I tried a wild cucumber called Melothria Pendula.

For years, on our morning walks, I’ve seen these cucumber plants… a slender vine with pretty yellow flowers and tiny cucumber-like fruits. I finally remembered to look up if they’re edible, and they are! But only the light green ones. So this morning I tried a small one. Unfortunately, it didn’t agree with me. But then again, neither do normal cucumbers, so what can I expect from a fruit that is described as “The Mother of all Laxatives”? Trav thought that might happen! :p Perhaps the one I got was too ripe.

Here’s the page where I found the info on its edibility:

Cute Cuke Edible! at EatTheWeeds.com

Aww, Nuts!

I found some adventure food at the meat market… canned breadfruit nuts. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I found this post at Chowhound. I boiled them in salty water for about 10 minutes and they turned out pretty good. A lot like boiled peanuts (which I love) but more firm and with a smoky taste.

Delicious fish!

We had Barbeque Halibut Steaks for dinner tonight and it was really good. We had to substitute tuna steaks for the halibut because that’s all they had at Publix. We were wondering if all of the fat and sugar cancels out the goodness of the fish. Hmmm….

When peaches are in season, we want to try Halibut with Zesty Peach Salsa.

If you have a good fish recipe, we would love to have it. πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday, everybody!

Tonight we went to Pape Kibos to celebrate Pris and Kathy’s birthdays. It was awesome! Here we are, after delicious bread and tasty drinks, about to eat a delectable dinner.

Pape Kibos - Ready to eat!

The ambiance of the place is Ernest Hemingway… big game, savannah-type stuff.

Pape Kibos Decor

They serve exotic meat, which I love to try. Tonight they had kangaroo and silly me, I didn’t ask how much the specials were. My mistake!! This is about how I looked when I found out how much my dinner cost…

Pape Kibos Surprise

Yes, that says $55 for the kangaroo. This one time, it was worth it. We easily got $55 worth of entertainment between the six of us, what with the jokes and all. Steve wanted to know if they would take a check for the kangaroo or would they be afraid it would bounce?! tee hee

We highly recommend Pape Kibos in Hudson, Florida, for incredibly delicious Italian food served in human-sized portions at (mostly) reasonable prices. Danielle and Leena are wonderful servers! Plus the owner said it was OK for us to lick our plates clean there. I wish I had licked my plate clean tonight. Next time I will, because the food is so good. MmmmMMM!! :p

Update: Pape Kibos is no more… they just couldn’t figure out what they were trying to be, I guess! So sad.

Update 2016: We are still getting mileage out of this story. LOL!!

Not Your Usual Breakfast… Maybe Mine, Though!

Last weekend we went up into Brooksville to do a little shopping and discovered a new produce market. Much to my delight, I was able to get not one but TWO adventure foods! They had a section of Middle Eastern foods, so I got kefir cheese and green za’atar – a spice mix of roasted thyme, ground sumac, sesame seeds and salt. It is soooo good. I’ve been mixing it up in the kefir cheese and dipping veggies in it – an amazing breakfast!

Breakfast

The kefir cheese tastes like a cross between yogurt and sour cream, firm and a bit tangy. The most common use for the za’atar is to sprinkle it on bread, or put it in oil and dip your bread into it. I can’t wait until our challenge is over so I can make some bread to put it on!

When I took the picture, I noticed it says “No salt” on the front of the za’atar package. But the ingredients include salt. I wonder which is right?

Goat Stew

On my quest to find non-hydrogenated lard, I stopped at a little Cuban market the other day, and I saw a sign in the window… goat, $2.35 per pound. We haven’t had adventure food in a while, so I bought some and tonight we had stew. It was good, but not so unique or different that I would run right out and buy it again. It was very tender, and a little gamy like venison. The guy there told me they have it on Saturdays, cooked, so I might go up there some weekend and get some, to see how they prepare it.

And there’s one other thing about eating goat… Trav kept saying “Sorry, goat!” because he had goats as pets when he was a kid, and he was making this sad face… I don’t want to see that frown again anytime soon. We had a discussion about eating things you once had as a pet… I guess it would be kind of weird to eat dog or cat meat. But we decided that because fish don’t have fur and they don’t love you, that’s OK.

