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Spicy Summer Salsa with Canary Melon

Last weekend at the Farmers Market I was given a canary melon, and I will be honest with you, even though I am a chef, I have never tasted it. So I was really curious about that melon I haven’t eaten before; I was curious about the texture, flavor, and health benefits of it. I got to work to see how I could incorporate this new ingredient into my menu for the week. I really like the idea of mixing sweet and spicy so I decided to make a spicy melon salsa to top my flaky pan seared blackened cod. I really enjoyed the way the sweetness of the melon played off of the spice from the Serrano pepper in the salsa and the melon had a fresh, cooling effect next to the piquant blackened cod!

Here are the highlights that I found out about the melon:
  • The name comes from its bright yellow color, which resembles that of the Canary Islands. You will find that this melon is often marketed as the Juan Canary melon and can be found in various sizes and shapes. This melon is commonly found in parts of Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Morocco.
  • Canary melons are an excellent source of fiber, with 10 grams per 1/2-cup serving.
  • Canary melons are high in vitamin C, meeting 50 percent of the daily value.
  • In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, canary melons are also rich in vitamin A. A 1/2-cup serving meets 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin A. You need adequate intake of vitamin A for eye health.

It’s amazing all the cool ingredients that you can find at your local farmers market to create a seasonal meal. With a little bit more research, you can find out the fun facts about that specific ingredient and be surprised of all the natural ways you are nourishing your body by just eating what’s in season.

I challenge you this month to go to your local farmer market and create at least one meal a week with your local seasonal ingredients.

 

Keep your vegetable scraps to make stock!

Hello everyone,
I hope you are having a wonderful month of July.
This week I want to share with you a basic kitchen tip that I do in my house and saves me money, and helps me avoid  wasting food.
Most of the times when we cook, we use basic ingredients as onion, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic, shallots, tomatoes just to mention a few. Normally, when we peel a carrot, onion or garlic the skin ends up in the trash. Right? Well it doesn’t have to because I’ll share a tip that makes good use out of those little pieces of flavor gold!

After you read this (or right now if you are on your phone)  grab a gallon Ziploc bag and write “Stock” with a Sharpe permanent marker and keep that Ziploc bag it in the freezer. Now every single time you uses vegetables while cooking put your scraps that Ziploc bag.

 

When the Ziploc bag has reached its maximum capacity you can make a vegetable stock!

If you want to take your veggie stock to the next level, then read on. I normally buy a whole chicken and break it down for two different meals. So I keep the carcass in a separate Ziploc bag for making chicken stock as well. Just place the bones and the veggies in a stock pot, cover with water and simmer on low for a few hours. If you don’t have chicken bones just simmer the veggies. You won’t be disappointed. I have a stock recipe below for you but don’t overthink the ratios, a bag of your scraps will produce a more delicious stock then what you can buy on aisle 3 😉

Chicken stock nutritional benefits

Chicken stock is rich in nutrients that support a healthy digestion. Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus,  and others. Chicken stock or broth can also boost your immune system. There’s a reason that chicken soups are recommended by you grandmother when you’re feeling under the weather because bone broths are nutrient-dense, rich in flavor and they boost the healing process, now you know grandma its right ;). You can easily incorporate chicken stock instead of water in soups, rice, and stews.

Chicken stock is rich in flavors, nutrients that support healthy digestion, and boost your immune system.

So what’s yuca and how can I use it?

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I grow up eating yuca most of the time during my childhood. In Panama, yuca grows all year round and is very accessible. yuca its so delicious and it gives you the opportunity to be creative due to their mild flavor. I have to be honest with you I’m Panamanian so I love fried food and my favorite is yuca fries. If you are going to give yuca a try for the first time you won’t be disappointed with yuca fries.

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What is yuca?

Yuca,  is pronounced YOO-ka and is also referred to as Cassava. The starchy flesh of the Yuca root is a light white or cream color with a grainy texture similar to potatoes. The meaty flesh is mild, sweet flavor that has a somewhat nutty taste.

