Posts Tagged ‘health foods’

Meet the Pichuberry

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Let food be your medicine.” –Hippocrates

These wise words (spoken by the father of medicine) are the motto of the staff at Mojo Tree Farms, the growers and importers of the Pichuberry. This intriguing fruit made its debut this past Saturday at the Phoenix Public Market, and while the look of the fruit is similar to a golden cherry tomato, the taste is something altogether different.

pichuberryThe Pichuberry hails from Peru or, more specifically, the mountains of Machu Picchu.  When the British colonized the area, they named the exotic fruit the “Cape Gooseberry” (maybe a bit boring by today’s standards). Mojo Tree Farms, however, is re-branding the fruit as the Pichuberry to recognize the region where the fruit is grown.

How to describe the flavor? Well, while I was at the Pichuberry stand this past Saturday, one patron said, “It’s like a kiwi.” But that’s shorting the fruit its flavor dues. In reality, the flavor profile is much more complex.

The Pichuberry has the consistency of a tomato, with the first bite akin to that satisfying tear through a tomato’s skin followed by a burst of juice. The taste is slightly sweet at first, before mellowing and as you swallow a hint of tart is left behind.

What can you do with it?  The suggestions seem endless. Pop a few in a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Pair it with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella for a new twist on caprese salad. Dice it into salsa and use it to dress braised pork.  You could also be so bold as to use in a cocktail ala Pichu Mojito.

Right now, the berry is being sold at the Phoenix Public Market on Saturdays, and Mojo Tree Farms is working to get it into more places around the Phoenix area. Stop by and taste this powerhouse of a fruit (it’s filled with antioxidants and other good stuff).  A tub is $4 or you can pick up three tubs for $10. If you manage to make it home without eating all of your berries, call me over – I’m always up for a Pichu Margarita.

Join us next month for another culinary feature from the Phoenix Public Market.

Fair Trade Kitchen Unveils Healthy Lifestyles Menu

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I don’t live an extremely healthy lifestyle food-wise. I eat Lean Pockets and copious amounts of tuna salad. Plus, I fancy red meat and eat it whenever possible.

So when Michelle Lavis-White invited me to try Fair Trade Kitchen’s new expanded healthy lifestyles menu–featuring homemade and mostly homegrown vegetarian and gluten-free dining options–I was all kinds of skeptical.

As a small-minded Welshman with meat-and-potato roots, I’ve always associated vegetarian dining, let alone vegan and gluten-free, with words like “tasteless,”  “unfortunate,” and “Oh, no thanks, I’m good.”  So imagine my uneasiness when Michele and her chef Ingrid presented me with tofu steaks and tofu cakes, along with sides of carrot salad, quinoa, and peanut pasta. On this overflowing, completely meatless plate, some roasted zucchini and carrots were about the only recognizable fare.

FairTradeFeeling brave and feeling the pressure of Chef Ingrid’s gaze, I dove in without any regard for my taste buds. And after about 15-20 chews I came to a startling conclusion:

This food, vegetarian or not, was really good.

The lentils were spicy, the tofu savory, the peanut noodles creamy and delicious. There was comforting rice and cheek popping carrot salad, all packed with incredible flavors.

“This is a culture shift,” said White, who is part of an ownership group that oversees both Fair Trade locations (Civic Space Park on Central and Roosevelt on First Avenue). “We’re not only preparing good and affordable food, but we’re educating people that what we should be eating is not only good for us, but good for the community and good for the planet.”

The healthy lifestyles menu is being beta tested at the Civic Space Park location but eventually White says the same items will be found at the Roosevelt shop.

White said that in developing the menu it was a top priority to keep the price points in line with budget-minded students, government workers and ASU faculty, so complete meals (like the one pictured above) will be available for between $5 and $6.

In addition to the vegetarian/organic/gluten-free menu, Fair Trade will continue to offer the salads and sandwiches (like the famous chicken curry) longtime fans of the cafe crave.

Fair Trade Kitchen, located on the bottom level of the AE England building, is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.