Sunday, June 17, 2012

Alaskan Salad

Happy Father's Day to all the lucky men out there with kids. Unfortunately, only one can claim to be the father of four perfect Cook children, but happy day to the rest of you too. Ha kidding, but only mostly. I love my dad and I'm so grateful for everything he does for his family. 

Two summers ago, we took a family trip to Alaska, the number one trip on my dad's bucket list. It was an awesome week, full of so many great experiences and memories. 

This salad is a relic from that vacation: the cherished recipe of 4-time Iditarod champion, Martin Buser, and his family from our 2010 trip to Alaska. We were blessed to be able not only to visit the sled-dog champion's home, but he welcomed us into his home for homemade moose stew, this salad, and whale fat. (Yes, that really does say 'whale fat'. Great gesture, not so great taste.) Thanks to Mrs. Buser for sharing the recipe! What a delicious man salad with eggs and bacon!

Fast-forward to today. After yesterday's big grill-out, we're just doing leftovers, the Alaskan salad, and grilled chicken for dinner tonight. It's one of Dad's favorite salads, and it always reminds us of our trip to Alaska. So here's to the best dad I could have asked for!

Martin Buser's Alaskan Salad
Yield: 6 servings
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons bacon grease

16 oz Romaine lettuce
4 slices bacon, cooked crispy
2 green onions

  1. Separate the egg whites and the egg yolks.
  2. Dressing: Mash yolks and mix with mustard, vinegar, sugar, and bacon grease.
  3. Chop the egg whites, onions, and crumble the bacon. Let it fall over your lettuce. 
  4. Pour all over with dressing. Mix well.


I'm a huge ceviche fan, especially during the hot summer months. So for last night's grill out, I had to make this. Ceviche, for those who haven't had it, is a light fish dish that's generally served on circular tostadas for dinner or gringa-style with Tostidos scoops as an appetizer. The fish is "cooked" by the acid from the citrus juices. It's perfectly safe, despite my mom's objections. And your tastebuds will definitely thank you. 

Ceviche comes in a million forms, and even mine changes a bit every time I make it. People vary the type of fish, the citrus, and the additional ingredients depending on the region they're from. I'm not loyal to any fish in particular, just whatever white fish is on sale at the mart, typically a cod or tilapia. I like including the mango and avocado for sweetness. Sometimes I'll add red pepper for a bit of crunch.  I vary the amount of spice depending on who I'm serving; I'd recommend making a batch with 1/2 jalapeño and adding more to adjust if you'd like your ceviche a bit spicier. 

Quick, easy, and light - the perfect summer afternoon treat.

 Ceviche del Estilo Mamichel
1/2 lb white fish, diced into 1/4 or 1/8" cubes
4 limes
1 lemon
1 orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 handful cilantro, minced
1/2 or 1 jalepeño, diced (depends on how spicy you'd like it)
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 medium tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 small ripe mango, diced

  1.  In a medium bowl, juice all of your citrus and mix in fish. The juice should just cover your fish. Add more liquid if necessary by juicing more limes. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dice everything except the mango and avocado into 1/4 or 1/8" pieces.
  3. Add the diced garlic, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and tomato to fish. Allow to marinade at least 2 hours prior to eating.
  4. Within an hour of serving, dice and add your mango and avocado. Combine well with the rest of the fish mixture. Chill.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve cold, with chips or tostadas. Enjoy!
*"Del estilo mamichel" refers to an old nickname; my mexican friends used to call me La Mamichel, as in "mami & michel". Trivia, in Spain, I went by Miche (pronounced: mee-chay) and loved it. If only I was latin.

Frozen Mojitos

These bad boys were a hit two nights in a row! 
Friday evening was spent catching up with a dear friend, and somehow an entire bottle of rum was devoured by our mojito blender. And each round tasted as good, if not better than the last. Funny how that goes. Ever-devoted to learning, we took Friday evening as an opportunity to learn. Therefore, when Saturday arrived, we brought an even bigger bottle of rum. And more people to share with. We're such good students.

I know not everyone is a mojito fan, but these are not your typical mojitos. Even people that are self-declared non-fans of mojitos enjoyed these guys. They're not too minty, and they use more lime than the average mojo. I think the clencher is that they're frozen, keeping them cool and light, while blending ensures all the flavors are well-combined. 

Modifications: They are sneakily strong; you won't taste the liquor, so if you'd prefer, add another cup of crushed ice to dilute the alcohol intake. Another modification is to use Splenda instead of sugar - this may decrease your calorie count though I'm not sure if it'll affect the taste. Sounds like we're in need of a science experiment. I'll need a few volunteers for this one.

Maybe this week's humidity and high temperatures have us in the mood for light, refreshing drinks, or maybe these just really are that good. Either way, the temperatures are forecasted to stay high, and a mojito seems to be the best remedy.

Warning: Consuming these mojitos is known to induce midnight jaunts on trampolines, perfectly irrational conversations about magic goodies, and rounds of laughter. So pour up and enjoy!

Frozen Mojitos
Yields 2 drinks, but be prepared to make many, many rounds
2 limes
10-12 mint leaves
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 cups crushed ice
6 oz light rum (I like Bacardi)

  1. In a Ninja Blender (brand, not characteristic), juice your two limes and add your mint leaves. Crush the mint leaves with a wooden spoon or a muddler.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium, combine your sugar and water. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring as needed. Don't let it boil. 
  3. Add sugar syrup and 1 cup crushed ice. Pour 6oz light rum over the ice. Add the second cup of ice. Cover and blend thoroughly. 
  4. Pour into two glasses. Feel refreshed. Repeat steps 1-4 until the rum is gone.