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Food Finds: UGLI fruit

9th February 2010

Food Finds: UGLI fruit

by Rachel

Food Finds is a semi-regular feature in which I channel my inner Andrew Zimmern to experiment and try exotic and new foods — sans creepy crawly bugs and bull’s testicles, of course.  Have an idea for my next food find?  Post your suggestions in the comments below!

It is a testament to the marvels of modern technology that I am able to savor an UGLI fruit while gazing out my window at steadily falling snow in my corner of the American Midwest.  What exactly is an UGLI fruit, you ask?  It’s the trademark name under which Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. markets it brand of tangelos from Jamaica (pronounced there as “hoo-glee”).  The fruit was found in the 1920s growing wild on the island nation, and is believed to be a hybrid of grapefruit, Seville oranges and tangerines.  It’s available from December through April, and sometimes in the fall.   The company’s slogan for the fruit is, ““The Affliction is only Skin Deep so the Beauty is in the Eating,” so while a name makeover might make it more palatable to consumers, it’s a perfect food find for this blog.

As its name suggests, the UGLI fruit is indeed a rather unattractive fruit — it’s slightly larger than a grapefruit with misshapen, dimpled wrinkly green-yellow skin.  I bought mine at my local grocer for 99 cents, a price comparable to a grapefruit of similar size, and not knowing anything about the UGLI fruit, selected one with a bright Kermit-green colored rind.  The skin is easier to peel than a grapefruit or orange and sheds to reveal an orangey-yellow, pulpy, virtually seed-free citrus inside.  I later read that the green surface blemishes turn orange when the fruit is at its peak ripeness, so mine was perhaps a bit under-ripe for the eating (they can be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge). The UGLI fruit is much juicier than an orange and even a grapefruit, so make sure you aren’t wearing white, like I was.  Better yet, wear a bib.  For those of you raised with manners, Cabel Hall recommends cutting the fruit in half, loosening the segments and eating with a spoon.

I found the taste to be somewhat of a weak orange with a slight sour zest of lemony citrus.  In reading other accounts of people who actually waited until their fruits were ripe, the taste at its peak is comparable to a juicy naval orange.  I’ll probably stick to oranges and grapefruits for stand-alone fruits, but I think the UGLI fruit would be fantastic in a fruit salad or smoothie.  Check out these other creative UGLI food and drink recipes:

Are you an UGLI fan?  Have a recipe to share?  Post your comments below!

“The Affliction is only Skin Deep so the Beauty is in the Eating “™

posted in Food Finds, Food History, Rachel, Recipes | 3 Comments

16th December 2009

Latkes, blintzes and doughnuts! Ahh, the foods of Chanukah

by Rachel

Happy Chanukah to my Jewish readers! The eight-day Jewish festival of lights began at sundown Dec. 11 and continues through Saturday. I was raised Christian and now identify as Buddhist, so my knowledge of Chanukah and its origins is rudimentary at best. But the internet is a wonderful, wonderful tool and there are lots of websites devoted to sharing the holiday’s history and time-honored traditions.

As in most religious and secular holidays, food plays a large role in Chanukah traditions.   Many traditional Chanukah foods are cooked in oil, in remembrance of the oil that kept the menorah alight.  Traditional favorites in the U.S. are latkes, a potato fritter that may have developed in Eastern Europe.  In Israel, the favorite Chanukah food is sufhaniya, a kind of jelly doughnut cooked in oil.  A small spinning top, the dreidle, is used to play a gambling game using nuts, raisins, sweets or chocolate money (gelt).  The four-sided top carries the initials of the Hebrew phrase “a great miracle happened there.”  Dairy products, especially cheese, are another Chanukah tradition.  This is done in memory of the Jewish heroine Judith, who according to legend saved her village of Bethulia from Syrian attackers.  With her main, Judith entered the enemy camp and fed Holofernes, the Syrian leader, salty cheese and fine wine until he fell into a drunken stupor.  The clever Judith then seized his sword and cut off his head, which she brought back to her village in basket.  The next morning, Syrian troops saw their leader’s head mounted on the city walls and fled in terror.

