Those Strange Fruits and Veggies!
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Five years ago I didn’t know what a Rutabaga was. I’d never tried Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Kale, or Swiss Chard. Fennel, Endive, Beets, and Arugula were foreign to me. I wasn’t picky, I just didn’t know about these foods and had no real reason to try them.
And then we signed up for a weekly delivery of fresh produce, through Abundant Harvest Organics. A whole new world of food was opened up to us. We got to know all of these ingredients real quick.
The main way I learned to cook with them was by adding them, substituting with them, in new and old dishes. At this point in my culinary journey, I was discovering just how much I loved to cook, so it was relatively easy to play with our food.
About a year ago, I invested in a book called The Flavor Bible. It has been a tremendous help in knowing what foods and flavors will go well together. I think I have a pretty good sense, in general, but it’s great to have a resource that I can turn to. It’s also given me some ideas for flavor combinations that have led to new recipes. My Red Cabbage and Apple Tarts and Wowza Steak Salad happened because I was researching cabbage, I think, and all these ideas came to me when I saw the list of complementary flavors. It’s fun!
This past year things like Black Spanish Radishes, Korean Daikon Radishes, Komatsuna (Japanese Mustard Spinach), Sinqua (Chinese Okra), and Yellow Watermelons have surprised me. I was tentative, at first, with some (Sinqua!), and pleasantly surprised with many of them (singua in Ratatouille!).
If you’re new (or a vetran!) to this lifestyle, please ask for help if you don’t know what to do with your rutabagas! I have an “Ask Rachel” section on here, or you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I love to come up with meal ideas, so I hope you will take me up on this!
If you’re really stuck, I offer a menu planning service. I’ll plan a weekly or monthly dinner menu for you, with links to recipes or without (there’s a small price difference). It’s available to you. All you have to do is ask! (I can even plan it around the AHO box, if you’re a subscriber! Or, if you subscribe to another type of CSA, I can work with that list too.)
Since we get a weekly AHO box, that’s what I plan our menus around. Last week, in the post with episode 51,Ã‚ I shared a list of ideas for things to cook with the contents of the AHO box. It’s a different approach from the menus I was doing last year. But, I’m planning to continue to do it this way and hope you find it useful and helpful!
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