Mangos are quite possibly my favorite fruit. I always looked forward to mango season in West Africa, and they are one of the things I really miss since moving to the States. But a couple weeks ago I got a whole crate of mangos for free! They were past their prime - I cut out a bunch of bad spots - but I was able to get several bowls of delicious fresh fruit . . . and a few pictures. If you've never cut a mango, here's how:

cutmango

Notice that the seed is long and flat. Depending on how you're planning to use your mango, you can continue by cutting it into chunks like this:

mangopieces

 

In West Africa we had two types of mango . . . the "agric" mangos, which are smooth and firm like the photos above, and the "local" mangos which are smaller, juicier and very stringy. They're hard to cut into chunks, and hard to eat without getting tons of fibers stuck in your teeth. We had a giant, spreading "local" mango tree that yeilded about two bushels of mangos a day for three weeks straight. WHAT in the world should I do with all those mangos? Of course we gave most of them away. :-) But I also came up with the idea of making "mango butter" . . . like apple butter, which is one of my favorite toppings ever. It was a grand success and I was quite pleased!

 

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to strain out the fibers without a Victoria strainer or any sort of food mill. With a little experimenting, I figured out that it worked to use a colander with a wooden pestle. In this way, I ended up with a smooth sauce that worked great for mango butter. Excuse the blurry cell phone picture!

IMG 20140421 172108

 I just followed an apple butter recipe, like the one here. If you already have a family favorite, I'm sure it would be great! I canned it in small jars for easy storage, but freezing would work well too.

I have canned cut mangos just like peaches . . . but we like them better frozen. They're great dropped into a blender with milk and bananas for a smoothie! Mango and avacado are also great together.

 

The possibilities with mangos are endless. Check out a few of these delicious-looking recipes I found online:

Rice Pudding with Mangos

Mango Chicken Curry

Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Carmelized Mangos

 

What do you like to do with mangos? Do you have a favorite recipe to share?

One of my husband's favorite breakfasts - and yet one that I rarely make - is quiche. But if you, like me, have a hard time finding time in the morning to make this dish, try making it for supper! Or you can make the pie crust the night before. You can even make the crust and put it in the freezer for later! To do this, roll the crust out on a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper. Cover the entire top with another piece of plastic/wax paper. Now you can gently fold it to put in a ziploc bag for freezing. When you're ready to use it, thaw completely before unfolding!

Quiche, like most "casseroles", is quite versitile. You can make a very simple quiche with just eggs, milk and cheese. If you don't have cheese, add lots of meat and vegetables and you'll hardly miss it. As you mix and match ingredients, just be sure your total (of meat & vegetables combined) doesn't add up to more than about a cup.

Most quiche recipes call for cream (or for sour cream, cottage cheese, etc). However, I've used my trusty cream substitue of rich powdered milk quite successfully. :-) Just mix powdered milk using a 3-to-1 ratio instead of the normal 4-to-1.

Simple Quiche Recipe

One pie crust

6 eggs
1/2 c rich milk
1/2 c Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Optional Add-ins:

Meat (1/4c to 3/4c) - ham, bacon, sausage,

Veggies (1/4c to 3/4c) - mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, tomatoes,

Seasonings (don't use more than one of these at a time) - basil, rosemary, nutmeg, cayenne pepper

Bake crust 10-15 min at 375. Then fill with egg mixture and bake 35-40 minutes. For best results, let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with ketchup, salsa, or for a special treat, serve with maple syrup!

Do you make quiche? Anything you add that I didn't mention here?

Recently, ancient grains like millet have become quite popular in the United States. But they are also pricey, to be found in health food stores and the like. I always get a thrill when I can buy foods like that very cheaply in the village markets where I live. For about five pounds of millet I pay about $1. :-) Millet is nutritious, supplying you with potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium. 100 grams of millet contains 11grams of protein - that's almost as much as two eggs. It is also gluten free.

If you buy grains or seeds in a village market, they will need to be washed and sorted. The women in my West African location have a very nifty and efficient technique for this, which is quite impossible to explain. But if you live in a place where millet is grown, I would guess the women will be able to show you how they do this.

Here's three of our favorite millet recipes.

1. Breakfast cereal
For this I toast the millet in a dry pot until it is golden. Then I grind it coarsely. (I use a small metal hand grinder). In the morning, I will cook about two cups of meal with about six cups of water and a bit of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve with milk and sweetener of choice.

2. Millet pancakes
For this, I use raw, finely ground millet flour. Replace all purpose flour with millet flour in any pancake recipe. Even better if you substitute yogurt or sour milk for the milk.

3. Curry over millet
My favorite! Reminds me of bulghur wheat and couscous.


Toast 2 cups of millet in a bit of oil until slightly browned. Add about 6 cups of water and some salt and simmer for about an hour, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat and let steam for about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with curry of your choice.

I have also made banana bread using millet flour, I have sprouted millet, and I have read that millet will pop like popcorn but I have not had success with that for some reason. Have you used millet? Let us know if you have any creative ideas!

 

Meet Lysanne: I am a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mommy to two little girls aged 4 and 1.5, and I am currently living in rural West Africa. Language and culture learning has us immersed in small village life right now, and that means some unique challenges and lots of wonderful times.

 

That's right, folks, this here is good stuff! I'm not from the south, but I love cornbread. It's a comfort food for me, along with a good pot of chili. :-) This is one of the first recipes I learned to bake as a girl in my mom's kitchen. It's super-moist, even though it's made with whole wheat flour. It tastes great with white flour, too, if whole wheat is not not available (or if you just don't like the stuff)! Just add a 1/4 more flour if you're using white flour, otherwise your bread will be mushy in the middle.

 

So without further ado, here's our favorite family recipe:

 

The World's Best Cornbread

1 c. cornmeal

1 c. whole wheat flour or 1 1/4 c. white flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 c. oil

1/4 c. honey, sugar, or molasses

2 eggs

1 c. milk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Stir just until combined. Pour into a greased 9" square pan, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Edges should be nicely browned.

 

And one more tip - for a savory cornbread that's great with vegetable soup, add 1/4 oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder to the dry ingredients. A surprising twist!

 

What do you like to do with cornbread? Any tips or secret ingredients?