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seed and pit edibility: please dispel myths from my childhood...

One quick warning before we all get a little cavalier there are a few plants where eating the pits/seeds is legitimately a bad idea. For example while watermelon, pumpkin and most cucurbit seeds are both edible and nutritious, the ripe seeds of bitter melon (that bumpy vegetable used in Asian cooking) are legitimately poisonous, a point one needs to remember when consuming the red arils around them (they have a sweetish taste and are very high in antioxidants, similar to that of their close relative, gac fruit). putting the sacs in your mouth and sucking the red sacs is perfectly fine, but you would not want to try chewing the whole thing.

Best store bought mozzarella for caprese

I suppose I'm comparatively lucky being in the lower Westchester NY area; the A&S deli branches (probably assoiciated, with the A&S Pork store in Brooklyn, but I'm not sure) all make excellent homemade mozzarella daily, provided you are willing to take a cow's milk one (I don't actually LIKE a lot of the imported bufala brands, many of them taste sort of bitter and fermented to me. I imagine I may not be able to make a fair assessment until the day I am actually IN southern Italy, or somewhere else where I can try buffalo mozzarella that was made that day. Or maybe I just don't like the taste of water buffalo milk much.)

Jul 25, 2015
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Is it safe to eat the wild onion/garlic chives in my yard?

Might be vineale. I've never seen them make clusters that wide, but it could simply be a matter of the fact that your horse pastures are probably better "fertilized" than the waste land I am used to seeing them in.

Apr 15, 2015
jumpingmonk in Gardening

"Great" Restaurant Names

You'd have Loved Yummy Noodles back when it was in Manhattan's Chinatown then. Though I'm glad they kept the end as "noodles". "Yummy Fun" might have been going a bit too far especially since their mascot was a drawing of a girl who gave me the serious creeps.

Mar 27, 2015
jumpingmonk in Not About Food

Best Bagged Tea Brands?

Technically a "tea' that does not contain actual Tea (Camellia sinensis) is properly called a "tisane".

Feb 04, 2015
jumpingmonk in General Topics
1

Lamb Shawarma on Long Island or in New York City?

As I said, everyone has their own interpretation. Some will say clover honey is OK, some demand only tree honeys like orange blossom are used, with sapin honeys (like pine, fir and oak) also not permitted (actually those people would not eat those honeys period, since they come from aphid poop) I used to know someone whose family would not eat fish, onions, garlic or cucumbers during Pesach (their argument was that since the Israelites complained about missing these things when they began to tire of manna it proves they did not bring any of them with them)

But this is probably getting really off topic by now.

Jan 19, 2015
jumpingmonk in Kosher

Lamb Shawarma on Long Island or in New York City?

Fenugreek is a legume, at least taxonomically (I'm a botanist by profession, trust me on this) That's what Fabacae is the legume family (they just changed the name from Leguminosae some time ago, in order to follow the new taxonomy rules that all families had to 1. end in "-acae" and 2. be named after an actual species that changed a lot of species For example, Graminae (the grasses, including most grains) became Poaecae, Cruciferae (cabbages, mustards etc) became Brassicacae, Compositae (daisies, thistles, lettuce etc) became Asteracae and so on.

The problem with clover is the same one, it's ALSO a legume. So is alfalfa. Fabacae is a very big family (in fact its' so big it's split up into three sub families, Paplliodie (most of the legumes you'd probably be thinking of, Ceaspilodie (most of these are more tropical, but if you have ever used senna as a natural laxative, that would be in there) and Mimosoidae (acacias, mesquite, tamarind and silk tress (those trees with the pink powder puffs you see along the sides of roads) and some people want to make each of those a family in it's own right). I suppose it depends on whether you avoid based on plant relations, or on use (I know someone who fully belived that, while corn as meal was hametz, corn on the cob was not so it could go either way). It's the inherent duality of the rules, just as you can re-interpret them to make more things permissible, you can also re-interpret them to make fewer things.

Jan 19, 2015
jumpingmonk in Kosher

Lamb Shawarma on Long Island or in New York City?