Boy, I sure have come a long way from the teenage vegetarian, eh? πŸ™‚

Now if it would just get cold…

I could have mulled beer! It sounds very interesting but I want to wait until it gets cold again to try it. It just doesn’t seem right to drink hot beer while the air conditioning is running!

How to Make Mulled Beer at WikiHow

Our forecast for this week is high 70s during the day and in the 50s at night. Maybe next week…

Food, Glorious Food

Bleys found this neat list of 100 things to eat before you die. There’s only one thing on there I don’t think I would even try – road kill. Ugh! I’ve eaten 40 things on the list, or maybe my count should be 39. Does the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle count as “whole insects”? Ewww. I suppose I could get some of the crickets they have on sale at the mall candy store. They did have bacon-flavored ones… hmmm…..! πŸ™‚

Bleys has eaten 39 things, too! How about you?

It’s bacooooon!!

Remember that commercial for Beggin’ Strips? I love that one. And I love bacon… it’s one of my top 3 favorite foods. The other day I found a fun blog that has an interesting recipe:

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I definitely want to try these. I wonder if I can find canned biscuits without hydrogenated oil in them? If not, I guess I’ll have to do it from scratch. Nummy nummy num!!

Sushi

Tonight I made an experimental batch of sushi and it turned out really good! This recipe came from the Delicious Living magazine and I definitely want to make this again. The magazine calls them Three-Minute Sushi Rolls but they took a bit of work to prepare (maybe half an hour). I suppose if you only count the actual rolling up, maybe that’s three minutes! They were very yummy and I’m looking forward to the leftovers for my breakfast. mmmm…

Sushi Rolls

2 nori seaweed sheets
16-20 spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
4 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon
3 tablespoons cream cheese, plus a little more for sealing
1/2 avocado
1 small carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 small cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
Soy sauce, for dipping

Lay nori sheets on a dry, flat work surface. Lay spinach leaves in a single layer over the nori, leaving a 1/2″ gap at the top of each sheet. Allow about 1/2″ or so of the leaves to hang over side edges for a decorative effect.

About 1″ from the bottom of each sheet, lay salmon in a horizontal row on top of spinach. Spread cream cheese over salmon. Thinly slice avocado; just above salmon, arrange avocado in a horizontal row. Make a row of matchstick carrots and cucumber just above the avocado.

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese across the top 1/2″ of each nori sheet to help seal. Starting from the bottom, roll each sheet snugly to make a long, tight roll. Slice into 1″ pieces with a sharp, serrated knife. Dip and eat.

There’s a Fungus Among Us!

Speaking of eating out of the yard, this week we had the opportunity to sample sulphur shelf, a fungus that grows on both live and dead trees. Here it is, growing on an oak tree, just before I harvested some of the tender edges:

It’s also called Chicken of the Woods. It does have a pretty meaty texture, like portobello mushrooms, and it’s delicious! I found some ideas on what to do with it at the Birdchick Blog. First I soaked it in vinegar water, rinsed it, then cut it up and simmered it in chicken broth for 30 minutes. Today I threw some into my miso soup:

There’s a little bit left, which I plan on eating for breakfast tomorrow – wheat toast slathered with artichoke dip and topped with the sulphur shelf. Nummy!

Lamburgers and Curried Rice

MmmMmMMMMMmm!! Last night we had the Spicy Lamburgers and they were delicious. We all agreed to rate it a 5 on Allrecipes, because we would be satisfied if we got it in a restaurant. And for breakfast this morning, we had Curried Rice Pilaf, and everybody liked it! Definitely a keeper recipe to go into the book. Thanks, Mom!

Oh and speaking of restaurants… it turns out Taco Bell is not intended to be Mexican food (like we all didn’t know that already, hah!).

Cherry Almond Macaroons

Mmmmmmm, I found what looks like a really good cookie in Aunt Susie’s “Cooky” recipe book (I think my parents have this book, too). Hopefully I can try them soon. Of course, it being so close to Christmas, we have a ton of treats in the house. But these don’t have any flour in them and almonds are good for you. Plus I’ll use either fresh or dried cherries with no added sugar. The recipe calls for blanched almonds but I’m not going to do that because the skin is good for you and nobody but me really cares about how the cookie looks, as long as it tastes good! Here’s the recipe:

Cherry Almond Macaroons

5 oz. slivered almonds (blanched, if preferred; about 1 1/4 cups)
3/4 C. sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 C. chopped maraschino cherries (or fresh or dried?)

