Summertime is mango time, oh boy!
I'm in love with the Lemon Meringue mango. With its citrusy sweet, smooth flesh and alluring aroma, it was truly love at first bite. I have three sitting on my kitchen counter right now, and they're calling my name. Loudly. Never heard of them? That's not surprising. I hadn't either until I visited Colorfield Farms in Wimauma last week. Walking through thick rows of mango trees laden with ripening fruit, owner Anne Pidgeon shared some interesting tips on mangoes I thought I'd share with you.Among mango lovers and connoisseurs, owner Anne Pidgeon's nursery is considered a gem of sorts. It's alive with hard-to-find mangoes, varieties you won't find in any local grocery store. They have names like Cogshall, Choc Anon, Julie, Nom Doc Mai and Bombay. If you ask Anne which is her favorite, she'll tell you it's the one she's eating right then. The unique Asian Lemon Meringue mango, also called Po Pyu Kalay, is from the exotic nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. It's delicious when it turns a butter shade of yellow-orange, but when not fully ripened, it's green. Anne said the rule is: the more yellow, the more ripe, the more sweet. You can learn all about the world's most popular fruit when Colorfield Farms hosts the second half of its fifth annual Mango Festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The nursery is located exactly five miles east of U.S. 301 at 8221 State Road 674. For information, call (813) 833-2545. I don't know about you but there's no better way to enjoy mangoes than hanging over the sink with juice dripping down your arms. But maybe you've eaten plenty of mangoes au naturel and are looking for different ways to prepare them? I never need an excuse to bake a cake; this is one of the many upsides of being a food columnist. It's my duty to give into cake-baking urges in the name of my job ... umm, right. But when mango season rolls around, the pressure is on - not just to make any old mango dessert, but to come up with something truly special. Remembering a recipe for mango-carrot cake that my friend Phyllis Gannon recently forwarded to me, I got right to work. This cake calls for canned mango juice. But I had my fresh bounty to use so I pureed two of my smallish-sized mangoes and added pineapple juice until I had the amount needed. The cake was a little heavier and more dense than either she or I wished it to be, so it was back to the drawing board. During round two, I decreased the amount of shredded carrots for an utterly delicious result. Enjoy! Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist and blogger. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel or look for her blog at www.lynnkessel.blogspot.com. MANGO-CARROT CAKE 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 1/4 cups refrigerated mango juice 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrot 1 recipe cream cheese frosting, see below Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round cake pans; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and nutmeg; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar; beat until combined. Beat 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and 3/4 cup of the mango juice; beat on low after each addition only until combined. Stir in shredded carrot. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Place remaining 1/2 cup mango juice blend in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat; cool. Frost the top of one cake layer with cream cheese frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; frost as desired. Drizzle with reduced juice. As an option, top with carrot ribbons. Cream cheese frosting In a large mixing bowl beat together one 8-ounce package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 teaspoons orange zest. Gradually beat in 4 cups powdered sugar.