May 30, 2011

Arepas con Frijoles

 My Latino heritage has been calling me: I have been absolutely craving good Latino food lately. Not just a generic burrito or quesadilla, but something fresh and homemade, and simple of course. When this sort of craving strikes, I always turn to the same food: arepas. 

Okay, okay, so I am not technically Latina. But, my wonderful step-mother, Bertha, is from Colombia, and arepas are her specialty and we have made them together several times. That counts a little bit, right? Bertha serves arepas with scrambled eggs and cheese whenever my husband and I visit around breakfast time (thus making that our favorite time to visit). 

I, however, like to turn my arepas into a sort of tostada with beans and cheese and salsa. Part of my Latino food craving involved cotija cheese, so I incorporated it into this dish. Cotija is a Mexican cheese that is crumbly and salty like feta, but the flavor is more mild. It can be found in any specialty shop that has different cheeses, or in almost any grocery store that has a Hispanic food section. The arepas themselves are pretty much just a really thick tortilla, so they are easier to make than tortillas, and no special tortilla press is needed. Bertha has a specific brand of masa (or, instant corn masa flour) that she uses to make her arepas, but I just use whatever is available, which is usually meseca brand. Masa can be found in grocery stores with Hispanic food sections, or any Mexican tienda you come across will be sure to have it. 

This recipe is really easy to make, and the colors make it eye-appealing as well. It can be doubled or tripled really easily, and its inexpensive, making it a great party dish. So, blast the Celia Cruz music, invite over some amigos, and get cookin'!

Arepas con Frijoles
serves about 4

for the arepas:
2 cups masa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetabel oil

for the bean mix:
2 tsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white onion, chopped
6 cups beans, rinsed if canned (I used 1/2 black and 1/2 pinto)
1 tsp cumin

for the salsa:
1 cup red onion
2 tomatoes
1 serrano chili pepper, seeds removed
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime

for garnish:
1/2 cup cotija, crumbled
1/2 cup cilantro 
2 limes, wedged

To make the arepas, mix the masa, water, and salt with a wooden spoon. Let the mix sit for a few minutes and absorb the water. Then grab a handful; the mix should stick together easily, but not stick to your hands. Add more masa if it is too sticky, more water if too crumbly. Heat vegetable oil on a griddle or large pan over medium- high heat. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture, form into a ball, and then flatten with you palms, turning the arepa as you go.  Place arepa on the griddle and let cook until golden-brown spots start to form on the under-side. Flip the arepa and cook until golden-brown spots form on the other side. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
For the beans, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and white onion. Heat until the onion starts to brown, moving pan occasionally so there is no burning. Add the beans and toss with the onions. Sprinkle the cumin over top. Let the mixture cook about five more minutes. Then transfer to a bowl and mash with a potato masher.
To make the salsa, I was lazy and threw all of the ingredients in a food processor. However, if you are wanting something a little more like pico de gallo, simply mince the garlic and chili pepper, and chop up the tomato and red onion and then just stir it all together with the salt and lime juice. 
To assemble arepas, place two arepas on each plate, top with about one cup of the bean mixture, and a couple tablespoons worth of each of the salsa, cotija, and cilantro. Squeeze lime wedge over the arepas. Disfruta. Enjoy. 

May 27, 2011

Feelin' the Love Granola

Wow! I am so impressed by the amazing response to my husbands' face book post that it almost makes me want to reinstate my own face book account (I officially exited society as our generation knows it about two months ago; I just never really understood the appeal...)

Please don't think that I am anti-facebook, or a facebook-hater, I just was never good at keeping up with it, which only frustrated my friends and myself. So, instead, I will update you on my life via blog. And really, who cares where I go and what I do? I'll let you know what I eat.

This granola recipe is so simple, and it can be adapted to many different diets: gluten free, vegan. Also, the types of grains and add-ins can be varied, I always just use what I have on hand. There are two keys to making excellent granola: 1.) make sure you use the right ratio of dry to wet ingredients, and 2.) set a timer.
Whether its a kitchen timer, a watch, or an alarm clock, you must set a timer. Otherwise you will promise yourself that you will keep an eye on the clock, but before you know it you will smell something burning in the next room as you sit watching the latest Modern Family you TIVOed, and then you will cause your house-mates to think you are loosing your mind as you leap off the sofa and run into the kitchen shouting expletives about granola.
Don't believe you could be that easily distracted? My husband once offered to hire a babysitter so I could make granola.

