Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fresh or Dry: Tarragon

Happy New Year!!!~
      I really apologize if I haven't posted anything for quite some time here although I did post a few entries on my first blog - but yeah, I wasn't too updated. Things just became a handful for the past month: new tasks at work and plenty of things to do at home. Nevertheless, if I do have some extra time, I can always update : ) but to be honest, I find it easier for me to update my first blog since the topics are all about food and my insights, while here in my second blog, it would take me almost an hour to finish one entry since I get to research true information first before I post them. So yeah I guess you would see me post in my first blog more often than here, though I will try my hardest to keep two blogs updated hahaha

Scientific Name: Artemisia dracunculus
Tarragon is a perennial herb the grows wildly in North America; it is used in culinary and also in medicine as well. It is under the Sunflower family and can grow up to 59 inches tall. The leaves are lance-like in shape, broad and green. The flowers are formed in knob-like cluster and in each knob, it produces about about 30-40 tiny flowers. Some other species of Tarragon does not produce flower sand seeds like the French Tarragon but this specie has a strong flavor compared to the Russian Tarragon which on the other hand, does grow from seeds but it has a mild flavor. Tarragon actually tastes like Anise but milder.

This herb is rich in antioxidants as well as Vitamin A, C, and B-complex. Tarragon extract and Tarragon is also added in some medicine that help promote healthy blood vessels preventing platelet adhesion and aggression. It also have lots of minerals like calcium, iron, copper and manganese.

Tarragon can be added to your daily sautéd vegetables. It can be also added in salad dressings and garnished on salads. This herb is not only used in vegetables but also this can be added into meat dishes to add flavor as well. You can also make Tarragon Vinegar by infusing white wine vinegar and a bunch of Tarragon leaves.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Shroooms: Enokitate Mushrooms

Scientific Name: Flammulina velutipes
Enokitate or Enoki Mushrooms grow wildly in Japan, Vietnam, China and Korea. They grow on Mulberry, Persimmon, and Hackberry trees, these mushrooms are naturally orange-brown in color but due to cultivation, they end up being white. Enoki Mushrooms have long stems that can grow up to 5 inches and the cap is usually small. They have other names such as Golden Needle Mushrooms, Lily Mushrooms, Winter Fungus and Seafood Mushrooms.

Enoki Mushrooms are often found in Asian cuisines because they are known for their anti-cancer properties, They contain large amounts of protein, niacin, iron, selenium, calcium and potassium. Scientists and doctors continue to study Enoki Mushrooms because based on laboratory tests, they found out that it can be an important ingredient in vaccines to cure cancer - and that's a great news!

Dishes like Egg Soup with Enoki Mushrooms, Sautéd Enoki Mushrooms and Enoki Mushrooms with Cheese Casserole are just three of the many recipes you can prepare using this kind of mushroom. Like any other mushrooms, this can also be added as toppings on burgers and noodles. It can also be added in sauces for pastas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Green Minded: Broccoli

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea
The name Broccoli comes from the Italian name broccolo, which means the flowering tuft of cabbages. They have a tree-like structure with big flower heads. The flowers are colored green and so are the stalks. Broccoli existed since 6th Century and Italians before would consider them as valuable vegetables. There are three types of Broccoli and these are:

Purple Broccoli - sold in Italy, UK and Spain, this Broccoli's tuft is purple in color and the flower buds are smaller that the regular one.
Calabrese Broccoli - the regular Broccoli that's usually deep green in color and has larger flower heads.
Sprouting Broccoli - they have thin, plenty stalks but have very large flower heads.

Eating a generous amount of Broccoli can help support cardiovascular health. It's also rich in Vitamin B Complex, this vegetable is also good for our nervous system. Eating Broccoli daily can help prevent cancer and can help digestion. 

Broccoli is prepared by trimming the "trunk" and slicing the stems, leaving clumps of flower heads which will look like tinier versions of Broccoli. These can be sautéd with butter or combined with other vegetables. One famous dish in Philippines made with Broccoli, is the Beef Broccoli. A healthy snack you should try is steaming Broccoli and drizzle some salad dressing! : )

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Going Nuts: Pine Nuts

Scientific Name: Pinus pinea
Pine trees grow wildly in cold regions all over the world and they have different species. Pine trees produce flowers called Pine Cones and when these hard flowers mature and dry up, they split open to release Pine Nuts. These nuts, depending on what type of species, have a hard covering. But if you prefer using the nuts on a later date, do not take off the shell to lengthen the nuts' shelf life. Pine Nuts are often off-white to beige in color and has a buttery taste.

