Is it the end of winter or start of spring? In a lot of places, it all depends on the day. Sun and balmy temperatures can quickly give way to a blast of wind, sleet or snow. One thing's for certain—we're all ready for warm weather! So for those of you who can wait no longer, this issue of the DC newsletter is for you. Bring the tropics into your home with these tasty recipes and ideas!
Recipes of the Month
Lychee and Mango Salsa
2 cans Lychee, drained, rinsed, and patted dry, cut into 1/4" julienne
1 large or 2 medium sized fresh firm Mangoes, cut into 1/8"-1/4" dice
1 medium sized Vine Ripened Tomato, seeded, cut into 1/8"-1/4" dice
1 medium sized Red Onion, cut into 1/8"-1/4" dice
1 piece fresh Ginger (approx 2-3"), peeled and grated
1 fresh Serrano or Jalapeno Chili, finely minced
2-3 tsp. Ancho Chili Powder
2-3 tsp. Cumin
2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, minced
1/2 c. Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the salt in the order listed. Gently fold until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Season to taste with the kosher salt and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
Yield: Approx. 2 cups
Tropical Paradise Muffins
Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare the pan
In a large bowl, blend well:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla or coconut extract
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1 cup mashed ripe papaya or mango
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
in a large bowl, sift together:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted pecans or macadamia nuts
Combine the two mixtures just enough to blend. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Mango Ice Cream
Recipe makes one large container (I normally use a glass Pyrex 9X11 pan with cover to freeze it). Also works well with lychees.
1 large container of heavy cream ( I am not sure how many pints that is)
2 large bottles of half and half
1 can of condensed milk
1 can of
mango puree ( I use Ratna Alphonso pulp because it's available around the year. In summer I substitute it with fresh mangoes)
Place the half and half mixture in a pan along with the condensed milk and cook it down by a 1/4. The condensed milk should be completely dissolved in the half and half. Now add the heavy cream to it and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
Let the mixture cool completely. Add the
mango puree (I normally use 3/4's of a can of the mango pulp) or canned lychees if you are using that instead and then blend it with the milk mixture using a hand blender (use a deep pan to do this so it's easy). The hand blender will also help beat air into the mixture and will make the ice cream lighter in texture.
Now pour this blended mixture into the Pyrex or any other pan or container (or multiple containers). Cover it and place it in the freezer for 2 -3 hours. Then remove it and break the ice crystals with a large wooden spoon. Place it in the freezer again. Remove it once more after a couple of hours and break the ice crystals again. Now put a saran wrap on the surface of the ice cream, cover and forget about it.
Remove it from the freezer 30 minutes or so before you serve so that it gets softer.
Terms and Techniques
Plantains are very frequently confused with bananas. While they are relatives and do have some similarities, they are very different as well. Plantains are much starchier than their sweeter fruitier cousin the banana. The starch makes them very good for cooking. You actually would not want to eat a raw plantain. They need to be cooked to be palatable.
Green plantains, which are very hard and starchy, have little banana flavor and no sweetness. They are generally cooked in the same ways as potatoes. They may be boiled or fried or added to soups and stews. Yellow-ripe plantains are more tender but can be used in these same ways, and will have a creamier texture. They can also be mashed, grilled or baked. Black-ripe plantains are also delicious prepared in any of these methods but have a sweeter flavor and a banana aroma.
If you eat a plantain expecting it to be like a banana then you will be very disappointed, but if you think of it like a vegetable then you just might experience a culinary treat.
Dulce de Platanos
(Sweet Plantains with Buttered Rum and Coconut Sauce)
-2 very ripe (brown to black) plantains
-60g or 1/2 stick unsalted butter
-30ml or 2tbsp. dark rum
-100ml or 1/2 cup well-shaken canned unsweetened coconut milk
-200g or 1 cup sugar
-60ml or 1/4 cup heavy cream
-Accompaniment (optional): vanilla ice cream
Cut ends from plantains and peel fruit. Diagonally cut plantains into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a nonstick skillet heat butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook plantains until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. With a slotted spatula transfer plantains to a plate, reserving butter in skillet.
In a small saucepan heat rum and coconut milk until warm. Add sugar to reserved butter and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully whisk in warm coconut milk mixture (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook mixture over low heat, whisking, until caramel is dissolved. Add plantains and cook, without stirring, until heated through and tender, about 5 minutes. In very small saucepan heat cream until warm and pour over plantains. Gently shake skillet to incorporate cream into sauce.
Cool plantains slightly and serve over ice cream.
Just a Bite—News, Trivia, and More
Compiled by PA Baker