We Can Have the Mango!

Saturday Night Live – Mango: Garth Brooks

Just like Garth Brooks, Romeo can’t have the Mango.  He used to be able to consume the divinely delicious fruit to his heart’s delight, but he OD’ed on mango during a tropical hiking trip some years back (in which at every pit stop he picked mangoes from low-hanging branches, peeled and devoured them.)  Legend has it that on that journey Romeo ate a full 15 mangoes in the space of 12 hours.  Romeo’s lovely face swelled up to twice its original size, he ran a dangerously high fever, and he developed painful blisters inside his mouth.  Some thought it was an allergic reaction to the mango.  Others suspected Romeo was the victim of a chupacabra or a voodoo curse.

Unfortunately, it was the Mango. Romeo has tried mango and mango products since and always suffers similarly grotesque results (never quite as bad as the first time).  Out of deference to Romeo’s sensitivity I do not partake in mangoes around him (I even forgo that nectar-of-the-gods commonly known as the mango lassi in subcontinental restaurants when we dine together) and I restrain myself from preparing dishes featuring mangoes in our kitchen.  Ah, the sacrifices we make for love.

But when I was invited to an island-themed potluck recently, on a night when Romeo was otherwise occupied, I couldn’t resist the temptation of the mango.  I CAN have the Mango damnit, and so can you! Sorry Romeo ?! (And sorry Liza, I know how much you hate it when a fruit is the MVI of a dish.)


The easy, delicious,  and refreshing mango salsa recipe for the rest of us after the jump….

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What, No Breadsticks?


Edible serving vessels tend to work better in theory than in practice.  That hollowed-out loaf of bread that holds your spinach dip is always a bit of a disappointment.  Taco Bell has those edible salad bowls which aren’t bad until you get down below the “refried bean equator,” at which point things tend to get a bit soggy.

Have you ever been working your way through a nice serving of baked pasta, al forno for our Italian friends, and thought to yourself, “This would be so much better if I could eat the cookware?”

Well, for the low, low price of six bucks, you can live out your fantasy thanks to the folks at Domino’s Pizza.  The new bread bowl pasta features one of five choices of baked pasta, including flavors such as primavera, alfredo and sausage marinara, surrounded by an edible bowl made of pizza dough.  If that sounds delicious to you, then you’re likely addicted to white flour like I am.

Fortunately, I’m running a marathon this weekend, so one of these puppies will make for the perfect carbo-loading feast.  And if you have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be the healthiest menu choice, wait until you hear the actual numbers…

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Is Organic Always Good?

organic market

We all know Gansie is a huge proponent of farmer’s market/local produce, and that the nation’s First Lady has recently been a prominent supporter of vegetable garden fun. A lot of my friends belong to this CSA or that CSA. And everyone I know seems to be buying or farming organic these days. Organic is one of those words that often gets bandied about in the local-foodie/farmer’s-markety circles. I was reminded of this fact when ES fan and new ES commenter NeeNee, who also happens to be one of my best friends from undergrad, recently reported to me:

I’m getting my green thumb on. I’ve had a severe problem at garden stores this spring, but we hope to be totally overflowing with veggies this summer. However, good plants grow in good dirt, and our dirt is friggin terrible. It has no organic matter, and we can’t possibly make enough compost to make it good. I’m ashamed to say that I’m not a very organic farmer….

Sorry, NeeNee, I didn’t ask for your permission before I broadcasted your addiction to gardening to the whole world via the interwebs! But as I was saying, I recently read this Huffington Post article on organic farming, Organic vs. Conventional: Have you been robbed?, that led me to question whether organic is really all that good. Now I’m not sure that NeeNee has all that much to be ashamed of. The author of the afore mentioned article,Makenna Goodman, a sustainable-living blogger and free-range egg farmer from Vermont, describes the reason she chose not to farm organic eggs, but instead opts for feeding the chickens cheaper grain and letting them roam free on her bucolic Vermont farm. Makenna argues:

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A Very Uniq Salad


I want you guys to meet my new friend Uniq.  Say hi Uniq.  Aww, he’s a bit shy.  But in fairness if you were the ugly duckling in the family, you may not always warm to strangers either.  Give Uniq a break next time you see him on the produce isle, he kinda looks like shit, but this little guy has some really excellent goodies inside.

The Uniq fruit hails all the way from the island of Jamaica where someone that had very recently smoked a dubie had an epiphany about marrying a grapefruit with a tangerine.  Amazingly, this idea lasted past the munchies phase and Jamaica began harvesting and exporting the fruit by branding it with the tragically fitting name, the Ugli fruit.  Shockingly, the orders for the exotic ugli fruit were not overwhelming.  Fortunately for us, some marketing exec (also probably after smoking a dubie) pushed to have the fruit rebranded as the Uniq fruit.  That’s right Uniq, you’re not fat, you’re just big-boned.

