THE EATING SPOT

That spot you just can't stop talking about!

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A Gluten-Free Delight - Traditional Liberian Rice Bread!!

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A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post for my food memories series (by the way, I need to do that again) about Liberian Rice Bread!  I talked about the aroma in the kitchen, how the bananas give the bread its sweetness instead of sugar, and how soaking the rice and grinding it gives the bread its texture!

Well I am revisiting this wonderful bread!  Why?  For one, it is a Liberian household staple!  I was in the mood to inhale the wonderful and intoxicating aroma while I washing dishes!  Secondly, with the current trend (or craze, depending on who you ask) of gluten free everything, I thought, “hmmm, I have always eaten gluten-free bread and that was Liberian Rice Bread”.

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Indeed, Liberian Rice Bread is a perfect snack for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.  The main ingredients are bananas, ginger, and rice.  While last time, I soaked actual rice, this time I decided to do what many Liberian ladies did when they first arrived to America, and that was use cream of rice hot cereal!  Funny thing is when I was a kid, the box never mentioned gluten free and now “Gluten Free” is right smack on its cover!  Just shows how much gluten free has entered the mainstream!

So how do you make this delicious bread!  Well let’s start with the base, the BANANAS!!!

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You want to start with very very very ripe bananas!!!  You see the banana at the top of the picture?  That’s how you want all your bananas to look.  I know you are thinking, “BUT IT’S ROTTEN”, however that’s the beauty of using it when its really brown.

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All the sugars are more potent and the color contributes to the beautiful golden color of the bread.  I wanted to make the bread so badly that I used the bananas I had but I do recommend using as brown as possible bananas.  

After the bananas are smashed to a slightly lumpy consistency, add 1 cup of cream of rice hot cereal.  1 cup of cream of rice should work for 6-8 bananas however if you use more then just increase the rice by 1/2 a cup!

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Next up are eggs!  Every baking thing needs eggs so add 2-3 eggs and to keep the bread really moist, add 3 tbsp of Canola oil.  Don’t forget the leaven!  Add 1 tsp of baking soda.  Again, this amount works great with 6-8 bananas.  Anymore baking soda then your bread will have a funny taste but increasing the bananas and rice allows you of course to increase the soda.  Again, I recommend by 1/2 tsp.  

You can add a pinch of salt if you like but I usually don’t and I love how it tastes!

Lastly, you want to give the bread some spice.  We use ginger.  I love ginger.  It adds so much depth to sweet and savory foods as well as it is very beneficial to our health.

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I grate the ginger and add about 1 tsp of ginger to the batter.  More the merrier!  If you want to add more be my guest!  One time I added grated ginger and some fresh ginger juice.  The bread was rich with spice!  Play around!  Add other spices!  I plan to make a bread adding anise and see how it fares with the bananas!  

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and Voila!

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You really can’t go wrong!  The bread also has no added sugar because of the bananas.  Low in sugar and gluten-free?  It’s really a no-brainer!  It works at parties, for kids, or at an afternoon tea!  

YUM!

 

Filed under liberian rice bread liberian liberia bananas gluten free low sugar bread baking

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The Beauty of Carrots!

CARROTS ARE AMAZING AND HERE ARE THE REASONS:

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Carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene!  Why is this important?  During metabolism, Beta-Carotene is converted to Vitamin A which is good for your vision!

Like Lycopene in tomatoes, Beta-Carotene is released even more when carrots are cooked!  And that’s also the best part of carrots!  You can completely have your way with them!  

You can boil, steam, pan-fry, bake, julienne, chop, and grate them!  You can even put into stews and soups as the main ingredient or as a flavoring base such as a mirepoix!

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The greens of carrots are also edible and are great for salads or vegetable broth!

I decided to mix my carrots in a simple brown butter sauce and sage (check out the sage post)!  Of course, I like a little indulgence every now and then but if you want to keep it mucho healthy then yes olive oil will do!!!  

Eating carrots along with fat (butter or oil) increases the absorption rate of the fat-soluble vitamin A.

I am looking forward to growing these amazing root vegetables!  

Happy eating!

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Filed under carrots sage healthy vegetables

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The best thing about working in a market is the fresh herbs! 

Many of the very discerning customers don’t want the fresh herbs a couple of days on display!  

Great for me!!!  Sage is one of my favorite herbs!  You can use for tea but many use it in a brown butter sauce!  I plan on mixing with my steam carrots.  

The texture is velvety and aroma is intoxicating!  It is one of those herbs that people don’t know what to do with sometimes!  Hmmm,  Sage biscuits sound about good right now!!!!

The best thing about working in a market is the fresh herbs!

Many of the very discerning customers don’t want the fresh herbs a couple of days on display!

Great for me!!! Sage is one of my favorite herbs! You can use for tea but many use it in a brown butter sauce! I plan on mixing with my steam carrots.

The texture is velvety and aroma is intoxicating! It is one of those herbs that people don’t know what to do with sometimes! Hmmm, Sage biscuits sound about good right now!!!!

