or maybe you prefer more orange zest and an added squeeze of orange juice.  However you prepare this dish, it will be fresh and flavorful and delight the palate.

Halibut Montalcino

Serves 2 (can be easily doubled)


¾ -1lb Halibut (thinner filet’s if you can find them as they are easier to pan sear), or your favorite firm white fish, cut into two pieces or 4 smaller pieces for ease of cooking.

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon clarified butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 orange, zested

1 medium clove garlic, finely minced

Handful of sliced green olives

2 tablespoons of mixed chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme

¼ cup dry white wine (I used the DaVinci Pinot Grigio)


Season the halibut filet’s with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Heat a large non-stick or fish friendly skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and oil, combining the two as the butter melts.

When the butter/oil is hot but not smoking, add the halibut filets flesh side down.  Let the filets cook in the pan for about 5 minutes or until the flesh side down has formed a nice golden brown crust and comes off the pan easily.

Flip the fish to skin side down and finish cooking, turning the heat down to medium if needed.  Fish typically cooks 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.  This is true for most medium to thick fleshed fish such as halibut, salmon, swordfish, etc.

When the fish is done, transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Over medium to medium high heat, add the unsalted butter to the fish pan and let it melt.  Add the sliced fennel bulb and allow it to caramelize a bit, turning golden brown.  Just before the fennel is done, add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.

Stir in the ¼ cup of white wine and chopped fresh herbs.  Let the wine reduce by half and then add the orange zest and green olives.

Hold the skillet over the heat just until the mixture is warmed through, season the mixture with additional salt and pepper to taste and add one more pat of butter.  Let the butter melt and then divide the fennel mixture onto two plates.

Top the fennel mixture with a piece of halibut and garnish with additional chopped Italian parsley and orange zest.

Serve with a side of fresh pasta tossed in olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic and parmesan and a glass of DaVinci Pinot Grigio.


Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood

Nori Wrapped Salmon

Nori wrapped salmon with fresh herbs, dijon and wasabi

Working as a chef translates into many things.  Personal clients, catering, recipe development, food photography, prep chef, sometimes dishwasher/kitchen cleaner and cheese specialist (yep did that too).  I’ve had (and still have) several unique positions being a chef and it’s been an absolute blast.  I have to say however, one of my most favorite positions has been that of culinary instructor.

Over the last several years I taught culinary classes at one of our local culinary schools in Seattle.  I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the loveliest and most talented Chefs, Assistants and Nutritionists, as well as some amazing students.  One of the Nutritionists, Jennifer Adler, makes this exquisite and healthy recipe for her students and recommends it for her clients.  The ingredient list alone made my mouth water and I knew this bit of deliciousness had to make a regular rotation on my menu – for my family as well as my clients.

Nori wrapped salmon with fresh herbs, Dijon, and wasabi

Not only does this wrapped salmon make a lovely meal, I also prepare it in small bite size portions. These little bites make a simple and enticing starter for a brunch or evening dinner party.  Not only are they packed with flavor and good nutrition, they look like little pieces of art resting on a platter.

So if you aim to please some taste buds but you want to keep things on the light side – or you want to impress your guests, this is a perfect savory recipe.  For even more taste-bud enchantment I like to pair my Nori Wrapped Salmon with pickled ginger, coconut rice and sautéed Asian greens.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Nori Wrapped Salmon


1lb salmon fillet, cut into 2-4 pieces (have your fishmonger remove the skin if you like)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs. I use thyme, basil, chive, oregano or mint, Italian parsley, garlic, salt and pepper

3 tablespoons quality Dijon mustard

Pinch of wasabi

4 sheets of Nori (usually found in the Asian food aisle in your local market)


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix together the oil,  herbs, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with this mixture.

Mix together the mustard and wasabi.  Spread this mixture onto a square of nori, large enough to wrap your fillet.  Place the salmon piece on the edge of the nori and wrap.  Like a little package. The nori will stick to itself and the fish.

Place the wrapped fish in a slightly oiled baking dish or on a baking sheet.  Fish should cook for about 10 minutes to every inch of thickness.  However, with the nori wrap the cooking time could take a little longer.  I like my salmon under cooked just a bit so I usually stick to the 10 minutes per inch rule.

Remove the fish from the oven and serve with pickled ginger and coconut rice if desired.  If you want to dress up the wrapped salmon, I like to tie it in a blade of chive and serve.   Enjoy!

Recipe from Jennifer Adler, MS, CN

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.