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v. gautam

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  1. Toddy palm is the second one I mention, Borassus flabellifer, also known as the palmyrah palm. Native from the Bahr el Ghazl in southern Libya right up to the islands of the Indonesian archipelago and even flooded areas of Cambodia, this palm survives extreme conditions of drought and seasonal waterlogging. The Thai canned toddy palm fruit is supremely disgusting, and in no way represents the truly ambrosial quality that this species presents EITHER in its very immature stages OR in its ripened, luscious yellow pulpy form. They have harvested the intermediate stage that is neither fish nor fowl but gummy horror! You may go to the links below for more discussions, photographs and avant-garde coolers etc. made with the very young fruit. The toddy palm's flower bud is tapped destructively, i.e. the entire unopened flower bud that looks like a giant fat sword is nicked at its distal end and the immature floral parts are carefully injured over weeks to induce phloem sap to exude from the cut. This palm continues to flower each year over its long life of over 5-7 decades, having reached full bearing capacity only in its 30th year. The other very important palm in Thailand & Southeast Asia whose sap is freely mixed in with the toddy palm [hence my caution about many Asian products being pure but not genuine] isthe Arenga saccharifera. This is a monocarpic palm, flowering a single time at the end of a long growth period, many decades. Again, the enormous flower bud is tapped, and continues to produce sap for up to a decade, when the whole palm dies a natural death, just like the sago palm does. Why I mention this, is because much of the palm sugar, and the GULA JAWA [derived from the Sanskrit GUDA, jaggery] often are an admixture of arenga and toddy/palmyra jaggeries. The former is pale, sweet, sticky and almost without a distinct character of its own [not that palmyra jaggery is any magical stuff either, but a little bit more interesting.] The rock candy prepared from palmyra, though, highly prized. The sugar date palm i mention is distinct from the two above. It is smewhat more subtropical in origin & very closely related to the Phoenix dactylifera, the familiar date; so much so that it forms natural hybrids with that species where the two meet, in Pakistan. They differ in scant genetic details, and it my life goal to get the genome of this palm elucidated along with the date genome work already under way at the USDA. I have spent more than 25 years explaining and demonstrating the strategic value of this palm, even to this county and am happy to prove my point with extreme rigor to anyone. Sugarcane in the wrong place, force to perform in roles it was never meant to handle, is one of the greatest socio-economic hazards seen by mankind. When we worry about the Taliban & Pakistan today, and send billions there, we do not remember the insidious role played by basmati rice & sugarcane in an arid land, grown by sharecroppers faced with continuously declining terms of trade. Khuzistan in Iran, another cane area wracked with problems, the Ganga Plain of India convulsed with frank peasant insurgency which by the government's own admission involves 350 million people, greater than the populations of Bangladesh & Pakistan combined!! Misguided & compulsive use of cane is behind a great deal of this misery, to say nothing of environmental degradation. An American scholar wrote a study aptly titled "Raising Cane", but no lessons are being learned. Even worldwide, e.g. Argentina, Australia & South Africa their huge scope for the sugar date in the respective sugar industries. The 2 sugar palms, date & toddy, have nurtured entire civilizations & economies in many parts of Asia: the South Indian, especially the TAMIL culture, civilization and kingdom emerged & flourished in an arid land BECAUSE they had a BACKBONE of the Toddy Palm. This was acknowledged in so many words in the literature of the region. The great kingdoms of Northern Burma another harsh & arid zone were dependent on this palm. Several Indonesian Islands use the toddy palm sap as their staple carbohydrate source: they are too dry for any other crops. Fish & sap used to be the food of the inhabitants! Things may hve changed. The civilization of Bengal developed on the back of the sugar date palm. Panini, the great grammarian, several centuries before the Common Era, notes that the name for Bengal, Gauda, is derived from Guda, jaggery, which at this period was almost purely date palm sugar. But I need to stop here!!! I do wish though, I could have prepared for you fritters from the ripe palmyra pulp; another very simple preparation where the ripe pulp is gelled with the tiniest hint of slaked lime, having mixed in a hint of fresh grated coconut, and seen you enjoy the delicate young fruit. http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...=9757#entry9757 #56 showing immature toddy palm fruit being cut to release seeds http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...-t60.html&st=40 #44, the very young fruit in a cooler w/lemon grass & basil http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...&st=20&start=20 #25, in a dessert with mango cubes
  2. VM, With respect to wok cooking, a high wattage induction cooktop, be it flat or wok-shaped, like the two Cooktek models http://www.cooktek.com/products/ApogeeFS_1HOBspecs_E.pdf 3.5kW 220V, 1.8kW 110V drop-in/portable are sufficiently powerful for all domestic wok cooking in 14 inch woks. Please do not get carried away by the absurd mystique of wok hei. I have cooked professionally for years, and that gimmick is for the restaurant, not for the home. The induction surface does not cause as great a temperature drop in wok cooking, and is most satisfactory, not pumping in a lot of waste heat into your home. Almost 85-90% of the electrical energy is converted to heat energy for cooking, where not more than a third of the gas energy is. You can create a drop-in slot, and move the rugged unit out or take it to catering events. Much safer too, without open flames. Extremely responsive, hair trigger. The high wattage is c. $1500. If you have a good ordinary range besides, you may have sufficient firepower for most purposes. The flat-top induction single hob is dual purpose. It services flat-bottomed carbon-steel woks, Demeyere footed woks [very good], and conventional cookware. As such, it may be more useful than the dedicated induction wok shape. A high quality 2 wok, all-SS steel range from Chinatown suppliers is about $500!! Not $ Five thousand but hundred. These are narrow, free-standing units, very convenient for the home cook. Whether they will be forthcoming with this price for you, that I cannot say.
