Champagne Mango Lassi

Had a little fun with tweaking the photo today!

SORRY NO BOOZE IN THIS LASSI

Not that champagne or rum wouldn’t work on a hot day, skinny mango margarita?

Okay, serious biz here. Aren’t we all itching for the new crop of fruits to make their appearance in the markets? I mean I LOVE bananas, navel oranges, and barlett pears but what a happy girl I was when I stumbled upon some champagne mangoes at the local asian market the other day.

SWEET!

Okay, Mangoes aren’t truly in season until Summer but I was drooling over the thought of that sweet succulent fruit making its way into a lassi.

What the heck is a Lassi?

Let me share. A Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that is popular in India and Pakistan. There are savory and sweet versions, both involving a bit of spice. Today I went with the sweetened version (Duh?!).

The first time I had a Lassi (lah-see) was in college. Another student served it for her cultural food project. First sip of the sweetened beverage and I was SOLD. That mango-eey goodness left an everlasting impression on me. I often slurp one down before or after a a workout because it’s a superb combo of protein and carbs. I promise you’ll make this as often as you get the chance. It’s totally worth the hassle of cleaning that blender afterwards!

Ingredient Highlights

Champagne Mango

Champagne Mango: It’s referred to as a “pampered” mango and the gorgeous golden hue gives it significant healthy benefits. It originates in Mexico (I know, not local) and the yellowness provides vitamin A (yup, carrots aren’t the only thing offering the carotene) and ginormous amounts vitamin C (Source).

Ripeness Guide: The mango should be yellow, and soft to the touch. I intentionally waited for it to be a bit wrinkly, this means “prime” sweetness. Good to go!

Papery Pods of Cardamom

Cardamom: This spice packs a sweet and pungent flavor in one little pod. Your best bet is to buy the papery little pods, crack open and grind or just use the little seeds as I did. You can use the whole pod in simmered dishes, then just discard it once cooked. Often, we see this spice making its way into Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines such as curries, pilafs and desserts (I found this Indian Rice pudding on food52!).

 

Just a splash of rosewater will suffice

Rose Water: According to my Food Lover’s Companion, rose water is a distillation of rose petals that has the intensely perfumy flavor and fragrance of its source. It is a popular flavor of the Middle East, India and Chinese cuisines. You do not have to use it in this recipe, but I like trying things, even once. DISCARD if there’s a “yuck” factor of course. A splash will do. You’ve been warned.

Purchasing: Most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean stores carry rose water. You might also be fortunate enough to find it in the ethnic section of your local market.

RECIPE

MANGO LASSI

Serves: 1 (easily doubled!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 champagne mango (or regular mango, also substitute frozen mango)
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat kefir (I use Lifeway Brand)
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon *rose water (optional)
  • 2 cardamom pods, optional (cracked open and fresh spice!-or use dried version, start with 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or more, personal taste)
  • Ice Cubes (to fill a glass)

Methods:

Pre-prep: Slice and peel mango into chunks. (Need help? CLICK here to learn how to slice a mango).

Place all ingredients into a blender except for ice cubes.

Juicy goodness

Whirl it up until nice and velvety. Pour over a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Mix a bit. Grate fresh nutmeg on top!

This is gonna be GOOOOD!

Sip Slurp Guzzle. Yum!

Cooks Tips:

  • In case you missed it, I suggest choosing a mango a little over ripened, the skin on mine was a bit spotted and wrinkly by the time I used it, but that’s what made it perfect for the blender because there seemed to be less “stringy-ness” that mangoes often have. So no pulling strings out of my teeth. Awesome!
  • If you can’t find a fresh mango, substitute frozen and let approximately 1 cup of chunks thaw out (I like Trader Joe’s).
  • Kefir: Don’t have it, don’t wanna buy it? Substitute 4 ounces plain yogurt and you’ll have to add milk, I’d say start with 4 oz and add more depending on desired consistency.

Serve and ENJOY this super healthy treat!

-Jen

HAVE YOU HAD A LASSI BEFORE?

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SPRING TIME BEVERAGE?

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A Whopper of a SALAD!

COLORS of Health in one BIG SALAD!

Today, you’re going to Scrap that HO-HUM SALAD!

And get your mind out of the fast food gutter.

When I said WHOPPER I didn’t mean a jumbo sized burger.

But before we talk food…can we discuss how I feel like I missed something? Like an entire week? Cause it’s the middle of March already!

HEY SPRING! WELCOME!

THINGS I think we can all agree on and how Spring is one of the most pleasant times of the year:

  1. Our bad moods just seem to dissipate.
  2. More time is spent outdoors and less on our couches (which thank goodness cause we all need a shotsky of Vitamin D!).
  3. Flip flops (need I say more?).
  4. Ridding ourselves of pale skin (SUNBLOCK always!).
  5. Peonies, tulips, cherry blossoms and hydrageas->Grey be gone!

 

Tulips just make me SMILE!

Okay, now onto the FOOD.

