Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mediterranean buffet...Bitar's on 10th and Federal in S. Philly

AHHHHHH the Med Spread i call it...i dont normally do reviews of restaurants, but every time i go to Philadelphia on the south side of Washington ave (actually the address is the corner of 10th and Federal)
I go to the small eatery/deli  BITAR'S for my middle eastern fix. Im usually feeling lazy from travelling the 9 hours of bus rides it takes for me traveling between Portland Me, Boston Mass and Philadelphia so i pick up a few things at the deli and take them around the corner at my friend, The Force's house.

Once home i simply turn the oven to 350 heat up the pre-made fallafel balls and some of my favorite bread known as  Manakish, a pita bread baked w olive oil and a spice mix called zaatar. (in this case its sumac, tyme and sesame seeds) Pictured above is the usual that i get at the deli. From top left to right is Hummus, Dolmas (grape leaves stuffed w rice, minced onions and mint leaves w olive oil and lemon juice. Growing up in S. Jersey there were many diners run by Greeks, w salad bars that often included dolmas, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Falafel balls (made from ground chick peas) and Tabbouleh (diced tomato, parsley, mint, onions spiced w a little allspice and bulgar wheat) ((a course ground wheat)) rounds out the richness w some zing from the lemon juice.
  Not shown in the picture is the tahini dressing (sesame paste) and tatziki sauce (recipe) (cucumber yogurt sauce) and feta cheese and roasted red peppers. They, of course, have babaghanoush (like hummus but made w eggplant instead of chic peas (aka garbanzo beans) as well.
  If im eating there then i always get the Gyro's with lamb/beef combonation w Tatziki sauce, or some times i get the platters with chicken kababs w all the fixens, including wonderful pickled turnips and olives from the Mediterranean region.                                                     For dessert there is always the crowd pleasin walnut Baklava.

I suggest for any newbies to Mediterranean food order a sample platter and mix and match the endless combination's using the pita or Manakish for a utensil. If you are lucky enough to find it,buy extra manakish and freeze it since i rarely see this gem of a bread. (just make sure you heat it up in the oven after you defrost it!
ciao'!!!!

-ken

Friday, November 12, 2010

shrooms of life, fungus among us....

mushrooms....fungus...oh yea baby.....either loved or hated by people depending how well you can cook them..The basic principals of sauteing the fungus that is full of niacin and a chemical called 'glutamic acid' that combined with the salt enhances your salvitory glands and delivers such a beautiful punch of flavor straight to your 'hopefully' educated palate. Mushrooms i find are like a nice aged cheese (especially blue cheese!)
as both deliver a delicious 'earthy' flavor solo in and around and with ANY protein.

For this i used some GHEE (clarified butter), but sometimes i use a 'half and half' blend of butter and olive oil....brought till the oil just begins to let out wisps of smoke then i saute' on high, salting and fresh grinds of black pepper......after a minute or 2 I then toss or stir.(not too much though you want them to brown nicely) After about 5 minutes the shrooms give out much of their liquid and if you see brown bits (aka 'fond' or foundation)
sticking to the bottom of yer heavy bottom pan then hit it with brandy, veg or chicken broth for maximum flavor and turn off the heat once most or all of the liquid evaporates. then i marinade/hold them in olive oil and add a little olive brine left over from the olive bar olives i always have in the fridge...i marinade them w olives, feta cheese and roasted red peppers and pickled pepperincinis and minced garlic....keeps good in the fridge for  at least 2 weeks because of the salt and oil from the marinade..... this i put in any dish...especially cheap cuts of chicken thighs and pork loin scraps and stirred into my brown basmatti rice!!

from the website    http://health.learninginfo.org/nutrition-facts/mushrooms.htm
"
Mushrooms are good sources of three essential B-vitamins: riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Mushrooms are a particularly rich source of riboflavin: one portabella mushroom takes care of nearly one-third our RDA; a serving of white or crimini mushrooms supplies one-quarter of what we need daily."

if you remember not liking mushrooms, you must try them again, cooked differently to fully understand the type and most food tastes differently as your taste buds change and grow as we grow. Let there be fungus among us.
AN IMPORTANT TIP..ONLY BUY FROM REPUTABLE DEALERS, WASH WILD MUSHROOMS BUT IF YOU SEE NO SIGNS OF DIRT ON COMMERCIAL SHROOMS..(such as white button and crimini's) THEY MOST LIKELY have been cleaned already..so keep them dry.. If you have dirty shrooms, then wash them gently and dry them with towels before the big SAUTE' moment...you dont want to saute wet fungus (water and hot oil get along so nice!).not as good trust me. once you discover the difference between real sauteed shrooms and the canned mushrooms they put on many pizzas, you will never go back to canned stuff i can promise you!!!


EAT ME!!
-ken

one of my favorite way to eat these brined mushrooms is to use some fresh lunchmeat like salami, roast beef or turkey to pick up and consume your edible fungus.   ;-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caper Dill Dijonaise and a heart smart Italian sandwich

ok, its been awhile since i put up something so i figured i'll share w YOU one
of my favorite sauces that i came up with.. its easy like sunday morning to make
and goes on just about everything when i get them ol MUNCHIES!!!!! ;-)
since i use this for alot....dipping cheese, pepperoni, carrots, sandwiches, grilled chicken, fish etc.etc. i make a pint at a time....i always do my measurements by ratio. i.e
3 parts mayonaise and 3 parts GOOD (yer favorite!) Dijon mustard
1 part Capers and 1 part Dill (dried...but dont be afraid to use fresh!)
or for the people who dont cook by ratio...
3Tbl Mayonaise
3Tbl Dijon Mustard
1Tbl Dried Dill
1Tbl Capers
1tsp of fresh ground black pepper
So here is a HEART SMART version of a classic Italian sandwich. Now i must say an Italian sandwich is different everywhere you go. Up here in Maine, its nothing but a ham and cheese w a bunch of veggies that basically defeats the whole concept of a sanwich

It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.[3]

    BUT IM A PHILLY BOY. THEY ARE CALLED HOAGIES WHERE IM FROM..EASILY EATEN WITH ONE HAND....ALSO THE MEAT IS ALMOST ALWAYS CURED ITALIAN MEATS SUCH AS SALAMI, CAPPICOLA  HAM, PEPPERONI, MORTADELA AND SERVED ON GOOD SOUTH PHILLY STYLE ITALIAN BREAD WITH PROVOLONE CHEESE.
 SINCE I CANT GET ANYTHING CLOSE TO THE ITALIAN BREAD I GET IN PHILADELPHIA/NEW JERSEY I OPTED TO MAKE THIS ON SOME NICE ORGANIC 12 GRAIN BREAD, TOASTED AND COVERED W THE CAPER DILL DIJONAISE. ON THIS I PUT SOME TURKEY PASTRAMI, HARD SALAMI ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST WITH LIGHT PROVOLONE. AND MESCALINE GREENS. ON THE SIDE IS SOME TABBOULEH . 
AND A LITTLE OLIVE MEDLEY W ROASTED RED PEPPERS.
what was that that wolfgang puck says?? LIVE LOVE AND EAT!!!!!
peas out
-me2

Thursday, August 26, 2010

recycle...it shows your intelligence or LACK THEREOF!!


