I got some crazy fun produce in my kitchen right now! When we went to San Francisco for the VegFest, we made sure to leave home early enough to stop at the Alemany Farmers' market. According to my aunt's boyfriend, this is the oldest farmers market in California. It was my first time going there, and I had a great time. Lots of cool, unusual ingredients that I was unfamiliar with...
For starters, I got this gigantic vegetable - purely as a dare to myself to eat something new and different. I did some research and apparently it has many names: angled luffa, singua, sinqua. Unfortunately, my research also indicates that it is a mushy, not-very-tasty vegetable. Hoorah! Ha ha. I'm still searching around for any recipe ideas... if you have any suggestions, please don't hold back!
I also got these Sweet Limes (the bigger ones) and Philippine Limes (the smaller ones). The Sweet Limes are eaten straight. I haven't cracked into them yet, but apparently they are sweet and yummy. Can't wait to try them. I also bought a sandwich baggie full of these small limes, also called Calamondin or Kalamansi. I have no idea what I will do with them. I guess it's back to Wikipedia for me!
I know fresh chestnuts aren't actually so exotic... but they are neato. I got a great price on these organic chestnuts. For now, I've popped 'em in the freezer... until I have more time and inspiration.
Check these babies out! Rambutan!! Grown in Southern California. The only other time I've had fresh rambutan was when I was in China earlier this year. Rambutan have a semi-crunchy texture similar to a lychee nut, with a seed the size of an almond inside. The skin is strong, but thin, and removes easily. The flavor is mild, sweet, and pleasantly light. Even though it's got a crunch, there's a lot of moisture. I was really happy to have a chance to eat these again!
I also got some fresh Mangosteen from the same vendor. Oh heaven! Oh yum! Soooo beautiful, so yummy. The mangosteen is another fruit that I just tried for the first time in China, earlier this year. First of all, the mangosteen is so beautiful. I love the way they look. They look to me like gorgeous bronzed patinas... I love their thick stems and the wonderful little asterix shape on the bottom.
The peel is thick and fleshy, but actually pretty easily removed. The edible part is the white part.
Here's the fruit. Sorry it's not a better picture, but I was in a hurry to eat it! You can see there are a few smaller segments, and one bigger segment in this piece of fruit. Some of the ones I ate in China were bigger. The big segment had a seed inside, but the others didn't. The texture is smooth, mushy, a little stringy... maybe a bit like a ripe mango. The flavor is totally intoxicating. Very sweet, a bit tangy/tart, and just downright unique. I was eating my two mangosteens, trying so hard to figure out how to describe the flavor, and I'm afraid I've fallen short. Floral, fruity, perfumey, sweet, tart, and lovely. Oh, and expensive - which is why I only bought a few.