Exciting announcements (and more importantly delicious recipes) coming soon.
If you pay attention to our little blog, you might have noticed that we’re a teensy bit obsessed with these candied jalapeños. So obsessed, that between the three of us, I’d say we’ve made more than 50 pounds of candied jalapeños.
That’s a lot of jalapeños.
They’re so good, that I decided they could probably even win a prize.
Or hey, why not two prizes?
The D.C. State Fair (yes, I know D.C. is not a state, thank you) took place last month, and at the gentle prodding of friends and family, I entered the obsessive-worthy candied jalapeños. Apparently other people thought they’re pretty great, too, because they won second and third place. (They lost to some pickled martini tomatoes, which I guess I understand. Martini tomatoes are probably pretty great.)
I changed the recipe up a bit to make it my own, experimenting with ginger and garam masala in one batch and coriander and cumin seeds in another. I really, really like the ginger jalapeños, because I really, really like ginger, but the judges liked the coriander and cumin jalapeños better.
If you have to choose between just making one type, though, I’d go with ginger. Just trust me.
Sweet, spicy, and addictive, the jalapeños are excellent on crackers with cream cheese, nachos, tacos, burritos, breakfast sandwiches, all sandwiches, hummus, baba ganoush, or, straight from the jar. They make the perfect gift for just about anyone or may also be hoarded in your cupboards.
(Prize winning!) Candied Jalapeños with Ginger or Coriander and Cumin
Adapted from a Candied Jalapeño recipe found here
Recipe easily doubles (or quadruples).
For both types:
For ginger jalapeños:
For Coriander and Cumin jalapeños:
1. Prepare your canning materials: fill your canning pot with water and bring to a boil (this will take a while), wash your jars, and place jars in the pot of water while it heats. Once the water comes to a boil, allow the jars to boil in the water 10 minutes to sterilize the jars. Remove the jars, emptying the water back into the pot, and place on a towel.
2. Meanwhile (while water is coming to a boil and jars are sterilizing), slice the jalapeños into 1/8-inch rings, leaving core and seeds as intact as possible. Slice the jalapeños as uniformly as you can. And, be sure to wear gloves or your hands may burn later. Set aside.
3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, and either ginger spices or coriander/cumin spices to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often. Lower the heat and simmer liquid for five minutes, whisking occasionally.
4. Add jalapeños to the vinegar/sugar pot, bring the heat up to medium-high, and cook jalapeños for four minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so to ensure even cooking. It will seem like there is not enough liquid (the jalapeños will not be completely covered in liquid), but don’t fret.
5. After the four minutes is up, immediately move jalapeños to your prepared jars, using a slotted spoon. Turn up the heat and boil the syrup at a rolling boil for six minutes. Turn heat off and funnel liquid into jalapeño-filled jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 –inch in head space. Wipe rims clean with a damp paper towel and affix new two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness. ALSO: if you have leftover syrup, don’t through it away. You may can it as well, or you can just keep it in the fridge for a while. It’s great in a home-made vinaigrette, to glaze vegetables or meats, or anywhere you need a spicy-sweet-vinegary kick.
6. Process jars, covered in at least two inches of water, for 10 minutes (if using half pint jars) or 15 minutes (if using pint jars). When done processing, transfer jars to a spot where they can remain undisturbed for 24 hours. After a few minutes, you should hear the ping of the lids sealing. If any jars do not seal, store in refrigerator for up to a month or so. Sealed jars are shelf-stable for up to a year. Enjoy the jalapeños the next day, or allow to mellow for a few weeks. The longer you wait to open them, the more they will mellow.
Much like Admiral Kirk and his inevitable defeat of Khan, I have defeated the tomatoes. (Or should I say, “TOMATOOOOOES!”)
I’m not sure if this shot captures the mess that I felt was all over the little kitchen after dealing with the tomatoes, but lemme tell you: it was a battlefield. There were tomato guts, skins, and tears all over the counter and in the sink. I submit the above as evidence, lest you think the life of bloggers is all pretty pictures of food and happiness and sunshine, all the time.