NEED I SAY MORE!?!???!?
I AM CONSTANTLY SURPRISED AMAZED AND ASHAMED OF THE IDIOTS
THAT HAVE THE POWER AND LOCAL RESOURCES TO RECYCLE YET DO NOT... 
IT IS ONE THING THAT YOU DONT GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT YOUR ENVIRONMENT
OR YOUR PLANET OR ANY SIBLINGS OR CHILDREN OR FAMILY THAT HAVE TO LIVE IN THE FUTURE....SO YOUR SELFISH..GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!!BUT BUT BUT.........
HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU CAN MAKE AND/OR SAVE MONEY BY
RECYCLING????????? SHAME ON YOUR DUMB ASS. YOU CAN GET PAID TO RECYCLE!!
EVERY ONCE IN WHILE I AM STUNNED BY PEOPLE I THOUGHT INTELLIGENT
BUT THEN RE ASSURED BY THE IGNORANCE OF NOT CARING FOR ANYBODY
AND EVERYBODY ELSE.
I AM EGOTISTICAL, SELF RIGHTEOUS, AND HIGHLY OPINIONATED, YET I TAKE THE TIME TO RECYCLE....AND FOR WHAT YOU MAY ASK?!!?!?!? I HAVE NO CHILDREN, I DONT HAVE TO PAY FOR MY GARBAGE TO BE DUMPED IN MY TAXES...I HAVE NO UNDERLYING REASON FOR RECYCLING EXCEPT THAT IT MAKES SENSE AND IS LOGICAL AND IMPERATIVE AND ETHICAL!!!!!!!!!! ETHICS BEING ONE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ME AND THE DUMB ASS APES THAT HAVE NO LOGIC/REASON OR ETHICS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND FAIL TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

GET REAL, GET A LIFE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU WANT TO DRINK BOTTLED WATER ALL YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOUR MIND CONVINCES YOU THAT SPRING WATER IN A BOTTLE IS BETTER THAN FILTERED WATER OR REVERSE OSMOSIS   WATER? CAN YOU BUY IT IN GALLONS THEN AND POUR IT INTO YOUR CONVENIENT 20OZ  BOTTLES INSTEAD?? SAVES MONEY AND PLASTIC!!!!

ID SAY KISS MY ASS WHEN I DIE, BUT I PLAN TO BE CREAMATED AND MY ASHES SPREAD TO THE OCEAN LIKE DANNY ON THE BIG LEBOWSKI INTO THE WIND AND
HOPEFULLY INTO THE EYES OF THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND INTO ACID RAIN (NOT THE DREAMY STUFF I THOUGHT WOULD CURE THE WORLD OF IGNORANCE!!!) BUT THE STUFF CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING PLANT A TREE, HERBAL OR FLORAL, YOUR CHOICE.
NEED I SAY MORE???????????????????????????//

WHAT CAN YOU DO YOU MIGHT ASK? BRING YOUR OWN 1000'S OF BAGS TO THE GROCERY STORE YOU USE EVERY WEEK IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION...
REUSE YOUR FOOD CONTAINERS INSTEAD OF BUYING TUPPERWARE!! ITS FREE!!!!
INSTEAD OF THROWING AWAY THAT SOUR CREAM OR SALSA OR YOGURT PLASTIC BOTTLE,
AND PAYING FOR TUPPERWARE...REUSE THOSE FOOD CONTAINERS AT LEAST ONCE?!!!?!? MAYBE???????
.THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!!! 

END OF RANT.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

condiments pt.1 TOMATO AND FETA

one of my favorite condiments when i go out to eat at
the semi-local Middle Eastern restaurant
(i always get the sampler..falafel balls, pickled turnips,
hummus, baba ghanoush, tahinni dressing and tomato and feta. This one is so easy
and lends itself to anything with bread and proteins....
1/2 pound of feta diced small mixed with 4 plum tomatoes(juice n seeds as well)
tossed together lovingly. thats IT!!!!!! doesnt get much easier than that!
put it on your favorite sandwich, eggs sandwich, falafel 
gyros,hamburgers, chicken...the possibilities are endless..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quesadillas....the endless possibilities.....mexican grilled cheese.mmmmm

ok....so i ALWAYS like to push the envelopes of what is traditional. because i am THE FARTHEST thing from traditional. So i will throw you a few NONTRADITIONAL quesadillas... . this is a melange of roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, garlic and capers w. olive oil and lemon juice and the obvious S+P to taste (salt and pepper!) Usually if its only 2 or 3 peppers i would roast them over fire, but i had about 6 of them and i didnt want to fire up the grill or set off our sensitive smoke alarm! so i cut them in strips (julienne) and roasted them on 400 deg F. for about a half hour. (while roasting i chop the bottom off 2 bulbs of garlic and drizzle w olive oil wrapped in aluminum foil)  and toss it in the oven to roast as well.
This is my Italian roasted bell pepper melange..
Mix this between a tortilla and your favorite cheese (for this application mozzarella or provolone or sharp cheddar are my preference).  this is my mexican/italian queso

THE PICTURED QUESADILLA is actually an experiment of my Chicken Hummus Salad (see blog below!!) with sharp cheddar... so this is mid eastern/mexican stlye.

