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Monday, March 15, 2010

Jicama

I still remember when I first had jicama. It was in 1983 or so, and I had gone to Disneyworld with my former fiancé for a few days. One night we went to the Mexican pavilion at Epcot Center for dinner and I had a salad. It had something in it totaly unfamiliar to me - light and crisp and sweet and crunchy. I loved it, and asked the waiter what it was. He was stumped and said he didn't know the word for it in English. "No problem", I told him, "just tell me what it's called in Spanish". "Jicama", he replied. I told myself to remember the name, and so I did for *years and years* but without ever once seeing it in a market. Eventually it slipped from the forefront of my memory.

Then a few years ago I was rereading "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution" and found jicama listed under the induction-friendly vegetables. But I still never found it in the markets. The supermarket I usually shop at caters to a largely Caribbean and Hispanic clientele, but even they don't seem to carry it.

But yesterday I ran up to Whole Foods, and found they had a whole bunch of jicama there, and so I bought two of them. I had seen some recipes online that called for baking them, so decided I would give that a try. I peeled one jicama root, quartered it, and then sliced it into very thin slices as though I were going to make potato chips. This one yielded about 4 cups of slices. So what I did was make:

Jicama Bake
4 cups jicama, peeled, quartered and very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon

Place sliced jicama in a large bowl. Add the cream and cinnamon and stir thoroughly until all the slices are well coated in cream. Turn into a greased casserole dish and bake at 400 F until the jicama has softened, stirring a few times to make sure all the slices continue to be coated with cream. This takes a *long* time. I think I baked it for about two hours. The cream is mostly gone at this point.

But it was yummy, and low in carbs. I've read recipes that use peeled and de-seeded zucchini interchangeably with jicama. I may have to try the recipe with zucchini also, as I'm sure it would cook much more quickly. That jicama took forever. But still good, and I have brown-bagged some to have for lunch today also.


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