Oh I wasn't offended. In fact I was terrified I had offended myself. I've long since learned that commenting on any of the specialist sections (be it kosher, vegetarian, vegan or whatever) can be a potential minefield, from both directions. My last posting on the kosher board actually got pulled by Chow staff (all I was asking what why given that (as I understand) all legumes are hametz during Passover, so many high end kosher restaurants were starting their catered Seders with curries, in many cases making a point of putting extra fenugreek in. Fenugreek is, after all, a legume (I imagine there are similar questions about things like tamarind, mesquite and carob, and any type of honey that was not produced under circumstances where one could be sure the bees never got near any clover or the like) Their argument was that anything that pertained to actual interpretation should never be mentioned on the site.) So I get nervous about overstepping the line.

Jan 18, 2015
jumpingmonk in Kosher

Lamb Shawarma on Long Island or in New York City?

I actually DIDN'T notice until after I had almost finished posting (I picked up the thread when it hit the front pages, and didn't notice the section). I decided to go ahead mostly because I know that different Jews can have wildly different ideas of what is "kosher" to them. I'm not trying to disparage the letter of the law, merely pointing out that people can have very different ideas as to what is "acceptable" to them, from very liberal "if it isn't out and out traif, it's okay to me" to ones who will not eat out period on the grounds that "How can I be SURE they followed the letter of the law. It wasn't my personal rabbi who certified the restaurant, how can I be sure the one who did is as orthodox as I am.)Some keep merely literal kosher, some keep formative as well (the "even if it is technically kosher it's still traif if it in any way resembles anything traif (or as I learned it the "there's no such thing as kosher salami argument." If you see it that way, by all means disregard what I posted but I was only trying to be helpful.

Jan 18, 2015
jumpingmonk in Kosher

Lamb Shawarma on Long Island or in New York City?

I'm not 100% sure if this is exactly what you are looking for(since I'm not 100% sure the spices are the same and I suppose their acceptability depends on how rigorous you apply the kosher rules) but some of the Turkish places in Manhattan make their "gyros" in house and, if their menu copy is to be taken at face value, use 100% lamb. If this is close enough I can recommend three places, Antalia (45th St., between 5th and 6th) Troy (9th ave on 40th)and, Beyalogu (3rd, on 81st)

Jan 18, 2015
jumpingmonk in Kosher

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

I saw some last Friday at my local H-Mart (Hartsdale) as well, which probably means they are also at the two or three branches in Flushing.

Dec 30, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Probably seasonal. Last time I saw them I think was at the stand on the corner of Grand and Chrystie (on the "veggie" side of the stand; the part that faces Grand), but when, I can't remember.

Dec 29, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Food and restaurant jokes.

This year I also came away with the prize. I put French fries, gravy and cheese curds on a cracker and called it "Poutine on the Ritz"

Food and restaurant jokes.

Another first grade teacher is trying to teach her kids about animals with flashcards. They get chicken, and cow and cat and dog. The teacher then holds up a picture of a (male) deer. After no one says anything for a few minutes the teacher says "I'll give you a clue it's what your mom sometimes calls your Dad" One kid then pipes up "Oh I know now, it's a horny bastard!"

Nov 22, 2014
jumpingmonk in Not About Food

Food Jokes

Your forgot Sir Loin of Beef and his spicy fellow knight; Sir Racha.

Nov 19, 2014
jumpingmonk in Not About Food

Do any cultures eat owl?

The Coach of the Cannibal Football team is giving a pep talk to the quarterback

Coach: "Son, take a knee"
Quarterback "Thanks, I needed a snack"

Nov 16, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Do any cultures eat owl?

Sounds like the joke about the man who is brought up before a judge for killing and eating a Bald Eagle. The Judge buys the mans defense (that his plane crashed and he was starving) and lets him off. After the trial the Judge comes up to him and says "I have to know what does bald eagle taste like. The man thinks for a second and them says "Well, Your Honor" I'd have to say it tastes like a cross between Northern Spotted Owl and Whooping Crane".