A typical Chanukah party menu might include: gelfilte fish, or poached fish patties; potato pancakes, fried, of course, in lots of oil; sweet cream cheese rugelach, strawberry-jam-filled doughnut covered in powdered sugar; fried apple fritters; cheese-filled doughnuts fried in oil and dipped in honey; and cheese blintzes.  Yum!   You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy these delish treats.  Check out some of the creative recipes I found online:

Share your own Chanukah recipes or traditions in the comments below.

posted in Food Culture, Food History, Rachel, Recipes | 27 Comments

30th November 2009

Open thread: All things Thanksgiving

by Rachel

I think there exists some kind of cosmic law of nature wherein the weekend passes at an exponentially faster rate than do the weekdays.  I took a much-needed few days off this weekend from both the Internet and work and I’m still wondering where the time went.  I hope everyone survived Thanksgiving and indulged in the bounteous feast without a heaping side of  guilt.  I have some great news to share soon, but for now consider this an open thread to discuss your Thanksgiving experiences.  Did you hear the endless ruminations of “Ugghh, I ate way too much!”?  Does your family have any particular traditions or time-honored family holiday recipes you prepare?  Have any suggestions for what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?  Gobble, gobble away…

posted in Food Culture, Rachel, Recipes | 11 Comments

2nd November 2009

Fabulous fall soups!

by Rachel

We visited my niece and nephew for Halloween this weekend and my thoughtful sister-in-law made us a simmering pot of vegetarian cheesy potato soup.  I find myself craving soup more and more as the last leaves dance to the ground and the temps turn chilly and my sister-in-law’s soup was so delicious that I copied the recipe and made a huge vat of it the next day, most of which we’ve already devoured.  I made some slight modifications in mine to make it healthier, like adding more carrots and potatoes and substituting lower-fat ingredients.  Here’s the recipe:

Cheese Potato soup

Cheesy Potato Soup

5 cups water

6 cups diced potatoes

2 cups diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1/3 cup Parkay Butter Spray (if you use real butter or margarine, you may want to use just 1/4 cup)

2 vegetarian “chicken” bouillon cubes

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces fat-free evaporated milk

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 ounces shredded 2% cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients except for milk, parsley and cheese in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high about 6-7 hours.  When veggies are soft, mix in parsley, milk and cheese and let cheese melt.  Heat thoroughly, serve and enjoy!  If you want a thicker consistency, add some cornstarch dissolved in milk and/or mash some of the potatoes. In the future, I might try adding leeks and/or corn to make this soup even better.

I don’t know many soup recipes (check out my vegetarian vegetable soup recipe here), but I just ordered two cookbooks so that I can fix even more yummy soups: Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook (from which my sis-in-law got the recipe) and 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes. I know from the Campbell’s vs. Progresso post that many of you also like homemade soups.  Please post your recipes in the comments below or link to one of your favorites.

posted in Rachel, Recipes, Vegetarianism | 17 Comments

29th October 2009

Ridiculously cute (and healthy!) Halloween treats

by Rachel

Someone from Disney FamilyFun magazine emailed me last week with the most cleverly fun — and healthy! — Halloween treats.  And bonus, they’re all vegetarian!  I wish I had an iota of this creativity when it comes to food.

Black Bean Cat Crudite´s

No bones about it, this kitty skeleton makes a healthy centerpiece for Halloween parties or school gatherings. Just arrange assorted fresh vegetables and a bowl of your favorite black bean dip in the shape of a spooky cat.

Edible Eyeballs

Set out a platter of these creepy peepers, and your party guests are bound to do a double take. Simply slice carrots into 1-inch-thick chunks, top each with a blob of cream cheese and one half of a pitted black olive, and they’re ready to serve.

