I don’t know why, but my back is killing me. Not a muscle pull but spasms that dash up and down when I twist, reach, or just move.
I was trying to make a Banana Daiquiri, but the rum was one shelf too high and I could not easily get to that bottle. I could not get to that bottle, period. However, the pisco was right in front of me. And so, this lovely drink was born.
I did make multiple adjustments to the classic daiquiri recipe. There is pisco instead of rum. And simple syrup instead of raw sugar, and in a larger quantity. Mandarin Napoleon replaced the traditional Triple Sec.
The result of all these modifications? Something banana, of course, and something whose flavor I really, really like with its different component flavors. The Mandarin Napoleon liqueur offers a strong orange tone that can bounce against the lime and yet easily merges with the banana. And yet, there is no dominant flavor with these proportions and I find this “flavor mystery” to be a true adventure.
I wanted my banana drink. A real one. Not one using banana liqueur, but one incorporating a real banana. Why? Well, a banana that has spent a few moments in a Vitamix produces a beverage with a lovely texture. This is not a milkshake, no milk for one reason, but it has that smoothness that oozes satisfaction. Every sip has substance. It’s not a simple liquid. It’s a bit of a meal.
Oh, a couple of these and you smile and the spasms go away. Or, at the least, you don’t notice.
Brian’s Back Spasm Banana Backup
Yield: 2 seriously large cocktails
- 1 ounce Mandarin Napoleon orange liqueur
- 2 ounces pisco
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- Juice of one lime
- 1 medium size banana, peeled and cut into a few chunks
- 6-8 ice cubes
Put everything in a blender [better a Vitamix] and process until very smooth. Don’t add too much ice or you’ll have issues with “pourability.”
Pour into a tall cocktail glass.
Garnish, if you wish, with some slices of banana.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/50h second at ISO 3200
It’s the Monday before the Sunday where the world, or least the American part of it, ends. Temporarily. Sunday is the Super Bowl and the biggest day of the year for finger food. Billion of chips, millions upon millions of chicken wings, tanker truck loads of chili — all that and more will be consumed as people are glued to both the game and those commercials.
I have posted a spicy mango salsa before. Here’s an updated version with a few more ingredients, including diced apples to increase the fruitiness. The striking fruit tones here provide the perfect contrast for the heat of wings, nachos and chili.
Just to let you know, during the rest of this week, I’ll post some updates of other Super Bowl favorite recipes:
- Tuesday: Mr. Piggy’s Perfect Babyback Ribs
- Wednesday: Super Chili Nachos
- Thursday: Two Crab Cakes
- Friday: The Best Real Onion Dip
Now, on to salsa.
A chilled fruit salsa is a bright match for stove-hot chili or nachos. This complementary role is achieved without blandness: there is heat in this salsa and it’s appropriately spicy to provide contrast for all the potential sources of heat on your table.
I’ve made this salsa many times and have refined this recipe so that it is quick and easy to make, yet utterly delicious. In the ingredients below, you see I specify “2” of everything, which makes for each preparation. The last ingredient, the jalapenos, is the one exception. I prefer the heat of just one jalapeno but you may want two. And, as with any salsa, some last minute adjustment of heat, of lime or lemon juice, or the sugar may be needed given the sweetness of the fruit. Truthfully, a little sugar can help mute the heat if you have bravely gone on to 2 jalapenos [I warned you!].
If you haven’t worked with mangos before, it’s simple. Just peel and cut off the meat. That “big” fruit has a big core, so you harvest relatively little meat from each mango. Don’t try to cut into that core. If you are pressing with your knife, you’ll be pressing with your teeth, the knife might slip, finger pieces might be added to the bowl. Bad salsa. Definitely bad.
One word of warning from my lawyer: these are jalapenos so be careful. You probably think the “warnings” about hot peppers are over done. They aren’t. Wearing rubber gloves is a good idea. Avoiding anything near you eye is important. When I a batch once, I avoided touching my eye completely and properly. But I did rub my brow once, then went to exercise, sweated, and had to flush my eye with cold water. Please be careful.
Feel free to improvise with this recipe. You can add cilantro or other spices. I like this version which has fewer of the “usual” ingredients and gives you a distinctly “new” flavor experience.
Brian’s New Mango Salsa
Servings: enough for 6-8 people as a side dish
- 2 mangos, the meat cut into medium dice
- 2 bananas, cut into ¼ inch rounds
- 2 shallots, cut into medium dice
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 sweet apples, diced.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds and membrane removed, but two if you want
- Garnishes: sliced cilantro, scallions, …
Place the diced mango in a bowl, then add the bananas and shallots. Pour in the lime and lemon juices and stir immediately. The lime juice will help keep the bananas from turning brown. Combine in the diced apples. Add the sugar, vinegar, and salt and stir. Then add the jalapeno. Stir to mix, then set aside for five minutes. Sample the mixture and adjust the flavor to your taste. You may want more lime juice, sugar, salt, or even vinegar. Over the next hour the sugar will begin to draw plenty of liquid from the fruit.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.