So I was very pleased when a couple of plump mangoes arrived in our produce box last week.
"Mangoes!" I cried to the other hungry dog, who was watching me unpack the box. "Mangoes!" I shouted a little louder, since she's losing her hearing.
She sniffed one appreciatively. That dog knows a good mango when she sees one.
Although I do buy mangoes here in San Francisco, I most often eat them when we go to Hawaii. You know how I love Hawaii, right? Like, really love it. Here's the short list of things I love most in this world:
1. The husband and the other hungry dog (for appearances, let's just say they are tied for first)
2. My mother, sister, her husband, Mischievous Pug and Scrappy
No doubt this deep love of Hawaii, and particularly Kauai, has to do with my adoration of mangoes; anything I associate with that gorgeous place is high on my list.
Normally I would just wait for the fruit to ripen, peel it, and eat it standing over the sink. I admit to being a bit uncouth on occasion. But this time, I felt the urge to do something different.
What to do? I wondered. Mango cake? Mango muffins?
Yes, readers, strangely, that is what I decided upon, to the husband's surprise. I found a recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that looked good. Actually, the recipe was for coconut lime bars, but one of the variations was mango bars. While some of you might be cuckoo for coconut, the Hungry Dog doesn't roll that way. Mango bars it was, with lemon instead of lime, because who has limes sitting around?
Mango bars are exactly like lemon bars: you make a short pastry crust, bake it, cover it in a fruity custard layer and bake it again until it's just set. For the mango component, you just use mango puree, which is made as follows: peel and slice some mangoes, and puree them in a blender. Bittman also suggests you strain the puree, a step I skipped. It didn't seem to make a difference in the final product.
The mango bars emerged dark golden brown and lacy on the edges. I let them cool completely before dusting them with powdered sugar, my own addition, because they seemed to need a final touch. Then I cut them into squares and served one to the husband.
"It's crazy that you made mango bars," he said dubiously, which is his way of saying, "I'm not sure I'm going to like these."
Ultimately, the mango bars were fine but not a bestseller. They were a bit too sweet and lacked contrasting texture. I think if you enjoy coconut, sprinkling some over the top would be good. Me, if I made them again, I would make a crumbly brown sugar topping with macadamia nuts.
They sure looked pretty though.
What about you all? What do you do with mangoes?