Pine Nuts are a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have pinolenic acids are are very good for the heart and oleic acids to help lower cholesterol. Eating Pine Nuts regularly can also promote healthy and glowing skin because they contain a great amount of Vitamin E. Vitamin B can also be found in this nuts. Pine Nut Oil can also be found in many medicines and in beauty products.

These nuts are often used in making breads but they can also be used in salads and meaty dishes. Some of the dishes made with Pine Nuts are: Pappardelle with Spiced Butter, Lemon Cucumber Tofu Salad, Quinoa with Toasted Pine Nuts and Sautéd Broccoli Garlic Pine Nuts. This is definitely a new flavor to the palette! : )

Friday, October 16, 2015

Just at the Ripe Time: Honeydew

Scientific Name: Cucumis melo
Honeydews or Honeymelon are cultivated in France and Algeria many years ago and later was produced in China. Other names for Honeydew include: Bailan melon, Wallace melon and Winter melon (because they ripen very slow and can only be harvested during late Fall). Honeydews are round in shape, sometimes a bit oval and the flesh is colored slightly yellowish to green unlike the orange-y counterpart, which is the Canteloupe. The flesh is very sweet and this fruit is mostly used in salads and beverages.

They are very good in maintain blood pressure levels and is also rich in Vitamin C. It also contain potassium and Vitamin B-6. It's great for adding moisture to skin and help promote good digestion

Honeydews are often used in fresh fruit salads. It can be plain Hoeneydew with cream or we can do a medley salad with Canteloupe and Watermelon. Just thinking of it really makes me excited!~ Honeydews can also be made into smoothies or shakes and can be added as a flavoring for pastries. You can even add this in meat dishes just for some twisties : )

~Let's live healthy : )

Friday, October 2, 2015

From the Cupboard: Grater

     Happy October everyone! : ) A brand new month for more brand new ideas! This month is really a good month for me because I have lots of plans and I want all of those plans to work and happen accordingly. How about you, what are your plans for this month? Probably early Christmas shopping? 

Inventor: Francois Boullier, 1540's
Francois thought of inventing the Grater because some types of cheese are very hard to slice even with a sharp knife. Usually the Grater is made up of steel with different slot sizes so that you can choose how you want the cheese to be. Though Graters are used often to grate cheese, we can also use other food to produce gratings. There are different types of Graters, and the basic ones are:

Hand Grater - are hand-held Graters that you move the cheese or any food across manually to create gratings. They are usually flat and the slot size is only one.

Flat Heavy Duty Grater - are bigger than the hand-held ones. This is for bigger and heavier foods.

All Purpose Grater - these are in a form of a box or triangle with a handle and each side has a different slot size and shape. 

Multi-Purpose Grater - like the All Purpose Grater, they have different slot shape and sizes but have removable plates due to more artistic slot shapes.

Speciality Graters - these are Graters that are made for zesting nuts and fruits.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dig Down: Taro

Scientific Name: Colocasia esculenta
Taro can be found in any tropical country and can be grown in any climate. Other names for Taro are: Elephant's Ear (for the leaves), Kalo, Dasheen and Cocoyam. Taro is one of the few crops than can be grown even on flooded land because this plant loves water. They have very large heart-shaped leaves which are veiny, the stalks are fleshy and can grow up to 4 feet tall. The leaves, stalks and the root are all edible and can be cooked in various ways. Taro contains raphides which can cause itchiness for some people when eating or touching Taro.

Taro has a handful of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B6, zinc, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, folate, thiamin, panthotenic acid and riboflavin. The roots are low in fats but rich in protein. 

When preparing Taro, the leaves and corms should be boiled first to remove the raphides and as well us the bitterness (some species of Taro are bitter). Taro can be sautéd with meat, it can be cooked into Taro Mooncakes, Taro Fries, Taro Panckaes and even Taro Ice Cream! (using Taro powder). There are so many healthy and hearty dishes that you could make out of Taro.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Under the Sea: Clams

Scientific Name: Bivalia mollusca
Clams existed over 500 million years ago and they have many different species (oysters, mussels, scallops, to name a few) from tiny clams to giant ones. They live either in fresh or salt water, some can live only for a year while some can live more that 400 years; and they have all sorts of colors but salt water clams are more colorful than the fresh water clams. The clam's shell consists of two valves, a hinge and a ligament. This ligament functions by closing or opening the valves. Clams also have internal organs like kidneys and heart but mostly they don't have eyes.

Clams are good for the health because they can enhance the immune system; guards us against anemia; and keeps out thyroid glans in good shape. It contains riboflavin, calcium (good for the teeth and bones), zinc, potassium, selenium and iron,

There are many ways of cooking clams and two of the famous dishes made from clams are Clam Chowder and Baked Clams. Personally, I like Clam Soup once in a while. You can also make Linguine with Clams, Grilled Clams