Archive | October, 2011

Fruits: Unexpected Flavours

28 Oct

Have you ever wanted to combine different flavors together to see what they would taste like? Ever heard of something called a Grāpple® ? Believe it or not, it’s an apple that tastes like a grape! A company has managed to infuse the flavor of Concord grapes into ordinary Gala orFuji apples to produce a fruit like no other. It looks like an apple and has all the nutritional contents of an apple; the only thing that is different is the distinct taste. Grapples are made by soaking the apples in water and grape flavor concentrate that contains no sugar or any other extra calories. Don’t worry, all the ingredients used are USDA and FDA approved! Click here for more information: http://www.grapplefruits.com/

Originally, this product was targeted towards children and intended to encourage the intake of fruit in their diet but I’m sure many curious grown adults have tried Grapples before too; myself included. I tried a Grapple for the second time in my life last week (the first time was probably a year or two ago) and for some reason it wasn’t as strong in grape flavor as I remembered it to be…it may be because I already know what to expect? Whatever it is, I think it is still worth a try if you’ve never tried it. It wouldn’t hurt to put a little fun into incorporating fruits in your daily diet!

While we’re on the topic of fruits, ever heard of the cherimoya fruit? No? Well neither have I…..until I read about it two days ago. I thought it would be interesting to talk about a fruit that we don’t generally know much or talk about. Cherimoya fruit is a fruit that comes from the cherimoya evergreen shrub or tree (duh!) and is grown in Central and South America although it is believed to be a fruit native to the Andes. According to a website, the fruit is considered to be “one of the most exquisite fruits in the world”. That sentence alone makes me want to try this fruit to see what I’ve been missing out on…

cherimoya tree

cherimoya fruit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The flavor and taste of this fruit is described as being “rich and aromatic, a blend of sweetness and mild acidity resembling a cross between banana, passionfruit, papaya and pineapple.” It has a melt-in-your-mouth consistency, similar to custard in texture. Cherimoya fruit hold multiple seeds depending on the size of the fruit and the seeds contain alkaloids. When the seeds are crushed and ingested, it can cause adverse effects such as vomiting, dryness in the mouth, and burning in the throat, so do not consume the seeds. Despite the unfortunate effects that can occur if the seeds (crushed) are eaten, the cherimoya fruit provides some good nutrients!
 

Per 100 grams of cherimoya, it provides approximately:

Calories (kcal)                              35
Carbohydrates (g)                    18.2
Fat (g)                                          0.1
Protein (g)                                  1.9
Fibre (g)                                      2.0
Vitamin C (mg)                             45
Calcium (mg)                               27
Iron (mg)                                   0.65
Niacin (mg)                               0.95
Riboflavin (mg)                      0.135
Thiamin (mg)                             0.11
Potassium (mg)                      0.375
Phosphorus (mg)                        33

 

There are many different ways a cherimoya fruit can be eaten. It can be frozen whole and cut open to be scooped out like ice cream, cut in cubes and thrown into a fruit salad, pureed to use as pie filling, and a whole lot more. Below is a simple recipe for a cherimoya smoothie that would be great for a breakfast-on-the-run or just for an afternoon snack!

Cherimoya Smoothie (2 servings)

For a thick smoothie, use frozen fruit and chill all ingredients as well as the serving container. Drink immediately.

2 cups frozen cherimoya flesh, seeds removed
2 cups frozen banana chunks
1 cup skim milk
1 (8-ounce) carton strawberry or plain non-fat yogurt
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon flavoring extract, i.e., coconut , almond, vanilla, or strawberry

Combine all ingredients using a knife blade in food processor or blender and mix to a slushy consistency. Serve immediately.

 

Cherimoyas are ripe and in season from March through May, so mark the date on your calendar and remember to go try one! Here are some tips on how to pick and ripen cherimoyas in order to get the best taste/texture:

  • Choose slightly under ripened ones that are heavy
  • Store out of direct sunlight and at room temperature for a couple days until they feel ripe
  • Ripe cherimoyas should feel like a ripe avocado
  • Then wait one more day after it feels ripe
  • If the skin turns brown, don’t worry; this won’t affect the flesh
  • If there are leftovers, wrap in a paper towl; can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days

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References:

http://www.grapplefruits.com/index.html

Grapple photo: http://othersideoftheplanet.com/?p=365

http://cherimoya.orconhosting.net.nz/pages/des_fruit.html

Cherimoya tree photo: http://withfriendship.com/user/sathvi/cherimoya.php

Cherimoya photo: http://evewaspartiallyright.blogspot.com/2011/05/have-you-tried-cherimoya.html

Cherimoya photo2: http://ch3rri-blossoms.blogspot.com/2010/04/cherimoya-fruits.html

Recipe: http://www.chileanfreshfruit.com/pdf/cherimoya_smoothie.pdf

Smoothie Picture: http://en.petitchef.com/recipes/hawaiian-pineapple-breakfast-smoothie-fid-1059435?related

Listen up, bacon lovers!!

22 Oct

As you walk down the jam/condiment aisle at your local Loblaws, you glance up and down the rows for something that will spice up your boring, bland food. You do a double take when you see those two glorious words that you never would have imagined to be on the same label…“BACON JAM”.

 

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                           = ???

That’s right! Recently, my friend showed me an article that was posted on The Star website informing readers about this intriguing new product. Although many people will simply refer to it as “Bacon Jam”, the original product launched by Skillet Street Food is actually named “Bacon Spread” due to the restrictions of American and Canadian labeling laws. Apparently a product labeled as “jam” needs to have fruit in it. Who would have thought?? This spread can be used in pretty much any dish ranging from cauliflower or potatoes to burgers or ribs and even in desserts if you’d like. Be adventurous and make some bacon cookies or top a cupcake with a dollop of Bacon Spread!   

Skillet's Bacon Spread

After Skillet Street Food came up with this Bacon Spread, Loblaws product developers came out with something similar but their version is called Bacon Marmalade and is part of their PC black label line of gourmet foods. Although this product is not as….bacon-y (is that a word??!) as the Skillet Street Food version, it is definitely more wallet-friendly ($19.99 for 300g versus $4.99 for 370ml)!! This mouth-watering marmalade incorporates the citrus flavor of orange and has a sweeter taste to it whereas the Bacon Spread is likely a more indulgent, savory flavor. For those of you who want to know how to get your hands on these items, good news. The PC brand Bacon Marmalade is supposed to hit shelves mid-October at select Loblaws stores. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m definitely going to be checking soon to see if they have it at my local Loblaws!

PC Bacon Marmalade

As for the Bacon Spread by Skillet Street Food, it is available for purchase at select food stores as well as online. For those of you who may be interested, you can visit their website for more information: http://www.skilletstreetfood.com/

It’s fascinating to me how much people love bacon and how it is constantly being incorporated into food in new ways that we’ve never seen before. Some bacon-fanatics may call me crazy but I have to say personally, bacon is not on my list of top favorite foods! I see it more as an indulgent once-in-a-while food where I can only eat a couple pieces of before I get sick of it. I think it may be the fact that a strip of bacon virtually consists of 30% meat and 70% fat; visually seeing that on my plate and knowing how much fat I would be consuming makes it unappealing to me. Am I crazy or do other people feel this way too? Perhaps I will try turkey bacon as a low-fat alternative to get my fix of that tasty smokey flavor that bacon so famously offers!

 Below is a recipe found on Skillet Street Food’s website that uses their Bacon Spread. I found it to be an interesting blend of ingredients and I would imagine that the sweet and savoury flavors would mix well together for a breakfast that will be sure to wake you up (you might want to ease up on the butter and coffee syrup though to cut some calories and still have a tasty treat! I don’t think 1 whole stick of butter indicated in the recipe is really necessary… :)).

 

Pain Perdu (French Toast) with Bacon Jam with Chicory Coffee Syrup

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Submitted by David Bridges
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1.5 cups Louisiana cane syrup
1 cup Chicory coffee (strong)
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
8 slices of French bread (thick cut)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup spiced pecans
Bourbon to taste

Instructions

To make the syrup, bring the Louisiana cane syrup and chicory coffee to a simmer and reduce by half in a small pot for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and it will thicken on its own.

To finish the dish, whisk the eggs with the milk and bourbon. Generously spread some bacon jam onto one piece of bread. Place another piece of bread on top entrapping the jam. Place the stuffed pain perdue into the egg mixture allowing it to soak in. Put a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat and place a common sense worth’s pat of butter into the skillet. Cook the Pain Perdu until it is wonderfully brown on both sides and warmed all the way through. If you tend to cut the bread very thick you might want to continue the heating in the oven. Place the Pain Perdu onto a plate and shower it with complements of syrup and spiced pecans. Don’t make the mistake of dusting with powdered sugar. That’s just uncalled for and too messy for the mid-morning.

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References:

Article: http://www.thestar.com/living/food/article/1058762–bacon-jam-arrives-in-toronto

Bacon photo: http://www.worldofstock.com/stock_photos/PFO6512.php

Jam photo: http://bodytreats.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/the-healthier-unhealthy-food-part-5/

Bacon Spread photo: http://ahensnest.com/2010/12/skillet-bacon-jam-bacon-spread-review.html

Bacon Marmalade photo: http://www.thestar.com/living/food/article/1058368—loblaws-throws-parkdale-bash-for-new-gourmet-products

Recipe & photo: http://skilletstreetfood.com/recipes.php?id=83

WELCOME, readers!

14 Oct

Food is so amazingly diverse. One ingredient can be used in a countless number of ways. Take a simple food like apples for example: some people stuff it in their porkchops, some people put it in their pies, and some people bake them. Same ingredient, but it can look and taste completely different depending on what it is paired with and how it is cooked (or not cooked…).

"Apple" Pie...clever right?

The food industry is never static. Instead, they are ever-changing as they constantly strive to provide consumers with new ways to eat their food. These days, people are coming up with more and more bizarre food products that combine unlikely ingredients together to make something that is truly out of this world. No matter how disgusting and repulsive you may think it is, something about these foods compels us to try it; even if it’s only a bite. I must admit, when I see food that I’ve never seen before, I am intrigued and automatically want to try it. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I like to test the waters and try something that I’ve never eaten before. Even if it’s at a restaurant that I frequently go to, I try to pick something different from the menu each time. What can I say, when it comes to food, I like to be adventurous! To me, food is more than something we consume just to stay alive. It is something that should be admired, enjoyed, and savoured, so why not make it as interesting as can be?

If you’re someone that thinks food is boring and bland, this blog may be perfect for you! I will be introducing you to various unexpected and innovative foods that will definitely peak your interest. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be willing to go out and try a bite of these unique creations! Stay tuned and… 

 Welcome to the wonderful world of Novelty Eats!  🙂

 

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References:

Image: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/ApplePie