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Heirloom carrots: More colours, more vitamins?

Basically, yes. The red compunds in some heirloom carrots are actually lycopenes (like one would find in tomtatoes) and the purples are anthocyanins (like in purple corn, blueberries etc.) The former are good for your heart, the latter are antioxidants. If you have ever heard of salgam (a health drink in parts of the middle east) that is in fact primarily the juice of a kind of black carrot native to Turkey.

Apr 07, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Japanese household veggies

Not to derail the thread uneccecarily, but I have a question about rakkyo (that japanese vegetable that looks sort of like a cross between an onion and a shallot). Is there anything they do with it BESIDES pickling it. I've tried some experiments using it as I would a shallot but it seems too weak in flavor for those purposes. I've also actually tried slicing up some raw, like an onion, but they were a bit hard of texture to eat that way (and I think gave me an upset stomach). Since Rakkyo is one of the veggies I actually GROW in my garden (alliums do better for me than most other things, so I have a lot of them) a few alternatives would be useful.

Apr 05, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

One thing to consider though, the calamansi in those products is NOT the same thing as the caldomin that one can buy as trees. The former is Citrus mitis, the latter, Citrofortunella microcarpa (that's why the fruit on most of the calamansi product lables looks so different (with a green skin and orange flesh). Caldomins can work as a sour citrus but don't expect it to taste exactly the same (To my knowledge the green skinned orange one is not avaiable in fresh or tree form in this country)
Actually I think there are two kinds of caldomins avaiable, one with smallish solid orange fruit about the size of a large marble (the common one) and a somewhat bigger one with a skin that almost looks like it is pattered (this is I think the better for eating, but harder to find.)

Mar 31, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

I'm well aware of that, but one has to start somewhere. And while they do not neccecarily come true, that isn't always a bad thing. I already have a truly freaky tree I grew from a lemon pip that makes makes citral (the active aromatic in lemon peels) in it's young leaves (so even the leaves smell like lemons. I'm aware the fruit I may get is not neccecarily going to be like what I got it from, especially for yuzu's (whose genetics are so unstable that most of it's pits will not even make viable trees. But until I can work out waht variety the kind I want is and who carries a version (most yuzu trees are just sold as yuzu trees, no cultivar, since it is considered too exotic for that level of specialzation.) and is certified as something I can keep (i.e. that the USDA isn't going to decend and confiscate because the tree orchard developed a citrus disease that they are worried about spreading (it has happened a lot) a seed tree is the best I can do.

Mar 31, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

Perhaps, though it might be risky. Hard squeezes can me frustrated and angry. If the same thing happened while I was massaging, someone might get hurt. At least with the squeezer, the worst than can happen is I break the little tube that attaches the two bits (that's happened four or five times) The yuzu's are a bit tricky, but that's beacuse I tend to peel them and seperate the segments BEFORE I squeeze, so segments oftend pot out of the squeezer whole (with yuzu's being so expensive, and juicy yuzus increadingly rare now that most places are only offering that new strain (great easy to remove peel, but dry as a bone inside) I am trying to get maximum use of of the few goods ones I come across by popping thier pits in pots and tring to start a little grove of my own (to my spurise, it looks like I am just warm enough that yuzu's (which are quite cold hardy) can survive a winter OUTSIDE here, so once they are little trees, I can stick them in the ground.) Alas the best yuzu's have very few seeds, so every one is precios, to precios to risk cutting in half or crushing.
Actually I tend to cut my limes in half with a spiral motion (rather than slicing from side to side) for the same reason, in the one in a millon chance that a non-key lime actuall has a seed or two in it, I want that seed whole in a pot, not sliced in half in the garbage.

Mar 31, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

I usually just use those hand held kinds, the kind that look like a cross between a nutcracker and a garlic press. They do the job well enough for me. Only thing is that I need more than one size. Assuming the different size's color code corresponds to the fruit you are supposed to use them for, you usually need the next size up (maybe citrust fruits are larger there). The green (lime) is OK for key limes and (when I can get them) yuzus. But for creole limes, I usually need to use the yellow one (which I suppose was designed for lemons). and for lemons the orange one. After that, I usually have to dig out the old spin one, as a lot of oranges are too big for the orange one (and don't even get me started on when I need to squeeze an ugli, or, god help me, a pomelo.

Mar 31, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

Since we all seem to be scrabling for substitutes one warning, do NOT try and use Markut/Kaffir limes. Markut lime juice may have it's uses in asian cooking, but those are noth the same as those for "normal" limes (Marku lime juice tastes a little like what you'd get if you took a whole lime; peel,pith,and all, ran it through a food processor, then strained out the liquid.

