Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

I tasted heirloom tomatoes for the first time last year. I had seen them in stores before but never tried them. This was because they were quite expensive comparing with other tomatoes. In addition, their black, yellow and green colors and strange shapes looked artificial to me.

Last year I found out heirloom tomatoes was introduced before 1920’s. They are non-hybrid and have a genuine tomato aroma and taste. After I tried them, I cannot think of buying other tomatoes when heirloom tomatoes are available.

I kept some heirloom tomato’s seeds from the tomatoes I ate and this spring I planted in my vegetable garden. It is time to harvest. The more ugly figures and weird colors they are, the better their taste are. Hope I can harvest enough to preserve some for winter!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Fried Bitter Melon with Pork, Egg, and Onion

Last year I planted two bitter melon plants in my garden. Unfortunately I was able to harvest only a few bitter melons. However, this spring I found ten bitter melon plants coming up from the soil. It seemed some fruits dropped the seeds last year and came up! They grew and I already picked up 6 or 7 fruits and more to come!

Bitter melon is extremely high in vitamin C. Recent studies show bitter melon can be effective for treating diabetes. Lately supplements of bitter melon are available, which regulate blood sugar level.

The taste of this vegetable is very bitter. But this can be addictive. I usually star-fry bitter melon with pork or chicken, eggs and onion. This dish gives you not only a delicious flavor but also many of the healthy benefits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Insalata Caprese (Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil Salad)

Basil green, mozzarella white and ripped tomato red remind me of the flag of Italy and hot summer days in the Mediterranean. Insalata caprese is the ultimate summer dish and my most favorite salad. It is very simple to make but amazingly delicious.

Usually I use *garlic-infused olive oil, which makes this dish lovelier. Do not forget to serve this with lots of slices of toasted Italian bread!

* Please note that garlic-infused olive oil may carry botulin toxin, which is very deadly. There is a lot of information available about the products and how to make garlic-infused olive oil. Make sure garlic-infused olive oil you use is safe!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fried Cod Wrapped with Japanese Basil

I am crazy about perilla, a member of mint family, and sometimes called Japanese basil. If you have tried sushi or sashimi in Japanese restaurants, you might have tasted this extremely aromatic herb. Some people say it tastes like cilantro or basil. Other says it feel like cumin. I do not know how to describe this aroma to you but I can tell this plant has an irresistible flavor.

It is difficult to find perilla. Perhaps they are only available in Asian supermarkets in US. Even though you can find them, I am not sure if they are fresh or aromatic. The best way to obtain this herb is to plan in your garden or a big pot. I found the seeds on or other website.  It is very easy to grow and disease resistant.

Since I am able to harvest them in my yard, I enjoy them as much as possible. I mix them with fresh vegetables and make salad. Also I use them with cold noodles as a garnish.

Wrap perilla leaves around cod fillets and coat with corn starch/ potato starch. Then, fry them and pour my original sauce, which is soybeans sauce based. I have a good appetite. Especially with these delicious pieces with perilla taste, it cannot be better!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ginger Tea

I had been sick for a few days a week ago. It started a sore throat. When I realized I got some flu bacteria, I immediately began taking ginger tea. I felt the tea was efficacious right away. Next day, the pain became worse. I continued taking ginger tea every couple hours. I also took lots of rest and ate nutritious food, which is easy to digest. A few days later I completely recovered from the summer flu.

Before I discovered the power of ginger tea, a sore throat was usually a sign of horrible distress. Typically it developed fever and runny nose and more than a week of suffering.

I was always depending on medicines when I had a sore throat. But when I stopped taking them, the flu symptoms always came bake and became worse. But one day, I decided not to take any medicine. Instead, I frequently took ginger tea and gargled with salt. Surprisingly, these ancient treatments really worked for me. Since then, when I have a just minor throat pain I try not to use medicine and support my own power to cure my sickness.

1 cup of hot water
½ teaspoon of grind ginger
1 teaspoon of honey

Mix all of the ingredients.