Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mango Madness: Mango Rosette Tartlets

This randomly popped up - a challenge to do a mango madness blog post! I found out about it from @nella22 on Twitter. I don't have nearly enough time to devote myself fully to Twitter, but I do check it out at least once a day. I was mentioning to her how I was getting ready to do a post on mangoes and she told me to save it until Friday as "everyone" was going to be doing a #mangomadness post!

The rules:
-Something with mango (obviously)
-Eat mangoes while you create (obviously)

I had a mango ripening in the fridge and my brain reached back to a clipping I'd saved from a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine from a few years ago. How odd! But that was the first thing that came to mind. I have a folder where I keep all my clippings that have yet to be tested, so I knew it was safely inside. Once a recipe has been tested and deemed good enough to repeat, it makes it onto the pages of my special recipe book. 

This one was a keeper!

Mango Rosette Tartlets

Don't those look beautiful??! A lovely crust and some whipped cream/creme fraiche filling topped with mango!

Well, I totally deviated from the recipe. I'm starting to do that more often! I had this amazing butter cookie dough in the freezer, just waiting to be used up. I had made it for sugar cookies and it was so delicious. I thought, tart dough = why not?

This recipe is adapted from the America's Test Kitchen and was recommended to me by @nella22:

Butter Cookies (aka Tart Dough!)
2 1/2 c All-Purpose Flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 T cream cheese, softened*

Mix all together, shape into discs, and refrigerate.

*I didn't have cream cheese at the time so I actually substituted some Greek yogurt I already had. It worked great! I suppose you could even try using sour cream.

Now, back to our delicious tarts!

These were the molds I used. They are very, very tiny. I think in the magazine, they used ones a bit bigger, and were able to use more mango. These were gifted to me by my husband's aunt. She found them at a Goodwill-type store for suuuper cheap. A huge bag of different shapes! Amazing. And she thought of me :) Aww!

Now, take your refrigerated tart dough and roll it out to about 1/4"-1/8" thickness, whatever you are comfortable with. I know there are easier ways to do this, but my tart pans were very light, so I decided to use a round cutter for each pan.
It is slightly larger than the tart pan.

Cut out however many you want (I made 14).

And very carefully, ease the dough into the pan.

Even more carefully, press the dough into the rounded edges of the pan without squishing it too much, until everything is nice, cozy, and even.

If you have edges that hang out, use a small knife to neatly trim them. The edges should look nice since everyone sees that! Once you've got all your pans done, refrigerate them for 30 minutes to let the dough get firm again. 

Then, prick the bottoms with a fork, and bake at 350 until they are baked to perfection (about 20-25 mins). Let cool completely on a wire rack before filling. 
1/2 c cold heavy cream
1 T powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c creme fraiche*
1 mango, peeled and halved
small mint leaves

*If you are unable to find creme fraiche ("fresh cream", a decadent sort of sour cream) at your local market, you can make it very easily at home! I did, using this website as a guide. I made mine with heavy cream and buttermilk.

Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the creme fraiche and taste for desired sweetness. I found that I had to add a little more powdered sugar to mine.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe into the tart shells, filling them halfway. 

Next, slice your mango very very thinly, roll each slice into a rose and place onto your tart. I found this part to be very tricky! And I think in the magazine picture, they used several pieces of mango. I used only one. Pop on a bit of mint and your Mango Rosette Tartlets are ready!

Can't get enough mango?! (I know I can't!)

Check out these other #mangomadness bloggers for great recipes and inspiration!  by the #mangocrazy Annapet by the #mangomaniac Elizabeth  by the #mangosocial Karriann  by the #mangofriend Malou by the #dominicanmango Francys by the #mangowriter Nelly  by the #mangobaker Erin

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick n' Easy Guacamole

MMM. I love this time of year because all my favorite fruits and vegetables are in season! Most especially strawberries, mangoes, and AVOCADOS!

I can't believe that I didn't like these when I was younger, but yeah, mushy green stuff is probably not too appealing to kids.

This recipe that I made up is super easy and customizable. That's what I love about cooking - you can add in or leave out whatever you want, and change things along the way. I am totally a baker at heart and love precision, measurements, and technical skills, but there is something fun about just tossing in what you want and tasting along the way!
- 5 Ripe Haas Avocados
- 5 Roma Tomatoes
- 1/2 Sweet Maui Onion
- 1 Lime
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste
- Salt and Pepper, to taste

Feel free to add anything else you might like... Cilantro, scallions, hot peppers?! Make it your way!

Cut all the avocados in half.
Remove the pits and scoop into a large non-reactive bowl (like stainless-steel) with a large spoon.

Cut the tomatoes and onion into a small dice. I like small-ish pieces that can fit on your chip.
As you can tell, I like tomatoes more than I like onions. I just add a little bit of onions for the crunch!

Throw all that into your bowl, and use my favorite tool for this recipe - the potato masher! I suppose you could also use a large fork.
I like to have some large chunks left over, so I don't mash my guacamole too much. You may prefer something incredibly smooth so I would suggest using a food processor (but seriously, try it chunky at least once!).

Ok, ditch the masher and switch back to your large spoon. Add in a generous amount of olive oil. As in, pour it once all around the diameter of the bowl. I find that this adds to the consistency as well as the flavor of the guacamole. Then squeeze in your lime and maybe some lemon juice. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and crack some pepper in there!

Now stir it up and taste test!

Make sure you taste it with a chip or whatever you are serving it with. Chips already have salt on them, so perhaps you may not want to add too much salt to your guacamole. I thought mine needed some more salt and olive oil. You should always taste everything you make so that you know it is good and servable. Seriously!

Transfer your guacamole to a serving dish or storage container. I put some in both because I'm going to hide the storage container in the fridge somewhere. My husband LOVES guacamole so I hope this will make it last a little bit longer, haha!

Now, I know you have all heard the old wives' tale of leaving the pit of the avocado in the guacamole to keep it from turning brown. This works, but not very well! You just throw that pit away, seriously. The avocado turns brown when oxygen hits the surface. Although the browned guacamole doesn't taste any different, it just doesn't look that pretty. So, to keep that from happening, put some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Directly! Press it down and make sure it is completely covered.

I even do this for the guacamole in the storage container. Even with a lid, oxygen will get in there and turn it brown. Cover it with plastic wrap directly on the surface and then put the lid on.

If you can wait, let your guacamole sit in the fridge for a good hour before serving. This will let all the flavors marinate. As each day passes (if you are lucky enough to have some leftover), you will need to re-evaluate the flavor. You might need more salt, olive oil, or citrus juice, so be sure to taste test before serving!

What do you put in your guacamole? How do you like it - chunky or smooth? Spicy or cool?

It's Been Awhile

Hope you weren't holding your breath. It's been about 14 months since I last posted, I guess life got a bit busy!

In the time that has passed, I:

  • Got a "real" job
  • Moved into our first apartment and set it up to be our home sweet home
  • Got married to my husband on October 9, 2010 - a truly amazing, wonderful day!
These are just the major things, but a whole lot of fun little things have happened along the way since last April. Perhaps I will blog about them in the future.

I originally started this blog as a way to connect with my far-off family and friends while I was away at school. It's a non-obtrusive way of sharing what's going on without sending out constant e-mail blasts, and I can never remember all my life updates while on the phone. Plus life is better when you can share pictures, too!

So, as it was when I started, this will be a way to share what I've been up to, whether it be cooking, crafting, baking, doing stuff outdoors, or just to share random thoughts. Read on!
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