Like everyone, I tend to get in food ruts. Once a month I like to shake things up by broadening my culinary creativity.
A standard monthly visit to the local Asian grocery store is always exciting. Having been raised in Western culture, many of the fruits, vegetables, and packaged goods are new and mysterious. So on every visit I pick a vegetable I am unfamiliar with.
Last month I chose lotus root. It was crispy like water chestnut, but lovely in shape and added a touch of elegance and sophistication to my Sea Goddess Saute’. This month I’ve chosen bac ha. I’ve never seen it or heard of it before. It is a stalk like celery or bok choy but has a spongy looking interior, like bone matrix or your bathroom sponge. It is a green vegetable. I’ve brought it home and googled it’s name. From this I have discovered that it is known as taro stem and elephant ear. I’ve also managed to take home a vegetable that must be cooked, lest microcrystals of calcium oxalate irritate my mucous membranes.
Never a dull moment in my kitchen!
What I’ll do next is find a recipe that uses this vegetable, further expanding my culinary horizons and adding a new recipe to my ever-growing list. It seems most common in Vietnamese food, and you’ll be certain that whatever the winning recipe is, it will be posted here!
This method of exploring new foods also works well to get children to eat produce. Bring them to the grocery store and have them each pick out a fruit or vegetable to try. Have them help prepare the produce as age appropriate and they will be more likely to try it!