My first encounter with a generic barbeque sauce ended with me wondering why anyone would add sweetness to meat. Slowly barbeque sauce was familiar flavor but it never grew enough on me to buy it off-the-shelf. A few months ago, a friend of mine was constantly professing his love for anything with the barbeque sauce. After listening to him, I decided to give a fight chance to a barbeque sauce. I decided to buy one generic barbeque sauce and ended up buying three more within a short period of a month.
Barbeque sauces varies according personal preference, manufactures formulation or regional nuances. However, typically barbecue sauces consist of three of the following base ingredients, in the order of the most commonly used to more exotic ones.
Barbeque sauce is defined by your interpretation of harmonious balance between its four types of flavors; sweet, savory, sour, and heat/spicy. Here are some of the ingredients that can provide unique barbeque flavors.
This diversity in barbeque sauce has resulted in each region of the United States developing their own regional favorites. Here are some of them listed alphabetically;
You probably have access to hundreds of barbeque sauces to choose from in your local stores. There are thousands of good barbeque sauce recipes. Hence, I am not going to give any recipes here. My suggestion is google your favorite type of barbeque sauce and gets idea of recipe by looking at few. Alternatively, you can always buy a standard barbeque sauce and change its flavor to suit your palette by adding one (or more) of the following;
Posted in: Food | Tags: Alabama barbeque sauce, Barbecue Sauce, base ingredients barbeque sauce, customize barbecue sauce, East Carolina barbeque sauce, Hawaiian barbeque sauce, Kansas City barbeque sauce, South Carolina barbeque sauce, Tennessee barbecue sauce, Texas barbecue sauce
Tomatoes are one of my favorite fruits/vegetables*. In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have become popular in farmers market. Heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated variety (cultivar). Open pollination means that the tomatoes are pollinated using natural pollination by insects, birds, or wind, and were harvested in a traditional manner — the way we used to grow food before its modern mass production using commercial agriculture.
Nearly every tomato vendor in farmers market offer sampling of some of their heirloom variety, often with a dash of salt.
All you need is fresh tomatoes in season to make a healthy and flavorful salad. I chose six cultivars of heirloom tomatoes from my local farmers market. They were; Black Prince, Chereokee Purple, Green Zebra, Kellogs Breakfast, Rose, and Sweet Tangerine.
My heirloom tomatoes came from two local farms, Potomac Vegetable Farms and Wheatland Vegetable Farms. Even very similar looking tomatoes could have drastically different flavors. The pineapple color kellogs breakfast had sour taste but similar looking sweet tangerine was full of sweetness.
I paid attention to get an array of flavors and color. In tomato salad, I tried to balance different flavors, such as sourness of green zebra and black prince were balanced by dark red chereokee purple and rose.
My recipe of simple tomato salad consisted of chopping the tomatoes and lightly salting them.
I didn’t add any other ingredients because I wanted a light tomato salad that would allow me to enjoy the natural flavors of tomatoes. You can change this basic tomato salad by adding a few more additional ingredients. Some of the examples are;
Enjoy the fresh heirloom tomatoes when they are in season!
* Culinarily speaking, tomato is a vegetable and botanically, it’s a fruit because it contains ovaries of plant with its seed.
Posted in: Food | Tags: Black Prince Tomatoes, Chereokee Purple Tomatoes, Green Zebra Tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, Kellogs Breakfast Tomatoes, Potomac Vegetable Farms, Rose Tomatoes, Sweet Tangerine Tomatoes, Wheatland Vegetable Farms
Out of sense of adventure and to quell my curiosity, I picked a can of Goya black beans 10 years ago. Since it had just two ingredients, black beans and salt, I cautiously tasted the frijoles negros right out of the can to determine spices and other aromatics to add. I was taken aback by its rich meaty mushroomy flavors and instantly fell in love with those minimally cooked black beans.
