Citrus Caviar

August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gilt Taste

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.

Wiki page to learn more!

Pulp taken from multiple limes at Wild Fingerlime

          

Photos from Gilt Taste and Wild Fingerlime

 

 

 

 

 

Turnip, Taro & Toon!

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Turnip Cake


These photos are a sample of the amazing treats that my mom, aunt and uncle have made this week. I have so much to learn from them. I’m lucky to have access to all these fresh tasty treats. 🙂

 

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! 🙂

Toona sinensis aka Chinese Toon or 香椿 xiang chun

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!

To Prepare:

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.

Enjoy!

xiang chun with dried tofu (not dry in taste, rather tofu with much less moisture)

Review: Tasty Harmony, Ft. Collins

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!

Yelp Reviews of Tasty Harmony

Review: Carmela Ice Cream

May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

screenshot links directly to website

Artisan Creamery
2495 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
626.797.1405

Carmela Review Summary:

Taste: Delicious! The hand crafted ice cream is made in small batches with herbs, spices, fruits and flowers. It’s smooth, creamy and definitely worth my 20 mile drive.

Cost: Scoops $3.50 for 1/$4.50 for 2/$5.50 for 3 & various take out container sizes

Recommendation: Must try! This is the best ice cream I’ve had in Los Angeles. My favorites are Mint Cacao Nib and Salted Caramel.

I brought two flavors home-mint cacao nib & guinness. 🙂

Signature Flavors

Salted Caramel
Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean
Dark Chocolate Cacao Nib
Strawberry Buttermilk
Lavender Honey
Mint Cacao Nib
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Spiced Strawberry Sorbet
Cucumber Sorbet

Review: YOU BAR

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

YOU BAR:

YOU BAR Review Summary:

Taste: My bar tasted good. It’s hard to complain since I chose the ingredients, but I would have liked more cherries.

Cost: $22 (includes shipping and the Groupon); Roughly $1.69 per bar (normally ~$3.50/bar)

Recommendation: The quality is good. It’s also really cool to choose the ingredients and have your own label. However, without the Groupon, it’s a bit pricey for my liking. If you have the money, you should give it a try!

Extended:

Earlier this month, there was a deal on Groupon (spend $10 for $25 on the YouBar website). I checked out the site and decided to give it a try.

They provide a wide selection of ingredients and a digital nutrition label on the same page which calculates every item you select. After, you can choose the name of your bar. I couldn’t think of anything more creative than “Sherene’s Bar.”

I ordered rushed shipping and then realized that they were also in Los Angeles. 13 bars arrived in a well cushioned box the next day. I wasn’t in THAT much of a rush, but it’s good to know they care about customer service. (Most people don’t make that a priority.)

Overall it was a good experience. 🙂

Ordering Process and Ingredient Choices:

Seven steps taken directly from the website.

1. Base

Choose one or two
(We recommend selecting dates with any nut butter. The combination makes for a healthy custom energy bar that has excellently balanced nutrition and texture.)

Almond Butter
Cashew Butter – Creamy & Delicious *Most Popular
Organic Dates – Fat-Free & Low Calorie
Organic Peanut Butter
Soynut Butter
Sunflower Seed Butter
YouBar Base – Almond Butter & Organic Dates *Recommended
Special Requests
2. Protein Powders
Choose up to three
(For a nutrition bar packed with more protein select extra protein and/or large bar at the top of the page.)
No Protein
Organic Rice Protein – Great for anyone with a milk or soy sensitivity.
Soy Protein – Perfect for vegans & tastes delicious.
Whey (Milk) Protein – Our most popular; high in calcium; tastes great. *Recommended
Less Protein
Normal Protein
Extra Protein
Special Requests
3. Nuts/Seeds
Choose up to two
(For a nutrition bar high in omega 3 fatty acids we recommend adding organic flaxseeds.)
No Nuts

Almonds *Most Popular
Cashews *Recommended
Chia Seeds
Hempseeds
Organic Flaxseeds
Organic Sesame Seeds
Organic Soynuts
Peanuts
Pecans
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Walnuts
Less Nuts
Normal Nuts
Extra Nuts
Special Requests
4. Dried Fruits & Berries
Choose one or two
(Unless otherwise specified, all dried fruits and berries are unsweetened.)

No Fruits or Berries
Apples
Apricots
Cherries *Most Popular
Organic Black Mission Figs
Organic Goji Berries *Recommended
Organic Raisins
Organic Shredded Coconut
Organic Sweetened Cranberries
Prunes
Sweetened Blueberries
Less Fruit
Normal Fruit
Extra Fruit
Special Requests
5. Sweeteners
Choose up to two
(The addition of a sweetener will ensure a great texture for your protein bar. To keep down the sugar content of your nutrition bar, choose ‘Not Too Sweet’.)

Organic Agave Nectar – The low glycemic choice
Organic Brown Rice Syrup – Great for athletes
Organic Clover Honey – Our most popular sweetener. *Recommended
Not Too Sweet
Normal Sweetness
Very Sweet
Special Requests
6. Seasonings, Chocolate, and other tasty additions
Choose up to four
(Unsweetened cocoa goes perfectly with any custom protein bar.)

No Seasoning
Carob Powder
Chocolate Chips *Most Popular
Cinnamon
Coffee Crystals
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
Organic Cacao Nibs
Organic Ginger
Organic Maca Powder
Vanilla Extract
Special Requests
7. Grains/Cereals
Help Choosing
Choose up to two
(Customize the texture of your custom granola bar with these three great options.)

No Grains/Cereals
Galaxy Granola – For flavorful, light crunchiness
Crunchy Rice Cereal – For crispiness. *Recommended
Oat Bran – For chewiness and high fiber.
Fewer Grains
Average Grains
Extra Grains
Special Requests
8. Infusions
Help Choosing

Choose one item, if desired:
(The All-One Vitamin Infusion is the perfect addition to any nutrition bar to ensure you get the vitamins needed to stay healthy.)

No Infusions
All-One Vitamin Infusion
Fiber Infusion
Greens Infusion (Spirulina)
Stevia

Special Requests

18 Year Balsamic-Beyond the Olive & The Market

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment


Walking into The Market

A few days ago I introduced The Market at Santa Monica Place. Everything sounded so good on the website; I was excited to see what those gourmet vendors had to offer.

The Market is located in a strange place. It’s on the food court level of Santa Monica Place (an outdoor mall). When you arrive on the third floor, you find restaurants, an indoor food court and another indoor area for The Market. (There are too many choices! It unnecessarily caters to everyone. Because of this, business was not good for anyone.)

Walking into The Market, on the right, you’ll find an area where they feature different local vendors on a rotating basis. This week they had jams and spreads, middle eastern desserts and olive oils and vinegars.

From the permanent vendors, I had a $3.00 cookie from The Cookie Guru. It was fresh out of the oven and delicious, but too expensive. THREE DOLLARS! I also tried N’ice Cream’s Mango Lemon and Chocolate flavors. If I were to go for artisan ice cream, I’d rather have Carmela’s.

What I did enjoy was the aged balsamic from Beyond the Olive. It has a thick syrupy consistency with a sweet finish. It works well with salads, breads and desserts.

18 year balsamic vinegar

I bought the 375ml bottle for $20 and you can bring the bottle back for refills at a discounted price.


18 year balsamic with toasted bread & arugula

Though I enjoyed visiting The Market, I’m not sure how often I would visit. I wish they had more variety and incorporated the farmer’s market in that space.




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