August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
fingerlime from Mikuni Wild Harvest
I saw these finger limes on Gilt Taste today. It’s something I’ve never seen before and until recently, these limes were only available in Australia and New Zealand. These were grown in Southern California by Mikuni Wild Harvest, a company trusted by some of the nation’s top chefs.
You can buy 40-60 finger-sized limes for roughly $33+$10 for shipping.
They keep for 10-14 days.
According to the website you can “split one open lengthwise and spoon out a few pearls. As with caviar, the tiny beads inside pop in your mouth, releasing a splash of bright, tart juice.”
I would love to try these, so hopefully it will still be available when I get back to the States. I would sprinkle them over a fruity sorbet or top off a taco. They’re fun and colorful to serve. If you’re having guests, they will definitely be impressed no matter how they’re served.
Pulp taken from multiple limes at Wild Fingerlime
Photos from Gilt Taste and Wild Fingerlime
July 22, 2011 § 3 Comments
image taken from Tessie
image taken from Korefe
Ever need a sprinkle of cheese? Bring these pencils along for fresh shaved cheese with Truffle, Pesto or Chili at the center. Portion sizes and sharpener included. Too bad they’re sold out!
Check out more cool packaging from THE DELI GARAGE.
Below are images taken from their site. A few more things that I would love to have.
Lemon, Chili and Rosemary Olive Oil
Cinnamon and Chocolate Honey
Tubenhonig from THE DELI GARAGE
July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is homemade turnip cake topped with soy sauce, ginger and chili. Surprisingly no turnips, mostly radish. You can find this dish on the menus of dim sum restaurants, Taiwanese restaurants or in a package in an Asian supermarket. It’s composed of shredded radish, rice flour and some veggies. The texture will vary depending on how you prepare it. Restaurants typically slice and pan fry, we chose to steam then slice. The difference is like biting into a potato wedge versus a baked potato. If you’re in the mood for something with a crunchy coat, order it pan-fried. You won’t lose either way.
Note: I have not tried this recipe in the video and it’s not a veg recipe. I just included this video because it reminds me of my mom. 😀
Steamed Taro Bun
Steamed bun aka mantou is typically eaten for breakfast in China and Taiwan. In the U.S. you could find these in every Asian market because it is a staple. In Taiwan, aside from the market, you can find these at any major convenient store and breakfast stand. This is vegan and made with only flour, water, soymilk and taro. Taro is just one of many flavors that can be adapted.
My uncle started experimenting with different flavors last week and I’ve been eating mantou with almost every meal. I’m not complaining at all because these mantous are delicious! To me, a good mantou needs to be soft, chewy and fluffy and these definitely are. They’re perfect! Besides taro, typical flavors include plain and brown sugar. We experimented with dried cranberries- brown sugar- cranberry & flaxseeds- pumpkin.
Note: This is a similar process that my uncle used, but I have not tried the process in the video.
Chinese Bread aka bing
Chinese bread is more like a stuffed pizza or foccocia bread with all the toppings and spreads on the inside. A few weeks ago, I posted about toon a herb similar to cilantro or basil. It has a strong, distinct flavor and it’s one of my favorite herbs. We used the leaves and made it into a spread and kept it in the freezer. It can be used in noodles as a sauce, an ingredient to accompany a vegetable dish or in this case, between bread.
This was kneaded and baked on the stove in a lightly oiled pan. Ovens are almost non-existent in Chinese cooking so everything is done on the stove. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video. But when I learn the process, I will be sure to post.
I hope you get a chance to try some of these delicious foods at least once. They’re too good not to! 🙂
July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
This company was established in Taiwan last year and currently has three locations listed below. It utilizes matcha (Japanese green tea) in several forms through desserts and drinks. This brand is significantly more expensive than the average price of tea (~NT 30-50), but it’s worth splurging.
I was browsing a food court (located at the basement of every department store) and TSUJIRI immediately drew my attention. A lot of people were waiting in line at a place that seemed to only sell one item, matcha. I was curious. There were a couple of tea shops within a few feet; why were people waiting in this line?
I got the TSUJIRI float with blended macha on the bottom, macha froyo and a scoop of red bean. I know this may not be everyone’s ideal dessert, but it was just what I needed. I understood why people were waiting in line and willing to pay 4x the price of a regular tea. It was delicious, full of flavor without being overly sweet. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂
Interesting facts about matcha (taken from matcha’s wiki page)
- Pound-for-pound, matcha contains more antioxidants than blueberries, gojiberries, pomegranates, orange juice, and spinach.
- It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.
- The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year.
- The most famous matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka, and northern Kyūshū.
June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
This restaurant is more commonly known as Lian Xiang Zhai (连香斋) Vegetarian buffet, a Taipei specialty. Changchun Road, No. 353; 011-886-2-2547-4788.
They serve lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I suggest going for lunch (NT 660 (roughly $23 USD).
If you are vegan, most foods in Taiwanese vegetarian restaurants are vegan including this one.
