Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sipping On Sunshine

Monday morning was drizzly gray and I was a moody blue. I needed instant sunshine. I needed an influx of happiness. But how can you generate that from within a foggy funk? Fresh fruit (and a little alliteration) always perks me up. Maybe it was time to do something with the mangoes I got at the market the other day (2 for $1.00!). It's as good a starting point as any, and frankly, a lot better than some.

Like many other fruits, mangoes are fully ripe when they yield a little to direct pressure. Unlike most other fruits, their color is not necessarily indicative of their ripeness. Ripe mangoes can be green, yellow, orange, red, or any combination thereof. So give them a little push and see if they give. If I had been a mango on Monday, I would've been over-ripe and mushy.

After consulting my bookshelves, and a quick dip in the www, I came up with a very small handful of mango-centric recipes and a tasty new theme song. Yep. Everybody should have a theme song. A song that no matter how grubby and blue you are feeling, will never fail to elicit waves of sheer happiness from your sad self just from listening to it. If you don't have one, get one; if you have trouble finding one, borrow mine.

The idea of a personal theme song came from an episode of the TV show Ally McBeal (of all places). The day after it aired, my friends and I couldn't wait to discuss what song, if any, we'd each chosen. Mine? Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And The Waves. Call it sappy, pop-y, cheesy or all of the above. I don't care. It makes me happy every time I hear it. But now, Special Star by Mango Groove claims the top giddy-making spot in my personal hit-parade. Just try to sit still through this song. It is some of the most joyful music I have ever danced around my living room to.

Between the fresh mango smoothies I made and the sunny new theme gloom was doomed.

Mango Groovie Breakfast Smoothie
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (1996) page 65

While super-ripe frozen bananas (like the blackened ones that seem to congregate in the back of my freezer) will easily slip out of their skins once thawed, they are reluctant to do so while still frozen. Just FYI. If you start with ripe fresh bananas, peel them first, then freeze overnight. No need to wrap them up as it's only for a few hours. If you're using fresh berries, pop them into the freezer overnight too.

1 large ripe mango, cubed
2 bananas, peeled and frozen
2 cups orange juice
scant 1/4 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup Greek (or homemade) yogurt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Real maple syrup (or honey), to taste

Cut mango flesh into cubes.* Cut the frozen bananas into large chunks. Put all the fruit, juice, yogurt and spices into a blender or a food processor and whip it up into a fruity frenzy. Taste it and decide if you want a little sweetness added to it. Add the maple syrup one tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition and tasting. Before I added the berries, I could've skipped the maple syrup altogether, but the raspberries I had were a tad tart so I ended up adding about 3-4 tablespoons of the maple. When you get it to a place that makes you happy.... stop blending and pour into glasses over ice. Any leftover smoothie can be kept overnight, wrapped well in the fridge and enjoyed the next day. Makes 4 servings.

More mango-maniacal mayhem...
  • Sweet & Rich Muffins (fresh fruit variation) How To Cook Everything (1998 Bittman) page 250
  • Sour Cherry (Mango) Clafouti substitute diced mango for the cherries in this simple-but-smashing dessert. The Martha Stewart Cookbook (1995) page 427
  • A couple of Mango Salsas that look perfect for summer.
  • Raspberry, Strawberry or Other Fruit (Mango Sauce) How To Cook Everything (1998 Bittman) page 672
  • Banana Mango Bread Now that I know firsthand how great mango and banana are together,  the next logical thing would be to try adding mango to one of my favorite banana bread recipes.
  • Here are two Mango case it's just too hot to fire up the stove. Neither uses actual mango fruit, but if it's that hot out, it's one less step between you and your mojito.
  • This Mango Panna Cotta from The Kitchn looks like the perfect end to a summer supper.
*Never approached a mango with a knife before? Here's how,  direct from the National Mango Board. Didn't know there even was a National Mango Board, did you? 
Mango Trivia... In the TV version of Agatha Christie's "The Theft Of The Royal Ruby", the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot demonstrates at a Christmas party how to deftly cut a mango (and show up the slightly pompous host at the same time). "He's an absolute marvel with a mango!"... I just love that funny little man. 
How NOT to eat a mango: Rent the dvd of Outsourced. The dude just doesn't quite get it... not yet anyway.

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  1. YUM smoothie! I needed a reason to buy mangoes (I have a tendency to buy them and then forget to do anything with them). And they're all over the place right now. And on sale!

    That song was hippity-hoppity funness, for sure. I was a little leery at first, since it took a while to warm up, but once it got going, I could NOT stop smiling (and wiggling).

    Here are two of my favorite "happy songs" for you:

    Soul Sloshing by Venus Hum:

    Tangaroa by Tiki Taane:

  2. Leslie: That song does have a bit of a slow intro, but good things come to those who wait! Thanks for the links to your two happy-songs. I can't believe I forgot about this, my favoritest happiest Venus Hum song ever in the whole world...
    Thanks for the reminder! Geez, I'm so happy now, I can't stand it! Hmm, maybe I need to make a mix-tape in case it doesn't last?

  3. Crud, Stephanie! I had completely forgotten about this recipe - and this discussion.

    It made me SO happy to see it on the site! And then I was really happy when I clicked over and read your reply (which I clearly had not come back to do, because I'm all forgetty), and now I'm happy because of the song and because of you and ...

    So happy. Such a stinky day, in general, and you made it all better. Jeezopee.

  4. Leslie: I loved the mango-centric link party on your blog. Now I've got a bunch of new mango recipes to try! Cool, cool, and um, more cool!

    So glad you're happier and your day is less stinky... theme songs... seriously... bookmark them and administer as often as needed to combat cruddy-ness.


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