Still suspect?  Maybe a little jump will change your mind..

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Why Do I Love the ‘Hungry Girl’ But Hate the ‘Bitches’?

Hungry Girlvs.Skinny Bitch

First, My Rant

I have to admit that I harbored a certain prejudice against the Skinny Bitches before I ever cracked the binding of their book, (which I did look through about a month back as I was killing time during a long airport lay-over).  I didn’t like the idea behind their book, I didn’t like the title, and I haven’t liked the people I’ve met who rave about the book and how it’s changed their lives.  My worst fears were confirmed when I read the first few pages and browsed the index and chapter headings.  The book capitalizes on the worst of body-loathing and self-loathing that permeates our culture, but the ‘Bitches’ insist that their book is dedicated to changing the world by converting people to a vegan diet that will get them to eat better.   But they aren’t just meat haters (a loathing which I can understand…. as I’m just not that into the harvesting and consumption of flesh myself). They hate on caffeine, sugar, wine, fun, and all human bodies that don’t live up to the painstakingly emaciated “ideal.”

The Bitches initiate their readers into their bitchy crew with heavy doses of castigation (they inform their readers that they are suffering from “bloated fat pig syndrome.” Ouch…. please miss, may I have another?), followed by model-body idolatry (“healthy = skinny”) , topped with a whole slew of rules we should all follow more closely than the ten commandments (like “sugar is the devil” and drinking alcohol “equals fat-pig syndrome” and “coffee is for pussies”).  They also have a whole chapter dedicated to Pooping.  Hmmm… do I smell former laxative abusers therein….?

More on the “Bitches” I hate, the “Hungry Girl” I love, and a chance to voice your views after the jump…

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I’m going to let you all in on an open secret: I’ve been told I have a way with beans.  I know, what a glorious claim to fame. But I have to admit that I LOVE beans.  I NEED beans. All kinds of beans, prepared in all sorts of ways (as long as they aren’t refried…. I don’t do refried).  I’m a particularly big fan of chick peas/garbanzos, black and red beans.  I cook some kind of bean dish about once a week. My Romeo complains on occasion.  He claims his at-times, ahem, flatulent tendencies are a result of my overuse of beans as a staple food in our diet.  Whatever, my stomach is not affected thusly and beans are good for your heart, right?  Romeo should be thanking me!  I know, I overshare! But, the cabal of smarty-pants USDA scientists do recommend that American adults consume at least 3 cups of beans a week to promote health and reduce the risk of colon cancer, etc.  My friends, I’m totally beating the curve!

Another secret: if you soak beans overnight and then rinse them, cook them for a while, and then rinse them again you can eliminate most of the sugars that promote gas formation. In the wise words of one of Bart Simpson’s  chalkboard etchings:   “Beans are neither fruit nor musical.” (BTW- shouldn’t the Simpsons creators convert the chalkboard to the much maligned, but now ubiquitous, dry-erase board in the newer episodes? Who’s with me?)

Now, I prefer to make some bean dishes from canned beans (especially when I’m making a bean-based puree like hummus).  When I have time, however, I like to cook the thin-skinned beans (navy beans, black beans, red beans) the long way.  The difference in taste and texture between dry black beans and canned beans is really worth the planning and work that goes into cooking them.  But, ladies and gentleworms, cooking dry beans does require time. So do feel free to take the following recipe and use it with canned black beans instead of dry black beans.

My Amazing Black Bean Recipe after the jump

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Ramping Up for a Season of Gush


Picture me with my arms stretched out, my fingers in jazz-hands positioning, and gushing about lily pad perfect bibb lettuce, three feet tall scallion stalks and a fresh loaf of spelt bread. It’s farmers’ market season, boys, girls and those who identify otherwise.

It’s ON.

It’s so on that I actually openly gush to the vendors. When I’m stammering half out loud, half to my market friend westcoast and, and well, if there three halves, half in my head, about how I’m just so very excited to be outside, browsing fresh produce and even fresher mozzarella cheese. How is it possible that the creamy white pillows resting in water can be called the same name as the shredded, plastic bag dwelling yellow cheese? Tell me, because fucks if I know. Or the cheese producer that I asked as I closed my eyes and let his version of motz float down my throat.

My first visit to the Silver Spring market yielded my first go at ramps. They are part of the onion family, look more like scallions than regular onions, but are tiny and leafy and expensive. Of course westcoast and I bought three bundles. After the market he came over and we scrambled together sauteed ramps in my newly purchased European-style butter, and scrambled in farm fresh eggs and feta. And I think chives too. I don’t know. After my high from the market my hangover took over and the details of the cooking are sketchy.

But I still had a bundle of ramps left a week later, and with wilting on its way, I had to act quick…

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