Mikey Likes Mangoes…What a Heavenly Life!

Mikey is a friend of my friend and I just discovered (via my friend) that Mikey is onto something. Something very likely sinful. Something addictive. Something delicious!

Mikey tells my friend how he does mango in his house, and I gotta tell ‘ya I’m miffed I didn’t discover it myself.  Here’s what Mikey does.

Mikey ventures out to the grocery store and casually selects some mangoes. Then, he sneaks over to the frozen foods aisle (and no, he’s not looking for brussel sprouts) and looks both ways. The diet police are nowhere in sight. Coast clear, he reaches into the freezer and pulls out (insert drum roll) Haagen-Dazs Mango Ice Cream. GASP!!!!!!!!

 

Hello Jesus! The mere thought of this mango-mango combo sends me into my own kind of resurrection!  I can’t concentrate. Life on earth stops. I must, I must be Mikey’s disciple and follow the leader. I would have done it sooner, but I never knew about this mango dream team! How long has this wonder of a product been on the market? Oh, the torture of what I’ve missed through my ignorance! But I can’t look back. I must, must forgive myself. Put my oversight behind me and begin anew.

 

Bear witness, my dear mango friends, to my new inspiration. I have been saved by the mango-mango combo. Let’s just call it Amazing Grace.  Shazam, it’s good!  The best deal of all is that this is not just “mango flavored” ice cream.  Haagen-Dazs actually went to the trouble of putting perfectly ripe, perfectly sized pieces of mango into the mix!  So not only do I get fresh mangoes on top, but I get fresh mangoes inside the ice cream.  YUMMMM.  Thanks Haagen-Dazs, and thanks Mikey!  (and thanks to the sacrificial mango of the day!)

 

(I got my Haagen-Dazs at Safeway)

Oh yes, and let me add:  I’m firm believer in the notion that one good thing leads to another.  For all you non-dairy folks, I’ve got something good for you too!  Stay tuned.

Chocolate Dipped Mango Orchids. Need I Say More?

I was trolling around on certain sites dedicated to chocolate not sure what I expected to find….I was *just trolling*. I know you know how that is.

Then I got the daft idea to search for mango in die-hard chocolate territory. And boy was I grossly overcompensated for the folly! What surely promised to be an irrelevant search yielding “no results” turned up a bona fide Mango Nugget replete with a full set of bragging rights.

You already know what I found: Chocolate Dipped Mango Orchids.
iconI quickly learned that an accomplished chocolatier in San Francisco, Mindy Fong, had both the good sense and brilliance to create these dreamy and oh-so-edible creatures. And it gets better. I had plans to be in San Francisco the following week! So I called Mindy and we arranged a chocolate covered mango orchid pow-wow. I was actually going to get to taste the orchids that would tempt ANY foodie.  How’s that you say?  For starters, the mangoes used in Mindy’s orchids hail from the island of Cebu in the Philippines; many a mango authority find them to be the finest, sweetest mangoes available anywhere.

The big day arrived and I confess I began to wonder whether or not I would like the taste as much as I admired the creativity and presentation of the orchids. After all, I’m a milk-chocolate kind of gal and Mindy’s mango orchids are dipped in *bittersweet* chocolate. How would the sweet mango slices fare when teamed up with the dark side?

Let it be said that Mindy Fong knows her flavors. Mindy grew up eating mangoes and she knew *exactly* what to do: Mindy chose to pair her mango orchids with a fruity, 55% bittersweet chocolate…a complementary, pitch-perfect choice! I’ve *Never Ever* had a treat quite like these orchids and I’m guessing this also applies to most everyone I know. This brings me to my next, seemingly unrelated point. (bear with me here…)

I have an agreement with my girlfriends, Mom, Dad & siblings that we don’t buy gifts for each other. Why? Not only do we all have what we need, but it’s next to impossible to find something really unique that reflects the love and affection we feel for each other. On special occasions, we simply opt to spend quality time together. But for the first time in years, I feel compelled to send gifts to my beloved cohorts! (chocolate dipped mango orchid gifts!)

Compared to other hip and respectable gift possibilities, a mango orchid or mango orchid bouquet expenditure is quite affordable. And the delight derived from sending (and undoubtedly receiving) such an unexpected, delicious, and beautiful treat is off the charts!