  3. I am afraid that with respect kitchen appliances of the future, their technologies and their export and employment potential for our country, our large manufacturers [with a few bright exceptions] seem determined to emulate the Chrysler-GM model, rather than the Toyota-Honda one. If we compare the plethora of ideas [domino cooktops, and mix & match sets, varied wattages, flexibility tailored for the consumer e.g. NEFF cooktops & ranges] flooding Europe and Asia and compare them to the static, overpriced and ante-diluvian designs that completely rule the US market for ordinary consumers, how can we ever compete in a world that is moving ahead rapidly without us?
  4. Seems like I have made a sale! My enthusiastic recommendation has sold them quite a few for people who were redoing kitchens in hot Texas. Maybe I should get me a part-time dealership in Ithaca!!!!! Or a few kickbacks at least! lol.
  5. You must already have considered the Cooktek 3.5kW models. At low voltage [110V] they draw a large current [amperes], so you will need to make sure with professional advice that your entire house wiring with other appliances + concurrent usage will withstand that load + the attendant resistance/heating IR squared. If you are set up for 220-240V 3-phase current, which you sort of indicate you are not, the draw is much lower. Cooktek was hinting at 5kW models in the near future; please inquire. Those would be even better for your stated purpose. Seeing that you are a food writer, there is NO ethical flaw [in my opinion] in their SELLING you a model, including a wok model AT COST minus profit [NOT FREE, which THEN violates my ethical red line] for a frank assessment, say on eG. These models are $1500, but are both mobile & drop-in in kitchen designs. I prefer the analog over the digital. They are ruggedly constructed but I have a quibble over the MERE single year warranty for that price and the fact that they have no real competitor in the USA [to match exact product type & high wattage] to help moderate prices. The great advantage is that these Cookteks can be taken to catering venues, and run off an ordinary 110v 30 ampere circuit PROVIDED nothing else is plugged in as well. However, please DO NOT take my uninformed supposition on this important point and confirm it with the manufacturers. http://www.cooktek.com/products/ApogeeFS_1HOBspecs_E.pdf Their spec sheet indicates the 3.5kW to be available only in 220-240V, so I was quite wrong in my optimism. Stands to reason-- the current draw would be massive, over 1200 amperes, on 110V. No ordinary household wiring/circuit running other necessary functions would be set up to handle that sort of a load without tripping. Modern housing, however, should be constructed with induction and multiple electrical appliance use in mind. Simultaneous amperage draws of 5000-6000 is not too high to consider in a wired-up world, and a 220V 3-phase line should be available as a routine.
  6. Since all of you cherish great flavors, the esteemed Andiesenji in particular, I would urge you all to try the pure suagr date palm raw sugars and molasses. The ones available here are found in Bangladeshi groceries and I cannot vouch for their purity, and it is the high demand outstripping supply that leads to this adulteration. Date palm sugars are exquisite when prepared by an able artisan from a well-cultivated and properly tapped tree, all of which are now becoming rarer. That should not be, because the tree is so much more productive, i.e. more efficient than the sugar cane in Northern India, because the plant, unlike cane is tapped, not extracted by destructive harvest of the entire body as is cane. But returning to the molasses, the first harvest of the season is turned into a golden syrup similar to maple but ever so much flavorful. The later taps are cooked down into round cakes of something like super-rich maple sugar, with an intoxicating quality of its own. Smi-refined sugar uedto be produced and was and still ishighly esteeme for its special quality & taste. I can see it finding a huge market wherever turbinado now sells well. If any of you have friends living in -or going to- either Calcutta or Dhaka for their winter vacation, please persuade them to bring you the best quality NOLEN GOOR [the syrup] and PATALI GOOR [the solid cake]. Tell them to ensure thoroughly its purity and genuineness. Like Italian EVOO, something can be pure and yet not genuine; there are many little catches here!! They will NOT be offended. The Bangladeshi contingent should be told to go to Jessore/Jhenaidaha/Shailkupa/Jhikargacha area for the best quality product. Faridpur is the secondary center. This is not an imposition; they will feel very happy to show off some of the best products of their country. For those venturing into Los Angeles, I have heard about a sweet shop & small restaurant/grocery named ALADIN [sic] Aladin Sweets & Market, Inc. 139 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004 ph: 213-382-9592 fax: 213-736-1800 alt: 213-276-7854 AladinLA@yahoo.com. You could call them and ask if any is in stock and their honest evaluation of its quality. The best way would be to visit with a Bangla speaker from Bangladesh.
  7. People who go in know they are getting food high in calories and fat. They are not being compelled to enter ANY restaurant, nor are they being asked to eat XYZ. That is the whole point that makes this suit nonsensical. People in this country are both literate and have the choice of numerous alternative food service establishments wherever they turn, making this type of legal nonsense a criminal waste of our precious and overburdened justice system. I do not know if there are laws for Public Interest Litigation where any citizen may sue such groups on precisely public interest grounds for damaging the common weal, presumably the same grounds upon which they are attacking Denny's. Perhaps the many lawyers on eG can frame a collective countersuit! I am appalled at the NYC legislation barring shortening in fry oil. At most, they coud have required a sign declaring its presence, and let consumers decide. Such legislation will not achieve the desired target of making people healthier but it is a very disurbing precedent when government bodies legislate on what fat private business may use. Now, will they stand over your shoulder with measuring spoons? White Castle type of hamburger places makes small sized portions, but there is nothing to prevent someone from eating 50 sliders or a whole large pizza or stuff themselves at an all-you can eat buffet. They will ingest a lot not compatible with their dietary needs but it is their choice. Insurance companies should have a policy that if individuals cannot demonstrate a willingnesss to lose weight or maintain certain guidelines, then certain types of care will be given only at a steep premium or not at all. That is where the Public Interest people should be training their guns on, the selfish consumer who has no conception of public interest. Why should an immature baby [the wilful consumer] dictate the terms on which a business must run? That goes against every principle on which this country was founded: responsibility for oneself and a fair deal for all. And by the way, people protest at salt, but a 20oz. bottle of cola has about 17.5 TEASPOONS of sugar, about 70 grams. The bottle says 2.5 servings, but really, people hold on to it like babies do with their comforters, until it is emptied over a longer or shorter period, i.e. all 70grams down the hatch, usually every day for those that consume such drinks. Powerade type drinks and fruit juice coctails are no less packed with sugar or its equivalent in empty calories. We don't see anyone [i.e. these saintly Knights] raising a fuss. Even PURE apple juice may have no added sugar/sucrose/corn syrup but is nevertheless a very damaging product if contains 19-25% natural sugars;ditto grape juice. [Natural does not mean "good" for a body where it is in excess or inappropriate. These juices, even fresh orange juice, carry such a high sugar load that they are conducive to the glycation of proteins in the body, especially in the eye, to say nothing about rest of the glucose physiology. We are built to process fruit, not juice.]