Filed under sage

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Organic Chemistry, General Biology, Community Garden, Work, Oh MY!!!

I know, I know!  Where have I been?  My last solid post was literally last year! 

Well, I’ve been quite busy.  Between school (who knew I would love organic chemistry), work, volunteering at a hospital, and working the steps to setting up a community garden in my neighborhood, something was bound to fall and sadly, it was my three year old baby!

Yes, my blog is now three years old!  That is actually not a surprise to me!  I love challenges and writing this blog certainly presented itself as a major, albeit fun and exciting, challenge!

When I first started this journey, I wanted to write about home cooking, share restaurant reviews, and food stories.  I will still have those parts because I want to elevate them just a little (along with the layout)!  But since currently I have wonderful food and nutrition experiences, I will need to make room to share.

First: The community garden!

Photo taken by moi at the Grand Army Farmers Market in Brooklyn

Why a community garden now?  As I previously mentioned in prior posts, I worked at farmers markets last summer and most of the markets were in or right by community gardens!  I loved how these gardens facilitated access to fresh produce and nutritional programming!  I figured the time was overdue for a community garden that really exemplifies community involvement, community building and most importantly fresh fruits and vegetables in my neighborhood!  Just take a look at some pics of the “fresh” produce in some of the markets in my neighborhood.  

Wouldn’t you agree an additional community garden is needed?

"Fresh" Persimmons!

Not exactly watering at the mouth!

These are the kinds of grapes you throw at someone’s head, not in your mouth!

Get a closer look!!

Community gardens are vital to the resilience of any community and hopefully I can be a part of that resilience in my community with the community garden I would like to begin.  

I am not alone in this project.  I am getting great insight and support from 596 Acres, 596acres.org, a wonderful tool to assist those interested in converting city or private owned land into green spaces and from NY Community Garden Coalition, a network of community gardens from all five boroughs!  

It certainly isn’t easy but already very rewarding.  I am meeting all types of people interested in food production, nutrition, sustainable food systems, cooking, etc. and it is a great learning experience.  

If you are interested in following the progress, then please feel free to track it at http://596acres.org/lot/3070140053/#notes.

That’s all for now!  Next up I will tell you about the very touching and humbling experience of volunteering at a hospital where I speak with chemotherapy patients about nutrition and health related topics!!

Until next time!!!!

Filed under community garden fresh food fruits vegetables

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While most people were eating turkey for Thanksgiving, I took the opportunity to re-do my roast chicken.  From my last roast chicken post, I wasn’t too happy.  I followed Thomas Keller’s method and though his method is very simple, my chicken didn’t look as good as his chicken.

So here is my little roast chicken!!!!!  I smothered the outside and under the skin with butter.  I made my own seasoned salt with paprika, onion powder, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and generously sprinkled all over and inside the chicken.  Lastly, I did stay with throwing some sprigs of thyme inside the bird and sprinkling some on top.  I baked for 1 hour at 450 degrees then lowered the temperature to 300 and bake for another 30-45 minutes.

And it came out so splendid!!  I think I will keep!  Yum!!

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Korean Comfort Food!!! ~ 맛이 있어요 / 아주 맛있었어요 (It’s Delicious)

My favorite class of food is COMFORT FOOD!

Since I was born in the USA, my favorite American style comfort foods that I adore are:

Macaroni and cheese

Mashed Potato and gravy

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Potato Salad

Since my family hail from Liberia, my favorite Liberian style comfort foods that I adore are:

Chicken or Fish Gravy

Fufu and Pepper Soup

Palm Butter

Joloff Rice 

Actually the list can go on and on and on…….

But the beauty of living in NYC is I get to try comfort foods from various cultures!!

One of my favorite eating spots in the city is Woorijip!  It is located on the tastiest way in NYC; Korea Way or 32nd between Broadway and Fifth Avenue!

Why do I love this place?  The food is EXCELLENT!  Seriously!  They have a buffet and offer really inexpensive lunch boxes!

Some items from their buffet!  Don’t judge me but I had three styles of protein; Stewed Pork, Sweet n’ Sour pork, and Grilled Steak.  Three types of carbs; Kimchi Fried Rice (my absolute favorite), Clear Noodles, and Cold Noodles (the white noodles).  And lastly, steamed bok choy!

Another day I came for just Clear Noodles with Vegetables for lunch!  Very filling and only $4!

This place is very popular.  From Noon to 2 pm, the lines are extremely long and you must share tables with other patrons!  Trust me, it is all worth it!

There are an array of choices.  The lunch boxes include grilled steak, different noodle styles, honey chicken and garlic chicken.  They have soups, salads, sushi, and have a grocery style area where you can choose other options.

Garlic Chicken and Rice!!!

All types of goodness!! 

The 2 block stretch is mainly Korean restaurants but you can definitely see other restaurants like Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese!  You will definitely have a great time in the area!!!  HAPPY EATING!!!

Filed under korean comfort food