Mango chutney with a hint of spicy… lather that onto something yummy!

I made mango chutney a while ago, and let it sit in the refrigerator.  In fact, it’s still there, but I’m afraid to eat it now that it’s been sitting there for a while.  We didn’t even get to use it!  I know.  Such a tragedy.  And such a waste, too!  Sigh.  I’m still kicking myself for it.  When I realized that we hadn’t touched the chutney, I had an epiphany that I was lacking skills in the food preservation area.  But I’ve been too afraid to learn with the numerous online instructions because the last thing I want is to misread the instructions (which I often do a lot of), and then die from botulism.

Luckily, a friend from work was talking about how he made a strawberry balsamic peppercorn jam (yum, right??) during his weekend off.  I immediately hugged him and said that I would pay him if he could teach me how to can.  We made a date, and I learned how to can just a few days ago!  It was a jammin’ (no pun intended; okay, maybe just a little) party.  It was such an exciting, yet somewhat scary process.  All I could think about while learning to can was botulism, botulism, and botulism.  Ugh.   But as the studious learner that I am, I took plenty of notes and transcribed them onto the computer as soon as I got home.

I was determined to can something the next day.  So as I peered into my refrigerator, I immediately took notice of the mango chutney that had been sitting in the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, guilt overtook my happy emotions as I poured the old chutney into the trash can.  So, in honor of my first batch of mango chutney, I decided to make it again, this time to preserve it so that we can use it at the pace we want without having any pressure of eating it right away!

And it couldn’t have been anymore perfect the second time around…

Mango chutney with a hint of spicy (adapted from Simply Recipes)

6 cups ripe mangoes (about 4 large mangoes), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2.5 cups sugar
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 whole small dried red chilis (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods, cracked

Using a piece of thin muslin cloth, tie up the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and cardamom pods into a bundle.

In a medium-sized stockpot over high heat, combine sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil, while stirring occasionally.

Add mangoes, onions, raisins, crystallized ginger, garlic, whole red chiles, and the muslin-tied spices to the vinegar-sugar solution. Reduce the heat to medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, until syrupy and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Pour into sterilized, hot jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace; close jars. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes 5 (1/2 pint) jars.

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There’s No High Fructose Corn Syrup Here!… Apricot-Mango-Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups.

I just watched Food, Inc. yesterday, and it’s making me look at food in a whole different way.  I think my jaw was on the ground from start to end of the documentary.  I was shocked and disgusted.  I’ve never really given much thought about how food is grown, how it’s processed, and where it comes from.  I just went to the grocery store and bought what I needed with my savings card to get the best bang for my buck.  Now I’m not feeling so guilty about the $100 I spent for some groceries the other day at one of the more eco-friendly, green markets.  The movie just reinforced the need to buy from local farmers, organic products, and from eco-friendly markets.  It’s also left me feeling the need to eat more veggies, and less meat.  Ugh.

Have you seen Food, Inc. yet?  If you have, did it change the way you buy food?

Apricot-Mango-Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

4 apricots, diced
1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
1 large mango, diced
2 tablespoons water
Agave Nectar

Preheat oven to 150 degrees F one hour before dehydrating the fruit roll-ups.

[Just as a side note, my oven did not have a setting for 150 degrees F. Instead, it has a “warm” setting, which I used, and worked out great. Also, as an FYI, you will be using this “dehydrating” setting for about 6 to 8 hours. It may be tempting to use a higher temperature to quicken the process, but you’ll just bake the fruit roll-ups rather than dehydrate them. So patience is key with this recipe.]

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add water and diced fruit. Cook until the fruit breaks down so that it is soft and mushy. Allow the fruit mixture to thicken (the syrup should coat the back of the spoon and shouldn’t be runny or thin), almost like the consistency of a chunky applesauce. Adjust sweetness with agave nectar to your liking… I used about 1.5 tablespoons of agave nectar because the fruit was already really sweet.

Carefully pour the fruit “compote” into a food processor or blender, and puree the liquid until it is smooth in consistency.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with non-flavored oil, such as corn or vegetable oil. Pour fruit mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly across the baking sheet, about 1/4-inch thick.

Place baking sheet into oven and dehydrate for about 6 to 8 hours. The amount of dehydrating time varies depending on the thickness and the amount of sugar in the fruit mixture, so check every two hours until done. You don’t want crispy fruit roll-ups. When the fruit is dry and no longer sticky to touch, remove baking sheet from oven, and allow to cool at room temperature. If you find that the edges are a little crispy, just rehydrate by dabbing the edges with a wet paper towel.

When cool to handle, carefully peel the sheet of dehydrated fruit and lay it on a cutting board, and cut with a knife or pizza slicer into 2″ by 6″ strips, or whatever size you want. Cut wax paper or parchment paper just a little larger than the strips, and roll the strips of fruit into fruit roll-ups. Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Lime-Chile Mango Sorbet

I’ve come to the realization recently, with the help of my partner, that I’m a really clumsy person.  Leave it to me to knock over a glass of water at a nice restaurant, break all of our dishes, spill a glass of port while trying to take food pictures for this blog, and etc.  I gracefully, or better yet, gracelessly sprained my ankle the other night.  No bueno.  It’s not even anything worth mentioning.  In fact, it’s almost kind of embarrassing how it happened.  And it didn’t even involve alcohol!  Or sex!  I was taking my little dog out to potty and after he finished, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring in the trash/recycle bins with him in my possessions.  So with one arm wrapped around him, my other hand was lugging in the trash bin.  Well, somehow I tripped over the curb, and trying to protect my little pup, I twisted my ankle.  Hard.  It was so painful.  But my pup was okay!  I had to sit for a little while for the pain to subside a bit.  I mustered up whatever pride I had left to bring in the bins, and limped back home.

I don’t know why I did this, but I woke up yesterday morning and decided to go to work.  I’m stubborn like that.  I know I should have stayed home.  But didn’t.  I limped through the doors of work and was immediately bombarded with questions of what happened.  I wish I was witty enough to come up with a great story, but alas, I had none.  It must have been pretty comical for my coworkers to see my limping up and down the hallways of the emergency department.  What would normally take me only a few seconds to walk to one side of the department took me about five minutes to get there.  I felt very inefficient and useless at work.  But I did limp my way through helping with three trauma activations.  Unfortunately, however, with every step I took, my ankle became angrier and angrier at me.  So much so that I had to leave work to see a doctor for evaluation and X-rays.

So here I am today, not at work, with my ankle resting, icing, compressed with ace wrap, and elevated (i.e., RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevate).  I’m bored.  No one is home.  It’s just me and the three dogs.  I’m hungry.  And the only thing that sounds soothing and comforting is a bowl of mango sorbet.

What’s your bowl of comfort?

Lime-Chile Mango Sorbet (adapted from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz, published by Ten Speed Press)

2 large, ripe mangoes
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon chile powder, plus extra for garnish

Peel the mangoes, and cut the mangoes into chunks. Put the mangoes in a blender with the sugar, water, chile powder, and lime juice. Squeeze the mango pits hard over the blender to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible.

Puree the mixture until you have a smooth consistency. Taste, then add more lime juice if desired. Allow the mixture to chill thoroughly, then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 2 pints.