Suzi's Blog

Super Bowl Preparation: Brian’s New Mango Salsa

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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.

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Brian’s New Mango Salsa

Servings: enough for 6-8 people as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 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, …

Preparation:

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.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Banana Cookies Pure and Simple

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No, that is not the prow of a Viking ship. Or the head of some new species of featherless bird. It’s a banana. Not quite ripe.
When it does ripen, what do you do. You know, that bunch of bananas you bought will all ripen at the same time, not one a day. So all of sudden, you are confronted with a half dozen perfectly lovely pieces of fruit. You can’t eat them all. Even with rum, you can’t drink them all.
So, you bake. Banana bread. Banana cake.
I have nothing against those. I love them both. But I do tire of picking poppy seeds from teeth.
And I have this memory, this very distant memory of banana cookies. I know it was long ago. Even prior to the prior marriage. I don’t remember where or when. But I do remember eating a pure banana cookie, soft, mellow and filled with flavor.
I searched all our cookie books, but did not come up with what I remember. I mean all the books from all those authors: Nick, Maida, Carole, … The classic books do have some banana recipes, but always with oatmeal or chocolate chips. Even this recipe suggests nuts, which I left out. I wanted pure banana flavor.
This recipe, from simplyrecipes.com, is from a woman who inherited her grandmother’s recipe box. She believes the recipe is about 70 years old and that would put in the right timeframe for a young kid in Oregon who had mouthfuls of these wonders.
You could frost them, of course, or dust them with powdered sugar. But honestly, they stand on their own. In fact, as the picture shows, they can even support a banana.

Banana Cookies

Yield: 30 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • • ½ cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • • 1 cup of sugar
  • • 1 egg, room temperature
  • • 1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
  • • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • • 2 cups of flour
  • • pinch of salt
  • • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • • ½ teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
  • • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • • 1 cup of pecans [optional, and you can substitute other nuts]

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.
Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.
Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

Source: Simplyrecipes.com