Month: August 2015

#17 – FRUIT FASCINATION: Scuppernong Grapes

If I was to make a list of fruits I am most fascinated with, Scuppernong grapes would definitely be among the top picks.  This can be said of their entire parent species, Muscadine, but I like the green/bronze Scuppernong variety in particular the most.

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At least in the DC area, I rarely see them in stores so most times you have to have a “connect” to get them – someone who knows someone who knows someone that personally grows & sells them.  Luckily, they are the state fruit of North Carolina, just a few hours away from DC, so establishing a “connect” to get them isn’t too difficult.  I often compare them to contraband smuggled across state lines because of this process.

They are unique in how they grow which is individually instead of in clusters like most other species of grapes.  Also, they require a rather specific climate so you are forced to eat them in their natural season because of this (mid-summer – mid-autumn), versus getting those red/green/black seedless grapes from ????? year round.

If you’ve never eaten one, there is a slightly thick skin to it which is edible but not too appetizing so most people only eat the sweet inner part, easily squeezed out when the grapes are fully ripe (doing so can be considered as a way to check if they are ripe or not yet).

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I can imagine people only used to those year-round seedless grapes thinking that this might be too much work but many people think that the taste of the Scuppernongs are well worth it, myself obviously among them.

#16 – Mushroom Matar

Indian (from India, not Native American… for whom the nickname to me is a pet-peeve FYI) is probably my second favourite ethnic cuisine after that of the Caribbean.  Very often, the latter is an off-shoot of the former because much of the Caribbean is inhabited by desendents of migrants from India, and they brought their style of cooking along to the new environment.  Seems like they wanted to pack light though, because in comparing the two, there is definitely a very large amount of Indian eats which are popular in their country, yet often unheard of in the Caribbean.  Mushroom Matar is one such example; here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

1.5 cup tomato

3/4 cup onion

1 jalepeno

4 cloves garlic

1 TBS ginger

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup green peas

1/2 cup yogurt (this kind – https://worldveganizer.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/12-cashew-yogurt/ )

2 TSP cumin

1 TSP tumeric

2 TSP salt

1 cup water

2 TBS olive oil

photo 1If you have a food processor, put the first 5 ingredients in, from firmest to softest, running it for each one (if you don’t have a food processor, chop/dice/mince… the smaller you cut, the faster it will cook).

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My ginger was a bit aged and dried up so I made a tea with it and used that for the cup of water needed in the recipe.

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After everything is processed/cut up, heat the oil in your pot then add the cumin and tumeric.

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Fry for about a minute then add the processed/cut up mix.

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Cook until this mixture reduces/thickens noticeably then add water (tea in my case), salt, mushrooms, and peas.

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When the mushrooms have tenderized, stir in the yogurt, and boil another 10 minutes.

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After that it’s done.  I like mine with rice.  I remember thinking I didn’t put enough photos in the last post so hopefully this makes up for it.

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