Salty Bones

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a skeleton—in this case, one that’s been disassembled into a pile of tasty bones to pick. Unroll a tube of refrigerated breadsticks we used an 11-ounce tube to make 12 bones) and separate the rectangular pieces.  Working with one piece at a time, stretch the dough to lengthen it a bit and then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut a 1K-inch slit in the center of each end. Shape the resulting four flaps of dough into knobs that look like the ends of a bone. Place the dough bones on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them a few inches apart, and sprinkle on a little coarse salt.  Bake the bones at 375° until they are light golden brown, about 12 minutes.

English Mummies

These yummy mummy pizzas make a quick and fun Halloween lunch or dinner. To create one, first spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like). Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils. Lay strips of cheese (we used a pulled-apart cheese stick) across the muffin for the mummy’s wrappings. Bake at 350° until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty, about 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Roll-Ups

Here’s a wholesome snack to serve before the kids head out to trick-or-treat. Lay American cheese slices or spread cream cheese on sun-dried-tomato tortillas, then roll them up and cut them into 1-inch sections. Use a toothpick to secure each roll-up, topped with a sprig of cilantro or parsley.

Melon Brain

Created from nothing more than a small, round seedless watermelon, this spooky cerebral creation is bound to turn heads. First, use a vegetable peeler to remove the entire green rind, exposing the inner white rind. Then slice off the bottom of the melon to make a flat base that will keep it from rolling.  With a toothpick, outline squiggly furrows that resemble the folded surface of a brain. Finally, carve narrow channels along the tracings with a sharp paring knife (a parent’s job) to expose the pink fruit beneath the rind.

posted in Food Culture, Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Rachel, Recipes, Vegetarianism | 9 Comments

9th July 2009

On yogurt

by Rachel

I’ve been eating yogurt again after my doctor encouraged me to start eating breakfast regularly. I like yogurt (although I don’t seem to get the same orgasmic experience from it as the women in yogurt commercials) but I’ve always eaten it in spurts. My yogurt variety of choice since my eating disorder days has been Dannon’s Light & Fit yogurt for the precise reason that it is branded as the “lowest calorie, nationally branded light yogurt available” (a 6-ounce cup used to have 60 calories; they’ve recently increased the sugar content, raising it to 80 calories). Dannon offers a gamut of Light & Fit flavors with enticing names like White Chocolate Raspberry, Blackberry Pie and Lemon Chiffon, but all seem to taste practically the same: like a watered-down smoothie with a cloying aftershot of sucralose (which is probably the reason for why I eat yogurt in spurts). It also contains high fructose corn syrup, which I usually avoid, but I gave it a pass this time considering that most brands of yogurt also contain it (Check here for a list of HFCS-free yogurts)).

After getting the breakfast RX, I did something Bold and Daring: I bought the Yoplait Light yogurt instead at 100 – 110 calories per 6-ounce cup. I chose Yoplait mostly because it’s the “only leading yogurt with vitamin D in every cup!” which is good for me since my doctor also found that I have the vitamin D levels of a vampire. During my eating disorder, I would never have looked twice at the Yoplait — it has 40 more calories! — but oh, what a difference 40 calories makes. The Yoplait yogurt has a much thicker, almost custard-like texture than the Dannon brand and actually tastes like the concoction advertised on the cup. I tried the Lemon Meringue Pie variety last night and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t actually taste like the filling in my Aunt Linda’s recipe. Strawberry Shortcake and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake? Also delicious. I even bought a few tubs for my sweet tooth husband who eats yogurt at most twice a year.

