Mosquitoes and Mangoes

The island is lousy with both right now. Earlier today, I stopped scratching off the majority of my epidermis long enough to answer what I thought was a knock at the front door. I was hoping it wasn’t a swarm of mosquitoes.

It wasn’t. It was a mango! A perfectly ripe, spicy mango fell from the tree above, bounced off the door, and came to rest at my doorstep. I picked it up, brought it inside, rinsed it off, and put it in the refrigerator. This happened a couple more times throughout the day.

While I question the necessity of mosquitoes, mangoes are one of nature’s most luscious gifts.  Back in the Mile High City, I considered the mango a scarce luxury. At $1-$3 each, I never dared to experiment. But now, with my fridge filling up with this awesome fruit, it was time to play!

I set out to soothe my ice cream craving by inventing a gluten-free/dairy-free mango-coconut frozen treat. By the way, if this is your first visit to the LifeMurmurs blog, welcome! You should know this isn’t a food blog. Today is a perfect example of how most days in paradise are full of unexpected and delightful surprises. And, if you read carefully, I’m including a bonus recipe that you might enjoy this holiday weekend. Here’s what I used and how I made it:

Mango Tree

2 ripe mangoes

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 oz. Cruzan dark rum

8 oz. pineapple juice

4 oz. cranberry juice

Lots of ice cubes

¼ cup “sugar” (I used coconut crystals)

¾ cup water

12 oz. coconut milk

Peel the skin from the mangoes and cut the fruit away from the stone. Chop mango flesh into cubes and purée in a blender. While the blender is running, fill a tall glass with ice.  Next, add lime juice into the purée and blend while you pour half of the rum into the glass of ice. Stop the blender and set the purée aside. Pour half of the pineapple juice  and half of the cranberry juice into the glass and stir. Now, take a deep gulp from the glass. Take a short break and keep drinking until the glass is empty. Nyum nyum nyum

Fully refreshed, bring the “sugar” and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over a moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cook briskly, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes a light syrup. While the syrup is cooking, refill your empty glass with ice, and add the rest of the rum, pineapple and cranberry juices. Stir. Taste to see it’s as good as the first one. Add a splash of mango rum (in keeping with the theme). Taste again. Release a big, smiling, happy sigh. When the syrup is finished cooking, pour into a heatproof bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

Take another couple of healthy sips from your glass. Then stir the coconut milk into the cooled syrup. Have another sip. Stir the mango purée into the coconut syrup until it is well mixed.. Place mixture in freezer for 3-4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so to break up the icy particles as they form. Drain the rest of your glass. Sprawl out in the hammock on the patio and fall asleep. Forget to stir. When you wake up a couple of hours later, your dreamy mango-coconut concoction will be ready to serve. Spoon into coffee mugs…because, that’s how we roll on the island.

“But what about those awful mosquitoes?” you might ask. To that, I say, “Dengue, shmengue.”  Care for another mango?

From my paradise to yours,

B.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

The standard of success in life is not the money or the stuff — the standard of success is absolutely the amount of joy you feel.” — Abraham-Hicks

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