But the battle was completely worth it, because look!:
Thanks to a brilliant suggestion by Braeden’s mom, I easily defeated most of the tomatoes by blanching, peeling, lightly chopping, and freezing them in quart-sized freezer bags.
A halved recipe of this tomato jam also happened. It’s been spread into breakfast sandwiches with fried eggs and blanched kale, on toast with sweet pickled jalapeños, and on toast with feta sprinkled over top. In other words it’s very versatile, and what are you waiting for? You don’t even have to use all the listed ingredients – I used a bit less sugar, no ginger, and just a squeeze of lime and didn’t bother with sterilizing and canning since it will be eaten within a few weeks anyway. Easy, peasy.
If the Khan tomatoes are still tormenting you, though, may I suggest something else? Something green, perhaps?
If you have the chance to get your hands on some green tomatoes, do it. And then fry them. With a gentle salting, followed by a quick dredge in seasoned flour, a light bath in an egg whisked with buttermilk, and a hefty coating of spiced cornmeal and breadcrumbs, those green tomatoes will be the happiest of green tomatoes in the world. Who wouldn’t want happy tomatoes? (Aside from Khan, that is.)
I adapted my recipe from here and was craving a Mexican spice profile at the time. After making them again, I didn’t see a reason to change the spices. Even the leftovers were good cold, straight from the fridge. I happened to have a few tomatillos on hand and put together a quick, fresh salsa of tomatillos, a few small tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, lime, and salt to spoon over the fried green tomatoes, but they actually didn’t need a condiment. Even Braeden, the Condiment King, ate one or two without adornment.
Give it a shot. I was intimidated at first (dredging, coating, and frying, oh my!), but I promise this formula actually keeps the coating stuck on the tomatoes.
(And on your fingers. But this is a battle, so you should expect some minor injuries.)
A glass of sangria while you work couldn’t hurt, either.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Notes: The first time I made these, I followed the original recipe measurements for the flour, egg/buttermilk mix, and cornmeal coating but ran out before I finished frying the last tomato, leaving me in a frenzy of mixing more to finish it off. Having enough coating just depends on the size of your tomatoes. The below measurements will likely make a little more than you need, but you should know that the flour, egg/buttermilk, and cornmeal combo also does wonders to other things that may be lurking around your kitchen – pickled okra, leftover slices of grilled eggplant, slices of already cooked sweet potatoes, for example. About the seasonings: I used cumin and two other spice blends (Goya Adobo and Ancho Chili and Lime), but use whatever you’d like. Do let me know if you try something you’re particularly excited about!
1. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch rounds and arrange on a plate, lightly salting each slice. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In a wide, shallow dish or bowl, combine the flour and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. In another shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Set aside.
4. In one more shallow dish, combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.
5. Heat about a 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. While the oil is heating, arrange your assembly line: sangria with straw (optional), sliced tomatoes, flour bowl, buttermilk-egg bowl, cornmeal-breadcrumb bowl. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place near your skillet.
6. Once oil is heated, start coating your tomatoes. Dredge both sides of a tomato slice lightly in flour, then coat both sides in the buttermilk-egg, and finally coat both sides in the cornmeal-breadcrumbs. Place in oil. Quickly repeat with more tomato slices, filling pan in a single layer of tomatoes. Cook about 3 minutes per side (they’ll be nicely golden-brown) and remove to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used up all your tomatoes, replenishing the oil if needed. If you have leftover coating ingredients, experiment with other things in your refrigerator! (Just don’t save the cornmeal-breadcrumb mixture, since it will be contaminated with the raw egg.)
7. Serve with salsa, barbecue sauce, tomato chutney, or eat plain. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator – they’re good cold or gently crisped in an oven.
Yes, tomatoes, it has been lovely doing battle with you, but I have won yet again.
In conclusion, I leave you with these words of wisdom:
“Ah Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us ‘Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.’? It is very cold in SPACE!”
Hey there, readers!