  8. Re: pork surimi, meat with fat homogenized [emulsified] with crushed ice in a food processor will make a base [the same process used to create texture for hot dogs, a pork, beef, turkey or chicken surimi]. Then you may choose to add quantities of flour and seasonings to your desire. You may experiment with egg white powder, which will give stuctural strength the sheets but they may toughen the mixture if above a certain proportion. Next comes the tricky part, of forming sheets about which I have no idea. I would guess chilling, and rolling out and shaping these: perhaps with a sushi mat and silicone baking sheet? Would they be steamed after this step or dry cooked or pan cooked with a water-oil spray? One would suppose the initial amount and types of fat [liquid crystal/membrane structure] of the initial mixture, plus the matrix stucture of the emulsion with regard to its fluidity and protein mix, and beginning and end temperatures while grinding [much like temperature control while mixing bread dough in industrial machines] would have some effects on the final results. I have no experience of Yan-pi; am merely re-constructing a logical chain, if that is of any help to you.
  9. Nakji, For the greens you mention, STOKES SEEDS, St. Catherine's, Ontario, has stocks. They are a large mailorder concern. And you may know of Kitazawa Seed of Oakland, California, who may advise you of Canadian sources of even more types of Japanese seeds.
  10. Baroness, How about CTC, or CTC+ Leaf in a pot? Would that pass your test? Leaf only may get pretty expensive [and most Americans might like a little more punch in their liquor] for a mid-price or lower end place. I found a nice tea pot design, 20 oz. that has a removable infusion cone built into it, around $17-20, still pretty high for a family restaurant in the mid-price range for upstate NY.. I have been involved with such a place and you would be amazed at what customers steal. We used to have fresh-made fruit pies [from scratch, excellent] sitting out in a nice display for people to help themselves. Folks would make off with pies. One woman even stuffed a pie into her handbag. You just look on aghast! Dry items like salt shakers, ashtrays etc, anything even a bit nice walk off. So a nice teapot will do too, and rich people have the same itchy fingers as the rest. Especially when things are very busy, when one is getting slammed. There is no sense in making a scene. It just upsets the other customers, who then do not come back. I would love to offer a tea menu and even a tea brunch & high tea with a tea service, but given both the quality of help one is forced to fall back on [at any price] and a certain percentage of people who traipse in, management problems begin to rise exponentially. There are very few places now that can count on $40-45/head, which would be the minimum where the careful service required even begins to break even with a limited choice of leaf & blends. Or, just a tea room, with at least $25-30/head andvery limited food, if there is to be sit-down facilities and a large tea selection. The cost of compliance with all the requirements for handicapped facilities and every other regulatory minutiae of a sit-down place makes full service a very expensive proposition. Outside NYC, or big cities, labor is very difficult to find & keep, but so is the customer base.
  11. After you gain confidence with the burner, you may choose to purchase a 14 foot metallized hose and a 0-30 psi pressure regulator that will fit in between the hose inlet and the burner body intake. Some might say this is overkill; others feel a measure of safety in having the gas tank as far away as possible from the flame, as is the regulation for food booths at outdoor farmer markets & such. There are times of stress and hurry when things may happen or overturn close to the burner, especially for an amateur chef handling flaming oil, for instance. So a little extra insurance in the shape of a hose that is less prone to damage and a greater distance may be something to consider. Your local propane dealership [full service] or Cajun fryer mail order places stock such things. A heavy duty wire mesh ring/collar to prevent wind/air movements from affecting the flame may be very useful, even important. It must be made to fit securely around the full circumference of any wok that you may be using and to bear its weight. Therefore, a metal sheet with holes punched in it will be better. This brings us to the types of woks you will be using and how securely they will be resting. The type of "fast stove'' burner that you got is just that, a naked burner, aluminum or copper/bronze. It requires to be nested within a superstructure for best results and maximum safety. You may want to decide what your cooking style is : with handled woks, pao style, as in Northern China and preferred in some Thai take-outs or the stationary, larger woks used by Cantones style restaurants. Go to GALA restaurant equipment supply & woks to see the varieties offered. For the PAO style, even a 14 inch would tax many home cooks, once the food weight is taken into account and an 18 inch Southern/fixe style wok should be the safe upper limit for these smaller burners without a supporting collar. Even that is pushing the limits way too much. Hot oil & hot food are very dangerous and deceptively heavy. Home cooks trying to achieve wok hei seldom realize how great the fire issues are (and how capable they are of hurting the cook & bystanders) without a specialized range hood, water taps and all the back ups available to a restaurant stove [not the least of which is a very experienced operator who does this 8 hours every day]. Even spattering of hot oil-water can spoil a party, when friends crowd around to watch. Childrens' eyes are at wok level! This might seem too upsetting to hear but it only takes a single accident. I have seen a host get very, very severely burnt by frying oil while entertaining: entertaining involves a range of mental & physical activities, DISTRACTIONS & pleasures NOT simultaneously conducive to serious wok cooking. What seems easy in the case of Thai street vendors, a certain type of omelette swirled from on high into hot oil or charred flat noodles for example, has taken years of constant, strenuous practice and painstaking mise en place. Not easily replicated on a pleasant occasion! Finally, you may notice oxidized materials builing up in the burner holes if the boy is aluminum. Even otherwise, it may be useful to check the body and holes for any encrusations or obstructions over time.
