Thursday, July 13, 2006

Exotic Ingredients, Strange Fruit

Guajes
I found guajes today at Casa Lucas on 24th st. in San Francisco. The little seeds inside the pod are supposed to taste like garlic. Any ideas or suggestions before I start using these?

Quina
Bark of the quina tree also called "fever bark" native to the Andes Mountains it used to be used as medecine. What is it used for today? I read that Quina is what gives tonic water it's bitter flavor. Is this the same stuff pictured above? I also found this at Casa Lucas, but I did not buy it.


XOCONOSTLE
These are sour prickly pears, aka cactus fruit, tunas en español, but the sour kind, not the sweet kind. These grow on cacti here in Bernal Heights, SF. They are nice and tart with hard seeds in the center. I have made salsa with these. Today I added them to my fruit salad along with early nectarines and peaches, jicama and tangerines. They added a surprise explosion of flavor. Any other ideas?


Water caltrop nut at Berkeley Bowl. Also known as trapa bicornis, devil pod, bull's head or bat nut.




-These are some big bats in the trees that we spotted in Ajmer.
The bat nut must be cooked because it contains toxins when raw. It is best boiled then opened w/ a nutcracker. These water caltrops grow in slow moving waters. The roots are at the bottom of the sea and are connected to the nut by long stems. They grow on the waters surface along with the plant's spiney leaves. White flowers also grow from the plant and float on the surface along with the nut and leaves to attract insects to help with entomophily. During the Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Festival boiled caltrop nuts are eaten with moon cakes and pomelo. -Pomelos in SIngapore
-Bats' forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammal that can fly. Flying squirrels can glide for limited distances but are not capable of true flight. This mouse can only fly with the help of some baking tools and a cat.

-two bluebirds flying on our back porch


















San Francisco sky




San Francisco wind

-Papaya at Crawford Market-Pineapple at Crawford Market-Passion fruit (aka parchita or maracuya) in DR


(Different versions of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" coming soon)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved this pictures some strange food
but most of them are delicous. I'm glad you tried some of them.

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Creole Moon said...

Great post about a variety of strange foods. I happened upon your page looking for information about bat nuts. Thanks for the info!