Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sweet Talkin' Summer Essentials

I don’t know about you, but when the temperature rises above 90 degrees I don’t even want to look at the stove. Salad, cold soup, slaw, sorbet, and anything else that does not require additional heat are my summertime essentials. That is why yesterday I set out across Brooklyn to pay a visit to a little produce shop called, Atlantic Fruit and Veg. Japanese grocery.
There is nothing remarkable about this little market accept for the fact that it is always well stocked with handsomely ripe fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and what seems like an endless supply of un-bruised Arugula.
The day was hot, but there was a misleading breeze that lulled me gently into an uninhibited state and with my i-pod blasting Leningrad, the Russian ska/punk/klezmer version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, I skipped down the street to the pounding beat, giving fellow pedestrians the impression that I had lost my mind. Once I arrived, having literally hopped across Brooklyn, my little Japanese fruit Market appeared like a colorful mirage, an edible rainbow composed of radiant fruits all of which were screaming out to be eaten.
The watermelon was particularly inviting and well, I don't know about you, but I have never been able to say no to a nice looking watermelon.
The cherries, having clearly been heavily picked through earlier that day, were expressly calling out for asylum. I picked out as many acceptable ones as I could find, I could put them in my morning yogurt.
Unlike their Florida counterpart, these Haitian mangoes were too busy suffering from culture shock to feel threatened by the legendary Alphonso Mango.
These rowdy Florida Mangoes on the other hand, accosted me as I entered the store. "Come on guys, did I not buy enough of you last week?" I tried reasoning with them, but their silent guilt-trip pulled just the right strings. I suppose I could make some sorbet. 'I better get out of here before I get sweet talked into buying anything else' I thought to myself as I ran for the register.
Here are a few of the concoctions I came up with.
Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple Slaw tossed in an
Unruly Mango Ginger Cilantro Dressing
garnished with crushed Spanish peanuts
1 cup - Mango puree
1 Tbsp- Sesame oil
1 Tbsp- shredded ginger
1 Tbsp - Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp - Pomegranate Molasses or Honey
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Chilled Cucumber and Watermelon Soup
1 seedless cucumber diced
1/4 of a med sized seedless watermelon diced
2 Tbsp - shredded ginger (alright, so I'm crazy about ginger)
1/2 cup - chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp - Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp of yogurt or cream
salt and pepper to taste

1.) in a food processor, puree the cucumber and melon, holding aside 1 cup of diced melon
2.) mix in all other ingredients minus the yogurt
3.) Chill for at least an hour
4.) Mix in yogurt or cream when ready to serve
Mango Sorbet
compliments of David Lebovitz's masterpiece, The Perfect Scoop

2 large, ripe Mangoes
2/3 cup - sugar
2/3 cup - water
4 tsp - freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon of dark rum (I used ginger infused vodka)
pinch of salt

1.) peel mangoes and cut out flesh and cut into chunks
2.) Puree in blender with sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt
3.) Chill mixture, them freeze according to your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions

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