Summer Smoothies

Mango is my favorite tropical fruit.  We particularly like the small sweet Adolfo mango, also known as Champagne Mango.  I stand the mango up on its stem end, carefully slice down each side of the large seed, then, holding a mango half in my palm, make crisscross diagonal cuts.  Then I turn the half inside out so that the bite size pieces can be scooped off with a spoon. For fruit plates, I sometimes leave the half just as it is i the photo, for each person to scoop for themselves.

When we lived in Indonesia, we had a mango tree in our back yard.  I made pies with them, very much like peach pie.

I like them plain, but also use them in salsa, sauces, and smoothies.  Summer is upon us here on the Texas Gulf Coast, so a mango smoothie is a wonderfully cool, refreshing breakfast.  This week I made them with some mint, kiwi, and blueberries added.  Yum!

Summer Smoothies

1 cup Greek Yogurt, plain

2 mangos, pitted, peeled and cubed

2 kiwi

1/2 cup blueberries

1 sprig of mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

Mix all ingredients in blender, adding a few ice cubes for extra chill.  Pour into 2 tall glasses, garnish with mint and peach or mango slice.


Bahn Mi

Our family’s favorite sandwiches when I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s?  Pimiento cheese, tuna salad, bologna and spam, grilled cheese, and hot dogs were old standbys.  My Daddy made the best hamburgers ever in his Bus Station Cafe.  Other than bologna and spam, I still have a fondness for all those.  But our family has a new hands down favorite:  Bahn Mi, or a Vietnamese sandwich.  The ingredients in this photo are ready to stack into crusty French bread.  I like to use leftover pork tenderloin to slice into this sandwich, but freshly grilled is fine, too.  The traditional bread is the French baguette, but I like to use Mexican style Bolillo from our local supermarket which are crusty with a puffy light bread inside each oval roll.  We are not alone in our taste for these sandwiches.  They have become so popular that many fans declare them a favorite.  There is even a website for this craze:  Battle of the Bahn Mi:  Finding, Feasting, and Making Vietnamese Pork Sandwiches.

First, make pickled carrots and daikon radish to use as a condiment.

Pickled Carrots and Daikon

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin strips

1 Daikon radish, peeled and sliced very thin

3 teaspoons sea salt

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup rice vinegar

1 cup water

Mix sliced carrots and daikon with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes so that moisture begins to seep from the vegetables. Rinse well and drain.

In another bowl, mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until sugar and salt dissolve.  Pour over vegetables and let them sit for an hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Bahn Mi

1 pork tenderloin. (I buy the tenderloins already marinated, 2 in a package)

Carrot and Daikon pickles

1 English cucumber or 2 Baby cucumbers, sliced

½ cup Light mayonnaise with olive oil

2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Grill pork tenderloin on a hot grill for 10 minutes or until cooked through.  Set aside and toast sliced baguette or rolls until crusty and heated through.

Mix mayo and chili sauce before spreading on top half of bread.  Slice pork and arrange on bottom half. Top with carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber slices and cilantro.  Cover with top bread half, slice diagonally, and serve with extra chili sauce or sriracha.

Black Bean Chalupas

Our family loves Mexican food.  Along with Enchildadas Verde, Cheese Enchiladas, Fish and Shrimp Tacos, and Chiles Rellenos, we include Chalupas among our favorites.  These Black Bean Chalupas are so easy to make, look beautiful on your plate, taste fresh and delicious, and are full of healthy fresh vegetables.

Black Bean Chalupas

4 corn tostadas.

1 whole garlic pod

1 can seasoned smashed black beans

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 cups finely shredded romaine or other lettuce

1 tomato, diced

4 green onions, sliced

1 red and 1 orange sweet pepper, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeds removed and sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

vinegar for sprinkling on top

First, roast garlic by wrapping entire pod in aluminum foil and placing in 400 degree oven until pods soften, about 20 minutes.  Remove garlic and cool slightly. While garlic is roasting, prepare vegetables and set aside until ready to assemble chalupas.

 Reduce oven heat to 375, place tostados on baking sheet to heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave oven on. Heat black beans with a dash of olive oil , stirring as they warm.

Assembly:  Place tostados on plate and squeeze enough garlic out of cloves to spread on top of each.  Then spread about 1/4 cup of the smashed beans.  Next, add 1/4 cup shredded cheese. To finish, divide the vegetables and cilantro among the four tostadas and sprinkle with a few drops of vinegar.  I like flavored vinegars, and often use sherry vinegar.

Caramelized Onion and Sorrel Tart

Sorrel is another old fashioned green that is actually a hardy herb.  Usually called French sorrel to distinguish it from a sorrel known as dock that may also be used in cooking, it has a lemony taste that makes it good with fish. It is used by the French for ragouts, sauces, and soups.  I have made a creamy sauce with it to drizzle over salmon.  But this lovely, light tart uses it with caramelized red onions and makes a delicious offering for brunch or a simple supper.  I adapted the recipe as shown on for use as a lower carb dish by using Phyllo pastry sheet layers instead of a traditional tart crust.

Caramelized Onion and Sorrel Tart

1/2 package of Phyllo sheets

Cooking spray

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

 8 ounces sorrel leaves

2 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated


In a 10 inch tart pan, layer the Phyllo sheets one at a time, spraying each with cooking spray before adding the next.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a wide pan, add the onion and the salt. Cook until onion softens and begins to caramelize, stirring often.

While the onion is cooking, cut off the stems of the sorrel leaves and roughly chop the leaves. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a pan, and add the sorrel by large handfuls, tossing as they cook down to almost nothing.  3 to 4 minutes.

Whisk the eggs with the cream; then stir in the onion, sorrel, and half of the cheese. Taste for salt, and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the crust; then pour the filling on top. Bake in the center of the oven until the custard is set and golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve the tart while it is hot. .

Epicurious based the tart on a recipe from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food.

                                                    Bon Appetit!

Sauteed Scallops served on Italian Chicory

Long-stemmed Fancy Dandelion greens, also called Italian Chicory,  is related to several other bitter leaf vegetables which make up the chicory family, such as Belgian endive and the many varieties of Radicchio which are so important in the region of Veneto in Italy. We recently had some in our CSA vegetable share which I enjoyed using as a delicious side with scallops.  We used this for a light supper.  Smaller portions make excellent starters for a heavier meal. I adapted a recipe from

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Italian Chicory     4 servings

12 large sea scallops

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar, divided
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch Italian chicory (other bitter greens may be used, or a mix)
2 tablespoons water

Whisk together 1/3 cup oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tear chicory into small pieces and add to bowl.  Keep covered and chilled until ready to mix.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to skillet and cook until golden brown and just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. When cooking a larger number of scallops, please cook them in batches, not crowding them into the skillet.

Whisk vinaigrette; pour over greens and toss. Divide slaw between plates.. Arrange 3 scallops atop slaw on each plate. Add remaining  vinegar to same skillet along with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to simmer, scraping up any browned pieces from scallops.. Drizzle this sauce over scallops. In this photo, I have served this with a side of edamame and wild rice.