This past weekend, I came from visiting Gilroy, CA (the Garlic capital of the World).  Gilroy, of course, is famous for their Garlic and the Garlic Festival.  When you drive through Highway 152, you will not only smell garlic from your car, but also see many signs of fruit stands selling garlic on the side of the road.  I couldn’t resist and had to buy  the World-Famous garlic!  They were cheap and plentiful, music to the ears of a garlic lover.

So, I came home with my bunches of garlic and I wanted to keep the essence.  What I did was peel each head of garlic, smashed, minced and store them in a jar with vegetable oil.  I would have used olive oil if I had it, and it would also be great on bread or salads.  Garlic stored in this manner is great for sautes and stir-frys.  This is a great solution and tip  to storing bulk garlic.

I have been working hard on this website and it’s still in the process.  Please visit: www.urbankitchensurvival.com .

It will be more informative and more interactive for myself as the writer. I hope you will be able to check out the site from time to time and also input your opinions.  Thank you so much for your support.

“Urbanistas” would like to be hip and chic in the kitchen, but also eco –friendly.  One way we can participate in this eco movement is to buy bamboo.  Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.  It’s actually part of the grass family.  Bamboo has been used for everything from construction material to food (bamboo shoots).  It’s very strong and can withstand the elements.

For the kitchen, bamboo can be incorporated in the cutting boards, salad bowls, and serving spoons & forks. There are also containers that would be great to store and have easy access to salt and pepper. An easy cleaning feature, they are dishwasher safe.  It’s very stylish to have natural elements in your kitchen, especially if you have stainless appliances.

Please look at http://www.totallybamboo.com/index.cfm and check out this online store.  They have a beautiful collection of kitchen goods including a bamboo sink.

I came across this site while I was looking for Florida Crystals Brown Sugar.  I thought that I might be able to find a local place that has them, but I came upon this site by accident, a good accident.  The site is: www.mybrands.com.  They offer hard to find, organic, natural, gourmet food and household supplies.  They even have goodies for your pets. This is a great online grocery site.

I was impressed with the products they carry because as we may or may not know, some food products are only available in certain areas, such as chips or bottled sauce.  This is a specialty store that offers special products, and that being said they have a special way of selling their products.  You have to purchase the minimum amount shown.  For this site, quality doesn’t come in small amounts, but you can always store in your pantry or maybe share your goodies or give as a gift.

There are differences in functionality within your cupboard. It’s not every glass for themselves.  It’s a wonder how many people don’t know the differences with daily drink-ware, but they could spot out a martini glass.  Sometimes when we start growing up, it’s a little difficult to change habits, like drinking water in a coffee mug.  A little etiquette doesn’t hurt, and shows your sophistication.  It’s also quite helpful to know about different drinks with different glasses when having guests over for a party.  Here’s a mini lesson as to which glass to use.

For daily use

  • Water Glass – These are the taller glasses.  You use these for water, lemonade, and other drinks of the sort.  This is your basic daily ware.
  • Juice Glass – Mostly used for orange juice.  I always wondered why I always got a small glass of OJ.  But I guess this is to limit how much Vitamin C, acidity, or sugar we get in the morning.
  • Mugs – For coffee, tea, hot chocolate.  There’s a good reason why there’s a handle, the mug’s hot!
  • My pick: I know I’m bending the rules, but for summer, I like to use the canning glass jars (ie. ball), sticking them in the freezer, and having  a cold Peach-Mint Ice Tea. I think these are suitable for summer BBQ’s and picnics. Consider it BBQ chic!

For your bar

  • White Wine Glass – White wine glasses are the taller of the two wine glasses.  They also have the more narrow top.
  • Red Wine Glass – Of course, this is the shorter of the two and it has a more globe or bowl top.  The shape of the glass is to differentiate as well as distribute the flavors and aroma of the wine.
  • Flute Glass – We  see  this glass used all the time with champagne or sparkling wine.  There is a purpose for the shape of this class.  It’s so the beverage doesn’t lost its carbonation (the “bubbly”).
  • Martini Glass – This one is a no brainer.  Open upside down-cone shape on top with a stem.  This is also used for other cocktails and best used when chilled first.  There are 2 sizes, 3oz and 12oz.
  • Brandy Glass – This glass is also easy to spot.  It usually has a short stem and a globe head.  The shape of the glass is important because it keeps the flavor and aroma in.  The globe head helps it to keep the goodness of the brandy in.
  • Like daily drinking glasses, there are also 2 sizes for “other drinks”.  Here’s the explanation of the differences:
  • Highball Glass or Cocktail Glass – This is usually used for mixed drinks (ie. Long Island Ice Tea), on the rocks, or neat.  This is  the all-around glass, more commonly used for cocktails.  This is the taller glass.
  • Old Fashioned Glass – Drinks serves in this glass usually have ice served with it.  There are also specific drinks.  This is the shorter glass.

Happy drinking!!

Hahaha, so I’m going to take my own advice and use papaya to tenderize, as well as flavor, the pork ribs.

Here’s my recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cup shopped papaya
  • 2 lbs pork ribs (or strips of pork)
  • 1 Tb salt
  • 1/2 cup already prepared Teriyaki sauce (any brand)
  • 1 Tb Siracha chili sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed & chopped

1.  Sprinkle salt, garlic, teriyaki sauce, & hot sauce all over the meat and massage it throughout.
2.  After chopping the papaya in small cubes, use a pestal and mortar to smash it up and get the juices of the papaya flowing.  I left it a little chunky though.  I think it might also work great to put it in the blender and food processor.
3.  Pour all the papaya in the bowl with the other ingredients and the meat.  Let marinate for a few hours.  The longer you marinate the better the flavor will be.

Since I’m marinating this over night, you will get a full report and picture of the cooked ribs tomorrow.

Here’s the update, after I marinate it, I placed them in a backing dish and put them in a preheated oven for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees f.  I checked on it from time to time and at the last 30 minutes, I drizzled 1/2 cup of honey.  It came out yummy and gorgeous.

Well in my experience, tough meat can break a delicious meal.  Let’s take, for example, a steak that you buy.  Not all cuts of steak are going to be tender, so you have to help it out a little. People also save money when buying cheaper cuts of meat, so we need to learn how to tenderize meat.

There are many tips, tools and tenderizers that are out on the market.

This is the tip I use:  I soak steak in beer for about 1-2 hours before I grill it.  I also soak chicken in lemon soda, sometimes over night, when I’m about to cook Filipino Adobo.  Carbonation gets into the meet with little effort.

On a tastier note, you can also massage or marinate your meats with pineapple or papaya, as a friend showed me.  There has to be a scientific or elemental reaction that I don’t know how to explain, but it does the job.

The most logical tenderizer is using acid.  There is vinegar and lemon (citrus juices). The key is to let it soak for some time, but not too long because it will tear up the fibers in the meat.  I think 1-4 hours would be fine to get it tender.

There are also gadgets you can use  to tenderize meat.  There’s one that looks like a hammer that’s smooth on one side and prickly on the other.  I believe it’s called a mallet.  There is also another type of gadget that you pounce on the meat like you’re  piercing the meat with 10 ice picks. This breaks down the meat so you can cook it faster.

I also heard from many home cooks that salt is a tenderizer, aside from making it taste good. I have tried to rub my meat with coarse salt, and I think it might have worked.

The last kind of tenderizer are is powder form which you can buy readily at the market.  I believe you can find them in the spice aisle.  To be honest, I don’t really know too much about powder tenderizers because I don’t use the, but I would assume it’s enzymes in a different form.

In relation to creating an “Urban Kitchen”, you can use these techniques for your meal survival.