My Guacamole  is simple.
2 advocado's
2 Tbls of salsa ( i like salsa verde ((green sauce from the tomatilla's...not quite a tomato))
for this but if you dont have it..use the red stuff!)
1 Tbls of cumin (and s+p to taste)
and though its not traditional i like to use
2 Tbls of sour cream (your gonna end up smothering the quessadillas in it anyway!!!)
because...well, it gives a nice creamy texture plus the acid in the sour cream and salsa
prolongs the oxidation aka the browning of the advocado...yet it is inevitable so
put the plastic wrap DIRECTLY ON the guacamole to delay the inevitable.

normally i would use a large pan to make 2 quesadilla's w 2 tortillas folded in half... but if i need to make 3 or 4 i use the oven at 400 deg. putting an oiled flour (or corn) tortilla down, filling it, and topping w another tortilla. LET ME STRESS THE FACT THAT Corn TORTILLAS ROCK AND ROLL!!!! dont be shy. use them!!! just  dip them in hot oil for 15-30 seconds and double them up if you plan to fold it in half,,, i love corn tortillas. IN my opinion, not enough americans ever use them for lack of know how...or perhaps they (we) only think that its for nachos or corn chips... i dunno. they are CHEAP. about 1 dollar for 30-50 of them depending on the manufacturer. It is also more traditional and tastier than the flour tortillas.

The possibilites are endless...i used to sell garlic spinach grilled cheese sandwiches w tomatoes on Dead tour.
Just saute some baby spinach w FRESH garlic and put a slice of tomato between your tortilla(s) and cheese.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grilled Chicken Hummus salad....

This one, ironically, I learned from an Irish Chef from Portsmouth NH. We had hummus that we needed to get rid of so he suggested chicken and hummus salad wraps...the look on my face must have been priceless! He looks at me and says 'WHAT? You dont think it will be good!?' I thought about it for 10 seconds..a rare thing w MY big mouth! and answered 'HELL YA!! It's just something i never thought about before!!'.(all my hummus loving friends were vegetarians!!. we sold all 20 for lunch specials that day! 

SO ANYWAY........... this is REAL easy.... first you must make the Hummus of your delight...my recipe is below...http://minstrelsculinaryendeavors.blogspot.com/2010/03/hummus.html
flavor your hummus w anything of your delight, dill and cucumber, rst.red peppers, olives and feta..etc.
you just mix equal parts hummus and sour cream for the dressing.

Grilled chicken breasts make it taste SOOOOO much better..(but canned or baked will do)
BUT DONT OVER COOK IT!!!!! so many people over cook chicken till its shoe leather consistency.
SEASON w your favorite 'season all' (mine is Adobe..or salt, pepper and garlic)
and grill untill just done...now cover w foil and let it rest!!! lack of resting = lack of juciness
after 5 minutes of resting, cut it all up (and put that flavorful juices at the bottom in the dressing/sauce) and fold/mix it in together, refrigerate and serve in a wrap w a little arugula or some other lettuce and maybe cucumbers and tomato.
A WONDERFUL THING I ASSURE YOU!!
cheers!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vegan Tempeh and mushrooms teriyaki (my vegan tribute)



This goes out to those vegan kids w all the ethics and are lactose intolerant...
from wikipedia
Lactose intolerance is the inability to metabolize lactose, because of a lack of the required enzyme lactase in the digestive system. It is estimated that 75% of adults worldwide show some decrease in lactase activity during adulthood.[1] The frequency of decreased lactase activity ranges from as little as 5% in northern Europe, up to 71% for Sicily, to more than 90% in some African and Asian countries.[2]
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.


the 3 Grain Tempeh i use is made from Soy, Brown Rice,Barley and Millet..... i marinate the tempeh in soy sauce (or Braggs liquid amino acids..  (soy sauce w all the essential amino acids.this is some really good stuff, their unfiltered cider vinegar is top notch as well!!!)
and a little rice or cider vinegar and garlic.
i marinade it for 2 or 3 hours, then cook a pound of your favorite mushrooms that you can afford ;-) i mix portabellas w shitake mushrooms. (you need to remove shitake stems, they usually are grown on wood and the woody stem isnt GOOD EATS (Alton Brown)  on high heat for 10 minutes,  then put the marinade and the tempeh in the pan, when it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and cover for 10 minutes...it will baste in the teriyaki and soak in the flavors. soy sauce and mushrooms both contain something called Glutamic Acid.. the herbal equivalent of msg that boosts flavor in everything its cooked with. I only wish i had some baby bock choy for a vegtable and as my cabbage of choice.... well Napa cabbage would be great too with this dish. thinly sliced though.


ANY WAY!!! some broccoli, zuchini and other veggies would have been good as well, steamed in with the marinade (but its spring so i try to buy and eat whats growing somewhere nearby)
 speaking of which, if you live somewhere were scallions are grown, id advise to pick 2 bunches, clean them and garnish this dish with!!

you are what you eat! 
 WOOD GROWN SHITAKE'S

FYI...... the lactose intolerant can often eat yogurt because the acidophilus and other active enzymes break down the the lactose and change it to lactic acid which doesnt(usually) upset the stomach of lactose intolerent folk. same with aged cheezes 9 month old- 2yrs aged cheese like parmisian or pecorino in which the enzyme reacts w the lactose to lactic acid..to alter it and is more friendly to the stomach of people w such a condition... unless you just feel bad about a female cow getting milked..then..uh...yea, its your perogative  ... 

GONZOS Dead Tour Salsa

This one came out of necessity to stretch out our salsa while making it really good for you too! We (me and my friend 'Bubbles') while i was busy selling beers, i got him to make me grilled mexican cheese sandwiches ..    or aka - quesadilla's  for 2 bucks a queso, there was a lot of vegetarians filling up on our salsa! so we decided to stretch it with black beans, corn and shredded carrots. The carrorts and raw corn cook from the acids in the tomatoes and lime juice..ive always used equal parts black beans,corn and tomatoes. Cumin and chopped cilantro keeps it authentic to the mexican/south western feel. HERE is what i do.......

