Beautiful Ataulfo mangoes from Bountiful Baskets paired with red peppers 3 for $1 at one of my favorite stores, what does that mean? Well, in my kitchen it means “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. I don’t know that this could technically fall under the “chutney” category as it has no nuts, no raisons, and none of the curry flavors I associate with chutney. It’s probably more like a salsa but since that is the name it came with, and I do not think it’s polite to rename someone else’s baby…chutney it is.
This recipe is beautifully simple to create and has a wide range of uses. I start by dicing mangoes, red bell peppers, and yellow onion. That all simmers in a mixture of brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and lime juice. I add in finely chopped garlic and finely chopped ginger along with a happy helping of crushed red peppers. When that is smelling good and looking pretty I pack it all into my warm pint or half-pint jars and water-bath the heck out of it (15 mins in my neck of the woods).
The shelf- life is supposed to be 1 year but with it’s delicious taste and versatility, mine has never lasted that long. What do I do with it you wonder? Thanks for asking because I really want to tell you. One of my favorite ways to use it up is for a Sunday slow cooker meal that has become a family favorite. I pop in a lightly seasoned pork roast, add a touch of water and let it go low and slow until it’s literally falling apart. I shred that sucker up and mix in a pint of “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. This “Sweet and Spicy Mango Pork” is then served over rice or in cabbage leaves and topped with macadamia nuts for a delicious Asian dinner.
We have discovered that this recipe is great on the grill. I open a jar, pour some into a ziplock bag and pop in a few chicken legs or thighs, whatever I have on hand. I let that marinade for an hour or so (don’t go much longer or the vinegar will break down the chicken too much) and then put the chicken on the grill. I serve extra sauce (NOT any that was used as marinade) right at the table.
I have also found success making it into a salad dressing. I take a half-pint jar of the “chutney” and whisk that up with a combination of olive and sesame oil and use it to dress a chopped green salad or an Asian-style cabbage salad.
Last , but certainly not least, this sauce makes a great dip for my favorite wonton recipe. I add a touch of sesame oil and some soy sauce to the chutney and then let my guests dunk away. (I’m including the wonton recipe here just for fun.)
Chutney, Salsa, Sauce or just YUM! Whatever you decide to call it I hope you enjoy this delicious way to use up those mangoes.
It will be 22 years this Spring that I have been married to my Darling Husband, and for 22 years I have tried to get him to eat fresh peppers. He will eat them roasted or hidden in soups, stews and casseroles but raw, not a chance. So here I sit with these cute little sweet colorful chili peppers, I don’t want to cook them…what to do…what to do… then i hear a cooking show on the television…pimento cheese spread. Hmmmm…I have red peppers from the Italian pack sitting on the counter…I could make that!
A quick charring under the broiler peel and dice, whip together the cheese spread and slice the little peppers in half, fill with pimento cheese spread and onto my deviled egg tray (love when I find another use for a specialty platter.) and I now have an appetizer!
I took them in and sat then down near my husband and before I knew it half the tray was gone! YES!!! I got my husband to eat sweet chili peppers!!!
Here is an elegant and simple dessert that can be pulled together rather quickly. This is what I served for our Valentines Day dessert, I peeled a couple blood oranges (amazing dipped in chocolate) from my “Citrus Pack”, strawberries and fresh coconut from the “Fondue Pack” and some homemade marshmallows a friend gave us. Fondue and fruit in under 10 minutes! Enjoy!
One of the (many) drawbacks of being a gluten-free and nut-free household is that PB&J sandwiches are few and far between. This is hard for me because not only do I love that lunchbox staple, particularly when accompanied by a tall glass of milk (another no-no in our house), but I also really love making jams and jellies. Unfortunately these goodies just don’t get used up as quickly in our home as they used to so I have had to make a decision- stop making them OR get creative with them. I have learned that one of the (many) advantages to being a gluten-free, nut-free household is that I have the opportunity to get creative with the products I have on hand so that is the choice I have made. Recently, I have taken my love of jam making to new levels. I have been trying to find unusual ingredients and flavor combinations and then use them in ways that I have not tried before. Pineapple-Lime Jam is now one of my favorite cake filling flavors. (and thanks to BB I have a frequent supply of pineapple). Apricot-Rosemary Jam has become a go-to for an elegant Sunday meal of glazed Roast Chicken. One of my most requested flavors is Strawberry-Chipotle. As strawberries pop up in the basket and the offerings page I try to keep some out of the view of the kiddos in order to make a batch of this delectable delicacy.
