Just like last year, I came home from Hawai'i all inspired to make some of the same foods I tried at our hotel. We had brunch daily and it was obvious to all that this is the height of papaya season. They were so sweet and soft they almost tasted like honeysuckle. So fragrant! Last year, I devoted myself to enjoying them with a twist of lime, but this year we were provided with mint. I'm not sure if two things could possibly be more perfect for each other. Such a beautiful marriage!
Twice, the hotel provided a bagel bar with lox, cream cheese, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and capers. Being vegetarian and all, I tried one with everything except the salmon. Friends, that is some serious yumminess.
And finally, we rounded up more than a few brunches with a fruit smoothie. My favorite was the mango, though I had a pineapple mint one that made me weak in the knees one sultry morning.
And so I came home determined to replicate this deliciousness in my own kitchen. I love how quick this is to throw together since when I usually make brunch, it's served at 11 because I've been cooking it since 8. I tend to be rather elaborate is what I'm sayin'.
Quick Brunch Menu
Vegetarian Super Bagel
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced
2 Tbs no chemical cream cheese (some lovely goat cheese would be a great substitute)
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
2 tsp capers, drained
Slice the bagels and spread 1 Tbs of cream cheese on each. Divide the hard boiled egg between the two, add tomato, and sprinkle with capers.
1 mango, peeled and sliced
1 C plain yogurt
2 C crushed ice
Add ingredients to a blender and blend at high speed until smooth.
My boys liked strawberry and banana in theirs as well.
Papaya with Mint
1 ripe papaya
2 sprigs, mint, washed (use a mild mint variety such as peppermint)
Slice the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice each half into four. Serve slices with mint leaves.
Because papaya is a rather tropical fruit that many "mainlanders" have never tried, some may not know how to pick a good one. Check that your papaya doesn't have any large bruises, wrinkled skin, or signs of mold. A good papaya will yield slightly to pressure and you should be able to slide your fingernail through the skin without much force. (I wouldn't suggest the fingernail test until you actually own the fruit...) One of our friends once asked me if you eat the skin. You can, though I don't find it particularly appetizing. Mostly, I use the skin to hold it and eat it like watermelon, but of course you can peel it off if you like. You can eat the seeds, too. They're kind of peppery with a final taste similar to horseradish. Might even be good on a bagel... Hmmm...
My boys didn't go for the "green balls" but they loved everything else! It's a nice little treat to break it up a bit during the week.