People come to Cooking by the Book for many reasons: corporate team building, birthday parties and — more and more — bridal events. Bridal showers and bachelorette parties are on our calendar every weekend.
I love the enthusiasm and joy of these events where women celebrate this most important step forward in life.
Naturally, if it’s that important, people want to party and enjoy some creative new beverages. For Sunday afternoons, I have found people asking for and loving this Sparkling Mojito Martini, another wonderfully inspired drink from Kim Haasarud. It does carry a punch, but I’ve had no complaints. The flavor balance here is excellent. In one drink, you can have your mint, citrus, vodka, and sparkling taste buds all satisfied.
This drink scales up beautifully, so this recipe for one person can quickly grow for ten or twenty. You’ll just need to do the “shaker” routine three or four drinks at a time.
This recipe calls for a chilled martini glass. That’s a key touch for a sophisticated cocktail. You can make sure the chill stays by filing each glass with crushed ice before filling with the cocktail. And, before you do that, you can give the drink a zing by rimming each glass with lemon or lime juice, then dipping into super fine sugar.
Better yet, the day before, put the zest of two lemons in a container, add two cups of superfine sugar and stir to mix. That citrus sugar is a clever entry point for the spirits deep in the glass.
Sparkling Mojito Martini
Yield: 1 drink
- 5 to 7 mint leaves
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 ½ ounces citrus vodka
- 1 ½ ounces light and dry champagne
Combine the mint leaves with the lime juice and simple syrup. Muddle lightly and add the citrus vodka and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top off with the champagne. Garnish with an additional mint sprig.
Source: 101 Champagne Cocktails by Kim Haasarud
The nightmare is always the same. I am hungry, I go downstairs to the refrigerator, open the door, and there it all is. The fridge is filled with stacks of one overpowering awful, disgraceful dish. Salmon cakes. The only thing you can make with leftover salmon.
I haven’t had a salmon cake in decades, and that’s on purpose. To me, they always were as dry as the Gobi. The flavor was salmon, and salmon, and salmon. One overpowering note. And old salmon at that.
So, if have leftover salmon, what do with it? Well, the opposite of those salmon cakes. You want to avoid that dryness and you need a symphony of flavors: salmon in the lead with overtones to create a full complement for your taste buds.
Suzen and I experimented this weekend on some left over smoked salmon. We created the concoction for a dip, but it has multiple uses. You can stuff tomatoes with it, place a large dab on a bed of lettuce for a salad, or spread it on toast for a great sandwich.
The amounts here can be easily scaled up to produce more. And, you can increase the flavor notes if you wish by including:
- Chopped onion
- Herbs beyond chives
- Diced pickles
- Lime instead of lemon
We did use smoked salmon here, salmon we had just smoked ourselves so it was fresh and moist, not dry and leathery. If you have leftover salmon, but it is baked or barbequed and not smoked, you can introduce that smoky flavor by adding a dash — just a dash— of the adobe sauce from a can of chipotles. Really go easy here. You can add but you cannot subtract!
And, for distinction, there is dill here. And no salt and pepper. The combination is truly different.
Yield: dip for 5-6 folks, salad for two
- 6 ounces cooked salmon
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ sour cream
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons diced chives
- 1 tablespoon capers
Using your hands, pull the salmon into small pieces, discarding any skin or tough parts. Place in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice plus the capers. Stir to combine.
Adjust to get the texture you desire by adding more mayo or sour cream. With smoked salmon and the capers, salt and pepper are really not needed here. You are looking for a smooth, subtle flavor with a texture that is easily spreadable.
Source: Suzen and Brian O’Rourke