1 can of diced tomato
1 can of (drained and rinsed) black beans
2 ears of corn cut from the cob.
2 medium carrots, julliened (see that peeler in the upper right corner, 8 bucks, shreds ANY vegetable!!)
1 med. green pepper, diced
1 med yellow onion diced
1 bulb of garlic minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (i advise gloves, and dont scratch yourself afterwards!especially the genital region!!! (use some cayenne pepper if you like it HOT HOT HOT!!)
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 Tbl. of toasted cumin
2 Tbl. of olive oil
1 Tbl. of lime juice
salt and pepper to taste!

makes 2 quarts of some kick ass salsa on the cheap!! plus you get the health benefits of the beta carotene (vitamin A) which isnt normally available when you eat whole carrots.... all the raw veggies in it make really good for you and the garlic kills bacteria ... an ANTIBIOTIC. I have also found that raw garlic repells insects and ticks..... so its a  great thing to go camping with! cooking or pill form, but cooking or raw in your food is always prefered...to this cowboy anyway!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

AYURVEDA healing and cooking to improve your health/ailments

Your first question......'what is ayurveda or ayurvedic cooking'?
so here is THE WIKIPEDIA DEFINITION
now you must ask...why not treat yourself and fix yourself before you brake
instead of waiting to go to the doctor to treat you AFTER you're sick? think again about this question.

Lets think of this as eastern (Indian) philosopys/medicine or in english we say home remedies.. like chicken soup when you have a cold or sinus infections....that chicken broth is healing yea? if you dont believe that then stop reading now. garlic is an anticeptic....onions are good for the blood. Chile's are good to stimulate digestion. Studies have shown Turmeric is perhaps a cure or prevention from dementia or alzheimers disease and decrease inflamation.
Ginger is well known as a remedy for travel sickness, nausea and indigestion and is used for wind, colic, irritable bowel, loss of appetite, chills, cold, flu, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, dyspepsia (bloating, heartburn, flatulence), indigestion and gastrointestinal problems such as gas and stomach cramps. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and there has been much recent interest in its use for joint problems.

etc.etc. you get the point. right?.. anyway......
Dhanvantari (also Dhanwantari, Dhanvanthari) (धन्वंतरी) is an avatar of Vishnu from the Hindu tradition. He appears in the Vedas and Puranas as the physician of the gods (devas), and the god of Ayurvedic medicine

from the NCCAM (national center for complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Key Points

  • The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit. This is believed to help prevent illness and promote wellness.
  • Ayurvedic medicine uses a variety of products and techniques to cleanse the body and restore balance. Some of these products may be harmful if used improperly or without the direction of a trained practitioner. For example, some herbs can cause side effects or interact with conventional medicines.
  • Before using Ayurvedic treatment, ask about the practitioner's training and experience.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Ayurvedic Medicine in India

Ayurvedic medicine, as practiced in India, is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. Many Ayurvedic practices predate written records and were handed down by word of mouth. Two ancient books, written in Sanskrit more than 2,000 years ago, are considered the main texts on Ayurvedic medicine—Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. The texts describe eight branches of Ayurvedic medicine:
  • Internal medicine
  • Surgery
  • Treatment of head and neck disease
  • Gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry
  • Care of the elderly and rejuvenation
  • Sexual vitality.
Ayurvedic medicine continues to be practiced in India, where nearly 80 percent of the population uses it exclusively or combined with conventional (Western) medicine. It is also practiced in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Most major cities in India have an Ayurvedic college and hospital. The Indian government began systematic research on Ayurvedic practices in 1969, and that work continues.

this is the book i grew up on. The Ayurvedic cookbook by Amadea Morningstar w Urmila Desai
i like. this blog is a work in progress...PLEASE if anybody has tips and ideas or corrections, i HIGHLY recomend EMAILING ME...   Namaste!!!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

tapioca pearls and bubble tea

 Tapioca is basically a root starch derived from the cassava (manioc), or yuca plant. It's often used to thicken soups and sweeten the flavor of baked goods, and it makes a dandy pudding.
The cassava plant is native to South America and the West Indies, where its thick, fibrous roots are used in a variety of forms: bread flour, laundry starch, an alcoholic brew, and of course, tapioca pudding. As the Encyclopedia Britannica tells us, it was probably first harvested by the Mayans. 

I searched all over the internet and there are varous ways of cooking tapioca depending on what you plan to use if for. ME i was making BUBBLE TEA 
So i bought a bag of small tapioca pearls and did it this way...to cook 1 cup of pearls i do a 3 to 1 ratio of starch to water. I.E.  I brought 3 cups of water to a boil and gently stirred in 1 cup of tapioca kept at a simmer and stirred occasionally for 30 min. then turn off the heat and cover for another 30 min. I strained the gelatinous liquid in a separate bowl reserved for the Cherry syrup/preserves i was making (i cooked 3 cups of cherries and 1 cup of sugar, mashed and combined with the gel...great on crepe's or ice cream sundays or yogurt..i also used the cherry syrup to flavor the Bubble Tea which is equal parts tea (i used gunpowder tea..slightly bitter) and milk (cow,soy,rice, etc. almond would be BANGIN!). so to summarize....



2 cups of your favorite green or black tea
2 cups of your favorite milk flavor
1 or 1 1/2 cups of cooked tapioca pearls
1 cup of flavored syrup (cherries,peaches,chocolate etc)


chilled, shaken and drank with a straw big enough to suck all those little flavored jelly pearls and swish around like fishes in your taste buds till residing in yer belly.


Bubble tea is a sweetly flavored tea beverage invented in Taiwan

make sure you shake it well so you get a nice Frappe' or frothy foam on top!

Bubble Tea shops are now starting to pop up on the left coast (west coast) and apparently in NYC and ive seen them in New England... they are quite pricey. though you can get them cheap in a can if you have a mega Asian mart around you.
-------------------
----------------------------------------------

Friday, April 09, 2010

Aloe Vera juice and tea shots......and Research On Its Benefits

ALOE is a very valuable medicine and if you got a plant lying around and you dont know what to do with it, then consider taking a leaf, splitting it, and with a spoon scrape out the gel into a whiskey glass (make sure not to scrape the bitter green off the leaf) and stir in a shot of yer favorite juice and a shot of yer favorite tea and slam it!! Its really good for you in so many ways.

Take the inside of the scraped leaf and rub it all over any parts of yer skin as a moisturizer and healing of cuts and some types of hives.

