Mangoes have been on sale for the last little bit and I’ve been looking for different things to do with them. Mango Cake is always a fun option, but this time I wanted something savory and light.I had some chicken breast pieces and bell peppers which also needed using so I put everything together to end up with a Mango Chicken Stir Fry. Let me tell you this is a magnificent combination. The dish is chewy and sweet and crunchy with a little bit of spice and goes great over a little baked rice. This was good enough that we ate mango chicken for dinner, and then again for lunch…and another lunch…every scrap was eaten. That’s one of the things I love, a food where the leftovers are just as desired as the first go around!
I found more mangoes on sale this week and I think we’ll be giving this mango chicken stir fry an encore.
Heat a large skillet or wok. When the pan is good and hot add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and cook until mostly done. Add fruits and vegetables and cook until tender. Add soy sauce and spices and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add Ultra Gel as needed to soak up extra liquids. It’s usually 1-2 Tablespoons depending on how juicy your mangoes are.
Recently I was put in charge of a friend’s birthday party. This lead me to wandering through my cookbooks and Pinterest page looking for something fun and a little different. I ended up combining a few ideas and ending up at this chocolate mint poke cake. This is a fun cake which starts with a box cake mix, though you could apply the idea to your favorite scratch cake too. This is more a matter of method than specific recipe, though I like using my homemade recipes and Ultra Gel to create the best possible cake.
As a note the term poke cake applies to a lot of cakes where you poke holes in the cake while it’s warm and then pour something over the top meant to soak into the holes. Often this is a pudding or warm sauce. You want to be careful with poke cakes to use enough sauce to keep things moist and yummy, but not so much that the cake ends up a soggy mess.
Chocolate Mint Poke Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
Ingredients for cake mix + 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and 1/3 cup mint chips (opt)
Make chocolate cake as per the box adding 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and 1/3 cup mint chips. After it comes out of the oven allow to cool for 10 minutes then punch with holes. I find it easiest to use the tail end of a wooden spoon.
Pour hot fudge sauce over the cake and allow to fill holes. Give 10 minutes to set.
Layer cool pudding on top of hot fudge sauce.
Layer colored whipping cream on top of pudding and garnish.
Keep cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
My husband doesn’t love cornbread. However, he adores me and I love cornbread. So for the last several weeks he has been working on creating the best cast iron skillet cornbread recipe possible. I am the taste tester, and I have to admit it’s a wonderful job.
We discovered a few important things in the testing process.
Make sure the cast iron is hot when you pour the batter in.
Always butter, not lard or shortening.
Ultra Gel makes the texture much better and hold moisture but means more buttermilk.
Honey or jam is good, but not required for consumption.
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon UltraGel (maybe a little more)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 spoosh vanilla
2.5 Tablespoons brown sugar
Butter for the skillet (or bacon grease!)
Place 12” skillet in oven and heat to 400 degrees. Mix dry team together, then mix wet team. Just as pan is hot combine teams and add around a tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Move it around to coat evenly. Pour in batter and put in oven. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned, the batter pulls away from the sides slightly and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before flipping out onto a wooden board. Serve with toppings as desired.
Spring is a glorious time for mangos! They’re not a food which I just like to eat by themselves, however, I love it as an ingredient or a topping. Mango has a unique tart and sweet flavor and a soft, but chewy, texture which goes well with other foods. I’ve had mango several times on top of sushi rolls and love the contrast. The mango chutney recipe I’m sharing today is very good on steak, but also delightful on salmon or other fleshy seafood.
Mangoes are an odd fruit with a large flat seed in the middle. When preparing mangos you want to peel them and slice a small piece off the top and the bottom so you have a flat surface to set it on. Then carve the two large cheeks of fruit off each side and the smaller slices from the edges. Mangoes are slippery and a little sticky, so be careful. You don’t want to lose fingers doing this! Once you have the cheeks off then you can easily work them into slices or cubes. A more traditional way to do this is to skip the peeling and just slice the cheeks off with the skin intact. Then you make a grid pattern through the fruit and flip the skin wrong side out to make the fruit easy to harvest. Either way is fine, but both take a little practice. Look for mangos without soft spots or blemishes and that are relatively heavy for their size. They’ll be the sweetest.
1 mango, peeled and cubbed
2 roma tomatoes, cubbed
juice from one lime
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel (This will be determined by just how juicy your fruit is. Start with 1 Tablespoon and allow the mixture to sit before adding more.)
This week is both Cinco De Mayo and Mother’s Day! It’s a good week with some great food available. One of my favorite very easy Mexican dishes is Guacamole, but like many other dips as it sits guacamole tends to go very brown and can start weeping, and you just can’t keep it for more than a few hours. A combination of lime juice and Ultra Gel brings both flavor and fridgability.
Now, I’m not claiming this will totally keep your guac from browning a bit. Avocado just oxidizes at the drop of a hat and the only way to stop that is to eat it fast. However, the combination of the juice and the Ultra Gel really does help and it will keep it from weeping in the fridge, provided no one double dips and contaminates your dip!
4 medium avocados
Juice from 1 lime
1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
Remove the flesh from the avocados and crush lightly. Mix in lime juice and Ultra Gel until well mixed. Add spices to taste. Eat. To refrigerate: Cover tightly. I press a layer of plastic wrap right onto the dip which does a lot to keep the air way.
I looove lemon crinkle cookies. I’ve made and eaten a lot of them. A few days ago I wanted to make them, but all I had in my fruit bowl was limes. Undaunted I decided I’d just adjust my favorite lemon crinkle cookie recipe to make a lime one.
You’ll be happy to know that lime crinkle cookies are amazing. They’re not quite as bright as the lemon ones, but I think lime crinkle cookies are more flavorful and a little more mellow. Besides…they’re green, and you can’t go wrong with green cookies!
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add Ultra Gel and beat to combine. Whip in vanilla, egg, lime zest and lime juice. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients except powdered sugar. Fold into creamed mixture. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again. Pour powdered sugar onto a plate. Roll teaspoons of dough into balls and roll in the powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes until bottoms begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 2-3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
One of my husband’s favorite breakfasts is coffee cake and scrambled eggs, often with bacon. We’ve been on the look out for the last few years for the perfect coffee cake. We’ve had a lot of really good ones, but until this weekend didn’t have one which we really thought was perfect. I’m happy to say this sour cream coffee cake is amazing. It’s got a tender crumb, and a rich flavor, and the addition of Ultra Gel and cake flour make for a nice moisture which has continued for three days. It also freezes beautifully, all in all a perfect coffee cake.
The funny part… I’ve had this cake in my recipe book for years. I just had to play around with the Ultra Gel. Thanks mom!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I like the reduced fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups cake flour
2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
Filling and Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
2-4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and add to sour cream mixture. Fold in lemon rind. Gradually add milk to make a smooth batter, but do not over beat.
Combine ingredients for filling. Spread half of the batter in a greased and floured 8×8 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the filling. Spread with remaining batter and top with remaining filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tests done.