I would make the switch permanent had I not discovered only this morning that both Dannon and Yoplait (and other commercial yogurt brands, I’m sure) contain kosher gelatin, which may be copacetic for Jewish folk, but not for vegetarians (kosher gelatin is kosher because it’s made from hides or bones and not flesh, but it still contains bones and bits from fish, horse hooves, pigs and other animals).  I tried Stoneyfield Farms (gelatin-free) soy yogurt years ago and didn’t like the taste, but maybe it’s worth a second try.  I could always try making my own homemade yogurt, but there’s the whole lack of culinary skill and motivation to contend with.  Does anyone know of any other commercial yogurt brands that don’t contain bits of animals in them and that don’t also require me to travel to far-off health food stores to find them?

posted in Personal, Recipes, Vegetarianism | 53 Comments

7th July 2009

10 Tips for the Newly-Veg(etari)an

by Rachel

In the open post for summer recipes, reader D commented:

I just went vegetarian! Mostly to be eco and animal friendly but also for health and taste preference.  …do you have an tips for a new vegetarian such as myself? My sister and her husband own beef cows and they have no idea why I would choose to not eat meat. What do you tell the negative people about your vegetarian lifestyle? I welcome [any] advice from other veggie bloggers!

I try to keep my vegetarian evangelism in check here on this site as many readers here have enough difficulty eating food, period.  But, since asked, I first offer my congratulations on adopting what I believe to be the most humane, feminist, environmentally-friendly and healthiest diet out there.  The average vegetarian spares the lives of between 50 – 100 animals each year, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of natural resources, promotes feminist activism by the forkful, lives longer and has lower rates of disease, including the Big Three (heart disease, cancer and strokes).

Before I get to the tips and advice, I first want to clarify for those new to vegetarianism that vegetarians eat no meat, poultry or fish but some do eat eggs and dairy products; and vegans eat no animal products at all, including honey.  Some people who eat a mostly plant-based diet but occasionally eat fish or meat may call themselves pescetarians or flexitarians, but I and many other vegetarians and vegans take issue with those who call themselves vegetarians and yet still eat meat of any kind (and yes, chicken and fish are meat).  While I applaud anyone who has taken steps to reduce their meat consumption, many of us who are vegetarian/vegan are so out of ethical concerns for animal welfare and so for someone to call themselves vegetarian while yet still consuming meat is kind of like someone identifying as a Christian atheist.  As well, it’s quite frustrating to go to a dinner party and be served salmon by well-meaning and enthusiastic hosts who thought they had prepared you a special vegetarian dish.  You can read about the different types of vegetarian diets here, but I wouldn’t otherwise get too hung up on the labels; many vegetarians alternate between them or make up their own dietary categories.  For example, I’m probably about 75 percent vegan, 15 percent lacto-vegetarian and 10 percent lacto-ovo vegetarian, but the average omnivore usually has absolutely no idea what any of this means, so I just say that I’m vegetarian.

So, you want to eat lower on the food chain, but aren’t sure how to begin?  Here’s a few of my tips for the newly-veg:

  1. Start slowly.  I went vegetarian cold turkey (or should that be Tofurkey), but the best way is to start gradually.  Begin by eating a veggie meal a couple times a week and then advance to eliminating meat altogether a few days a week.  If you fall off the veggie wagon, give yourself a break.  Even if you never become 100 percent vegetarian or vegan, simply reducing your meat intake isn’t all that difficult to do and would greatly benefit both you and the planet.  The first few weeks of going veg can be hard, but with time, it becomes much easier and even natural.
  2. Fake it until you make it.  The thought of eating a dead animal carcass is about as as appealing to me now as munching on nails, but it wasn’t the taste of meat that made me go vegetarian.  Luckily, there are some great-tasting meat alternatives that actually do taste like the real deal.  Morningstar Farms makes a line of veggie and sausage crumbles that are great in pasta sauces, soups and chili,and burrito and taco fillings and their chicken strips are tasty in stir-frys, soups and casseroles.  The texture of their Grillers Prime veggie burgers is close to that of steak and their barbecue riblets actually mimic the stringy texture of pork ribs.  Craving bacon?  They got it, as well as sausage links and patties.  If it’s chicken you’re hankering after, I’d recommend the Quorn line of products.  Their chicken cutlets resemble chicken breast and I eat them with butter or drenched beneath barbecue sauce.  Trader Joe, Boca, Loma Linda, and Whole Foods (we’re in love with Whole Foods’ vegan General Tso’s chicken) all offer their own lines of meat alternatives, or find a brand offered near you at MeatAlternatives.org.
  3. Expand your dietary repertoire.  Newly-veg enthusiasm and sheer culinary boredom led me to discover lots of new-to-me fruits and vegetables after going vegetarian: greens (kale, mustard, dandelion), sweet potatoes, plantains, parsnips, okra, bok choy, leeks, portobello mushrooms, etc…  There are a few I didn’t like (eggplant), but many, many more that I did like and have since incorporated in my diet.  I now make it a point to try new produce I find, even if I’m not entirely sure what it is or why it has orange spikes.  Don’t let weird ingredients scare you off from discovering what may be your new favorite food.  If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can experiment with vegetarian staples like barley, tofu, seitan, tempeh, quinoa and bulgar wheat.
  4. Learn to cook.  I don’t cook.  I don’t even really like to cook.  I generally can’t follow recipes that have more than five ingredients and/or directions.  Before I went vegetarian, it was all too easy to eat my dinner out of a fast food bag or from the microwave.  I still wouldn’t call what I serve up today “cooking,” but going vegetarian did compel me to expand my culinary prowess and I’m glad for it.  Fortunately there are now lots of easy-schmeezy vegetarian cookbooks that seem especially geared for ADD-addled brains like mine.  I like Nava Atlas’s Vegetarian Express and Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet (she also offers a Vegan Express), Sara Fritschner’s Vegetarian Express Lane Cookbook, and recipes found in Vegetarian Times and Eating Well magazines.  Invest in a few good vegetarian cookbooks or look up free veggie recipes online.  Aim for a variety so that you don’t get bored.
  5. Read up on nutrition.  I try to follow a low-glycemic diet for health reasons, but I’m a bad vegetarian in that I don’t really consider if I’m getting enough protein or calcium or other nutrients.  Surprisingly, meat alternatives are a great source of protein (one soy-based veggie burger has, on average, about 15-17 grams of protein; in contrast, a Whopper Jr. from Burger King has 16 grams of protein).  A balanced vegetarian diet can meet all of your nutritional needs and it doesn’t require you to scour food labels to do so.   Grains, beans, vegetables and nuts all provide protein and other vitamins and dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of calcium and minerals.  Because I don’t eat much dairy, I did find recently that I was low in vitamins D and B12, but this is easily remedied by taking a supplement (many people, including meat-eaters, are low in vitamin D).  Be aware of nutritional tips for veggie adults and vegetarian and vegan kids.
  6. Become part of a community.  Joining a vegetarian society is a great way to discover new recipes and meet like-minded people who are usually gaga for taking new veggies under their wings.    I joined my local chapter of Earthsave after I went vegetarian and even though I haven’t been active with the group for a few years, I’m still in contact with a few friends I made through it.  Our group offered a monthly potluck and guest speaker on issues relevant to vegetarians and held various social events.  Check out this list to get an idea of groups near you.
  7. Check it out before dining out. Perhaps the only drawback to adopting a vegetarian diet is the difficulty that can sometimes come in dining out, especially if you’re dining out with omnivores.  Most restaurants offer a standard salad or steamed vegetables and many even offer a charred veggie burger, but most chain restaurants have very few vegetarian options available.  Sometimes you can ask to have a meat dish made vegetarian and the kitchen will oblige, but don’t expect any discount on your bill.  We find that Italian, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants are all very veg-friendly (Chipotle and Subway are also great spots for healthy, vegetarian fast food).  Before dining out, check out the restaurant’s menu online or find a restaurant through a vegetarian guide like Happy Cow, Vegan Eating Out, VegEats (Calif.), VegSource (great for travelers), or Chowhound.  Lots of international travelers have also left tips for voyaging veggies at Rick Steves’ site.
  8. No one loves a holier-than-thou vegetarian.  Avoid the compulsion to enlighten your meat-eating friends about the brutal slaughter of the animal they’re devouring or the myriad of benefits to adopting a vegetarian diet.  A quote attributed to Paul McCartney holds that “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian,” but they don’t and most meat-eaters prefer not to think about where their food comes from or how it ended up on their plate.  Vegetarians, especially vegans, are often caricatured as shrill, preachy fanatical misanthropes as a way of undermining the premise of vegetarianism, and while I’ve rarely come across such a person, the stereotype has some basis in reality.  It’s very easy to become very angry when you read about the animal abuses that go on in factory farms and slaughterhouses and angrier yet when others don’t seem to care.  But as they say, you catch more flies with (vegan) honey than with vinegar and I find that the best way to advocate for vegetarianism is to inspire by example.  I don’t inform omnivores in gory detail on how exactly that factory-farmed bovine they’re biting into lost its life or if it might contain Mad Cow Disease, but in return I expect them not to make jokes on how I can go pick my dinner from the flower bed or lecture me on how we’ve naturally evolved to dine on flesh.
  9. Ignore the haters.  Vegetarians are in the minority in the U.S. (3.2 percent of Americans are vegetarian and less than one percent vegan) and like other minority groups, they encounter curiosity, resistance and even hostility by the dominant group (meat-eaters).  This is why veg(etari)ans are often put on the spot with interrogations on their dietary preferences and yet the question is rarely reciprocated of omnivores.  When asked why I don’t eat meat, I usually give the standard; “Religious reasons” (I’m Buddhist) or “I don’t consider a cow very much different than my cat and I wouldn’t eat him, either,” or “It’s for my health.”  If they still push the issue, I just smile and say, “Do you really want to know?  Because I can tell you a lot of really gross and gory details, but I wouldn’t want to ruin your appetite or mine.”  The standard replies I get when I tell people I am vegetarian are either of the indignant “I could NEVER give up bacon!” or the apologetic “Oh, I’m trying to eat less red meat” variety.  I try to be polite and to forgive the social awkwardness because I understand that they’re just trying to make conversation, but occasionally you encounter the kind of person who, for some reason, becomes personally offended by or even hostile to your abstinence from meat.  I’ve even had people (I’m looking at you, Mom) try to trick me into eating meat by sneaking it into my food (my mom is much more respectful now). I find that it is of very little use to engage in debates with people like this and usually try to change the subject or walk away.
  10. Go shopping! The average American eats some 85 pounds of chicken, 63 pounds of beef, 48 pounds of pork, and 18 pounds of turkey each year.  Meat is usually the most expensive item in your grocery cart — the cheapest cuts of beef, such as ground round, average $3 per pound in U.S. cities; boneless chicken breasts cost $3.40 a pound; and canned tuna is about $2 per pound.  Contrast that with dried beans and lentils at less than $1 a pound, rice well below $1 per pound, and tofu at usually under $2 a pound.  And that doesn’t even take into consideration the health care savings gained from eating a healthier diet!  I take the money I used to spend on meat and instead apply it towards pricier organic fruits and vegetables.