Aloe Vera and Research On Its Benefits
Spotted forms of Aloe vera are sometimes known as Aloe vera var. chinensis.
 
from  WIKIPEDIA 

Aloe vera is alleged to be effective in treatment of wounds.[4] Evidence on the effects of Aloe vera sap on wound healing, however, is limited and contradictory.[4] Some studies, for example, show that Aloe vera promotes the rates of healing,[51][52] while in contrast, other studies show that wounds to which Aloe vera gel was applied were significantly slower to heal than those treated with conventional medical preparations.[53][54] A more recent review (2007) concludes that the cumulative evidence supports the use of Aloe vera for the healing of first to second degree burns.[55] In addition to topical use in wound or burn healing, internal intake of Aloe vera has been linked with improved blood glucose levels in diabetics,[56][57] and with lower blood lipids in hyperlipidaemic patients,[58] but also with acute hepatitis (liver disease).[50] In other diseases, preliminary studies have suggested oral Aloe vera gel may reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis.[59] Compounds extracted from Aloe vera have been used as an immunostimulant that aids in fighting cancers in cats and dogs;[5] however, this treatment has not been scientifically tested in humans. The injection of Aloe vera extracts to treat cancer has resulted in the deaths of several patients.[60]
Topical application of Aloe vera may be effective for genital herpes and psoriasis.[61] However, it is not effective for the prevention of radiation-induced injuries. Although anecdotally useful, it has not been proven to offer protection from sunburn or suntan.[62] In a double-blind clinical trial the group using an Aloe vera containing dentifrice and the group using a fluoridated dentifrice both demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of gingivitis and plaque.[63]
Aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal activities. Aloe vera extracts have been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi that cause tinea;[64] however, evidence for control beneath human skin remains to be established. For its anti-fungal properties, Aloe vera is used as a fish tank water conditioner. For bacteria, inner-leaf gel from Aloe vera was shown to inhibit growth of Streptococcus and Shigella species in vitro.[65] In contrast, Aloe vera extracts failed to show antibiotic properties against Xanthomonas species.[66]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

NaCl2 (SALT) MSG and unami, the 5th taste, salty's cousin.....

Salt has the ability to bring out flavors that are otherwise hidden in a fluffy cloud of obscurity. This is why we add salt to everything in the kitchen. It heightens our flavor awareness. It also dehydrates you. It lures us in so we cant stop eating those salty treats and then watches and laughs at you when you go diving for your favorite beverage only to repeat the vicious circle.
Salt has an asian cousin, an amino acid that was invented out of seaweed in the early 1900's. It has the amazing ability to enhance the already enhancing flavor that salt delivers to food and food products/sauces etc. Its name is MSG.      (yes, that's a big 5lb can of MSG!!)  MSG brings to the palate a 5th taste known as UNAMI

MSG .... not Madison Square Gardens the venue in downtown New York City, but
Monosodium Glutamate has been a topic of debate in the last 5 decades. It has always been a key ingredient in many Asian foods and the base of MSG, Glutamic Acid is naturally occurring in such foods as mushrooms, soy sauce, tomatoes and yeast extracts (which is why you always see hydrolyzed yeast extracts in all your favorite marketed sauces and dressings.) It was only in the 1960's when random people (americans, mostly) started complaining of getting headaches, or other strange side effects from eating Chinese food. They call it 'msg syndrome' after decades of studies, no conclusive answers were found on the subject..... A fellow chef and I pondered the reasoning may be because people gouge themselves with an over abundance of salty/msg foods and fail to drink enough liquids and the dehydration result would cause a headache..much like pounding headache you get the next day after drinking too much liqour! From there MSG started on a road of bad reputation and remained slandered, for many decades...slowly fading out of site to appease the uninformed masses, leaving chemical companies to come up with other chemicals related to Monosodium Glutamate.The food additives disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, which are nucleic acids, are usually used as substitutes for monosodium glutamate-containing ingredients.

 So i guess im saying, just like anything else, in moderation, MSG isnt a bad thing. Matter of fact, i want EXTRA MSG next time i order my Moo Goo Gai Pan 

It is still in use today, most people dont notice that they are consuming it because they think its only in Chinese food......funny stuff...take a look at your ingredients label next time you buy your favorite soup/sauce/salad dressing, or salty snack item.

MSG is used commercially as a flavour enhancer. Although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, MSG is now used by most fast food chains and in many foodstuffs, particularly processed foods.[10]
Examples include:
but please! DONT blame MSG on peoples inability to think for themselves!!! Ignorance of a crime wont stop you from being arrested, so why do people get away with blaming Denny's or McDonalds for their lack of dietary discretion?!?!?!?!


While im on the subject of salt and flavor enhancers, please consider the soy sauce you buy...cheap is something i dont think about when getting a quality Soy Sauce. 1st thing to look for on the ingredient list is carmel color ... if its in there, I DONT WANT IT! It is made via chemical-hydrolyzation most likely it is salt water with black food coloring. And thats what it tastes like.

Look for a "naturally brewed" and fermented soy sauce, it has much more depth and flavor than a cheap, crappy one..(like the packets you get from the cheap Chinese restaurant. A good quality and reputable one is Kikkoman brand. They also make a 'less sodium' or Tamari this is quite good and mellow in taste

Fermented, naturally brewed soy sauce is also one of those foods that have naturally occurring Glutamic Acid....which is why i use it so much in my marinades and Asian influenced sauces.
....................................................................................................


oh, and as for all this silliness of making restaurants display sodium levels on all menu items....once again americans show how dumb we are by trying to place the blame of our inept eating habits and actions on someone else....like the lady who sued mcdonalds because she didnt know her coffee was hot...
wah!!! im overweight because of coca cola and doritos and Denny's and McDonalds..i didnt know i have to exercise and eat healthy!! wahh!!


The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 23, 2010, includes a provision that creates a national, uniform nutrition-disclosure standard for restaurants


The nutrition-disclosure provision, found in Section 4205 of the act, amends the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by requiring chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations to provide specific nutrition labeling information. Those restaurants must post calories on menus, menu boards and drive-thru boards. Buffets, salad bars and other self-service items are also included and will be required to provide caloric information adjacent to the item.

