Saturday, August 14, 2010

Michelle's Kitchen in Toronto - Snapper and Mango Salsa with Rice and Beans

With the heat still blanketing the city and me in my element with it, I decided it was finally time to have company over to my apartment now that I have a brand new balcony! After disclosing my plans to finally start cooking again, my insanely talented musician friend Jimi Maze (check out his music here) agreed to play guinea pig in my epicurean experiments. A few days earlier, he very graciously brought me a pepper plant as a house-warming gift. Add this to the Pakistani mangos I had bought earlier that week in Little India and of course, this got my creative juices flowing! How could I use these gorgeous colourful peppers and sweet juicy mangoes in some way? My brain immediately supplied the answer; mango salsa!

Given the heat, I decided that serving something light was a good idea so I headed to my local megamart to see what kind of fish they had. Once that was done, I needed a side dish. Given that I was already on a South American path with the salsa, I decided some rice and beans were in order! My mother had brought me some farm-fresh corn the previous day and I decided to incorporate it into my efforts. I added a salad with homemade dressing and dinner was set!

Mixy's Mango Salsa

1 mango, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 avocado, chopped and cubed
1 green onion, chopped fine
3 tbsp black beans
1/2 red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 bird's eye chilli, seeded and chopped fine (or leave the seeds for extra heat)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
1 lime, squeezed
dash of lemon juice

Mix everything together and use right away or let it hang out in the fridge for 30 minutes to meld the flavours. Make sure to add the citrus before you add the avocado and mix it in so the avos don't turn brown. This is lovely over fish but I also had leftovers of the salsa over pork chops that I covered in chutney, seared and popped in a 400F over for 10-15 mins which was delicious! Jimi and I had the salsa with snapper that I put in a 375F over for 17 mins with some olive oil, lime juice, salt and salad herbs.

Add to this my side of rice and beans that I cooked in my rice cooker. If you don't have one (and you really should!) just cook the basmati according to the package instructions with all the ingredients in the pot at once; easy one-pot wonder!

Beans and Rice - Michelle-style

1 ear corn, corn sliced off the cob (use raw)
1/2 can black beans
3/4 c basmati rice
3/4 c water
3/4 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 lime squeezed for juice
1 bay leaf

Put everything in your rice cooker and hit "start". I felt it needed more salt, but Jimi said his was great, so salt to taste.

I love entertaining and plan on doing much more of it before the summer is over. Must take advantage of my brand new balcony and killer view!

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