Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watermelon Man

Watermelon is so good!!!! Everyone has seen or eaten watermelon..(I think), it's big oval shape, and striking color contrast is recognizable from a distance. Watermelon is the perfect summer treat, decoration, and family favorite!

Watermelon is a plant and a fruit, because it is grown vine-like but is also a melon. Interesting!! Watermelon is originally from Southern Africa, where it is grown wild. Watermelons was the first fruit to be cultivated outside of its origin and grown in the Nile Valley, recorded as early as 2000 BC and later grown in China. Today, China is the largest growers of watermelon. As watermelon became popular around the world, it was introduced to North American Natives in the 1500's, who grew it along the Mississippi Valley. Today, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California are the largest watermelon growers in the United States.

Watermelon contains 6% sugar and 92% water and is a source of Vitamin C. Although the rind is not usually eaten, it is edible and contains many nutrients. In China, the rind is popularly eaten in stir fried dishes, stewed, and pickled. In Vietnamese culture, watermelon seeds are eaten for good luck on New Years. Watermelon is also Oklahoma State's official vegetable. From my research, I think everyone has seen or eaten a watermelon!

This recipe is suppose to be eaten as a snack, side dish for a breakfast, or an after dinner light dessert.

1 Full Watermelon, cut into large pieces, or small pieces (depends on what you like)
1/2 cup pistachios chopped
1/2 lime or lemon, whatever you like (lemon lime soda works too and its nice)

Cut watermelon and put onto a large serving platter removing extra juice. Add chopped pistachios and lemon or lime juice or lemon-lime soda and toss gently until watermelon is coated thoroughly with pistachios.

(By the way, sorry for the pause in posting. I don't understand computers.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beets, Beets, Beets

Wow! There is so much information about beets! Where do I begin?!
Beets are known for their stainable red juice, that is a little lighter than pomegranate juice. Beets are plants that are grown with long leafy stems, called chard that are also rich in flavor and used in many dishes. Beets have been traced back to Babylonia and and China from dates 8 BC to 850 BC.

The entire plant can be eaten from the Swiss Chard to the beet, which is all beneficial to humans. The chard can be eaten boiled, or stir fried. The beet can be boiled, cooked, cold in a salad, pickled, or prepared where it is the main ingredient in the famous beet dish, Borscht.

Beets are used as alternative medicine to protect diabetic livers, fevers, as well as lowering blood pressure. It was used in the Middle Ages to help blood and digestive diseases. It was also used as an aphrodisiac. Who knew?!

My recipe is drink that makes you feel better and can only benefit you!

For one serving,
1 beet
2 small carrots
1/2 orange
small amount of ginger root

Juice all ingredients with juicer and enjoy a spicy drink!

Pink Lady Apple: The blushing apple crossover!

On my list of favorite ingredients, the pink lady apple is one of the only red apples (besides candy apples) I enjoy. It is versatile enough to be eaten alone, with a little honey, or in a salad. If the pink lady apple is the star of the dish, or used as a garnish, it always stands out for its unique tart taste, blushing color, and juicy crisp bite!

The pink lady apple is a cross between a Lady Williams and Red Delicious originally bred by John Cripps. The pink lady apple is also named Cripps Pink, after its breeder.

Pink lady apples are shaped ellipsoid, large enough for a heardy snack or to be used sparignly as they are rare to find throughout the world. They are mostly grown in Austrailia, but are also growing in New Zealand, Washington, and California.

For my Pink Lady apple recipe, I wanted the apple to be a component in a salad to be enjoyed for its texture in comparison to a lettuce.

Pink Lady Apple Goat Cheese Arugula Salad
1 large Pink Lady apple, washed and cut in long pieces
1/2 bunches of Arugula, washed and dried
Enough goat cheese as you enjoy (use carefully, its good but can overpower your meal)
2 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
little bit of fresh lemon juice

Construct your salad with arugula at bottom, pink lady apples tossed in, and goat cheese on top. Separately, make your salad dressing string with a fork and add however much you like ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fennel & Mint Iced Tea! Oh My!

I am having a lot of ADD problems today so it has taken me a while to start this entry but here I am! Okay! I have not moved from watching the Jersey Shore all day and I was thinking "Giudo's drink a lot" then i thought, "I'll" write about Fennel and Mint Iced Tea!!" So thank you Pauly D and Snookie for drinking a lot, because I wouldn't know what else to write about today.

I love fennel! The natural licorice taste that's fresh, subtle, but adds a distinct flavor to anything its added to. Fennel comes from the Mediterranean and is grown near seas and rivers. Fennel has a bulb shape root with stems that have leaves and small flowers. It's licorice flavor comes from anethole, also found in anise, another individual ingredient with a stronger licorice flavor.

Fennel is used as an medical alternative to numb teeth aches, improve eyesight, digestive system, and concentration! (that would help about now)

Fennel can be eaten cooked or raw, in salads, risottos, breads, and more. In this recipe, the fennel's flavor is highlighted by the mint for a refreshing drink!

Fennel and Mint Iced Tea
4 cups water
1 large fennel bulb, cleaned and cut into small pieces (no stems or leaves)
1/4 cup fresh mint
4 tea bags of your choice

Bring water to boil. Add fennel pieces, mint to water. Stir for 3 minutes. Add in tea bags until water turns color. Remove tea bags and let tea cool. Transfer your tea into glass pitcher and refrigerate. Let cool for a couple hours and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green Bean, String Bean, Haricot?! What's the difference?!

I wondered what the difference between green beans and string beans is. All I knew before my research was that, I do not like the beans that are in the can, already cut, sometimes sour and full of water, but I do like the fresh, rough, long beans that are bagged at Whole Foods! But why would they have two names for the same thing? Is that a cruel joke they want to play on the consumer? Here we go!

Well the difference is... Green beans are the canned beans, topped on salads, put in casseroles, and look like something that can be put next to martini onions. String beans, are the bagged ones I like! And Haricots are also string beans (only longer and thinner) but are special because they are prepared by the French. Oh lala! Thank goodness for!

String Beans are high in vitamin C, when raw or slightly cooked, but loose a lot of the nutrients naturally in them when baked in a casserole surrounded by cream of mushroom! yuck! (not that I have anything against it..) There are over 130 types of string beans and each are distinguished by they're own flavor, color, and shape of those cute little pods!

So...Green bean casserole? No thank you. But I will take gingered string beans! MMM MM MMM!
My recipe for gingered string beans can be eaten alone, over rice, or as a side dish to refresh your palate. And the recipe is super easy so anyone can try it!

Gingered String Beans
1 bag string beans, cut and washed
1 whole ginger, fresh, peeled, and chopped into slices
2 garlic cloves, fresh, crushed
Olive oil
cayenne pepper
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

In a sauté pan, begin with olive oil to coat the pan thinly on medium heat. In hot oil, add garlic and ginger for oil to take on flavor of these also, special ingredients.(don't taste the oil, just don't let the garlic burn) Add in beans and continue mixing until fully coated. Allow beans to cook until they don't look raw anymore, but still have a firm texture. Here, you can taste your beans and decide CAYENNE OR NO CAYENNE! A little wont hurt you, but some people are sensitive to the spice the ginger already gives. So, once you've decided, add your cayenne, salt and pepper to taste and enjoy you healthy, sinus clearing, vitamin C giving ingredient! String Beans!

Rhubarb: The Crimson Celery

Rhubarb: The "Red Celery" Looking Plant

I chose Rhubarb as the first ingredient for individual.ingredients. Honestly, my mom bought some a couple hours ago and I thought "I hope she makes something with it right now so I don't eat a bag of oreos and ice cream". I enjoy a Rhubarb pie, or Rhubarb marmalade, but thought...what else can be done with it. I was also curious about where it came from, why it looks so much like celery, and why its sweet?

When Rhubarb is in the produce area of the market, it is cut from its toxic leaves, cleaned, sometimes packaged, and always starred at with confused looks. The big questions are "What do I do with that?", "Why is that celery red?", at least in LA, anyway...

Rhubarb is grown in hothouses for the consumer to make into a gooey pie filling overflowing onto flakey crust with vanilla ice cream melting slowly on top. But, it originally was grown in Asia, wild by the River Volga, and later grown and used as medical remedies by the Mongolians. Rhubarb came to America with European settlers and moved to be grown in the heated areas of the West.

Well, thankfully my mom did make something out of this interesting plant! Rhubarbsauce with white chocolate sauce! (not the best health option either but it will do)
I am not quite sure what she did, but this is what I would do!

1-1/2 pounds Rhubarb cut in 3 or 4 inch stalks
1/4 cup water
1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tsp cornstarch and water

Arrange the rhubarb, water, sugar, and salt in a pot over the stove. On Medium heat, allow the ingredients to become a sauce. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a small amount of cornstarch water mixture to the sauce to thicken. Stir until consistency is how you like. Put rhubarbsauce into small glass cups and set in refrigerator. Let cool!

White Chocolate Sauce
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tbs butter

In a double boiler, add butter to top pan until melted. Add white chocolate chips to melted butter. Stir until chocolate is continuously smooth and shiny. When rhubarbsauce is cooled, remove from refrigerator and drizzle white chocolate sauce on top in any beautiful design your heart desires.


Food is not only something you grab quickly so you don't have a headache later, or a "material that provides carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals", but when stripped down to the basic ingredients is something unusual to the busy city people that take for granted what they eat everyday.

individual.ingredients' goal is to explore, and experience, new and familiar foods by understanding where the ingredient comes from, and how it can be cooked to to enjoy its flavor to its fullest capacity.

Through this blog, I want to learn and share what pleasures the world has given us, in its most basic form, and how these ingredients can be enjoyed by everyone with a simple recipe.