Lannae's Food and Travel

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April 29, 2007

Fruity Experiment

I went to my local international market to see what I could find. The original K&S market down on Nolensville Rd isn't tidy, in USA grocery store standards, but it doesn't seem to matter to the shoppers who go there. This market includes many common ingredients used in most Asian, Mediterranean, and South American nations. This market is packed every Saturday with people who look like they represent ever corner of this earth. It is refreshing to me to feel like Nashville does have an international presence, and the culinary landscape of Nashville is expanding to include, not only Southern traditional cooking, but international flavors of the world. The ancient wars over spice trading makes more sense to me now, when my yearning for excellent international flavors, tastes and food grows, and access to these things are still difficult in my town.

My last trip to K&S was to find Spanish olive oil to cook with, and to see what I can see. I stopped in the produce isles and decided I was going to make a fruit salad with fruits I have not used before. Was this going to be a mistake, or a gold mine? Well, this is what I bought.
one green Chayote
one white Ya Li
one orange Kiwano
I do not know how to pick these fruit, so I just jumped in with a little hope that I picked good ones, and put them in my basket. They are really pretty aren't they?

I got home and sliced open these fruit, and this is what I saw. I definitely had to shift plans with the Kiwano Horn Fruit. I was thinking it would be like a little kiwi or cantelope inside, and what I got was a green slimy seed covering with the texture of soup jello before it is chilled, and little seeds that remind me of the white seeds of an immature or seedless watermelon. The scent was green like a grassy cucumber, and the flavor of the green slime was like a very intense cucumber. The Kiwano was definitely announcing its presence as a high liquid content fruit/veggie, but I just did not feel like it was appropriate for my fruit salad.

The Chayote gourd, I was hoping would be like an apple, was not. It was really hard, like cutting into an uncooked sweet potato, the flesh was very dense, and I felt like I was scraping off tartar and plaque while trying to bite into a piece of Chayote. This fruity gourd has virtually no scent, no flavor and a very stiff texture. It makes jicama seem like it is extra juicy, extra aromatic and extra sweet. I cute this beauty up into small bite sized piece for the fruit salad in hopes that there would be more flavor later

The Ya Li pear was a small white pear with a less intense sweetness than the bosc. The texture is smoother than a bosc, and it is somewhere in between an apple and pear. This fruit was a winner for my fruit salad, and I diced it up.

The fruit salad became a can of diced pineapple, the diced Ya Li and the diced Chayote. I left out the Kiwano green slime, although it might have added a nice springtime fresh scent to the salad, but I did not like the texture of the seeds. I could have put the seeds and green slime in a blender, but I am lazy, and that would be another item to clean up later. The pineapple and Ya Li were very good. The Chayote, in its denseness, did not absorb any of the pineapple juice, and remained hard and bland as ever. I am surprised that the acid in the pineapple juice did nothing to breakdown the Chayote at all.

The innards of the Kiwano

The fruit salad was not a big success. Oh well. The Chayote, I think would be better cooked. There is a winter melon soup popular in Chinese restaurants in New York, where there is a light broth and diced up comfort food winter melon in it. On a small scale, the Chayote maybe a good substitute for the winter melon, but I do not believe that Chayote would lend much flavor to the soup. I am betting that the Chayote is better cooked than raw because I think cooking would open up the flesh to absorbing the surrounding flavors like a potato would. That is it, I am on to my next food adventure.

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At 4/30/07, 4:07 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Aw, you got punked.
Still, great photo of the kiwano (we call it horned melon around here). I've never tried one, but I like your description of it as sort of cucumber-y. I might try to think of a use for it.

At 5/1/07, 11:53 AM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hey CC, I believe you are right, the sign at the store said Horned Melon, and that is why I was thinking that I would get a cantelope or honeydew inside, but instead I got green slimy seed covering. The one thing I can think of is making a fresh, no sugar, popsicle out of the Kiwano innards. When you come up with a good recipe for this fruit, definitely let me know.

At 5/1/07, 3:02 PM, Anonymous Nicole Sauce said...

OOOOOOOOOH a new grocery store to find!

Sorry - was off the net for a week in Philly. Didn't get to do the local challenge because of it. Which brings up a question - How local IS local? IS wheat from Kansas too far away to use.

Food for thought...

How did you do?

At 5/1/07, 10:09 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hello Nicole, I am excited that Tarzan has home, and I hope Mighty hangs in there.

I too have been away, so I have started the local food challenge yet. I am going to try to start Sunday.

There are 2 K&S markets:
1st one is on Nolensville Rd south of Harding Rd and North of Old Hickory.
2nd on is on Charlotte, west of White Bridge road, up a hill where the self storage place is. The turn up the hill is also where Charlotte goes from 2 lanes down to 1 lane each way.


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