Monthly Archives: June 2014

Garlic

Garlic

GARLIC

Garlic is a member of the lily family (alliums).  It is an edible bulb.  Garlic is an annual bulbous herb.  One head of garlic (called a bulb) is 12- 16 cloves of garlic.  The head is covered in a paper thin white membrane, as well as each clove.  The plant grows long flat leaves.

All garlic falls under the species allium sativum, which is divided into two subspecies: hardneck and softneck. These, in turn, can be divided into several varieties and sub varieties, creating more than 600 types of garlic.  There are five main varieties of garlic: Artichoke, Rocambole, Porcelain, Silverskin  and Purple Stripe.

Garlic has been very important throughout history.  It probably originated in western Asia, around the desert of the Kirghiz people.  In about 1500, it was revered as a medicine.  In ancient Egyptian tablets, there were 22 prescriptions with garlic.  Egyptian athletes believed garlic could increase strength and endurance. However, the ancient Greeks disliked garlic and thought it would bring bad luck.  But in another account, Greek athletes used garlic as a stimulant.  Medieval doctors believed garlic would help cure the whopping cough, and it could be used as a charm against witches.  On St. John’s Day, if you purchase garlic, it would keep you safe from poverty from the rest of the year.  In 1858, Louis Pasteur discovered garlic could indeed kill bacteria.  During the crusades, garlic finally reached Western Europe.  Garlic was considered the poor man’s spice.

There are over 30 varieties of garlic.  Today some of the common forms of garlic include, white garlic, pink garlic, purple garlic, giant or elephant garlic and Spanish garlic.  You can also buy ground garlic, chopped garlic, dried garlic, garlic salt, powdered garlic, roasted garlic, and garlic oil.  The longer you cook garlic, the longer the flavor will deviate.  Young garlic or garlic greens are also a delicacy.

ONION, GARLIC, ELEPHANTONION, GARLIC, ELEPHANT, CLOVEElephant Garlic.  One clove is the size of a strawberry.

When garlic is bruised, crushed, chopped, or the like, the oils in the garlic will be released, making the dish even more pungent.  Since garlic oils are known to permeate the lungs, the odor of garlic may remain with you for a time, exuding through your breath and skin odor.  Chlorophyll may help to alleviate some of the garlic’s pungency.

ONION, GARLIC, SPRINGSpring Garlic

Garlic contains selenium when eaten in large quantities.  It is a diuretic, stomachic, tonic, antispasmodic, anti-arthritic, antiseptic, and has cleansing properties.  Garlic may also contain allicin, which is beneficial on the cardiovascular system, and contains allyl sulfide, a powerful antibiotic.

Garlic Pairings

  • beans
  • beef
  • beets
  • cabbage
  • chicken
  • eggplant
  • fish
  • lamb
  • lentils
  • mushrooms
  • pasta
  • pork
  • potatoes
  • rice
  • shellfish
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

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Star Apple

Star Apple

The Star Apple (chrysophyllum cainito), is a  member of the family sapotaceae.  Sometimes it is referred to as caimito, or the fruit of the Golden Leaf tree.

STAR APPLE

                The star apple originates from Central America.  It grows today in areas such as the Caribbean, South and Central America.  It prefers warm weather.  The star apple comes into season in late winter, or early summer.

The star  apple is a round or oval fruit, 2 to 4 inches in diameter with either red purple, dark purple, or pale green skin.  The fruit looks and feels like a rubber ball.  When cut in half, the fruit has a soft, white, milky sweet pulp.  There are 6 to 11 gelatinous, somewhat rubbery see pods.  Inside each seed pod, there may be a hard, black seed.  The skin and rind of the star apple is inedible.  It is best to scoop the flesh out.

The star apple fruit grows on a tall, 25 to 100 feet, tree that is nearly evergreen.  The trunk is about 3 feet in diameter.  The leaves of the tree are dark green, and the underside is brown and velvety.  Latex can be made from the sap of the bark.

When ripe, the fruit will not fall off the tree, nor will the fruit ripen after picked.  Star fruit is best enjoyed chilled.  The flesh of the fruit has a mucilaginous character.  Sometimes it is eaten to soothe the inflammation of laryngitis and pneumonia.  In Jamaica, a drink called Matrimony is sometimes made.  It is a combination of star apple, sour orange.  Another drink made is called Strawberries and cream.  It consists of sugar, nutmeg, orange juice, and star apple.

Star Apple Whip

4 Star apples

1/4 cup of sugar

3 oranges

1 cup of whipped cream

Scoop the pulp out of the Star Apple and the Oranges and remove the seeds. Mix with sugar in a blender. Add the cream and lightly mix. Serve in parfait glasses.

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

 

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Radish

Radish

radishes

Radish comes from the Latin work radix.  From the Latin word comes the Greek raphonos, which means, that which rise early.  The radish is a member of the mustard family, and is related to horseradish.  They can range in color from white, to red to purple to black.  Radishes are though to be native to the near east.  It is one of the first vegetables to be domesticated 4000 years ago by the Egyptians, and the Babylonians.  In approximately 500BC, the Chinese developed different varieties of radishes.  Radish sprouts are also said to be a delicacy.

Spring Radishes range in color.  There are a few different types of Asian Radishes.  The daikon radish is long and white.  The kimchee radish is green.  Lo bok (Lo pak, luo boh) can be pink, red, white, or mixed.  Mu (Moo, Mooli) is short and fat, and has white flesh.  Black radishes are firm and dry.    They originated during the 19th century in the Mediterranean.  They are round and black.  They may also be known as Spanish radishes.  The skin is sooty black, but the skin is ivory white.  These radishes are grown to be stored.  They are very pungent like horseradish.  Watermelon radishes are a possible mutation of a hybrid.  Daikon radishes are white-fleshed winter radishes.  They have smooth skin and crisp flesh.  They also can be black, pink or green.

Chinese cook their radishes.  Americans, eat them raw as relishes.  Koreans pickle the radish roots, leaves, seedpods, and sprouts.  Japanese pickle their radishes, as well as eat them raw, and cooked.

Small table radishes are best in the spring.  Black radishes are best in the winter.  Oriental radishes are available year round.  Red fleshes radishes are available in the fall to late winter.  When choosing radishes, look for perky greens attached with no cracks.  They should be solid and firm.

Radishes contain vitamins C, potassium, and folic acid.  They are said to be antiseptic, antiarthritic, and antirheumatic.  They stimulate the appetite, combat scurvy, and rickets, and aids in digestion.  They are also said to help in the treatments of asthma, bronchitis, mineral deficiencies, and liver and gallbladder troubles.

Radish Flavor Pairings

  • chives
  • lemon
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • salt
  • vinegar, especially rice wine and sherry

RADISH, DIKON

Daikon Radish

RADISH, WATERMELON

watermelon radish

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Originally published 5-22-14

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.