Mar 29, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

Heck I've been squeezing all my keys for months, pouring the juice in old freezable lemon juice containers, and then, when I need it, measuring the stuff out with a kids medicine glass (10ml of juice per day).

Mar 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

In that case one word of warning. Those limes were of the Susie brand (most of the organic limes around here are, as are most of the bags of keys) There's nothing particuarly wrong about that, but one caveat, you may want to dilute the juice before using (or use less than you would normally) Susie's limes tend to be REALLY acidic, like battery acid acidic. I suppose under the circumstances, that could be a good thing. If you have to dilute the juice, it will go farther. But it is something to be aware of.

Mar 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

Managed to grab 9 or 10 decent looking creoles at Mrs. Green's (local organic supermarket chain) today. Think they were going for about $9 a pound.

Mar 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

The weather seems to be affecting the ugli harvest too. They're available but are not up to normal quality, a lot of the insides are hard and empty. And the orange ones seem to be completely missing. They've never been the commonest ones (I still don't know if orange ugli fruit is the result of gentics or weather (I know it's not ripeness), but I do know that, if I find and ugli whose peel is orange, it's probably going to be a particularly sweet one.) but this year the are totally absent.

Mar 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Lime shortage, who knew?

I think it may be affecting some of the afiiated citruses as well. I've noticed recently that besides the standard kind, there seems to be a shortage of Key Limes (most of which also come from Mexico). Actually that could explain something I saw last week at Balducci's where I managed to score 4 bags of keys which is all they had (with supplies so spotty, I'm buying when I find 'em, and sqeezin' and freezin') When I happend to walk by the space thereafter, there was an employee restocking, and I notice that he filled the space left from the limes with lemons, so he obviosly did not have any more bags.

The juicy thing is also probably an effect of this situation. There are two major kinds of limes on the market, the creole (light green, smooth shiny and abundantly juicy) and the Tahitian/Bearass (darker green, larger, bumpier, duller and usually pretty dry). Mexico may grow most of the limes in general, but it grows nearly ALL of the creoles (they need a bit more warmth than most of florida or california can provide.)

It probably won't help much, but, when they come into season, Limequats are a decent substitute for the juicy and key limes. And since I think they mostly come out of California, they should be unaffected (well by the drug thing, the weather thing might be a rising tide lifts (or in this case, sinks) all boats situation.

Mar 27, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics
1

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysophyllum_cainito
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamey_sa...

Both are memembers of the Sapotacae family. I don't think star apples are sold in this country but Mamey's are.(try H-Mart, the seem to get pretty much EVERY fruit it in it's season) Unfortunately I do not share your friends enthusiasm for them, To me they taste like a watery oversugared sweet potato.

The star apples I have no idea about, though understand that, on to of the seed thing, they can have a sap like latex.

Mar 22, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Sumo tangerines

On thing to keep in mind though, some places call them by their Japanese name (Dekapon) not Sumo's so they may not know what you are talking about.

But they are good. In fact since it's often quite hard to find the "classic" satsuma (the ultra tiny ultra sweet smooth skinned one) Sumo's are my go-to in tangerines.

Mar 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Weird food secrets

And come to think of it, I used to know a resturaunt in Chinatown that made stir fried rice cakes (the noodle, not the dry things) with Italian sausage. Tastes a lot like a gooey pepperoni pizza (they used very spicy sausage).

Mar 19, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Making Hummus with Kala Channa

Well, I have 2 pounds, so I think I have enough to try a couple of ways. I'll try a little as hummus, and if I don't like that, I can try some some other way.
Incidentally, thank you for explaining the difference beween hara and kala. That does clear up at least 2 things 1. why these looks so similar to the kala in shape and size while being SO different in color (though given how green they are inside, I suspect mine were also picked slightly less mature than brown chickpeas are.) and 2. Why those few times when I have grown brown chickpeas myself in my garden, the seeds seemed to stay somewhat green no matter HOW long I left them on the plant (must have dried them in the dark).