Mystery Chinese Allium

Bought some today. Having closely examined, smelled and (most importantly) gnawed on one of them, I have come to the conclusion that they probably ARE some sort of rakkyo. I know they grow it in China too (actually it's native to most of eastern Asia), the species name proves that. I guess it just never occurred to me that there might be more than one kind of A. chinese (though that is a pretty dumb thing to assume, sort of like assuming that there is only one kind of onion in the world, or all garlic cultivars are identical). Pile is now split between the ones that are cut on the bottom (which I'll eat) and the few that seem to have a few intact roots, which I'll stick in a pot and see if they keep growing. Who knows maybe this kind of rakkyo will do better than the one I already have (the one I have is quite hardy, but divides really slowly (and unfortunately tends to divide before bulking up, so each years bulbs are smaller than the year before's. Has trouble making flowers too)

Nov 05, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics
1

Mystery Chinese Allium

Well, it can't be vineale. We have that, and the bulbs don't look anything like that. But one of the others? who knows. Guess I'll just have to buy a bunch and see (preferably I'll try and find one that still has some roots (most of them have the bottoms cut off, so I can stick that one in a pot (flowers usually make identification easier)

Oct 30, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Mystery Chinese Allium

Seen at a vegetable stand in Chinatown (Manhattan) today. Before I buy any I'd like to know what they are. They seem too white for rakkyo, the green bits too thin for green garlic or shallots. Garlic Chive tubers? Also took a picture of the sign (in case someone adding this can read Chinese)

Oct 29, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Why is there no fresh guanabana in the US?

For any Manhattanites, one of the fruit stand on Mulberry street in Chinatown had fresh guanabana today. Didn't get any though (they also had fresh non frozen mangosteens, which I found more appealing.

Oct 08, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

New update (long time, I know but I saw nothing much of note between the last message and now.

The fruit stand on Chrystie between Grand and Hester has some Mangosteens they claim to be fresh and, surprisingly (given the state of the (mangosteens in NYC usually) I think they are telling the truth. They are pliable of skin (the frozen ones are often picked a little underripe, so the skin tends to be more woody)and, more importantly, the stems are actually GREEN, not brown. Taste is more or less in the range of the frozen,(some good; some bad) maybe a tad better (but probably still no where near the range of ones picked right off the tree at peak ripness.) Now I'll see if the pass the indisputable test of not being frozen; if the pits germinate (one good thing about mangosteens, since they are all natural clones of each other, with parthenogenic seeds, I don't have to worry about getting a dud fruited one.)

Aug 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Amusing menu gaffes - what's yours? [moved from Boston board]

I suppose if it was really colorful it would be "A taste to please you palette."

Seen on a Turkish, or (maybe Indian) menu

Fresh Donor Kebabs

While I applaud the generosity of the people providing them, I'm not sure I want to ruminate on some of the possibilities those words imply (particularly given how close the place was to a hospital)

Are broccoli worms harmful to human health?

It also occurs to me (in retrospect) that, given what the osmetium (that orange forked "tongue" they stick out when bothered) SMELLS like, it probably doesn't TASTE any better.

Jul 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Barbera Lorenzo Olive oil No.2?,4?

Hi,

I had a question about Lorenzo's oil (the olive kind, not the drug or the movie g>)

In the stores I have bumped into three versions of this oil (presumably, three types they bottle) No.1, No.3 and No.5. Since I get a lot of my o.o. from a place that mostly stocks remainders from other stores (perfectly fine for oil, as long as you check labels) I simply assumed that no #2 or #4 had come in (or it had sold out before I got there). But going online, I don't see any there either. So my question is, IS there a #2 or a #4 olive oil in their line?

Jul 10, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Saw some sizable longans yesterday but otherwise fruit looked much as it has previous weeks.

