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A blog about thought-provoking, forward-thinking modern furniture, lighting & decor.

Everything About Picking the Best Tomato Facts for Cooking

Tomatoes – those delicious, juicy fruits often mistaken for vegetables because of their extremely subtlety sweet taste.  Used in a variety of dishes from sauce to salsa, eaten raw, added to salads or garnish on your hamburger – it’s good to know what are the best tomatoes to buy or grow, what to look for and how to keep them fresh for longer.

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The best you can buy – what to look for:

If you’ve ever eaten an unripened or overly ripened tomato, you know their taste changes dramatically when they aren’t those juicy, flavorful fruits we know and love.

Tomatoes with thin walls and lots of jelly that surround the seeds make the best, most flavorful tomatoes. The thinner the walls the more room for the jelly – if you can help it, don’t remove the seeds, the seeds help improve flavor.

  • Choose locally grown tomatoes – the less distance a tomato travels the riper it can be when it is picked. Commercially grown tomatoes often yield high production and can result in tomatoes with less sugars and other flavor compounds. Plus the engineering of these tomatoes to preserve them longer especially for transportation often have thicker walls and less of that good, tasty jelly.
  • Try an Heirloom – Heirloom tomatoes (often grown locally) come from naturally pollinated plants and seeds that have been growing for decades and haven’t been hybridized
  • Weird looking tomatoes – oddly shaped tomatoes, even those with a few breaks or cracks in the skin are fine to eat – they don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical to be just as delicious – just watch out for tomatoes that are overly soft or leaking juice

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How to keep your tomatoes fresh:

  • Don’t refrigerate
  • Freeze instead of canning if you have a surplus of tomatoes for the off-season. Core them and freeze them in storage bags.
  • Store tomatoes stem end down, it prevents the escaping of moisture and bacteria from entering
  • Bag them with a banana or an apple if the tomato is hard and not ripened, both fruits emit a natural gas called ethylene that hastens ripening

Different Types of Carrots For Cooking

A root vegetable with many different variations of it’s kind – the carrot comes in many different shapes, sizes, colors and tastes – a very interesting vegetable with a larger and more diverse family than we imagined!

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Dragon – medium sized and bi-colored – in China, the common color of this carrot has a magenta skin and a bright yellow-orange core. This carrot has a slightly spicy and nutty favor with a juicy crisp texture. Cooking increases its bitterness.

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Mellow Yellow – pale yellow with a thin, near-cylindrical shape. The texture has a light crunch and the flavor has a slightly fruity aftertaste with little to no bitterness. When cooked, the carrot is fluffier and turns a lemon yellow color with a dulled and mild sweet taste.

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White – a spicy woody like taste that looks similar to a parsnip with a very crisp texture – best to be enjoyed raw

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Cobalt – Bi-colored with a vibrant purple skin similar to that of an eggplant with a brilliant yellow core. It’s raw taste is sweet and when cooked it has a more mild and earthy taste.

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Pink – It has a bright orange color with a mild spicy taste with a touch of herbal similar to cilantro – when cooked it turns a deep coral color and develops a much thicker, yeastier taste

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Baby – This are typically picked early on in their life cycle and are pretty small in size about 3 to 4 inches. They have a delicate skin and they are sweet and tender and are not bitter whatsoever.

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Orange Long – Most commonly found in grocery stores, it is long and medium in thickness, tapered and has a sweet yet slightly bitter and earthy taste. They are tough and hard when eaten raw and take a little while to cook to perfect soft texture.

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Round – This is a carrot with a stubby, spade shape and has a faintly bitter aftertaste. When raw it is a crisp and juicy and when cooked it is firm and sweet.

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Foods and Spices Used Most Often in Different Cultures Cuisine

Want to make a unique dish that has a taste in the likeness of a particular region or country but without searching for a specific recipe? Below are different veggies, foods, fruits and spices used commonly in different cultural cooking to put you in the right direction!

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Middle Eastern Cuisine

  • Chickpeas
  • Cumin
  • Mint
  • Black Limes
  • Rose Petals
  • Dill
  • Saffron
  • Mahleb
  • Za’atar
  • Sesame Seeds

Thai Cuisine 

  • Sweet Tamarind
  • Guava
  • Green Papaya
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Custard Apple
  • Rambutan
  • Young Coconut
  • Mangosteen
  • Peanut Oil
  • Rice Vinegar

Mexican Cuisine

  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Chipotles in Adobo
  • Achiote Paste
  • Hominy
  • Canela
  • Epazote
  • Dried Jamaica Flowers
  • Piloncillo

Cuban Cuisine

  • Plantains
  • Black Beans
  • Yellow Rice (bijol)
  • Annatto Seeds
  • Pork (chorizo)
  • Chicken
  • Flan
  • Condensed Milk
  • Sugar

Japanese Cuisine / Types of Sushi

  • Chirashi
  • Temaki
  • Inari
  • Uramaki
  • Musubi
  • Futomaki
  • Hosomaki
  • Nigiri
  • Gunkan
  • Oshi

Asian Cuisine / Asian Dumplings

  • Shui Jiao
  • Gyoza
  • Wu Gok
  • Har Gow
  • Wontons
  • Shu Mai
  • Kanom Gui Chai
  • Tibetan Momos
  • Banin Bot Loe

Preserved Fish (used in many different countries and cultures)

  • Sardines
  • Maskerel
  • Sablefish
  • Smoked Trout
  • Gravlax
  • Anchovies
  • Pickled Herring
  • Salt Cod
  • Cold Smoked Salmon
  • Hot Smoked Salmon

Goat Cheeses (used mainly in western European countries but all around the world)

  • Goat Gouda
  • Bucheron
  • Majorero
  • Ibores
  • Clochette
  • Mothais-sur-feuille
  • Valencay
  • Fleur Verte
  • Ekte Gjetost
  • Sainte-Maure de Touraine

Seed Spices (used often in many dishes around the world)

  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg
  • Coriander
  • Celery
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Annatto
  • Green Cardamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Star Anise
  • Fennel
  • Caraway









Different Types of the Same Fruit and Veggies You Didn’t Know Existed

Did you know there are many different varieties of the same vegetable and fruit we rarely get to see in grocery stores and farmer markets that we could use in our cooking, baking and in their raw form? It’s pretty amazing to know there is a lot more out there than what we’ve been typically using and what we are familiar with.

