Archive | March, 2012

Banana Peels!?!!

20 Mar

Ok, this guy has trumped even me for using scraps. I have never found a way to use banana peels before. I wish he would share his technique!

Chef uses banana skin in curry


How to glaze anything

19 Mar


Tonight for dinner, I served kimchi fried rice with collards mixed in. I had a fridge full or produce, though, so I decided to glaze some daikon to serve alongside. It helps to have a few go-to methods of dealing with stray vegetables so you don’t have to think so hard. When you are dealing with a strange vegetable you don’t know how to cook, just go to your standby method, whether it be frying it, roasting it, or, in this case, glazing it. The daikon was fast and delicious and we fought over the last piece.

Here’s the method that I used. It is a generic sweet, Asian glaze:

Cut your vegetable into bite sized pieces, preferably 1/4″ of an inch. A mandoline will make quick work of this. Heat two teaspoons of sesame oil in a pan and then cook the vegetables until until soft or even lightly browned on both sides. Sprinkle on a bit of sugar. I used about a teaspoon, but I wasn’t even working with a full daikon. Add a dash of mirin in to deglaze and stir. If you need more liquid to get up the crusty bits, add water or broth or some water leftover from boiling something else. Stir until there is not any liquid left other than the syrup clinging to the veggies. Add a dash of soy sauce here and there and stir some more. Taste for salt and serve.

Texas Grapefruit

10 Mar

Citrus paradisii: grapefruit. One of those fruit that people either love or hate. I used to be fairly tolerant of it, eating it for breakfast once in a while but otherwise avoiding it. When I moved to Texas, I realized this had to change. Grapefruit is the state fruit of Texas. Do you know your state fruit? Maybe not. But I know that grapefruit is the state fruit because it’s more than that. It’s a state symbol. It’s the only citrus strain not originated in Southeast Asia, and it’s the only citrus perfected in Texas. In 1929, a Texas farmer found a mutated red grapefruit on a pink grapefruit plant. After that, Texans became obsessed with growing the reddest, sweetest grapefruit. And they certainly accomplished this, as I can happily testify.

The markets here sell bags of grapefruit for $1. It’s impossible to not buy several bags. I am a menu planner for a residential co-op, and we started buying cases of grapefruit instead of more expensive produce for our kitchen. This forced me to move beyond eating the occasional grapefruit for breakfast and incorporating them into every meal.


In general, you want to select fruits that are heavy for their size, and this also applies to grapefruit. Heavier grapefruit are heavier because they are juicier. I also gently press the grapefruit to make sure there are no unusually soft spots. Usually I don’t waste the time, however, because I’ve rarely found a problematic grapefruit.

Grapefruit also have gray or brown scratch marks or areas of the peel that are a slightly different color. That in no way indicates anything about the fruit itself. Ugly grapefruits need to be eaten too.


Just store the grapefruit in your fruit bowl!

To preserve it longer, try canning it. I found this delicious marmalade recipe over at The Cosmic Cowgirl.

Freezing also works– section it or juice it first.


Supposedly grapefruit cake is a south Texas classic. No one in my co-op had ever heard of it before, and when I added grapefruit cake to the menu, everyone was, as they described it, “suspicious.” The recipe that we used (here at Saveur) ended up being amazing and everyone’s doubt was resolved.

We’ve also been using it in a lot of salads. You can section the grapefruit over a bowl (video below) and capture the juice that leaks out. The sections get put in the salad, and the juice gets used in a dressing.

Some grapefruit are more peel than fruit, and I hate throwing away half of the fruit. The peel is edible (if you are sure to wash it first!), although the pith is not. Researching this, however, I can only find one way to use the peel in food and that was to make candied citrus peel. (If you google “candied grapefruit peel” you can find pictures and plenty of other recipes.) The peels can also be used in the garden to keep away insects and in the home to make cleaners, but that’s a topic for another day.

Another delicious option: make condiments with it. Serious Eats has this ridiculously tempting grapefruit vanilla curd recipe. I love having interesting condiments like this in the fridge. I can just pop them on the table alongside a quickly made breakfast of eggs and bread and make the meal suddenly restaurant-level interesting.

I know I don’t have to tell you this, but grapefruit can also be juiced. If you have an excess of grapefruit, you can freeze the extra juice as well.


This video on sectioning grapefruit is pretty badass. Look at all of the juice that is flowing while the lady removes the skin. THAT is why you do this with a bowl underneath. Don’t let that go to waste!