Grind dry, crisp almonds through finest blade of food grinder/processor. Mix nuts, sugar and egg whites in sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8-10 minutes or until a path stays clean when spoon is drawn through. Remove from heat, stir in cherries. Drop level teaspoonsful of dough on 2 greased and lightly floured baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature until cool (this insures rounded macaroons).

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes or until delicately golden on exterior but soft and moist inside. Remove from sheets immediately. Makes 2 dozen.

Mama’s Tuscan Spinach Rice Soup

We tried out this new soup recipe on Sunday. We’ll keep it, but it’s not so delicious that it will be added to the regular rotation. It’s one of those “it’s good once in a while” recipes. I thought it tasted like something out of a can, but Bleys said it was much better after adding salt, pepper and a little garlic. We’ll try spicing it up a little more next time. I wish when a recipe says “pepper to taste” they would give some kind of starting point… are we talking a teaspoon, tablespoon, or … ? I’m never quite sure.

I like to make new dishes strictly by the recipe for the first time, so we can tell if it’s good as is, has potential, or just isn’t good. It drives me insane on AllRecipes, when people do a review and they say something like, “I substituted this, and added that, and did this differently, and I didn’t like this recipe.” Well DUH!! If you followed the recipe maybe it would have turned out better.

With this recipe, I was wondering about how the rice was going to affect the soup part. On the rice package, it calls for 1 cup of rice and 3 cups of broth. The soup recipe had 3/4 cup of rice and 6 cups of broth, so I was wondering if the rice was going to suck up half of the broth… and it did! Maybe risotto rice and arborio rice are two different things? I used risotto rice. The next day, there was no broth left, it was just chunky veggies and fat rice. Still tasted good, though.

So I’m now looking for the next great adventure food. Any suggestions? πŸ™‚

Say Cheese!

While I was in Arizona for my brother’s wedding, talk turned to making mozzarella cheese at home. What a great idea! I think I’m going to put this on my holiday list:

Mozzarella Cheese Kit

This sounds like a lot of fun. And yummy, too. πŸ™‚

Today is a Someday!

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake

Check one item off the Someday list – Devil’s Food White-Out Cake. Mmmmmmm!!!

I’ll definitely make this for a special occasion. It’s a bit of work but worth it – I think it’s as good as any store-bought cake. If I got this for dessert in a restaurant I would be happy! Since I didn’t follow the directions to the letter, I’m sure it will be even better next time. Oh and I wasn’t sure the candy thermometer was working right so I had to look up the Cold Water Candy Test. The frosting turned out great – it’s fluffy and not too sweet. Mom, if you’re reading this, I used floss to cut the layers in half and it worked perfectly!!

Pucker Up, Baby!

Mamoncillo fruitTo keep life interesting, I like to try all kinds of food. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t! πŸ™‚ This week’s adventure is a package of Mamoncillo fruit from the produce department. As I was checking out, the cashier asked me, “What is that? I never heard of that before.” I shrugged and said I didn’t know, but I was dying to find out. So right there at the checkout, I poked a hole in the saran wrap, took one out and tore open the skin to reveal what looked like a lychee fruit (it turns out they are related). I popped it in my mouth to have a taste, which I would describe as very mild and kind of like an orange. There’s not much pulp in there – it’s mostly seed.

I did some research to see what I could do with them, and found that most people eat the pulp and then toast the seeds, like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. So I’ve been diligently sucking the pulp off, scraping off every last bit with my teeth and fingernails, and saving them so I can toast a batch to see what that part tastes like. I tasted a raw seed and it was mealy and kind of woody. Here’s my seed collection so far (I’m about halfway through):

Mamoncillo seed collection

Also in the picture is my rock collection and a picture taken of Trav and I a few months after we got together. Anyways, I’ll report on the toasted seeds when I make them.

Oh and the subject of this post is due to the legend that girls in the Caribbean learn to kiss by eating this fruit! hehehe