  12. David, You are very lucky to be in NYC where you enjoy the pleasure of looking at, perhaps even smelling, talking about, tea, before finally making a purchase. The large turnover, and the presence of a Chinese staff probably ensure fresh leaves. Most of America cannot dream of what you have, although reasonably good coffee may be had. Therefore, mail-order remains the only recourse, and the internet has been a boon here. Following the late Laurie Colwin of Gourmet magazine, I once drove up to northern Connecticut where a delightful lady from England and her partner had created a shop serving "tea", although not quite on the traditional English pattern. But good nonetheless, and with charming manners. I remember asking for their signature Tomato Pie, a favorite of Ms. Colwin's, and apparently derived from a Little League recipe. From that time on, I became somewhat aware of a growing subculture, as it were [and I do not have quite the right words to desribe this phenomenon] of a small number of British expatriates opening such "tea shops'' in the New England area. Then I had the good fortune to chance [sheer serendipity] on another such near Tarrytown, once upon a time very much on my way from New Haven. White Plains to NYC. Since I come fom West Bengal where Darjeeling is located and had grown up with an uncle who was a profssional tea taster with an amazing palate and nose that I cannot even imagine approaching, I became qute excited upon discovering this place to tbe the lair of Makaibari teas. It sells a great many other teas, from China, Nepal, Africa, other parts of India, and many styles, but for me, the exciting thing was to discover the owner to be the sister in law of the Planter, aka Resident Deity, Makaibari Estate in Darjeeling. This place is like one of those special patches of Burgundy that produces famous vintages year after year. Their Silver Tips has been auctioned for some of the highest prices in the world, an this Tea Shop in Tarrytown bears that name. It is the sole distributor of Makaibari Teas in the US, and a mailorder vendor, plus a retail tea store and a grand tea shop. I am bemused that so-called experts have failed to mentioned the place in their 10 [or is it 20 best Tea Shops of America]. I urge you to visit one day with your wife & friends and form your own opinion. The reason why I have become such a self-motivated advocate for this mail-order vendor is the quality, the prices , the value for money, and the extremely gracious behavior o the owner. When I see top quality teas in the $22-24/lb range, and again in the $34-45/lb range here whose equivalents are sold or at least twice or thrice that EVERYWHERE ELSE in the USA & Canada that I have looked, I begin to wonder why? All Makaibari teas sold in America originate from this distributor. Therefore, Ms. Anupa Mueller always has the freshest stock, as far as an individual customer is concerned. A freshly opened tea chest is an exprience not to be missed. Teas from such is the next best. Perhaps I am quite unable to understand or taste INDIAN black teas, specifically Darjeeling, to which I shall gladly admit. Or something else is going on. Anyway, I have no idea on what basis the "expert" formulated his list of BEST TEA SHOPS in America, but I regret that I have crossed him off my list of experts for good. Since I am merely a satisfied customer, with the tiniest bit of regional pride about Darjeeling tea produced in a socially enlightened manner, I have no qualms about recommending the Silver Tips Tea Store http://www.silvertipstea.com/fusionecommerce/browse/ DO try it once in person, and experience what excellent FRESH Darjeeling is all about. Brew it very light, and enjoy the floral bouquet in delicate porcelain cups that are almost transparent.
  13. Docsconz, We are almost into the NY/PA peach season, undoutedly delayed by cool weather, perhaps diluted in Total Soluble Solids by rain, but one never knows. I urge you to try the PA peaches. Insist upon them by variety name and provenance [PA, NOT NY or CAN], look for sunward fruit. The folowing will ripen in rough sequence, and there are the reliable Red Haven and Elberta; also HARKEN from Canada is one to watch out for. PF-1 Flamin’ Fury July 12 Ruby Prince Coral Star Regarding the softness of ripe peach/nectarine discussed upthread, there may be SOME truth to that especially with many traditional WHITE fleshed varieties BUT that is not the whole truth. Some Chinese breeding lines, FEICHENG in particular, offer exceptional flavor with relative firmness. How well-grown a fruit is, and whether such varieties have commercial traction are separate issues. Sometimes varieties are NOT grown on commercial scales for reasons that have little to do with their appropriateness to commercial horticulture. There are many imponderables affecting this. Among them is the fact that orchards do not start out with the intention of serving niche markets, at least the ones big enough to do mail order. There are the very little ones who do specialize and sell very locally, and the very large concerns & cooperatives. The ones in-between do not have the luxury of risking their all to variable fashions/trends and stay close to product that can be marketed through normal channels if the need arises. I know substantial artisanal orchards who have had to convert their Ashmead's Kernel apples to ordinary cider for lack of sales and massive crops of Rhode Island Greenings sold for pennies as low-grade commercials since they became lightly russetted by hail or mineral oil spray [different places]. Russetting actually improved their organoleptic qualities, but their fashionista, organic-minded customers deserted them in droves. So much for knowledgeable foodies!! Speaking of flavor with firmness: the ill-named STONY HARD gene, which is nothing like that. It merely suppresses the usual climacteric pattern of ripening where the fruit produces a peak of ethylene that regulates a host of processes including softening and cell wall breakdown. The fruit remains firmer for 3 more days, before softening. Total sugars are not affected and Dr. Joe Goffreda, Peach & Apricot breeder at Cream Ridge, NJ [Rutgers/NJAES] has crossed this trait into Jefferson & Jing Yu, two parents with excellent flavor, among others. Ten years ago, the offspring from his research were not high-yielding enough or enough disease resistant re: particular pathogens for commercial culture. However, those who make blanket statements about what stone fruit may or may not be shipped without flavor loss may themselves be quite unaware of breeding efforts going on today. I would urge them to taste the results of ZAIGER genetics, for Peach, Nectarine [white & yellow], and wide crosses, before making up their minds. And yes, these ALL are California grown, and no, I have nothing whatsoever to do with the stone fruit industry. I focus on root physiology/molecular genetics of legumes & membrane biochemistry!! Still, I need to defend the honor of fellow plant scientists on occasion!! All my very dear friends who WERE stone fruit breeders [cherries] are long retired!!
