Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - Citrus Pop Rocks - Lime Boba

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - From Frieda's Produce
Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - Citrus Pop Rocks - Lime Boba

Recently, Frieda's Produce sent me some Hatch New Mexico Chiles (see my post for Pork Chili with Hatch Chiles) and they threw in a carton of organic Finger Limes. They are described as citrus caviar. I had no idea what they were talking about...until I cut one open. As you can see, amazing little bubbles of lime emerge from this tiny lime.

See how the pulp comes out!!! My first short video (19 seconds) on YouTube.

Healthy snacks in my new LunchBot tray!
One early morning, I was putting together my healthy afternoon snack in my new LunchBots divided tin and I grabbed a couple of these finger limes (I digress, but I love this little tin...I'll have to do a post on my many lunch containers). I cut them in half and threw them in the tin.

Ahh. Now I know why Finger Limes are called Citrus Caviar! So cool... little bubbles of lime!
Fast forward several hours and I open the box. I immediately realize why these are called Citrus Caviar! The pulp comes out of the lime like little boba bits or pop rocks. It's so amazing. You squeeze them and it all comes out!

A quick Google search says that the LA Times talked about them back in 2009 (David Karp's article), but I must have missed it. KCRW's Good Food talked about them in 2010 (Nov 13, 2010 episode). Frieda's will be bringing them to grocery stores soon.

My snack photos above are from Instagram. I pulled out my macro lens tonight and shot a few photos. These limes are really small and so cute.

Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - From Frieda's Produce
Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - From Frieda's Produce
Originally from Australia and now grown in California, Finger Limes are described by Frieda's Produce as "tart, lemony-lime flavor with slight herbaceous notes." I describe them as "tiny lime bobas" and have a bit of rind flavor. They were little citrus bursts on my veggies, and I imagine they would be great in cocktails or atop a nice piece of fish.

Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - From Frieda's Produce
Finger Limes - Citrus Caviar - From Frieda's Produce
Frieda's says the Finger Limes are coming to grocery stores soon. Be on the look out and ask your produce manager about them!

Disclosure: I received one free package of Finger Limes from Frieda's Produce. However, I was not compensated for this post and opinions are my own. I really am this enthralled with this citrus - and all citrus! I'm lucky to live in Southern California where we have so much citrus surrounding us (see California Citrus Tart)
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New Mexico Hatch Chile Pork Chili

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hatch New Mexico Chile Pork Chili
New Mexico Hatch Green Chile Pork Chili

It's New Mexico Hatch Green Chile season! Whoo hoo! Hatch Green Chiles are grown in a certain part of New Mexico and they get trucked into California and other states only in August/September. They are great tasting chiles.

I've been to a Hatch Chile roasting in 2010 - see this post. It's a good time and the smell is freaking amazing. Recently, Frieda's Produce sent me a few fresh samples. (Frieda's sell produce to many stores - I'm sure you've purchased something from them in the past).

Hatch New Mexico Chile Pork Chili
Hatch Green Chiles can be roasted then frozen to enjoy all year long. You can use them in salsas, chilis, egg dishes and so much more. Frieda's has some recipes here.

There is one more weekend of Hatch Chile Roasting! It is much easier to have them roasted for you in the parking lot. Then you can bring them home and repackage into small freezer bags so you can enjoy them all year. Find a roasting event in California, Texas and some midwest/northeast states here.

Hatch Chile Roasting
If you don't have a roasting event near you, find Hatch Chiles in your local grocery store (I've seen them at Ralphs, Sprouts and Whole Foods in Los Angeles) and roast them yourself at home. You can do this in the oven, but I prefer the gas stove method. Roast until charred, then...

Hatch Chile Roasting & Skinning the charred chiles in a plastic bag to sweat it out for 15-20 minutes. Then you can easily scrap off the skin. If you wish, you can also remove the seeds because that is where a lot of the heat is located.

Hatch chiles are produced in Mild, Medium and Hot varieties. I usually get the medium and that's plenty spicy for me...I also remove the seeds.

Hatch Chile Pork Chili collage - making
I made a Pork Chile recipe that's based on a dish my Auntie Joy brings each year to our annual Mochi Day.

