October 21, 2014

Add brightness to spring with mangos; try a lassi!

Mangos are a spring-brightening food.

Mangos are a spring-brightening food.Mangos are a spring-brightening food.The mercurial days of spring are here — one moment beaming rays of sunshine are melting snow banks and starting a slow, sweet, thawing of the soil, while the very next day the wind howls 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, mangos may be effective at lowering cholesterol and boosting the immune system. The fiber content also helps with digestion and elimination. Bursting with goodness,  mangos supply the body with antioxidant protection that may stave off cancer cells. A superb source of Vitamin E, mangos may elevate sex drives and they 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, which will promote good eyesight, prevent night blindness and dry eyes.

Combine mangos with fat-free Greek yogurt and nutmeg into a smoothie known as a lassi and you will have a powerhouse potion. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and riboflavin which will rev up your energy metabolism, while live cultures in the yogurt promote superior digestion, while nutmeg is reported to be an effective brain stimulant. 

Savor all the glories of spring as you prepare your delicious life.

Luscious Mango Lassi

Serves 2

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon sugar  (optional)

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add a bit more water if too thick and blend again.