Tango Mango

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Hey I just saw your story/picture from when you went to mt St. Helens and I was wondering what part you went to to see the bees because I'm going to Washington with my family in a few weeks and would love to see all of those bees!

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Actually, those pictures were taken near Scholls, Oregon, which is just southwest of Portland. What I said in my post was that I could see Mount St. Helens in the distance, which is about 80 miles to the north.

However, I have found honeybees at all of the lavender farms I’ve visited. I bet if you looked for lavender farms near Mount St. Helens you would find honeybees!

Good luck and thanks for writing!

Shaved zucchini salad with pine nuts and feta cheese  

As much as we love zucchini, it always becomes a challenge at this time of year to keep up with them. It’s such a common “situation” (you can’t really call it a complaint), I’m always thrilled to find new ways to eat them.

A friend of mine prepared this salad for our camping trip, and I unabashedly ate more than my fair share. I couldn’t get enough of it! In fact, I loved it so much, I made it again last night with zucchini and basil from the garden. It’s lemony and fresh and divine. The textures of the pine nuts, crunchy zucchini and the feta cheese complement each other perfectly.

I was given only a basic rundown of proportions, so what follows is what I came up with last night.  (Easily serves two people.)


  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (you may need more)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


Whisk oil, lemon juice, salt,  black pepper, and crushed red pepper in small bowl to blend.

Using vegetable peeler, slice zucchini into ribbons (about 1/16 inch thick). Place ribbons in large bowl. Add basil, feta cheese, and pinenuts, then dressing; toss to coat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Two days ago I had the pleasure of driving through the Columbia River Gorge on my way to Hood River. I never tire of admiring the river, the waterfalls and the rocky bluffs.

It’s just a thirty minute drive from Portland to the Vista House on Crown Point. (Top two photos.) It sits like a jewel on a crown of basalt, with the river at its feet.

On the way back I stumbled across a small, pristine lavender farm. It was a perfect ending to a beautiful morning.

Mango salsa – revised 

I had been sitting at my computer for the better part of five minutes trying to think of something clever to say about mango salsa. Other than it’s delicious and addictive, nothing was coming. I mentioned my writer’s block to a daughter, and she immediately piped up that the recipe doesn’t make enough. She is absolutely right, and why didn’t I think of this before?

She watched as I made and photographed the version you see here, our mouths watering the whole time. After the process was all said and done, we ended up with a fairly small bowl of this summery, fruity and spicy mix.

The juice of one juicy lime is really too much. I never use all of a jalapeno pepper, and I only mince a scant amount of the red onion. What this recipe needs is two mangos. Ta da!

So, friends, this recipe has been modified, and now it makes a lot more sense. Use it on grilled fish or pork, serve it with tortilla chips, or my all-time favorite way – in the recipe for mini corn cakes topped with spicy mango salsa.

Just in case you need to know, here’s how to cut a mango.

Spicy mango salsa

  • mangos, cut in small dice
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion (or more, if you wish)
  • 1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely diced
  • Juice of 1 juicy lime
  • Scant handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Check for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve.