Welcome Back Salmon

I’ve been on a long hiatus, but like the salmon, I always come back. The past year has been an amazing. I went from one person to two and back to one. I had all of my priorities reorganized and got a crash course in babies. My son is now 4 1/2 months old. I keep staring at him, still a bit in unbelief that he’s actually here. He grins back at me, and I feel like maybe I am getting the hang of this mom thing, at least for this moment.

As he’s gotten older and slightly more independent, I’m able to turn for a few moments a day back to my old pursuits. Kitchen Kung Fu is going to be getting a make over and a new direction soon, but rest assured I will still be bringing you my usual KKF recipes, recipe hacks, recipe spin offs and an extra 20% snark at no additional charge.

It’s salmon season! The time of year when the fishermen (and women) are back from the waters and ready to sell their salmon to their excited customers. I purchased some sockeye salmon and smoked pink salmon this year from Lummi Island Wild Salmon. This is the second time I’ve purchased from them and will be getting some halibut from them some time soon which I’m totally jazzed about.

The first dish I prepared was a salmon with saffron sauce. How I love saffron, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into harvesting it. It’s aromatic goodness is like nothing else, and pairs so wonderfully with salmon…


KKF Saffron Salmon with Penne

8 oz sockeye salmon filet

8 oz penne pasta

3 T butter (for frying)

1/4 c of butter

4 T flour

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c whole milk

1 c frozen peas

1 medium bell pepper, sliced

1/2 t ground coriander

pinch of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Put saffron threads into a coffee mug and cover with about a quarter cup of very hot water. Set aside to steep.

Boil your water for the pasta and add a tablespoon or so of oil. This will keep the pasta from sticking together. Cook according to package directions, about 11 minutes for al dente.

Melt the three tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, put salmon filet skin side up and fry for about three minutes, then flip and fry for another three minutes or so. We want it to still be nice and bright pink in the center. Set aside and cover with foil for five minutes, then shred up the salmon into small chunks. Use your hands. Sample a bit of salmon while you’re at it.

While the salmon is frying, slice up your pepper. As soon as the salmon comes out of the pan, toss the red peppers in and give them a good sear in the leftover butter.

Cook your peas according to package directions and strain well.

Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk vigorously. Let it get nice and bubbly to cook the flour but keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. Pour in the saffron and water, continuing to whisk, then slowly add the milk, whisking each bit in completely before adding more. (More milk for a thinner sauce, less milk for a thicker sauce according to your preference.) Whisk in the coriander and salt and pepper to taste.

When the sauce is thickened to your liking, combine the sauce, penne, salmon chunks and strained peas. Top with the red bell peppers.

I recommend a buttery chardonnay to go with this. Here’s a wine that lives up to it’s name…Butter Chardonnay from Jam Cellars. Enjoy!

pork ball soup

I have a Korean friend who is an amazing cook – everything she throws together is delicious! I am constantly inspired by her. Here’s a dish that was partially inspired by a spicy beef dish she shared with Test Subject Bill and I not too long ago.

KKF Spicy Pork Balls with Ginger Garlic Broth

1 lb. ground pork

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 inch piece of ginger, 1 inch minced and 1 inch left whole

1/2 T fish sauce

1/2 T soy sauce

1 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 package frozen spinach

handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted with 1 1/2 c boiling water and sliced (reserve resulting broth)

2 quarts of chicken stock

2 big spoonfuls of Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste

soy sauce to taste

Bring stock to a boil with frozen spinach, 1 inch piece of whole ginger and 2 cloves of garlic. Add sliced shiitakes, gochujang and mushroom water. While stock is simmering, mix the pork, the rest of the minced garlic, minced ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Form little meatballs with a melon baller and drop one by one into simmering stock. After the last one has gone in let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so until pork balls are cooked through. Add soy sauce to taste.

This turned out so well Test Subject Bill ate it until it gave him heartburn. That’s not recommended, but please do enjoy!

*Gochujang is Korean hot chili paste. It’s good for spicing up all kind of dishes and dipping sauces. You can get it at most Asian markets or via my Amazon link if you don’t have a store in your area. If you’re really lucky you have a Korean friend who makes her own and will share with you!

Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste


Low carbing? Good for you! Not impressed with the chemical crap storm nutritional composition of Atkins bars but still want a treat? Even better! You don’t have to subject yourself to those things to get a sweet fix of dessert! Try this next time – but do plan ahead. It’s best when it’s been in the freezer a few hours.