The past weeks have been full of cooking and adventuring, but a distinct lack of blogging, so let’s get down to business:
September 1st came and went, and we at the Troika Table up and missed our second anniversary. Yep, this little ol’ blog is two years (and 29 days) old!
In blog years, two years and 29 days is basically drinking age (or at least it is in Europe), so I have a little cocktail for you.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about grapes and rosemary – it’s something about a grape’s sweet, juicy flesh and rosemary’s wintery woodiness. Wouldn’t that be nice to drink on a crisp fall evening? Wouldn’t a little ginger liqueur add a welcome, warming zip? I thought so. This drink is quite easy to pull together but does require you to plan ahead a few weeks: you’ve got to infuse your own grape vodka, after all. I used a mixture of seedless green and red grapes from our stand at the farmers’ market (Reid’s Orchard and Winery!) to infuse the last of the vodka left over from the second-annual Russian New Year’s party*. It was as easy as pie (or, more accurately, way easier than pie): Toss a pint’s worth of grapes into two cups of vodka, smush the grapes with a potato masher or fork, and infuse in a glass container for a few weeks, giving everything a stir and a few more smushes whenever you remember. After two weeks, the vodka will be a lovely shade of mauve and have a balanced, understated grape flavor. For the gingery bite, I added a touch of ginger liqueur that I made a while back (I followed this recipe exactly). Making your own ginger liqueur is fairly easy, but if infusing your vodka is as much DIY as you can handle, you can buy some ginger liqueur (Domaine de Canton is the only kind I know, but I’ve never actually tried it). You could also try adding a splash of ginger syrup, which would add the ginger zip and a bit of sweetness without adding more alcohol. To the vodka and liqueur, I added a few drops of bitters, but I admit that when I made a second one without bitters I couldn’t tell the difference.** Stir with a few ice cubes, top with club soda, tuck a short sprig of rosemary in the glass, and you have quite a drink. I really, really recommend that you add the rosemary sprig – its savory, woody smell offsets the sweetness of the drink perfectly, but you don’t actually taste the rosemary in the drink. Just don’t knock it ’til you try it, ok?
You’ll likely see a few more vodka-based cocktails around here in the future – my best friend Kelly and her fiancé (!!!) Gilbert have asked me to concoct three vodka-based cocktails for them to try, and they might choose one of them to serve at their wedding (!!!!!!!!) next September. I’m thinking this one would be nice, but I’ll let them decide.
Grape Vodka Fizz
For one drink:
Add 5 or 6 ice cubes to a short glass. Pour the grape vodka, ginger liqueur, and bitters (if using). Stir to combine and chill. Top with club soda, stir a few times, and add the rosemary sprig.
Combine grapes and vodka in a glass container or jar, smashing grapes to extract some juice. Cover the container and infuse in the refrigerator for up to two weeks for lots of grape flavor, or one week for a subtle grape flavor. Whenever you happen to remember (ideally every few days, but I only did it once in the two-week period), stir the vodka around and smash the grapes a bit more to extract more juice. Strain and store in your refrigerator.
If the description, recipe, and pictures aren’t enough to convince you to try the Grape Vodka Fizz, consider this anecdote:
Today at market, a certain someone who works for NPR (and shall remain nameless because I don’t want to be that blogger), was telling us how he or she likes to muddle our grapes in cocktails. I, naturally, chimed in that I infused vodka with our grapes and crafted a drink with the infused vodka, ginger liqueur, and a sprig of rosemary. To my delight, the certain someone reacted with an “Ooooh!” and a fellow customer inquired “What kind of ginger liqueur did you use?” to which I replied “Well, I made my own, but you could buy some.” The certain someone correctly interpreted my statement to mean “Well, I made my own, because I’m awesome, but if you want to, you could buy some, although it’s less awesome.” Basically, this cocktail got a vote of confidence from this certain someone, so clearly you should try it, too.
*Btw, that iPhone that was stolen? Totally got it back. I see you, Instagram. I see you.
