February 22, 2017

Kumquats, Persimmons, Golden Kiwis & Dragonfruit

Kumquat tree

Kumquat tree

Three cheers for the availability of new fruit varieties in your local grocery stores. I just discovered kumquats, tiny orange-like citrus fruit native to Asia, which can be eaten like grapes or sliced in half for salads and desserts. Watch out for the seeds as you munch on these snacks packed with Vitamin C.  gold-kiwi-9708645
As much as I like regular Kiwis with green fruit interiors, Golden Kiwis with sweet yellow flesh are even better. The egg-shaped fruit is originally from China, but New Zealand adopted the kiwifruit as their own and started to export it to the U. S. and the world.
Keep your eye peeled for the occasional shipment of Golden Kiwis. dragon-fruit-cut

One of the oddest-looking items in the produce department is dragon fruit, technically a cactus of indeterminate origin, but generally found in tropical climates. It goes by other names such as pitahaya or Hylocereus undatus, but the curly leaves are reminiscent of dragon scales, hence the name. Cut the fruit in half and you will find an unusual white fruit interior with black edible dots that look like poppy seeds. It does not taste like anything comparable but
the slight sweetness and pudding-like consistency is perfect for a snack or dessert. hachiyapersimmon

Persimmons have been a personal favorite of mine for a few years now, but the grocery stores seem to be stocking this fruit with more regularity in the fall. The heart-shaped version is called Hachiya and can be chalky tasting before it ripens. It is best to eat them when they resemble a water balloon. Fuyus, which look like a flat tomato, are less astringent and can be eaten before they are fully ripe. I’m still looking for an Asian type called “cinnamon or chocolate persimmon” which has sweet dark brown flesh. Perhaps a visit to Argyle Street or Chinatown is in order. Who knows what other fruit delicacies I might find in an Asian grocery?

Sausages by AmyLu

I just found delicious chicken sausages that use no nitrates, nitrites, MSG, preservatives or artificial ingredients and are pork-free,  gluten-free, low in fat, high in protein and low in carbs. I even found a flavor, Gourmet Chorizo that contains no sugar or dairy which can be challenging to find.

ATK Foods, the parent company features other sausage flavors such as Apple & Gouda Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato & Basil, Cranberry & Cognac and Chipotle Pepper. They also sell burgers, meatballs and old-world sausage products such as Polish sausage, Wieners, Bratwurst and Specialty Ethnic Sausages viagra rezeptfrei bestellen.

Did I mention that the company is based in Chicago? Joseph Slotkowski opened his Chicago sausage company in 1918 and it’s still going strong under third generation member, Amylu Kurzawski. You can shop for the products on-line or find the sausage and meat products in selected grocery stores. I found my Amylu edibles at Mariano’s in Chicago. Delicious!

http://www.atkfoods.com/our-brands/sausages-by-amylu

Energetic Healing – Part 2

This is Part 2 of the topic of Energetic Healing with a brief list of treatment options in the alternative field of medicine and wellness. These thumb-nail citations are by no means comprehensive.

I am including Homeopathy in the alternative category since many medical professionals discount it. However, Europe and parts of Asia embrace this form of medicine that is, in my opinion, cost-efficient and effective for many ailments.

Homeopathy is the other side of the coin to allopathy which is the basis of much of our Western medical system. Allopathy uses opposites to address symptoms and illness. Look at a drug store shelf and you will see anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterials, anti-fungals, etc. You get the picture.

Homeopathy finds substances that cause similar symptoms and then dilutes them to infinitesimal amounts. “Like cures like” was coined by homeopathy’s founder, Samuel Hahnemann.

One’s own immune system is nudged to correct the problem energetically.  I myself have used Homeopathic pellets with great success for a couple of decades. It’s possible that mental suggestion is at play, but if something seems to work, I will still keep it in my arsenal of treatment options.

Several therapies address our five senses to prime the body for healing.

Reiki, using the “laying of hands” increases the “life force energy” and moves “Ki” through blockages in the body. Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi all operate on the concept of keeping energy flowing through blood vessels, the skeletal system, the nervous system and through both the physical and energetic body of the patient.

Sound therapy has been around for centuries. Chanting can be a form of meditation that calms the nervous system and focuses one’s attention. The use of Tibetan healing bowls have entered the lexicon of alternative treatments in the U. S.  I found this lovely 3 hour recording of Tibetan bowl music with running water on youtube. Listening for just five minutes promotes relaxation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M_mp7Mmt34

Art, dance and music therapy get the patient involved in creation thereby stimulating a sense of well-being that may aid in healing.

Color therapy may include wearing eyeglasses in a particular color or bathing in a tub of therapeutic colored water. Green or blue will reduce stress. Yellow and orange stimulate appetite and encourage productivity.

http://www.arttherapyblog.com/online/color-psychology-psychologica-effects-of-colors/#.V78UzYVCOuE

Essential oils such as lavender, bergamot or ylang yang all have specific properties that affect the body through smell. My sister gave me a Family Physician Kit by doTerra filled with essential oils including Oregano for Immune Support and mixtures for Muscle and Joint Support and First Aid for skin.  At the very least, the scents improve one’s environment.

The energetic quality of what you put in your mouth is another gigantic topic. When making your food choices, ask yourself, will this  dish or beverage increase or decrease my energy and sense of well-being? It may not deter you from choosing the breaded fried chicken over the green juice drink, but it should encourage more enlightened food for thought.

Energetic Medicine – Part One

This will be part one of a brief overview of some of the cutting edge energetic therapies currently in use or in trials.

A friend is about to undergo a six week treatment protocol using NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy for depression. The patient sits in a chair similar to a dentist’s and has magnetic waves beamed into the areas of their brain that are under active. Stimulation of these areas may result in decreased depression. Many oral medications for depression have side effects so this non-invasive energy treatment holds great promise for the over 16 million people in the U. S. who suffer from this debility.

https://neurostar.com

Cold laser therapy is used to reduce inflammation and heal specific areas on the body or to target acupuncture trigger points that may improve functions of the body. Chiropractors, acupuncturists and physical therapists were some of the first to adopt this treatment. The actual laser beam looks like simple focused light which is painless, non-invasive and has no side effects. The only caution is not to look directly into the laser light which can cause eye damage.

The therapy may increase cell growth, increase vascular activity, reduce scar tissue formation and reduce pain. I look forward to seeing more medical practices adopt this cost-effective, painless and effective treatment.

I myself have used cold laser therapy for bruises, sprains, strains and foot problems thereby avoiding surgery.

http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-laser-therapy

More speculative are “electroceuticals,” tiny implanted devices that will monitor our nervous system and fire into action if a counter-pulse is needed. This treatment sounds like science fiction, but Alphabet Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences) predicts that these nerve-zapping implants will be ready for use in seven years. Implantable devices are already being used for heart regulation, sleep apnea and weight loss.  This may be a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, auto-immune disease and a host of other illnesses that are due to faulty electrical signals in the human body.

http://singularityhub.com/2016/08/07/no-more-pills-tiny-nerve-zapping-implants-to-fight-disease/

Drone-ovic, your tennis buddy

For tennis devotees, check out this high tech invention that is being tested for production.
Using drone technology, the machine drops a tennis ball at an optimal angle so you can practice your serves. The flying gizmo also has a camera so you can record your swing and analyze your form in playback.

http://mashable.com/2016/07/01/drone-improves-tennis-training/#jc0xfR1RSmq1

Dandy Blend, Instant Herbal Beverage with Dandelion

Friends shake their heads at some of the foods and beverages I serve them, but let me stretch your patience with mention of Dandy Blend, an instant herbal beverage with dandelion root. While I don’t like dandelions in my yard, I love them in my cup.

The product can be used like instant coffee, one teaspoon per eight ounces of water, hot or cold. You can use it in dairy milk or nut milk, as well. The package states that one gets a rich coffee-like taste but with no caffeine, no acidity and no bitterness. The powder does have barley and rye but the extraction process eliminates the gluten.
The other ingredients listed are chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. One teaspoon is only 7 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrate.

