The Tree Tomato: Tamarillo

Last week I was shown a small egg-shaped fruit that had a bitter soury taste. At the first glance, I didn’t know what it is. I ate it with the skin on, that was hard and bitter along with it’s loads of inner seeds. As I searched to know what is this fruit, I was amazed by the information I got and all the delicoius recipes used with it.

What’s Tamarillo?

A fruit originally from South America. An egg-shaped edible fruit, also known as the tree tomato or Dutch eggplant; the color varies from yellow, orange to red and purple. The taste is “sweet and sour” varying between tomatoes and cherries.

Tamarillos are and excellent source of Vit A, Vit C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium. When ripe, they are usually eaten raw with a sprinkle of either salt or sugar. Yet, it’s widley used for cooking purposes, in purees, flavored yoghurts, ice cream and drinks. On the other hand it can replace tomatoes; it’s cooked in the same way and accompanies meat, chicken and fish. Moroever, it’s also cooked into jams.

For delicious recipes check out Pan Fried Salmon with Tamarillo Salas via Fuss Free Cooking and Chicken Tamarillo via the Food Network.

Reference:

Book: The Visual Food Lover’s Guide

Avocado, Benefits and Instant Recipes

Avocado

Avocado is a fruit rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids MUFA “Oleic acid” the good fats that help decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (the good cholesterol).

Despite it’s a fruit, it’s always categorized within the fats group due to the high content of the monounsaturated fats. It’s also a rich source of:
– Antioxidants (protect against arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, aging etc.)
– Vitamins E
– Vitamin C
– beta-carotene
– Potassium
– Protein
– Dietary Fiber

The misconception of “Avocado” is bad and fattening is not actually correct, Avocado as seen above is a rich nutritious food item with several nutritious health benefits, yet always remember, everything in moderation (Check out the references for more details regarding Avocado and weight loss).

Food Ideas
We will be demonstrating a couple of simple, fast and easy salty and sugary recipes that are made from an Avocado Base accompanied with Labneh.

The Salty Ingredients

The Sugary Ingredients

Base
Avocado + Labneh

Salty Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

Garnish
Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

A great Dip with some raw fresh vegetables, tortilla chips and a great Spread for Sandwiches

Sugary Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Honey + Walnuts

Garnish
Walnuts

A great Spread for a lovely mini pass-around healthy dessert

For all vegetarians, lactose intolerant, non-dairy consuming individuals; instead of Labneh you can use our famous “Hommos” base (boiled mashed smooth hommos, without any added ingredient).

Sa7tein :):)

Photo Courtesy: Strawberry Blu

Related References

http://www.livestrong.com/article/310714-is-avocado-good-for-your-health/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262
http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_76_1992/CAS_1992_123.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2009/jun-05b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

EGGPLANT… Does it contain High Concentrations of NICOTINE?

Eggplant, also known as Aubergine, is a vegetable found in several shapes, sizes and colors. It’s widely used in cooking: baked, stewed, roasted, stuffed or fried.

For example, it’s used to make (in the Lebanese Cuisine):
-Baba Ghannouj: roasted eggplant w tahina
-Shaykhil Mihshee: fried eggplant stuffed with minced meat and tomato
-Mousakaa: vegetarian style, fried eggplant with chickpeas and tomato sauce
-Makdous. stuffed eggplant pickles with walnuts and red pepper

Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, and folic acid. It’s rich in antioxidants and free-radical scavengers thus help in decreasing cholesterol. It’s also good for diabetic patients where it helps the absorption of glucose into the body and lowers blood pressure.

As for the Nicotine content; yes eggplant does contain nicotine. Yet, the amount of nicotine within the eggplant is NEGLIGIBLE (0.01 mg nicotine per 100g eggplant). That means to have an adverse health effect from the nicotine in the eggplant one needs to consume more than 10 to 12 large eggplants (more than a kilogram) every single day, which in normal cases does not happen.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine 100g of eggplant contains 0.01mg of nicotine thus, 10kg of eggplant is equivalent to 1 cigarette, therefore eggplant nicotine no negative effect.

In conclusion, always remember the dose makes the poison. Everything we eat can be transformed into a remedy or changed into a toxic substance depending on exposure, thus everything should be consumed in moderation, within the acceptable daily intake levels.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199308053290619

Artichoke Overview and Health Benefits

Overview

Artichoke is the unopened flower of a Thistle (a flowering plant characterized by leaves of sharp tips).
Artichoke is well known in the Mediterranean region.
In Lebanon, it is widely served as a cold “mezza” (Lebanese cold appetizers) with Lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing. The Artichoke hearts can be processed into pickles, or cooked (Meat and Artichoke Stew or with white sauce or with tahina: sesame paste).

Health Benefits

– Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)
– Contains “inulin” a carbohydrate that stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
– Improves liver functioning
– Relief Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms
– Helps improve digestive problem such as dyspepsia and helps the digestion process
– Reduce risk of cancer (ex. Breast cancer)

How?

Artichoke is an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese. Moreover, it contains compounds that help the flow of bile from the gallbladder (bile is essential for cholesterol regulation, liver and digestive functioning).

Sumac and Lebanese Cuisine

Sumac is the berries of a shrub that mainly grows in the Mediterranean area. It is well known in all regions and harvested from almost all the mountains of Lebanon.

The sumac hangs on the branches of the shrub as clusters of dark red balls.

Sumac is harvested during the month of August, they are harvested during this season and then they are sun dried, the drying process can take several days up to weeks, when the sumac is completely dried; it is then grounded into a coarse powder. The main purpose of drying the sumac is to be able to use it during winter times.

The grounded sumac has a strong astringent acidic taste, where it’s used as a seasoning and a souring flavouring agent in the Lebanese cuisine, mainly in the “meza”. For example, the traditional Lebanese salad “fattouch” is characteristically served with sumac sprinkled on top. Traditionally, it was used with fried eggs, kabab, in stuffing { Fatayer ex. Fatayer Sulik}, and the famous Lebanese thyme mankoushe, others also add it to the tabboule salad.

Moreover, it is can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in salad dressing, and can also be added to meat and chicken marinades.

Sumac has considerable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, some antioxidants (such as Tanin), and around 140Kcal per 100g. Some say it’s used as a herbal remedy for urinary disorders (yet I still don’t have any scientific evidence).

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