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Samoan Tropical Salad

Summer can’t come soon enough – the heat of sun on my shoulders, the way my skin smells with sunscreen on, hot evenings under the stars. So today we’re going to Samoa. There’ll be drippy sweetness: papaya and cantaloupe. There’ll be richness, too – buttery avocado and moody – almost bitter – spinach. And to finish it all off? A puckering of lime juice – as bright as a Samoan seascape.   Typically known for rich, coconut milk-laden recipes, this Samoan salad is a healthier twist on island fare. The version I based mine on even won a Samoan recipe challenge! I chose this salad for sentimental reasons – something to set the scene a bit for the release of my new book Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness. I went to Samoa 2 months before I was born (as a real life stowaway, I suppose). Scientists believe our taste preferences can be affected by what our mother’s ate while we were gestating. I like to think I carry a bit of Samoa with me today. It was an …

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Rwandan Fruit Salad

We may be in the heart of autumn here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but no celebration of Rwanda is complete without a sliver of tropical fruit. This is the most popular way to end in a meal in Rwanda. Varieties include mango, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, banana, and even buttery avocado: Although Mukamana says she and her husband cannot afford to purchase all the fruits needed to make a salad every day, they buy enough produce to make sure everyone at home eats a banana, an orange, or a piece of pineapple after every meal. (USAID) From what I hear, one piece is enough in Rwanda. The fruit, fresh and thick from growing in the humming, humid tropical air, is lusciously sweet. Each bite hangs heavy in the mouth. Ingredients: banana pineapple avocado mango papaya passion fruit Method: NOTE: There’s no right or wrong way to make a fruit salad, but if the weather is chilly where you live, you might be best off sticking to bananas. Unlike more temperamental mangoes and papayas, bananas seem to …

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Pineapple Papaya Coco Sipper

It took Micronesia to get me excited about a smoothie. Don’t get me wrong – I love smoothies. After a while, though, they all taste the same. Until now. This smoothie blushes, straight from the easy, breezy islands. Why? Because out of the soft, sweet flavor of papaya and pineapple comes the daring zip of fresh lime juice. Adding lime juice to a smoothie may sound strange, but Micronesians know – this is like adding a hint of key lime pie to your drink. A bit of soprano to your alto. A bit of shine to your sun. And then there’s the fact that it’s mixed with coconut water. Healthy, healthy, healthy. So come on, let’s take off our shoes, slide our feet in the sand, and sip a smoothie til we blush. This recipe is inspired by the tropical fruits of Micronesia…but not any one particular recipe. Makes about 4 cups (serves 2) NOTE: Be sure to chill all ingredients overnight in the refrigerator for best results. Ingredients: 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks 4 cups …

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Baked Papaya with Sweet Coconut Cream

When Ava says it, Keith comes running. “Pa pa pa pa yapa” Even for me, papaya is fun to say. Beautiful to behold. But here the thing. I never, ever buy this tropical fruit because I cannot figure out what on earth to do with it, aside from enjoying fresh, cool slices. Preferably poolside. Enter our week at the Marshallese Global Table, where I learned that these easy, breezy, island people bake papaya with a bit of sugar and enjoy with warm coconut milk. Hello. Okay. Let’s just say I’m intrigued. Once baked, the hot, creamy treat reminds me of peach pie, but without the crust. And without all the work. For more exotic flair, I decided to add the Pacific’s ever-popular pandan leaf, which is available frozen in Asian markets. Pandan adds a vanilla/rice floral note… (Use pandan like bay leaf – use it to infuse flavor, and then remove before eating). Ingredients 1 ripe Papaya, cut in half lengthwise and seeded coconut milk, as needed (about 1/4 cup per side) 4 Tbsp sugar, …

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Papaya Chutney

Fills about 2 mason jars – 1 for you & 1 for a friend Have you seen the papayas at the market lately? They’re gorgeous. Sweet. Giant. Exotic. Plus they’re fun to pronounce: pa-pa-ya. Gotta love anything that ends with an affirmative. Since papayas are beloved in Guinea and Guinea Bissau, I really wanted to make papaya jam for you today. Unfortunately, jam making all but requires a chemistry major. I’m too footloose for that, so I made chutney. The cool thing about chutney is that it’s made the same way as jam, with the same ingredients… minus the powdered pectin and careful measuring. In other words, minus the headache. And, honestly, it’s quite a bit more authentic for West Africa. To give the chutney a bit of body I used the natural pectin found in orange peel. The result? A sweet, tropical chutney laced with the slightest hint of bitter orange peel (don’t be scared – it really is just a hint – nothing like bitter orange marmalade). NOTE: You may want to adjust …

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Spiced Papaya Milk

Serves 2 Thick, creamy, and spicy, this drink popular in Northern Chad is refreshing and healthy. Ingredients: 4 cups cubed papaya (if fresh is unavailable you can use 2 cans, drained) 2 cups milk 3 Tbsp sugar 1/4 tsp cardamom pinch ginger 1-2 cups ice, as desired Method: Gather your ingredients. First the beautiful papaya… drained and ready for the blender… Then the spices. Start off with just a little and add the full amount if you can handle it! 🙂 Dump into a blender with some cold milk… And ice, to taste. You can make this drink as thick or as thin as you like. Make it on a wickedly hot day, or a balmy night.  Or right this minute. Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Thick, creamy, and spicy, this drink popular in Northern Chad is refreshing and healthy.Spiced Papaya Milk CourseDrinks, Sweets Lifestyle5-ingredients or less, Vegetarian Food TypeCold Drinks, Fruit, Non-Alcoholic Drinks Servings 2people Servings 2people Ingredients 4cups papaya, cubed 2cups milk 3Tbsp sugar 1/4tsp ground cardamom 1pinch …

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Himalayan Inspired Fruit Salad

The crimes of fruit salad are many: not ripe, over ripe, tart, bitter, warm, rotten … Because of these transgressions fruit salad has become the “Fruit Cake” of summer barbecues – a popular dish that only the brave eat. This week I made a Himalayan inspired Fruit Salad (just mango, red banana, and papaya) for our Bhutanese Global Table. In my interpretation, I decided to avoid the many pitfalls of regular fruit salad and serve it as elegant finger food. In this format each piece of fruit shone – sweet mango, earthy papaya and buttery bananas in the middle. Incredible. Pop one and you. can’t. stop. I dare you to try. But first: 5 Keys to a Great Fruit Salad 1. Never use pre-cut fruit. Ever notice how pre-cut fruit in plastic boxes tastes… fizzy? A tad chemically? The salad is an unsatisfactory blend of unripe cardboard fruit (usually the pineapple), mixed in with overripe, bruised, fungus fruit (often the grapes). Awful. Serve pre-cut fruit to a bitter enemy, if you must, but never serve the stuff if you’re …

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