  14. Cheeko-san, Just to complete a line of thought begun in the last post to you: Regarding differing patches of sunlight received in summer vs autumn/winter and how your boxes are situated, a number of vining vegetables can make your gardening experience aesthetically pleasing & rewarding food-wise, while keeping it fairly"Japanesë". In fact, your boxes could share space with more than 1 type of species, two per box, or more if the box is larger, affording you extra delight & insurance against pests/disease. For example: Sword Bean (Canavalia ensiformis & spp): these resist bugs & pathogens more than most beans: Akanata Mame ; Shironata Mame --> Kitazawa Winged Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) #218 Oriental Melon (Cucumis melo) Ginkaku Hybrid Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) Akahana Fujimame #206 or Shirohana Fujimame #219 Yard Long Bean (Vigna sesquipedalis) Red Noodle #263 is a happy plant, and a single one occupying one corner of the box , the other corner holding the Tomato MEXICO MIDGET or TOMMY TOE is an excellent combination. Mexico Midget is not small in plant size but dimunitive in fruit ize, yet delicious. It is a type that has naturalized in Flrida, and is perennial, or nearly so, coming back from roots/crown if nipped by frost. [or you could replant a whole fruit somewhere else]. The same can be said about Tommy Toe. Although it has not yet gotten this type of foothold, it is a superb tomato and fuss-free. Sandhill Preservation Center carries these, along with Sara Galapagos, which is a more unruly plant. Hawaiian Cherry is also something to think about. http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/tomato.html The Sword bean & Hyacinth bean will grow strongly during the hot, humid summer & set fruit profusely when the peak heat is over. You can train them with streing to whereever you choose, and the flowers are decorative. The hyacinth bean flowers & leaves are edible. Sandhill Preservation Center also sells heirloom Sweet Potatoes. Just to give you an idea of types: Korean Purple: (Heirloom Variety) Early. Vining, dark green colored normal leaves, purple skin, white flesh, excellent yields, very sweet Japanese: Early. Large, semi-bush, green colored ivy leaf, pink-red skin, pale orange flesh, excellent yields Okinawan: Very late. Pale lavender skin, purple flesh, dry flesh. These are not recommended for people who do not live in a very hot climate. [ i.e. These are great for Florida] Purple: Early. Lots of vines, deep purple roots with purple flesh. [you can enjoy these leaves as an easy green vegatable, and the purple anthocyanin is supposd to be good for you like red cabbage] Violetta: (Heirloom Variety) Early. Vining, bright purple skin, white flesh, superbly sweet, above average yields. Heartogold: Early. Developed in 1947. Vigorous vines, huge yields of tan skinned, bright orange flesh potatoes. Hernandez: Mid-season. Vigorous vines, dark orange skin, dark orange flesh. Tends to be very moist when cooked, above average yields. Indiana Gold: (Heirloom Variety) Sent to us by Mark Jennete. A superb, golden skinned and orange fleshed, vigorous, yet tamed vines that set roots early. http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalo...t_potatoes.html
  15. NJFoodlover, A very warm welcome to eG. We hope you will stay in touch with this forum, and tell us how your tea explorations are unfolding. Plus we would love to hear from you anyway! Are you from the Northern half of Jersey? Hot dog heaven, Portuguege, Indian, Korean, Brazilian, wow.... we have nothing in Ithaca! Superb Ice Cream only in a place with 9 months of winter & 3 months of tough sledding I hear you folks have invented a snwich called a Fat Bast..d, which is french fries, and various other combinations of fried goodies slathered with a mayo-cream/hot sauce wrapped in a large pita. Sheer genius from the land of the fried Hot Dog, pepper & onion. Have you ever had one, or both? As THE BARONESS suggests! Are you anywhere near EDISON, NJ? That is a bit of India transplanted along a mile; even otherwise there are numerous "indian" groceries afflicting NJ. Lipton or Brooke Bond Red Label, the strongest kind, Cut Torn Curled [CTC tea] is about $5/lb. The GREEN LABEL DARJEELING of any of these companies is about $8/lb in a bigger shop. The Green is a color code that indicates to Indians Orthodox Tea or whole leaves just as Red is CTC. There is a Yellow too, but let us treat that as a RED for now. Mix half & half and you have a decent drinking tea, one most middle class Indians consume; at 1/8 or 1/10 the price you are paying per pound for bags that contain FANNINGS & DUST, the lowest grades. Incidentally, these grades happen to be just the type that release their essence & flavor soonest in hot water, even when enclosed in paper, as you might guess. They are not called fannings & dust without a reason!! Thereafter please consider buying an inexpensive infuser, a rigid spoon shaped one you can dip in a cup. I use none, but use a tiny saucepan with a lid, boil water, brew right in it, wait a couple of minutes, decant without a fuss & re-inuse in the same vessel. BTW, you can store 1/2 the tea in the freezer, if you have space. For <$15, you will gotten a 2lb mix of decent tea. You can buy smaller packs of the RED LABEL, and perhaps the GREEN LABEL, but I am not sure about the latter. So do not give up on LIPTON et al., provided it is the Indian version of the company. If you purchase dry mint from the bulk bin at the supermarket [Frontier Spice etc.], you can add a pinch, after you are almost done brewing and get a refreshing mint tea. Or grow a tiny mint patch/pot and add a sprig. When you feel like celebrating some day, below you will find 2 teas for $22/lb, excellent, one recommended by our esteemed Andiesenji upthread, whose taste one should cherish. The Nilgiri Tiger Hill. The second is my favorite. Each half pound is $12. If one cuts these with the GREEN LABEL DARJEELING, one can still get a very decent cup. People buy a bottle of wine or dinner for $12+. Even at fast food places a burger & fries often add up to $4-5. So a lb of tea for many, many cups costing $22-24 is a great bargain. Try these and you will not be unhappy. Go lower, and some good bargains are mentioned upthread. Prices greatly exceeding this benchmark confuse me. Organic Makaibari Estate Autumnal 2008- Fair Trade Certified - 16 oz. 1130-16 $22.00 Tiger Hill Estate OP - 16 oz. 1200-16 $22.00 Tiger Hill Estate OP - 8 oz.1200-8 $11.85 http://www.silvertipstea.com/fusionecommerce/browse/ BTW, it has been claimed that the chemicals in black tea liquor, drunk without milk, have a beneficial effect upon cardiovascular health. Happy Brewing.
