Tango Mango

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Rural hardly describes it. “Remote” is a better word. It was so still and quiet the only thing we heard were some raindrops making their way to the ground and an occasional deer thrashing through the brush nearby. We were on gravel roads for miles and miles before we got to this point. I kept thinking it would be a bad place to have car trouble or need any kind of assistance.

Despite the fact that it was cloudy, it was serene and beautiful.

Above Dairy Creek, Northwest of Portland, Oregon.

No contest. The homemade version wins.

I usually set my bar pretty high when it comes to choosing the photographs I post here. Dozens end up on the cutting room floor before I settle on the right one. Not this morning. Today I wanted to show you the little breakfast sandwich maker we got months ago, and I wasn’t going to make more sandwiches than we could eat all for the sake of photography.

We could live without this little appliance, but we love it. After it has warmed up, you build your sandwich starting with half an English muffin at the bottom. Then you add Canadian bacon, or turkey (what we used here), or even cooked, crispy bacon. Top it with cheese. Close the inner lid and then crack an egg on its surface. Another English muffin half finishes it off. You close the lid and wait four or five minutes. Voilà! One delicious, scrumptious breakfast package, ready to head out the door with you.

You can make healthier versions by using just egg whites. You can add spinach leaves or substitute low-fat cheese. Sometimes I will toast two pieces of whole wheat bread and then use a large, round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the bread. It’s a lighter version than with the English muffin.

Alternatively, you can keep the English muffin, load it up with various cheeses and pepperoni and top it with an egg. ;-)  Your call.

Excuse me, but do you have any idea how those chick eggs were made, or at least what was used for the eyes and beak? Thank you!

Asked by
Anonymous

  • I peeled the hard-boiled eggs and then sliced the top off the narrow part of the egg. I then very carefully dug out the yolks using a small baby spoon, I mashed the yolks with the other deviled egg fillings and spooned the mixture back into the hollow eggs. A few of the eggs tore during the process, which was fine, because it gave me a little more yolk for the filling!

The eyes are tiny pieces of ripe olive and the beaks are cut from carrot slices.

Link to deviled egg chicks for Easter

Crispy, bacon-wrapped dates

Salty, sweet, crispy, crunchy. I’m a big fan of bacon (you know this if you’ve been a follower for a while) so it completely makes sense that I would fall in love with the unlikely pairing of bacon, cheese, and dates. They may not be the prettiest hors d’oeuvre on your buffet, but this bite-size nugget of goodness is one of the best appetizers I’ve ever made.

Last night we ate these with sliced apples, grapes, crispy seed and nut crackers with rosemary and a variety of cheeses. With a cold glass of wine, it was a perfect, casual dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 16 large dates, pitted
  • 32 almond slivers, toasted
  • Scant 1/4 cup mild goat cheese or blue cheese, depending on what you prefer or have on hand
  • 6 to 8 slices of thin-sliced bacon, either cut in half or in thirds crosswise

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut a lengthwise slit in the dates. Stuff each one with a couple of slivered almonds and about 1/2 teaspoon of the goat cheese. Pinch the dates closed. Wrap each date securely in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the dates, seam side down, on a baking sheet. (At this point stuffed dates can be either baked or refrigerated for 1 day.)

Bake the stuffed dates for about 20 minutes, or until the bacon is browned and crisp, turning each date after 10 minutes. Serve the stuffed dates warm or at room temperature.

did you write the Spinosaurus cookie post? if so, i think i might have fallen a little in love with you, whoever you are :))

Asked by
thunkjan

Haha! Yes, I authored that post and I’m feeling the love. 

Spinosaurus had so much fun helping make cookies, he told a bunch of his friends. Now I’ve got dinosaurs in the kitchen everyday begging to get involved. Apatosaurus helped peel these eggs.

So far no help with gardening, though.

Deviled egg chicks

image

Deviled egg, anyone?   

The bowl of hard-boiled eggs that usually sit in the refrigerator was empty this morning – these Easter-inspired chicks sat in their place. I didn’t know if this would cause a problem when it came time to pack lunches, because a few people around here insist on taking a hard-boiled egg to work every day.

I have chuckled all morning thinking about how somebody sat at work today, eating one of these instead.

The best deviled egg recipe right here.