If you too would like to indulge and/or be indulged with a mango orchid bouqueticon or single mango orchidicon be forewarned: go down the mango orchid gift path and your gift-giving reputation will forevermore be firmly set somewhere in the stratosphere. You may very likely NOT be able to outdo yourself as a gift-giver. They are *that* good. The folks running THE chocolate site in question make it all the easier by offering free ground shipping on most $70+ orders. Happy chocolate dipped mango orchid eating!

p.s. I should add that since I originally wrote this post, Mindy has added chocolate dipped mangoes in boxes to her lineup – in addition to the orchids. These are perfect for those folks who really want them as a regular snack (heavenly snack) as opposed to the orchids, which are best for gifts.

p.s.s. And one more thing..search the whole chocolate.com site for “mango” b/c a lot of new chocolate mango products have been added… making the $70 for free shipping will be easy, easy, easy…

icon

How to Cut a Mango (i.e. How to Remove the Blasted Clingy Seed)

Before I was a maven, I confess I was tentative on buying a lot of mangoes because they are clingstone fruits. As one might surmise, “clingstones” have stones which cannot be easily removed from the flesh. Said another way: The flesh is attached strongly to the blasted stone/seed/pit and must be cut away from the blasted stone/seed/pit. Said yet another way: This takes more time/effort in the kitchen than I have the patience for.

Then wha-la! The gates of Heaven opened and I found the tool that changed my mango life forever:  A mango pitter!!!!   You simply must, must, must have one. (I’ve seen hoity-toity culinary types post videos on how to cut a mango with just a knife. It’s all horse-pucky and I’ll tell you why in a minute)

To start, cut the ends off of the mango.  This step is essential for perfectly ripe mangoes, which tend to be on the softer side. (Trying to slice through tough skin will sometimes demand a degree of pressure which can begin to crush a really ripe mango. Having a little flesh showing eases the process.)

Cut End of the Mango for an Easy Start

Press down firmly!

 

 

Look how lovely!

 

First slice in one direction…

And then slice in the opposite direction…

 

Flip it inside out and …..beautiful!

When you’re all done!

When you’re all done slicing off the cubes, this skin look like this…

About the hoity-toities and mangoes…

The mango pitter is shaped exactly like the seed, and cuts as close AROUND the seed as possible. Has anyone ever seen a knife with a rounded blade? Nope. So you’re either throwing away good fruit that’s still on the seed OR spending time trimming the flesh off the seed. 🙁

A mango pitter, on the other hand, leaves a little flesh on the seed, (enough for significant others to slurp on) but is, in most cases, extremely efficient. There is one exception: Manila mangoes. Manila mangoes have smaller seeds than other varieties of mangoes, so the pitter leaves a good deal more flesh on the seed. So in this instance, I still use the pitter, but take a few seconds to slice more flesh off of the seed – with a knife just like the hoity-toities. The superb taste of the Manila mango is more than worth the trouble. The other exception to efficiency I’ve seen with this pitter is that seeds from really largeTommy Atkins mangoes are a hair too big and the pitter gets stuck mid-cut. In reality, you shouldn’t be buying Tommy Atkins mangoes ANYWAY, so in my mind, the pitter is still a 10/10.

Now for the extra tip that makes it all worthwhile. What to do with the mango skins and your morning coffee grinds? There has never been so easy an answer. Check out the kitchen workhorse of a compost bin a few pics below. My husband is an engineer and by definition, frugal. There are not many purchases that he gloats over, but this is one of them. It’s big enough to last for a couple of day’s worth of refuse, has a charcoal filter (think ODOR FREE), and cleans up beautifully.

Stainless 1 Gallon Compost Bin

I’ve had mine for a couple of years now and use it daily. I like my counters clear of “things” for easier wiping, so I stow mine under the sink.

Mangoes and banana peels headed for a new life…

 

 

Shazam! Neat, tidy, and a friend to the environment!

 

I bought both my mango pitter and compost bin at Williams-Sonoma. Other retailers carry mango pitters, but not THIS beautiful mango-colored mango pitter – it’s exclusive to Williams-Sonoma. For instance, some retailers carry a white version, but I confess (yet again) I have a strong preference for the hoity-toity mango-colored Williams-Sonoma version.  Okay, so it’s true…I may appreciate hoity-toity things and persons more than I initially let on.  Happy mango slicing!

 

Mango Sorbet (Gluttony Justified)

In an earlier post, I promised to share a dairy-free alternative to Haagen-Dazs’ ever-de’lish mango ice cream.  Here it is.