  16. Richard, You mentioned drinking a SECOND flush Makaibari, referring to the discussions here which mainly centred around the AUTUMN flush, a later picking. I may be wrong on both counts, though! What did you think about the second flush, and the Sri Lanka & Assams, compared, strengths & weaknesses, according to your taste? Did you re-infuse & did you use milk with any? I generally can appreciate the taste & bouquet better only when the tannins are 1/5 the suggested level, so I brew a very weak liquor compared to the prevailing British or Indian standards and hesitate using milk, at least for any Darjeeling i.e. China derived species. I found a curious thing and don't know if others have noticed this: for me Stevia utterly destroys any flavor, from tea & coffee to strawberries, in hot or cold liquids. It completely kills anything worth tasting, leaving a wasteland in its wake. I was unpleasantly surprised with my first experience of Stevia sweetener; perhaps this is just my own peculiarity?
  17. Edwardsboi, Sorry for joining in so late in this thread, when the answers to you question is moot; but maybe for next year? What you asked has a number of variables: A. WHERE you garden: lngth of your growing season: in the northern tier, you will need to keep lrge toamato plants below 5 feet, trimming them off. Despite MUCH hoopla, you may find yourself very very well served sarting off with maageable cherry tomatoes and some determinate or well-behaved F1 hybrids. Get a feel for your gardening space and conditions, your likes & dislikes, ad then move on to various other types. Attention to POTTING MEDIUM and care will create satisfying flavor, NOT vaiety choice alone. Even EARLY GIRL, maligned by the supercilious ignorant, is capable of putting out superb fruit in capable hands. Type of tomato chosen: 1. Indeterminate "heirloom" types with very large plants : Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Kelloggs Bkfst etc. Yields not very large in smaller containers in short season areas Indeterminate heirloom types that are tasty but manageable in 5-7 gallon containers: STUPICE, good strain from Sandhill Preservation Center. Ditto PALLA A FUOCCO. Stupice yields are fine. Indeterminates with short internodes Determinate: the plant terminates in fruit cluster after a certain number have formed. The plant remains relatively short and amenable to 5, 7, 10 gallon pots & grow bags [Peaceful Valley Supplies] Bush Beefsteak, Bush Whopper, http://www.tomatogrowers.com/early.htm will give you many ideas for early sorts; a few main crop suggestions for slicers: Bush Champion VFFA Hybrid #2768 Tomande VFFNT Hybrid #3460 Margo VFFT Hybrid #3095 Martino's Roma #6809 great paste & fresh, an heirloom introduced by a friend Momotaro #514 not compact, manageable. Indian Stripes not compact, an interesting Cherokee Purple, higher yielding in pots. Sungold F1 not doterminate but very manageable, yields well & early in containers. Sweet Baby Girl Hybrid #6233 compact & and as above Size and type of pot : Note that i am not an advocate for any brand. I am merely offering you ideas feasible or the gardener who wants to grow 2-8 tomatoes without too much of a hassle. Well-grown plants can yield more than 60lbs a piece, but 40lbs/plant feasible for many varieties in a 15 gal pot. Pot Gal Size VolCu.Yds VoCu Ft #1 0.005 0.13 #2 0.010 0.26 #3 0.015 0.39 #5 0.025 0.69 #7 0.035 0.94 #10 0.054 1.45 #15 0.079 2.14 #20 0.098 2.64 http://www.smartpots.com/how-much-mix-or-medium-do-i-need Type of medium: should be PROMIX brand outdoor MIX type plus a little sterilzed manure to start your hobby, NOT soil based but a POTTING MIX. This will absorb the right amount of water and depending on the size of the plant, either an ordinary cage + 3 six fet thin bamboo canes sold in garden stores for about $2 will handle most well-behaved tomatoes such as many hybrids, many cherries, many bush types. Feed adequately but on the spare side with weak compost+ manure tea, alfalfa pellets [horse, not rabbit], fish emulsion etc. Lush growth can lead to branches breaking in container gardening no matter the type of support or cage used, subjected to wind gusts or sudden storms when heavy with fruit. The points where the branches are tied to the cages + canes etc. become pivots for the branches, and a lot of fruit can be damaged in a single afternoon's squall. Where the pot is situated : 1)subjected to winds: on porch, roof deck? open lawn? sudden storms can damage laden plants, topple plastic pots as cages intertwined by tomato vines behave like sails. 2) direction of sun: e.g. black plastic, west, late afternoon sun, uneven drying of medium, will create imbalances on loaded plant and type of cage used. Going with non-plastic alternatives like gro-bags or using wettable aprons on plastic in hot climates helps growth and sudden toppling over and breaking of stems that are very brittle when laden with fruit.
