Taro & Yucca for days

My strategy for this assignment was to walk into the produce section of my local grocery store, find two vegetables I was relatively unfamiliar with, and google recipes at the store to identify necessary ingredients. This strategy worked so-so.

Recipe #1 Braised Taro with Dried Shrimps
IMG_2018I hit a snag right away with this recipe, as I glanced through the ingredients and didn’t pause at “dried shrimp,” instead immediately thinking “Oh, I have shrimp at home. Perfect.” The taro was easy enough to prepare (I only needed two roots for this recipe), but I had to be creative with the amount of water I added and how long I cooked the recipe to account for the fresh vs dried shrimps.
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Ultimately, the dish turned out fine, but the taro flavor didn’t add much to the recipe–perhaps it would have complemented the dried shrimp flavor better.
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Recipe #2 Yucca Fries
I’ve only had Yucca once at a Cuban restaurant, and I loved the dense, starchy root. I was excited to add Yucca to the list of veggies and as I love roasted veggies, I chose the roasted fries recipe. Ultimately, I’d call this one a success.
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After spending a considerable amount of time peeling and cutting and boiling the yucca, I was finally able to line my “fries” on the baking sheet. IMG_2024I chose smaller fries than indicated in the recipe in part because I hoped it would enable them to cook faster, and potentially get crispier. When the fries were finally ready, I made a sauce out of mayo, Worchester sauce, ketchup, cayenne and paprika to accompany the snack.
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Recipe #3 Taro Shake
Okay. So the biggest issue I encountered in completing this assignment was research whether any of my veggies were poisonous to handle raw. It didn’t even occur to me as a possibility. Now I successfully cut-up two taro for the shrimp recipe, but the shake required to cups worth of mashed taro, and as I cut up my last taro my hands were itching incredibly. I had to run my hands under cool water and then rub anti-itch cream over my hands to bear it! As I put a pause on the shakes I looked up taro and realized that this is a common reaction to handling raw taro. Yikes! Proof that I should have done research in advance and not just picked to items at random.
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Once my hands stopped itching, I boiled the taro for 40 minutes, mashed them, and added the rest of the smoothie ingredients to the ninja. Thankfully, I enjoyed the shake so perhaps the foray into raw taro was worth it…
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Bonus Recipe Edit: I made the Kale & Potato soup that we didn’t make last week. Loved it. Thank you for the recipe and I’d totally make it again.

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Home Assignment 1

I made a typical mid-week meal of pan-fried chicken, roasted broccoli, and a slightly fancy twist on boxed couscous. My partner and I typically have chicken in the freezer ready to thaw, and we try to keep at least two types of fresh vegetables in the house for use over the work-week. We also love the Near East couscous that can be prepared in five minutes and taste as good as the couscous from scratch recipes.

For the most part, I was able to follow the recipes with the ingredients I had on hand (pictured above). While I was out of fresh garlic cloves, I had preserved minced garlic as a back-up, and I skipped the shallots recommended alongside the roasted broccoli. The biggest “challenge” was the couscous. We prefer craisins to raisins, so we added only toasted pine nuts and craisins to our couscous dish and left out the parsley and scallions. Fresh parmesan is used with a lot of our favorite recipes, so we tend to have it on hand–probably more so than we should. Below is a blurry final product along with our cat Oliver.2017-02-23-19-09-28 Edit: I was uncertain as to whether one meal with several components aligned with the challenge, or whether we were supposed to create two separate meals. I did attempt a recipe #2 on Sunday, but the result was so disastrous I chose not to take a picture.

Inspired by one of those tastee videos on facebook, I tried making a bloomin’ onion. The batter, onion, and sauce were all delicious. But unfortunately the batter didn’t stick to the onion very well, so we had to eat one bite of fried batter and one bite of cooked onion. It was still tasty, but definitely a disaster. I’m going to make fewer cuts to my next bloomin’ onion and also be wary of the twice-dipped in egg wash, as the second dip undid most of the batter.

Here’s to trying, am I right?