Turns out, I’ve come across TWO amazing choices:  Mango Sorbet by Haagen-Dazs and Mango Sorbet by Trader Joe’s.  Each is a little different, so let me provide a quick overview.  BOTH are amazingly tasty (like A+ tasty) and I heartily recommend either.  (But really, I can’t imagine a vendor messing up mango sorbet, can you?) So it’s down to a matter of preference about which to bring home and proudly call your own.

YUMMMMMMMY!

The Haagen-Dazs selection tastes more quintessentially dessert-y, compared to the Trader Joe’s version. I guess the best way to put it is that the Haagen-Dazs version is a little sweeter than the Trader Joe’s product – the texture might be slightly smoother as well.  I would describe it as being a step closer in likeness to ice-cream, but without the dairy of course.

ALSO YUMMMMMY!

The Trader Joe’s Mango Sorbet tastes more like actual fresh frozen pureed mangoes.  It’s also darker in color.  Ounce per ounce, the Trader Joe’s Mango Sorbet is somewhat less expensive than the Haagen-Dazs offering as well. I found myself wanting to switch back and forth, because each is so good.  It’s definitely a case of Different but Equal !

Bottom line: If you’re going for a more natural fresh fruit taste, try the Trader Joe’s Mango Sorbet.  If you have a sweet tooth, opt for the Haagen-Dazs Mango Sorbet.  But remember this is sorbet not ice cream –  so it’s not THAT sweet!

Oh and one more thing….

Bottom line #2:  From a practical standpoint, the Trader Joe’s  container is about 2x the size/volume of the Haagen-Dazs container.  So…families might find the Trader Joe’s sorbet a better fit for their needs, while singles might prefer the smaller portioned Haagen-Dazs option.  Just a thought!

Happy Sorbeting!

Healthy Snack Idea for Mango Lovers

In this post, my friends, is a totally unexpected mango food find. Here’s how *it* happened.

My husband and I were planning a trip to Yosemite, and I took on the food supply prep job. On my hubby’s list of food needs were Cliff Bars. He was planning a long hike to Clouds Rest from Tenaya Lake and needed some portable fuel. He wanted some fruity options, but I soon discovered the Cliff Bar selection was somewhat limited. (at least where I shopped that day)

But the store did have these (new to me) Kind Bars in seemingly appealing fruity flavors. So in addition to a couple of Cliff Bars, I bought a couple of Kind Bars. One had cranberry and the other one – I can’t remember exactly what it was – fruit and nut something or the other.

The day of the Clouds Rest hike came, and the big breakfast and packed lunch wound up being sufficient fuel for my significant other, the mountain goat. So back down the trail and into my home pantry went the Cliff Bars and the Kind Bars, but not before he snapped a picture of this delightful little marmot on the journey.

A couple of weeks later *I* decided to go on a local hike near our house and grabbed the Kind Bars for my own enjoyment and fuel. Now normally, this category of bar leaves something to be desired on either the taste or texture front – and historically I’ve avoided them for exactly those reasons. But these Kind Bars were strangely addictive and tasty – like something I would eat *anytime* not just on a hike out of necessity.

I wondered, are the Kind people really *all that kind?* In other words, do they make a MANGO Kind bar?

YES, THE ANSWER IS YES!!! THEY DO!!! And it’s called “MANGO MACADAMIA.”

But would it taste as good as the two I ate on my hike?

AND YES, THE ANSWER IS YES!!! IT DID!!!

And there’s more.  Mango Macadamia is wheat free/gluten free/dairy free, has 3gs of fiber and 20% DV of calcium.  Plus, it’s sweetened with honey and non GMO glucose and contains no trans fats.

Get ’em here folks at a great price – and I don’t think my buddies, the mangoes, would be too miffed if I encouraged you to try a couple of other flavors as well. This company has seriously nailed the tasty + healthy combo.

Oh, and here’s what the folks at Kind say about their bars:

“Most snacks feature a laundry list of questionable ingredients such as chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. These ‘healthy’ snacks are often high in calories and low in nutrition, leaving you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. KIND’s all natural whole nut & fruit bars put an end to hunger by delivering all-natural nutrients like fiber, protein, calcium and iron. ”

Nice eh? Am I trying to convert you, sell you, evangelize you?

YES, THE ANSWER IS YES!!! I AM!!!

Kind gets my healthy snack vote all day long…