  18. You are correct: the konasu was not included among their collection of special Kyoto vegetables. So the Great Man created a play on the words Peach Boy, a wonderful "horticultural conceit" (in the literature sense of the term)! Sakata has EGGPLANT GREEN GODDESS & OKRA GREEN PENTA, older varieties but most deserving. This group : Kaori Kikuchi, Ichiro Hondaa, Satoshi Matsuoa, Machiko Fukudaa and Takeo Saitoa Molecular Genetics and Physiology Research Team, National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 360 Kusawa, Ano, Tsu, Mie 514-2392, Japan is developing PARTHENOCARPIC eggplant, that set fruit without pollination, give higher yield than similar European types and suit Japanese tastes. Without seeds, as in the oil-rich watermelon seed, more enegry can be partitioned to the "fruit", hence at least a third higher yield than seeded types. So i you were to write to them requesting a few experimental seeds of their AE-P03 line for your son to do a small science cum gardening project, they should oblige. Your honored father or his worthy grandson may one day be pleased with a surprise: I am sure horticulture depts. in Japan will have received and trialled these varieties Heukgoosul :a black table grape with improved KYOHO-like qualities National Horticultural Research Institute, Suwon 440-706, Korea Republic 'Heukboseok' ('Beniizu' x 'Kyoho'): It is recommended that it be pruned to 6 to 12-node canes, 2 to 4 nodes shorter than 'Kyoho' in winter season, because it is not as vigorous. This is great for smaller properties and along wires, not a huge pergola. [my notes added to theirs] Hyeon-Cheol Cha Email: hccha@anseo.dankook.ac.kr Department of Biology, Dankook University, 330-714 Cheonan, Korea
  19. Would be very interested to learn what your KYOHO SEEDLINGS are like. It would be really an amazing event to have KYOHO come true from seed! KYOHO Price: $ 6.95 http://www.baylaurelnursery.com/order/clic...=Grapes_-_Table
  20. Dear H-san, I tried to ascertain your watermelon situation. My thoughts on this issue is this: most watermelons require pollination, which the unwoven fabric will hinder--flying pollinators, although there are other ground beetles of lesser efficacy which it will not. The bigger concern is the tradeoff between a sudden fungal outbreak due to the increased humidity around the plants caused by the row cover balanced against bacterial wilts transmitted by insects, the incidence of which varies from locale to locale, and must be judged by local experts. There are viral, mycoplasma & other diseases transferred by insect vectors that are eliminated by the row cover right up until the time for pollination arrives. At that point the plant is usually robust enough to produce at least a few fruit. However, there is the ANTHRACNOSE fungal disease which is the great spoiler in this balancing act, and this is the poker game on which local experts will best be able to advise. As regards bird damage, my option would be the purchase a roll of GALVANIZED chicken wire. This would be more substantial, yet flexible, lightweight and an investment for many years, given that watermelon is beloved yet supposed to be expensive in Japan. Rather than protecting the whole row, as each fruit forms, a cylinder or suitable shape may be snipped from the roll of chicken wire. Then you will need a TILE or SLATE or something upon which the melon must mature REMOVED ABOVE THE SOIL. AROUND that, thoughtfully array your chicken wire, of a mesh size to exclude CHIPMUNKS [if they trouble you], GROUND VOLES, and BIRDs, to say nothing of other mammals that opportunistically may injure the ripening fruit. You may use clothespins or various fasteners to secure the cylinder or cone of wire, which will be accomoating enough for the melon's presumes SIZE/GIRTH & SHAPE [make very sure the wire will not cut into the skin]. Regading the tomato, MOMOTARO is a wordplay on the legend of the Peach Pit Boy, referring to the toughness of the skin of that variety. This is/was an important problem fr tomatoes tha genetically suffered from radial cracking & other types of cell expansion issues. However, it has been my experience that several types of predators, especilly in dry weaher that also encourage sweeter ripe fruit, begin to attack the ripening blushed areas well before the entire fruit has turned color. Rot speedily sets in . Chipmunks are a prime culprit in Ithaca, although Mus minimus and field voles occasionally share the spoils. It may be that your part of Japan is free of these or of little bird fond of pecking & investigating. Just be aware of possibilities & alert to first sign when loosely wraping clusters with pieces woven agrofabric would be fine.