**An aside: Do people really notice the difference without bitters? (Am I supposed to ask that?) I know adding bitters is a thing and it sounds like you know what you’re doing, but really, can you actually tell the difference in a drink made sans bitters? I guess if your drink is club soda and bitters, then yes, you can tell, but if it’s club soda + other things that have lots of flavor + bitters, can you really taste the difference? Please know that in asking this I’m also teetering a thin line with Braeden, who will always espouse the use of bitters in his beloved rum drinks, or in other words, I’m probably questioning our relationship, sort of.
A quick post today, for a bright, juicy salad that is also quick to prepare.
It’s nothing fancy, but it was just what today needed: the ripest, juiciest, summeriest tomatoes, a few dollops of crème fraîche or sour cream, a generous dousing of dill, and a little salt and pepper. Perfect for a quick snack or lunch, and bright for a dreary day.
Tomato with dill and crème fraîche
inspired by all the tomato, cucumber, and dill salads I ate in Lithuania and Russia
For one serving:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Eat, and be content. Of course, bread (preferably black) would be nice to sop up all the juicy remains in the bowl.
The other day, as we were cleaning up from the farmers’ market, I got a little too enthusiastic about the apricots. Maybe I brought home one pint, maybe I brought home three; it doesn’t matter – there were just too many to handle. You see, back on the farm, we used to have an apricot tree. It was my second favorite tree in our yard, the first being a maple tree whose branches and limbs had conveniently grown into a seat-like structure, perfect for little Kara to climb up with her books.
The apricot tree, though, well, let me tell you: the apricot tree had a little swing dangling from one of its branches. The apricot tree had a lot of leaves, which come fall time, could be easily swept with all the other leaves into the perfect jumping pile.
The apricot tree was the tree we used to make homemade ice cream, by filling a few grocery bags with ice and salt and placing our ice cream concoction in a resealable bag nestled inside the ice, slinging the whole thing over a branch, and pushing it back and forth. (Science!) Most importantly, the apricot tree had apricots. Sometimes they were a little spotty, sometimes wormy, but those apricots will always be my favorite.
You might be able to understand, then, why I became so enthusiastic about the apricots at market. I wanted something simple to preserve them a little longer and looked no further than the Russians. (I knew they would have something for me.) One of my favorite things about living in Russia was tea time, which was basically all the time. When you have tea, you must have a cookie or something sweet. And if you have tea and cookies, you should probably also have a little dish of homemade jam and use its syrup to sweeten your tea. Or you should just eat the jam with a spoon. And if you eat the jam with a spoon, you might quickly eat a whole jar. If you eat a whole jar, you’ll likely clamor for the recipe, and even if you get the recipe, and even if what you make is pretty decent, the magic of that jam in that tea with those cookies might always be lost. (This, I am sure, is what would have happened if the mouse had been given tea and jam with his cookie.) All will not be lost, though, because one day, when you least expect it, you’ll come across a recipe that you know is just the one for which you were always searching.
Apricot and Blueberry Preserves
adapted, barely, from here
Note: After I had prepared my apricots and blueberries, I discovered I was out of white sugar. Not to be outwitted again by the elusive Russian preserve, I improvised and used a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar, whose roots, I feel, are decidedly North American. Maybe I should call these Americanized Russian Preserves. Try it either way.
1. Combine sugar, maple syrup, and two cups of water in a pot and heat over medium-high until sugar dissolves. Add apricots and blueberries.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and keep simmering for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste as you go along, and add more maple syrup if you think you’d like it sweeter. To test for doneness, spoon a bit of syrup onto a small plate or bowl and place in the freezer for a few minutes. Take out of the freezer and run your finger through the syrup – if it leaves a clear line, it’s done. You can also stop cooking earlier if you want a thinner syrup. If you overcook or the mixture seems like it needs more liquid, add more water until it’s at your desired consistency. Just remember the preserves will thicken a bit as they cool, so don’t be worried if they seem a little thin while still hot.
3. When done cooking, transfer preserves to a jar. You’re supposed to allow this to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator, but it was late and I was sleepy so I just put them right on in. As far as I can tell, it didn’t make a difference.
