Monday, January 28, 2013

Try the weird stuff

I’ve recently felt challenged to expand my culinary horizons and try things that are unfamiliar. Thanks to books like Folks, This Ain’t Normal and increased interest in use of seasonal ingredients amongst chefs, trying different things just doesn’t seem so scary.

So, in the past couple weeks I’ve jumped head first into experimenting with items that were previously foreign to me.

I started at the grocery store where I spotted turnips, which I had never tried before. With little knowledge of how to prepare them, I went ahead and did the safest preparation I could think of and just roasted them along with some butternut squash. Delicious! Mild and sweet, they were fantastic and even got a thumbs up from my husband.

Feeling braver, I moved on to a new animal protein by requesting oxtail (cow tail) from our farmer. He was just as excited for me to try it as I was, and recommended using it in a slow cooker soup as it makes fantastic broth. So good! I plan to write about this more soon.

This week, I’m going to try preparing parsnips for the first time.

I challenge you to try something new or weird in your cooking. Maybe a new fruit or veggie or a strange cut of meat (I definitely don't mean the crazy weird processed stuff in the center aisles of the store). Not only will you get to sample new flavors and nutrients, you get to be a part of supporting farmers who bring the not-so-normal stuff to our markets. 
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