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Beets – great for making soups, smoothies, salads, stir fry

  • Red (the one you probably know about and the most common)
  • White
  • Chioggia
  • Golden
  • Bulls Blood
  • Champagne

Mangos – great to eat raw or in salads, salsa, soups, smoothies, drinks

  • Keitt (the one you probably see most often in grocery stores)
  • Alphonso
  • Tommy Atkins
  • Ataulfo
  • Francique
  • Banganpalli
  • Mancurad

Limes – perfect for stews and salsa, garnish for beverages, fish, chicken, beef

  • Sweet (common)
  • Key (common)
  • Persian
  • Kaffir
  • Limequat
  • Blood
  • Finger

Hybrid Citrus – juice, smoothies, shakes, garnish

  • Grapefruits (common)
  • Mandarinquats
  • Ojai Pixie Tangerines
  • Tangelos
  • Uniq Fruits
  • Calamondins
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Oro Blancos

Winter squashes – soups, stews, stir fry, sauteed

  • Spaghetti (common)
  • Butternut (common)
  • Acorn (common)
  • Sugar Pumpkin
  • Carnival
  • Kabocha
  • Turban
  • Delicata
  • Sweet Meat
  • Blue Hubbard

Pears – great to be eaten raw or made into a jam, sauce, garnish

  • Concorde (common)
  • Warren
  • Yali
  • Shingo
  • Fragrant
  • Starkrimson
  • 20th Century

Taproots – perfect for eating raw or made into soups, stews, stir fry, sauteed, baked, mashed

  • Radish
  • Turnip
  • Beet
  • Parsnip
  • Celery Root
  • Carrot
  • Rutabaga
  • Burdock
  • Jicama

Cherries – great to be eaten raw, pie, baking, compote, garnish

  • Rainier
  • Montmorency
  • Bing
  • Balaton
  • North Star
  • Van
  • Sweetheart
  • Skeena
  • Early Richmond





5 Foods that Help Fight PMS and 3 Foods that Make it Worse

Every woman reacts differently right before their period – some get weepy and cry, others become angry and impatient and some say they aren’t affected whatsoever – whatever the case may be, if you are feeling a little different than usual a week to a few days before your period you can help offset the imbalance by eating certain foods.

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5 Foods that help fight PMS

1. Greek Yogurt – calcium rich and probiotics ease the tummy of any pain during this month as well as keep the yeast in your vagina balanced

2. Almonds – Nuts especially almonds are jam packed with vitamin e and help alleviate pms symptoms

3. Pumpkin Seeds – magnesium helps with bloating which can make us feel sluggish, tired and irritated

4. Salmon – Omega 3 helps with cramps but for some, doesn’t occur during pre-menstrual

5. Turkey- Tryptophan is the chemical found in turkey that has a calming effect and sometimes can even be used as a sleep inducer, that’s why we get so tired in the USA during thanksgiving, tryptophan can help with irritability during PMS

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3 Foods that make it PMS worse

  1. Potato Chips – anything salty will make you retain more water which will make you more bloated
  2. Coffee – caffeine is a stimulant which can cause blood to pump faster to parts of our body because it increases our heart rate
  3. Croissants, scones and muffins – the carb and sugar mixture can cause a burst of energy due to the sugar while a false prolongation of energy due to the carbs, however our body is digesting them at the same time thus changing the natural way our bodies would decompose them in their natural state


5 Most Flatulent Producing Foods

We all get a little gasy from time to time, flatulence or farting (hehe) is common but can happen more frequent by certain foods we eat. Its good to know what foods create more of this than others especially if you’re giving a presentation, in a meeting, during class or on a date!


5 Most Fart Producing Foods – in no particular order but when combined together create especially lethal results.

Sugars (real and fake) – Cabbage, onions and a few other vegetables contain complex sugars and almost ALL fruits.  Fruit drinks, sodas, ironically sugar-free food (like those for diabetics) and gum.

Dairy –  Milk, ice cream, cheese – If you are lactose intolerant this can sometimes cause the opposite effect and you can become extremely constipated. But once the milk starts moving, you are sure to have some diabolical farts brewing before you get to the bathroom.

Starches – Potatoes, corn, pasta and wheat – one safe starch is RICE!

Fiber – Peas, beans, carrots, apples, oranges and oat bran are good for your metabolism and digestive tract but because they are difficult to break down they can create excess gas

Fried Foods – Fried foods contain a lot of oil (the type of oil used is very important, oil that is used multiple times in a row without being changed becomes contaminated over a period of time so they can often back up your system, when combined with a “kick” like cayenne pepper or hot sauce, the oil is backing you up while the spice is trying to push it out, thus creating some of the most intense, frequent and smelliest farts ever encountered!

It’s important to note that more gas is common when a combination of food, beverages and substances are in your system. For example, I’ve found that on particular holidays I am more flatulent than others because I am not only eating more but I am eating a combination of different foods in one sitting and sometimes alcohol (and even stress) is sometimes involved.  Your body is a interconnected organic machine so every part (mind, body, spirit) counts!

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