  21. Dear C-san, If you would not mind a few suggestions: your Earthbox may turn out to be more suited for watery and water-loving vegetables like watercress, salads, komatsuna etc. There are some fundamental flaws in its conceptual understanding of plant physiology etc. which we dare not write about but when you try to grow tomatoes etc. you will get fruit, but whether they are worth the trouble and expense of the heavily publicized little plastic device, only you can be the judge. OTOH, Dr. Bernard Krautky, U. Hawaii, has many designs on PASSIVE Hydroponics that will get you superb cucumbers & watermelons in a 33 gallon garbage can style [you may purchase guaranteed non-reactive human safe 55 gallon plastic barrels as well ]. You add water, fertilizer & seed ONCE, lock down and walk away. Period. That quantity will furnish the entire crop! If you use PARTHENOCARPIC cucumbers like COOL BREEZE & DIVA [tiny & slicer size respectively] you will not have to depend on pollinators. With watermelons, the PETITE series, e.g. Petite PERFECTION from http://www.zeraim.com/zeraim_en_watermelon.aspx will be a good choice; these are mini melons; or, the Yellow Doll etc. from Japan will, too. Now, when I look at your raised beds I cannot derive from the photographs whether they are 2 x 6 inch or 2 x 4 inch. Anyway they have a lot of headroom left & you can still add 1 more tier of 2x6 to increase height. What you need to add now is SHREDDED SPHAGNUM PEAT MOSS, not HUMIC PEAT. Every 4 feet x 4 feet will easily take 4 cubic feet, 6 cu. feet is better; these are the compressed bales I am speaking of. You did well to create a substrate of garden soil & vermiculite, now please add this shredded sphagnum peat. DO NOT listen to salespeople who might tell you composted pine bark is the same & try to sell you some. In your case, that is too free draining. A benchmark price for 4 cu.ft. would be $6 but I doubt you will find it that cheap; please search the greenhouse supply companies near you and buy in bulk if need be. Mix this in thoroughly with your soil-vermiculite mix. Even when you go away for vacation, if you place a thick mulch of composted pine bark, shredded newsprint, straw, underlain by any AGRIGEL e.g. Viterra® Gelscape® http://www.amereq.com/pages/6/index.htm lightly worked into the soil and watered. Then enjoy your vacation for a month! Add some composted manure to your peat-garden soil bed, being careful of the salt content of the manure. Florida has a lot of limestone lying around, so some of this soil should be added too, to balance acidity, or some single superphosphate and Epsom salts or other magnesium salts. BTW, soybean meal for animal feed cost c$27/100 lbs, so does corn gluten. Both make great fertilizer, and the gluten is an excellent pre-emergence weed-killer sprinkled on the surface of the soil. This will kill certain types of weed seedlings that germinate following disturbance of soil. Additional help with suppressing weeds that come up from deeply buried roots may be had from a thick mulch of straw or newsprint. Feed your plants well, then lay down the mulch. There are some grasses & bindweed that will come through. This type of organic mulch is useful because it prevents rain from impacting the soil and compressing it, and also moves the radiation exchange plane above the soil surface, cooling the soil. [in Florida, if the eggplant is getting overheated in midsummer, which is possible in a raised bed, you can buy shadecloth in varying strengths, like 25%, which should be enough to give them the right amount of light for setting abundant fruit. Just screw 2x4 rods to the beds and mount the cloth over the plants.] You can reduce weeds by planting seedling THROUGH a tight-fitted plastic mulch of a color suited to crop and climate. If you further overlay your mulch with newspaper clippings, the plastic is protected & can be reused much longer tan its stated lifetime. Use a soaker hose/drip irrigation underneath, for each raised bed and you save yourself a lot of hassle. [You can go away on vacations with a timer affixed & not worry bout watering.] • White – Cools the soil allowing adaptability of a crop to a specific region. Normally produced as a white over black coex film to prevent weed growth. White mono films may act as a greenhouse and promote weed/plant growth under the film. • Silver – Normally produced and a Silver/Black coex film. Prevents weed growth, as a function of the opacity of the black layer in the coex film. Cools the soil, though not to the extent of a white over black coex film and repels some aphids and thrips reducing damage to the crop. If you have a specific question about performance, manufacture, crop production, etc., the American Society for Plasticulture can connect you with experts in Wavelength Selective and/or Colored Plastic Ag Films if you send your inquiry to info@plasticulture.org. Dr. Henry G. Taber, Iowa State University, is the manager for discussion related to this topic. http://www.plasticulture.org/fg_wavelength.htm Finally, if you have 2 or even 3 raised beds, each one every 2 years should get watered + sealed in found polyethylene [furniture, appliance or mattress stores throw this away] for 8 weeks during the hottest months to solarize/sterilize them. Even so, you should have this number of beds to rotate plant families, and plant certain types of Marigolds & sorghum-sudangrass once in a while in the beds and chop them in for their anti-nematode properties. Raised beds can give you 5-20 times the yield of field crops in rationally managed, so they are well worth fussing over, as also for the pleasure they bring.
  22. http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category...337321kNbY8CeZ# I saw in this video a method of cooking Thit Kho Dua Gia with a six pack of sweet soda, not cola. I should be most grateful if someone with Viet language could please translate what the nearest equivalent would be. Thanks much.
  23. If you have much trouble finding caul fat, fresh pork belly i..e. strips of fresh, unsalted, uncured bacon may be found [sometimes] in some supermarkets. These are just strips of pork belly. Chinese groceries always have chunks of pork belly all cut up for many uses. A couple or four cubes are good enough for experiments. [bTW, these cubes of pork belly mixed with some bony bits like the chopped up spare ribs also foundin the same Chinese groceries, are THE cuts to use for the superb Vietnamese braise that employs deeply browned caramel, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and only very tiny amounts of other flavors. Only as an occasional treat! Thit Kho in recipezaar is one version] If these are plunged into simmering water and simmered until softened a tiny bit but not cooked away, they are a substitute for the caul fat [since the fat here has been precooked a bit and will do the melting away trick (hopefully!)]. Of course, you need to cool or even chill the strips, or you will have a horrible greasy mess on your cutting board. Be careful with knives & fingers, things get very dangerous when slippery. Fat gleaned carefully from roast pork is great as well, just the inner part, so as not to have too much flavored stuff going in. Fat scraped from Siu Yook, roast pork belly, is great for this purpose, but that employing an expensive delicacy to prepare a less expensive one!! Since these fats have been well-cooked, they have no trouble doing the lubricating+ disappearing act in tod mun during the frying.
  24. No doubt related to the distillers near H-san's home!! But do see if the offsprings can request their science teachers for some of the 2 potassium phosphate salts as part of a home science experiment; their school labs must be well supplied. They would need some few tens of grams of each type. For all the great cooking they have had, the least they can do!
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