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
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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.

Gamboge

Gamboge

The gamboge fruit, (garcinia xanthochymus), is also known as a false mangosteen.  It is from the Malaysian peninsula.  It is approximately 6 to 7 centimeters in diameter.  When ripe, it is bright yellow in color.  The pulp surrounds two seeds and is juicy and acidic.

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            Gamboge is commonly used for jam making.  It can also be a substitute for tamarind.  It is also used in curries.

The gamboge tree is a medium sized tree with large leaves.  The sap from the tree is commonly used for a resin.  Gamboge is in season from March to May.

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

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Sapodilla

Sapodilla

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The sapodilla, (manikara zapota) is a Central American fruit.  It is from areas such as Mexico, Belize, and north-east Guatemala.  It is also known as chico, chico sapote, zapotillo, chicla, sapodilla plum, and naseberry.  The sapodilla is related to sapotes, and is in the sapotaceae family.  It got its name from the Aztecs:  tzapotle. The Spanish then named it sapodilla.

The sapodilla was spread throughout the world by the Spanish. Its first stop was the Philippines.  The sapodilla tree is an evergreen tree.  It grows very tall, about 100 feet.  It is a slow growing tree that lives a long time.  The tree secrets white latex called chicle.  Chicle is what is used to make chewing gum.  The sapodilla tree produces about 2000- 3000 fruit a year.  The wood of the tree is also used to make incense.

The sapodilla fruit is egg shaped and size. It is approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter.  It has grayish/ brown skin.  The flesh is a translucent brownish yellow or reddish yellow.  The flesh is slightly granular, similar to a pear’s flesh.  It is very juicy and very fragrant.

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                Sapodillas taste like honey, apricots, crunchy brown sugar, or pears.  In side there are 2 to 10 flat, rectangular seeds that are shiny black.  Sometimes they are seedless.  The sapodilla should be eaten when it is very ripe, if not, it is high in tannic acid.

Sapodillas like areas that are sunny and warm that does not frost.  They are okay with a salt spray and high winds.  They are in season from February to June.  The sapodilla is very perishable, and does not ship well.  Sapodillas contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, sodium, and iron.

Sapodilla Pie

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cloves

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup mashed ripe sapodilla

1 cup milk

1 cup yogurt

3 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 unbaked 9” deep-dish pie shell

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Mix sugar, salt and cloves in small dish. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in sapodilla and sugar/clove mixture. Gradually stir in milk, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes; turn temperature down to 350°F and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until firm. Serve with whipped cream.

Tropical Brandied Sapodilla Sherbet

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp brandy

1/2 cup sapodilla flesh

4 cups ice

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.   Serves 1.

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

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Parsley

Parsley

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Parsley is a biennial plant that is commonly used as a garnish in today’s kitchen.    There are two main types of parsley, curly (Petroselinum crispum),  and Italian or flat leaf (P. crispum var. neapolitanum).  Curly parsley has small curly leaves that are bright green.  Italian flat leaf parsley has flat, broad leaves that are dark green in color.  Hamburger parsley (P. crispum var. tuberosum), or turnip rooted parsley is mainly used for its white roots.  There are more than 30 varieties of parsley grown today.

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Parsley is native to Southern Europe.  It is the main staple in many kitchens and the basis of any herb blend.  It can be used as a garnish, or anything else.  It is very refreshing.  It can be used in any dishes, except sweet dishes.  Parsley contains vitamins A and C.  It is high in vitamin K.  It also contains essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties.  There is research being done on the breast cancer fighting abilities of parsley as well.

The way the flavor of parsley is described is “fresh”.  It contains a high amount of chlorophyll, which gives it a cleansing ability on the palat and the ability to neutralize odors.  It also pairs well with many foods.  It is the “parent” of carrots, anise, caraway, cumin, celery, cilantro, chervil, fennel and dill.  (That is why these foods taste so well with parsley)

In ancient times, parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness.  In ancient Greece, parsley represented joy and festivity. Pliny the elder praised parsley. Parsley was first used as a seasoning in the middle ages.

In America, parsley seems to be used mainly as a garnish or accent to other foods.  However, around the world, parsley holds its own.  In the Middle East a dish mainly consisting of parsley called Tabbouleah is popular.  In France, parsley stems are used as a fortifying flavor of dishes, and in Italy the Parsley stems represent well wishes for the chef.

Gremolata

  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Toss to combine well.

Tabbouleah

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 stalks green onions, finely sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, small diced
  • ½ cucumber, small diced
  • 1 tsp microplaned lemon zest
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  1.  Pour boiling water over bulgur wheat and a large pinch of salt.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand until all water has been absorbed, and grain is tender.
  2. Fluff the grains, and then add parsley, mint, green onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Toss thoroughly to combine.
  3. Mix together the lemon zest, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Toss over salad and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Best served at room temperature

Things that go well with Parsley

chicken

eggplant

eggs

fish

game

lentils

mushrooms

mussels

pasta

peas

potatoes

poultry

rice

seafood

snails

tomatoes

zucchini

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

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

 

Chard

Chard
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Chard, also called Swiss Chard, ( beta vulgaris, var. cida) is a green that is a member of the spinach family and the cruciferous family.
The chard is a biennial plant.  In Greek writings, dating back to the 4th century AD, there are descriptions of chard.  The Greeks and Romans used chard for medicinal properties.
The chard plant has crinkly green leaves.  Swiss chard has white stalks, whereas rhubarb chard has reddish stalks.  Ruby chard has bright red stalks and deep red and green leaves.  There is even a variety that has a yellow stalk.  The Chard plant can grow up to 6 feet across.
Prepare chard leaves as you would spinach, the stalks, like asparagus.
Chard contains vitamins A, C, iron, magnesium, potassium.  It is a laxative and a diuretic.  Chard is available year round.

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Chard’s Flavors

 chiles
garlic
lemon
tarragon
tomatoes
vinegar

Swiss Chard With Lemon and Pine Nuts

2 lb Swiss chard, trimmed, stems and leaves separated
1 pint water
2 oz lemon juice
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz pine nuts, toasted and chopped

            Cut the chard into 1 to 2 inch strips on a diagonal.

            Combine the chard, water, and 1 ounce lemon juice in a non reactive pan.  Simmer until tender, stirring frequently, approximately 10-15 minutes.

Drain.  Toss with remaining lemon juice, and the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and arrange on plates.  Garnish with the pine nuts.

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

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

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Ramps

Ramps

ONION, RAMP

Ramp, allium tricoccum,  is a slender member of the onion family.  It grows wild through out the Eastern Seaboard, from Canada to the Carolinas in Northern America.  They are in season from March to mid May.

Ramps have a woodsy, oniony, garlicky flavor.  They have a firm bulb, broad green leaves with red veins.

Ramps contain vitamin A and C.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

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

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.