Establishments must also provide additional nutrition information in writing (e.g., a brochure) upon request. This additional written information includes: calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein. Furthermore, establishments are also required to include a succinct statement concerning the suggested daily caloric intake.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

CHICKEN PICATTA

                                                              CHICKEN PICATTA

Rarely do i go out to eat at Italian restaurants. I grew up in south jersey/south philly where Italian American cooking is the norm and to me, is easy and cheap to make on my own./. So bored with it, i thought, was the reason i studied Indian, Asian, and Mid-Eastern foods so much when i was first going to college. One day, at the request of a woman, I was asked to go to an authentic Itlalian restaurant where i first tried Veal Picatta.
Picatta is made with a few simple ingredients...floured protein of choice, butter and olive oil,  and something to make it 'sharp' like lemon juice, capers (and brine) and white wine. I was able to cut the veal with my fork and this dish made me fall in love with capers in all their pungent salty and sour glory. I like to add vegetables in mine to get in my daily supply and use a nice crusty bread for some starch.
       For this dish i used 1 lb of chicken tenders, pounded out thin, and dredged in seasoned flour. (salt, pepper and garlic powder and tyme) For vegtables i sauted (in butter) up a package of 1/4d crimini mushrooms then onions and 2 Tbl of garlic while blanching off my asparagus in salted water till bright green and still a nice crunch (about 2 minutes) then joined with the mushrooms and onions...deglazed with some on the white wine.  In a seperate saute' pan i heated up 1 Tbls of butter and 1 Tbl of olive oil untill almost smoking and cooked the chicken on both sides for 1 1/2 each, then removed them from the pan and added a small bottle of capers w/ half the brine reserved, the juice of 3 organic lemons and 1/2 cup of white wine (or chicken stock if you got it handy) and reduced for a minute. Then i brought together the sauce with a heaping tablespoon of Butter (yes i CAN believe when its not butter!!) and put the chicken and vegtables back in the pan and finished with a small handful of FRESH, chopped parsley. I finished with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and served with crusty, rustic bread spread with a soft goats cheese for sopping up that wonderful sauce at the bottom....orgasmic as it dances tantalizing dances among your taste buds and leaves you jonsing for more as your belly begs for mercy..   ;-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

JUST SAY NO TO GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)

 The first thing that brought the insanity of this issue has been the way foods i have been tasting that come from corporate faceless grocery stores have been tasting...
Over the last few years of working in restaurants, i have noticed a bitterness
in a range of vegtables delivered in bulk.
A few dayz ago i tried some mint and it had a chemical/rubber taste to it...weird,
then today i tasted some tyme starters to plant outdoors and I noticed a very similar taste to it...it was also very bitter....
Prior to this an article i read about genetically crossing pork with salmon to give you the
Omega-3 fatty acids in your pork...this disturbs me.

Anti-Trust Case Against Monsanto & Gene Giants Moves Forward

From Agribusiness Examiner #289 9/15/03
By Al Krebs
FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS ANTI-TRUST
CASE AGAINST MONSANTO, OTHER AG
GE SEED CORPORATIONS MAY PROCEED
DAVID BARBOZA, NEW YORKTIMES: A federal judge on [September 19] let proceed an antitrust case that accused the Monsanto Company and other big agricultural seed giants of conspiring to control the world's market in genetically modified crops.
In a 13-page decision, Rodney W. Sippel, a federal district judge in St. Louis, dismissed part of a class-action lawsuit that was filed in 1999 by a group of farmers who said they had suffered huge losses because of global opposition to genetically modified crops.
But Judge Sippel allowed the antitrust portion of the case to proceed, possibly setting the stage for a court battle over whether the world's biggest producers of agricultural seeds got together in the late 1990's to fix prices and control the market for those valuable biotechnology seeds, which are now planted on more than 100 million acres worldwide.



from      monsantosucks.com       Monsanto Watch www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.html


GE COTTON BITESx
In India the financial figures for the 2002 cotton growing season have
finally been crunched. Although Monsanto convinced many of India's
farmers that buying the more expensive GE cotton seeds would result in
higher yields and better cotton, the reverse is actually true. Crop
yields for GE cotton were 5 TIMES LESS than traditional Indian cotton
and the income from GE cotton was 7 TIMES LESS than conventional cotton
due to Monsanto's cotton having lower quality short fibers. As a result
of the insurmountable deluge of debt accrued from paying more for the GE
seeds and having a cruddy crop, more than 70 Indian farmers have
committed suicide in the last three months.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/bt_cotton.cfm TOO MUCH OF A BAD THING
Scientists are trying to raise public attention about the fact that
global overuse of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is leading to weed
resistance. "Farmers are planting too many Roundup Ready crops," said
Stephen Powles, an expert on weed resistance at the University of
Western Australia. Mark VanGessel, a weed scientist at the University of
Delaware spoke of the Roundup (glyphosate) pesticides saying, "My gut
reaction is that we do need to limit the use of glyphosate-resistant
crops." In response to the issue that farmers are purchasing and
applying a toxic chemical that is no longer working, Monsanto
spokesperson Greg Elmore said people are overreacting. In other Roundup

news, Denmark officially banned the pesticide this month, saying the
toxic chemical is not breaking down in the soil and, as a result, is
polluting their water at a level that is 5 times what is considered safe
for the environment and human health.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/weed_resistance.cfm
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/monsanto_roundup_banned.cfm 


GMOs) are life forms whose genetic makeup is altered by splicing the DNA of two different species. Scientists are using this new technology to make corn, wheat and tomatoes more disease and insect resistant by combining crops with the genes of fish, mice and even humans. The downside is that these processes have yet to be tested, even though GMOs are present in many everyday foods like baby food, cereal and soft drinks. Super weeds are sprouting up and becoming resistant to existing pesticides, requiring stronger formulas. New alergens and toxins are being introduced to the food supply. Nutritionally, genetically engineered foods alter the way our bodies process food. What's alarming is how these modified crops are contaminating other non-modified crops, through natural pollination. Until further rigorous testing can be completed, we need to SAY NO TO GMOs

sorry to be preachy, but when it comes to food, my taste buds are important,
and if i wanna do drugs, id prefer it if they were NOT IN MY FOOD!!!!!
Surely you have tasted the difference between a fruit or vegetable fresh picked from a garden or tree
and one bought in your local megamart??????????????/

Hummus the original bean dip...........

ahhhhh. Hummus. This wonderful mid-eastern bean dip has been one of my first culinary epiphanies as a result of following the Grateful Dead, having lots of vegetarian friends and dating hippy chicks. So i have been making this for 20 yrs now and can throw together a 1/2 gallon of hummus together in 20 minutes... its really quite easy and just takes some practice in getting the spice combination's just right.