It's really simply! Brown some pork (I found this package of "Lean Pork Stew Meat" at Sprouts for less than $3.00, but my cousin suggests using a fattier meat such as pork butt or shoulder) and add chopped tomatillos, tomatoes and Hatch Chiles. Cook until softened and enjoy! 

Hatch New Mexico Chile Pork Chili
Hatch New Mexico Chile Pork Chili
Serve anyway you want...
With tortillas (I love a rolled up corn tortilla)
In a tortilla (dude, it makes a great burrito filling)
Over rice (dude, I'm Asian and this works for all types of food)
With tortilla chips (yes, deep fried anything goes with chili, right?)

New Mexico Hatch Green Chile Pork Chili
Thanks Auntie Joy for the inspiration for this recipe

1/2 pound pork, cut into small pieces (suggestion: pork butt or shoulder)
1 pound tomatillos (about 10 pieces), chopped
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
2-3 Hatch New Mexico Chiles, charred with skin removed (optional: keep or remove seeds)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a medium pot, heat olive oil and brown pork pieces over high heat.
Toss the tomatillos, tomatoes and chiles into the pot. Lower heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 45-60 minutes, until everything has broken down and it's a hot mess of yumminess.

Note #1: Freezes very well.
Note #2: Do not add any liquid. The tomatillos and tomatoes express enough liquid for the dish.

What if you don't have Hatch Chiles at your disposal? You can use those canned green chiles but it won't be nearly as delicious. Really. Go out and get the Hatch Chiles, roast & freeze 'em!

Disclosure: Frieda's Produce sent me Hatch New Mexico Chiles to sample (less than 2 pounds). I was not compensated and opinions are my own.
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House of Bread Berry Bars - from Los Angeles Times SOS Column

Sunday, August 11, 2013

House of Bread Berry Bars
House of Bread Berry Bars

As I've mentioned before, I love the Los Angeles Times Food Section's SOS column. Readers write in requesting a recipe from their favorite restaurant, cafe, store or school cafeteria, and the cool people from the LA Times Food Section get the recipe and adapt it for the home kitchen. Win!

House of Bread Berry Bars
This Berry Bar is from the House of Bread in San Luis Obispo. I've never been to the place, but will put it on my long list of places to visit.

House of Bread Berry Bars
Recently, Rene Lynch of the LA Times wrote an article in Daily Dish: 8 blueberry recipes bursting with true blue sweetness. This recipe immediately caught my eye and I had to make it!

It's super duper easy! Mix a butter-based batter together, spread 3/4 in a pan, spread a jar of blueberry jam (or other berry jam) on top and then scoop the rest of the batter on top. How easy is that?!

House of Bread Berry Bars
The recipe calls for a 11 x 7 pan, but I don't have one. I used a 9 x 13 pan and I thought it turned out fine. The cake is light and's a very nice breakfast treat or afternoon tea cake. And it's super easy to pull together with a lovely presentation.

House of Bread Berry Bars
From the Los Angeles Times SOS Column - House of Bread Berry Bars
Adapted from House of Bread in San Luis Obispo.

3 cups (12.75 ounces) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces berry jam (I used Trader Joe's Blueberry Jam)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line with parchment paper or grease an 11 x 7 inch baking pan. (I didn't have a 11 x 7 pan, and used a 9 x 13 pan. Don't use a smaller pan like a 9 x 9 pan because the cake will be too tall and cook unevenly...just believe me from my first attempt).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer with paddle, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined, but don't overmix. You can finish off the mixing with a spatula.
4. Spread three-fourths of the batter into the pan. Spoon the jam on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the jam in random dollops so the jam can still be seen.
5. Bake the bars until golden-brown on top and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through for even baking. (Mine took 43 minutes and I forgot to rotate the pan.)
6. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting...although I did sneak a couple pieces warm - still very good.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
Looking for another blueberry recipe? Try this one that I also made from the Los Angeles Times - it's delicious! Lemon Blueberry Buckle
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Furikake Tomatoes

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tomatoes with Furikake
Tomatoes sprinkled with the Japanese Rice Seasoning, Furikake

Tomatoes with Furikake
My parents are growing a bunch of lovely tomatoes - both red and yellow. I try to check in with them once a week (pay their bills, eat something, and then my mom hands me either toilet paper or paper towels - yes, I think my mom worries I can't shop for basic necessities or something :)

Tomatoes with Furikake
In the summer, I make sure I check on them more often...and pick up some great fresh tomatoes!

