09/11/15 1:42pm

Labor Day might be the symbolic end of summer, but truth be told there’s almost two weeks left of the season. So why not celebrate the tail end with something truly crazy: a piña loca from Jazmin Deli in Elmhurst? It’s part fruit salad, part candy store and all party. The $15 fiesta consists of a cored out pineapple filled with a mixture of spiced fruit, cucumbers, and the candy coated peanuts known as cacahuate estilo Japones. It’s garnished with skewers of more fruit, and several types of candy including a straw coated in spicy tamarind. (more…)

07/16/14 12:52pm
KLT

Chef Joey Campanaro’s bacon, lettuce, and kiwi sandwich.

I haven’t thought this about much about kiwis since I used to pack them for lunch. Back then they were cheap and relatively tasty, if somewhat tart. It’s been years since I’ve had one of the fuzzy fruits once known as Chinese gooseberries. Last night the good folks at Zespri Kiwifruit and Chef Joey Campanaro of Little Owl changed my mind about the fruit. For one thing a properly ripened kiwi is quite tasty, sweet and juicy with just a hint of tang.

The coolest thing I learned about the kiwifruit last night though was its culinary applications: as a meat tenderizer, in prosciutto wraps, tacos, and the BLK. That last a bacon, lettuce and kiwi sandwich that I would gladly eat for lunch daily were not most of days spent chasing down noodles, dumplings, offal and other delights in the culinary wonderland that is Queens. (more…)

06/06/13 3:50pm
The leathery skinned mangosteen is renowned for its exquisite flavor.

The leathery skinned mangosteen is renowned for its exquisite flavor.

The mangosteen is the Holy Grail of tropical fruit to me. For years the leathery orbs native to Southeast Asia were illegal in the United States. Several years ago I took a trip to Toronto and scored two or three. As I recall never did wind up eating them. And last year, I purchased a bag, sadly one out of five were moldy. The ones that weren’t were tasty, but not worth the exorbitant price. (more…)

05/27/13 1:28pm

Here in New York City, Indian mangoes are still hard to find. Occasionally a few boxes of Alphonso or Kesar mangoes turn up, perhaps in an Indian grocery in Jackson Heights. But they’re usually mealy, flavorless, and overpriced.

Walk into a food market in India during mango season (April-June, roughly), and the sweet aroma of ripe mangoes will greet you at the door. You’ll find at least a dozen different varieties of mango in any market there—much like the apple section of an American grocery store, but so much better.

Neelam mangoes—small, buttery-smooth, fiber-free, and honey-sweet—are my favorite. But in New York, I’ve learned to enjoy Ataulfo mangoes from Mexico and Haiti. They’re easy to find here and, except for their annoyingly fibrous innards, are very similar to Indian Alphonso mangoes.

There are many different ways to eat a mango—some more polite than others. But if you prefer to skip the knives and spoons and down your mango with maximum efficiency (and minimal fuss), there’s only one way to go. I learned this mango-eating method while visiting relatives of my husband in a small village in North India, and it’s pure, Indian genius.

Step 1: Select a ripe mango that’s soft to the touch.

Step 1: Select a ripe mango, one that’s soft to the touch.

Step 2: Gently squeeze and prod your mango, turning its flesh into juicy mango pulp. Be careful not to break the skin (or you’ll be covered in sticky mango juice).

Step 2: Gently squeeze and prod your mango, turning its flesh into juicy mango pulp. Be careful not to break the skin (or you’ll be covered in sticky mango juice). (more…)