2008年7月31日 星期四

Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon enlists a neighborhood

So you thought broccoli had a bad rap.

Andi Sutton probably has one of the hardest food publicity jobs around -- promoting bitter melon. With its grooved, gourd-like appearance, bright green color, seeded flesh, and yes, very bitter taste, the melons are loved by some, and simply too weird for others.

She is director of public relations for the five-month-old National Bitter Melon Council, an organization formed as part of an art and social research project that looks at life in the South End. Sutton would like bitter melon to have the same following that garlic does at its annual Gilroy, Calif., festival and clams do at their celebration in Yarmouth, Maine. To that end, Sutton has recruited South End eateries, from the local pizzerias to upscale restaurants, to create dishes for Bitter Melon Week, an event that runs from July 22 to 30. But this food fest is unusual. After you try bitter melon at one of the participating restaurants, which include Hamersley's Bistro, Botucatu, Polka Dog Bakery, and B&G Oysters, you can collect a binder cover at a local gallery to create your own melon recipe book.

Bitter melon already has a local connection: The crop is grown in the Berkeley Street community gardens, mostly by Asian gardeners, who consider the bumpy, pale green squash a healthy part of the diet.

Part of the idea is to build a network, said Sutton, 24, who works a ''day job" waiting tables at Central Kitchen in Cambridge. She has received mixed reactions but hopes at least 20 restaurants will participate. ''I'm encouraging them to think creatively," she said. ''It doesn't have to be a star ingredient; it can be a garnish."

Sutton has been doing a bit of testing herself, concocting a bitter melon martini from a syrup she created, and making bitter melon pickles, as well as a bitter melon and honeydew ice cream, in which the bitter flavor cuts away the heavy dairy taste, she said.

Another goal in the project is creating a sense of connection among diners as they experience a mostly new taste together. ''Even among Asians, it's foreign enough that you have a lot of opinions about it," said Hiroko Kikuchi, one of the lead artists of ''Sifting the Inner Belt," a yearlong effort to examine South End life through projects that include enlisting local restaurants to make dishes with bitter melon.

Priscilla Lee's reaction to the exhibit might be a typical response among the younger generation of Asian Americans. ''My mom likes this stuff; I find it a little bitter," said Lee, of Somerville.

In Japan, bitter melon has caught on in recent years, as people latched onto the idea of adopting some of the eating habits of Okinawa, south of Japan's main islands. Okinawans are known to live longer and have a lower incidence of cancer, said Yuko Torigoe, a Chestnut Hill dentist. ''In the grocery store, you see all this goya, goya, goya," Japanese for ''bitter melon."

The concept of Bitter Melon Week initially surprised Sara Plabutong, manager of Equator restaurant on Washington Street, who grew up in Thailand and somewhat reluctantly ate her mother's bitter melon dishes. ''It seemed like the melon everyone forgot," said Plabutong, 38. She wasn't sure how her customers would react to a bitter melon special, ''because I knew it was medicine. My mother told me anything that's bitter is medicine."

But she also recalled a soup her mother would prepare, of hollowed-out bitter melon stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, herbs, coriander, black pepper, soy sauce, and a little fish sauce. ''As long as she made that soup, I could handle it."

Equator's chef experimented with making a bitter melon version of green papaya salad, spiced with dried shrimp, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot, ground peanuts, and a sweetened lime dressing. Though it was a little bitter, Plabutong found she could handle that salad too. ''I forgot about the bitterness of the bitter melon."

For canine companions, Polka Dog Bakery on Shawmut Avenue will be making treats with bitter melon, peaches, honeydew, cinnamon, ''lots of local fresh honey," and spelt flour. Manager Evan Myers, 35, made a similar salad for himself, adding dried cranberries, cilantro, and a vinaigrette of rice wine and blood orange. ''I just sliced it up; the flavors all kind of macerate a little bit. And the cilantro really cut down on the bitter taste, because the cilantro has a depth to it," he said.

At Botucatu, a Peruvian-Brazilian restaurant on West Dedham Street, owner Ricardo Villon, 69, last week experimented with sauteing bitter melon with beef, red onions, and tomatoes. He also topped Peruvian spinach-basil pesto and linguini with deep-fried bitter melon rings.

''He said he thinks the key is to mix it with a strong flavor," Sutton said, translating from Spanish, ''so that when you chew, the flavors balance each other out."

For a list of participating restaurants, go to www.bittermelon.org . ''Sifting the Inner Belt," exhibit runs through July 31 at the Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., 617-426-8835.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.



2008年7月30日 星期三

knocks the whipped cream off an order of strawberry shortcake

knocks the whipped cream off an order of strawberry shortcake

pronunciation She has a laugh so hearty it knocks the whipped cream off an order of strawberry shortcake on a table fifty feet away. — Damon Runyon (1884-1946)


鲜果选美会

农场里最吸引人的是鲜艳欲滴的草莓。草莓的品种很多,整个夏天不同日子有不同的品种出产。

2008年7月29日 星期二

Taiwanese 釋迦 2008

"釋迦"名字取得好 希望可以讓釋氏不朽或莞爾 管他什麼"優"或"憂":


釋迦共同運銷 品質優,價格憂
受鳳凰颱風影響,釋迦外表出現擦傷變黑、水傷情況,售價也跟著下滑。(記者張存薇攝)

〔記者張存薇/台東報導〕釋迦報到!台東地區農會知本、建和、康樂3個集貨場、8個產銷班昨天同步開辦共同運銷,不過受到鳳凰颱風刮風下雨影響,3、4成釋迦果皮擦傷、變黑,嚴重影響賣相、價格,讓農民心淌血。

昨天知本、建和、康樂3個集貨場共同運銷的釋迦約7、8噸,產量雖有限,但農友開心地分級稱重、裝箱,希望今年釋迦價格開出紅盤。

頂寮產銷班長余水瀛指出,今年初天氣較冷,釋迦成長速度較慢,產期約比往年晚了10至15天,且7月一連來了卡玫基、鳳凰颱風,雖然農業災情不大,可是釋迦表皮因強風被樹枝、樹葉刮傷、變黑,少部分釋迦則吸水飽滿而裂果,這些都必須打為次級品,1斤價格至少便宜10元。

他說,今年的釋迦品質不錯,香甜又Q,但因經濟不景氣,再加上產量增加,1顆2斤重的大目種釋迦價格也滑落,去年1斤行口價可賣到80元,今年1斤60元就算好價錢,希望民眾支持在地農產品,多多選購、品嘗。

康樂班長陳有利表示,政府推廣有機農業,但卻未補助有機肥料,一般肥料的成本也大增,釋迦農友真的經營的很辛苦,希望政府能多給農民「關愛的眼神」。

2008年7月28日 星期一

Eel drink goes on sale for Japan's hot summer

Eel drink goes on sale for Japan's hot summer

A Japanese chef uses a fan to prepare grilled eels at an eel restaurant specializing in eels in this central Japanese city of Nagoya on Thursday July 24, 2008. The restaurant, which handles only home-grown eels, was crowded with customers who want to beat the summer heat with grilled eels on Thursday.
Kyodo News
A Japanese chef uses a fan to prepare grilled eels at an eel restaurant specializing in eels in this central Japanese city of Nagoya on Thursday July 24, 2008. The restaurant, which handles only home-grown eels, was crowded with customers who want to beat the summer heat with grilled eels on Thursday.

It's the hottest season of the year in Japan, and that means it's eel season. So, bottom's up!

A canned drink called "Unagi Nobori," or "Surging Eel," made by Japan Tobacco Inc., hit the nation's stores this month just ahead of Japan's annual eel-eating season, company spokesman Kazunori Hayashi said Monday.

"It's mainly for men who are exhausted by the summer's heat," Hayashi said of the beverage, believed to be the first mass-produced eel drink in Japan.

Many Japanese believe eating eel boosts stamina in hot weather.

The fizzy, yellow-colored drink contains extracts from the head and bones of eel and five vitamins - A, B1, B2, D and E - contained in the fish.

The Japanese particularly like to eat eel on traditional eel days, which fall on July 24 and Aug. 5 this year.

Demand for eel is so high that Japan has been hit by scores of eel fraud cases, including a recent high-profile incident in which a government ministry publicly scolded two companies for mislabeling eel imported from China as being domestically grown.

The eel involved in recent scandals was prepared in a popular "kaba-yaki" style, in which it is broiled and covered with a sweet sauce. The $1.30 drink costs about one-tenth as much as broiled eel, but has a similar flavor.

Eel extract is also used in cookies and pies made in Japan's biggest eel producing town, Hamamatsu.

Spumoni, or spumone,

A bowl of spumoni
Enlarge
A bowl of spumoni

Spumoni, or spumone, is a molded Italian ice cream made with layers of different colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts. Typically it is of three flavors, with a fruit/nut layer between them. The ice cream layers are often mixed with whipped cream. Chocolate and pistachio are the typical flavors of the ice cream layers, and the fruit/nut layer often contains cherry bits.