...Anyway, everyone who tries it always says they love it and they want the recipe. And today, I am really feelin' the love, so here it is:

Feelin' the Love Granola
makes about 8 cups

1 cup whole-grain flakes, unsweetened
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp whole ground flaxseed meal (optional- this imparts a slightly nutty, earthy taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground is best, of course)
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
6 tbsp vegetable oil (I use canola)**
6 tbsp real maple syrup
cooking spray
3/4 cup coconut shavings (unsweetened)
1/2 cup craisins (or chopped dates, or raisins)

Preheat oven to 300. Combine flakes, oats, flaxseed, spices, salt, and nuts in a bowl and sir. Drizzle in oil and syrup, stir to coat. Spread a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and stir. Bake another 10 minutes, stir. Bake 5 minutes, stir. Add coconut. Bake 5 minutes. Remove. Add craisins.
The granola should be golden, but not brown and not completely dried out.
Sprinkle on yogurt, or just eat plain. Enjoy.

* pretty sure I use way more than this, I never measure my spices (really helpful side note, huh?)

** I have started using just 4 tbsp of olive oil instead, and the taste has definitely improved, plus it's better for you. I also no longer use cooking spray or parchment paper because my awesome husband got me Calaphon baking sheets for Christmas, which I swear by. They make all cookies etc so much easier.

May 26, 2011

Chicken Spring Rolls with Lime-Chili Dipping Sauce

I know what you are thinking. (By "you" I mean all four of you who "follow" my blog.) You are thinking: "Two posts in one night? She's obsessed! Doesn't she have a husband and a child to take care of? Is she spending all her time blogging?"

The answer, undoubtedly, is yes. I am obsessed. I eat, dream, and think in blog. But, I am really enjoying it. I hope you are as well, whoever "you" are. 

Chicken Spring Rolls with Lime-Chili Dipping Sauce
Yield: 6 rolls

1 1/2 cups precooked, shredded chicken breast
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 cup black Chinese rice
6 spring roll skins (I used Banh Trang brand)
1/2 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
1 small carrot, cut into thirds, then sliced into matchsticks
6 tbsp each: crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro, and chopped mint

Coat chicken with hoisin sauce, set aside. Rinse rice and combine in a pot with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil, then let it simmer until water is absorbed, set aside. Fill a pie plate (or something large and shallow) with water. Collect all your fillings and the spring roll skins:

Then, submerge one skin in the water. Let it soak for ten seconds, then flip it and let it soak another ten on the other side. Repeat this three times on each side, 60 seconds all together. Place the skin on a plate and arrange in the middle: 1/4 cup chicken, a scoop of the rice (I never really measure anything, to be honest), some cucumber, some carrot, and 1 tbsp each of the peanuts, cilantro, and mint. Then fold the sides up and roll it together, burrito style. Repeat with the next six skins. 

For the sauce:
juice of 2 limes (actually, more like 1 1/2, as one of the limes I used was rock hard)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (such as Soy Vay's veri veri teriyaki)
Whisk together all the ingredients. Serve in a small dish with the rolls. Enjoy!

Paradise Pancakes (or, what to do with unripe melon, part 2)

Well, I've done it again. I bought another unripe melon. I was so confident in my melon purchase this time, only to be deeply disappointed. I think I have finally learned a valuable life lesson: when the price of melons has been discounted, don't buy them.
Anyway, my beautiful newlywed friend Kelly is coming for brunch, and she loves all things tropical, so I have decided to make tropical pancakes. The pancake part was her request. The tropical part is because she just returned from her honey moon in Hawaii to May in Oregon.

I am going to tropicalize (yes, that is now a word) the pancakes with mango and cantaloupe sauce. I made it by pureeing about 1 1/4 cups cubed mango with 1 2/3 cups cantaloupe. The sweetness of the mango completely overrides the unripe yuck of the melon. My son went crazy for it when he tried it. Who wouldn't? It's like pure sugar in a sauce. That mixed with some shaved coconut in a pancake... paradise.