Yield: about a pint
The preserves will keep for quite a while (a month or two) in the refrigerator. You could also freeze them to make them last forever (…or at least, a year or two). I like these preserves with unsweetened tea, next to lemon bars, on top of granola and yogurt, or with a spoon.
A while back, Jason had a special request for dessert. I had made a delicious lemon cake, and the filling consisted of lemon curd. I am, especially during the summer months, obsessed with lemon curd. Back to Jason…he wanted lemon bars using the lemon curd, but also a meringue topping. It sounded simple enough, so I decided to take on the task for our annual Memorial Day party. Oh my goodness gracious, these things were amazing! And I’m not a bar kind of girl. I think, give me a cookie or give me a cake, but don’t combine them! But seriously guys, they were remarkable.
I remembered a recipe that Kara had given me for lemon squares from forever ago. I’m talking back in the days of the farm forever ago. I actually have the children’s cookbook that she got the recipe from, given to me by my grandmother after I had my own kids! When talking to my mom about this recipe, she informed me that Kara still has the actual cookbook that we used back then.
Start by making the lemon curd. This is the recipe I always use, and it is fantastic. It can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Now, for the crust:
Combine 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of softened butter, and ¼ cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8×8 ungreased square pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12-16 minutes. The recipe calls for 20 minutes in baking time, but I feel like it dries out a bit too much. Just bake it until the edges are slightly browned. Whatever you do, DO NOT drop the pan on the ground after you take the picture ‘cause it’s too hot like I did! It didn’t take too long to make more.
Next, make the meringue topping. I used another Better Homes and Gardens recipe, but only used the meringue portion. The pie in this recipe is delicious as well. Try it someday!
Finally, spread the cooled lemon curd on top of the crust, and top with the meringue. We had some leftover toasted coconut that I put on top of the lemon curd before adding the meringue. It was so yummy!
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned. Let the bars cool slightly and cut into desired shape/size. Enjoy!
I feel like a few months ago I was all “blah blah blah, I just want it to be summer and for there to be juicy, juicy peaches dripping down my face and onto my summery, summery sun dress” and now it’s all BAM. Summer! Busy! Potential possibilities for exciting things developing! On the verge of feeling overwhelmed but feeling really, really excited about it all! HUMIDITY.
Thankfully, for times such as these, you have people you can turn to. Such as, in my case, parents. In Puerto Rico.
Ahh, that’s better.
As announced long, long ago, the German faction of The Troika Table up and moved to Puerto Rico. From the looks of things, I’d say they’re quite enjoying themselves. Braeden and I cleverly decided that in lieu of an Amazon gift card or some new-fangled, technological gadget for a Christmas present, we’d “settle” with tickets to Puerto Rico over the 4th of July week. (I surround “settle” with quotation marks because I want you to read that in a sarcastic tone. As in, who wouldn’t be fine with tickets to a Caribbean island as a Christmas present?) In other non-shocking news, Puerto Ricans don’t really celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July (although it is a fun beach-going holiday there). We didn’t mind, though – we were too busy eating juicy, juicy pineapple, watching subtitled French chick flicks, and drinking piña coladas. (And yes, since you asked, we also occasionally got caught in the rain.)
Along with a suitable amount of beach-going, sun-soaking, and picture-taking, we ate a lot of food. (This is a food blog, after all.) We sampled tostones, most often made of cooked plantains which were then smashed, fried, and dipped in a sort of ketchup-mayo sauce. At Crash Boat Beach near Aguadilla, we nibbled on pinchos while watching a man manipulate pelicans into doing tricks.
Driving from Mayagüez to Ponce, we stopped at a cafe situated right above the water, where I finally tried the famed mofongo and a few other Puerto Rican delights.
Back at my parents’ house, we crafted our own Caribbean-inspired meal, making a variation of this pumpkin curry served with sautéed chayote and steamed breadfruit, which we had picked up at a roadside stand. Mom made pizza loaded with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, broccoli, grilled eggplant, and peppers. There was chipotle meatloaf. There was fried rice. There were breakfast hashes of crispy potatoes, peppers, and eggs. There were sweet-tart quenepas. There was the rainforest and its waterfalls. There were geckos, iguanas, and coqui. There was rum. There was so much to see, to taste, to smell. I can’t wait to go back.