Yuca nutrition value:

This starchy tuber is high in calcium, dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C. Yuca has relatively no protein, but does contain high levels of essential fatty acids and twice the calories of potatoes.  Yuca root is gluten-free and the starch made from it is easily digested by anyone with dietary sensitivities.

How to peel the root?

Don’t let the yuca intimidate you, I remember the face of my lovely husband when he saw the yuca root for the first time. He looked like he was in front of something that came from out of space 🙂 but cleaning and cutting the yuca is actually very simple.

cut both pointy ends of the yuca.
then cut the yuca in half.
start peeling the skin off don’t be scare the yuca skin it’s very thick.

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*please just make sure you have a very Sharpe knife for this work.

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In a large pot cover the yuca with water, add salt and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook about 15 to 20 minutes or until is tender.Remove the yuca from the water an

 

Thai Iced Tea for The Summer Thirst

HELLO Summer!

Since summer has officially started, it’s been hot around here, BUT that’s all right because I started to see it as a great opportunity to go swimming a little more and make some more delicious summer drinks.

So today I want to share with you this delicious iced tea recipe that will refresh you during those hot days and at the same time will impress your family and friends.

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Black tea leaves 

I normally use Tazo organic black tea and heavy cream in my recipe but you can go with half & half, sweet condensed milk, vanilla almond milk or coconut milk. 😉

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Buen Provecho,

Chef Daisy

Lavender and their Culinary benefits

This weekend I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Lavender Festival in Blanco, Texas for my birthday. It was like a dream come true 🙂 I got try lavender cookies paired with a glass of lavender lemonade, so refreshing. One of the vendors even offered a special cocktail drink made with lavender and of course it was delicious! I fell in love with lavender awhile ago, when my therapist recommended for me to use lavender spray as part of a calming exercise. I was going though a lot of anxiety, depression and insomnia at the time and since I always like to try the natural holistic options over medicine, it seemed like a good option.

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So I started buying lavender essential oil spray and sprayed it on about anything in our home, like the bed before going to sleep, as a body spray after a shower etc. BUT WAIT THAT’S NOT ALL… what about using lavender in food?

Did someone said food? Of course, I’m a big big fan of coffee so now I make lavender latte about every morning. I also found using lavender in chicken or pork can make a tremendously delicious main course but don’t forget to pair it with a glass of lavender lemonade! For after dinner or anytime for those with a sweet tooth you must try lavender bread,  I absolutely love it and it would go great right along side a scoop of creamy honey lavender ice cream.

So what are the benefits of using culinary Lavender?

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Relaxing effects

You may have heard that breathing in the smell of lavender makes you drowsy; turns out, it’s true. Research shows the scent lowers heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a relaxed state.

But note: “Lavender himself  isn’t a game-changer unless you practice other sleep-promoting habits,” says Joseph Ojile, MD, founder of Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis. Start to avoid caffeine 10 hours before bed, keep gadgets silent, and turn in at the same time every night.

Bust bloating

Bloating and poor digestion can result from an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria (which can happen when you take antibiotics). “The polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in lavender can help reduce the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For its de-puff perks, sprinkle dried culinary lavender onto Greek yogurt (also gut friendly).

Reduce Anxiety and Stress

There are a number of methods to use lavender to anxiety and stress. The natural organic compounds in the leaves and flowers of lavender can be ground between the fingers and then rubbed into the temples. This topical application can soothe the body and mind, relieving anxious thoughts and balancing out mood. Aside from this topical application of the flowers themselves, you can also brew lavender tea and achieve much the same effect. The antioxidant components of lavender can impact the endocrine system of the body to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body.

With all this been said now you have some reasons to incorporate a new herb to your diet and cooking routine. Start enjoying the awesome benefits of lavender in your life!

Bon appetite

Chef Daisy

 

References:

Health.com

organicfats.net