Paradise Pancakes
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3/4 cup of the mango-melon sauce (or any blend of fruit; pineapple-mango would be divine)
1/4 cup of milk (I used 1%)
1 cup of your favorite whole grain pancake mix* (see recipe at bottom of page to see my newest)
1/2 cup unsweetened shaved coconut, chopped
butter (for cooking)

Whisk together the first 3 ingredients, then stir in pancake mix until fully combined.
Let sit for 15 minutes (this allows the whole grains to absorb the moisture, resulting in a delectably fluffy cake). Stir in the coconut. Heat a griddle on medium-high. Spread some butter over the griddle and allow to melt. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter and cook until bubbles start to form on the top. Flip and cook until the underside is golden-brown. Enjoy.
*The recipe I used already had oil in it. If yours does not, add a little extra mango-melon sauce or add some vegetable oil for moisture (1 tbsp at a time until you have reached desired consistency, should be a thick batter). 

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix
from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking
Yield is 10 cups dry mix, each batch uses 1 cup of the mix and makes approx. 10 pancakes.

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil (recipe actually calls for 3/4 cup, but I didn't feel it needed that much)

Grind oats in a food processor until chopped finely but not powder. Whisk oats, flour and the next five ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil while stirring. Store in airtight container in freezer.
To make pancakes add 1 egg and 1 cup buttermilk to 1 cup of the mix (or make recipe above). Always allow mix to stand for 15 minutes before cooking to allow four to soak up wet ingredients. Enjoy.

May 25, 2011

The Official Review of Food Movies (and a popcorn recipe)

In case it’s not evident, let me just state for the record: I love food. I love shopping for food, cooking food, eating food, talking about food, reading books and magazines about food, watching food movies... if anyone knows of food music, please enlighten me so that I can immediately make a new food Pandora station.

I think one reason I love cooking and food so much is that it is a simple pleasure. Life is so complicated, and so often I find myself dwelling on all the problems in the world (I listen to too much NPR). But then I can get in my kitchen and surround myself with olive oil, herbs, flour, and so many good things in life, and the problems melt away (sometimes literally in the form of butter…)
This is also why I enjoy food in media. After an intense scene in a movie or book, someone begins to whip cream, or fry an egg, and you forget what the conflict of the story even is; instead of comic relief, you get gastronomic relief (sounds like the name of an anti-bloating tablet). 

So, here is my Official Review of Food Movies:

Eat. Pray. Love.- Julia Roberts stars, surrounded by beautiful scenery and, for the portion in Italy, amazing food. What could be better? (actually, the book is, as Elizabeth Gilbert is an excellent author)
Watch with: bowl of pasta tossed with tomato, basil, and freshly-shaved parmesan... or a Napoleon

Ratatouille- I desperately hope that James will love this movie so I have an excuse to watch it over and over again. It's an animated movie about a lovable mouse who loves... you guessed it: food! This is a must-see for any age.
Watch with: a big bowl of popcorn (recipe following The Official Review) or a root beer float (just because they are fun and delicious) and your favorite people in the under-seven-years-old crowd.

Chocolat- I liked this movie, but I didn't love it. It's a little bittersweet (no pun intended). The movie is about a single mother and her daughter who move to a small town and set up a chocolate shop that for whatever reason the head of the towns' church forbids his congregation to indulge in. The plot is a bit bizarre (why would any religious leader taboo chocolate when it is obviously a gift from God?), but its worth watching, if only for the chocolate.
Watch with: anything chocolate. And by chocolate I am not talking about Nestle tollhouse here (although there is a time and a place for everything). I mean real, good, rich chocolate. 

No Reservations- I am sorry to lead you on, but no, sadly, this is not a full-length film starring Anthony Bourdain.  It is a romantic comedy (I believe it's based on a German movie called Mostly Martha) starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and that adorable girl from Little Miss Sunshine. And, like all romantic comedies, it is unrealistic and predictable, but also cute and heartwarming.
Watch with: food. I remember a pizza scene, so possibly homemade, warm pizza. (My husband would like me to add steak to my food recommendations for this movie because, well, you'll see when you watch it...)

