Friday, June 1, 2012

The Mango Salsa Weekend

To kick-start my Memorial Day weekend I went home to visit my parents for two days. My dearest mother always gets excited for my visits; she makes so much delicious food I am convinced that her goal is to weigh me down so that I can't return to Dubuque. As much as I enjoy the array of meals that my mom makes, and she is a fabulous cook, she got a little carried away on her menu this past weekend.
(Image) Mango

It all started with an innocent shopping spree that my mom and her girlfriends went on. My mom found a good citrus juicer and a mango splitter with me in mind. I adore mangoes. Their silky, sexy texture and sweet taste is to die for. Now that my mom had purchased a mango splitter she knew that she needed some mangoes to use this slick device on. Next she ventured off to Sam's Club in search of some ripe mangoes. She discovered that she could buy a whole box of about 14 mangoes for a cheaper price than a smaller amount of mangoes. Then she decided to make an abundance of mango salsa with the ripe mangoes. The recipe called for a lot of fresh lime juice, so off to the store in search of limes she went. This story is beginning to remind me of the classic children's book, When You Give  A Mouse A Cookie. Limes just happened to be 10 cents per lime, which is a very good deal. My mom bought 30 limes to make sure she had enough lime juice for the mango salsa. When I came home and saw that the kitchen was buried in mangoes and limes I told my mom that she needs to go to Grocery Shoppers' Anonymous!
Mango Splitter. (Image)

Although my mom might have a slight addiction to grocery shopping, her mango salsa was absolutely scrumptious-- the sweet, silky mangoes, fresh cilantro, tangy red onions, a bite from jalapenos, and of course the tart lime juice. I was surprised how many dishes the mango salsa accompanies perfectly: we had Chili-Crusted Flank Steakpork chops (like the ones I previously made), and crab cakes. All were surprisingly delicious with the mango salsa as a topping. I also think some cinnamon pita chips dipped in the mango salsa would be a divine snack. After our mango salsa feast I enjoyed two perfectly ripe mangoes eaten directly off the cutting board. I don't think I'll ever get tired of mangoes.

Mango Salsa

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients: (About 6 cups). Note: "Normal" shoppers can cut this recipe in half.

1 large red onion, chopped
1/2 c. fresh lime juice (squeezed from about 6-7 small limes after prepping in Marinade Express)
2-3 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 4 c.)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped after prepping in Marinade Express
3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (prep first in Marinade Express, before chopping)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely chopped after prepping in Marinade Express
Salt and cracked black peppercorns to taste


1. Prep the limes, peppers and cilantro in Marinade Express, using the unflavored Express Marinade for fruits and vegetables. This will eliminate most surface bacteria and pesticide residue. This was especially important since we were going to use our new citrus squeezer, in which the juice washes over the lime rinds in the squeezing process. Limes and peppers can be prepped together, using both divider ribs, placing limes on one side of the divider and peppers on the other. Prep the more fragile cilantro in a second batch (but you can put lettuce or other greens needed for another use on the other side of the divider ribs for the sake of efficiency.) Rotate for about 4 minutes.

Pat dry the limes, peppers, and cilantro before juicing or chopping for this recipe. Thoroughly dry any extra fruits, vegetables, or greens before storing them in the refrigerator, and they will keep longer than normal, because Marinade Express eliminates nearly all the spoilage-bacteria that was present.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion and lime juice. Peel and chop the mangoes and other ingredients (see hint below about cilantro), setting them aside, then add all together to the onion mixture and stir well.

3. Serve immediately. Salsa will keep, covered and refrigerated, for one day. Hint: if you only add as much cilantro as needed for the serving size immediately required, the salsa keeps longer. Just put in fresh cilantro each time you serve the salsa; we did that and were enjoying the salsa for 4 days with various menu items.

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