Canned black beans have been part of my staple diet since then. Often known as turtle beans or Cuban beans, these black beans are easy to make, tasty, cheap, and universally liked. You can eat it right out of the can; it’s relatively healthy, and can be served with enthusiasm to a few vegetarians friend I have. One of my favorite vegetarian meals is, rice and black beans served with fresh tomato salsa on side.
Black beans are kidney shaped shiny black colored beans found rarely outside its native United States, Mexico, Cuba and some parts of Central America. Black beans are traditional staple diet in those regions, where it is served as a side dish as well as in burritos, enchiladas, soups, and salads.
During my last trip to a grocery store while I was mindlessly putting cans of Goya black beans in my shopping cart, I noticed bags of dried black beans. How difficult would it be to make these dried black beans? I can custom cook my black beans and add my own culinary signature to it. So I decided to buy a bag of dry black bean and a can of black bean for comparison.
This is how I cooked dried black beans.
Look over the dried black beans to find any foreign substances such as small stones. Wash them.
Soak overnight 1 part black bean to 3 parts filtered water. You will find by next day, black beans will expand at least twice the initial volume and the water will be dark. Usually, 1 cup of dried black beans yields 2.5 cups of cooked black beans.
Throw or keep the excess water?
Beans consist of complex carbohydrates that humans digestive enzyme can’t convert to absorbable sugars, and are passed on to the lower intestine, where the resident bacteria digest them by producing carbon dioxide, which leads to the embarrassing bean related flatulence.
The soaked water contains some of these water soluble carbohydrates. Thus, throwing out the soaked water will help making beans less flatulence prone. For the same reason, Goya also recommends discarding the soaking water. However, the soaked water also contains vitamins, minerals, colorful antioxidant and other nutrients. Instead of discarding soaked water to reduce flatulence, try cooking longer to break those complex carbohydrates or sprouting the beans so that germination consumes the complex carbohydrates.
Add 1 part bean to 2.5 parts water for cooking.
Cook uncovered in medium heat for ½ hour. Add about 1 teaspoon salt for every cup of soaked bean.
Black beans should be cooked by 45 minutes.
My taste comparison showed that canned black beans are softer, saltier, and lighter in color with smoky flavors. Goya canned beans may have got the smoky flavor by roasting or toasting its beans before cooking. The canned black beans may have looked lighter in color because Goya may have used usual method of reducing flatulence in beans by boiling them in excess water, throwing out the water and cooking again in the fresh water. Please note it often results in loss of natural nutrients.
Overall, I was happy with the taste of my homemade black beans and amazed by all small subtle customization I could do to make them healthier and tastier.
Posted in: Cooking - Food | Tags: bean flatulence, black beans, canned black beans, cuban beans, dried black beans, Goya black beans, Mexican food, turtle beans
The one thing I wanted my cousin M’sha to get me from Nepal was Jimbu (or jhiku-cha). (Update: Jimbu is now available on Amazon: Buy Jimbu Online). According to a thesis on Jimbu, it is actually two species of perennial Allium herbs (from family of onions), Allium hypsistum and Allium przewalskianum. They grow in harsh dry and arid climates like that of Mustang, where the use of Jimbu as a spice may have started. The stalks of Jimbu plants are sundried and stored for use as a spice. While cooking, stalks of dried Jimbu are fried in ghee, to bring out their flavors, and then added to a dish. In Mustang, it is used to spice vegetables, lentils, pickles, and even meat. In rest of Nepal, it is commonly used to flavor a type of lentil, split urad dal. Interestingly, urad dal’s scientific name is Vigna mungo (no kidding!) and it is more commonly known as Kalo or Kali (black) dal.
Posted in: Cooking - Food | Tags: Allium hypsistum, Allium przewalskianum, Dal, Dried onion leaves, Jhiku cha Newari, Jimbhu, Jimbu, Jimbu Daal, Jimbu herb, Jimbu Nepal, Urad Dal