So heres what you need....
1st and foremost, you need a Food Processor.
2  15oz cans of drained (and rinsed) chick peas
and 2 bulbs of crushed garlic and one large onion choped up in the processor...... then sweat (cook under low heat till translucent) toss in the cans of chick peas with the onions after4 min. of simmering, add
3 lemons (juiced)
4 Tbls of toasted cumin
and 2 Tbl of salt and 1Tbl of black pepper
(feel free to add hot pepper if you like it spicy!)
then into the food processor, add 1 cup of water and  8oz of
Sesame Tahinni. and drizzle in a 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil.   After about 3 min. in the blender, it should be a loose (but not runny) mixture, remember it will become more solid when you put it in the fridge.
pita is traditionally served with this, but I use flour tortilla's when i don't happen to have fresh pita around.  variations of this are endless...my favorites being roasted red pepper and cucumber dill. Often i use hummus mixed with mayonnaise when i wanna make a extra flavorful chicken salad. use fresh crudite' (cut up vegtables) for dipping...NAMASTE! -me2

Friday, March 26, 2010

IT aint easy being CHEESY...........

Parmigiano-Reggiano, The King of Cheeses - Parmesan Cheese

1.  What is the name of the town and the country where Parmigiano Reggiano is made?
answer: Parma, Italy
2. How many gallons of milk does it take to make one wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano?
answer: about 160 
3. Approximately how much does one wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano weigh?
answer: about 80 pounds   
so you want one do you? no problem. they sell for about  $2071.00 and you can buy one HERE    it is aged for at least one year but 18-24 months is better.
make no mistake, real Parmesan from Parma Italy is far superior than the shady, american commercial garbage that you buy ground into saw dust, and sold in plastic bottles and packages!
Even if you happen to get some good stuff DONT BUY IT GROUND!! its so easy to grate as needed..if you dont own a fancy cheese grater, then use a potato peeler..or shave it with a knife.


My personal favorite is PECORINO ROMANO  or sheeps milk chz from (originally) Rome... but later and now mostly produced on the island of Sardinia. This like Parm, can be expensive...about 13-18$$ a pound... but well worth it... you will be less inclined to grab handfuls to dump on your pizza or spaghetti if you grate it yourself and taste the sweet, salty and nutty slice of heaven that is Pecorino..... it should be aged for at least 8 months but 1 yr. will be inevitably better.

Grana Padano is similar to Parm but less known here in the states. 
Asiago is also probably more known here and found in commercial supermarkets.

All of these are HARD cheeses.. the cheeses listed above and below are my favorite....if you need a crash course in cheese 101, i suggest reading up on it..a good start is HERE


Next up.........semi hard cheeses.....these are the cheeses most americans are familiar and comfortable with. Bacteria-Ripened: Brick, Fontina, Gouda, Feta, Havarti, Provolone, Monterey Jack,  Cheddar etc.etc 


There are many quality semi-hard cheeses made here in the U.S.A. The best regions and states that I have travelled and know of is the PACIFIC NORTH WEST 
New England ...MAINE and VERMONT  (Cabot makes some kick ass xtra sharp cheddar)
and last, but certainly not least, the cheesiest state of them all WISCONSIN !!    

THEN theres the semi soft.... through the action of mold (actually a penicillin mold) or by the action of bacteria. Mold-Ripened: Bleu, Gorgonzola,  Roquefort, Stilton..........mmmmmmm...mold.
and other more known (non blue) like Brie, Chevre (my personal favorite goats cheese), Boursin, Danish Fontina, Motzerella, Havarti.....there are hundreds you've never heard of.. so once a month why not get together a few friends and put in some money for some good wine and cheeses of different caliber.
( $100-$150 between 4-6 friends should get you 6 bottles of good wine and 6 good cheeses) and have a shindig/party (parTAY)


------------------------>(picture of Chevre)


then there are the soft of the soft....cream cheese, mascerpone,
cottage cheese, and fresh mozzarella are a few. Queso Fresco is
a Mexican version of mozzarella..melts nicely when heated.
non are aged or very complicated...but i can dig it..........

you will notice a few of the same style cheese can be put into different categories due to age and moisture content.........now get funky and get tasting! so much cheese, so little time.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Brews, tonics, teas, and blends of ales that cure what ails you.......

   I guess for people who know me, know that i am no stranger but rather very well versed in the field of beer, wines and distilled liquors and have always fancied myself a bit of a connoisseur and mixologist.
   Living like a rockstar never felt so good!! Having a discernible palate but often settling for less than sub par beverages due to lack of funds and sometimes even entertaining guests hospitality to me, this 'gift' of mine made me come to the realization that i have 'champagne tastes on a beer budget'. Also, im an alcoholic!!
  The need to repair my liver from the years of pummeling and various beatings i gave it naturally led me the study brewing concoctions that are healing and repairing and rejuvenating while actually tasting good!
The concoction recipes that Ive made and brewed below all have some combination of health benefits and serve the purpose more than just tasting good and re-hydrating the body. ( body upkeep and its need for hydration is very underestimated, i assure you.)

                                                              GINSENG ALE
ok, this is easy as hell to make, i use 4 10ml vials of panax ginseng and honey water and royal jelly )
honey fed to the queen bee. You can get cases of vials at most asian markets. Mix the 4 vials w 2 oz of hot water to help dissolve the honey then slowly poor in 10 oz of your favorite mineral water. (cold)
and viola! A nice, not to sweet and frothy ginseng ale. Keep a sealed glass bottle around for storing in the fridge for later...

so the good things? this is old traditional eastern medicine and has never been proven in western medicine but  has/is widely used for centuries and believed to be reputable by many Eastern civilizations...

What Ginseng Is Used For

Treatment claims for Asian ginseng are numerous and include the use of the herb to support overall health and boost the immune system. Traditional and modern uses of ginseng include:
  • Improving the health of people recovering from illness
  • Increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, and improving both mental and physical performance
  • Treating erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause
  • Lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure
 =============================================================
  the GINSENG ALE is the base for my next tonic :

                                            Citrus Ginger Ginseng Tonic   

THE CITRUS: you need 1 or 2 large oranges and (hopefully an organic) lemon, both juiced
4 Tblspoons of  GINGER , sliced and crushed (smashed with the backof a good chefs knife) and boiled in 8 oz of water, reduced by 1/2 (or 4oz), strained and combined with the citrus juice... this should give you about 8 oz of liquid that you mix with the Ginseng Ale, producing about a pint (16oz) of a wonderful digestive tonic 
(the lemon and ginger are both excellent digestives and a nice shot of vitamin C from the O.J.  I usually keep a 16 oz ceramic top Grolsh beer bottles around for storing this baby.(and keeping in the fizz of the mineral water).....   for more of a pronounced orange and lemon flavor, zest the citrus and boil with the ginger....
      this is the ultimate hangover drink!!!! for the  nights that you cant remember what happened...

