Exploring the world, one bite at a time

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Today’s haul from Mariano’s and Trader Joe’s

I have this thing I used to do.  Every year I’d pick a different fruit or vegetable — something new to me or something I’d never cared for — and I’d explore it.  If it could be/had to be cooked, I’d try different cooking methods.  I’d figure out what flavors went well with it and try it in different combinations.  If I didn’t like it one way I’d try it another way, and keep on trying it until I grew to like it or accepted that for the time being, I just really hated it.

I haven’t done that in a long time, and I’ve been thinking lately that I needed to start diversifying my diet again.  I’ve gotten lazy.  And also, since we’ve been going to Tony’s which specializes in unusual produce, I’ve been thinking about how much I’d love to try some of the truly exotic items they offer.  They sell like a gazillion different kinds of choy, for godssake!  Okay, I exaggerate a little, maybe half a gazillion.  I only ever saw bok choy in markets.  I didn’t know there was anything else.

My intention is to go about this a bit differently this time around.  Instead of concentrating on one, I’m going to let my fancy take me and pick out whatever looks good.  I’ll try it and if I don’t like it, try to figure out why.  Is it the flavor?  The texture?  Was it not properly ripe or too ripe?  And then I’ll decide if I ever want to try it again. This is a bit like this year’s reading, I think.  Diversify, try new things, follow odd trails, get to know more about this world.

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So today, we went shopping and at TJ’s I picked up these tiny potatoes.  I plan to steam a few to have with my fiskeboller for lunches.  A few at a time with butter, salt, and some fiskeboller?  Heaven on a plate.  I should add something green, but… oh wait, DILL!

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There are not a lot of odd and unusual fruits at Mariano’s anymore, now that Roundy’s has been bought by Kroger, but there are always a few tucked away near the bananas.  Today I found a dragonfruit, which I’d been wanting, IMG_20170812_150301having been inspired by a Facebook post featuring a dragonfruit.  I wanted to taste one.    They’re so odd looking, inside and out.
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I also found a quince and since I’ve seen them before but never even considered eating one, I figured that now was the time.  The quince is an unassuming little fruit, and you could easily mistake it for something else.  This one looks like a pear.  And the third odd fruit of the day was one that I’d had before and enjoyed, but never really followed up on, the cherimoya, also known as a custard apple.  It could also easily be called a dragonfruit. But it’s not.

 

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I brought them all home and realized that I know next to nothing about dragonfruit, quince, and cherimoya, so I started googling.  The quince and dragonfruit should be ripe, the cherimoya may need a few days, as will the peaches.  The quince should probably be cooked, though no one actually said that you can’t eat them out of hand.  But apparently they have the same issues that Hachiya persimmons have: tannins.  Lots and lots of tannins.  So unless they’re absolutely ripe, cooking is the better bet.  I may try poaching this one, or baking it.  We’ll see.

Next time we shop at Tony’s I look forward to running wild in their produce section and hauling home bags of weird shit.  Until then, I am going to see how all this shakes out, and maybe share some thoughts.  And maybe I’ll branch out to new cuisines, or new dishes within familiar ones.  Who knows where I might end up?  I just know that this time last year I’d never had pho, and now I love it.

It’s anyone’s guess what can happen!

ETA: Just found a fantastic resource for what is known as “specialty produce.”

 

 

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