Pandanus tectorius is a species of screwpine that is found in Malesia, Eastern Australia, and the Pacific Islands. The fruit pods are buoyant and the seeds inside can remain viable for months while being transported by ocean currents, much like coconuts.
The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and is a major source of food in Micronesia, especially in the atolls. The fibrous nature of the fruit also serves as a natural dental floss. The tree’s leaves are often used as flavoring for sweet dishes such as kaya jam, and are also said to have medicinal properties. It is also used in Sri Lankan cookery, where the leaves are used to flavor a variety of curries.
Does anyone know where I can find this fruit I’m New York City?
(information via Wikipedia)
Atera recently raised the price of the tasting menu from $165 to $195 per person. If you want to try chef Matthew Lightner’s incredible food but can’t afford the full menu, try the Lounge. It’s right under the restaurant in the basement and it features some of the amuse-bouches from the tasting menu as well as other snacks. You can also get an amazing burger made with sirloin, beef tendon, and rib meat. It’s fried in lamb fat and comes with a side of whipped goose liver for the fries (which are SO good).
Chapul, Inc. in Salt Lake City is now selling their cricket flour protein bars at Westerly Natural Market in New York City. The bars are about $3.50 each and are made from such organic ingredients as dates, agave nectar, and Jamaican crickets (Gryllus assimilis).
The name “Chapul” is derived from the Nahuatl word chapōlin via Mexican Spanish, chapulín.
Cricket protein is more environmentally friendly than beef or pork because crickets require much less water and can eat agricultural byproducts like corn cobs and banana peels.
The bars come in three flavors: “Chaco” is the peanut butter and chocolate bar; “Thai” has coconut, ginger, and lime in it; and “Aztec” includes coffee, cocoa, and cayenne pepper. Visit my Facebook page for more updates!
I was thinking about making some ice cream today and decided to try out something like the ice cream with live sprouted grains that I had last year at Atera.
It’s hard to get a spot at the restaurant but if you email them on Monday, you should be able to get a table at their lounge, which is in the basement area below the restaurant. Some of the smaller dishes and almost all the famous amuse-bouches from the restaurant are available à la carte. I’m going there this Thursday and will be sure to post about my visit!
Chapulines are a variety of grasshopper commonly eaten in some parts of Mexico. They are typically fried on a comal with garlic, lime juice, and salt flavored with agave worm extract. This tangy, aromatic snack can occasionally be found at delis and groceries in Corona, Queens.
I was able to sample some excellent chapulines this week when a student brought them in to share with the class. I expected them to be crispy but they were definitely of the juicy side, especially the plump abdomens.
I went cicada hunting in Staten Island on Sunday. The brood II cicadas emerge only once every 17 years and I needed to catch some to make a batch of cicada macarons.
This cute one crawled up my leg!
I am storing them in the freezer until I’m ready to cook them.
Please check back soon for photos of the cicada macarons and a recipe!
lobster roll (on a toasted marshmallow)
I recently had the most amazing dinner of my life at Atera. The $165 tasting menu included almost 30 different items. Here are some photos of my favorites.
“razor clams” – mini air baguette painted with squid ink and filled with clam ice cream and sorrel
tomato ice with sea urchin
lichen chip with aioli and malt sauce
beer macaron with sturgeon roe
sprouted grain ice cream
peekytoe crab with artichokes petals in herb broth
young vegetables with pastrami cured seared duck hearts
tomato with milk ice cream
rosewater ice rose
open kitchen with chef Lightner
edible black walnut shell
lamb tartare with burnt crisp
“ramen” – squid strip noodles and dissolvable seasoning packet
pine nut wafers
A Tlingit woman I met in Sitka told me that she likes to eat this stalk (yaana.eit) with sugar. She said her favorite food is watermelon berries with seal oil. One more thing to add to my bucket list! Seal oil!
These watermelon berries are also know as twisted stalk berries. They were delicious and I wish I could find them somewhere near New York. I was warned though that eating too many would have a laxative effect!
Bull kelp could be found on every Alaskan beach I visited. There was a gift shop in Sitka that sold pickled bull kelp and bull kelp marmalade. I haven’t tried them yet but I will post about it when I do!
While hiking in the Hudson River Valley, just an hour outside of New York City, we came across few wild wineberry bushes. Wineberries are a species of raspberry with origins in eastern Asia. They have very large, hairy calices, as you can see in the photo. A man we met on the trail told us that these berries were once used to make wine, since grapes do not grow well in this region.