SLICE OF LIFE
Every now and then we need to escape. But most of us don't have enough frequent flyer miles or vacation time to get us anywhere close to the equator or even Florida.
I do have a simple suggestion for a "mini" vacation. Try picking up a few mangoes in your favorite produce section, and you and your tummy can take a trip to a Caribbean state of mind.
Mangoes are an amazing fruit. It's a fact that eating them can make you feel better because they are full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They contain an enzyme that helps sooth the stomach.
Color is not an indicator of ripeness since most of the available mangoes run the color spectrum from green to orange to red. You can tell if a mango is ripe by smelling and squeezing it.
A ripe mango will have a full bodied, fruity aroma (sniff at the stem end). They are ready to eat when they are slightly soft, sort of like a ripe peach feels.
Most mangoes come to market not quite ripe. The best way to ripen them is on the counter at room temperature. If you need it to ripen sooner, put it in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana and let it sit a day or so.
A ripe mango, if refrigerated, will stay for three or four days but don't wait too long as it can get mushy. Don't worry, however, if your mango gets to be a little too soft, use it in cooking rather than raw.
One extra bonus of your trip to mango town is that an average-sized mango can give you up to 40 percent of your daily requirement of fiber. The only down side to a mango is that, if you don't know the "trick," cutting it can be a pain.
The trick is to use a sharp knife and cut off both ends of the fruit. Place it on its flat end and cut away the fruit lengthwise along the pit. Cut 1/2-inch squares by scoring the mango with a sharp knife but do not cut all the way through the skin.
"Pop" the mango half inside-out by pushing on the skin making the cubes pop up. Using your sharp knife slice them off the skin. If you want spears instead of cubes, just cut it into slices instead of cubes before you cut off the skin.
Note: While fresh is always best you can substitute frozen mango in all of the following recipes.
Mango Papaya Smoothie(Pareve)
- 2 bananas
2 cups mango slices
1 cup chilled papaya
1/3 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate
2 cups crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Serves 3 to 4.
Chicken Mango and Cucumber Curry(Meat)
- 2 medium mangoes, peeled and sliced,
1 can (10 oz.) coconut milk
4 tsps. oil
4 tsps. spicy curry paste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
6 green onions, sliced
1 large English cucumber, seeded and sliced
Place half of the mango slices and coconut milk into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Set the mixture aside.
In a skillet, heat the oil for about 1 minute and then add the curry paste. Whisk to combine with the oil and then add the chicken and green onion and cook until the chicken is done, should be about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir constantly.
Add the mango puree to the chicken and cook until the sauce is heated through.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining mango and cucumber. Mix to combine and serve over rice.
Mango Nut Bread(Dairy or Pareve)
- 1 mango, diced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup powdered milk or non-dairy substitute (try rice milk)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9-by-4-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the diced mango and add lime juice. Mix to coat and then set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the margarine and sugar. Mix to combine, then add the eggs and mix to combine again.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and powdered milk to the egg mixture and mix to combine. Do not over mix. Add the vanilla and mix to just combine.
By hand, fold in the mango and lime as well as the nuts. Mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Makes 1 loaf. This can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 6 weeks.
Mango Chicken and Wine(Meat)
- 1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 to 11/2 cups mango slices
2 lbs. cut up chicken pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a skillet, heat the oil, then brown chicken on all sides but don't cook all the way through. Place the browned chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, wine, peppers and garlic. Mix to combine. Pour the mixture over the chicken and then cover the pan with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes and then add the mangoes. Mix to combine and leave the cover off. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is done.
Serves 4 to 6.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance food writer and the author of Perfectly Pareve. Email her at: [email protected] . Her blog address is: Cuisinebyeileen.wordpress.com.