Our recipe today is fusion food at its best: ebleskivers filled with guava paste, drizzled in a guava syrup. Ebleskivers are Danish pancakes and sort of a cross between an American pancake and a popover. You need a special ebleskiver pan to make these little treats, and I’m not sure what else you could use to replace the pan. Buy one online, or just keep your eyes peeled – I found a cast iron ebleskiver pan in an antique store in Gettysburg, PA. It might have cost $10. Mom found her ebleskiver pan before my sister and I were even born, at the tiny Hartline Grocery in good ol’ Hartline, Washington (AKA our homeland). Hartline Grocery was run by a man named Raymond, who happened to be a heavy smoker. Once when mom bought a box of oatmeal, the oats smelled like cigarette smoke. And once, when describing a rather sorry-looking Christmas tree, someone said he had seen more green on a loaf of bread at Raymond’s. Apparently his “fresh” food prices were higher than the bigger grocery stores but he had inventory in his store that had been there for decades and never changed the price stickers. Mom used to buy thread on real wooden spools for 10 cents when it would have cost a dollar or so in a fabric store. Then one day, she came across the ebleskiver pan, which cost maybe $4. When she took it up to the counter, Raymond asked what on earth she was going to do with it, surprised that she actually knew what it was. He had ordered the pans when Danes were farming over across the Coulee and had that one pan left that no one bought. (The Coulee is generally this area, AKA more of our homeland.)
Mom remembered learning about ebleskivers in a high school home economics class. The teacher was young and ahead of her time in terms of multicultural education, and she looked for people of any ethnic heritage in the community to come in to teach how to make traditional dishes. They made Basque fish soup, Japanese tempura, and Danish ebleskivers.
For me, ebleskivers mean a special occasion. I remember them most from trips visiting my parents when I was in college, when the breakfasts were late and we could mill about, taking our time, because it was usually the holidays. Maple syrup was my first ebleskiver condiment, with Nutella eventually taking its place. This time, in Puerto Rico, Mom added a tropical twist and filled them with guava paste. If you’ve never had guava paste, I encourage you to go get some. You can definitely find it in a Latin American store, and I’d even think in a well-stocked grocery store (in the Goya section). It comes in fairly sizable blocks or discs and can be used in a variety of recipes from empanadas to pies to muffins to glazes to syrups to just sliced, with a cube of cheese. It also lasts forever (relatively speaking), since it has so much sugar.
The stories about the origins of ebleskivers are murky at best, but my favorite comes from a Viking myth: Vikings, famished and returning from a fierce battle, had no pans in which to cook and thus flung their battered shields onto a fire, making pancakes in the indentations. While that might not be quite how ebleskivers came about, we do know that three main islands of the US Virgin Islands were in Danish possession from the 1600s until 1916. Who knows – maybe one of the Danes added guava to his ebleskivers.
Guava ebleskivers with guava syrup
adapted from Julia Peterson Tufford’s Original Scandinavian Recipes
Makes about 28 ebleskivers, can easily be halved
For the guava ebleskivers:
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the eggs and liquid and beat until smooth.
2. Heat your pan over medium to medium high heat. Cut your butter into little dabs so that you can quickly add it to your ebleskiver pan. Like this:
3. When you add your butter, you want it to sizzle slightly, rather than nonchalantly melting. The sizzle means your pan is at the correct temperature to efficiently cook your ebleskivers through without taking too long. Take a deep breath, you can do it.
4. When your butter is sizzling, drop in the batter so it fills the holes about halfway. Working quickly, tuck a cube or two (depends how much guava you want!) into the batter, but don’t shove it down to the bottom. You want the guava to float in the batter, not get stuck to the pan. Dollop a little more batter on top to cover, and cook until you can slide a fork or knife under to see that the bottom is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Using a fork or knife or your fingers if you’re an adventurous Viking, flip the ebleskivers to cook on the other side another few minutes.
