Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brussel Sprouts Anyone?

I remember as a child sitting at the dinner table with my sister Sally. We were the only ones left at the table staring at semi barren plates that still held several small orange disks of flavorless mush--cooked carrots. Sally, being the sneaky-Pete that she was, took the carrots and placed them inside her paper napkin making sure to glare at me as if to say, "If you tell I'll make your life a living hell." I didn't say a word as I watched her get up from the table and happily carry her empty plate into the kitchen to show our mother how she had "eaten" all of her carrots.

As I choked down the subtly sweet pucks that molded onto the roof of my mouth I hoped that somehow Sally would be discovered and I could revel in all my glory as the conquerer of carrots for the night. But alas, that night would never come. I would have to wait several more years until Sally entered her teens and discovered that her vision was lacking. She had to wear bifocals. Could it have been due to all those missed carrot devouring opportunities? We'll never know for sure.

As a child there were so many things that I didn't like and half the time I think I didn't like them because my sisters didn't like them. I just followed in their distaste for certain things, except for maybe, cream cheese. My sisters loved it and I couldn't stand it. Oh, and eggs too. I still am not a fan of eggs but am learning how to make them surprisingly flavorful and not so "eggy".

This is what my blog is all about--rediscovering foods that we at one point in our lives, usually during childhood, decided we did not like and then learning how to like, or perhaps even love them. This, along with interesting tidbits about WHAT makes some whole foods so special. I mean, who really wants to eat brussel sprouts? They're weird looking, they smell funny, and their taste is...well I'll let you be the judge cause I'm still having trouble with it.

I came to rediscover several whole foods just within this past year. It wasn't by choice either. A few years ago my body had succumbed to so much stress that it gave out. The day after my husband and I finished moving into our new house, I crashed. I literally could not get out of bed. It felt like I had run a marathon. This feeling continued for weeks until I finally got the strength up to go to the Dr. where she told me, "You're depressed." Well, duh, I could've told you that. Who wouldn't be depressed in that state? The problem was, she was diagnosing depression as the cause of the symptoms when in actuality the symptoms were the cause of the depression.

I left the Dr.'s office refusing a prescription for anti-depressants and on a mission to heal myself. Four long years later I am rejuvenated and constantly learning about the importance of eating healthy whole foods, most of which, are lacking in the typical American diet.

I want to share with you my recipes which may contain some of those foods you too once hid inside a paper napkin, but are quite tasty and so good for you. An example is beets. I thought I hated beets. Come to find out I really did! Because the only beets I had ever eaten were cold and from a can. Tonight I ate beets for the first time since god knows when. My husband got them at our local farmer's market. I was not thrilled. They are dark, dirty and had HUGE stalks on them. But he cut the stalks and the roots off, put them in a baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Covered them and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes. He poked them with a knife (I would've used a toothpick but to each one's own) to make sure they were soft all the way through. Pulled them out of the oven and then he rinsed them in cold water and peeled the skins off.

They were delicious! I was so shocked! They weren't too mushy and oh so sweet! I never thought beets were sweet! And THEN, he took the stalks (or leaves) and cooked them! I suggested he saute them with garlic, sesame oil, salt and then drizzle some lemon juice on top once cooked. They were great!

Later I made what I call, "Chicken and Beet Pilaf" for dinner. It was really good. I'll post the recipe soon. In the meantime, take a bit longer in the produce aisle next time you're grocery shopping. Try something you haven't eaten in years and see if your taste buds decide to embrace that long forgotten asparagus spear, or broccoli bud. Better yet, try something you never in a million years would think to eat. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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