I have cabin fever. When I woke up this morning the temperature read 3; as in 3 degrees. C declared this morning she is sick of winter. Me too. G keeps asking “when is spring?” Soon buddy, soon. The baby has only left the house a handful of times in the past two weeks. Fresh air doesn’t exist in his world, not yet. Bubba is tired of putting on 20 layers before walking to the train in the morning. Even our snow loving dog seems ready for spring. I am ready to pack up our winter gear and pull out flip-flops and t-shirts.
My taste buds are craving fresh fruits and vegetables. I no longer want to eat hearty stews, chilis or soups. I want to eat salads, burgers on the grill and local, fresh fruit. While browsing through the latest Cooks Illustrated, I came across a recipe for tropical fruit salad. ( I say browsing because the lack of sleep with the baby’s night feedings are making it difficult for me to read anything.) My mouth started to water. The next day I went to Whole Foods and grabbed 2 mangos, 2 oranges and a cucumber and set out to make a fruit salad that would satisfy my cravings.
Mango is fairly easy to find in the winter. I love the sweet tropical flavor of a mango, but a fruit salad needs balance. I decided to add 2 oranges which gave the salad some tartness. Now all I needed was a little crunch.
I chose a cucumber. If you don’t like cucumber, give jicama try. I cut the cucumber in half, seeded and diced it. The last thing to make was a lime syrup infused with red pepper flakes, lime zest and a pinch of salt. As Cooks Illustrated promised, the lime syrup highlighted the fruits natural flavors while also adding a great sweet and spicy balance to the salad.
Mango, Orange and Cucumber Fruit Salad
recipe barely adapted from Cooks Illustrated March & April 2014
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. grated lime zest
3 tbsp. lime juice ( from about 2 limes)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
pinch of kosher salt
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded and diced 1/4 inch
2 oranges, peel and pith removed, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 mangos, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch dice, about 4 cups
In a small sauce pan, bring sugar, lime zest, juice, red pepper flakes and salt to a simmer over medium heat while stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
Remove peel and pith from oranges and slice into 1/2 inch rounds and then cut into 1/2 pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Peel and pit mangos. Cut into 1/2 dice and place in bowl with oranges. Peel, slice in half lengthwise and seed cucumber. Cut into 1/4 inch dice. Add to the orange, mango mixture. Pour cool syrup over the fruit and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes before serving. This salad tastes best the day it is made. Enjoy!
5 Fresh Recipes to Get You Through the Final Weeks of Winter
If you like oranges and fennel, try this salad recipe by White on Rice Couple. While you are there, check out their blog. I love their recipes and the photography is beautiful!
Start your morning with this fresh and healthy berry smoothie by Heather Christo.
Are you on a greek yogurt kick? Give Me Some Oven has a quick and easy recipe for a greek yogurt parfait.
If you love grapefruit and sorbet you should make this dessert by How Sweet Eats.
I’ll wait to make this recipe, by Two Peas and Their Pod, in the summer when tomatoes and peaches are local and abundant. For now, I’ll just stare at the picture and dream.