Get Your Gochujang On

And now, for a long overdue topic: Gochujang.

Gochujang is a quintessential Korean chili paste used for sauces, soups, and courageous veggie dipping. Like Sriracha, it makes everything taste spicier and, well, better. Unlike Sriracha, it’s sweet, thick, and actually used in Asia.

Gochujang

For spice-lovers, gochujang is an extremely versatile condiment with surprising depth. Depending on the brand, it can be quite sweet and even mildly smokey tasting. Since every Korean grocery store carries no less than 5000 varieties, I recommend that you read this fantastic blog post on the topic, which includes a taste test!

The only downside to gochujang, in my opinion, is its jam-like texture which makes it difficult to dissolve into other ingredients. If you’re adding it to a soup, the best way to avoid sunken-chunk syndrome is to make a slurry with the paste or to fry it with the vegetables.

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Tajín Seasoning: Most Definitely Not a Candy

Please pardon my absence — I was in Mexico for a month! While I was there, one of my favorite street snacks was also one of the simplest: a big cup of fresh fruit and/or vegetables smothered in chili and lime juice.

(OK, so this was actually in Queens)

(This was in Queens)

Although I prefer Valentina hot sauce, most vendors (and homes) carried Tajín seasoning instead — a powder of chili peppers, salt, and dehydrated lime juice that is, quite possibly, the essence of Mexico itself. (For the record, there are other brands as well.)

I bought my Tajín in the U.S., as evidenced by the package’s glaring, Captain-Obvious disclaimer:

Unequivocally not a candy.

I never doubted you.

Anyway, I decided to try it out with some fruits and vegetables at home.

Blackberry, cucumber, heirloom apple, celery, banana, carrot

Blackberry, cucumber, heirloom apple, celery, banana, carrot

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Adventures in Ethnocentric Dairy: Crema Edition

We all know that New York City is home to a sizable population of immigrants from Mexico and Central America. What we don’t know is why each one of these diasporas has their own variety of sour cream:

Crema

I didn’t buy the separate “Central American Crema” that was available. That would have just been excessive.

I have long been vexed by this dairy-aisle dilemma. All of the above bottles contain the same exact ingredients, and, with the exception of the Crema Mexicana, appear identical. Are they not just the same exact product repackaged as part of some nostalgia-inducing marketing scheme? Or are Central Americans just really, really nationalistic when it comes to sour cream?

Inquiring mouths need to know.

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Mamey In All Its Glorious Forms

Once upon a time there was a scruffy, egg-shaped fruit whose sweet and mushy interior suggested an unlikely union of yam and avocado. The giant, oblong seed of this fruit was nestled into a pot of deceased African daisies in Queens, whence sprung, miraculously, a mamey plant.

mamey plant

I believe in miracles

Mamey (full name: Mamey sapote) is native to Central America and is used primarily for milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream, and other frozen delights.

But why, you ask?

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My Brush with Borojó: Latin America’s Repugnant Aphrodisiac

As I have already admitted, I have a bit of a tropical fruit fetish. Still, I never expected that I would ever have the opportunity to take my smoothie predilections to a more literal level. Until I met borojó.

Borojo

Borojó is a fruit indigenous to the rain forests of Central and South America, where it is known by locals as “nature’s Viagra.” In liquid form, borojó is also called jugo del amor — love juice.

Naturally, I had to make my own love juice.

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Khmeli-Suneli: The Queen of Georgian Spices

If you’ve never tried Georgian food, you’re missing out. This tiny country has long been known throughout the former-Soviet region for its stellar national cuisine. Suitable for both meat lovers and veggie fiends, Georgian food is often found overflowing with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and, crucially, Khmeli-Suneli.

khmeli suneli

Let’s pretend that this isn’t expired, OK?

Khmeli Suneli literally means “dried spices” in Georgian, and typically contains a mixture of coriander, dill, fenugreek, parsley, marjoram, mint, black pepper, etc. On their own these ingredients are fairly commonplace, but when combined the result is positively exotic. Having used the spice mix for years, I can say with utmost confidence that it goes with everything.

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My Husband Tries Cat Food… And Likes It (Video!)

cat food

I love a man who can pair wine and wet food.

To cut to the chase, my husband wanted to conduct a taste test of canned wet cat food.

Just, uh… watch the video… and check out more photos after the jump!

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