I bought my first 7 ounce bag of Dandy Blend at Walsh’s Natural Health Store on Central Avenue in Evanston. I liked it so much that I purchased a larger two pound bag from Amazon. I like it plain, but I occasionally splash in some unsweetened almond milk for a more velvety taste. If you’re trying to limit or avoid coffee, this product might be a decent substitute.

Boy, did I used to love the taste and buzz of a double-espresso but the white nights were a stiff price to pay. Happily, Dandy Blend now lets me sleep like a baby, however late I may drink it. And I view the yellow weeds in my lawn with a little more respect.

The Drinkable Book, clean water for all

Suppose you give someone in Africa, Asia or South American a book that not only educates them on how to keep their water clean, but also provides pages that each filter up to thirty days of potable water. The Drinkable Book can provide clean water for up to 4 years and comes in a 3D printed box that doubles as a filtration tray. Working like a coffee filter, each paper page has silver nanoparticles that destroy 99.9% of harmful bacteria. The system has neutralized the bacteria that cause cholera, E.coli and typhoid.

Developed by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia in conjunction with WATERisLIFE, Folia Water now appears to be championing the invention which has not yet gone into production. For more information about this ingenious product:

http://www.foliawater.com/home/the_drinkable_book/

Amazing Items Made By 3D Printers

Curious about what things can be printed on a 3D printer, like food, body parts and guns? Check out this brief video.

https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=3d+printing+youtube&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

 

You can even print a life-size statue of yourself!

Tutti Frutti for spring and summer

Mariano’s Grocery has been feeding my fruit tooth year-round, but the produce department is bursting with delicious varieties now that spring is here and summer fast approaches. Here are some of my current citrus favorites with apples and rhubarb thrown in for good measure.

Minneola Tangelos: The Minneola tangelo is a cross between a grapefruit and a variety of tangerine with juicy flesh and a sweet/sour flavor. The orange-colored citrus has a characteristic nipple or bell-like shape.

Meyer Lemons: This citrus variety is native to China and is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or an orange. The Meyer lemon is generally sweeter, rounder, lower acidity and thinner skinned than common lemons. The California cuisine revolution in the 1990’s and Martha Stewart have further popularized this variety of lemon.

Key Limes: This lime variety is smaller, seedier, sweeter, has a higher acidity and a rind that is thinner than the usual Persian limes found in grocery stores. If you are making a Key Lime pie, this is the variety to purchase, but I prefer Key Limes whenever they are available. This citrus fruit is green when picked and turns yellow when ripe.

Blood Oranges: A natural mutation of the orange which has a crimson interior and raspberry notes in the orange citrus flesh with a tougher skin than most oranges. The exterior may or may not have a red tinge to the orange color. The orange itself is a hybrid between pomelos and tangerines.

Pomelos: Out of curiosity, I bought a pomelo, native to South and Southeast Asia. Larger than the common grapefruit, the flesh is sweet but the tough, inedible interior membranes drove me back to my preferred Ruby Red grapefruit variety.

Grapples: A man behind me in the check-out line at Mariano’s had a plastic bag of apples. I kept smelling grapes which puzzled me since there were none in sight. He patiently explained to me that the variety of fruit he had purchased crunches like a crisp apple, but the taste and aroma are that of grapes and are named “grapples.” I promptly bought some myself. As much as I liked them, Honey Crisp apples continue to be my favorite variety. Still, you might get a kick out of trying this amusing hybrid.

http://www.grapplefruits.com/

Honeycrisp Apples: Speaking of Honeycrisp apples which have recently exploded in popularity, the University of Minnesota developed this variety which boasts sweetness, firmness and tartness. The Honeycrisp is generally more expensive than other apples and has larger cells which burst in the mouth when we bite into them. If you are eating dairy, try a wedge of gouda cheese with this beauty. Yum!

Rhubarb: While technically a low carb, high fiber vegetable, most American cuisine treats rhubarb as a fruit for pies, compotes, jams and cobblers. Those not wanting to spike their blood sugar can dice rhubarb and cook it in lemon juice with a low glycemic sweetener like xylitol or stevia. I prefer xylitol which can be ordered on-line or purchased at the Vitamin Shoppe locally. Mariano’s and Treasure Island usually carry fresh rhubarb in their produce departments. I hope to plant some in my garden this summer with the hopes that the resident rabbit will nibble elsewhere.

Here’s to the bounty of warmer weather at your own favorite produce vendor!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Kayaks on the Chicago Riverwalk

Some of you have been reading my Culture Beat blurbs since my tenure at the Fairmont Hotel and Convito Italiano many moons ago.

Here are some recent Culture Beat blog posts and their links:

The cell phone headset that has improved my connectivity:

LG Tone Pro Wireless Stereo Headset

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2016/03/lg-tone-pro-wireless-stereo-headset/

The little speaker that makes my phone or iPad a portable stereo:

Jambox speaker by Jawbone

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/08/jambox-speaker-by-jawbone/

My favorite site for foreign tv streaming:

MHZ Choice launches on Oct. 20 (updated blog post forthcoming)

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/10/mhz-choice-launches-on-oct-20/

The show you may want to watch to see women in political power (in Sweden):

Those In Power: a Swedish political tv drama on MHZ

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2016/02/those-in-power-a-swedish-political-tv-drama/

If you want to delve into charming French literature, check out:

The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (in English)

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/12/the-presidents-hat-and-the-red-notebook/

A book I’m recommending if you like science and business:

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2016/03/elon-musk-tesla-spacex-and-the-quest-for-a-fantastic-future-by-ashlee-vance/

Need some food items to add a little zing to your healthy diet?

My current favorite taste sensations (triple cherry blend, rice tortillas, dill relish, sauerkraut)

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/09/my-current-favorite-taste-sensations/

If you are trying to cut down coffee jitters and acidity, try this ayurvedic tea:

Raja’s Cup: the anti-oxidant coffee substitute

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/09/rajas-cup-the-anti-oxidant-coffee-substitute/

When your sweet tooth hits, candy from a home-grown company:

Terry’s Toffee and Wackerpop

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2014/10/terrys-toffee-and-wackerpop/

Stores that both amateur and professional chefs adore:

The Spice House: Seasoning the World

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/04/the-spice-house-seasoning-the-world/

Balsa Mela and Italian Herbed Salt at The City Olive

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/05/balsa-mela-and-italian-herbed-salt/

My favorite chain restaurant:

Lyfe Kitchen

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/03/lyfe-kitchen/

The delightful Chicago attraction that not everyone has visited:

Chicago Riverwalk from LaSalle to Lake Michigan (updated photos soon as construction continues further west)

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/category/outdoor-fun-in-chicago/

Chicago’s classy classical record label:

Cedille Records Celebrates 25 Years as Chicago’s classical record company

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/04/cedille-records-celebrates-25-years-as-chicagos-classical-record-company/

One of the best apps for listening to customized radio:

AccuRadio: Hand-crafted by music lovers-not by a computer

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/05/accuradio-hand-crafted-by-music-lovers-not-by-a-computer/

My favorite app for news on your iPad or tablet:

Flipboard, a new way to get your news fix

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2014/02/flipboard-a-new-way-to-get-your-news-fix/

The best app for checking out other opinions on movies and tv:

Metacritic, when you want to know what the critics think

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/07/metacritic-when-you-want-to-know-what-the-critics-think/

Some of my favorite apps for finding sheet music, paid or free:

Printed Music in the Digital Age

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2014/04/printed-music-in-the-digital-age/

Best app for electronic music storage:

Sheet Music at Your Fingertips: ForScore

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2014/07/sheet-music-at-your-fingertips-forscore/

The best fake book for song standards on your tablet or desktop:

iRealPro app for your portable device or desktop

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2015/08/irealpro-app-for-your-portable-device-or-desktop/

More apps for the musically inclined:

Music App Happy

http://www.elizabethdoylemusic.com/2014/04/music-app-happy/