When Jamie and I started bringing our little ones to the organic co-op on a weekly basis, I never knew how it would change my cooking habits. We haven’t gone back since around October I’m sad to report, but what I really enjoyed(besides the wonderful lunch that followed and scintillating conversation) was the challenge to try food I had never seen before and figure out how to cook it. A good example would be kale. I had never even heard of it before I picked it up in my share, and now its one of our favorite vegetables. Since then, I have been having fun at the grocery store finding out new vegetables and experimenting with cooking them. Dirk is very open to new tastes and it has been fun to see what we had been missing out on this whole time. I decided to list out what we have tried so far in hopes that you too will see your produce section with new eyes.*
Kale: I absolutely love this leafy green. I cook it on the stove with onions, canola oil(we don’t like olive oil around here and canola oil is better for you), garlic and a little salt and pepper. Its so great when its a little crispy and bright green. Yum. We eat this all the time.
Bok Choy: We just tried this and its really good sauteed with a little garlic and soy sauce. The leaves are good, but the stalk has a yummy texture. We’ll be getting this more often, for sure.
Brussel Sprouts: Dirk grew up eating these, and my parents may have made them once or twice, but I have no memory. The episode of the Cosby Show where Rudy sat the whole time at the table not eating brussel sprouts made an impression on me, and I never wanted to try them. We cut them in half, roasted them with a little oil, salt, and pepper until they were crispy and soft. Tip: I highly recommend these, but when you take them out of the oven, let them sit for a few minutes before you eat–their flavor will settle and get yummy.
Green Cabbage: OK, I know this is not a foreign food but I received a full head in my share at the co-op and had to figure out what to do with it. Besides putting it in coleslaw, I had never seen anyone cook with it. I ‘stir fried’ it with chicken stock, and steamed it a little while. Tasty!
Leeks: YUMM. This is a GREAT vegetable. The night I picked up some leeks was the night we had baked potatoes, and I had cooked them on the oven until they were soft. They are good fresh–they taste like an onion without the bite–but cooked, they are sweet with a blend of garlic and onion flavors. We put them on out potatoes and they were EXCELLENT. I pick up a bunch every time I’m at the store now.
Rutabaga: Olivia, my niece, was talking about rutabaga from a cartoon she’d seen, so I thought I’d try it out myself. It tastes like a cross between a radish and a sweet potato. Weird, huh? I read it was great with mashEd potatoes, so we mashed them up together. They were good and not overpowering. Just make sure that you let them cook longer than the potatoes.
That’s all I can think of! I hope you check out all the random things that your grocer carries and try one or two of them out. So far we’ve been very pleased with what we’ve tried!
*I would like to note that many of these foods are not that unusual to many people, but they were to me–shows you how limited I was in my shopping before.