When my family first told me about LXZ I couldn’t believe it. It’s a vegetarian foodie’s dream; an all veg buffet featuring foods from around the world. What?!
I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’ve been disappointed by many veg restaurants in my life. Would this be another Whole Foods heat lamp style weigh-your-food type place?
When I walked into LXZ it was a true experience like a condensed Vegas style buffet. It’s a welcoming place- bright lights, delicious foods and more variety than your stomach can handle.
Blue (2,3,5,10,11)- desserts and sweets
Light Blue (6)- cold foods
Yellow (1,7,9)- drinks
Red (4,8,12,13,15,16,17)- hot foods
White (14)- kitchen
My Map of LXZ
Brief Description of Each Section (1-17)
1- coffee and tea station (fresh ground coffee and asian style tea)
2- Haagan-Dazs ice cream (8 flavors) and 5-6 platters of fresh fruit
3- traditional Chinese hot desserts (e.g. fresh almond puree)
4- noodle and wonton stand (made to order)
5- Japanese style handrolls (made to order)
6- salad bar
7- mixed drinks (cocktail type drinks)
8- 15+ dishes of Chinese food (standard restaurant dishes)
9- bar with variety of American liquor (minimal fee req’d)
10- chocolate fondue fountain, 10+ varieties of cakes (1/2 were vegan)
11- puddings, cream puffs and jellies (vegan available)
12- fresh veggies (sautéed to order) and 3 rice cookers full of rice (rarely touched due to the plethora of food)
13- 15-20+ items of dim sum (all made fresh), 15+ items of standard restaurant food (fried rice etc.)
14- open kitchen
15- Italian style foods (pizza, made to order pasta); Japanese foods (sushi, ramen, miso soup, sashimi); 4 types of drinking vinegars
16- western soup stand (2 freshly made soups)
17- asian soup row ( 5-6 types of stews and soups)
Though I didn’t see all the veg foods from around the world like my mom advertised, it exceeded my expectations. All the foods were fresh and delicious.
It’s an amazing place! Every time I’m in Taiwan I make sure to come here at least once. It’s too good not to. There is no other place in the world that showcases and delivers this amount of variety, taste and quality that LXZ does.
If you are ever in Taiwan, it’s definitely a must!
June 10, 2011 § 3 Comments
I’m excited to introduce Chinese Toon. Before this post, I only knew this vegetable/herb by its Chinese name. I have never seen it sold or grown in the U.S. as pictured; only in its dried form and even that is rare. In fact, I didn’t even know what this looked like until a family friend gave us a batch from her garden. It was an exciting day. 🙂
Imagine growing up eating and loving cilantro, but not knowing its name or what it looked like. That’s how I feel about xiang chun. It has a strong distinct flavor with a similar strength as garlic. It can be a great complement to a dish or overwhelming if you don’t like the taste (similar to onion or chives). I can eat it with everything!
It is predominately used in Asian cuisine, mainly Chinese. I have had it with tofu, eggs, stir-fries, noodles, rice and savory Chinese pancakes. All delicious!
Step 1: fold the leaves in half and tear them off the branch from the stem (this will leave the root behind)
Step 2: after washing, mince leaves
Step 3: transfer to container, sprinkle salt to bring out juices, mix and seal (the true flavor of xiang chun will not come out till this step)
You can then save this for future use in tofu, stir-fries, noodles, fried rice or pancakes.
Next time you come across Toona sinensis aka Chinese Toon or 香椿 xiang chun, you’ll know how to use it or at least have a new dish to try at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Be sure to ask for it in its Chinese name, xiang chun. Here’s the wiki page to learn more.
June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
I spent Memorial weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado. After my friend picked me up, we were both hungry. I only had an energy bar and some over priced rice crackers from the airport. I needed a good meal. As a lifelong vegetarian, I didn’t know what to expect from Fort Collins. I was excited to find out.
Tasty Harmony is not a pretentious organic vegetarian restaurant that it would be if it was in Los Angeles. It’s inviting and not over the top friendly, which I find creepy. They’re there to serve good food. The menu is diverse and provides a large drink menu, from teas, smoothies to local beers.
I ordered the Kentucky Fried Freedom, $13 “Battered and pan fried mock chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, black eye peas and garlicky greens.” It was delicious! The prices are higher than I expected, but their portions are big enough for two.
My friend ordered the Nachos de Ynez, $10.50 “Layers of our homemade cashew cheese, black beans, guacamole, vegan sour cream and salsa piled on top of corn chips.” They tasted just like nachos, not vegan nachos, which is great!
Then, we proceeded to dessert. My friend and the waiter boasted about their desserts so I was excited to try them.
I ordered the raw strawberry cheesecake, $7.50. It had a strange grainy texture that I expected from a vegan cheesecake. So, I was disappointed after having an amazing non-vegan tasting meal.
My friend ordered the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, $6.95. I still dream about this pie. It was smooth and creamy with the right amount of everything. I was so close to licking the plate. If you don’t come here for the food, you should come here for this!