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 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.

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 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 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

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..   ;-)