mango season!

I have not been baking or posting much, thanks to hot weather and a busy schedule.  Part of the busy schedule was attending the Aina Ho’ola o Ma’ilikukahi/ Hands Turned Toward the Soil conference last weekend.  It was an incredible conference organized by the totally rad MA’O organic farm in Waianae; the focus was on island-based food sovereignty and youth engagement within the movement. It was inspiring to see all the youth from various charter/public/private schools across Oahu engaged in farming, working in the lo’i, and trying tatsoi and arugula for the first time, straight from the fields of MA’O.  Because our enormous tree is dropping mangoes continuously, I have been adding them to everything.  I baked some as-local-as-possible muffins with mango, and I added some mango to my everyday bran muffins and shared them with the conference crew, and everyone seemed to dig them.

A note on ‘local’ ingredients: I just learned at the conference that the Hawaiian sea salt I have been buying in a package is not actually Hawaiian, but Pacific sea salt packaged in Hawaii. Not a major issue, but a bummer.  Real Hawaii sea salt, pa’akai, is gathered mostly only on Kauai or Niihau where the water is clean enough, and you have to know-someone-who-knows someone or have an aunty or uncle who collects it. However, there is also a company that makes Kona sea salt and one making Molokai sea salt, but these gourmet salts are a bit too pricey for me.  Either way, local jobs are created/preserved, and on Molokai it is also preserving an historical Hawaiian practice.

mango bran muffins (vegan, optionally wheat-free)

1½ cups wheat or oat bran (I prefer wheat because it absorbs the liquid better)
¾ cup mango puree
½ cup liquid (soy, rice, almond milk, juice or water)
¼ oil (canola or safflower)
1/3 cup sucanat or raw sugar
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup raw sugar (optional, for topping)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the bran, puree, liquid, oil, sweetener and rice together in a bowl and let it sit for about five minutes.  Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and mix well, then drop into a greased muffin tin or silicon baking cups. Optionally, sprinkle with the raw sugar, and bake at 400 degrees for 22 minutes.

This is an incredibly versatile recipe that I have done multiple ways, including using fruit juice, various milks, mixing in cooked grains like rice or quinoa, with a base of spelt or whole wheat flour, wheat and oat bran (I have not yet tried rice bran) and adding various fruits and nuts.  Other good combinations are almond and coconut (using ½ cup chopped almonds and ½ cup shredded coconut with vanilla soymilk), or simple raisin bran muffins.

mango muffins (vegan, optionally wheat-free)
2 cups flour (when baking for others I use ½ whole wheat and ½ ap flour, but spelt works too)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup canola or safflower oil
½ cup Maui sugar
¾ cup mango puree
¼ cup soymilk with 1 tsp apple-cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for muffins, and grease the pan with oil or use silicone cups.  Mix together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt.  Skin and chop up the mango, and squeeze the pit to get all the juice and pulp, then toss it all in the food processer.  In another bowl whisk together the oil and sugar, then add in the mango puree, soymilk + vinegar, and vanilla and mix well.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated well.  Pour the batter evenly into the muffin pan and bake for 25-28 minutes, then share with food-appreciating friends and/or strangers!

Next up to try is mango custard… maybe mango cookies…

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