Tag Archives: dressing

Rediscovering Mangoes

18 Nov

I love mangoes, but since moving home to Pennsylvania they have kind of fallen out of my usual repertoire. I bought one to make a rice noodle salad with and then, well, I didn’t get to it. So, today I had a very ripe mango and needed to use it before it was over ripe and going no where but the trash.

Of course there were the typical uses like mango sorbet, salsa, and the like. But, I wanted something more. I wanted to play with my food ๐Ÿ™‚

I you aren’t familiar with mangoes, they taste kind of like a tropical peach. They can be incorporated into any dish that call for peaches or any other stone fruit for that matter. They don’t hold up to long cooking processes, since they will break down and become mushy. However, these little gems are fantastic to cook with. They look a little intimidating with that large, almond shaped pit that needs to be removed. They do make devices to remove said pit, however they are unnecessary. Simply pull our your favorite vegetable peeler and chef knife. Now if your mango is seriously ripe this method may not work, but otherwise it will do the trick every time. Peel the skin from the flesh and using a corn holder hold the mango straight up. Use your knife, cut the flesh from the pit. Now you can cut your planks, sticks, and dices very easily.

Here are some of the ideas I had:

Mango sauce with basil

In a blender puree the mango pulp with 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt and pepper to taste. In a small sauce pan, heat the sauce through. When warm through, chiffonade 6 large or 8 small basil leaves and fold into ย the sauce. Serve over chicken or fish.

Creamy mango dressing

1/2 of a large mango pureed combined with 1/4 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon light rum, 1 teaspoon orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a salad of chicken, pine nuts, cilantro, red pepper, and golden raisin.

Healthy mango dessert

1 cup low fat vanilla dessert, topped with 1/2 cup diced mango, 1 tablespoon candied ginger, diced small, and 1/4 cup of granola. Serve chilled.

Always thinking of the next meal,


Bottled Un-Dressing

31 Aug

I love salad. There’s something about the contrast of textures and the unrestricted combinations of sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, and spicy and cooling. A salad lets you combine things that are not always found together in ways that other recipes can let you do. Salads can be very healthy, but can also be as fatty and heavy as a hamburger. I’ve even been to a restaurant that makes a hamburger into a salad!

The icing on the cake for a salad is the dressing. A bad dressing can ruin an otherwise perfect salad. For me the number one offender is fat free dressing. Let’s review a culinary basic… Fat = flavor. Fat free dressings are then carrying what? Not flavor my friends that’s for sure. So what is it then? Well that is a great question. It’s mostly chemicals, or flavor enhancers, or the “real” products have been altered to be fat free, even if they aren’t. Need an example? How about fat free raspberry walnut vinaigrette? There can’t be real walnuts in the dressing otherwise there would be fat from the oils in the walnuts. Catch my drift? They are using walnut flavoring… and honestly I’d rather eat real food that has a little fat than all those mystery chemicals.

Here’s my solution make your own dressing. You can make fat free dressing at home. I prefer the full fat kind but here are two recipes that you can make at home that will blow the top off of any bottle on the shelf.

Low Fat Buttermilk Ranch

1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon,minced
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
salt to taste

combine all ingredients and serve chilled

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper

Combine the mustard and vinegar and the wisk in the vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the oil to combine. Serve chilled.

Happy salad making ๐Ÿ™‚

Always thinking of the next meal


It’s all Greek to me!

26 Jul

So I was asked o bring a salad to my cousins bridal shower. The parameters? WHATEVER I WANTED! The only thing I was my cousin wanted chick peas on the salad. I originally thought about making a Mediterranean salad with roasted red peppers and artichokes, but not knowing the tastes of the masses I thought I would go a little less fancy.

Most people like Greek salad so I thought, why not. When making salad for 30 people the best idea is to keep it simple. A few ingredients that work well together and make a big flavor impact. With Greek salad this is easy to do. As with all salads you want to seek a balance of sweet, salty, soft, crunchy, acid and spice. Greek salad embraces all of these elements.

IMG_0695Here’s how I balanced the flavors in the salad.

Sweet: Sundried Tomatoes

Salty: Feta cheese/olives

Soft: Chick Peas/Feta Cheese

Crunchy: Cucumbers/Onions/lettuce

Acid: Peppers/dressing/tomatoes

Spice: Peppers/arugula

The dressing is also a very powerful element in a salad. For a Greek salad this is where the acid, and herbal notes come into play. The dressing recipe follows, but important flavor components come into play through the dressing. Oregano, lemon, and red wine vinegar are in the dressing and play a key role in Greek cooking. Here’s the dressing recipes:IMG_0697

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey

Try this salad out it’s definitely a winner on a hot summer night. Add some grilled chicken or salmon for a little boost of protein.

Always thinking of the meal