Archive for the ‘Exotic’

Okonomiyaki (Cabbage Pizza)06.12.10

055I spent a few weeks in Japan when I was 15. I stayed in the suburbs of Osaka with a lovely host family, who introduced me to Okonomiyaki. In train stations and little restaurants all over the place, you can point to a bowl of ingredients displayed in a glass case, and then take your seat around a table with a frying surface embedded in the top. Servers bring your ingredients to the table and add an egg, and then you fry up your own and top it as you like with sauces and cheese.

While my host mom insisted that this was a form of pizza, the actual base of this treat is cabbage and other veggies, in a thin batter. There are some traditional Japanese ingredients that give real okonomiyaki a distinct flavor. For my family, I tend to just clean out the produce drawer, adding whatever leftover meats or cheeses we have on hand.

Around here, it’s called Garbage Pizza. And it is delish.

Here’s what we started with:
Okonomiyaki veggies
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Posted in Comfort Foods, Exotic, Main Course, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 6 Comments →

Cherimoya and Star Fruit05.05.10

070Oh, how I love the random produce that ends up in our major grocery chain here and there.  While shopping a few weeks back, we stumbled onto some star fruit and cherimoyas, and thought it was high time for a special two-fer edition of What The?  Foods.

Since we started this challenge of ours, we find ourselves poking around a bit, looking for odd shapes and colors.  And okay, I’ll admit my first real exposure to the idea of either of these fruits was through some sort of Baby Einstein knock-off video.

In any case, I’ll admit that up until this point, I’ve never been all that curious about strange looking fruits.  The basics, available year-round, more than filled my personal needs.  But when a kid says “Mom, we should try THAT ONE!”  it seems like a pretty good thing to do.  So!  First up:  The Cherimoya.

According to good ole Wikipedia, in 1866, Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.”   We shall see, Mark Twain.  We shall see.

The fruit itself is a lizardy looking green, shaped like a heart.

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Posted in Exotic, Fruit, Spring, Sweet, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, What The? Foodwith 1 Comment →

Miso Soup (eating out)04.20.10

Miso SoupThis is just a little quickie:

We’ve been eating out fairly often this month due to a combination of crazy schedules and sheer lazy on my part.  The Lazy doesn’t extend to letting The Boy off the hook, however, and each meal involves some hearty negotiation over the contents of his plate.

We popped by a local Japanese restaurant that is very family-friendly and pulled up to the table for a little adventure.  The Boy is often pretty (surprisingly) reliable with Asian flavors, unlike his mom (I know, I know) who has issues with a few popular flavors in Asian meals.

Number one on my list of Not A Fan?  Most seaweed

Number two on my list of Not A Fan?  Miso

Miso Soup

So, naturally they brought me a lovely, steaming bowl of miso soup, I thwapped it onto the lazy susan and sent it over to The Boy.  He calmly pulled it off the lazy susan and tucked in. Seriously, even with me over on my side of the table making hairball noises about it, he slurped up the juicy seaweed and ate the tofu. He loved the broth, too.

I don’t even know where this kid came from anymore. But at least I have a new miso soup buddy to hand off to.

Success!

Posted in Exotic, Local Eats, Restaurant, Soupwith 1 Comment →

Rice Paper Salad Rolls04.07.10

Salad Rolls.  Sorta. Do you see what I see? That is lettuce on The Boy’s plate, and he’s not making the barf face.  How did this happen?  Is my campaign for Pleasant Salad Eating paying off?  Or is it all about novelty?

It was The Chef’s 11th birthday, and she requested barbecued pork ribs and salad rolls.  I don’t think she’s actually ever eaten anything wrapped in the translucent rice paper spring roll wrappers, but I had picked up a package a few weeks back, and she was intrigued.

We decided to get basic, and stick with some of my favorite salad components.  Here’s a look at what we started with:

  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced carrot
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced mint leaves
  • sliced green onion
  • mixed, washed salad greens
  • rice paper wrappers

Salad Rolls.  Sorta.

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Posted in Exotic, Salad, Side Dish, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetable, Vegetarianwith 4 Comments →

Quince with honey and Greek yogurt03.19.10

036Well, hello, honey!

At the farmer’s market this last weekend, we picked up two quince.  Quinces?  What the heck is the plural of quince?  Anyway, I had never seen a quince before, to my knowledge, although I believe I have had quince jam before.  Maybe.

I asked the farmer how someone with produce-resistant kids would be advised to approach these awkward looking fruits, with their scummy fuzz on the skins and rock-hard texture.  She winked and said “slow bake them with honey.”  That sounded do-able, but when I got home, I just wasn’t all that motivated to get it going.  I’m the same girl who let a cherimoya rot on the counter because I kept forgetting to get to it, and then they were out of season and we missed our big chance.

Am I ever glad I got over that particular hump.  I wish I had bought a dozen. Quince rocks my socks off.

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Posted in Exotic, Farmer's Market, Fruit, Local Eats, Side Dish, Spring, Sweet, Uncategorized, What The? Food, Winterwith 3 Comments →

Cuban ground beef with fried plantains01.22.10

035“I’m sorry, you’re doing what with those bananas?”  That’s what everyone wanted to know when I started heating up the oil to fry the plantains.

“These are not bananas.  They are plantains.”  I didn’t have a plan for them when I purchased them, and as they sat on my counter, slow turning from green to yellow, yellow to black and yellow, I figured I’d better get off the stick and come up with a plan.

