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Pineapple & Mango Salad

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I’m ba-ack!  My husband, sister, and I had a fabulous time with our friends in Texas and I put together a slideshow if you are interested, which you can view here.

I had planned to share my favorite basic cheesecake recipe with you upon my return, but you will have to wait until Monday for that one because I’m on a deadline to get a mango recipe posted for BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient). Trust me, I’m doing you a favor! This salad is so delicious and you don’t risk gaining ten pounds if you go wild and eat the entire recipe.  Which you might be tempted to do with the cheesecake.

OK, so I’m a mango purist.  Mangoes are my absolute favorite fruit and I find them so delicious as they are, with nothing added, that it’s hard for me to make a recipe with them.  There is, however, a lovely salad that I make with them from time to time (usually when I have a mango surplus, because using my only mango for anything other than eating plain would be sacrilege) that is so simple and pure in itself, I don’t feel like I’m adulterating the fruit by including it in the salad.

There are only three ingredients and they marry so well together that in the past I have been inspired to give the salad names that would usually be associated with cocktails, like Hawaiian Sunrise and Tropical Paradise.  To keep things simple and pure, in keeping with the recipe itself, I decided to just go with Pineapple & Mango Salad for it’s official title.

I’ve made this salad with parsley, mint and cilantro and I usually prefer the parsley, though any of them will work.  If you think another sounds better, go with that.  I think it is a matter of personal taste, or perhaps even occasion, as when I’m serving it as dessert after a Mexican meal, the cilantro seems best.  And if you want to give it a little more tropical feel, add in some sweetened coconut.  I did that this morning on my second bowl and thought it was nice, though being a mango purist I can’t exactly condone the behavior. ;)

Pineapple & Mango Salad

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ripe pineapple
4 ripe mangoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, mint, or cilantro, chopped fine

Cut a slice off the bottom of the pineapple and cut the top off as well.  Sit the pineapple up on on its now-flat end and slice down around the sides to remove the outside.  Keep cutting until you have no pits remaining in the flesh.  Cut the pineapple into quarters, then slice the middle off of each to remove the pit.  Lay each quarter on its back, cut into thirds length-wise, then chop into chunks.  Place the pineapple chunks in a large bowl.  Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the seed.  Chop the flesh into chunks and add to the bowl.  Add the parsley and stir until combined.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least until well chilled, before serving.

Veronica’s notes: this salad is perfectly delicious when the fruit is ripe, but if yours is a little under-ripe, you can add in some agave nectar or other sweetener of your choice.  If you don’t feel like cutting up a pineapple, you can usually find fresh cut pineapple at salad bars at supermarkets, or even in the refrigerated produce section.  There is a simpler way to cut the flesh from a mango, which is depicted here (I don’t use this method because I feel like I can’t cut the cubes close enough to the skin and I waste too much of the mango), and to see a tutorial on cutting pineapple, click here.

Recipe source: CW (that’s my Mom.  Dad calls her CW, which stands for Crazed Woman, and she calls him “crazy man.”  Gotta love my dysfunctional family! :) )

This is linked with Nutmeg Nanny for BSI: mangoes.

Questions of the day: 1) Is there anything you love so much in its natural state you can’t alter it?  2) What is your favorite fruit?  3) Do you know anyone that has mean/teasing pet names for their significant other?

Orange Couscous with Chicken

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Although couscous looks like a tiny grain, it’s actually a form of pasta.

Couscous is a primary staple throughout the Maghreb, in much of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.  It is also popular in the West African Sahel, in France, Spain, Madeira, in western Sicily’s Province of Trapani, as well as in Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Middle East. It is particularly popular among Jews of North African descent such as the Berber Jews, and is eaten in many other parts of the world as well.

My first couscous experience was in the traditional Moroccan style.  Well, nearly traditional.  My friend, Margo, is an American married to a man from Morocco and his sister taught her to make the couscous dish she prepared that night.  So as far as I know, the recipe was traditional–but it wasn’t served in quite the traditional way.

In Morocco, the entire meal is put onto a giant platter and plunked down in the middle of the table (table optional, actually!).  Then everyone digs in with their fingers.  It is quite a sight to behold.  These people literally scoop their bare fingers into the food, lick them clean and then put their fingers back in for more.  Excuse my squeamish American standards of etiquette & cleanliness, but I can barely tolerate watching this spectacle and I’m not about to participate.  Lucky for me, she provided our group with spoons.  Have you ever tried eating a chicken leg with a spoon?

But I digress.  The experience was unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it so I decided to venture out and buy couscous to incorporate into my own meals.

This one is mostly savory with a little sweet from the oranges.  You can save the liquid from the oranges to pour over the top of your dish in case you find you prefer more sweetness (like I do).  It may be just my particular taste, but I really enjoy the brightness that the parsley imparts.

Orange Couscous with Chicken
6 Servings

3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (or 3 cubes)
6 oz. uncooked whole-wheat couscous
12 oz. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 3/4 cups drained canned mandarin orange sections (about 2 small cans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large Dutch oven, combine orange juice, water & bouillon; bring to a boil and make sure the bouillon completely dissolves.  Remove from heat; stir in the couscous.  Cover, let stand 10 minutes.

Add chicken, 1 1/2 cups of the orange sections and the parsley to Dutch oven; stir to combine.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until heated through.

To serve, arrange couscous mixture in large serving bowl; garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup orange sections & a bit of parsley.  Plonk it on the table and tell everyone to dig in.  Or, if you prefer, divide it among six plates that are lined with an optional lettuce leaf and provide forks.  I prefer the latter.

Per Serving
243 Calories
2.3 g Fat
.6 g Saturated Fat
48 mg. Cholesterol
66 mg Sodium
32.5 g Carbohydrates
2.2 g Dietary Fiber
9.1 g Sugars
22 g Protein
22% Vitamin A
78% Vitamin C
3% Calcium
8% Iron

If you don’t have access to local chicken that has been raised humanely, you could always make this vegetarian by using  Quorn’s Chik’n Tenders or Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips (both found in the freezer section).  To go completely vegetarian, sub veggie bouillon granules as well.  KitchenBitch tells me there’s an awesome low-sodium vegetable bouillon called Organic Gourmet.

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