This dish comes from Naples, and the three-flavored Neapolitan ice cream evolved from it.[citation needed]

It is an 'original' ice cream flavor, yet is considered unorthodox by today's standards and is sometimes overlooked. The addition of candied fruit and nuts likens the spumoni flavor to that of a fruitcake. The fruit particularly makes spumoni taste clean and refreshing. It can be served alone, or with thin wafer or butter cookies.

Because of immigration influx, it is also very popular in Argentina.[citation needed] In the United States, spumoni ice cream can be found year-round, but if not, it is most likely available during the winter. Ironically, perhaps, August 21 is National Spumoni Day in the US.[1]

Notes

Summer vegetables

Summer vegetables have the power to cool

2008/7/28


I went to the Todoroki Valley in southern Tokyo the other day. Thanks to the verdant foliage over the trilling stream, the temperature was about 5 degrees cooler than in the city. As I ambled along a footpath, I came across a slender waterfall that Buddhist monks use for training. The cascading water formed a refreshing parabola. I had the idle thought that the water hitting the crown of my head should instantly whip me into shape.

The tsuyu rainy season has been declared over in many parts of Japan, and summer is now here in full force. To beat the heat, I tried a dish called hiya jiru (literally, cold soup) for a start. A Miyazaki Prefecture specialty, it's a very simple fare of chilled miso-based soup poured over a bowl of plain boiled rice. Like when you've popped an ice cube in your mouth, the dish definitely cooled me off. The refreshing sensation was enhanced by the crunchy texture of the bits of cucumber and myoga (a kind of ginger native to Japan) in the chilled soup.

Judy Ongg, a Taiwan-born actress and singer, is well-versed in the Chinese culinary tradition of incorporating ingredients with medicinal benefits into one's diet. She told me once, "Summer vegetables have the power to eliminate heat from your body." Any food in season seems to pack nutrients that help us eat our way to health.

Novelist Shotaro Ikenami (1920-1990) noted in his essay titled "Tokyo no Natsu" (Summer in Tokyo) that when the summer heat took away his appetite for breakfast, he made do with pickled eggplant. He wrote: "The sheer pleasure of biting into a small (pickled) eggplant, with a dab of mustard, is simply beyond words."茄子

People in the old days knew how to cool their bodies from within with the aid of garden-fresh summer vegetables. They also knew how to revive their flagging appetite by jolting the palate and gullet with something cold, peppery hot or sour. There is no reason for us not to borrow their wisdom. The scorching summer heat will surely get us down if all we do is slurp cold somen noodles in an air-conditioned room.

Tokihiko Kusama (1920-2003), a haiku poet known as an epicure, penned this piece: "From the basin of a waterfall/ A chilled tomato/ Makes an escape." Perhaps the tomato had fallen out of a net bag behind a rock outcropping. Picturing in my mind's eye a small red globe bobbing away and disappearing down the clear stream, I get temporary relief from the heat.

The cooling power of vegetables, amply boosted under the blazing summer sun, is not to be taken lightly.

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 20(IHT/Asahi: July 28,2008)

2008年7月21日 星期一

‘2 All-Beef Patties?’

Advertising

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

McDonald’s is sponsoring a song-contest using the jingle on MySpace. The official reason is the 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, but the then-and-now similarities are not entirely lost on the company.

2008年7月13日 星期日

2008年7月3日 星期四

文人飲食譚

To put together or make by combining various elements or ingredients; manufacture or compound: prepared a meal 讀楊周翰先生翻譯的 "埃涅阿斯紀"(1983) 用到整治



「……..近年的「大買賣」是接連編了兩本好看的書:《文人飲食譚》跟《愛看書的廣告》。不但造福自己,更造福了書迷多多。後記:2003年,老先生終于出了第二本書,這次厚了些,270頁,回憶往事,兼及讀書、編輯、出版生涯點滴,隽永耐看,書名《泥土脚印》,是從巴金先生的贈語中擷出的:「願化作泥土,留在先行者的溫暖的脚印裏」,謙卑自持,還看得到一絲光明的革命念想,而讓人更加景仰了——老先生姓范名用,中國當代最重要的出版人之一。「三聯書店」在他手中恢復定位,創辦《新華文摘》、《讀書》雜志,出版過許許多多的好書……」。(《爲了書的一生——記老書迷范用》--傅月庵 (2004-08-15) )

hc:我對於老先生無法將許多《文人飲食譚》(北京;三聯書店,2003)中的選文列出出處一事,感到很奇怪。其實,以老先生的資料庫和人脈,這表示漢文書文市場中許多「所有權」和追溯系統的議題可發揮。