Mar 15, 2014
jumpingmonk in Home Cooking
1

Making Hummus with Kala Channa

Hi,
A few days ago, I bought a bag of chickpeas from an Indian grocery store. While I did not buy it specifically for this purpose, it occurs to me that a good way to use of the peas would be to make them into hummus.
Here's my issue/ question. The peas in the bag are desi type, not Kabuli type. That is, they are the smaller, harder thicker skinned chickpeas of Bengal, not the large thin skinned chickpea of the middle east and Europe. They're kala channa (actually they are the green when mature type of chickpea, but since those appear to be closer to desis than kabulis; I'm assuming that those are the kinds of cooking methods I want.
So my question is as follows; if I cook these chickpeas for hummu, do I have to take the skins off? I know that skinning "nomal" (kabuli) chickpeas for hummus is not techically neccecary, though some people think doing so makes the hummus smoother. But that is a very thin skin. My concern is that, since this kind's skin is so much thicker, if it isn't skinned, the hummus will be VERY coarse, so course as to be inedible (if indeed the skins don't gum up the processor and break it) Ditto trying to grind them dry to make chickpea flour for making falafel.
So I am looking for info. If you cook them as is, will the skins get soft enough to not have to worry about. And if you DO have to skin them before using them, is there a comparitively easy way? Once soaked, will the beans simply be able to be squeezed out of the skins. I don't think I have the time to try and pick the skin off peas one at a time while they are dry, or the muscle power to smash them all in a mortal and pestle, even if I had one (ditto any sort of automatic pulse splittler; I'm not planning to make things like this often enough to invest big money in another piece of kitchen tech.) So any tips?

Mar 14, 2014
jumpingmonk in Home Cooking

Help me ID this herb/spice/item~

No candlenuts are heart shaped, even in the shells (plus, the shells are black).

I think I know what this is, sort of. I seem to recall seeing a picture of something like this in my copy of Edible Nuts of the World (the one in the pic had a fat piece of stem at one end, but otherwise looked the same). I was called something like a "forest onion". I think it grew on some sort of Rainforest tree native to South East Asia, where the notes said it was eaten as a garlic substitute.
Wish I could help, more, but it's been years since I saw that book (at it was seventy years old when I read it, so even the scientific names were out of date)

Mar 14, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Help identify these things in my lentils?

There probably some sort of weed seed that got in back in the fields. Lentils are often full of those (I know of at least one brand where they make up about 1-2% of the total bag weight.)
Based on the size and shape, I think those are actually the "pads" left from the seeds of something in the dandelion group (the little white nub left after all the fuzzy seeds have detached and flown into the breeze. Ive seen similar pads in bags of Indian Coriander, so for them to be in some lentils is not at all unlikey.
And in all likelyhood, the wheat and rice grains ARE wheat and rice grains; both are common "volunteers" (domestic seed showing up in some other domestic seed) in lentils (barley and oats too). If some of the rice grains still had thier hull on them (a yellow to black outer coating with ridges and tiny hairs) that's another clue.

Mar 10, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

That sounds about right, consistency-wise. Cherymoya skin is a lot softer than that of the sugar apples that come in at another point in the year; so they don't do that "scales break apart" thing they do.

Mar 02, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

Well, I imagine the durian is frozen, I honestly don't think any fresh makes it to this country. The jackfruit is probably fresh though. I know the Chinatown vendors is, it passed the truest test of being never frozen, the pits germinated when planted.

Feb 27, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

I was just at my local branch of H-Mart (the one in Hartsdale) today, and I happened to notice they had both Durian's (whole) and Jackfruit (pre wrapped chunks) Granted I'd prefer my jackfruit fresh cut, but at least that shows is is currently available. And I have to assume that, if my H-mart has it, the others (I know there are at least two in Flushing) have them too. Didn't pick any up though.
What I DID however pick up is below. This has got to be the biggest Cherymoya I have ever Frickin' SEEN. I just weighed it and it's almost 3 pounds. Plus I got it cheaper than I should of (the clerk got confused and assumed that the price was per fruit, not per pound). I was not there, so no guilt on me. Not quite ripe yet, but when it is, I'll get back to you on taste. (and yes that is my cellphone case in the pic for size comparison)

Feb 27, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

I think I can beat you on the pomelos; I saw one today that was the size of a small PUMPKIN (good two to three feet across). I'm actually beginning to wonder how big they have to keep the trees to support fruit this size. Didn't buy it for the same reason, carrying too much already (plus not a huge pomelo fan)

Feb 26, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

As far as I know, Durian is now there pretty much all year round.It's all frozen but it is there. I think I saw some today as I wandered around Flushing. Though I am not sure (I really don't like durian much, so it's presence or absence does not register most of the time).
With Jackfruit, it isn't so much when you look as WHERE, at least in Manhattan. Fresh Jackfruit usually only shows up in two places; one of the fruitstands on Mulberry, and the big one on Chrystie between Grand and Hester. Again, never really noticed if there is a specific season.
Not a lot of fruit to report from today of note. Saw some mangosteens (again almost certainly frozen) and it looks like some of the plums are coming in.
Most exotic fruit I think I saw was in Patel Brothers (the big Indian supermarket on Main Street, near Holly) They had some mombins (at least I think that's what they are called, those green sour things with the thorns all over the pits). But again not a fruit I am fond of, so I didn't buy any.

