Meatless Mondays – The exploration edition

Part of getting a child to be open to different foods is to constantly present them to them.  If you are always introducing new foods to them chances are they will be willing to try new things more consistently and who knows they may actually like some of them!

My son is now 7 and his favorite foods are sushi, butter chicken, pineapple fried rice, and of course macaroni and cheese.  My son has been eating real sushi not just California rolls and indian food since about 2 years old.  He loves Thai food, and demolish Korean  lemongrass chicken wings without a second thought.  I like to believe it’s because I exposed him to all of these different flavors as a kid.  I never made a big production out of trying something new we just did it.

I am currently doing the same for my 8 month old.  So far it looks like she may be following in her brothers very open to everything footsteps.  This was the haul I came home from the farmers market with.

farmers market delights
farmers market delights

One of my favorite fruits is a Lychee.  Anyway you can prepare Lychee I will eat it.  The Longan, is very similar to a Lycee so when I saw them I pounced and literally got the last bag. We snack on these and I peel them and put them in my son’s lunch.  You can make a little salad with cherries, and mangos.  MMMMM! Let’s explore the Longan shall we?

Long An
Longan

The longan; literally: “Dragon Eye”), is so named because it resembles an eyeball when its fruit is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris). The seed is small, round and hard, and of an enamel-like, lacquered black. The fully ripened, freshly harvested shell is bark-like, thin, and firm, making the fruit easy to shell by squeezing the fruit out as if one is “cracking” a sunflower seed. When the shell has more moisture content and is more tender, the fruit becomes less convenient to shell. The tenderness of the shell varies due to either premature harvest, variety, weather conditions, or transport/storage conditions.

Next we have the yuca!

Yucca!
Yuca!

Yuca root, or occasionally Yucca root (Manihot esculenta), usually known as ‘cassava’ or ‘manioc’ (also tapioca plant, sago, boba), is the tuber of a large shrub. The tuberous roots, with a bark-like skin and white starchy flesh, is a tropical vegetable that is now widely grown and consumed in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In many countries, yucca root is a dietary staple usually eaten boiled, steamed, and in flour form as thickeners or additional ingredients for noodles, cakes, and pastries. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the root, and cassareep is a thick syrupy flavoring made from cassava juice. It is also ground into a meal to make bread. Cassareep is a key ingredient in Jamaican Pepper Pot. The leaves are also eaten as a vegetable.  Here is a video for one of my favorite Yuca recipes, Yuca con mojo

The guinep

low in fat, high on flavor!  These are tasty Carribean treats.
low in fat, high on flavor! These are tasty Caribbean treats.

The guinep is grown and cultivated for its ovoid, green fruit, which grow in bunches.[4] The fruit, somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a lime, has a tight and thin, but rigid layer of skin, traditionally opened by biting into with the teeth. Inside the skin is the tart, tangy, creamy pulp (technically the seed coat, or aril), which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth (hence the name mamoncillo as mamar means “to suck”) because the seed takes most of the volume of what is inside the skin. Despite the light color of the fruit’s flesh, the juice stains a dark brown color, and was often used by indigenous Arawak natives to dye cloth.

Asian Pear or Nashi.

Oishii Nashi!
Oishii Nashi!

Despite having a texture similar to that of apples, Asian pears closely resemble other pear varieties in their nutritional profile. These fruits are high in fiber, low in calories and contain a number of micronutrients that are important for blood, bone and cardiovascular health. Although delicious on their own, the light sweetness and crispy texture of Asian pears makes them a unique addition to any salad or stir fry.

The West Indian avocado.

Much better bang for your buck!
Much better bang for your buck!

The West Indian avocado tree produces enormous, smooth round, glossy green fruits that are low in oil and weigh up to 2 pounds. They are summer- or fall-ripening. They have leathery, pliable, non-granular skin. The leaves are not aromatic. Grown in Florida, West Indies, Bahamas, Bermuda, and the tropics of the Old World. Not grown in California. They taste almost the same as a Hass avocado just bigger.

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