Tag Archives: Food for Thought

Longons

Longons
LONGONS

Longons (euphoria langana) are fruits that are related to the lychee and the rambutan.  They are native to South East Asia as well as Southern China.  Their flesh is juicy and translucent white in color.  Their flavor is reminiscent of honeydew and gardenia.  It is sometimes referred to as “pinyin” in Cantonese, meaning dragon’s eye.
Longons are approximately 1 inch in diameter.  They are round, and enclose in a thin brown, leathery shell which gets darker as it ages.  Longons grow in clusters. In the center of their flesh is a large black seed.  The flesh has a texture similar to a peeled grape.
Longons are in season from mid-July to August.  They grow on a majestic tree up to 130 feet high.
Dried longons look lick tawny raisins.  They have a deep smoky flavor.  Sometimes they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. In ancient Vietnamese culture, it is said the flesh of the fruit will relieve snake bite venom.
LONGONS, DRIED
Longons contain vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and copper.  They have high saponin content.  It is said to improve your immune system, a supposed antidepressant, can increase iron absorption in the body, and improve oral health.

© 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.

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Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves

Curry leaves, (murraya koenigii), are a fragrant herb from South East Asia, and India.  They are used in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines.  They are leaves of a small deciduous tree in the citrus family.    They are shiny, and look like citrus leaves.  They have a pungent, curry fragrance.  Curry leaves can also be found dried.
            Curry leaves enhance metabolism, control diabetes, and will help reduce the cholesterol in coconut oil when used together.

CURRY LEAVES

Jicama

 

Jicama

JICAMA

     Jicama is a large, bulbous, root vegetable. (Pronounced heek a mah). It is also known as the Mexican turnip, Mexican potato, Mexican yam, or yam bean. This plant was originally exported from the Spanish to the Philippines in the 17th century. Jicama comes from the Aztec word xicamalt. They used its seeds as medicine. Jicama is also one of the 4 elements honored during the Festival of the Dead on November 1st in Mexico.
Jicama is a starchy, edible root. It has thin, brown, papery skin that must be removed before eating. The flesh is crispy and white. It can be eaten cooked or raw. It has a flavor similar to raw potato and apple. Jicama won’t discolor when cut.
The root is the only edible part of the jicama plant. The leaves, stems, and ripe pods of the plant are poisonous. Jicama is also used to make a thickener similar to arrowroot.

There are two main varieties of Jicama: Pachyrhizus tuberosus, and P. erosus. P. tuberosus is native to the Amazon. It grows in tropical and temperate zones of the Americas, Andes, Ecuador, China and Caribbean. It is 8 to 12 inches in diameter. When this plant reaches a diameter of 12 inches, a toxic substance called retonone is produced. Retonone is used as an insecticide. P. tuberosus is juicy, and almost always eaten raw. P. erosus comes in two types: water and milk.     They just denote the consistency of the root. It grows in Mexico and Central America. It is 6 to 8 inches in length. P. erosus is eaten raw or cooked.
Jicama contains vitamin C and Potassium. Peak season for the jicama is November through May.

Flavors for Jicama

cayenne
chiles
cilantro
citrus, especially lime
cucumbers
lime
mangoes
oranges
salt
vinaigrette

© 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.

Kantola

Kantola

Kantola  (Momordica dioica, or M. cochinchinensis) is a curious little gourd, commonly found in Indian in Southern Asian cuisines.  Sometimes it is called the spiny gourd or teasle gourd.

This little fruit is covered in little spines, but they aren’t sharp.  When the fruit is ripe- it changes from dark green to light green.  When it turns to yellow- it gets bitter.  Most commonly, this fruit is sliced and used in curries.  They are also pickled, or stuffed and steamed.  The out layer of skin should be removed before eating.

Kantola is related to the bitter melon, but does not resemble it in taste.  There are many health benefits that are purported.  They are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, especially vitamin C.  They are high in folate, and may possibly reduce the blood sugar level.  It is also said to help with kidney stones when pulverized with water and drank every day.

Kantolas come to market around “monsoon” season- and are cultivated in the mountain regions of India.

© 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.

#LeCordonBleu

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean area.  It is a member of the mint family.  It has been used since 500 BC.  In the 1600s it was introduced into America.  Rosemary is Latin for Dew of the Sea.  It has silver green needle shaped leaves, and has pale blue flowers. Its flavor is similar to evergreen.  Rosemary can be overpowering.  Sometimes it may irritate the stomach.  Through out time, rosemary has been use to cure ailments of the nervous system.  It helps reinforce memory.  In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia said, There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. It has also been said to be anti-spasmatic, antiseptic, diuretic, stomachic, and a stimulant.  It relieves rheumatism, and flatulence, and stimulates perspiration and menstruation.  It also aides the liver.

Rosemary is  commonly found in the herb blend of Herbes de Provence.  It is also found in stuffing, and complements onions, potatoes, fava beans, lamb, and olive oil well.  Another use it to try with lemony sweets and honey.  With rosemary, less is more.  Too much rosemary may be overpowering, and leave a bitter taste.  Rosemary is found in the fresh, dried, and powdered forms.

Rosemary’s Flavors

  • beans, especially dried and fava
  • chicken
  • fish, oily
  • game
  • grains
  • lamb
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • oranges
  • peas
  • pork
  • potatoes
  • poultry
  • salmon
  • spinach
  • steaks
  • veal

Rosemary Oil

Yields 1 ½ gal

1-qt extra virgin olive oil

1-gallon virgin olive oil

1/2 pounds fresh rosemary, reserving 10 stalks

Strip rosemary from large woody stem.
Place approximately one fourth of the rosemary in the blender and cover with virgin olive oil.  Return lid.  Blend on medium high for 30 seconds.
Strain through a chinoise mousseline into a cambro.
Continue in similar fashion until all rosemary and all virgin olive oil is blended and strained.
Add the extra virgin olive oil to the rosemary oil.
Place reserved 10 stalks in oil mixture.
Cover, label, and date.

 

Originally Published 11-19-13

© 2013 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.

 

 

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.

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

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.