The fresh, sweet strawberries pair beautifully with the spicy smokiness of chipotle peppers. The result of this pairing is a rich, red-hued jam that is versatile and delicious. The deep red of this jam and the resulting sexiness (yes, I’m weird and totally think food can be sexy) of the dishes it creates make this a perfect part of a Romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m giving you here the basic jam recipe and three of my favorite ways to use it up. I will warn you that these are not all the healthiest of recipes. (I’m a sucker for cream cheese) But for a special occasion they are fabulous!
Recipes with (v) are vegetarian.
One of the exciting things about Bountiful Baskets is the occasional opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables. Once in a while, something really unique and unavailable in my Northern neck of the middle-of-nowhere
woods Great Plains shows up in the basket. Today’s basket was one of those baskets! Papaya. PAPAYA! The only papaya I have ever tried before today is in Dole Tropical Canned Fruit—obviously not the same at all as eating the real, uncanned, fresh fruit. I am SO EXCITED! And my kids are too! Baloo the bear from Disney’s Jungle Book even sang a song mentioning the Papaya (in the Bare Necessities—you don’t need a claw to pick the big pawpaw!)
It is rumored that Christopher Columbus, upon trying a Papaya, called it the “Fruit of the Angels”. And, an amazing fruit it truly is! Aside from tasting heavenly and sweet, this fruit is PACKED with some power-house nutrients—provitamin A carotenoids, B vitamins, Vitamin C, lycopene, dietary minerals, and fiber, as well as many phytochemicals, including phynols (antioxidants). Papayas have a lot of natural pectin, which is useful for making jellies and jams. It is also the only plant that produces papain, an enzyme which helps break down proteins, and is often used as a meat tenderizer. Papayas are low calorie, and high fiber. The papaya seeds are edible and are sometimes used as a substitute for pepper, as they have a bitter but somewhat peppery flavor. The leaves have been made into teas in some parts of the world to help combat malaria and other ailments. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Truly, a rather spectacular plant, and a spectacular fruit!
For more information about some of the health benefits of the papaya, here are a few links:
WARNING: If you have a latex allergy and are unable to eat avocados and bananas, you should also avoid eating the papaya, as there could be possible allergic reactions.
Here is how you eat it!
- Wash it
- Cut it in half
- Gently scoop the seeds out. Save the seeds to use in a salad dressing, or discard them.
- Either peel it gently with a knife or a vegetable peeler, or scoop out the soft meat with a spoon or melon baller
- Savor something tropical!
Here are some recipes to try, if you want to venture into cooking with the papaya instead of just chowing down on it!
p.s. If you would like a couple more Papaya recipes, Check out today’s (12-1-12) recipe round-ups!
In the 1930’s, cattle ranchers on the vast ranch lands of South and West Texas inadvertently began one of the most popular traditions in Western cuisine. The ranchers would often allow beef to be butchered for the workers during round-ups and drives. Unwanted parts such as the head, hide, and trimmings (including pieces known now as “skirt steak”) were given to the Mexican cowboys. The vacqueros would use these pieces to create many different meals including menudo, barbacoa de cabeza, and what we now know as fajitas. They would slice and marinate the unwanted skirt steak, grill it over an open fire, and fold it up into a tortilla with beans and whatever vegetables they had. Over time, adventurous American cowboys sampled the meal and soon the tradition of using up the skirt steak for fajitas took off. (Only the most adventurous cowboys sampled the menudo and barbequed head and those two meals were left in the dust of comparative obscurity.)
Continue reading “Grilled Fajitas”