Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't Be a Whiny Picky Eater, You'll Thank Me Later

Produce from my CSA, the raw milk, butter and grass fed ground beef are optional add-on's from my CSA.  The eggs are from my local egg lady and the jar on the left is coconut oil with some raw chocolate in the blue packages on top, both produced here in Topanga by Zenbunni.

Anyone who knew me growing up knows that I was a picky eater.  I didn't like onions, cooked bell peppers, squash, eggplant, beets, peas, cooked carrots, cooked green beans, eggs, pork chops, any sea food, I wanted my steak cooked well and I only liked white chicken meat.  I liked my pizza with mushrooms, olives and pepperoni and wouldn't touch it if it had other veggies.  I was a meat and potatoes kind of girl and that was fine with me.  As an adult I developed the habit of always ordering steak when we would go out.  Always.  A filet mignon.  It was my favorite.  Eventually I figured out that you didn't need to cook the crap out of steak and that it actually tasted a heck of a lot better the rarer it was.

Once, as a teen, I ate some leftovers from my sister's fridge.  I thought it was steak or some kind of beef and mashed potatoes.  It was insanely good.  When I later mentioned to my sister that I'd thieved her (probably expensive) leftovers, she told me it was lamb.  I was in love.  I never would have tried it had I known from the start that it was a sweet little lamb, but since I knew it was good there was no going back.  The fact that I loved lamb was my one up on my fellow picky eaters.

After I had the bean we joined a CSA and I was inundated with all sorts of funky looking greens and kohlrabi and squash and beets and eggplant, etc, etc.  I looked for recipes for these things, once I'd identified them, and started making them.  As I was paying good money for this local and fresh produce I didn't want it to go to waste and there was only so much I could justify giving away to the neighbors.  I played with recipes and found that if you cooked summer squash chopped up with some mushrooms and a bit of soy sauce, garlic and oil it tasted pretty good.  I also learned that you could hide summer squash in just about anything, a little Parmesan cheese went a long way with it, too.  I discovered that I liked kale and loved swiss chard.  I found that after eating beets enough, that earthy flavor that had always put me off grew on me and I started loving and craving the sweet earthiness that only a beet could provide.  I found that you could prepare beets in savory ways, roasted with some olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a little rosemary or whatever was out in the garden, and the saltiness was a perfect marriage with the beet's sweetness. 

Home grown beets, zucchini, basil and fennel

I love how much food I know how to cook and the variety of delicious veggies I am lucky enough to enjoy year round.  I wish fellow picky eaters would give the poor veggies a shot!  Most of them are pretty damn good if you only find a good recipe and don't cook them till they are a pile of mush. 

Caramelized onion, garlic and fennel pizza, roasted zucchini, beet and goat cheese salad

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