Under the Crespo mango trees, I find efficiency, ingenuity, mango joy and #muchosmangoes
The “Propaganda Lady” is what they called me last week at Empaque Don Jorge, as I walked around with my mask and hairnet snapping photos and filming staged and impromptu videos. I’ve learned to see the big smiles in the eyes of so many masked strangers. The extreme warmth of the packing house was more than the intense Sinaloa summer heat. It was, as I say in much of my “propaganda,” #PuroMexico #PuroAlegria! A warmth like no other. I loved every moment of my time there.
Propaganda is Spanish for marketing, and it makes me giggle, and reminds me of the simplicity and clarity that most other languages employ. English on the other hand seems sneakier, using multiple words to describe the same thing, but choosing one or the other depending on what is to be propagandized. In Spanish, propaganda simply suggests that whatever the messaging is, it often has another purpose – in this case, to educate customers about our mango production process and about mangoes generally
A few recipes from Mazatlán, recreated in the Crespo Organic Kitchen, by Nissa
Mazatlán is the ceviche capitol of Mexico. Every season I head down to Empaque Don Jorge I indulge in all the wonderful fresh seafood variations of this dish and pack my suitcase full of ideas to bring back. Then I indulge myself and recreate all my favorite flavors and textures, many of which are new to me. I discover another dish or nuance every time I go, and this last time my suitcase was packed full.
And two new recipes to use it on!
I have been working in the produce industry for about 25 years now and very few industry folks are familiar with my other career in food; specifically culinary education, food writing and recipe development. I have published countless recipes and written extensively on how to choose and use almost every varietal of vegetables and fruits as well as many other food items. I have taught everyone from kindergarteners to Wholefoods executives about organic, sustainable, local and fairly traded fruits and vegetables and, most notably, herbs.
My produce roots are strong in fresh herbs, as is my culinary strength. It’s fair to call me an herb expert (also fair to call me a mango expert) in the culinary world and those that know my herbal prowess know that above all else, I am a sauce master. I’ve made hundreds of sauces in my years and I make them all exceptionally good and rarely the same. So, it’s no wonder when I started working with Crespo Organic mangoes and developing recipes for the Crespo Organic Kitchen, sauces would materialize. And that they did!
Mango-Centric recipes for the Super Bowl win!
My father watched a lot of football when I was a little girl. He used to gamble on games and have 7-8 TV’s playing all the games at once. I knew everything about football from a very young age. I never loved it, but I did know more than most young girls and women about the sport and to some extent still do.
The one thing I have always loved about the Super Bowl is the holiday like food preparations that go into watching the game with friends or family. I don’t watch a lot of football these days but I still dig making the food.
Super Bowl food, much like Thanksgiving food, tends to encompass the same items time and time again. Lots of meats, lots of drinks, chips and salsas, guacamole and some sweet stuff.
We perused our Crespo Organic recipes and found some of our favorite “touchdown!” worthy bites that seem perfect for Sunday’s big game, regardless of whether your team wins or loses. We chose simple, tasty and mango-centric dips, wings, BBQ, salsas, drinks and sweets that will score big with your TV watching team, even those that only love the commercials!
This seems like a great time for a shout out to KC, since I live in Missouri these days!
The Crespo Organic Kitchen & marketing offices relocate to the Ozarks
Much like children needing to live where their parents go, the Crespo Organic Kitchen has to move when I do. So, when I decided to move to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks, it was mandatory that the Crespo Organic Kitchen and the marketing offices, come with me. It was one of those moves location wise that was peculiar at the onset, but now that it’s done just feels good for everyone, including Crespo Organic.
It was hard to move for me, from the gigantic California kitchen overlooking the deep blue Pacific Ocean, where the bulk of my mango photography, videography and education content for the Crespo brand was created. But, with little choice in the matter, I had a small amount of time to choose a place to live and work, and in the midst of a pandemic hovering over the world, a smart decision needed to be made; one that was good for my mango and food work as well as my spirit and my family. Continue Reading…
Obsessions and more obsessions and white chocolate ripples
Often when I share that I don’t really love eating mangoes, people gasp. I’m more than certain they are thinking, “how is it possible that this woman represents an entire mango brand, leading its recipe development when she doesn’t like mangoes?”
In my mind I still feel like I am the best person for the job. I don’t love sitting around eating sweet ripe mangoes, but I love coming up with creative ways to incorporate them into recipes and enjoying them in various forms other than the pure sweet fruit. I love the flavor, texture and opportunity mangoes give to me. I am not needed in order to teach people how to eat a fresh mango. I’m far more useful in the instruction of how to add them to everyday cooking, and recipes, demonstrating their extraordinary versatility by incorporating them into just about anything.
Pick your poison: from classic to weird mango cocktails & mocktails
to keep you at home for the long haul
Wherever you are and whatever your viewpoint is on quarantine or no quarantine, mask or no mask… one thing that most can agree on is that a cocktail at home tastes rather good these days. More and more people are advancing their bar skills alongside their cooking and baking skills, and it’s a sweet deal for mangoes, which make a perfect cocktail and mocktail additive in their many various forms. Continue Reading…
A simple crunch cookie your kids can make!
I recently found myself with some leftover egg whites from an ice cream project I did – which you can find on my other blog My Herbal Roots. So, I wanted to try an idea that had been swirling around in my head (pun intended; they’re great fun!).
Years ago, while teaching classes at my culinary center in Brooklyn, we attempted to flavor French meringue cookies with different fresh ingredients. We knew that it was difficult, but we felt that it could be done if we had the right texture and consistency. To a certain extent, we were right; however, it is more true that dried powders work best for flavoring meringue because the meringue will fall apart if you add something with too much moisture. It’s still possible, though, especially with thick paste like fresh sauces. We cooked down blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and many other items until they were a thick, fresh tasting pastes and added those to the meringue batter. We got pretty good results. Continue Reading…
A destiny of connecting dots between farmers, culture, food, and joy
Originally this was going to be a quick recipe post, but I ended up spending the better part of the day to contemplate and write. As it goes, this mango cake recipe revealed to me the story of my destiny. As you may have learned by now, most of my recipes are not just recipes. Instead, most contain an anecdote or some personal truth that is revealed to me once I get the opportunity to write the recipe down…
Today I received a text from a longtime friend talking about fate. This text randomly flashed me back to times as a little girl in Nicaragua, memories full of parrots and feelings of mango-joy. Today’s flashback clarified how long mango-joy has been a part of my life – the result of fate and destiny working together as partners. I guess that running joke of me as the mango queen isn’t far from the truth.
Gracefully extracting the warming tones of a tropical mango for our Thanksgiving table
If you haven’t worked in marketing, you may not be able to empathize with how pressurized it can become – to have to constantly churn out new, creative (and IMO hopefully) useful content. In the food business that means new recipe ideas and techniques to simplify them. In produce that means tips on storage, handling, and usage, as well as flavor profiles, textures, and a fruit or a vegetable’s unique quirks. If you’re like me and want content to be genuine, it’s even more difficult. Mango-infused Thanksgiving ideas are not easy to come by, but I think we managed to pull it off. Continue Reading…