When I originally started this “30 days of new foods” challenge, it was soon after Election day, 2016. The past three years have shown me that my gut instincts were correct: President #45 and many of his followers appear to be scared of things that are different. In general, conservatism tends to be like that: stick with the tried and true. As a progressive, I seek out and embrace things that are novel and different from the norm. I am excited by new foods, new types of music, and different ways of dressing. I like to listen to foreign languages and try to learn them, try out new ideologies and religions, and push boundaries on gender stereotypes. I’m not saying everyone has to be like me, but…imagine a world without tacos, Phở, Thai iced coffee, crispy orange chicken, or samosas. I contend it would be a much blander world.
Even pizza was once considered an exotic food, as in this 1944 article from the New York Times.
Recently I found I was having a hard time pulling dinner together. I have lots of recipes and cooking experience, but when my daughter would ask, “What’s for dinner” and I realized my plan didn’t go farther than broccoli and corn chips, I realized I needed a little help.
So I subscribed to Sunbasket, a meal kit that offers lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options. One week, this white lumpy guy showed up in my box (tomato for scale):
They called it a summer squash and indeed, that’s how it seemed to be: similar to a zucchini or yellow summer squash.
Cooked up with oil and seasonings it looks like something like this:
My best guess is that this is a white pattypan squash, just oddly shaped. Do you know?
This tiny grain from Africa basically has the texture of cream of wheat. The bag I had smelled a bit rancid and I didn’t enjoy the taste.
I was at Poke Square in Ballard getting my Poke on when I saw something I’d never seen before: a quail egg.
For $1 extra I decided to try it. I wasn’t expecting it to be raw. But there it was, staring up from my bowl.
I cautiously dumped the contents on to some lettuce and stuff. I didn’t have the nerve to just drink it like a shot. So I ate this raw yoke mixed up with other stuff in my bowl. Heck, I was eating raw fish, why not raw egg? It was…unobjectionable. I don’t think I would have liked it straight up though.
Is that oatmeal in there? No.
I recently visited an Indonesian Grocery store and encountered a number of new foods. I wanted to try some Indonesian snacks so when I visit Java next month there’s a touch of the familiar.
So what is Keripik Tempe Pedas? “Spicy Soy Bean.” The ingredients: soy bean, salt, black pepper, palm oil, sugar, water and flavour enhancer (probably a code word for MSG).
It is crispy, spicy little oil bomb. I couldn’t eat very much in one sitting. I have to wonder how it tastes in 90 degree humid equatorial weather? In cold Seattle, it’s like having a mini-sun explode in your mouth. Like this sunset:
Yuba Noodle is a delicacy, apparently, made from the “skin” that forms on heated soymilk. It comes clumped together and when you cut it up (here I made strips about 3/4″ wide each), the layers tend to separate into something sort of like a noodle. Like tofu it is pretty flavorless until you add some kind of seasoning. I cooked mine with Tamari and some other stuff, using a meal kit from Munchery.
Here is the package:
I found this in the freezer section of this huge Asian Market on Highway 99 and decided to try it. The package says to defrost it overnight in the fridge and then boil for 25 minutes until the center reaches an internal temperature of 165 Degrees F. I did that and this is what it looked like when I brought it out of the pot:
Here’s what it looks like when you get one out of the leaf wrapper:
The brown stuff is bean paste. I have a cold at the moment so I know I wasn’t getting the full flavor effect. It is slightly sweet and not bad.
This is one of these fruits that I would have been better introduced to by a trusted friend while it’s at the peak of ripeness. It really wasn’t as sweet as I hoped and the seeds were rather unpleasant.
I heard that Jackfruit is sometimes used as a meat substitute, especially “Young Green Jackfruit,” and since my daughter is trying to be a vegetarian (and so am I, with slightly less commitment) I figured we should try this stuff. So I got a can at Central Market:
And found a recipe for Jackfruit Sweet Potato Curry. I left out the garlic and onions and kinda forgot to add the spinach, but I think it came out pretty good. My kid wouldn’t eat the sweet potatoes, but my husband thought it was alright. I think it’s worth getting another can.
The Jackfruit is the white part
I’ve had papaya juice before but never eaten the actual fruit. Someone suggested I try it with lime juice, so I tried it both with and without. Plain, I found the papaya tasted and smelled purfumey. The lime added an additional dimension but I can’t say for sure if it was actually an improvement. As always, I cannot be sure if the ripeness was optimal, but I tried my best to get a yellow one and then gave it a few more days on my counter. Have you had papaya? What did you think?