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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Honey Mustard Salmon

When I was in high school, my dad decided that he wanted to start climbing mountains.  No, not metaphorically.  Quite literally he wanted to spend days on end with an 80-100 pound pack on his back, sleeping in sleeping bags when the windchill was -30.  Okay dad, you want to climb mountains, you go right on ahead.  I'll wait for ya at the bottom- cold beer and greasy burger in hand.

His first adventure was to Mount Baker, but that wasn't nearly cold or high enough for him, so he decided to try to summit Denali, aka Mount McKinley.  At 20, 320 feet, Denali is the highest point in North America and is located in Alaska. 
My dad- hook 'em from the highest peak in North America!
On his first attempt in the summer of 2006, my dad realized just how unprepared he was for The Great One.  Denali was going to be even bigger and tougher than he had first anticipated, and he could not make it to the top.  Discouraged, he returned to Fort Worth, vowing to adventure back to Alaska the next summer to challenge Denali to a re-match. 

On his second attempt in 2007, his blood pressure spiked, he had a TIA, a mini-stroke, and his guide "highly suggested" that he head back down.  Denali had won again. 
Not one to ever give up easily, in 2008 my dad thought that the third time would be a charm.  Again, he packed his bag and adventured back to The Great One.  Unfortunately for him, his guide came down with pneumonia.  I'm pretty sure by this time, his prayer went about like this, 'Dear God, I can see that you really don't want me to conquer this mountain.  Clearly, you don't know Jack.  Sincerely, Jack.  P.S. I really, really don't give up.'

Knowing how much the mountain meant to him, my mom and I encouraged him to return for one last try.  So, he did-  One.  Last. Time. (And, yes, he had said "This is the last trip," every single year.)  The climbing company he went with kept a blog, and the climbing guide would radio down every few days via satellite phone to report on the climbers' status.  We checked that blog every single day, and probably three times a day.  On July 1, 2009, the climbing company he was climbing with posted a blog entry that simply said, "From Jack to Carolyn and Kate: "I knocked the bastard off!"  He was quoting Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mount Everest.  Sir Edmund was referring to God, seeing as Mount Everest in the highest peak in the world and, undoubtedly, where God sits cross legged looking down on his work.  My dad had finally done it- he had conquered his mountain.  Both my mom and I knew that there would be other mountains (both methaphorically and literally), but this was his mountain.

They finally made it! Summitting Denali
Are you wondering where salmon comes into play yet?  On his second trip to Denali, my mom and brother and I all met my dad in Talkeetna, Alaska.  Talkeetna is at the base of Denali and has a population of about twelve.  Okay, I'm lying- it has a a population of 860, but it consists of two stopsigns and about nine shops.  I have no idea where those other 848 people were hiding, but I never saw them. 
The mayor of Talkeetna is a cat.  Yes, you read correctly- a cat, named Stubbs.  Apparently the people of Talkeetna grew weary of political b.s., and added Stubbs to the mayoral ballot.  He won, by vote, and is now the current reigning mayor.

Of course we had a Welcome Home party for him at the lake
We went to Alaska to meet my dad as he came off of Denali.  The plan was to adventure across glaciers in crampons, visit Denali National Park, and spend some quality family time together.  As it turns out, 10 days may have been a bit more than "quality time," but Alaska was the prettiest part of the country that I've ever seen.  Oh, and about it never getting dark in the summer?  It's true.  At midnight, it looked like what we Texans call "twilight," between the hours of 7-8, just after sunset.  It took Tylenol Simply Sleep and a sleep mask to get me to drift off.

Alaska is known for salmon.  Unfortunately for me, I was not a fish eater when we went on our Alaskan adventure, but now I am.  I love fish, actually, but I rarely cook it.  I have been cooking tilapia lately, but only for my fish tacos, so the other night I decided to try cooking salmon.  Here's the recipe I used, and it turned out delicious.  As delicious as Alaskan salmon?  Well, despite being from Kroger, this salmon was called "Alaskan Salmon," so I would hope so, but I guess I, like my dad, will have to adventure back to Alaska to find out.  Ha, he kept going back for the adventure, the daring, and the triumph.  I want to go back for the food.  Figures!

Honey Mustard Salmon
Servings: 4, WeightWatchers Points Plus Value: 9 (the glaze itself is only 3 points)
Honey Mustard Salmon with Smashed Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 salmon fillets (appr. 6 oz each)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat
  2. Spray the grill with cooking spray (*or your fish WILL stick!)
  3. In a small bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and microwave for 30 seconds, until the butter and sugar have melted together
  4. Stir in the mustard, honey, and soy sauce
  5. Brush onto the salmon
  6. Grill salmon on the grill, appr. 4 minutes on each side or 7 if you leave the skin on it
We also made this honey mustard glaze again the next night at put it on chicken- it's really delicious!

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