Roasted Banana & Mango Compote

The idea for this recipe came straight from the roasted banana ice cream recipe. I fell in love with the roasted bananas cloaked in bubbling brown sugar and butter, and I wanted MORE! I had 2 bananas leftover on the counter, plus a mango, so I decided to combine the two, and roast them up in the oven. The result is a bowlful of tropical, caramel magic. It’s very desserty, and would be brilliant on top of some homeade vanilla ice cream, but I’m going to use this as a very decadent oatmeal topping for my breakfasts this week. Yum!

Oven Roasted Mango & Banana Compote
Makes 2 cups

2 very ripe bananas
1 champagne mango
3 T brown sugar
1 T butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and dice the banana into 1/2″ slices. Peel and dice the mango into 1/2″ cubes. Combine the fruit in an oven proof bowl and toss with the brown sugar. Dot the top of the bowl with the pieces of butter. Bake for 20 minutes, stir. Bake for 20 more minutes, then take out of the oven and enjoy.

Mango Salad with Spicy Lime Pepita Dressing

This is my favorite Spring salad, and cements my undying love for the culinary genius that is Rick Bayless. His cookbook Mexican Everyday, is definitely one of the few cookbooks I own that I’ve cooked multiple recipes out of. Living in Chicago, we’ve been lucky enough to eat in his restaurants, but I prefer the simpler everyday recipes in this book to eating out. That braised pork shoulder I made a couple of months ago was Rick’s recipe and definitely a winner.

When you finish this salad, you just might want to lick the plate, to get every last drop of the spicy, tangy dressing. The salad is topped with chunks of ripe mango, crumbled bleu cheese, toasted pepitas, and either avocado or whatever leftover grilled or roasted meat you have on hand. In this case, we had some leftover chili-garlic paste rubbed skirt steak from the night before, so we topped the salad with that.

The dressing takes a little more work than your average vinaigrette, but is totally worth it. The dressing makes about a cup, which is good for about 6 entree salads.

Pepita Lime Salad Dressing
Makes 1 cup of dressing

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (from about 4-5 limes)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
spoonful of chipotle puree, to taste
squeeze of honey, to taste
1/3 cup raw pepitas, toasted (some will be reserved to top the salad)

  1. In a small pan, gently roast 4 cloves of garlic in the olive oil over very low heat. Cook until the cloves of garlic begin to soften, and get just a touch of golden color. Turn off the burner and set the oil aside.
  2. While the garlic oil is cooking, toast the pepitas in another small pan, over medium heat. Shake the pan often so that they don’t burn. You’ll know they’re done when you start to hear the seeds start popping as they heat up – this takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the seeds. Set the toasted seeds aside.
  3. Pour the fresh squeezed lime juice into a mini-food processor or blender, then pour in the garlic and oil. Puree until smooth. Add a small spoonful of chipotle puree and 2 T of the toasted pepitas, and puree until smooth. I like the dressing to be thicker than a regular vinaigrette, so if it’s still a bit thin, add another tablespoon of pepitas, and puree again. Next, add a squeeze of honey, and a half-teaspoon of salt – puree, taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking by adding more honey or salt.

To make the salad: toss the dressing with lots of greens (romaine, spinach, butter lettuce are good here), then top with cubes of ripe mango, some of the reserved pepitas, and some crumbled bleu cheese. The addition of meat is optional. Avocado is also a perfect topping, but Mark won’t eat it, so I usually go without.

Mango & Curried Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a gift to the gluten-free people of the world. This tiny, earthy protein-packed grain is as open to inspiration as the other main grain in my life – rice. The ladies I work with are also quinoa lovers. Betsey eats quinoa and ghee for breakfast most mornings, Lori makes a veggie stir fry with quinoa, and I adore this spicy quinoa and black bean salad. Last week, Jen jumped in with her own quinoa recommendation for this curried mango quinoa recipe – and I knew I had to make it. WOW. I think this may be my new favorite spring salad – especially while the mangos are so good.

This recipe is simple to prepare, and completely delicious. I made some alterations from the original recipe (of course), adding carrot and cilantro, and making more dressing than the recipe originally called for. The resulting salad has the tang of the yogurt and limes and a nice heat from the curry powder, and the mangos are a perfect cool counterpoint to the heat. We’ll happily be eating this for lunch the rest of this week.

For lunch-storage purposes, I’ll add the mango each morning before I leave for work, so the fruit doesn’t get all soggy from being mixed into the salad for days at a time.

Mango Curried Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 as a main course

6 Weight Watchers Points per serving

1 cup greek yogurt, 0% fat
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup quinoa
2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, scrubbed, then grated
1 fresh jalapeƱo chile, seeded and minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Optional protein garnish – saute a few shrimp with a dash of curry, minced clove of garlic with a little olive oil, and top the salad with the shrimp.
  2. Rinse quinoa in a bowl using 5 changes of water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off water (if quinoa does not settle, drain in a large sieve after each rinsing).
  3. Cook quinoa in rice cooker along with 1 tsp curry powder, using appropriate amount of water for your cooker. Set aside cooked quinoa to cool. If you don’t have a rice cooker, cook quinoa on the stovetop according to the package directions.
  4. Whisk together yogurt, lime juice, 2 tsp of curry powder, ginger, salt in a measuring cup. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, bell pepper, jalepeno, cilantro, carrot and cilantro. Drizzle about half of the yogurt dressing over the salad, and mix with a spatula. Add the rest of the dressing, and mix thoroughly.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, top with the diced mango, and optional shrimp.