Julie and Julia- This is my all time favorite food movie. I could watch it again and again. It wasn't up for best picture at the Oscars or anything like that, but it is everything a movie should be: funny, heart-warming, full of food... one part in particular makes me cry every time, and I am not a crier when it comes to movies. Also, Meryl Streep does an incredible job as Julia Child. If you watch any movie from my list, watch this one.
Watch with: a loved one and food. Cheesy anything, or possibly bruschetta (Amy Adams makes some toward the beginning of the movie that makes me want to pause it and grab a snack), or anything French, of course. Bon Appetit!

The Big Night- A kind of strange movie (I think it's a remake?) about two brothers trying to make it in the restaurant business. It does have an all-star cast including Stanley Tucci (also in Julie and Julia), Mini Driver, and that guy that stars in the TV series Monk. The redeeming qualities: Louis Prima music and the food. Favorite quote from the movie: "To eat well is to be close to God."
Watch with: a loaf of crusty bread with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip.

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
1/4 cup kernels
1 tsp canola oil
brown paper lunch bag
2 tsp butter, melted*
2 tsp cinnamon sugar
Pour kernels into the bottom of the paper bag, sprinkle with canola oil, shake. Fold top over about an inch, and tape shut with one small piece of tape. Lay the bag on its side in the microwave, fold side down. Microwave about 2 minutes, or until there is 3 or 4 seconds between pops. Pour butter in the bag and shake to coat. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and shake to coat. Enjoy.
*I like my popcorn with just enough butter to make the cinnamon sugar stick, but if you like a really rich butter taste, I suggest using 1 to 2 tbsp of butter. 

Parmesan Popcorn 
1/4 cup kernels
1 tsp olive oil
brown paper lunch bag
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated parmesan
Pour kernels into the bottom of the paper bag, sprinkle with 1 tsp olive oil, shake. Fold top over about an inch, and tape shut with one small piece of tape. Lay the bag on its side in the microwave, fold side down. Microwave about 2 minutes, or until there is 3 or 4 seconds between pops. Pour the rest of the oil in the bag and shake to coat. Sprinkle with salt and parmesan and shake to coat. Enjoy.

May 24, 2011

Herbalicious flatbread

I have a fabulous problem: every time I see my mom, she loads me up with herbs that she buys in huge bundles from New Seasons. They are wonderfully fresh, aromatic, and liven up everything I put them in. This is great for many reasons, including the fact that every herb (or plant for that matter) that I am given or that I buy, ends up dying. While my neighbors apparently cannot control their rosemary bushes that are growing like weeds, I spent almost a year trying to nurse my little potted sprig back to life, before finally giving up when winter hit.

The constant supply of herbs from my mother is only a problem because the over-abundance can, sadly, lead to some herb fatalities. For example, I discovered a handful of brown and withering thyme in the back of the refrigerator. So, today was the day I decided that I must use up the herbs.

I wanted something fresh tasting, but also something that really show-cased the herbs and wouldn't over-power them (such as if I had followed my husband's suggestion of caramelized onions). I was thinking flatbread, but who wants to deal with all the kneading, rising, pounding down, and being patient? I didn't quite want a pizza, either, so I decided to use a savory tart crust that I could incorporate herbs into, and then just lay it out flat like a pizza. I am quite happy with the results.

Herbalicious flatbread
The tart crust recipe is this one from Chocolate and Zucchini, but I substituted the dried herbs for about 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary. Yum. Also, all the steps aren't necessary if you are just making a rustic flatbread. After you have incorporated the water and oil and kneaded the dough a couple times in the bowl, simply turn it onto the greased baking sheet and roll it out to desired thickness on the sheet. Then proceed with the following:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
8 turns of the salt mill
6 turns of the pepper mill
2 tomatoes on the vine, sliced
about 1 1/4 cups asiago, grated
parmesan for sprinkling

To assemble: coat the dough with the oil. Then spread the minced garlic, half the sage, and half the oregano over the dough. Evenly cover with salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes over dough in one layer, sprinkle with asiago cheese and the remaining herbs. Bake at 400 for about 20-30 minutes (until browning around outer edge of the flatbread). Sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy.