Does the word SALAD every turn you off? Well, if the mix-ins include some flimsy white lettuce served alongside some out of season tomatoes and the same low-fat salad dressing then you have a reason to be turned off. Move over ranch dressing and bacon bits!

What I love about salads is that there are NO RULES! (I think I need to make that a tagline, I use “no rules” often). Anyway, as far as I’m concerned everything but the kitchen sink can go in there. Leftover couscous? Toss it in. Leftover roasted tomatoes and asparagus? Toss that in to. Maybe NOT the leftover brownies.

Think about COLOR, TEXTURE and FLAVOR the way that I do and you’ll soon pile up a pretty good salad. Plus, it just happens to be National Nutrition Month, so celebrate with COLOR!

Now, there are a lot of ingredients listed here, but don’t get freaked out and panicked, you aren’t making a souffle (I have yet to tackle that one).  Plus, it probably took me way longer to write this post then it did to assemble the salad!

Don't think I missed a single ingredient!

By the way, did you miss my COLOR of HEALTH food photos on my facebook album last week?

Check it out HERE! and while you’re at it, LIKE IT!

RECIPE

“Cornucopia SPRING salad

topped with

Carrot Ginger Dressing and a Delicately Poached Egg”


Serves: As many as you like-I fed myself today.

Time: 20 mins for the roasting, 10-15 mins for the salad dressing

Equipment:

  • food processor
  • blender
  • saucepan with straight sides
  • cookie sheet with edges

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Veggies

  • 1 package, portobello mushroom halves (6 oz. I believe)
  • 1-bunch asparagus, trimmed (meaning, cut the ends off)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary (optional)
  • olive oil (for drizzling-remember, GOOD STUFF)
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper (to season)

Other Salad Add-Ins

  • 1 cup or just a pile of greens (your choice, I used a red and green Romaine mix)
  • 1 avocado (you will only use a as many slices as you wish)
  • 1-15 ounce can hearts of palm (1-2 for a single serving)
  • 1-15 ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water (2+ for a single serving)
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes

For the Poached Egg

  • 1 egg (or as many as you’re serving)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (I use Nakano rice vinegar)

For the Dresssing

  • 2 cups grated carrots (I’m obviously a fan)
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (or alternative oil)
  • 2 tablespoons *tahini CLICK for another recipe using tahini(or more, I believe I wasn’t shy and added a third tablespoon-1/4 cup total)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari -I use Eden brand (or soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water (you may need more if it’s too chunky)

Pre-Prep:

  1. Roast the asparagus and mushrooms the night before if you like, have with dinner and reserve some for the salad the next day as I did. Roast once and use twice!
  2. Grate the carrots using a food processor or by hand, set aside.
  3. You can poach the egg once you’ve assembled the salad and made the dressing

Make a nice little bed of asparagus and mushrooms

Methods:

Roasting the Asparagus and Mushrooms

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F. Trim asparagus and place on a rimmed cookie sheet along with the mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil (a tablespoons will do), sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Place in the oven. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes. If you don’t want MUSHY asparagus, check after 15 minutes (you’ve been warned).

Remove from oven and let cool. (If making the night before, they will already be nice and cold).

Pulverized and ready for a dressing!

One sexy salad dressing! Fav ingredient? CARROTS

Meanwhile, Make the Carrot Ginger dressing:

NOTE: Save in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container).

Take grated carrots and place in a blender, add all other ingredients and pulverize the carrot combo. What I did was added a tad bit more tahini as needed to make it creamier, you may also want to add a little more oil or water. The dressing is a little globby, it’s not going to drizzle over your salad, I spooned it on top. I like this, but by all means change it up! Remove from blender and clean your mess up later. Set aside.

The beauty of just a shell.

Poach the egg:

Ya know what? Check this out and you’ll be a poaching expert in no time!

Love Cookin Canuk’s blog and Dara is a sweetheart.

Fun ingredient? Hearts of Palm

Little flower like bundles of goodness! ARTICHOKE

Assemble the Salad:

Choose a pretty salad bowl, and start with your greens, top with some asparagus spears (I cut mine into smaller pieces), mushrooms, tomatoes, add a few avocado slices, and everything else! Top with a poached egg and drizzle the salad dressing (or glop it) on top. A little crushed pepper, a little sriracha (CLICK here for another recipe and info on this spicy condiment)on top of that poached egg and that’s one heck of a salad!

Cooks Tips:

  • You can pretty much add anything you want to a salad as far as I’m concerned.
  • I was going to roast some beets and try adding one to the carrot dressing, maybe next time!
  • The dressing can be used to top a nice baked piece of Halibut or other mild white fish!
  • I forgot to add the nuts. Just a little more texture. Next time!

Other Recipes using some ingredients here!

HAPPY NATIONAL ARTICHOKE HEART DAY!

SO, WHAT’S YOUR GO TO SALAD AND SALAD DRESSING?

HOW DO YOU ADD COLOR AND VARIETY TO YOUR SALAD?

AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT:

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SPRING?

ENJOY!

-Jen