Monday, July 28, 2008

Hot Sauce

A quick story... so you know that my kitchen is jinxed, because I am not the only perpetrator of foibles here.

A beloved family member who is staying with us was cooking dinner while I was feeding the baby. After the baby was done, I went to serve dinner to the kids -- spaghetti with meat sauce, their favorite. It looked odd, but I didn't think anything of it, because I trust her cooking.

A moment after diving into the spaghetti, M commented, "This is hot." E started waving her hand wildly at her face and motioning for something to drink. I was looking at the sauce in the pot, confused. Why did she put peppers in it? Are those... jalapeno seeds?

Then it dawned on me. She didn't use the jar of spaghetti sauce I bought the other day. I peeked into the recycling bin.

There was an empty jar of Pace Picante Sauce at the bottom of the bin I had just emptied this morning.

After I picked myself up off the floor and found my breath from laughing hysterically, I served the girls plain noodles and put aside the meat sauce. Needless to say, we're having tacos tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Disappearing Mango Sorbet

This week we received a bunch of beautiful, ripe mangoes in our Bountiful Basket. Mmm, I love the tangy, tropical aroma of mangoes (despite being chastised by Barbara Kingsolver to consider their long-distance journey as a waste of fuel merely for one's visceral enjoyment). After reading Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I've started to look for local produce and take the amount of energy "calories" of my fruits and veggies into consideration when shopping.

But we did not choose these mangoes. They chose us, by virtue of leaping themselves into our co-op basket.

There were these beautiful mangoes on my counter this afternoon, begging to be put to proper use and not be left to over-ripen (as their sad tropical kitchen neighbors, the black bananas, had). My oldest child came to me with sagging shoulders and a wanting expression. "Mom, can I have a snaaaaaack?"

Sure, I thought. I could whip up a lovely banana frappe with fresh mango. However, the bananas were beyond rescue. Poor things.

The mango, on the other hand, was juicy, succulent, and in season somewhere in the world (I've heard that you can't give away mangoes in Hawaii in the summer, they are so plentiful that they drip from the trees and no one wants more). We even have a relative with a mango farm in Mexico... however, lacking an import license, they can't bring them over the border.

Then the light bulb turned on: sorbet!

Here's the recipe that my kids liked so much that it's just about gone already. In one afternoon, we have each had three bowls. That's why it’s called "Disappearing" – if you have mangoes to make disappear, this will help.

(I adapted this recipe from Cuisinart's cookbook and cut the sugar in half—if your mangoes are ripe, this is sweet enough.)

Disappearing Mango Sorbet

2 cups mango chunks (approx 3-4 mangoes)
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water (you could substitute mango nectar or pineapple juice and leave out the sugar)
juice of 1 large or 2 small limes

Process ingredients down to a puree in a food processor or blender. Add to ice cream maker and freeze according to machine’s directions. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Damn, she's good

On occasion, I catch up with Soulemama and her blog of pretty, crafty things. I just saw her new creation, the Gratitude wrap. Oh my gosh. I have to make one of these for myself. Having just celebrated my son's baptism, where he received a pile of thoughtful, precious gifts from dear family and friends, I have a pile of thank-you notes to write on his behalf. I usually stuff a box of cards in my already overstuffed purse to take with me and scribble out "grazie" while waiting at dance or swim class. Now, I can make myself a cute, slim little pocket organizer to carry my supplies around and feel happier doing it.

Amanda Soule, you inspire and humble the rest of us!