Crab Mango Avocado Salsa, Buttermilk Pancakes

Recipe Testers,

I had a request for the Crab Mango Avocado Salsa that was a staple in the original menus of our Maili Productions events.  So I’m quickly pasted that now.  I’m also including the Buttermilk Pancake recipe for those of you who said they are not familiar with blogs and could I just e-mail the recipe directly to them.  (I’m still a novice on the whole blog and facebook thing myself!)

Also, I made a correction in the Buttermilk pancake recipe to indicate that the butter must be melted.  I had someone who recently made them who didn’t know to melt the butter.  Also, for this recipe you really need to use actual buttermilk and not a substitution (i.e. vinegar or lemon juice mixed into milk)  For those who don’t keep buttermilk on hand, then dried buttermilk is a better substitute and shelf stable.  We buy buttermilk weekly with the rest of our groceries.  If you find you are wasting the leftover 2 cups of buttermilk from the quarts you are buying then you can make buttermilk salad dressing (one of my favorites and great in the summer over tomatoes.)  You can also make Auntie Colleen’s cornbread which calls for buttermilk or buttermilk bisquits. 

When I get back from Yosemite I’ll send the recipes for Grilled Trout and Port Cherry Sauce.  Cherries are at their best at the end of May and the entire month of June.  So I’ll send the Warm Cherry Goat Cheese appetizer along with the Port Cherry Sauce.  You can only make the appetizer with fresh cherries, so this is the time of year to do it!  (The port cherry sauce can be made all year long.  It is best of course with fresh cherries, but in the off-season it can be made with dried cherries or frozen cherries.)  And apricots are just coming in season right now too!  I just all the summer stone fruit.  (And Gerawan peaches are just around the corner in July.  Once the peaches are here you could use the below recipe to make peach salsa!)

And finally I feel like I’ve given some people “homework” with my recipe requests.  I know there are about 80 people on this list who just like to read the recipes but don’t cook at all.  So please do not feel pressured or obligated to send me anything.  I know how busy everyone is.  I love what has been sent, but truly I don’t want this hanging over anyone’s head.  I was trying to write an article for a magazine on the Ballard School Potlucks from the 1970’s and was making copies of all the recipes from the Ballard School Cookbook.  Then another friend of mine had a recipe exchange at the same time, while another friend told me about a family cookbook she was combining just after I had spent the day cooking with my grandmother.  So this is all part of my joyous and passionate food research that is never-ending.  So if you send me recipes 6 months from now I will enjoy them.  Or if you never send them and just want to read the e-mails that is fine too.  Just whatever you do, I’m not trying to add another obligation to your plate.

I will end with some notes on cooking from the numerous people who wrote back about the “reservations” comment.  I think cooking comes in two parts.  One is of necessity.  You have to feed yourself or your family so you must find a way to do it.  There are lots of options and great solutions, including eating out or swinging by Whole Foods.  Then there is the other part of cooking that is a hobby and fulfilling interest.  I’ll quote a David Kamp’s book, The United States of Arugula, describing James Beard’s view of cooking: “Cooking and eating comprised a fulfilling cultural pastime, to be pursued as ardently as golf, opera, painting watercolors, or any other activity that aroused one’s passions.”   For me I have two favorite times cooking:  one is when I’m completely alone and I have music blasting and I’m cooking for hours preparing for something.  I’m completely immersed and in a happy zone.  Another is when I’m with friends and we are laughing and talking and cooking together.  Then there is the flip side when cooking isn’t fun:  when you are exhausted and you haven’t been to the store and you’ve been running kids around all day to classes and you get home at 6:00 and everyone is hungry and you don’t know what you are going to make.  That’s when it is a chore for me as much as it is the next person.  Sometimes, like exercise, once I get going I actually find a pleasure in it.  But the hardest part of cooking to me is finding the time to squeeze in the grocery shopping in my busy days.  I enjoy picking out produce, food, etc. but the shopping seems to be the hardest part of cooking.  (And I’ve tried delivery services and having people go to the grocery store for me, but I really need to go there to pick stuff out and get new ideas and see what looks good.)  When I’m not busy shopping is fun.  When it has to be crammed in and your rushing, it isn’t.  (Which reminds me we’re almost out of milk and I need to rush to the store before I pick up Katherine!)

Enjoy all the great produce that keeps coming out as summer arrives.


PS  And sorry I keep sending e-mails with two recipes that don’t go together at all.  I’m not doing it on purpose, just trying to be more efficient at sending out more than one recipe at a time.  So, no, the salsa does not go on the buttermilk pancakes!

