Saturday, July 19, 2008

goodness that is mango

Be still my heart - it's mango season! My love for this fruit is greater than the risk of phalange loss when cutting them, especially with my propensity for kitchen injury. How the hell I work in a bakery, I have no idea. But with all 10 fingers, I shall blog about mango... in bread form!

Once again facilitated by the incredible powers of procrastination vested in Google Reader, I found this recipe for fresh mango bread from Joy the Baker. Drawn by the unique combination of ingredients (mango, apple, raisins, lime zest...), it seemed like a nice change of pace from my usual arsenal of quick breads.

Verdict? The cinnamon and ginger flavors make your palate think holidays, and then the bites of mango make you think, "Why didn't I put mango in my bread sooner?"

I didn't have any raisins, but threw in a handful of toasted walnuts instead. Also, I had a little trouble getting the very middle of the bread to bake through using a shallower but longer 13 3/8 " x 4 7/8 " pan. Can someone explain those dimensions, by the way? They don't even come out to even numbers in metric... Regardless, this one's a keeper and I'll be making it again soon.

Fresh Mango Lime Bread
Adapted from Joy the Baker adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 to 1 1/4 cup diced mangos from 1 large peeled and pitted mango
1 cup grated apple from 1 peeled Granny Smith apple
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
grated zest of 1/2 lime

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet. This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.

Whisk the eggs and the oil together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Rub the brown sugar between your palms into the bowl, breaking up any lumps, then stir it in. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended- the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together. Stir in the mango, apples, raisins and zest. Batter into the pan!

Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack. Eat a lot of it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


smell of fresh baked cookies + smell of rendering bacon = confusingly delicious

Saturday, July 12, 2008

tom yum goong

Tom yum goong, or Thai lemongrass prawn soup, is distinctly not a baked good, but guaranteed to fill your home with yummy smells. This is one of those traditional dishes open to a million interpretations, but they all get their distinctive flavor from lemongrass, nam-prik pao (roasted red chili paste), and kaffir lime leaves if you're ever so lucky to have some. The lemongrass and lime leaves impart that addictive flavor you find in Thai cooking, and the roasted chili paste (which contains shrimp paste) adds a deliciously complex salty and spicy quality to the broth. You can totally find this paste in the Asian foods isle at the market.

Not up to making prawn stock from prawn heads and shells, I made this quick and dirty, non-authentic but tasty version cleaning out the fridge. The longer you can simmer it, the better. The coconut milk gives it a satisfying richness. Serve this over some vermicelli and you could make a meal out of it.

Quick and Dirty Tom Yum Goong

3 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup water
¼ cup coconut milk

1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeno, cut into strips
2 pieces of ginger, 1” each
2 stalks lemon grass, discard outer layer and dry ends, cut into 2” pieces
3 kaffir lime leaves, crushed up a bit
1 lime, juiced
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs nam-prik pao (roasted red chili paste)

15 shitake mushrooms, sliced
½ block of tofu, cut into chunks
Handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
10 prawns

Get a sizeable pot. Heat a little oil over low heat. Soften shallots and jalapeno. Add mushrooms. Soften.

Add broth and water. Throw in everything else, except prawns. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Throw in prawns a few minutes before you want to serve. Done when you're hungry.