What Ginger Is Used For

  • Ginger is used in Asian medicine to treat stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Many digestive, antinausea, and cold and flu dietary supplements sold in the United States contain ginger extract as an ingredient.
  • Ginger is used to alleviate postsurgery nausea as well as nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, and pregnancy.
  • Ginger has been used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain.
=======================================================================

                                  Green Teas

I have never been much of a coffee drinker, though i love my iced mocha cafe latte's in the summer...
(1/2 coffee n 1/2 chocolate milk over ice) i have always preferred green tea. I have been drinking green tea since i was 13 yrs old and as a matter of fact, my first culinary beverage epiphany came to me when eating at a nice Chinese restaurant and had my first Oolong tea. (which is a partially oxidized green tea..delicate in flavor) This if the first time i realized i didn't have to add sugar to augment the subtle flavors of these wonderful green teas. I realize that it is often quite difficult to find many of the quality green teas anywhere but in the Asian mega marts in big cities, so i recommend buying them online   HERE 
                              my new favorite is   Sencha 

 It can be a tad expensive so i tried the tealeaf powder..this is not like instant tea extracts, this Sencha are cold milled into a fine powder.With only a .8 gram of a powder mixed with 16 oz of cold water, it cost me about 75 cents a pint which is really good compared to the 2 dollar 8 oz cans i get at the asian market.
 

Believe it or not, this powdered green tea delivers just the full bodied punch of the commercially sold stuff.....it contains only 3 mg. of caffeine compared to 85 mg. in an average cup of coffee. The antioxidants it is loaded with are said to be potent cancer fighters, (poly-phenols) lowers cholesterol and strengthens the immune system and purportedly promotes weight loss.

though it needs no sugar, if you wanted to add an extra boost of sweet and sour, i would suggest a cup of cranberry juice...... Cranberry tannins have anti-clotting properties and may reduce urinary tract infections and the amount of dental plaque-causing oral bacteria, thus being a prophylaxis for gingivitis.
========================================================================
                                                                 JASMINE TEA 

The Health Benefits of Jasmine Tea: Can Sipping This Fragrant Drink Have Medicinal Benefits? 

AT The recommendation of an elderly Chinese woman working at my local Chinese Restaurant, I was encouraged to try this brand of Jasmine Tea. This specific brand i found at my local mega Asian market for 2 bucks!! (online it will cost more like 8-10 bucks with shipping and handling.
Jasmine tea is either green tea or Oolong tea that has been infused with jasmine flowers right before blooming to give it a wonderful aroma.
1/2 Lb. of this tea makes 75 cups of tea!!!
The proper water temp and steeping time greatly affects the flavors of this and ANY green tea.
1 tsp.= 3 grams  i usually brew 4 c. at a time.
The water should be about 15 deg. below boiling
and should be steeped for 4 minutes. Any hotter or any longer and it will be more bitter. (which some people like)  I usually sweeten this w local honey during hay fever season and drink some everyday for a few weeks and it helps w my allergies. Consumption of local honey is an old Homeopathic remedy for hay fever.
Though I am no firm believer in Homeopathy, I can attest for this remedy as i and many have been using this to much success for years now. It is said best if the honey is raw and unfiltered and made within a 50 mile radius because the honey contains the pollen that causes the allergies in the first place........
================================================================= 
                                            MATCHA-IRI-GENMAICHA

Genmaicha is the Japanese name for a brown rice tea made with green tea. This particular version has the toasted rice with steamed MATCHA, A very expensive and harder to find green tea here in the states.... it goes from $17-40 an ounce, depending on the quality....and im a little broke this month because i have already spent $60 on tea already! So, here i am making the poor farmers version of this quality tea.
I like the taste of the toasty rice, which, becomes more prominent when you steep the grains a second time.
Since Matcha tends to be a powder, i find it best to use a French Press (aka a Coffee Press) when brewing this w water at about 185 deg.F for 3 minutes.
One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.
=======================================================================
                                                                 YERBA MATE'

I first tried Mate' when i was living in Maine with an young kid into organic and raw foods diet, and my first experience with it was not as pleasant (he brewed it WAY too strong and used boiling water which makes it Bitter! A year later when the Guayaki Herba Mate' people showed up at the Gathering of the Vibes festival  in upstate NY, they supplied the kitchen (which i always work at festivals) with an endless water cooler full of cold brewed mate'. Mate has a natural 'up' (without the jitters and shakes) to it and is wonderful for hot dayz when coffee just aint happening to cool you down. Mate has a very 'earthy' flavor and sometimes i sweeten it with whatever fruit juice i see on sale. (peach, pear, cranberry, raspberry) To cold brew, i just take 6 Tbls of mate and wrap it in a coffee filter and pour cold water over it in a 1/2 gal. pitcher and let sit overnight in the fridge.

from http://www.yerba-mate.com/health.htm
In 2005, researchers at the University of Illinois studied 25 different types of mate. They found the tea to contain "higher levels of antioxidants than green tea"... and, based on cell studies, "may help prevent oral cancer." Other studies have shown yerba mate to possess up to 90% more metabolism-boosting nutrients than green tea!

Our studies show that some of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body are induced by this herbal tea. - Elvira de Mejia, Lead Researcher at U. of Illinois

Mate also contains high concentrations of inorganic compounds. The minerals aluminum, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, potassium, and zinc are of particular interest due to their importance in human metabolism and development.Each infusion of Mate contains:
Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex
Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
Additional Compounds: Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Pantothenic Acid and 15 Amino Acids.

Mate does contain caffeine. The drink can have anywhere from half to slightly lower levels of it than coffee, which can affect blood glucose and blood pressure and elevate your heart rate. Talk to your doctor before drinking it if you have diabetes or hypertension or if you are trying to get pregnant.

=====================================