BTW, I know it's going a bit off topic but as this thread is sort of my go to for possible explanations of things I see in Chinatown stores I don't quite understand) I was wondering is someone deeper in to could help me with a minor mystery.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time flitting from one herb shop/grocery to another, in a search for one that carried a "shiny" brand of black dried soybeans [without going into the intricacies [which are VERY complicated] there are basically two sorts of dried black soybeans that are usually sold in Chinatown, a smaller "shiny" kind and a larger more dull skinned one, which is commoner. I prefer the shiny kind. At one time, the available soybean packages were more or less split half and half [some packers packed shiny, some dull, but finding either wasn't all that hard] Nowadays however nearly ALL black soybeans sold are the dulls, and finding the old shiny kind is all but impossible [I did finally find a store that has some, but it was like the 20th I went to].)

Anyhow while wandering through all these shops, I came across one that, amongst it's offerings had something I have never seen being sold before. They had a bin (with an open sack next to it, full of what, as far as I could tell, were shark vertebrae (or shark and other large fish, my comparative anatomy isn't that good. I assume this is for some use in Traditional Chinese medicine, but what, I am clueless. I am aware that a lot of people take shark cartilage for their joints, but I have never seen anywhere offering it au natural. Plus if what you wanted was the cartilage it would seem odd to use the spinal column, since, besides the teeth, that's the only part of a shark's skeleton that is actually more or less bone. I suppose it may be like that time I saw the bags of empty abalone shells, which someone told me are also used medicinally (actually that made me wonder, since the species they take the shells from is the same one that the fish markets sell for eating, when people buy those little abalones to eat, do they dry off and save the leftover shells to save on their medicine bills? Or do some of the herb conglomerates actually BUY the leftover shells off the public/restaurants (there's a secondary marked for used cooking oil, why not one for discarded abalone shells?) )

Jul 03, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Strawberries have no flavor anymore. Agree or disagree?

And I am sure that some in power, particularly in the Department of Health, would approve, if not encourage or even mandate such a change on the grounds that if eating becomes a pure act of neccecity, the obesity episdemic would probably disappear (if food brings no pleasure why would you eat more than you have to) as well as a consolidation of producers (everything tastes the same, all the edges that win most of the brand loyalty/ variety disappear and food production probably centralizes into the hands of a few major corporations) that would result in an easier time of regulation and control (fewer companies, fewer inspectors needed and more regular inspections)

One thing though, your time period only seems to work if you are working from only one type of strawberry. Since wild strawberries are being brought up, I should point out there are a LOT of species of those and they vary GREATLY in the season they ripen in. Back when I still had my alpines which are cold season(which tasted as strawberry like as any good strawberry I have had) I used to get two crops off one ; one in early March or even late February and one all the way in November/December. I regularly would bring fresh picked strawberries off my plants to Thanksgiving dinner (and I'm in New York). And there are strawberry species that are even MORE cold loving than alpines. A clever farmer with a wide selection could basically supply fresh berries pretty much from the end of the winter freeze to the beginning of the next one.

Jun 27, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

I THINK I saw some at that same stand, but they looked in pretty cruddy condition

Jun 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Agreed, emphasis on WHEN. I have vague memories from my childhood (when Uglis were still a new thing on the market) when the vast majority of them were pretty good. Now however it seems that decent ones are few and far between . And even the GOOD ones now have those thick segment skins and that odd tendency to have those empty cells in one end of the fruit (on some, the empty part actually takes up almost the entirely of each segment, leaving the fruits juiceless and tasteless. I honestly think that, in their relentless desire to increase the acreage they have been allowing inferior stock to be grown and that this inferior stock is now becoming the norm.
Oh, and I should have mentioned that, last Wednesday, I noticed that the fruit seller on the corner of Grand and Forsyth (the one outside of the grocery store on the uptown side) had Lichis of unusually large size (approaching the coveted "apricot" range. )

Jun 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Not really Chinatown related, but My Mom today surprised me by coming home with an orange ugli fruit; first of the season for me. (I have come to the conclusion that while, an ugli does not have to be orange to be ripe those few that actually DO have orange peels tend to be the sweetest of the uglis; taking more of their character from the Tangerine side of their ancestry than the grapefruit side (while the yellows and greens tend to be the reverse). The texture was, as usual not great ( most uglis now seem to have tough skins on the segments and large numbers of hard "hollow" cells in the wedges) but at least this one TASTED alright.

Jun 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan