Monday, March 26, 2012

Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa

I love mangoes! I love them anyway I can get them. I think every Cuban has a passion for this fruit embedded in their DNA. Years ago, I discovered how well it complimented fish. This salsa is simple to make and is packed with flavor. It's beautiful colors set off any dish and make it that much more appetizing. My favorite way to use this salsa is paired with salmon. As the warmer weather approaches, we love to grill Salmon outside. There is just something beautiful about grilling the salmon, hanging by our pool, and sipping fabulous mojitos my husband always spoils me with. I love this salsa so much, that I plan the salmon around it, rather than the other way around. If I don't have the mango salsa available, I'll wait to do the salmon. If there is any leftover, I use them to top off fish or pork tacos.

Tips: This salsa is not complicated. Give yourself some time to chop up the few ingredients. Also, the flavors meld much better if prepared the day prior to serving. The flavors really just come together making it that much better. Remove the salsa from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving. This will allow the extra virgin olive oil to relax. Lastly, if you have never chopped fresh jalapeños, wear food gloves. Or, be very careful removing its membrane and seeds. The heat is in the membrane and seeds. So simply use the knife to slice off the membrane and scrape seeds away. Dispose off in trash or food recycling container; the garbage disposal may irritate you as the fumes disperse.

So let's get started.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups pealed, chopped ripe mangoes (a great substitute are ripe, sweet peaches)
  • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine (remove membrane and seeds if you don't want the heat)
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like using a garlic infused EVO, but it is not necessary.)
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest...or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper



Method
Fold all the ingredients together in a non reactive bowl. I usually taste the salsa and then adjust the seasonings as needed.

Plating suggestions: Place a generous portion of salsa on top of the fish being served and have extra available at the table. Your guests will surely want a little more.

Buen Provecho!
Elsa







Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rich Raspberry Meringue with White Chocolate Swirls

Raspberry Meringues With White Chocolate Swirls

This dessert is rich! This recipe will produce 8 large meringue puffs. I have never tried to half the recipe, but I will next time. My husband and I could have shared one puff. If you're having a party, though, one could easily miniaturize the size of the meringue puffs.

I don't appreciate the texture of the meriningue as much the next day. But, in a pinch (as dinner parties do usually feel), the puffs could be made the day before and stored into airtight containers. Simply use parchment paper in between the layers of meringues. Then, about 1/2 hour before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, chopped pistachios, and sprinkle a few fresh raspberries. However, when I plan to serve these, I like to start off by creating this dessert first. Then, while it is baking, I continue creating other dinner items.

I like this dessert because it's just something a little different than the desserts one chooses to serve. It truly creates a spectacular dessert that will impress your dinner guests!

Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites
  • pinch of salt 1 ½ cups superfine sugar (not the same as confectioners sugar)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3 oz. White chocolate chip
  • 1 ¼ cups raspberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks (a topping for the baked meringue)
  • 2 tbsp chopped pistachios (a topping for the baked meringue)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Place egg whites into clean bowl with salt. Use the whisk attachment (or hand held beaters) to whisk the eggs until stiff. Slowly whisk in the sugar 1 Tbsp at a time. At this point, the eggs should be glossy and very stiff. Add the corn starch and vinegar and mix again. 

whisked meringue (look for stiff peaks)

2. Melt chocolate by place them into a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, nestle a glass bowl onto a saucepan of simmering water. Use a pot holder to hold the glass bowl while stirring the chocolate until it melts.

melting chocolate
3. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper on baking sheet to make a large meringue puff. Take 4 raspberries and a heaped teaspoon of the melted white chocolate and swirl them into the puff. I used a baby spoon to integrate the raspberries and melted chocolate. Take care to not flatten the puff. Try to incorporate as much of the white chocolate into the meringue. If it is exposed, it may brown during baking.

Meringue puff with raspberries and melted, white chocolate sitting on top.

After integrating the white chocolate and rapberries
4. Place the baking sheet of meringues into the oven for 5 minutes at 350F. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 275F and bake for 45 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, transfer to a wire rack. Top with spoonfuls of whipped cream, a few of the reserved berries, and some pistachios.
After baking, cool, transfer to serving dish and place toppings. Now enjoy!
Credits: This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Small Bites" by Jennifer Joyce. In her book, Jennifer recommends other variations for this dessert; such as, dark chocolate with flaked almonds, dried coconut with mango and blueberries, or banana with caramel sauce and whipped cream.  

If you try this dessert, let me know how it went for you. And if you create your own variation, I would love to hear about it!

Buen Provecho,
Elsa