Finding Inspiration

Okay, confession time…again.

I love Brimfield.  Not the place…although the Western, Mass. town itself is pretty cool.

I love the Brimfield Antiques and Collectibles Show.

It should be called the Brimfield Junk and Oddities Show.

I mean, sure, there are acres of antiques and collectibles there.  Acres and acres.

But there are miles of junk and oddities.  And, there’s nothing that’s cooler than junk and oddities.

Plastic clothespins, random metal things, weird wagon wheels, old baseballs, and maritime floats. Yay!

Plastic clothespins, random metal things, weird wagon wheels, old baseballs, and maritime floats. Yay!

Confession #2. You know that dorky header at the top of this blog? Go ahead. Take a look. Pay particular attention to the blurry background.

Guess what? It’s from Brimfield!

IIt's a Klingon head! I bet you didn't know I was a total dork, did you?

It’s a Klingon head! I bet you didn’t know I was a total dork, did you?

Brimfield comes three times a year. Last week was the first Brimfield of 2012 and Jerry and I took a weekday off to avoid the crowds. I had a mission: to find some cute and fun props for food photography.  I had a plan, and a budget.

For the plan:  look for clear glass or neutral tones.  Small, shallow, and super-cute are key.

For the budget:  don’t spend more than $5 on any one item.  Most items should come in around $2.

Well, after filling up my bag with a couple of clear glass items, I declared that I was “over” the whole clear glass thing.  But then, of course, we found ourselves in yet another tent filled with cool clear glass when Jerry shouted, “Karen!  Over here!  We have…colors.”

And, there it was.  The most perfect little shallow pale green bowl I’ve ever seen.  A cute shape.  The perfect size for photography.  And  a color that makes me salivate.

Yum.  Couldn't you just lick that bowl?

Yum. Couldn’t you just lick that bowl?

Yeah, it cost $6.  I’m sure I could have talked the guy down to $5, but who cares?  I can’t see the point in haggling over perfection.

Immediately, I started to dream of foods I’d like to serve in this.  First, I started with foods that matched the pale green color:

  • Rice pudding with crushed pistachios (Sooooo yummy.  Might have to do this some day.)
  • Guacamole (Too matchy-matchy?)
  • Avocado and crab salad (Ugh, but do I have to use canned crab or fake crab?  Gross.)
  • Avocado and shrimp salad (Good…but not quite right.  How about complimentary colors?)
  • Sticky rice and mango (Mangos are in season!  I’m totally obsessed with mangos right now.)
  • Mango salsa (Yum…but not quite exciting enough.)
  • Mango, avocado and crab salad  (Still got that weird crab thing.)
  • Mango, avocado and shrimp salad (No weird crab, but not quite right yet.)
  • Mango and avocado salsa (Now we’re talking!)
Ta da!  This is a little preview.  So far, so good, right?

Ta da! This is a little preview. So far, so good, right?

Mango and avocado salsa
2 small, ripe mangos, diced (I used one regular mango and one champagne mango. Twice the fun!)
1/2 ripe avocado, diced (You can use more if you’re not worried about calories.)
1/4 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

Clearly orange was the way to go. So pretty!

Clearly orange was the way to go. So pretty!

1 fresno pepper, finely diced (You could use a jalepeno, which is very similar. But, I wanted the red color.)
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
hot sauce (to taste)
salt and pepper

Throw everything into a bowl and mix it all up. If your avocado is super ripe like mine was, it’ll melt right into a sauce.  Perfect!  Voila!

Wowza.  As tasty as it is colorful.

Wowza. As tasty as it is colorful.

Important note: You might want to wait on the salt, pepper, and hot sauce after this lovely mixture has hung out in the fridge for about a half hour. Let the flavors meld for a while, and then decide how much heat you want. In my mind, this salsa has a whole lot of sweet, so it can handle quite a bit of heat. Yum!

So, how can you serve Mango and Avocado Salsa?

  • On a spoon. (I know, it’s becoming a trend.  But this stuff is really good!)
  • On a tortilla chip.
  • On a green salad.
  • With shrimp.

Or…

Steelhead trout with couscous and mango salsa!

Wow.  This flavor combo turns a boring meal into something fantastic.   Want proof?

Boring...

Boring…

Fan-friggin'-tastic!  See what I mean?

Fan-friggin’-tastic! See what I mean?

I sprinkled the fish with some salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning before putting it under the broiler for about 7 minutes. Rule of thumb with fish: Eight minutes per inch of thickness. This pice was a little less than an inch at its thickest point, so I went for seven minutes. When it flakes easily with a fork, you know it’s done.

Don’t overcook your fish. I can’t be your friend if you overcook your fish.

You will be seeing my pretty, little, green dish again soon. It’s so inspiring, I can’t help myself!

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