Instructions for making these.

How to make a good fruit salad, à la tango-mango
People around here will pick up a banana or an apple as they’re headed out the door, or add strawberries to their Greek yogurt. In the early summer months we harvest so many raspberries from our garden we have a hard time keeping up. However, I rarely go to the trouble of putting together a fruit salad. Why? For one thing, a good fruit salad is not a low-budget affair.
Over the years I have come up with a few guidelines when I make a fruit salad. As you read through them I totally expect some disagreement, because what I think look and tastes good is probably different than what you like. It’s a totally subjective subject. 
Use at least five different fruits and use only fresh fruit if possible.
Try to add at least one type of berry. Blueberries, strawberries or raspberries – use what is fresh and in season.
Go for a variety of colors. I love the beautiful green color of kiwi.
Add texture. Nuts, such as macadamia nuts or pecans add crunch. Golden raisins or dried cranberries add a bit of chew.
If you add grapes, slice them in half first.
Sliced bananas are mandatory, but add them at the last minute.
Include one exotic fruit, such as dragon fruit. People seem to either love or hate star fruit, but slices of it in a fruit salad add a beautiful shape and color.
I don’t add apple to a fruit salad — the texture doesn’t seem right.
I rarely add oranges unless I’m going for something tropical that would include coconut and pineapple. That’s a different type of fruit salad.
Serve your fruit salad in a pretty bowl, preferable a clear glass or crystal bowl.
If your fruit salad is being served for brunch, breakfast, or lunch, a bowl of Greek yogurt along side is a nice addition.
Our fruit salad the other day included strawberries, mango, kiwi, dragon fruit, macadamia nuts, sliced banana and red grapes. 

How to make a good fruit salad, à la tango-mango

People around here will pick up a banana or an apple as they’re headed out the door, or add strawberries to their Greek yogurt. In the early summer months we harvest so many raspberries from our garden we have a hard time keeping up. However, I rarely go to the trouble of putting together a fruit salad. Why? For one thing, a good fruit salad is not a low-budget affair.

Over the years I have come up with a few guidelines when I make a fruit salad. As you read through them I totally expect some disagreement, because what I think look and tastes good is probably different than what you like. It’s a totally subjective subject. 

  • Use at least five different fruits and use only fresh fruit if possible.
  • Try to add at least one type of berry. Blueberries, strawberries or raspberries – use what is fresh and in season.
  • Go for a variety of colors. I love the beautiful green color of kiwi.
  • Add texture. Nuts, such as macadamia nuts or pecans add crunch. Golden raisins or dried cranberries add a bit of chew.
  • If you add grapes, slice them in half first.
  • Sliced bananas are mandatory, but add them at the last minute.
  • Include one exotic fruit, such as dragon fruit. People seem to either love or hate star fruit, but slices of it in a fruit salad add a beautiful shape and color.
  • I don’t add apple to a fruit salad — the texture doesn’t seem right.
  • I rarely add oranges unless I’m going for something tropical that would include coconut and pineapple. That’s a different type of fruit salad.
  • Serve your fruit salad in a pretty bowl, preferable a clear glass or crystal bowl.
  • If your fruit salad is being served for brunch, breakfast, or lunch, a bowl of Greek yogurt along side is a nice addition.

Our fruit salad the other day included strawberries, mango, kiwi, dragon fruit, macadamia nuts, sliced banana and red grapes. 

Garden update

Three weeks ago we spent a day fashioning little pots out of recycled newspaper. We planted seeds in the pots, which were then labeled, organized, and put into the cold frame. We watched and doted over them and were happy to see the seeds turn into seedlings. They thrived in their warm and humid environment.

On Sunday, we replanted most of them into their appropriate raised beds, which are also covered. It’s fun to see healthy tomato plants that are only 2-inches high, a bed of little lettuces and spinach, and radishes that already are showing their red roots plumping up. The basil, thyme, coriander and parsley are sprouting. The sunflowers are 7-inches tall and the cotyledon leaves of the summer squash are the size of large dates.

I am already thinking of all of the ways I will be using the peas this season. Again, we have two long beds filled with climbing plants which will grow 8-feet tall.

Just like all of the years before this one, what we grow will influence what we eat this spring and summer. I can hardly wait.