Asian Food Fest 2019 May 11th and 12th – Freedom Way at The Banks, Cincinnati, Ohio

May 9, 2019 at 1:40 PM | Posted in Festivals | Leave a comment
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Asian Food Fest 2019
Where: The Banks, Freedom Way between Elm and Walnut streets
When: noon-10 p.m. May 11, noon-8 p.m. May 12
Price: It’s free, the dishes cost $2-$6
Free Admission!

New this year, the Asian Food Fest will be located on Freedom Way between Elm and Walnut Streets!

Features authentic food from mostly all countries from Asia including Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Korea, Japan and many more. Chef Hideki Harada and his wife will be serving up some Japanese delights while Pho Lang Thang will be going back to its roots of the first food fest and will be dishing out some Pho!    https://www.asianfoodfest.org/

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Fall Harvest: Persimmon

October 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Posted in fruits | 1 Comment
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Persimmons are available for a short window in the fall and early winter – look for bright, heavy-feeling fruits.

A branch heavily laden with persimmons

A branch heavily laden with persimmons

Persimmons are the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros. Diospyros is in the family Ebenaceae. In color the ripe fruit of the cultivated strains range from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange depending on the species and variety. They similarly vary in size from 1.5 to 9 cm (0.5 to 4 in) in diameter, and in shape the varieties may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped. The calyx generally remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easy to remove once the fruit is ripe. The ripe fruit has a high glucose content. The protein content is low, but it has a balanced protein profile. Persimmon fruits have been put to various medicinal and chemical uses.
Like the tomato, persimmons are not popularly considered to be berries, but in terms of botanical morphology the fruit is in fact a berry.

Commercially and in general, there are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.
The heart-shaped Hachiya is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins and are unpalatably astringent (or “furry” tasting) if eaten before completely softened. However, the sweet, delicate flavor of fully ripened persimmons of varieties that are astringent when unripe, is particularly relished. The astringency of tannins is removed in various ways. Examples include ripening by exposure to light for several days, and wrapping the fruit in paper (probably because this increases the ethylene concentration of the surrounding air). Ethylene ripening can be increased in reliability and evenness, and the process can be greatly accelerated, by adding ethylene gas to the atmosphere in which the fruit are stored. For domestic purposes the most convenient and effective process is to store the ripening persimmons in a clean, dry container together with other varieties of fruit that give off particularly large quantities of ethylene while they are ripening; apples and related fruits such as pears are effective, and so are bananas and several others. Other chemicals are used commercially in artificially ripening persimmons or delaying their ripening. Examples include alcohol and carbon dioxide which change tannin into the insoluble form. Such bletting processes sometimes are jumpstarted by exposing the fruit to cold or frost. The resultant cell damage stimulates the release of ethylene, which promotes cellular wall breakdown.

One traditional misconception is that persimmons are to be ripened till rotten. This is a confusion of the processes of controlled ripening with the processes of decay, possibly arising from problems of translation from Asiatic languages onto English. Rotting is the action of microorganisms such as fungi, and rotting persimmons are no better than any other rotting fruit. Sound persimmons should be ripened till they are fully soft, except that the carpels still might be softly chewy. At that stage the skin might be splitting and the calyx can easily be plucked out of the fruit before serving, which often is a good sign that the soft fruit is ready to eat.
Astringent varieties of persimmons also can be prepared for commercial purposes by drying. Tanenashi fruit will occasionally contain a seed or two, which can be planted and will yield a larger more vertical tree than when merely grafted onto the D. virginiana rootstock most commonly used in the U.S. Such seedling trees may produce fruit that bears more seeds, usually 6 to 8 per fruit, and the fruit itself may vary slightly from the parent tree. Seedlings are said to be more susceptible to root nematodes.
The non-astringent persimmon is squat like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm, and remain edible when very soft.
There is a third type, less commonly available, the pollination-variant non-astringent persimmons. When fully pollinated, the flesh of these fruit is brown inside—known as goma in Japan—and the fruit can be eaten firm. These varieties are highly sought after and can be found at specialty markets or farmers markets only. Tsurunoko, sold as “chocolate persimmon” for its dark brown flesh, Maru, sold as “cinnamon persimmon” for its spicy flavor, and Hyakume, sold as “brown sugar” are the three best known.
Before ripening, persimmons usually have a “chalky” taste or bitter taste.

A ripe hachiya persimmon fruit

A ripe hachiya persimmon fruit

Persimmons are eaten fresh, dried, raw, or cooked. When eaten fresh they are usually eaten whole like an apple or cut into quarters, though with some varieties it is best to peel the skin first. One way to consume very ripe persimmons, which can have the texture of pudding, is to remove the top leaf with a paring knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Riper persimmons can also be eaten by removing the top leaf, breaking the fruit in half and eating from the inside out. The flesh ranges from firm to mushy, and the texture is unique. The flesh is very sweet and when firm due to being unripe, possesses an apple-like crunch. American persimmons and diospyros digyna are completely inedible until they are fully ripe.
In China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam after harvesting, ‘Hachiya’ persimmons are prepared using traditional hand-drying techniques, outdoors for two to three weeks. The fruit is then further dried by exposure to heat over several days before being shipped to market.

