Food

A Cautionary Tale of Pica Pica

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in 1000 words, Food, Slider | 0 comments

A Cautionary Tale of Pica Pica

We’ve dealt with Pica Pica (or Velvet Bean “Mucuna pruriens“) on many occasions in our 2 years here. It’s name in Spanish literally means “itch itch” and it’s aptly named. It’s a vine that grows over everything like kudzu, except it grows flowers and beans with hairy fibers that cause EXTREME itching. Normally these fibers float around in dry weather  and get on your laundry hanging out to dry or get in your unmade bed. This itching is pretty bad, but it only lasts about 10 minutes or so before it subsides. We’ve learned to deal with it...

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Green Papaya Salad!!!

Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Food, Island Life, Slider | 0 comments

Green Papaya Salad!!!

Naomi and I had heard about green papaya salad a couple of times, but it wasn’t until we ate at a nice local restaurant, Casa Isleña, for my birthday that we had a chance to try it. After one bite, we both looked up and stared at each other with a gleam in our eyes. How can this be so good!? It was the perfect combination of crunchy, salty, sweet, tangy and magical for a warm evening! I decided that I had to recreate this salad. This is a Thai or Vietnamese recipe so it’s not commonly made here. This makes it a bit difficult to find green papayas. There are papaya trees all over...

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Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 6 – “Parcha”

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Food, Island Life, Slider | 0 comments

Oh my, oh my. Passion fruit! This little lovely gem is known in Puerto Rico as parcha. Passiflora edulis is a vine species of  passion flower that is native to Paraguay, Brazil, and northern Argentina. The bright yellow variety of passion fruit, which is also known as the Golden Passion Fruit, can grow up to the size of a grapefruit,  has a smooth, glossy, light and airy rind. The common variety here is about the size of a large lemon. There is also a smaller purple variety with a different flavor, but I’ve never seen it in Puerto Rico. Naomi’s first encounter with parcha was...

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Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 5 – “Corazón”

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Food, Island Life, Slider | 0 comments

Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 5 – “Corazón”

The Corazón  (also known as custard-apple, bull’s heart or cherimoya), is the fruit of the tree of the Annona genus. There are a lot of similarities between the different Annona varieties, so I’m not terribly sure which one this is. We got this along with a couple of other neat fruits from our landlord. He called it a corazón because it’s reminiscent of an ox’s heart. There’s a red variety that really does look like heart! Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.” The flesh is very soft and creamy, which is where it...

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Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 4 – “Cashew Fruit”

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in Food, Island Life, Slider | 0 comments

Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 4 – “Cashew Fruit”

If you’ve ever wondered where cashews (Anacardium occidentale) come from this is your lucky day. I can promise it’s not quite how you envisioned it. This is a pair of cashew fruits. The fruit-looking part is called a cashew apple and is actually an accessory fruit, like a strawberry. The true fruit of the cashew tree is the kidney shaped object that grows at the end of the cashew apple. This is where the cashew nut is found. The fruit has a distinct smell that’s difficult to describe. It’s pungent but not unpleasant with a bit of a strange sharpness. The taste is sweet...

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Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 3 – “Jobo”

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in Food, Slider | 0 comments

Tropical Fruit Tour: Stop 3 – “Jobo”

Today we went to La Placita, a family-owned gas station down the street from our house that also sells a variety of produce, some basic grocery items, and of course beer. We go to La Placita regularly since it’s so close, and the people who own it are super friendly and help us practice our Spanish. Tonight we went by and got some kind of white shelling beans, a batata (tropical sweet potato), and some Medalla beer. After we paid, the owner gifted us with some jobo fruit, which we’d never tried. What a kind gesture! He told us to just wash and eat them. Little did he know, he was...

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