May 21, 2011

Coconut cupcakes with lime butter cream frosting

Today is the exact date when one year ago my husband started his amazing-straight-out-of-college job. I am so proud of him, how hard he worked to graduate with two degrees, and how hard he works now to provide for his family. And what better way to say "thank you" and "I am so proud of you" and even "I love you" than with butter and sugar?

So I made one of his favorite desserts, coconut cupcakes with lime butter cream frosting.

The cakes are light, melt-in-your-mouth, and the butter cream frosting is, well, buttery and creamy, and spiked with just the right amount of lime juice to contrast the indulgent sweetness. Try them, and get a little taste of tropical paradise.

Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009
*The recipe states it makes one dozen, but I think this is done by those brilliant cooking light test kitchen chefs (dream job!) in order to claim that each little cupcake has less calories in them than when you make nine normal size cupcakes. Use this recipe, but just make nine, because, let's be honest, if you made 12 smaller cupcakes, you would have to eat two.

For the cakes:
4.5 oz all-purpose flour
3 tbsp potato starch (I think you can sub corn starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
2 tbsp butter (softened)
1 egg and 1 egg white
2/3 c milk (I used 1%)
3 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut (I also added about 1/4 c unsweetened shaved coconut)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease nine* muffin cups, or line with liners. Combine flour, starch, baking powder, and salt; stir together.
Beat sugar and butter together until mixture resembles course sand. Add egg and egg white, beat well. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in coconut. Pour equal amounts into the nine prepared muffin cups, fill the remaining three with water to prevent burning. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until done in center. Cool two minutes in pan, then turn onto rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
3 tbsp butter (softened)
splash (about 1 tsp) milk or cream
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
about 1 c powdered sugar
Beat butter, milk, lime zest and juice. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Enjoy.

May 20, 2011

A scrapbook of Multnomah

I spent today with my mother and my son in my favorite place on Earth: Multnomah Village.
I was very blessed to live in this sleepy little corner of Southwest Portland for the first eighteen years of my life. It was the perfect place to grow up, with charming neighborhoods and a beautiful, lush park that surrounds a quaint little row of shops known as "the Village."
It seems that time stands still in this village; it's like your favorite fairy tale storybook that you can return to at any age and be delighted with each time.
My son, James, had never been in the village in all his ten months of life, so when my mom asked what would I like to do with a free sunny Friday, visiting Multnomah seemed the obvious answer.
We started at O'Connor's.

This Portland landmark was started in 1934 in downtown Portland before moving to the village in 1991. It serves wonderful classics with a Cajun twist. We have traditionally gone for breakfast, but I do recall having burgers and salads on the back deck. Today I ordered Kate's special (also a favorite of a very kind waitress who remembered my name although it has been too long since I have dined there!). This dish was a mixture of tomatoes, onions, and seasoned potatoes topped with creole sauce, salsa, an egg, and then smothered in cheese. Yum.

After we had consumed the needed energy for shopping, we headed over to Annie Bloom's. This adorable book store has been around for as long as I can remember (because it was established in 1978). 
My favorite sections of any and all book stores are the travel section and the cookbooks, but the children's books section at Annie Bloom's has a special place in my heart. I love children's books, and Annie always has all the classics, along with enough new books to make you want to be five years old again so you have an excuse to ask for them for Christmas.

Somehow we escaped with only three new books for the baby guy, and we headed down to the toy shop. 

Thinker Toys is wonderful because it has great toys, but it is also a great place to play. When I was a nanny for a family of three sweet but very active children I would pile them in the van on hot days and take them to Thinker Toys. I am sure the sales clerks were thrilled when we would stay and play with the train set, dress-up clothes, and adorable little play house, only to leave hours later after buying two dollars worth of stickers or bouncy balls. Well, today I at least started to make up for taking advantage of their air conditioning and hands-on sampling approach to selling toys. We stayed and played with blocks and balls for only about a half hour, and I made much more significant purchases than stickers.
We then grabbed a picnic lunch from Grand Central Bakery, loaded up the stroller, and headed over to Gabriel Park. 