Crab, Mango, Avocado Salsa

We’ve served this in large bowls with tortilla chips for casual parties and we’ve also put it in won-ton cups for more formal tray passed hors d’eovures.  It is best made the morning of the party.  Add the crab and avocado just before serving or up to an hour in advance.  You can also serve this without the crab and have it just be Mango Avocado Salsa.  The Mango Avocado Salsa without the crab can be served over chicken, pork or fish.

2  mangoes, chopped
3  red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2  yellow tomatoes, seeded and chopped, optional
1  english cucumber, seeded and chopped
2  jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2  small sweet yellow onion (Vidalia or Maui) minced (1/3 cup)
3  avocados chopped
1  can crab
    juice of 2 or 3 limes
1  bunch cilantro, chopped
    salt & pepper to taste
    Tapatio or other hot sauce to taste. optional 

1.  Chop mangoes, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno and onion and mix together well.  Squeeze one lime and sprinkle salt over mixture.

2.  Cut up avocados up to an hour before service.  Squeeze lime juice over avocados to keep them from turning brown.  Season with salt or pico de gallo dry Mexican seasoning salt.  (Found in Mexican markets and not to be confused with pico de gallo salsa.)

3.  Add crab and cilantro.  Once you add the crab and avocado you will want to mix gently.  You don’t want it to look like mush and have the avocado’s get mushy.  For those of you who don’t like avocado’s, this salsa is still good if you want to omit them (in which case this would be called Mango salsa).  But I love avocado’s so they are a main part of the recipe to me. 

Maili’s Notes:  I hesitate to even write the part about the Pico de Gallo seasoning salt.  If I can take a picture of the container I will.  I know most people will confuse it with the roughly chopped salsa with the same Pico de Gallo name.  What I am describing is a red seasoning salt that looks always like Lawry’s seasoning salt. 

Buttermilk Pancakes

We make this recipe every Saturday morning.  When we lived in Hawaii John and Laura Moberly would actually jump over the back wall to come for breakfast.  Rebecca Kinney came for breakfast once and said absolutely nothing.  I thought she just didn’t like them.  Later I find out she thought the pancakes were so good that she couldn’t talk and was telling all my neighbors how good they were and that she was dreaming about them.

Serves 4 - 6

2  cups all purpose flour
4  tablespoons sugar
1  teaspoon baking soda
1   teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2   teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, optional
4  tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4  eggs
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (Rosemary Musial recommends 2 1/4 for thicker traditional pancakes)

1.  In your largest bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.

2.  In a 4 cup measuring cup, mix all of your wet ingredients together.

3.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to just barely combine.  DO NOT OVERMIX, the batter will be lumpy. (Anytime you are using things with baking soda – muffins, bananabread, etc.—you do not want to overmix or they will be flat and not rise.)

4.  The trickiest part is getting your pan or griddle to the right temperature.  Sometimes you’ll have to throw the first set out if you pan is too hot or too cold.  They should be nice and golden and cooked through (not black on the outside and raw in the inside).  I can’t tell you a correct temperature (except maybe medium) because I’ve had to adjust for every house we’ve ever lived in.

5.  Jason and the girls like them with syrup.  I like them with sugar and lemon juice.  You can also add blueberries or raspberries to the batter and they will be great. 

Maili’s Notes:  I use the microwave for two things:  to melt butter and make super pretzels for the girls.  Microwaves are GREAT for melting butter.  Cover the top of the container with wax paper so the butter doesn’t blow up all over the microwave  (this happens mainly if the butter you put in was frozen.)


Karen said…
I love your blog Maili - I'll have to spend more time later to read it more closely. Love the reference to the Ballard Potluck cookbook - I helped type many of the recipes from the first edition and have fond memories of the Friday Night "Anything Goes" community potlucks at Ballard School.

My kids love those super pretzel things too. So I found a recipe and now I make them myself =)
Megan DiCiccio said…
We love buttermilk pancakes, too! We like to substitute half the flour for oats - just soak them in some buttermilk for about 10 minutes to soften. And I love the taste brown sugar adds instead of the white sugar - it goes great with cinnamon and nutmeg!
Anonymous said…
The buttermilk pancakes were delish! My kids said they were the best pancakes ever! and they were so easy.
Thank you
Unknown said…
Hey Maili! So, today is Sunday, and that means in our house that we make your buttermilk pancakes! Koa loves his with mushed up bananas and mini chocolate chips. (no syrup needed!) My mom-in-law was like, "Oh my gosh! - These are the best pancakes I've ever tasted!!" That is when I knew I needed to tell you that your pancakes are still the best ever!! So, every Sunday, I think of you! ♥
carrie said…
Amazing Pancakes although they don't look as pretty they are my kids favorite!
the ballard school cookbook sounds intriguing. Are they still available or around at this point in time?
Maili Halme said…
The Ballard Cookbooks were made in the 70's. I'm going to start the process of scanning it in to share the recipes and pictures.

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