They are best enjoyed hot out of the pan, drizzled with this simple guava syrup:
In a small sauce pan, add a chunk about the size of a fist and slice it into cubes (you can just slice it right in the pan to avoid more sticky fingers). Over medium to medium-high heat, warm the guava paste with 1/2 cup of water, whisking and breaking up the guava to form a syrup. Once the guava is blended into the water and the syrup is simmering, you can decide if you want a thinner or thicker syrup and add more water or more guava accordingly. Any leftover syrup happens to go quite well with peanut butter, on bread.
Kara and Tami
Stop whatever you’re doing right now.
You NEED to go make these paletas (Spanish for popsicle).
I’m not joking.
This post wasn’t even supposed to be all sweet, creamy, and tangy. It was supposed to be grilled, crunchy, and springy. But life, it is strange. Sometimes life brings you champagne mangoes for $1/each and you go crazy and buy five. Then you notice that the mangoes are getting a little too wrinkly and decide that roasting them with some habanero-infused maple syrup and a sprinkling of piloncillo for good measure would make them quite tasty. And then you realize that you have some leftover strained yogurt just waiting to go bad in the fridge, and that it’s getting pretty hot outside, and that you’ve been waiting for just the right circumstances to break out your popsicle mold and dig back into Frany Gerson’s Paletas.
These paletas are the perfect end to a spicy meal, or the perfect treat for days when you feel particularly dewy. I adapted them from Fany Gerson’s recipe for paletas de yogurt con moras, or yogurt ice pops with berries, swapping three roasted champagne mangoes for the blackberries. I originally intended on just chopping the mangoes and tossing them in, but I thought roasting them with piloncillo and a touch of maple syrup would make them nicely caramelized and blend well with the strained yogurt.
I was right.
Roasted Mango + Yogurt Paletas
adapted from Fany Gerson’s Paletas
Note: I made these with 1/2 cup sugar in the water mixture, per the original recipe. Since I also add more sugar when roasting the mangoes, next time I’ll add a little less sugar to the water mixture. The paletas aren’t overly sweet, though; I just prefer things to be less sweet. As usual, go with what you feel.
1. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon peel, lower the heat, and simmer for five minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove the lemon peel and refrigerate syrup until chilled.
2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter the mango pieces on the sheet, then sprinkle on the piloncillo. Roast for 7 or so minutes, until the mangoes start to release some juice and are sizzling a bit. Remove from oven, stir everything around, and sprinkle on some maple syrup, if using. (Don’t add the maple syrup right away or it could burn.) Return to oven for another 5 – 7 minutes, until the mangoes look nicely caramelized but aren’t burnt. If you do burn them, though, I wouldn’t worry too much. You’ll just have toasted mango paletas instead of roasted. No one will be the wiser. Set mangoes aside.
3. Blend the yogurt, honey, and chilled lemon syrup with about half of the mangoes until smooth. Divide the mixture among your popsicle molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, divide them among cups. If you don’t have cups, try ice cube trays. (Although I hope if you have ice cube trays you also have cups). Use a muffin tin if you have to. Next, divide the remaining roasted mango among your molds. Using a popsicle stick, a chopstick, a fork, or your fingers, push the mango chunks down to distribute somewhat evenly throughout each paleta. If you have a popsicle mold with the lid thing featuring slits for the popsicle sticks, insert the sticks now. If you’re using cups or whatever else, allow the mixture to freeze for about an hour until it gets hard enough to hold a stick in place. If you don’t have popsicle sticks, you could us a skewer. Or toothpicks if you’re using an ice cube tray. Or you could just go buy some.
OR: If you don’t think you want chunks of mango in your paletas, blend all the mango with the yogurt mixture. It will also be delicious. (Thanks, Elizabeth!)
4. Freeze paletas until solid, about three to four hours. To de-mold, run hot water over the mold for a minute or so. The paleta will slide right out.
p.s. I got my popsicle mold here.