How To Make Perfect Cobb Salad


Cobb Salad Mama's High Strung

It has been a little cooler than normal around here, so all the fresh summer veggies I crave have been a bit delayed in making their usual appearance at my farmers market.

But that hasn’t stopped me from whipping up my favorite salad of all time: Cobb Salad inspired by the Hotel Bel-Air’s Cobb Salad in Los Angeles.

What’s not to love about this protein-packed totally indulgent salad? Eggs, avocados, tomatoes, roasted chicken, onion, bacon and blue cheese all in pretty little rows on top of mounds of crisp lettuce. Toss it with a little homemade herb vinaigrette and you’ve got a beautiful (and substantial) meal!

That’s a lot of ingredients, I know, but here’s an easy way to remember what to include:


E is for egg… A is for Avocados… T is for tomatoes… ah, you get the picture.

Most recipes call for iceberg lettuce but I use romaine lettuce instead because that’s what they use at that fancy-do Hollywood hotel where I learned how to make perfect Cobb Salad!

My Dexas Kitchen Tools really helped pull this recipe together easily!

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Cobb Salad Mama's High Strung


Want more great salad ideas? Here are a few:

Crunchy Bacon and Broccoli Salad 

Old School Wedge Salad

Sriracha Potato Salad

How to Make Ceviche


Here’s a great summertime dish you can “cook” without turning on the oven: Ceviche.

Ceviche-Mama's High Strung

Ceviche (also known as cebiche, sebiche or seviche) is a Latin American dish made with raw fish that is marinated in citrus juice, herbs and spices until the translucent flesh turns opaque and becomes firm.

In Peru (where many people believe this dish originated), tangy ceviche is traditionally eaten in the morning as an eye-opener (read that: hangover cure). Its ingredients are pretty simple: bitter orange juice, onions and thinly sliced hot peppers, like aji amarillo.

I prefer to make my ceviche the Mexican way, with lime juice, cilantro, jalapeños and a little garlic. I serve it on top of fresh crunchy greens. The taste is so fresh and healthy it’s one of my feel-good meals. It’s very easy to learn how to make ceviche!

A few ceviche tips:

  • Buy fresh firm-fleshed ocean fish like halibut, grouper, flounder or red snapper that won’t fall apart in the marinade.
  • Marinade until the fish loses its translucency, or for about 4-hours.
  • Soak the onions for a little bit to take the “bite” out, so they don’t step on the other flavors.
  • Remove the seeds and veins from the chili peppers to control the heat.

Funny how the thought of eating raw fish doesn’t sound as absurd as it did a decade ago because, for many of us, sushi and sashimi have become a regular part of our diets!



Shrimp and Sweet Onion Pickle


Oh my gosh…

I made the most delicious appetizer over the weekend that took me right back to my Southern roots: Shrimp and Sweet Onion Pickle.

Shrimp and Sweet Onion Pickle. It's a little spicy and very pickle-y.

A little spicy and very pickle-y, this little condiment adds a tangy punch to everything. I ladled the chilled Shrimp and Sweet Onion Pickle into half-pint Mason jars and passed around little forks. Some of us ate it right out of the jar (including me), while a few rolled it into a tortilla (you can also spoon it on top of crackers).

I used Vidalia onions, but Walla Walla onions or any other sweet onion is a good option. If all you’ve got is white or yellow onions, you’ll definitely be adding a sharp, astringent bite to the pickle.

I’m sure you rolled your eyes when you saw the Mason jars in the image… because that trend is so last year five years ago. But hey, you’ve got to admit the little containers are a great way to serve some things and still make a fun addition to the table!

Extra Helpings: Freezing Lemons?


Vonna asks: I recently read on the Internet that you can freeze a lemon and when you need it, take it out of the freezer and grate it… skin, seeds and all. No waste! Does this work? Can I use the grater on my food processor to do the same thing?

I’d never heard of this, Vonna, so I headed to the kitchen to test.

1. Yes, this does “work,” and you can grate the frozen lemon in your food processor.

2. Don’t waste your time or your lemons. You aren’t going to find the tart, bright taste you desire. Instead, you’ll find bitterness and an unpleasant aftertaste… like how the losing candidate is going to feel on November 7.

The problem with the freezing/grating method is that you end up eating the entire lemon… including seeds and white pith. The white pith is what contributes to the bitterness.

Have you ever “zested” a lemon? The outside yellow layer of the lemon, the zest, contains all of the fragrant oils. When you zest, you are supposed to remove only that layer and not any of the white pith underneath.

Unless they’re using a lemon sliced or halved as a garnish, restaurants usually zest whole lemons first and squeeze out the remaining juice, tossing out the leftover white pith. (Good to know: It’s pretty hard to zest a lemon when it is already halved.)

Lemon juice and zest can be frozen… but I’ll explain that (and how to zest) in the next Extra Helpings post.

Here are a few more lemon tips:

• Wrap uncut zested lemons in plastic wrap and refrigerate. They’ll keep for about a week.

• To get the most juice out of a lemon (zested or unzested), bring it to room temperature and roll it under your palm to soften the fruit and get the juices moving.

• If you don’t have citrus juicer or reamer, cut the lemon in half and twist the tines of a fork into the lemon.

Bonus Bonanza: Besides being a flavor enhancer, lemon juice added to water can be an appetite suppresser. Plus, lemons are  loaded with vitamin C, the antioxidant that helps fight heart disease, cancer and inflammation.

So grab a lemon… and start squeezing… not freezing!


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: