Monday, November 28, 2016

Strawberries Down Under Are Tops -- Cooloolah Berries



There is a little dirt road that goes inland from the Sunshine Coast and it's there you can find your strawberry bliss. Cooloolah Berries is more than a family farm, it is also a mission for better strawberries and and a fulfilling lifestyle in Wolvi (Gympie).

Kim Watson and her husband Jason had been growing berries for commercial sale part time when the price dipped about 60 cents a punnet (basket) less than they cost to grow and harvest. The pair decided to buy their own farm and sell the best berries they could retail grown naturally and not treated with anti-ripening agents. 

And the berries are amazing. We visited the farm towards the very end of the growing season and bought a basket of Albion-variety strawberries. The berries were deep red with little or no white shoulder, a nice texture and deliciously sweet with a hint of acid. They lasted us for three days and we wished we could have had more, but by that time we were far south.

Visit Kim and family (she is also raising a crop of boys) during the Australian spring for berries (including pick your own) or come any time to sample her homemade scones, jams, ice creams and sorbets or other treats.

Sundays they often offer alfresco paella feasts.  We weren't lucky enough to be there for their Sunday cookout, but Kim says her paella is full of chicken and chorizo and Watsons have been known to take their giant paella pans and cooking rings on the road for special events. 

I don't have a new strawberry recipe for you from Kim, but here are a few favorites of mine: ice cream, strudel and soup!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Regards from Down Under -- Food Photos from Australia -- Rain Forest Ice Cream

Guess the flavors of these ice creams from fruits grown in the rain forest
The first in an occasional set of updates from my current adventure. 

Shown are tropical ice creams from fruit grown in the orchards of the Daintree Ice Cream Company, located in the rain forest on Daintree Island, Australia. 

Shown are Davidson's Plum, pink and a bit tart, Brown Sapote, fruity and chocolate-like, and Wattleseed, a bit like tiramisu underneath was coconut

I'll add links later, but wow, some of the best ice cream ever. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Falooda! An Indian Treat on Devon Avenue -- Chicago Food Photo

Falooda is a thin, sweet noodle added to frozen desserts and drinks. I first had it in a Persian rose ice cream here in the states. I next had it as a sundae in Jaipur, India, served with ice cream and rose syrup. Today's was from a snack stand on West Devon Avenue in Chicago, which is part of an area becoming known as the International Marketplace because of the wide range of food stuffs and international restaurants and stores. 

The area around Devon and Western avenues is heavily Indian and Pakistani, but as we walked along we saw Middle Eastern, Near Eastern, Georgian, Eastern Eurporean, kosher, and Latin American influences.  The Indo-Pakistani offerings ranged from curries and kebabs to Indo-Chinese food (spicy and saucy) to vegetarian dosas (rice flour crepes) as well as snack foods such as samosas (filled pastries), chaat (assorted snacks) to the falooda.  This one had the noodles, flavored jellies, a kind of tapioca pudding, mango ice cream, a few whole almonds, and syrup. It was rich, satisfying, more than enough for the two of us and cost just $2.99.

Devon Avenue is also home to Indian and Pakistani clothing and fabric stores (think saris and other traditional outfits), jewelry stores, housewares stores and religious items dealers.  There are also a far number of dollar and value-priced merchants as well as food markets and restaurants.  

One important note: Some of the clothing stores and a few of the restaurants and other stores are closed on Tuesday, but if that is the only day you can go there are still an overwhelming number of places to check out.

It is accessible by bus or by taking the Red Line train to Loyala and catching the 155 bus.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Donut You Know -- Chicago Food Photo Feature


Mr. Blog Appetit and I are spending the month in May in Chicago so I thought I would post an occasional food photo here to share some of the Midwest bounty we are enjoying. 

Today's offering is a Stan's Donut lemon pistachio glazed donut. I was pleasantly surprised that the donut itself and not just the glaze was flavored with lemon zest. 

Chicago is more than a bit donut obsessed, with donut stand(s) near most "L" (subway and elevated train) stations. A frequent sight during the packed rush hour is commuters trying to maintain their balance while avoiding getting their boxes of donuts crushed. 



Monday, January 18, 2016

At the Winter Fancy Food Show

This is my second day at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show after a gap of a few years. It's larger and busier than ever and loud, colorful and tasty.

I'm posting this with Blogger mobile for iPhone so I am not writing a full report here due to technical limitations, but some highlights:

Cultured non-diary cheese from Miyoko 

Full leaf tea in a bag from Silk Road Teas

Smoked soy sauce from Igeta (not yet available in the USA)

Roland Foods seasonings and sauces (unfortunately mostly food service)

More as I explore further and get home to a real keyboard. In the meantime as a sign on one display says: It's raining chocolate.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

My First Breakfast in Turkey

My first breakfast in Turkey a few weeks ago in Kayseri. The day before had been 20+ hours of travel and I needed something restorative.  This rich, spicy mutton soup did the trick. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kebab in Antalya

This wonderful eggplant and lamb kebab is from Antayla on Turkey's Liikya Coast, known to tourists as the Turquoise Coast.




Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pomegranates in Greece

Pomegranates are everywhere in Greece -- in backyards, hanging temptlingly over fences near city sidewalks and of course in the markets. This photo was taken in a small super market on the island of Hydra, Greece.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Greek Food Photo of the Day -- Pita Kebab with "Everything"


I'm on the road again folks, so you know what that means my irregular posing of (mostly) food photos of my adventures.

Right now we are in Athens where we had this charcoal-grilled lamb pita kebab at a locals cafe near the very meat-centric Central Market.  The waitress asked if wanted it with everything, which of course we did.  Everything turned out to be red onions, tomatoes, yogurt sauce and French fries. The pita was chewy and tasty, the meat was succulent and the overall experience a good one.  The first of many such snacks as we travel through Greece and Turkey, I suspect. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Give a Fig - With Recipes for Lamb with Figs, Hot Chocolate Fig Sauce (with Sea Salt) and a Frozen Fig-Banana Dessert


I like figs - dried, fresh and cooked. Fresh they are juicy and earthy. Dried they are little nuggets of complex sweetness. Cooked they bring color and flavor to a dish.

I enjoy creating recipes with them for both this blog and my Jewish food column in the J weekly.  Seeing fresh figs in the farmers' market or produce store sets my imagination racing about new recipes I can develop and ways I can find to eat these.

It doesn't have to be a fresh fig either to get me going.  The first time I had fig jam slathered over cheese (try a creamy blue or a soft goat cheese) on a whole wheat biscuit-style cracker was a revelation.  Dried figs are like candy in my house to eat out of hand or create confections.

Figs are in season right now in California, which means my fig radar is going full blast.  For more about the types of fresh figs, tips and recipes using figs in recipes and more, check out the California Fig Advisory Board's website.

In honor of the board's upcoming California Fig Fest in Fresno, CA later this month (August 15), I thought I would share some of my recent fig recipes using fresh figs, dried figs and a wowser of a hot chocolate sauce with fig jam and sea salt. To see my recipe for pistachio fig tart with a honey glaze click here. For my fig almond tart in a cornmeal olive oil crust click here.

In the Jewish-Christian tradition, figs symbolize endurance, peace and fruitfulness. Adam and Eve clothed their nakedness with fig leaves. Early scholars ascribed medicinal value to the fig, which is biologically a flower rather than a true fruit. Today, California grows almost 98 percent of the U.S. crop of figs. Worldwide, Turkey is the number one grower of figs. Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Syria and Greece are also major growers. 

For the Lamb with Figs below, I used black mission figs, but brown turkey figs would also work. Sample before buying since figs’ intensity and sweetness vary.

The Hot Chocolate Fig Sauce with Sea Salt can be made in advance, refrigerated and gently reheated. Use non-dairy ingredients for a vegan sauce. Bananas give the vegan Fig-Banana Frozen Dessert a surprisingly creamy texture.