Thursday, May 17, 2007

Favorite Things Friday

I'm not going to lie, I love my things. I acknowledge that my affinity for collecting is in my genes - I have a family full of collectors and, although the amount of crap I own hasn't reached the 'put me on Dateline because I obviously have a problem' level, I do have a lot of stuff.

Every once and a while I come across something that makes me very, very happy and, albeit not all 'if I were stranded on a desert island I'd definitely take this' items, I thought I'd take some time on Fridays to share what I'm loving each week.

Growing up, my grandparents had mango trees in their backyard and, each summer, mango was a staple around our house. We had sliced mango, mango jam, mango jelly and, were it not so darn sticky, I think my mother would have bathed us in the stuff. By the end of the summer, I was so sick of mango that the mere mention of it made my stomach churn.

Over time my grandparents moved, I left Florida and, while mangoes weren't something that made it into my cart each week at the grocery store, I grew to appreciate their sweet tropical taste. On the rare occasion in which I felt the pangs of nostalgia, I'd buy one but, put-off by daunting task of slicing the soft fruit with its large, flat pit, it would usually ended up rotting on my counter and being thrown away with the brown bananas and sprouted potatoes.

I'd eyed the OXO Mango slicer in the Williams Sonoma catalog for quite sometime but the idea of spending $12 on something I'd only use a few times a year seemed excessive. However, last weekend, knowing just how much my mango-eating monster of my husband loves the bright orange fruit and after seeing a great review of the tool in the cooking guru's bible, when visiting my local crack dealer Target, I sucked it up and threw the mango slicer in the cart.

Best $12 I've spent in a very long time. I'm no longer afraid of mangoes. A quick press of the slicer produces one pit and two perfect mango slices.

My husband and I have been a big fan of Nantucket Off-Shore Rubs for a while. We bought the Dragon Rub on the recommendation of the butcher at Whole Foods and it has since been our standby for those quick, let's throw a steak on the grill and be done with it, meals.

A few months ago, we branched out and bought some other varieties including the Pueblo Rub. And while we love the Pueblo Rub, being as we almost burned off three layers of our tongue the first time we caked it on some chicken, we've been hesitant to break it out as often as the standby Dragon Rub. But, after stocking up on mangoes (thanks to my latest discovery) and looking for ways to incorporate them into each meal, when I saw the Pueblo Rub out of the corner of my eye earlier this week while cooking dinner, I knew exactly what I had to do.

Although I'm probably ruining the surprise (I've been bragging to my parents and in-laws about the awesome meal I'm going to make for them when they visit), here's the result of my big 'ah ha!' moment - my recipe for Robin's Polynesian Chicken.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 mango (chopped)
2 cups pineapple (chopped)
1/2 red onion (diced)
1/4 C cilantro (finely chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
1 small jalapeƱo (optional)

Mix ingredients and refrigerate.

Grilled Chicken

Mix 1/2 quart buttermilk with 1 tsp Pueblo Rub and 1 tsp salt. Trim visible fat from 1 - 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinate in buttermilk mixture overnight.

Rinse buttermilk from chicken breasts and pat chicken breasts with paper towels; Discard buttermilk mixture. Rub chicken breasts with salt and Pueblo Rub until both sides are lightly covered. Grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 180°F.

Serve chicken topped with salsa and enjoy!