Of course, since I’ve never cooked with plantains before, I wasn’t sure where to start.  I thought about making muffins or something, but remembered that they are often used in savory dishes.  So I went internet diving to see what I could find.  Good ole Emeril had a recipe for a Pinon, a Cuban-style Beef and Plantain Pie. That sounded pretty darn good to me, but I thought the kids wouldn’t eat it if it was all baked together like that.  And then I found this recipe for Arroz ala Cubana that also sounded amazing.   I decided to riff off of both recipes and make Emeril’s beef mixture, but serve it over rice, and serve the plantains on the side.  Here’s what I started with (cribbed from Emeril’s recipe, sorta):

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Posted in Exotic, Main Course, Savory, Uncategorized, Winterwith 4 Comments →

Southwestern chicken soup with jicama01.17.10

029We picked up a softball sized jicama at the store this last week, and my initial plan was to make some sort of chopped salad. The Boy, however, was running low on patience for all the weird combos we’ve been churning out, so I though, hey, let’s make a simple chicken soup.  See, a long time ago I made a chicken soup that featured fire roasted red bell peppers pureed and added to a rich chicken broth, flavored with garlic, cilantro and lime juice, with grilled chicken and cubed jicama added in the final minutes.

I figured I could just make something like that, except I couldn’t recall where I had the recipe.  (I’ve since found it, and it’s a winner – I’ll be making the real recipe in coming days.)

What follows is my attempts to wing it.  Duck and cover, people, because this gets really wrong, really fast.

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Posted in Exotic, Main Course, Soup, Uncategorizedwith 3 Comments →

Spinach and artichoke heart quiche01.14.10

019Probably three years ago, The Boy and I went together to our local Dinner My Way restaurant and assembled some entrees for the freezer.  One of the dishes we came home with was called “Spinach Pie” and was basically a quiche using fresh baby spinach, onion, Greek olives, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, among other ingredients.  It was also topped with puff-pastry, which I thought was overkill.  Anyway, The Boy actually loved this pie, and I’ve been banging around in the kitchen trying to duplicate it for the last three years to no avail.

Let’s just say that making a quiche with an entire brick of feta will yield something so salty you will need to drink a gallon of water after one bite, and then you’ll be throwing it all away.  Learn from me, friends!

The other night, I made another run at it.
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Posted in Breakfast, Exotic, Main Course, Savory, Vegetable, Vegetarianwith 1 Comment →

Tomatillo Raw Salsa01.10.10

023On another produce aisle spelunking mission, we came home with a handful of lovely tomatillos.  The Boy gave them a double-take, which totally qualified them as our second What The? Food.

Now, I didn’t really have a plan for these yet, but I had purchased some corn tortilla chips, and figured we could make a nice little fresh salsa with them.  I know that most of the green salsas I’ve had have been cooked, but I really enjoy the flavor of fresh tomatillo, and figured we might as well try to make an uncooked salsa.

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Posted in Dips, Exotic, Fruit, Gluten-Free, Vegetable, Vegetarian, What The? Foodwith No Comments →

Kiwano Fruit (Horned Melon)01.01.10

Boy Vs. KiwanoYou ever have a moment at the grocery store where you’re shopping along and then you spot something weird and go – OOH. WHAT IS THAT THING?

Well, The Boy and I went off on a weird produce hunt, and lookie what we found!

Apparently, it’s called a Kiwano Fruit, also known as a Horned Melon.

Horned Melon

Now, having never seen one of these before, let alone eaten one, I was not sure how to approach it. So I grabbed a knife and whacked it in half.

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Posted in Exotic, Fruit, Uncategorized, What The? Foodwith No Comments →

  • You Avatar
  • Gnomeo Test

  • You’ll Eat It, and You’ll Like It, Mister.

    A
    Alfalfa Sprouts | Apples | Apricots | Artichokes | Arugula | Asian Pears | Asparagus

    B
    Bananas | Beans | Bean Sprouts | Beets | Belgian Endive | Bitter Melons | Blackberries | Black-eyed Peas | Blood Oranges | Blueberries | Bok Choy | Boniato | Boysenberries | Breadfruit | Broccoli | Brussels Sprouts | Burro Bananas

    C
    Cabbage | Calabaza | Cantaloupe | Carambola/Star Fruit | Carrots | Cauliflower | Celery | Chayote | Cherimoyas | Cherries | Chinese Cabbage | Chinese Long Beans | Collard Greens | Corn | Cranberries | Crane melon | Cucumbers

    D
    Daikon

    E
    Eggplant | English Cucumber | Escarole

    F
    Feijoas | Fennel | Figs | Flowering Kale/Salad Savoy

    G
    Green Garlic | Garlic | Ginger Root | Grapefruit | Grapes | Guavas

    H
    Heirloom tomatoes | Herbs | Honeydew | Horned Melon/Kiwano

    J
    Japanese Cucumbers | Jicama

    K
    Kale | Kiwifruit | Kohlrabi | Kumquats

    L
    Leeks | Lemons | Lettuce, Iceberg | Lettuce, Leaf | Lettuce, Romaine | Limes

    M
    Malanga | Mamey Sapotes | Mango | Melons | Mushrooms | Micro-greens

    N
    Nectarines

    O
    Okra | Onions, Dry | Onions, Green | Oranges

    P
    Papaya | Passion Fruit | Peaches | Pearl Onions | Pears | Pepino Melons | Peppers, Bell | Pepper, Chili | Persian Melons | Persimmons | Pineapple | Plantains | Plums | Pomegranate | Potatoes | Prickly/Cactus Pears | Pumpkins | Pummelos

    R
    Radicchio | Radishes | Rapini/Broccoli Raab | Raspberries | Red Bananas | Rhubarb

    S
    Salsify | Sapotes | Shallots | Snap peas | Snow Peas | Spinach | Squash | Strawberries | Summer Squash | Sunchokes | Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Sweet Potatoes | Swiss Chard

    T
    Tamarillos | Tamarindos | Taro Root | Tomatillos | Tomatoes | Turnips

    W
    Watercress | Watermelon | Winter Squash

    Z
    Zucchini