In the US we think of apples, oranges or bananas as the most eaten fruits, but worldwide the mango takes the prize. There is an impressive list of mango cultivars, most of which don’t make it to the US, but we do get a few good mango varieties, and the Ataulfo is one.
My dad was one of the original “Mad Men” who changed the world of advertising and marketing beginning in the late 1940s. As a result, my parents entertained in our home frequently, whether Sunday brunch for the neighbors or elaborate sit-down dinners for business clients. I have lots of colorful stories from my childhood about the characters who dined at our home and the antics my father created to promote products. However, today I’m sticking to chocolate pie.
With winter continuing to blast nationally (mixed in with some early tornadoes) and a new series of cold storms here in California, I’ve been thinking about, making and serving yummy comfort foods to customers at New Leaf, our local community market where I reign as Demo Queen.
Three of the recipes qualify for posting as they contain vanilla and two also have additional tropical ingredients, my criteria for posting to our recipe section at The Vanilla Company. I’ve held back on posting the “non-qualifiers,” even though you’d probably enjoy them.
A few years back I ran a special food program at a local community market. I was asked to feature steak one weekend. Although I hadn’t cooked steak in years, my grandmother ran a restaurant in the 1930s and was an expert at cooking steaks and roasts. My father learned to make perfect steaks and roasts from his mother and I learned from him.
This is a flavorful and romantic recipe. It’s also delicious. Serve with pasta, or a wild rice and basmati pilaf. The best part is that you can make this delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less! Shown here with Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Risotto.
This morning I wanted to write about something fun for a change, but I wasn’t coming up with anything that spoke to me. Then I opened today’s e-mail and stumbled upon something that has my head spinning.
Dorie Greenspan and her son Joshua are doing a five-day pop-up cookie bar in New York City, from February 7th through the 11th! If you are fortunate enough to live in (or are visiting) Manhattan, go to Mizu Salon at 505 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th from 10:00 a.m until only cookie crumbs remain. The cookie choices sound spectacular!
Served warm, topped with ice-cream after dinner or for breakfast on a crisp fall day, Caramel Apple Bars are a comforting treat any way you slice them. Perfect for an autumn picnic, these are like a bite of fresh apple pie, conveniently packaged as a cookie bar. If you like caramel and apples, you’ll be sure to love these Caramel Apple Bars.
Courtesy of Ann Tindell Keener annsfoodletters.blogspot.com
This is a segment of a food blog Ann wrote while living in Dominica, West
Indies. For those of you who have never cooked with plantains, you are in for a treat if
you like the flavor of bananas. Plantains are far more starchy than bananas and need to
be cooked. You may have had fried plantains as a restaurant or packaged. Freshly prepared,
they are really good! They are served as a savory, sometimes in a stew and other times fried as
tostones, or baked with butter and brown sugar and served with cinnamon and crema or
sour cream. Tostones are a favorite throughout the West Indies, the Caribbean, Mexico,
and Central and South America. The rest of this recipe is in Ann’s voice.
I always associate gingerbread as just right for a cozy evening at home when it’s chilly outside. Of course it’s terrific any time of the year, and if you’re a ginger lover, this is an especially good recipe as it has both powdered and crystalized ginger as well as complementary spices that enhance the flavor. It’s also quite moist as it contains applesauce and has a delicate lemon-vanilla glaze. Gingerbread served warm from the oven with whipped cream is hard to beat, but it’s also good lightly toasted with butter or cream cheese on a leisurely weekend morning.
Courtesy of Lauren Groveman
A delightfully flavorful soup that’s both soothing and healthful. Great as an antidote to dark, gloomy weather and winter colds and flu!
Courtesy of Stephany Zonis
My mother made a variation of this baked pancake for Sunday morning breakfasts. There really isn’t much to it, but it somehow manages to rise dramatically as it bakes. I have improved the original recipe by adding a little sugar and lemon zest–and, of course, vanilla!
Dominga has cooked for Heriberto and Joaquin Larios of Papantla, Vera Cruz, for so many years that she and her daughter, Gabriella, are considered part of the family. Every afternoon Dominga creates delicious regional cooking, always starting with freshly made, hot soup. Under any other circumstances I couldn’t imagine eating hot soup when the temperature’s in the high 90s and the humidity is at least 80 percent. But Dominga’s soups are too good to pass up.
Potatoes! One of the best comfort foods, especially when it’s cold, at the end of a day outside, or just about anytime, for that matter. What’s not to like about something you can bake, boil, fry, stuff, make into a salad, use it as a gravy boat, and dress it up for the holidays?
Vanilla and maple have a special affinity for one another. Each enhances the other’s flavor. They’re both foods of the Americas, so that might have something to do with it.
As a special pancake topping, heat 1 cup natural maple syrup (B-grade has a deeper flavor, but any grade will do) until warm. Add 2 teaspoons rum and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix well. Add 1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts, and serve over pancakes.
This is a deliciously rich recipe but without guilt as coconut milk is filled with healthy fat. Fresh ginger and lemon brightens up the recipe. A perfect summer brunch or outdoor meal though just as good in the winter to help you dream of warmer weather.
With the infusion of oranges and hint of vanilla, this is a flavorful and delightful way to serve roast duck. Serve with pan fried potatoes or dumplings.
Courtesy of Chef Deane Bussiere
The small, sweet papayas of the Islands are abundant and delicious. Papaya is used interchangeably as a fruit and a vegetable in Pacific and Asian cuisine. You will want a ripe, but firm, papaya for this recipe. I used a three-rice medley for the base. You can use any rice or even pasta if you prefer.