The Conscious Cook: In praise of spring
“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” — Bern Williams
The mercurial days of spring are here — one moment beaming rays of sunshine are melting snow banks initiating a slow, sweet, thawing of the soil. The very next day howling winds and errant snowflakes flutter in the sturdy breeze.
How grateful I am for the tough yet tender beauty of our New England spring. There is such joy in watching the daffodils pressing their way upward, and spying the vibrant purples and yellows of the stalwart crocuses, which return year after year, despite the ravages of winter.
Spring reawakens not only the outer earth, but our inner landscape as well, and we begin to crave lighter, brighter dishes, full of color and more delicate flavors. Tropical fruits such as mango are a perfect ingredient to tempt the palate until local gardens begin to yield their seasonal delights.
Perfectly ripe, fresh mango can be difficult to find, but most supermarkets now conveniently carry frozen mango chunks. A delicious departure from oranges, grapefruit and other cool weather fruits, mango is uniquely delicious, with a lush, exotic flavor. Versatile and vivacious, mango can be transformed into velvety sauces, savory salsas, gorgeous salad dressings, sunny soups, satisfyingly sweet desserts and sumptuous smoothies.
With high levels of fiber, pectin and Vitamin C, mangoes may be effective at lowering cholesterol and boosting the immune system. Their fiber content also helps with digestion and elimination. Bursting with goodness, mangoes supply the body with antioxidant protection that may stave off cancer cells. A superb source of vitamin E, mangoes may elevate sex drives and are an excellent natural beauty aid, clearing clogged pores and eliminating pimples. One cup of mango supplies 25 percent of the daily needed value of vitamin A, which will promote good eyesight, prevent night blindness and dry eyes.
Combine mangoes with fat free Greek yogurt and nutmeg for a luscious spring potion. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and riboflavin, which will rev up your metabolism, while live cultures in the yogurt promote superior digestion, and nutmeg is reported to be an effective brain stimulant.
Savor all the glories of spring as you prepare your delicious life.
Luscious Mango Lassi
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add a bit more water if too thick and blend again.
For more on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, go to www.theconsciouscook.net.