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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dragonfruit!

Hi! wow, it has been a while since my last post and I'm sorry. I had pneumonia, then life kind of got away from me for a while, but I am back with a whole new experience! Dragonfruit!
This gorgeously PINK dragonfruit is in season here on Okinawa. You can find them now verging on super ripe at most farmer's markets and usually marked down. The yen rate has been taking a toll on us so I have not been out shopping but I was very lucky when a co-worker brought some of these beauties in and offered to share! What good fortune! If you like kiwi, you will like this fruit.
The inside has a texture much like a Kiwi minus the tart and kind of tough part at the center. It is light and juicy and only slightly sweet. When cold out of the fridge, it is the perfect refreshment on a hot humid summer day (and we have plenty of those!)  I adore these, I want to buy them everywhere and eat them on the spot! Not only are they delish, but they are pretty too! the hot pink outer layer yielding to the soft white inside and the contrasting black seeds, it's beautiful. It's also a cactus fruit. Hmmm, I wonder what it would taste like as a jam or jelly!
By the way, I just want to make a side note, the pink color here inspired me, for those of you who know me well, my mom is going through Chemo therapy currently and fighting a courageous and seemingly successful battle with breast cancer. It has brought a lot of perspective to my life, how much I love my mom and don't think I can live without her at this point in my life, how much I love my own child and how short our lives here can be, and how strong and harrowing one human soul can prove to be when pushed to the limits. My mom is my best friend, she is my mom, and she is my hero. I love you mom and I ask everyone who reads this post to pray for her continued success in this fight. With the Lord on our side, we can do anything!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ode to the Sweet Potato Tart

So, I was at work one day and my boss/friend comes back from lunch and hands me a package and says you have to try this. Ok I said enthusiastically, knowing if she is giving it to me it's worth a try! I have seen these before, there are pictures of them all over the island. There is a big factory looking building with colorful flags outside and pictures of these things just north of our house. I figured they were some sort of sweet, possibly a cream puff type dessert. Little did I know.
See, here on Okinawa they grow sweet potatoes, beautiful bright purple sweet potatoes. And they are wonderfully SWEET! They are harvested locally and are considered a seasonal treat. These little babies are sweet potato tarts! Sweetened with a little sugar cane (also grown on the island) and whipped into submission, they pipe the creamy concoction into little cakes and package them up.
Now, the cake itself is nothing to marvel at, not very sweet, sort of like the outside "cake" part of a fig newton, only not as sweet. The filling however, is dreamy. I personally love sweet potatoes. I love to bake them and add butter, I love to make fries with them, I love to mash them at Thanksgiving, and I LOVE these tarts! They are delicious!
I give them to my son, it's a great sweet, healthy treat. The cream does have a bit of starchy, potato texture to it, but it is all part of the goodness. Kudos to the Japanese for using real ingredients and making a naturally sweet potato the star of this show! I love it here...and don't knock it till you try it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Passion of the Passion Fruit

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is a half of a passion fruit. They grow all over here, and are considered a delicacy. They are somewhat expensive (about 100yen each) and they look a lot like a big ripe plum on the outside. They are a beautiful deep purple color, but they are hard unlike the look alike plum. It feels light and kind of fuzzy and smells a bit like sour feet when uncut.
Sol my friend Kim gave this one to me yesterday as a gift, she has lived here a long time and is a great friend! We decided to cut it up and have it for dessert lastnight. Once we cut it open, it was apparent that this is no ordinary fruit. The outer shell is hard and was a bit like cutting into a gourd as far as texture goes. Once opened, the yellow/green juice oozed out along with a few of the seeds. The inside is just that, the fruit coated seeds all of which is edible, just not the pink along the inside. The taste results: a big ole NO in our house. While very pretty and wonderfully fragrant when opened, it is deceptively sour! Like SOUR! There is a bit of sweetness in there but it's mostly sour! The black seeds are crunchy and add a different texture and the yellow/green coating is a bit slimy but not to a gross point. We all agreed that is should be used sparingly as a flavor agent, as in passion fruit flavored...scones or something, but not eaten alone. It is also a bit acidic so if you have a sore tooth, might want to wait this one out! I recommend trying them as our tastes are not the end all be all, they can be purchased around this time of year in specialty produce sections at most stores. Have fun and, Don't say you don't like it until you have tried it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Grand Sushi Adventure

When all of our friends and family found out we were moving to Okinawa the number one question was..."I hope you like sushi...you do don't you?" The answer "No, I don't" was most commonly from me. My husband will eat just about anything you set in front of him and my son is young enough that he hasn't formed an opinion on most foods. Yes I grew up in Southern California, no I did not like sushi. It seems strange to think about it.
In any case, here we are in Okinawa, Japan the heartland of sushi. So for our first adventure I heard about a sushi restaurant by the Sunabe Seawall, where the chef perfected his Sushi skills in Southern California. He also only serves Americans...kind of a relief because it's kind of hard to order your dinner when you don't speak Japanese! So, my husband and I headed out for what was also our first date night since arriving on the island. We went here:




to Sushi Zen. I looked over the menu about fifty times before I finally asked my husband what he thought I should order...I'm no pro remember?
He suggested I start easy, with a California Roll, a combo of crab, avocado, cucumber and rice. I agreed, and it really sounded good so that's what I got.
My husband ordered this monstrous plate of little piles of rice covered by slices of raw colorful fish, and a beautiful roll down the middle. But what he had on his plate that was drool worthy was this spicy sauce blobbed on his roll. Why didn't I get any spicy sauce?
I took my first bite...it was cool and refreshing, a little creamy, a little crunchy, and...and...Wonderful! I loved it! I loved it with wasabi...and I could breathe beautifully! I really loved it wtih the spicy sauce, in fact I stole the last roll piece off my husband's plate, the one with the biggest glob of spicy sauce on it, and I relished in my thievery! It was beautiful!
I can now say...I love sushi! I have since found that at the commissary here on base, they employ chefs to make sushi for purchase. It's not like the sushi in the grocery store at home, the ones that look like they have been sitting there for weeks, or like they were once frozen. It is fresh made every day, order your own special made roll kind of deliciousness!
I know what my cheat lunches at work will be from now on! SUSHI!!! (and they make spicy sauce upon request too!)
So, if you have not tried...Try! You never know if you are going to like it or not unless you try it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day One of a New Adventure

Hi there!
This is my new Blog! Welcome, and thanks for reading...
ok niceties aside, I am starting a new advendture in my live, well a few new adventures. You see, I am a military wife, a mom and a fan of food. Recently we were stationed in Okinawa Japan. You are talking to a girl who was raised in beautiful sunny Southern California! This is my, and our family's first adventrue abroad, and so far so good!
I realized something after we moved here...the food is fabulous! Just about anywhere you go you can get a tasty meal, sometimes very local and authentic and sometimes a little Americanized. I decided I wanted to share this great food with others, pictures, locations, how it tastes, smells, and most of all how my 5 year old reacts to it!
So, again, thanks for reading! I hope I can help broaden some horizons for those less adventurous eaters, and maybe provide some comic relief along the way! I hope to post at least once a week with a new meal, the accompanying adventure and lots of pictures!
Until next time...
Sarah