Mango & Crystallized Ginger Quick Bread!

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I don’t know about you but I really like the small, yellow mangos.  Sometimes I’ve seen them called Champagne mangos.  They are smaller than the regular green/red mangos and they are always a bright yellow!  When I see them in the market I always pick them up because they are not always available.  We usually just eat them fresh but, I got a cute little book at a second hand store called Scones, Muffins, Tea Cakes and it has some really nice recipes in it.  I’ve made a few things out of it and they always turn out well.  In fact I think these scones came from the same book.

Anyway I was reading the book and various recipes caught my attention but the Mango and Crystallized Ginger Quick Bread was the one that sounded just right.

You can use any kind of mango you enjoy, make sure you have enough to make 1 cup of puree.  I used 4 of the yellow ones and I got over a cup.  Also it asks for 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger.  The stuff I had was powerful and I was worried it would be too much but it was PERFECT!  So if your ginger bites, don’t worry it won’t be overpowering.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh mango puree
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) diced crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350F . Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Puree the mango and set aside.  In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until creamy.  Add the mango puree.  The mixture will look separated but it will come back together so don’t worry!

It will come back together!

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and do not overmix.  Gently fold in the crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour. The cake will be golden brown and feel firm if you press with your fingertips. Cool for 15 mins in the pan and then transfer to cooling rack.

The smells coming from the oven were heavenly.

This quick bread was so moist and delicious. There were plenty of ginger chunks throughout and their bite was gone!  I couldn’t really taste the mango as a definite flavor. I think it added moistness and the sweetness tempered the ginger. I took some to work and I’ve already been asked for the recipe. I will be making this one again!

Jam Strawberry, Jam!

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There have been so many strawberries in the stores recently. I thought it might be strawberry season!  Well not quite, I’m not sure where these came from but it seemed the perfect time to make some jam and practice for when the local ones get here. That being said….Strawberry jam is not my favorite….it’s Jason’s favorite.  I’m pretty sure if you placed all the different types of jam in front of me my last choice would be strawberry and I might be too full to get to it.  Don’t  get me wrong, I adore fresh strawberries.  So why in the world am I making strawberry jam?  One word….LOVE.  He loves it and I found a recipe interesting enough to get me excited about it!

This is what got me so excited!  Lemon and lemongrass are added to the jam!!!!! You probably know that I love lemon.  If you don’t know….I love lemon. Adding it to strawberry jam sounds so right. And lemongrass has the word lemon in it, and smells heavenly and like lemons, so that has to work well, doesn’t it?  Oh and this is based on a Christine Ferber recipe.  She is a well known jam maker who has unusual flavor combinations, which of course appeal to me.  I believe she also makes pastries, so….a woman after my own heart.

For the jam:

  • 2 qts chopped strawberries (8 cups or 2 liters)
  • 3-4 cups sugar
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 10 paper thin slices of lemon
  • 10 lemongrass leaves cut in half
  • 15-20 tellicherry peppercorns (optional)

I, of course, used Meyer lemons (they are my latest obsession until I get my hands on some buddha palm or yuzu!)  I chopped the strawberries into the size I wanted in my jam. I poured about 3 cups of sugar over them, crushed the peppercorns and added them, stirred it all well, covered the bowl in plastic and put in the refrigerator overnight.  You can skip this step if you don’t have time but I think it combines the sugar & strawberries really well, releases alot of the juice and just works!  The pepper is very subtle. You can add more but it will change the flavor a bit.  The amount here just adds hints of undertone to the strawberry flavor. You can also leave it out.

I could eat this whole bowl.

Slice your lemon paper thin. Add the lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and water to a pot that will be big enough to hold the strawberry mixture (about a 6 qt pot).  Bring to a simmer and add the lemon slices.  Simmer until translucent, about 15 mins.

Add the lemongrass and the strawberries.

WARNING:  People who have experience canning are very particular about how they prepare the jars and they sometimes pressure cook them etc.  I am not so particular.  This is the method I used, you can use it or do the more complicated way.I washed my jars & tops in the dishwasher, spooned the hot jam into them, screwed on the tops and placed the jars into a pot of hot water.  The water covered the jars by about 1 inch or so.  I then boiled them for about 5 minutes, removed the jars from the water with tongs and let them cool.

How did it turn out? Fantastic!  So delicious!  Jason thought it was the best strawberry jam he’d had and I thought so as well.  My favorite part is coming across a slice of lemon in the jam, it adds a slight tartness but tempered by strawberry sweetness.  The lemon enhances the strawberry perfectly.

I gave a jar or two away but now we are going through this rather quickly.  I will be making more with the local berries. I can’t wait!  There are local berry farms where you can go pick your own if you want.  I’m also going to have to find a blackberry jam recipe as this is my favorite.