02 May 2009

Mango and Chicken Stir-fry

This Cat Cora cookbook, Cooking from The Hip, is pretty quickly becoming a favourite cookbook. There's a lot of really tasty things in this book and it really is full of the sort of things that I can make with mostly ingredients that I've already got (or can fairly easily get) and can do in a short enough amount of time that I don't feel like I've wasted a bunch of my day on cooking and then cleaning.

Stir-fry isn't really something that I think of as needing a recipe; the sauce, maybe, but even that doesn't or shouldn't need a lot of work. This is a pretty standard recipe - soy sauce, ginger, garlic and diced serrano pepper to marinate the meat - and then vegetables of choice. She suggests, and I used because I had all of them, carrots, broccoli, and snow peas.

The thing that males this stir-fry interesting is the addition of fruit. Cora suggests peaches or mango, and let's face it: May in Alberta is not exactly peach season. It's not exactly mango season either, since mangoes (like most fruits) don't grow here, but I can get a nicer Mexican mango this time of year than I can get... Chilean peaches any time of year. (They're hard and never ripen properly and why even bother, really?)

Okay, I'm going to interrupt myself for a minute because there's this amusing story my boss likes to tell about bananas. My job - I work in a grocery store - is to deal with signage and labelling, but generally speaking we don't have a lot of control over what's printed on the signs. I mean, we could change most signs to say almost anything we want, but we could also get fired for doing so. And there are people in an office somewhere who get paid to decide what our signs are going to say. So someone, somewhere along the way decided to make the signs for bananas read: "Bananas - Imported." And one day someone came up and read the sign and said, incredulously, to my boss, "Bananas are imported?!" Like, oh my god! I'm never going to buy a banana again if it's not 100% pure Alberta grown banana. Where in Canada did that person think they came from? Our hidden tropics off the coast of Northern Quebec?

Which leads me to something else. Right now, there's a show on TV called The 100 Mile Diet (at least I think it's called that) which deals with a town or a group of people in a town in BC somewhere where they agreed to go on a 100 Mile Diet for a year (I think - I haven't seen the show). And I wonder how that would work in Saskatchewan, where I'm from. I mean... in my backyard we grew very small cherries, smallish plums, and small apples in the summer, but other than that, it's really not a fruit growing region of the world. (We do have wild Saskatoon berries, and presumably blueberries though I've never seen those. And raspberries/strawberries can be grown there.) And it's far too cold to be growing lettuce or other greens during the winter. How on earth would anyone survive such a diet without getting scurvy? I mean, yes, you could can or freeze a lot of produce (now) and obviously the First Nations people survived the winters there (back in the day), but I think it'd be a pretty depressing show wherein all the people on the diet find themselves losing weight, getting ill, and being in general incredibly frustrated by the experience. I don't know. I find the 100 mile diet both intriguing and maybe... pointless. I can imagine every one of those people on the show going out for a Tim Horton's coffee and a bar of chocolate as soon as filming was over.

In any case, what I wanted to say about the mango in my stir-fry was that heated up it became impossibly sweet and delicious. It was like some whole other fruit I'd never tasted before and it was a really delicious addition to the stir-fry. Something I'd try again, for sure.

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