Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to Cut a Mango

posted in Fruits by Kathy Maister

A mango is one of those fruits that people avoid buying because they don’t know how to cut them. I’ll show you two different ways to cut a mango.

Mangos are great with just about anything. (Chicken, fish, salsa, pancakes, smoothies, on ice cream, fruit salad, etc.) They are low in calories, can be eaten fresh or cooked and are really tasty.

They are in season from May to September. When you buy a mango, it should have a fragrant, fruity aroma and yield slightly to pressure from your thumb. It will ripen sitting on your counter, or you can speed the ripening process by sticking it in a paper bag. Once ripe, put it in the refrigerator. A mango should get eaten within a day or two of being cut.

To cut a mango, start with a serrated edge knife. (That’s the one with the jagged edge that you use to cut a loaf of bread.)  Mangos are very slippery and you have to be very careful when peeling a mango that the knife does not slip.

Slice off the fattest part, sometimes called the “cheek”, of both sides of the mango. Notice in the photo below the position of the knife in relationship to the stem. (The stem is next to my left index finger.)

Now score the “cheek”. That means to make shallow cuts with a paring knife. Make each cut about ½ inch apart, and then turn the “cheek” and make perpendicular cuts as well.

Once scored, press the back side of the mango so that all the flesh is standing at attention. You can serve it this way or trim off the flesh from the skin.

Cut around the pit with a small paring knife.

Remove the remaining skin from the flesh.

Trim around the pit to remove the remaining flesh.

The pit is actually quite large as you can see from the photo below.

The Alton Brown Way to Peel and Cut a Mango:

I was watching Alton Brown on FoodTV demonstrating how to peel and cut a mango. His method actually produced more edible flesh, and was safe and efficient.  But you do need a few more pieces of equipment for the Alton Brown method.

Corn-on-the-Cob Holders

In addition to a large kitchen knife, you will need a vegetable peeler and a corn-on-the-cob holder.

Start by peeling the mango with a vegetable peeler

Then slice off the top (stem end) and bottom of the mango.

Insert a corn holder into the mango.  This is going to act as a holder while you slice the mango. Notice how the mango can stand by itself!

Holding the corn holder, slice off the cheeks.

And trim the flesh off the pit.

Then slice the mango according to your recipe.

Enjoy!

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Start the Party with a Bang: Independence Day Menu

posted in Main Dishes, Recipes by Emily Chapelle

Whether your Fourth of July celebration is a family affair, a neighborhood gathering or a party with friends, you’ll want to enjoy great food as well. This mix-and-match menu will help you get everything planned for a great party!

Pick one or two options from each section and you’re all set.

Appetizers


Main Courses


Side Dishes


Very Berry Summer Pie, photo courtesy of Kelly Wright, Sass & Veracity blog

Desserts

Drinks

  • Make sure your friends and family stay hydrated with lots of water!
  • Lemonade – the old-fashioned way
  • Iced Tea

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Blanching Vegetables

posted in Vegetables and Beans by Kathy Maister

Blanching vegetables means to plunge them quickly into boiling water – for just a minute or two – then immediately stick the vegetables into a bowl of ice water (often referred to as an ice bath). If you are serving cooked vegetables cold, this technique will ensure that they will maintain their beautiful colors.

I am going to demonstrate how to do this using asparagus. The same method would work for green beans, yellow beans, broccoli, carrots, and many other vegetables as well.

Wash and trim the asparagus. (This link will also show you how to wash, trim and How to Cook Asparagus.)

I always blanch (and cook) asparagus in a frying pan. The spears fit better and they cook more evenly in a frying pan. Start by boiling a kettle of cold water and then pouring it into the frying pan.

Bring the water in the frying pan to a boil and add about one Tablespoon of salt to the water.

Using a pair of tongs, carefully add the asparagus to the pan.

Set the timer for 2 minutes. It may take a bit more or less time depending on the thickness of your asparagus. After 2 minutes, run one spear under cold water and then taste it to see if it is cooked to your liking. If you cook green vegetable too long they will turn a very “muddy’ green color (YUK!).

Have your “ice bath” (which is just a bowl of icy cold water) and a clean dish towel ready for when the timer goes off.

Using a pair of tongs, lift the asparagus out of the boiling water and put it directly into the ice bath.

This totally stops the cooking process, and the color stays that nice bright green. After a minute or two, lift the asparagus out of the icy water and onto a clean dish towel to drain.

If you are cooking more green vegetables, you can use the same boiling water that you cooked the asparagus in to cook the other vegetables.

Green beans will only take about 1 minute and 30 seconds to blanch.

For a change of pace try blanching some vegetables when you serve your next Vegetable and Dip Platter (video).

Enjoy!

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