Does anyone else have tips to offer on going veg(etari)an?   Have you encountered rude reactions when people discover that you don’t eat meat?  Have any fabulous recipes or cookbook recommendations to share?  Discuss anything and everything veg(etari)an in the comments below.

posted in Arts and Music, Feminist Topics, Food Culture, Personal, Recipes, Vegetarianism | 32 Comments

30th June 2009

Food Finds: Quince

by Rachel

Before I went vegetarian nearly seven years ago, vegetables for me basically came in a handful of varieties: green beans, potatoes, corn, carrots and the lettuce and tomato atop a burger.  Newly-veg enthusiasm and sheer culinary boredom compelled me to expand my agricultural repertoire and I soon began to discover new-to-me fruits and vegetables I love like pink lady apples, plantains, sweet potatoes, dandelion greens and kale, parsnips and okra.  There were a few I still don’t like (eggplant, yuck) but now whenever I see a new fruit or vegetable at the grocery story or farmer’s market, I make it a point to try it.

Quince

My latest food find is quince, a small mottled-yellow, lumpy fruit about the size of a large apple.  Quince trees, which produce beautiful large pink flowers, thrive in almost every soil, even on chalk.  It’s thought that the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve was not an apple, but in fact, a quince.  The fruit was cultivated long before apples in Mesopotamia and was carried by the Greeks into the Eastern Mediterranean.    Charlemagne helped bring it to France about 812 AD and it soon began being traded on the Silk Road.  Quince was quite popular in colonial New England and by 1720 was thriving in Virginia.  The fruit fell from popularity in the states and today is most popular in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and in some Latin American countries, where it’s also used for medicinal purposes and believed to be an aphrodisiac.    The fact that I found quince, which cost only slightly more than a large apple, at my grocer’s in the middle of summer is odd, considering that it is a seasonable cold-weather fruit usually cultivated between early fall and January.  But thanks to recently passed origin-of-food labeling laws, I could see that my quince was grown in Chile.

I had no idea how to prepare quince and with my customary disregard for directions, sliced it and ate it raw.  BIG mistake.  The texture of quince is kind of a mix between an apple and a firm, unripe pear, but the taste is tart and sour and leaves your mouth very dry.  It was only after I googled quince that I discovered that it is most usually eaten cooked, usually in fruit sauces and jams and jellies or it can be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed.  The tannins that cause the acidic taste in quince supposedly mellow when cooked to produce a fragrant, delicate taste and also turns the fruit a pinkish red color.

I haven’t written quince off yet.  I plan to get a few more and try out some of the simpler recipes I’ve linked to below after the jump.  Has anyone tried a quince recipe or have one to share?   What are some other food finds you’ve discovered?

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Food Culture, Food Finds, Food History, Rachel, Recipes | 25 Comments

26th June 2009

An ode to the salad

by Rachel

Since getting the bunnies last fall, it’s occurred to me more and more how much “rabbit food” gets a bad rap.  Rabbit food is commonly associated with dieting and deprivation or it’s thought to be the dietary mainstay of granola-munching, tree-hugging vegetarians — both of which make it sound as appealing as munching on cardboard.  The relationship with salad is even more complicated for fat folk, for whom eating anything beyond a dry salad in public becomes Exhibit A as to why they’re (presumed to be) fat.

The breakfast bowls I serve the bunnies are far from bland, however (a typical bunny breakfast can include any of the following: kale, mustard greens, watercress, escarole, raw green beans, carrots, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, grapes, raisins, dried cranberries, apples, plums, nectarines, etc…).  Often times their salad bowls rival that of any overpriced salad served in snooty restaurants and at a fraction of the cost.  So, in honor of the under-recognized salad, here’s my own favorite and, of course, simple recipe, which I happen to think is the Best. Salad. Ever.

  • Lettuce (I prefer a mix of Romaine and red lettuce, but any lettuce will do)
  • Kalamata olives
  • Pepperocinis (I add these sparingly, since they’re spicy)
  • Sprinkling of feta cheese
  • Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Olive Oil Vinaigrette (Kraft has a similar variety, but I prefer Ken’s)
  • Ground pepper to taste

Combine and enjoy.

What’s your favorite salad combo?

posted in Recipes | 41 Comments

10th June 2009

Open Post: Summer Recipes

by Rachel

I subscribe to the magazine Eating Well and also receive its weekly e-newsletter.  It’s a good health-oriented magazine if you can get past the references to weight-loss and obesity, which aren’t many and usually emphasize health and not looking good in a bikini.  I like EW for its recipes, health articles, smart editorials and features on organic and sustainable foods.  Anyway, they list some yummy-sounding veggie recipes in the latest newsletter that I thought some of you might also be interested in.  I might make the barbecue portobello quesadillas tonight.   Feel free to use this as an open post to share some of your own summer recipe finds and concoctions.

Other recipe categories: Vegetarian Grilling Recipes, Summer ProduceTofu, Beans, Eggs, Cheap Meals, Pasta, Green & Sustainable Recipes.

posted in Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Recipes, Vegetarianism | 18 Comments

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