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Some Delightful (and Easy) Desserts

I had promised a couple of days ago to write about desserts I made on Sunday, but my new freelance job has been taking a lot of time so I haven’t had much time to do it. Tonight, I have the time. I made two things for dessert Sunday to go after the duck dinner, and I tried to make them things that weren’t too heavy since it was a heavy meal. The first thing I made was a quick coffee cake. it was simple and easy, no mixer required, and only took about 30 minutes to bake.

Quick Coffee Cake

Topping

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups sour cream

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

7 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. For the topping: Using your fingers, mix the sugars, flour, butter, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand. Stir in the pecans and set aside.

For the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugars, eggs and melted butter together until smooth. Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth (do not overmix).

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of both cakes. Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

The cake comes out nice and moist, not too dry like some coffee cakes. Since the recipe makes two cakes, we’ve been having a little in the morning with coffee or after dinner all week long.

The second dessert I made was a simple fruit salad using some of the fresh fruit I had just bought.

Gingered Honeydew, Mango and Blueberry Salad

1/2 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and chopped medium

2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped medium

1 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Pinch salt

Toss all the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors, about 30 minutes.

I also had some fresh pineapple that I added to the salad, but the beauty of fruit salad is that you can pretty much add whatever fresh fruit is in season and you have at the time.

So those are the desserts I made, which for me is quite a feat since I am not a dessert person. I have another post that will follow this one shortly about last night’s dinner, so check back for that one shortly!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Dessert

 

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Feasting on Fish Tacos

I took the weekend off from blogging and the computer to spend some time on other things, but now I am back this morning to write about our dinner last night, which was a very good one. Last night I made Fish Tacos,  Pineapple Mango Salsa, Black Beans and Rice, Cabbage Slaw and Guacamole. It sounds like a lot, but it was all very easy to make and a lot of it could be done ahead of time, cutting back on what needed to be done right at meal time. There are a lot of choices when it comes to the fish you want to use for the tacos. I chose grouper, mainly because it looked good at the fish market on Saturday and it was on sale. you could really use any firm-fleshed fish for this dish, like halibut, cod or Mahi Mahi and it would be fine. There’s not much of a recipe when it comes to just doing the fish; most of the work lies in what you make with it.

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup diced English cucumber

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced (optional)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound grouper or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 flour tortillas

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the chili, cilantro, onion, cumin and salt. Stir to mix well. Cover the slaw and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Place the fish on a plate and coat lightly with the remaining  1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Saute the fish, carefully turning it over once with a wide spatula, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the fish to a platter, break into 8 pieces and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Warm the tortillas in a warm skillet for 10 to 15 seconds each tortilla, or place 4 tortillas between 2 damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or until heated through and repeat with the remaining 4. Serve with the cabbage slaw and pineapple salsa (recipe to follow).

To go along with the fish tacos, I made a very tasty Pineapple-Mango Salsa. It was quick and easy to make and tastes really refreshing and delicious with the tacos or just by itself.

Mango-Pineapple Salsa

1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced fresh pineapple (1/2-inch dice)

1 tablespoon diced red onion

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon minced fresh mint

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

In a bowl, stir together the mango, pineapple, onion, lime juice, mint, cilantro and jalapeno. Cover the salsa and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I made some guacamole to go along with the tacos as well. I’ve posted my guacamole recipe before, but if you would like to check it out, you can just click here for it.

The final recipe as part of the meal is a simple Black Beans and Rice. This makes a lot, so we have leftovers to use for Tuesday’s quesadilla dinner, and this could easily be a meal on its own if you are looking for a meat-free meal to make.

Black Beans and Rice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 red or yellow pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3/4 cup dried black beans, washed, picked over and soaked if you have time

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice

1 cup chopped tomato (canned is fine; include the juices)

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

put the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cover loosely and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the beans are about half-done – softening but still tough in the middle, about 40 minutes (an hour or more if you didn’t soak the beans at all). Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use an immersion blender or potato masher to semi-puree the beans in the pot (leave at last half unpureed). Stir in the rice, tomato, and a good amount  of salt and pepper. (If you don’t want a crust to develop, cover the pot.) Bake in the oven until the rice and beans are tender, about an hour, adding a little water if needed, Taste and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Pureeing the beans and then adding the rice allows the bean flavor to really penetrate the rice. If you would like a method for soaking the beans ahead of time, here is my method.

That covers Sunday’s meal. It was delicious and not a lot of work. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and the only things leftover are some salsa and beans and rice. We’ll be able to use both again with Tuesday’s dinner, so that works out great. Later on today I will post my recipe for Monday’s dinner, a Beef Stew in the slow cooker. Check back later to check it out!

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Seafood

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

simple cooking recipes

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