Feb 26, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Montchevre Goat Gouda, goat yes, gouda.........

Hi,
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a wedge of Montchevre goat gouda, which was new to me. I've had a lot of Montchevre goat cheeses before, of varying types. but had never seen a gouda from them before (goat cheddar yes, but not a gouda) But I trust the company, and am always in the market for a good goat gouda (i.e. not like the Beemster one that tastes chemically. More in the Benning/Arina line) so I decided to take a chance.
My experiances were.....interesting. It's not tha the cheese isn't good, it is, very, very good. No chemical note at all. It's just I'm not sure if flavor wise, you could really call it gouda. It looks like goat gouda, same color, same shape, same texture. But flavor wise, that's another matter. There's no other way of putting this, this gouda is SHARP, REALLY sharp, WAY sharper than gouda usually is, even aged gouda (which is itself not all that sharpl gouda tends to go the Parmesan route in increased nuttiness as it gets older.
In short, while Montchevre may have been TRYING for a goat gouda, what they actually have come up with is more in the alpine vein. At minimum, the stuff is something along the line of goat Jalsberg or Emmenthaler (just sans the holes) Personally, I'd say the sharpness passes even that into Appenzeller territory, with a few pieces straying all the way into the Rothkase (i.e. Appenzeller "extra") zone. Good cheese, but be aware, if you are looking for goat gouda that tastes like Goat GOUDA, pass this one by.

Feb 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in Cheese

What are your strangest food habits?

You shoudl see some of the stuff I eat NOW for breakfast. One dish I make from time to time I simply call "The stuff" (no connection to the movie about the addictive zombie-making goo sold like ice cream.) It's a mixture of cold instant couscous, greek yougurt, chopped scallions, olive oil, lemon juice (or when I can get it, fresh key lime juice) garlic, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Takes a while to get used to, but quite sustaining, unless your stomach has other ideas.

Feb 07, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

What are your strangest food habits?

You just brough up the one I was going to! Back when I was a kid, the fact that I like unsweetened oatmeal with American Cheese melted in it caused a lot of people to think I was insane (especially the one time at camp when I did it, since that was the one time the issue came up when I wasn't at home.) I never really saw what the big deal is. I mean, unsweetened oatmeal is basically nutritionally mushy bread, so it's really no different from toast. And no one thinks eating cheese at breakfast is all that odd. So why is mixing the two weird.
I actually have another from my childhood. When they are kids, some people like peanut butter and jelly sandwitches and some like cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. I liked peanut butter and cream cheese sandwiches.

Feb 07, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

Just opened the two big (non-organic) heavy ones from the lot. Both washouts (all the excess weight was seeds again)

Jan 11, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

Yeah, at that size if they weigh that little, they have to be almost hollow.

Jan 09, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

New update
Went back today and there were a lot of surprises. I managed to find two "news" that were quite heavy. But the real suprise was next to these where they now have a seperate row for "organic" yuzus. and these look like NOTHING I have ever seen before. I have NEVER seen yuzu's this small (if they weren't yellow, and slightly flattened, I'd think I was looking at caldomins.
Unfortunately I doubt you'll see any of these yourself. It's not that I bought them all. In fact I only got 3 out of the dozen they had. it's that the reason I only got three is that is pretty much all I could find of them that did not have MASSIVE rotten spots (and in most cases, big blue mold spots) besides my three, I think only one made it back on the shelf as looking intact, and even that one is probably rotten on the bottom (two of the ones I bought turned out to have bad spots when I got home so the odds are than one did as well.
Of those I did get, they seem to be pretty nice examples of the fruit (though at 3.50 apiece, they are even more expensive than the already exobitant large ones) peel is fairly free peeling and unusually smooth and stiff. They are fairly juicy, though the tiny size makes getting much of it hard.
Besides these, there were two more one larger and rounder (possibly an old type one) and a dark green one (whether this is simply a very unripe example of the old kind, or a type of it's own I'll have to determine later.

Jan 09, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan