Thursday, October 18, 2018

Live Brown Crabs Sold in the Grocery

Live brown crab

We have at least 6 types commercial crab sold in the USA markets, they are: dungeness crab; snow crab; jonah crab; stone crab and king crab. In facts, there are around 40 species of king crabs, but 3 only are widely sold in the market that are brown (golden), blue and red. 

What I found in the market is brown crab, scientific name is Lithodes aequispinus. The crab could reach 11 pounds weight and 6 feet leg span from tip to tip. The size I saw in the grocery in my town not so that big. The weight might be close to 4 to 8 pounds (2 to 4 kg), but the leg no more than 1.5 feet.

This crab distributed all over the world from North Sea to Atlantic Ocean to Bering sea to Mediterranean Sea. King crab which we saw in American groceries mainly come from Alaska, but also import from as far as Norway and Russia. 

Price sold in the groceries around US$ 6 per-pound, thus one brown king crab with 8-pound weight reaches price of US$ 48. Very much expensive for me.

Cooked crab shells turn to red 

How to cook live king crabs? It is easy, just boiling or steaming in the pot for no more than 30 minutes. Some groceries sold frozen crabs, these crabs cooked already, need several minutes to reheat by microwave or oven. 

All species of crabs or even shrimps regardless of their natural (raw) colors (brown, blue, black or golden), their shells will turn to red when cooked.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Coconut Oil: From Cooking to Health Treatment

Kinds of coconut oil products sold at groceries

I used to cook, especially to fry with coconut oil more than 10 years ago, but surprisingly many coconut oil-based products are developed recently. When I come to the Walmart grocery at my town, there are plenty of multi-purposes coconut oil products. 

Yes, there is coconut oil for cooking. But many other coconut oil-based products made me interest such as for coffee (hot drinks) blending, for fragrance, for dipping (like spooning out pudding), for moisturizing skin and many others. 

Naturally refined coconut oil

I bought a naturally refined coconut oil, an organic product from Walmart. The cost is US$9.8 for 56 oz size. It is called as "a naturally refined," because without using chemical during processing of product, simply just traditionally or mechanically processing. 

In respect to health, naturally refined is one of the best oils, because contain a good fat (cholesterol-free) and can be consumed as an immediate source of energy. It is good for substitutes of margarine and butter in baking or cooking. 

In treatment, it is a perfect for skin cares (hand, body or face), since the oil is a good moisturizer. I my self use coconut oil for shaving cream, moisture my skin and treat my hair to grow healthier.  

I am using coconut oil to treat my hair for the last 3 months. I treat my hair for around 15 minutes, then wash with organic hair wash. The result makes me happy: I feel my hear grow well, even shinier (look from mirror), softer and healthier.  


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pumpkins Sold in the Small Farmer Market

Decorate of plastic pumpkins

Since the middle of September, one of farmer markets in our town has sold the pumpkins. We noticed four different kinds of pumpkins, they are (actually, I don’t know exactly, but I just guess) large orange pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima); common pumpkins or summer squash or styrian pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo); blue jarrahdale; and kinds of cushaw. 

Large pumpkins are ready for carving

As we know that the large pumpkins for decorating during October (before and during Halloween), but some people eating the seeds and flesh. However, these pumpkins not grown for eating purposes or not good for eating directly (after boiling), but might be suitable for making pie. 

Small pumpkins or common pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo)

We have several pumpkins with a little bit small size than pumpkins for carving, one of them has scientific name Cucurbita pepo. This pumpkin is grown specially as source of food. The pumpkin also called as pie or sugar pumpkin due to its sweetness. This pumpkin could be used as oatmeal, roasted veggie, soups and loaves. 

Blue jarrahdale

Blue jarrahdale pumpkin is smaller in size, I do not know what purposes of this pumpkin grown for: either for eating or decorating only or both. I read from “google” that Blue jarrahdale is bigger pumpkin actually, and be used for food and pie as well.

Some kinds of Cushaw?

Cushaw pumpkin is called as winter squash, harvested from winter to spring in American south. The color is green striped, but many varieties are yellow or half yellow and green. We found bigger and smaller size, the bigger ones could reach to 20 pounds and 11 inch in diameter each. 

Nutritionist said that pumpkins contain vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Thus, very good for supporting health of our heart. Potassium also known as good mineral for control high blood pressure or hypertense treatments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Quiet Corner of Populous Amsterdam

Small “motels” for rent

Amsterdam, Holland is a crowd city, like there are a lot of party every day for me. But, many important public buildings include restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, museum and other relate entertainment premises are walking or cycling distance.

Almost any corners of Amsterdam or big cities in the Holland could be reached by public transportations, they are buses, trams and metro lines. The regular schedule for these public transportations are from early morning (6.00 AM) to midnight (12.30 AM). 

Do not be worry after 12.30 AM, city of Amsterdam provides limited number of buses until 7.00 AM. Thus, public transportation available 24 hours. Quite different with many cities in the USA where public transportations almost not exist with very restricted operation hours.  

However, we could avoid populous of Amsterdam by finding a quiet corner with a beautiful scenery, but still not far from the heart of city. The location around 2.5 km from   Dutch National Opera and Ballet.

There are floating houses in one of canals that we could rent for several days. We might take meal while enjoying the excited views. Many “friendly” or tamed swans swim around, and even we could feed them. 


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Banana Chips Sold in the Groceries

Banana chips 

I know that banana can be processed into chips, but I never taste it. When I visited to one of Mexican groceries in the city, I bought several medium bags. The price is quite cheap compared to potato chips. The taste little bit sweet and crispy.

Some people told me that there are two ways to make banana chip, first by frying with cooking oil and second by baking with oven of higher temperature. In Asia, it is popular to make banana chips by frying, while here in the USA, we often use oven to make chips.  

Medium bags of banana chips

The steps to make banana chips are following: Banana be peeled and sliced with whatever size we like (such as a thick of coin size). Sliced bananas could be dipping into flavor or certain ingredients or seasonings. Many people use honey, lemon juice or sugar liquid as dipping. Then either baking or frying. 

I never make banana chips by myself. I will try in the near future. Homemade is fresh and healthy. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Town with One Population in Monowi, Nebraska

Monowi, a silence town. Photo credited to Andrew Filer

My friend told me that he had stopped by in a town with one population for a drink. The town called as Monowi in Nebraska. What a joke? I reply. I though that he just kidding.  Yes, it is true, there is a town with one population in the USA. 

The resident, Elsie Eiler, 84 year old, has three important buildings to be managed: a mayor house that is her own house, a town library and a Monowi Tavern. The mayor lives in mobile home that close to the library.  

Library of Monowi, Nebraska. Credit to Kimmer C

5 thousand books collection of the library belong to mayor’s late husband, Rudy Eiler, a devoted reader. Since her husband dead 14 years ago, neighbors from nearby could read and even borrow the collections. 

Customers in Monowi tavern, credit to Kimmer C 

The only business made town live is a bar called as Monowi Tavern. The bar serves the nearby customers and people who stop by for drink or lunch. The foods quite cheap with US$3.5 burger and US$8.5 steaks as examples.

The bar business tax and license fee for alcohol drinks and tobacco are sources of revenue for the town. The income then be used to pay electricity and water bills. Four street lamps were funded by state government. 

Recently, the town had been visited by guests from 4 dozen states and more than 40 countries from around the globe. This development might attract the investors to do business in the town. If you visit Monowi by next 5 or 10 years, the town might be changing a lot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Boiled Green Peanut is Good for Health

Green peanuts with shell

We start to see peanuts sold at the farmer market around end of February each year in the southern USA (Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia), but look abundance from June to September with a little bit lower price. 

Surprisingly, the market for this crop is quite significant with total market value of US$4 billion in the US. Reasonably good for economic activities. About 700 million pounds produced per year. Georgia is the state that most produces peanuts. 

The peanut growing season from April to October, depend on kinds of peanuts, and harvest could be 4 to 5 months after sowing the seeds. A plant may contain 50 peanuts. Sold in the market in a pound or a bushel (20 pound). The sellers called it green peanut, even though the color of peanut’s shell is not green at all.    

A bushel of green peanuts

If we (I myself) buy peanuts, we simply just boil it. Freshly peanuts are boiled with water contain a proper amount of salt. Southerners love to have salty boiled peanuts. It takes several hours before bean texture reach softly and taste delicious. 

We eat boiled peanuts with crawfish for sometimes, but we often eat boiled peanut only. Peanuts harvest season is coincidentally with crawfish. If we have crawfish party, then we eat crawfish with peanuts and potatoes.   

Peanut is good for health, it is because contain protein (plant-based protein), rich in mineral and vitamin. Eating peanuts may also reduce risks of gallstone and heart diseases. Thus, it is a good diet for obese people.