This park is to Southwest Portland what Central Park is to New York City (and I feel like I can say that because I have been to NYC). It is a peaceful oasis.

When you are there, you forget that the city is right outside. You can relax in the stillness and the beauty, and forget that just beyond the row of trees, life is still zooming at its usual pace. 

There is something for everyone in Gabriel Park: a community garden, grassy fields, wooded trails, a skate park, a dog park, tennis courts, basketball courts, multiple baseball fields, a community center, and a play ground. Our destination was the latter, as we had high hopes for James first swing experience. However, all the eating and shopping and sunshine had been far too exhausting...

...So, instead, my mom and I enjoyed our lunch. I highly recommend it if you visit Grand Central: basil egg salad sandwich on kalamata olive bread, and the molasses ginger cookie.

I miss Multnomah terribly, but sometimes I think maybe it is good I don't live there anymore (first of all, imagine the weight I would gain with all that good food!). 

When I first moved to Corvallis for college I didn't really understand home sickness. I didn't understand how you could be sick over a place. But Multnomah is more than just a place to me. It is my real-life scrap book full of memories, good and bad, fading and vivid.

It's like the song says: "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." So true. But thank God, Multnomah is not gone. 

The scrap book is always there for me to keep adding pages of memories.

May 18, 2011

Brie (or cotija!), mango, cilantro, and red onion quesadillas

So, last night I made these amazing quesadillas. I had to make them again for lunch today so I could photograph them, because I had no idea last night that I would be starting a blog today. Darn.

I originally got the idea from a recipe on Fresh365 ( I love that blog*). I didn't have any walnuts, but I still wanted a crunch, so I substituted red onions. After that addition, the cilantro that is about to go bad in my fridge was a no-brainer. They are so simple, so easy, and so addictive. So watch out, or you may be having them for lunch and dinner also.

update on 6/2/11-okay, a quick note- I just made these with cotija cheese, and they were, if possible, even better. Please try this, you won't be sorry

Brie, mango, cilantro, and red onion quesadillas
  • 1/2  cup mango, thinly sliced
  • about 4 oz brie, thinly sliced (or a good amount of cotija)
  • about 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 4 tortillas (i love the wheat flour and corn from trader joe's)
Lay out 1/4 cup of the mango and about 2 oz brie over one tortilla. Microwave 30 seconds.
Heat 2 tsp olive oil on a skillet. Place tortilla on the skillet, with brie and mango facing up (otherwise you will have quite a mess!). Spread 2 tbsp cilantro and 1 tbsp red onion over the brie and mango on the tortilla. Place the other tortilla over the one on the skillet. Heat both sides until golden-brown spots start to appear.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Enjoy. (serves 2)

*that blog is, sadly, no longer around... Happily, I think the gal quit because she is a new mama :-)

When life gives you unripe melon, make fruit salad.

"Fruit's a gamble; I know that goin' in." -Jerry Seinfeld
       So true. I am so frustrated every time I come home from the store and, despite all my slapping and tapping and acting like I know how to pick a ripe melon, I cut it open to find it is tough and tasteless. But, it's not like I'm going to return it, so I attempt to use it anyway. First, I give it to my son, James. Who knows? Maybe he will like it?
      He picks up a little piece with his now-mastered pincher grasp and cautiously places it in his mouth. He gums it for a second, looks up at me with a furrowed brow, and spits it out onto his shirt. He then avoids the rest of the melon pieces in front of him and concentrates on the more important foods, like cheese. I can't say I blame him.
     I then try to give it to my dog, Sadie. She wasn't born yesterday either. After she chews and spits out a couple of pieces, I sigh and decide that I must find a way to use the melon.
     So, I made a delicious fruit salad. The key is to mince the melon into small enough pieces that you will never scoop up a bite of only melon. I didn't measure any of the ingredients, but here is a rough estimate:

  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 1/4 of an unripe melon, minced
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
For a twist, add finely minced chipotle or another smokey pepper to mango, pineapple, and melon. Enjoy.