If you’ve spent any time with us on our balcony overlooking the lake on a summer evening, you probably already know that margaritas are my signature drink, but not one that I generally order at a restaurant. I hate those cloyingly-sweet concoctions of high-fructose corn syrup and citric acid poured from a plastic jug that pass for margaritas in most establishments. When I want a margarita, I’m either getting it from someone credible like Rick Bayless, or more likely – mixing my own. And I make a fine margarita, if I do say so myself.

Mark’s family came to visit us this weekend, and brought the sunshine with them, so we spent as much time as possible outdoors enjoying the weather, so there wasn’t much kitchen activity this weekend. But the weather was so beautiful on Sunday, it inspired me to fire up the blender for the first margaritas of the season. And they were a perfect refreshment for a sunny afternoon at home.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time fussing around with squeezing limes, so I’ve taken a shortcut on my margarita prep. I simply cut the limes into eighths, and blend them in the blender for 10-20 seconds with 5 cups of water and then strain. Instant margaritas! Not only is this method easier, but by using the whole lime you get a different, earthier lime taste from all that zest whizzing around in the blender. The result is the taste of the whole lime, and a little less tart than straight lime juice.

I also sweeten the juice with agave nectar as I try to avoid sugar as much as I can. For this batch, I decided to add a tangerine and a peeled and diced mango to the mix, which added some extra sweetness, and decreased the amount of agave required. Enjoy!

Serves 8-10 cocktails

6 limes, washed and cut into eighths
1 tangerine, sliced in half, seeds removed, then cut into eighths (optional)
1 champagne mango, peeled, and diced, pit discarded (optional)
5 cups water
approx. 1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup good quality tequila (or to taste)
1/2 cup triple sec

  1. Get out a pitcher and sieve. Wash limes and cut each lime into 8 pieces. Wash tangerine, slice in half and remove seeds, then cut into 8 pieces. Place citrus in blender, add 5 cups of water, and blend for 10-20 seconds, until citrus is ground into small pieces. If you have a small, or less powerful blender, do this in 2 batches.
  2. Place the sieve over your pitcher, and strain the contents of the blender into the pitcher. Rinse out the blender bowl. Add the diced mango to the now clean blender, and cover with some of the strained lime juice. Puree until smooth, then pour the lime/mango mixture into the pitcher with the remaining lime juice. Stir. Pour in the agave nectar, tequila, triple sec and stir until well combined.
  3. Serve in cocktail glasses rimmed with salt and pour over ice. Enjoy outdoors, preferably with the sun shining above.

Mango Lime Sorbet

It’s mango season right now, and as mangoes are one of my very favorite fruits, you may be seeing quite a bit of them around here for awhile. I’m a bit picky about my mangos, though. I like them ripe, and that means that they must be very soft to the touch. The regular green-red Mexican mangos are okay, but I adore the golden Manila mangos – they’re also called “Champagne” mangos at some stores. They’re smaller than the green mangos, and the flesh is much creamier, and less fiberous. When Manila mangos are perfectly ripe, they’re not only soft, but the skin begins to get a tiny bit wrinkly. Manila mangos are perfect for a sorbet application.

You’ll also find the best price on mangos at your local ethnic produce market. I stocked up on 5 Manila mangoes on Sunday, and by Wednesday morning they were perfectly ripe. One word of advice for the mango lovers out there – pick up a serrated vegetable peeler for prepping your mangos – it’ll easily peel even the ripest mango, without bruising the flesh.

This evening I made up a fresh batch of oatmeal in the rice cooker, and stirred in a finely diced mango to the finished oatmeal – I’ll be looking forward to breakfast tomorrow. Next, I moved on to the mango sorbet. I use a good amount of lime juice in this sorbet, and it really highlights the ripe mango flavor…and makes me want to make up some mango-margaritas as soon as the weather warms up!

Stay tuned for more mango madness in the next couple of weeks. I’ve got my eye on a few of Kevin’s vast library of mango recipes, a few of which may make an appearance on this blog.

Mango Sorbet

Makes 1 quart

Serves 8

5 large, ripe manila (also known as champagne) mangos, about 4 cups of cubed flesh
juice of 2 limes
2/3 cup simple syrup
2/3 cup water
2 T tequila

  1. Heat the sugar and water in a small pan on the stove, stir a few times. Turn heat off when all sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool a bit.
  2. Peel the mangoes with your serrated veggie peeler. Slice the flesh off the pits and cut into large chunks. Place the mango, sugar syrup and lime juice in a blender, and puree until smooth. Add 2 T tequila, and pour into a storage container, and chill in the fridge until cool. Turn the chilled puree in your ice cream maker, and then serve.

143 cal per 1/2 cup, 35g carbs, 18g sugars