KKF Low-Carb Mocha Decadence Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

4 raw egg yolks

2 tsp instant coffee granules

2-3 T cocoa powder (depending on how chocolately you want it)

9 packets powdered stevia

2 T vanilla vodka (AKA home made vanilla extract)*

Whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then add the cream, whisk well. Add the other ingredients slowly and whisk well until it is well combined. Whisk in the vodka. (This adds flavor but mostly keeps it soft enough to scoop when you pull it out of the freezer.) Put it in your ice cream maker (I have this one) and churn til nice and thick – I left mine for about 20 minutes.

FREAKING YUM. And the entire recipe has about 20 carbs. Not that I suggest you sit down and eat the whole thing in a sitting….

* I make this with the empty pods when I use the beans for something else. Once I’ve scraped the pods and used them for whatever else I was making, I stick the empty pods in a pint of vodka, stick it under the bar and forget about it. Works great and I made my vanilla beans pull double duty!

Brisket Insanity

So for all the recipes I try and food that I make at home, you would think that I’d done a brisket before.


Not a single brisket had ever graced my freezer, refrigerator or oven…until today. Now all I can think about it how do I get me another one. I emailed my farmer and was like “Hey…yeah…how’s going? Brisket. Thanks for the beef last brisket. You have anything left in your brisket like maybe some brisket? HELP ME!”

I don’t even have a picture because it was gone in like 10 minutes. Moist, tender, savory, falling apart deliciousness. No sugar, too, which is awesome for low carbers! I used Tyler Florence’s recipe here. Only change I made is that I did not use carrots – celery and onion only – and I turned down the heat to about 300. The first time I basted it seemed too hot for me. So 300 for almost 4 hours was perfect.

The veggies were pretty dead by the end of the cooking time, so I just strained them out and chucked them. They were all they could be contributing to the sauce.

So get yourself a grass fed brisket and get on with it already! Don’t deprive yourself for years like I did. Take a lesson from KKF – neglecting brisket is a kung faux pas!!


KKF Easiest Pork Stir Fry

This was the simplest stir-fry ever and totally delicious. It’s perfect for two people. Give it a shot!

KKF Easiest Pork Stir Fry

1 T coconut oil
1 t red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 – 6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
~3/4 lb sliced pork (I used loin)
splash of fish sauce
soy sauce to taste

Melt coconut oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms are about half done, turn up to medium heat and add the pork and ginger. Stir constantly, ensuring that the pork pieces get cooked evenly. When the pork is almost done, add the red bell pepper. Let the pork finish up and then add the splash of fish sauce.

Plate it up and add soy sauce to personal taste.

You could serve rice with this, but if you are low-carbing it is perfectly delicious all on its own.

Everyone should be making these yummy cheese crisps. I made them with parmesan (I bought it pre-shredded…shhh…) and they are beautiful and delicious. Since I used pre-shredded (that’s actual shredded parmesan, NOT the shelf-stable Krap Kraft pulverized stuff) it took me all of 15 minutes to make and that includes the time I spent savoring the first one.

Simply put, oil a piece of parchment on a baking sheet, take a tablespoon of shredded parmesan and make a little circle (I got 11 rounds on my sheet pan but probably could have gotten away with more since they don’t spread out much), bake them at 350 for about 6-7 minutes. (Recipe says 5-6 but mine took a little longer – just keep an eye on them.)

Unlike potato chips, these crisps are so satisfying you CAN eat just one…and not the whole bag!

Check out the original recipe here.

Ah, yes, the commercials tell you eating these will make you think you’re skiing in the Alps, it’s brisk, it’s clean, it’s…corn syrup. Yeah. The ingredients of a York Peppermint Patty according to the Hershey’s website are: SUGAR; CORN SYRUP; SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE ( CHOCOLATE; SUGAR; COCOA; MILK FAT; COCOA BUTTER; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR) ; INVERT SUGAR; EGG WHITES; OIL OF PEPPERMINT; MI LK

There are worse things, but I’ll pass. Good thing they are easy to make at home!

Hats off to This Chick Cooks for her peppermint patty recipe. Find it here.I followed her recipe to the letter and these are delicious. Only technique I changed a bit was that after putting the chocolate on the top and sides, I stuck them back in the freezer for a few minutes, flipped them and applied the chocolate to the bottom.

These treats are easy, delicious, and filled with the great health benefits of coconut oil. Get the facts here!


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