Exploring new flavors

This week’s assignment inspired me to go to a Co-op and purchase some vegetables and fruits that I’ve never bought before or don’t often use. It was fun to go around the produce isle to explore new ingredients that were in season and local. I bought several things but chose 4 for my home assignment: turnips (never tried it before), red kale, and shallots. Kind of embarrassing, but I’ve never prepared dishes with any of them (!). I searched on the internet for side dish recipes using at least one of the ingredients. I ended up preparing roasted turnips with ginger and honey, mashed turnips and carrots and garlic kale and quinoa.

Roasted Turnips with Ginger

Recipe: Peel and cut turnips into wedges. Toss with sliced fresh ginger, canola or olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with honey and roast at 400° F until tender.

Results: The recipe I found had no measurements for the ingredients but I still wanted to try it because I liked the combination of using ginger, honey and turnips. Indeed, the flavor was very unique and I enjoyed it. However, I didn’t like the texture of the turnips so much. I’m willing to try another recipe with roasted turnips and better instructions to make sure I didn’t do something wrong this time.






Mashed Turnips and Carrots

Recipe: Simmer peeled and cut-up turnips and carrots in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash with butter, salt, and pepper. In a saucepan, cook 3 chopped shallots in ½ tablespoon of butter for about 5 minutes. Add the mashed turnips and carrots and stir. Add chopped chives and shaved Parmesan to taste.

Results: The original recipe did not call for shallots, but I decided to add them because of the extra flavor. This was really good! I had it with grilled chicken and raw red kale (seasoned with salt and lime juice), it was a great and balanced meal. I was so hungry and excited with my dinner that I forgot to take a picture before I ate.

img_1174  img_1188

Garlic Kale Quinoa

Ingredients: 2/3 cup water; 1/3 cup quinoa; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 cup chopped kale (I used red kale instead); 1 clove garlic, minced; salt and ground black pepper to taste; 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil; 1 tablespoon water, or as needed.

Directions: 1) Bring 2/3 cup water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 2) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; sauté kale and garlic in the hot oil until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 3) Stir quinoa into kale mixture and add sesame oil; cook until flavors blend, about 5 more minutes. Add 1 tablespoon water to mixture to keep from sticking.

Results: Besides being a healthy side dish, this was very easy to make and very tasty! I’m excited to eat this with my lunch tomorrow at work. Instead of using black pepper, I used a Brazilian pepper called ‘beak pepper’, because it is very flavorful but not spicy (and it added a nice red color to the dish). My recipe turned out less green than the picture on the website (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/235966/garlic-kale-quinoa/) probably because I used less kale than was required. I’ll try to put more next time!

Overall, this whole experience was a lot of fun. I usually like to try new and exotic things at restaurants but I’m not that adventurous when it comes to cooking. I’m looking forward to cooking more new vegetables and incorporating them into my meals. Thanks for encouraging us!

PS: I did not make any of the recipes for breakfast but I think the roasted turnips and the garlic kale quinoa could be a great addition to breakfast.

One thought on “Exploring new flavors

  1. RobinS says:

    Congratulations on being adventurous. I’m thrilled that you chose produce that you’d never cooked with in the past – Awesome!
    Turnips get a bad rap, but if cooked well and with the right seasonings, they are a terrific addition to any winter meal (it’s nice that one can still find local turnips at the coops).
    I’d like to recommend that you try the Japanese turnips that are sold at the farmers markets and coops in the late spring. They are small, white, and when braised with a little miso butter and their greens, they are tender with a very subtle earthiness that is quite delicious.

    Thanks for the post!


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