Recipes by Type


Halibut Ceviche

Gilding the Lily
My mother had many saying that have stuck with me all these years. Gilding the lily was one she used when something was needlessly overdone in an attempt to make it more pleasing. This past May I had the pleasure to dine at the world famous Herb Farm in Woodenville, Washington. I had heard for years how this exquisite restaurant would ply it’s customers with the freshest produce and other bounty from the Northwest.
                It is a very expensive restaurant to visit and not easy to get in due to its popularity. I was thrilled to acquire reservations in late May during salmon season. My favorite salmon was on the menu and it was sure to be great. The only problem is the chef decided the lily needed to be gilded. Here was the rich and fatty king salmon from the Copper River near Cordova, Alaska butchered beyond belief with all manner of trendy restaurant excess. It was cooked in a sous vide method and served mushy and over seasoned ruining an incredible salmon entree.
                The red salmon fared little better being over prepped with all manner of things a chef could do to impress the customers. If only he would have respected the fish for what it is, already near perfect, he might have thought to use the lemon thyme, from their herb garden, and high-end local butter on the salmon. At least the smoked salmon started on a skewer was done well. The rest of the meal was quite good and the wines excellent and rare. For $700 the two of us expected more though.
                It’s hard to blame the chef being in the day and age of star chefs and dozens of cooking shows he was probably pressured to keep up with false notion that everything must have three to four items in the description of the meal to impress the customer. Here is what an item on the menu might look like:
Bogus Ranch lamb chops, grilled over young North West alder, in a sauce of Mt Rainier foraged blackberries scented with Columbia Valley Syrah.
Everything on the menu has to highlight two to three items of not-so-ordinary ingredients to be worthy it seems, at least in the high-end fine-dining restaurants.
Mix the tomatoes in gently.

Mix the tomatoes in gently.

                What ever happened to grilled lamb chops with chef’s special seasoning blend? Or baked Alaska king salmon with fresh herb butter? Have we forgotten that when you start with quality ingredients they need little else to be great? I hope not. I’ll keep my eyes open to restaurants that don’t gild the lilly and still serve great food from the source. Meanwhile I’ll still cook up simple foods sourced from nearby farms, or my own garden and share the recipes free of charge to my readers.
                This recipe for halibut ceviche takes a fish that is known for its versatility and flavor. Whether I’m baking, sautéing, grilling or stir-frying halibut it is one of my favorite gifts from the sea. This recipe lets the pure taste of the halibut come through while delighting the taste buds with jalapeno, onion, lime, cilantro and a hint of garlic. It makes an exceptional starter served with tortilla chips and avocado slices. Pair it with a crisp Pinot Gris or Chablis and you have a winner.

Halibut Ceviche

1 pound halibut filet

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup chopped or sliced red onion

1-2 fresh jalapeños sliced thin

1 small clove of garlic minced

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1 -1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Cut halibut in pieces 1 1/2 inch long by 3/8 inch thick and however high that particular filet is.

Put lime juice, jalapeños, olive oil and garlic in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix briefly.

Add halibut, onion and cilantro and mix.

Add tomatoes and salt mixing gently to not break up the tomatoes.

Store in fridge covered for 24-36 hours mixing three times about every 8-12 hours.

Serve with tortilla chips and sliced avocado garnished with fresh cilantro.

Serves 6-8

Halibut Tacos

Halibut tacos were on the menu at my house yesterday and boy were they yummy. Thanks to the abundance of halibut I caught on my recent trip to Alaska I have lots to experiment with and figured they would work in a taco recipe. Of course I made up my own as I wanted it to be fast, healthy and easy.
Halibut is one of the best fish in the sea as far as I’m concerned. It has a less fishy taste than most fish and a great firm texture. It is lean and works with many types of fish recipes. It also has very little waste. The eighty pound halibut we caught yielded sixty pounds of meat! For those of you who can’t, or don’t want to go to Alaska to catch your own; halibut is available most of the year fresh in many grocery stores.
At around $20 per pound it is not cheap but definitely worth the splurge once in a while. This recipe is a perfect summer lunch or dinner item since it takes just a few minutes to make. Who wants to be in a hot kitchen any longer than necessary, in summer or winter for that matter? With this taco recipe you can use many different types of greens like: iceberg lettuce, spring greens, arugula or even cilantro. I like a bit of habanero hot sauce drizzled over the top of mine for a serious kick.
dust with blackening spice

dust with blackening spice

I hope you give it a try and see if you agree that halibut is one very special fish.

Halibut Tacos

1 pound halibut, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon oil, avocado or regular olive oil

1 tablespoon blackening spice or chili powder*

4 ounces shredded asiago cheese

4 ounces of salad greens, or arugula

8 taco shells, hard or soft

Spread halibut out on a large plate or sheet pan and dust with blackening spice.*

In a 10-12 inch saute pan heat oil on med-high heat just until it starts to smoke.

