Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012: The Alien Ingredient Series

Each week of 2012 here at One Block West Restaurant, we are aiming to find, use, and document two new-to-us (aka "alien") ingredients for a total of 100 during the year. I have worked with hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of ingredients from all over the world in the past 30 years of cooking. But a quick trip through our new international food market here in lovely Winchester, VA reminded me that there are hundreds more ingredients out there that I have never worked with.

So the crew and I are on this mission to document what we find and are using, to not only broaden our own knowledge, but truth be told, to have some fun too. We love surfing through markets for cool stuff. We're just like kids in candy stores!

The 2012 Alien Ingredient Series

1. Dwarf Truffle Peaches
2. St. Germain
3. Culantro
4. Epazote
5. Banana Flower
6. Dragon Fruit
7. Pickled Eggplant
8. Coquitos
9. Buddha's Hand
10. Nilgai Antelope
11. Cancha/Maíz Chulpe
12. Tteok
13. Silkie (Black) Chicken
14. Choclo
15. Fresh Green Chickpeas
16. Spondias/Mombin/Jocote
17. Jackfruit
18. Guava
19. Shungiku/Tung Ho
20. Okinawa Sweet Potato
21. Lotus Root
22. Guaje
23. Rau Răm
24. Kinh Giới
25. Ngò om/Rice Paddy Herb
26. Khao Thong
27. Rambutan 
28. Artichoke Stems
29. Korean Melon
30. Goose Eggs 
31. Longan
32. Fresh Lychee
33. Mamoncillo 
34. Dosakai
35. Wax Apple
36. Chipilin
37. Tasmanian Pepper Syrup
38. Lentil Shoots
39. Sweet Lime

Alien Ingredient #39: Sweet Lime

Sweet Limes: Don't Bother
I've tried a lot of citrus in my life and here's one that is new to me: Citrus limetta, the so-called sweet lime. Sweet is right. It is super sweet. And it doesn't have any citric acid to balance that sweetness so it comes off like really insipid orange juice.

The juice has orange juice notes with perhaps a touch of citronella (lemongrass) coming from the rind, but no detectable acidity.

We were going to use these in an upside-down cake just like we use Meyer lemons and blood oranges, but no. These guys went in the trash. Bummer.

Vote: Yeah, nope! No acid, no joy.