In Korea, dried persimmon fruits are used to make the traditional Korean spicy punch, sujeonggwa, while the matured, fermented fruit is used to make a persimmon vinegar called gamsikcho (감식초). The hoshigaki tradition traveled to California with Japanese American immigrants.
In Taiwan, fruits of astringent varieties are sealed in jars filled with limewater to get rid of bitterness. Slightly hardened in the process, they are sold under the name “crisp persimmon” (cuishi 脆柿) or “water persimmon” (shuishizi 水柿子). Preparation time is dependent upon temperature (5 to 7 days at 25–28 °C (77–82 °F)). In some areas of Manchuria and Korea, the dried leaves of the fruit are used for making tea. The Korean name for this tea is ghamnip cha (감잎차).
In the state of Indiana (US), persimmons are harvested and used in a variety of dessert dishes most notably pies. It can be used in cookies, cakes, puddings, salads, curries and as a topping for breakfast cereal. Persimmon pudding is a dessert using fresh persimmons. An annual persimmon festival, featuring a persimmon pudding contest, is held every September in Mitchell, Indiana. Persimmon pudding is a baked pudding that has the consistency of pumpkin pie but resembles a brownie and is almost always topped with whipped cream. Persimmons may be stored at room temperature 20 °C (68 °F) where they will continue to ripen. In northern China, unripe persimmons are frozen outside during winter to speed up the ripening process.

Compared to apples, persimmons have higher levels of dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese, but lower levels of copper and zinc. They also contain vitamin C and provitamin A beta-carotene (Nutrient table, right).
Persimmon fruits contain phytochemicals, such as catechin and gallocatechin, as well as compounds under preliminary research for potential anti-cancer activity, such as betulinic acid. In one study, a diet supplemented with dried, powdered triumph persimmons improved lipid metabolism in laboratory rats.

National Dish of the Week – Korea

July 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Posted in baking, Food | 2 Comments
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Jokbal, a type of pig's feet Anju

Korean cuisine originated from ancient prehistoric traditions in the Korean peninsula and southern Manchuria, evolving through a complex interaction of environmental, political, and cultural trends.

Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu (in Korean, dubu), vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is usually served at every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste).

Ingredients and dishes vary by province. Many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals are regulated by Korean cultural etiquette.

Korean foods can be largely categorized into groups of “main staple foods” (주식), “subsidiary dishes” and “dessert”. The main dishes are made from grains such as bap (a bowl of rice), juk (porridge), and guksu (noodles).

Many Korean banchan rely on fermentation for flavor and preservation, resulting in a tangy, salty, and spicy taste. Certain regions are especially associated with some dishes (for example, the city of Jeonju with bibimbap) either as a place of origin or for a famous regional variety. Restaurants will often use these famous names on their signs or menus (i.e. “Suwon galbi”).

Soups are a common part of any Korean meal. Unlike other cultures, in Korean culture, soup is served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal, as an accompaniment to rice along with other banchan. Soups known as guk are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Soups can be made into more formal soups known as tang, often served as the main dish of the meal. Jjigae are a thicker, heavier seasoned soups or stews.

Kimchi refers to often fermented vegetable dishes usually made with napa cabbage, Korean radish, or sometimes cucumber, commonly fermented in a brine of ginger, garlic, scallions, and chili pepper. There are endless varieties with regional variations, and it is served as a side dish or cooked into soups and rice dishes. Koreans traditionally make enough kimchi to last for the entire winter season, as fermented foods can keep for several years. These were stored in traditional Korean mud pots known as Jangdokdae although with the advent of refrigerators, special Kimchi freezers and commercially produced kimchi, this practice has become less common. Kimchi is packed with vitamin A, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, calcium, and iron. Its main benefit though is found in the bacteria lactobacilli, this is found in yogurt and fermented foods. This bacteria helps with digestion. South Koreans eat on average of 40 pounds of Kimchi each year.

Noodles or noodle dishes in Korean cuisine are collectively referred to as guksu in native Korean or myeon in hanja. While noodles were eaten in Korea from ancient times, productions of wheat was less than other crops, so noodles did not become a daily food until 1945. Buckwheat (memil guksu) and wheat noodles (milguksu) were specialty foods for birthdays, weddings or auspicious occasions because the long and continued shape were thought to be associated with the bliss for longevity and long-lasting marriage.

In Korean traditional noodle dishes are onmyeon or guksu jangguk (noodles with a hot clear broth), naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles), bibim guksu (cold noodle dish mixed with vegetables), kalguksu (knife-cut noodles), kongguksu (noodles with a cold soybean broth) and others. In royal court, baekmyeon (literally “white noodles”) consisting of buckwheat noodles and pheasant broth, was regarded as the top quality noodle dish. Naengmyeon with a cold soup mixed with dongchimi (watery radish kimchi) and beef brisket broth was eaten in court during summer.

Korean regional cuisines (Korean: hyangto eumsik, literally “native local foods”) are characterized by local specialties and distinctive

Daechu cha (jujube tea)

styles within Korean cuisine. The divisions reflected historical boundaries of the provinces where these food and culinary traditions were preserved until modern times.

Although Korea has been divided into two nation-states since 1948 (North Korea and South Korea), it was once divided into eight provinces (paldo) according to the administrative districts of the Joseon Dynasty. The northern region consisted of Hamgyeong province, Pyeongan province and Hwanghae province. The central region comprised Gyeonggi province, Chungcheong province, and Gangwon province. Gyeongsang province and Jeolla province made up the southern region.

Until the late 19th century, transportation networks were not well developed, and each provincial region preserved its own characteristic tastes and cooking methods. Geographic differences are also reflected by the local specialty foodstuffs depending on the climate and types of agriculture, as well as the natural foods available. With the modern development of transportation and the introduction of foreign foods, Korean regional cuisines have tended to overlap and integrate. However, many unique traditional dishes in Korean regional cuisine have been handed down through the generations.

In South Korea, food may be purchased from street carts during the day, where customers may eat standing beside the cart or have their food wrapped up to take home. At night, many streets are filled with small tents that sell inexpensive foods, drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Seasonal foods include hotteok, and bungeoppang, which are enjoyed in autumn and winter. Gimbap is also a very popular street food.

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