Tag Archives: grocery finds

Kitchen Adventures: Guava-rama

As much as I’d like to think of myself as something of a food savant, I’ll often come across random things in the grocery aisles and wonder, “What the eff do I do with this?”

Such was the case recently with a round can of guava paste. I picked it up at a local supermarket with an excellent Latin American food section, intending to use a bit of it in a baking experiment, but wasn’t quite clear on what to do with the rest. I mean, there’s a crapload of it stuffed in there. It sort of looks like that gelatinous cranberry jelly that pops out of a can, only darker, thicker and tastier.

Well, it turns out you can use guava paste in a crapload of ways, too–in Cuban empanadas with some cream cheese, in turnovers, in muffins, even in meat sauces. Pretty much anything goes when using the stuff, including these:

Ta-da! Guava macarons, straight up.

I’ll post a recipe shortly for these guava macarons. In the meantime, here’s a fresh and simple way to munch your way through a whole can of guayaba paste: Stick cubes of paste and a white cheese (the stronger-tasting, the better) with a toothpick, add some bread, and have yourself a little feast. Muy bueno!

 

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Mad Jonesing: New Jackfruit City

After work today, I dropped by the local Korean supermarket to pick up some sushi, and somehow, I ended up leaving with a giant hunk of jackfruit, among many things. (Honestly, it’s impossible for me to walk away from a grocery store with just one item.)

Jackfruit is one of those things that always seemed to have a presence while I was growing up, thanks to my Southeast Asian heritage. Grreen  and spiky on the outside, and fragrant and yellow on the inside, jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, and can reach up to 80 pounds. Check out how crazy big these suckers can get:

Not sure who this lady is, but these jackfruits are jacked up.

It’s kind of hard to describe what a jackfruit smells like–it’s definitely got an in-your-face odor that’s sort of a mix of bananas, pineapples, gasoline and rotten onions. I know, I’m really selling it, right? After you pull away the stringy fibers encasing the yellow, bulbous fruit, you take out the round seed inside. The reward? A bowl of sweet, delicious fruit. I won’t lie, it’s definitely an acquired taste,  but for those who grew up with it, jackfruit can be near and dear to our hearts.

Jackfruit from JunBelen.com

Even though it wasn’t exactly fresh off the tree, the fruit’s smell and taste brought back flashes of childhood memories: pieces of pungent jackfruit milk candy from the Philippines from my mom after returning from a visit with relatives; digging into a big bowl of halo-halo, a popular Filipino dessert made with shaved ice, evaporated milk, jackfruit pieces and other sweet fruits and beans; and licking jackfruit ice cream while on holiday in Singapore.

While I’ve never actually made anything with jackfruit myself, this blog post from Saveur-nominated blogger Jun Belen seems to sum up the fruit’s culinary potential perfectly. Stewed, baked, wrapped and fried, this versatile fruit can come in many forms–all of which can warm the heart, and take you back to a happy–although perhaps a little smelly–place. Funny how taste and memory work, doesn’t it?

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