Add halibut and cook for 1-2 minutes before turning or stirring halibut. You want to get it cooked on all sides but don’t overcook it. After turning the halibut it only takes 2 minutes for it to be cooked.

Add cooked halibut to taco shells and then add cheese. Cook under a broiler for 1 minute if you want the cheese melted. I just let the heat of the halibut warm the cheese.

Add greens and serve with a side of salsa, or pico de gallo.

Serves four.

If you are using frozen halibut it is usually quite wet and needs to be dried on paper towels before dusting with blackening spice.

You can use just about any commercially available blackening spice blend sold in grocery stores. If not available here is a simple recipe to make your own:

1 T salt

1 T chili powder

1 t dried oregano

1 T paprika

1-2 t cayenne pepper

1 T granulated garlic

1 t onion powder

1 t dried thyme

2 t ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and you have your very own blackening spice.

Alaska Salmon Recipe

Alaska has been a big part of my life ever since 1974 when I first set foot on Kodiak Island. I wasn’t sold at the beginning but that first step planted the seed. What really did it was moving to the Kenai Peninsula in 1984, and learning how to catch salmon.

a nice catch of red salmon from 2014

a nice catch of red salmon from 2014

Back then the Kenai Peninsula was a wonderland of all things wild. There were moose in our yard all year long nibbling on just about anything green. Wolves followed their ancient ways in the nearby mountains and hills. Salmon crowded the Kenai River in numbers that blew my mind, and the Cook Inlet waters yielded monster sized halibut and tasty cod for my freezer. I no longer call the Great Land my home but I manage to get back at every opportunity. Since 1995, when I moved to Colorado, I have hardly missed a fishing trip to that magical place.


If I had $5,000 – $10,000 to spare, I’d just go to one of the fishing lodges where they do everything for you except hook and reel in the fish, but the lottery did not smile on me this year so that trip will have to wait. For six days this summer my family and I will head up to Alaska for a week at a DIY fishing camp. We will pursue the mighty King Salmon, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod to bring back for a year’s worth of the best seafood you can imagine.


I am so lucky to be able to afford and tolerate the rigors of a fishing vacation in Alaska year after year. It’s a lot of physical work to captain an 18 foot skiff in the open ocean or rivers in Alaska, and I’m not quite as strong as I used to be. Strength is important when fighting a 50 pound salmon or a halibut weighing over 200 pounds!



I hope we are spared the six foot seas on this trip, tough. If you have never been in an 18 foot skiff in rough Alaskan seas, you are missing some serious adrenaline! My brother and I barely made it around Danger Point near Angoon, Alaska on our last self-guided fishing adventure back in 2002.


This year, I expect to shoot hundreds of pictures and have my brother video parts of the trip. Watch for postings about this wilderness paradise of the Inside Passage, either on this blog or in travel media.

While I wait for the first fresh Alaskan Salmon to hit the local stores, canned salmon is a good thing to have in the pantry.  Pure Alaska Salmon Company is as good as anything I have tried and it’s ultra-convenient to pop open a can for salmon cakes of salmon salad sandwiches. Pure Alaska’s salmon is processed just hours after being caught, and provides a lot of flavor and nutrition. It tastes as good as the last of my catch from last year, now frozen for ten months. at

If you try their salmon, please let me know if you agree this is the best canned salmon out there, and please share this salmon salad recipe with friends and family. If you have not left a comment to enter last week’s post on Aztec Turkey you can still get in as the drawing is tonight for the box of hot pepper goodies from Melissa’s Produce!

mix it up, then chill if you have the time

mix it up, then chill if you have the time

Canned Salmon Salad

1 7.5 oz. can of red salmon, or 8 oz. fresh cooked salmon

1/4 cup chopped celery

2-3 tablespoon diced dill pickles

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon Spike seasoning salt

1 minced jalapeño, optional

In a 2 quart mixing bowl break up salmon into flakes, and remove bones if desired -I leave them in when using canned salmon.

In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, Spike, and jalapeño.

Pour over salmon.

Add celery and dill pickles.

Mix well and chill for an hour if you have the time to do so.

Serve over salad greens, on bread with some lettuce, or wrapped in a tortilla with salad greens.

Serves two but is easily doubled.


Even though Pure Alaska Salmon Company gifted me some of their canned salmon my opinions are my own.


Did you ever come home from work or a busy day and thought you didn’t have time to cook a healthy great tasting meal? Many of us have this problem, but there is a way to conquer that beast. You just need the recipes, basic supplies and support of this blog to get you through it. I have learned over the last twenty years how to create great, healthy meals in very little time. You don’t need to be a chef to make this work for you. I have done the hard work of developing a plan for you.
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