Mango Salsa

I must confess: I have been a terrible soccer fan and have failed to follow the Eurocup.

But, c’mon: between the craziness of the NBA Finals, and the incredible Olympics Track and Field trials, I simply have not had the time to follow another sport! My dad is appalled.

I decided to start my fandom today with the France versus Italy game, first by actually watching the game, and second by making mango salsa for everyone to enjoy.

There is something so beautiful about Mango Salsa: the bright colors, the sweet and savory flavors, all coming together to bring this game day masterpiece. Oh, and did I mention there’s AVOCADO involved?! Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Anyways, enjoy on game day, enjoy any day!

Mango Salsa

3 mangos, cubed

2 full avocados, cubed

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 red bell pepper

2 jalapeños, chopped

1 can of corn, juice drained

2 limes and 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

handful fresh cilantro, chopped

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Nazook (Persian Pastry)

I just got back from a glorious 2 week vacation on the East Coast, where I spent most of my time relaxing and enjoying the laziness of summer. Once back home, I managed to make it 24 hours before venturing into the kitchen with a need to create in mind. I decided I wanted to make something requiring a little more effort, something unique and simply delicious. Enter nazook:

Nazook is a Persian pastry that my Iranian grandmother has been making for me for as long as I can remember. No one makes nazook like her, and it is the perfect accompaniment for a hot tea or coffee. The flavor is buttery, sugary, and downright incredible.

Don’t they look great piled up in their little platter?

They model so well! Nazook: ready for its close-up.

Making nazook is a two-day process, hence the challenge I was seeking. But I promise to you: the wait is worth it!

Nazook

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon dry yeast

1 cup sour cream

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

3 cups flour

Filling:

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Glaze:

2 eggs yolks, beaten

1 teaspoon yogurt

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast with 1 cup sour cream; set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Add butter and mix well.
3. Add the egg, oil, and vinegar and mix well.
4. Add the sifted flour gradually and continue mixing.
5. Knead dough for about 15 minutes until smooth and firm so that it does not stick to your hands.
6. Gather dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
7. To make the filling, mix together 1 cup of the melted butter and 2 cups flour. Add 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; stir constantly for 1 minute, so that the mixture does not stick to your hands and becomes smooth and even. Set aside.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
9. Remove dough from the refrigerator; divide it into 8 equal balls. Place each ball on a lightly floured board.
10. Roll each ball out to a rectangle measuring 10-by-6 inches, or as thin as possible with the aid of rolling pin. Paint each rectangle with melted butter.
11. Spread 1/4 cup filling into the center of each rectangle and roll out the filling over it with the aid of a rolling pin.
12. Fold in about 1/2 inch of the rectangle on each side.
13. Roll up dough into a cylinder.
14. Place rolling pin on pastry roll and flatten slightly lengthwise. Cut the roll diagonally with a sharp knife or serrated knife into 2-inch equal slices.
15. Place pastry about 2 inches apart on a lightly floured baking pan. (Be careful not to spill out any filling.)
16. Paint the surface of each pastry with the glaze (mixture of beaten egg and brown.
17. Place baking pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
18. Remove the baking pan from oven and allow the pastries to cool. Enjoy!

Additional note: I made variations! Feel free to get creative with the filling-it’s fun!

1. Cinnamon Walnut Nazook: in the filling, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2. Chocolate Chip Nazook: add 1/4 cup chocolate chips to the filling

Honey Bunches of Treats

When I am home, you could say I am lazy.

I call it creative.

Case in point: I had marshmallows I wanted to use up, but no Rice Krispies cereal with which to make Rice Krispie treats. Instead of driving to the store, I decided Honey Bunches of Oats would replace Rice Krispies in the recipe to become Honey Bunches of Treats. I even coated some in chocolate.

I don’t know why I have never thought to do this before! The textures and honey flavor in the Honey Bunches of Oats cereal make this treat more flavorful. And the granola bits are absolutely fantastic!

Honey Bunches of Treats

1 package Honey Bunches of Oats cereal

1 package full size marshmallows

3 tablespoons butter (may need an extra teaspoon or two-especially if you’re like me and love anything buttery!)

Chocolate chips (optional topping)

 

First, melt butter in a saucepan. Then add marshmallows and let the warmth melt them into a gooey, sugar-laden mess. Next, add in the cereal and mix. Spread the mixture onto a pan that has been lined with wax paper (you will thank me when the clean up is as easy as removing the wax paper). If you chose to add the optional chocolate chips, spread them on top of treats while the mixture is still warm, then spread them once they melt for a nice coated layer. Enjoy!

Fun Fact: all you college students out there can make these in your dining hall microwave! Simply downsize the recipe portions (Using a mug as a measuring tool: 1/2 mug of mini marshmallows, 1 spoon butter, an 1/2 mug of cereal). Microwave marshmallows and butter together until melty, then really quickly pour in the cereal and stir. So easy!