Fenugreek ragda patties with lime zest and cucumber raita, green chili chutney, and persimmon and pomegranate chutney..
Banh mi with chicken liver pate, sriracha, lemon juice, carrots, peppers, avocados and cilantro!
The fruit of the medlar tree — Muşmula (tr)
When ripe it tastes like prunes with a hint of rotten flowers — that’s pretty much what it is. It’s pleasant with a hint of fermentation. Consumed with honey, the tartness is rounded into a great flavor. This rosehip is never consumed without the natural fermentation that gives it it’s natural flavor. I predict that this will become more and more popular on fine dining tables in upcoming years.
It’s in the same family as roses. While the medlar tree grows wild as well, this came from a farm.
The fruit of the medlar tree goes though a natural fermentation process before it’s palatable. It’s the season for them now. Find them at your local farmers market. Add them to your yogurt, oatmeal, or stews.
The honeycomb bar is what I’m having for dessert! (at Hudson Chocolates)
Random foraging activities at the Culinary Institute of America, also the nasturtium is from the day I chopped off half my fingernail
That friendly cuddly fruit is the famed durian, resting on my hand with its mighty four pounds mass.
Creamier than the cusrard apple, crunchy like fresh walnuts, stinkier than your stinkiest camambert, and perhaps more complex and surprising in flavor than your favorite white wine…
It’s a durian!
Drinking pernod at Societe Culinaire! It’s from the 70s, they found in the cellar today! (at New Paltz, NY)
The first arils of the English yew (Taxus bacata) are one of my favorite signs of the advent of fall. They’re pretty — reminiscent of a humble Christmas tree ornament. They’re also toxic, armed with one of the strongest known neurotoxins. I enjoy them — they are sweet with a somewhat gel-like texture. If you eat around the seeds they do no harm, unless you eat pounds upon pounds of them. The red flesh of the arils still contains trace amounts of the toxin.
I eat them, continuing my private conversation —well, not so private anymore— with the world. With mutual understanding and respect, the yew and I meet every fall. We exchange greetings and return to normalcy.
Pick your fish and have it cooked at Fort Kochi!
I started with tiger prawns — stuffed with a paste of freshly grated coconut, turmeric and garlic and seared on the tawa — the convex Indian griddle.
Fish Market, Fort Kochi, Kerala
It’s red mullet season in Istanbul and these respectable fish in the first photo were so bright and beautiful that I thought I was snorkeling right next to them. I went to the Istanbul fish market (wholesale market in Yenikapi) for the first time this week.
On my explorations in India and Thailand, I followed a simple formula to get the most out of the local food culture.
- Read about the cuisine
- Visit markets; understand the season, the land and the bounty.
- Eat street food wherever you see it
- Eat where the ”people” eat
- Eat at fine dining establishments
- Read about the cuisine
I found that the second step is undisputably the most essential one. I always helped my mother with her shopping growing up but I had not paid a visit to the markets with a trained eye.
I absolutely loved the Balik Hali (the wholesale fish market) in Yenikapi!
I parted from good friends at about midnight after a good (not great) dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (a respectable establishment) and hookah in Tophane. I walked up to Taksim and walked the Red streets of Istiklal until about 1 AM. There is always something happening there and it’s always interesting to talk to the people on the street.
I got a haircut and a straight razor shave and hopped into the shuttle right after — yes, you can get a haircut in Istanbul at 1 AM. I missed the point where I had to get off and walked back about six miles. Amazing walk by the water, half of it in the rain, listening to NPR’s The Splendid Table.
Well, I got to the Balik Hali at about 2:30 AM. It was buzzing with excitement. Almost literally. Instead of bees they had seagulls flocking all around in an unobtrusive way, waiting their turn at the pick.
Boats were loading off their catch, fishermen were setting up their humble displays of not so humble fish, and procurement specialists were lining up around the displays. Cuddlefish (calamari), sand sharks, monk fish (Tr: Fener), mullets, leer fish (akya), turbot, John Dory (Tr: Dulger), scallops. needlefish (Tr: Zargana)… What a beautiful scene.
The market buzzed for about two hours after 2:30 and then it led to a calmness. Everyone was tired and ready for bed, including myself.
I had great educational conversations — especially the one about Muhammad’s thumbprint on John Dory. Very entertaining. And convincing.
A most successful reconnaissance mission! Also, I think fish are the most beautiful of all proteins. There, I said it!
I am planning a trip to the Bronx fish market. Anyone familiar with the process? I learned so much when I visited the markets in Bangkok and Istanbul. I certainly can’t pass on the Bronx market!
Fruits from Central Bazaar in Erevan, Armenia (Aug 2009)
Dolgo crab apples @ the Montgomery Place Orchard Farm Stand
Tart, uncultivated and wildly flavorful
Red Hook, NY
That’s the brisket my roommate and his “Q” Crew have presented at the Hudson Valley Rib Fest this weekend. Though it was their first time participating in a national competition, their brisket did better than that of half the candidates. I’m very proud — more importantly satisfied with the smoky goodness of that juicy, perfectly seasoned brisket. A good finale to a great weekend.
Ulster County Fairgrounds, NY
Wonderful fruits of Ecuador! I had to taste them all!
In Cuenca, I bought $7-8 worth of fruit for tasting and thought I’d share my experience. Read my taste notes on these fruits.
How would I not miss traveling?
Bee balm flowers taste like thyme! (at Mills-Norrie State Park Campground)