The other day, I cut some tomatoes and reached for the salt grinder. Next to the pepper, I saw the bottle of Furikake. I thought, "Hum...let's try that instead!"

OMG. So good!

Tomatoes with Furikake
Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning. The basic furikake has small pieces of nori (dried seaweed), sesame seeds, and a bit of sugar and salt. It's great on rice (kids really like it too). And on tomatoes? Awesome! 

You can find furikake in Japanese or Asian grocery stores. It's pretty cheap - usually $3 to $4 per bottle. My favorite is the JFC brand "Nori Komi Furikake" with ingredients sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seaweed (available online on Amazon but it's pricey). Read the ingredients as there are all different types. Some have bonito flakes (fish), salmon, shiso or wasabi flavor.

Furikake Tomatoes
1. Slice tomatoes
2. Optional: Drizzle with olive oil, soy sauce and/or balsamic vinegar to taste (I don't add any oil or additional flavors, but it's up to you!)
3. Sprinkle with Furikake

Furikake Chex Mix or Furikake Party Mix
You can read more about Furikake on this Wikipedia entry. Also, you can make this yummy Furikake Chex Mix!
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Wordy Wednesday...on a Thursday Morning

Thursday, August 1, 2013

You can make fun of LA, but it is seriously the best place on earth. #mydayinla
Can you believe it's already August? What?!?!?

It's time for Wordy ramblings about books and stuff. Above, my usual random photo of Cidney the Girl Dog. We like to walk to the beach. I carry a water bottle and have this little pop-up water bowl - it's kinda cute.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley
I'm on a graphic novel kick (and by kick, that means I've read 2 in the last few months...for anyone else, that would be reading 20...but I've been baking and trying to get enough sleep - more on that in an upcoming post about my so-called Sleep Cleanse.)

Anywhooo, my colleague suggested this book because she loved it. In wonderful drawings, it follows the life of Lucy and her caterer mom, foodie dad, a bit of farm life, trips to McDonald's in Europe, and just a love and appreciation of all food. She includes some recipes too - I wish all recipes in cookbooks were as beautifully depicted as hers. It's a quick read, and you get to see a glimpse of a delicious life so far.

Find it in a library: Relish by Lucy Knisley

The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family
by Dan Savage

I follow Dan Savage on Twitter (@fakedansavage), enjoy his stories on This American Life, and listen to the Dan Savage's SavageLove Podcastbut never got around to reading his books. I listened to the audiobook of his 2005 book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family about his marriage to his boyfriend Terry. In 2005, it was their 10 year anniversary and their adopted son was about 6 years old. (This year, Dan and Terry officially married in Washington state - in 2005, they got married in Canada). It's an enjoyable book, even if it is a bit dated as more states have finally allowed gay marriage and attitudes and support have seen a positive change. Dan talks honestly about his family, his relationship with Terry, and why their son didn't want them to get married (oh, the logic of 6 year old boys). On a side note, have you seen Dan's husband Terry? Hot, hot, hot. This stay-at-home dad has a very visual instagram account (almost NSFW) with many shots modeling Mr. Turk swimwear.

My only complaint was that Dan Savage didn't read the audiobook. What?! The narrator was a little slow, and well, I'm so used to listening to Dan's voice that it was a little strange.

I've added The Kid (his 2000 book about the adoption of his son) and American Savage (2013) to my reading list. At least American Savage was narrated by Dan!

Find it in a library:  The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family by Dan Savage

Finally, I listened to the audiobook for The Commitment from my library via OverDrive. And I'm about to get on plane heading to Cleveland for the OverDrive Conference - Digipalooza! Let's hope it's not too hot in Cleveland! :) - mary

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