Friday, June 6, 2014

Mango Salsa / Dressing / Chutney

This is one of those times I just want to go nutso and say ALL THE THINGS at one time!!!  This is such a great recipe that I want everyone to know about it right. now.  Deep breath...

Last weekend I had the opportunity to help teach a paleo cooking class with my friend Adam, a personal trainer and health coach.  He had several clients who were coming in to learn recipes and leave with food for a week of healthy meals.  My role was to provide the kitchen tools and help everyone use them.  (A fun afternoon with great people making awesome food and showing Pampered Chef products?  Sign me up!)  Anyway, we got to this mango dish, and the uses were being explained - eat as a side, put on top of steak, etc. - and all I could think was, This would be great with pita chips!  Now, I may not know much, but I do know that yelling out about pita chips at a paleo cooking class is a pretty good way to never be invited back.  I held my tongue, but I knew these ingredients would end up on my shopping list for the week along with... pita chips.

Get ready for what I think might be the best summer salsa I've ever had in my life!
Mango Salsa / Dressing / Chutney

1 large mango, cubed
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1 cucumber, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Juice of one orange if doing chutney

Salsa: Combine all ingredients, mixing to incorporate.  Serve immediately

Dressing: Smash the ingredients, and add more olive oil

Chutney: Heat ingredients to simmer, and add juice of 1 orange.  Shake in a few pepper flakes if desired.

Do the bright colors of the ingredients make you happy?  They do me!  Cilantro is draining in a Stainless Mesh Colander, and olive oil is measured into the Mini Easy Read Measuring Cup.  My produce is on the Large Grooved Cutting Board with the flat side up, and I've got the Bamboo Grinder Set standing by for the sea salt at the end.  Then I have my Manual Food Processor, a Bamboo Specialty Tool, my Avocado Peeler, and my Mango Wedger.  This is going to be fun!

The great thing about the Manual Food Processor is that you can do multiple ingredients at the same time.  Red onion and cilantro: BEFORE.

Red onion and cilantro: AFTER.  Just a few quick pumps, and I'm done chopping herbs and onion.  On recipes where you need a bunch of an herb, this thing just can't be beaten.

I sliced my cucumber into chunks using my favorite knife, the 5" Santoku from the Forged Cutlery Collection, and now I'll finish the job with the Manual Food Processor.

Have I mentioned that I use this tool all the time?

The recipe calls for a large mango, but I don't like mango as a star ingredient.  I opted for the smaller size, but you can see that the Mango Wedger can fit all types.  This really is one of the most amazing tools I've ever seen.  The thing just finds the pit, cuts around it, and reduces waste.  Awesome!

To finish the job, score the mango two ways, and then just cut it right off of the peel.

I use the Avocado Peeler constantly during the summer.  I love avocado on salads, but I also have a thing with fresh guacamole.  By a thing, I mean an addiction.  Anyway, I think this is the best tool ever because it goes through the skin of the fruit without being sharp.  Read: You won't cut yourself.

Score the avocado two ways, making squares, and pop it out of the peel.  Here's a tip for when you only use half at a time.  Save the remaining half with the nut still inside, and cover it with plastic wrap that actually touches the green side.  That prevents air from getting against the meat, which keeps it from turning brown.

The Garlic Press!  You don't have to peel the garlic, people.  Fresh garlic changes everything, so get a garlic press and start taking advantage of the most inexpensive ingredient ever.  Everything here is in a Stainless Mixing Bowl, by the way.

I can't say enough about the Citrus Press, but this was mentioned in an awesome article I read recently on tools chefs can't live without.  This maximizes the juice you get out of citrus without letting seeds into your dish.  When one small lime is $.69, I want all the juice.

This is a great thing to have as a snack, take to a party, or make your kitchen smell fresh and delicious.  Whatever.  Just trust me when I say it's a winner.  Please, please, please make it sooner than later!  Ok, I'm going to stop before I say too much.  Just... please?

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