101 in 1001 {II}: 038 cook with 12 ingredients I’ve never used before [ongoing]

01: jicama. no contemporary record remains of the jicama salad i made a few months ago, which is just as well. i found a tweet in which i hoped i'd be as good at cooking with jicama as i am at eating jicama, but that's it (and, as it happens, i wasn't). i first ate it, sliced into sticks and punched up with lime juice, at a fancy dinner party at our eating club in college; i think i prefer that mandoline-free iteration to the one i prepared a month or two ago, for i was in constant fear of losing knuckles and/or maiming one of the cats with that wicked blade. this slaw was tasty - it just wasn't worth the peril, know what i mean?

02: honewort. it breaks my heart that central park might not yield honewort and wild onions again until next spring; the delicately zingy risotto i made with them back in may still haunts me. i might have to take another foraging tour this fall for more dinner inspiration; fresh mystery greens (especially these, which were light and seasonal and just a bit mysterious - i guess that's the taste of the park) are good stuff.

03: kale. while i sometimes wish i had a few more years to be pre-thirty,* i think i hit the sweet spot, agewise, vis-a-vis the internet: it was pokey enough when i was a high school model UN nerd that we weren't expected to have up-to-the-minute information in security council (blech, we'd never have slept), but the whole online recipe gold rush happened just in time for me to get out of college and start cooking on my own. how did people know what to do with kale in the nineties? me, i saw rachel's post on pasta with kale, lentils & caramelized onions and was set. the lentils and onions give the kale a sweet, deep flavor, and the kale's texture balances out the squoosh of the other ingredients. i've used both flat leaf and dinosaur kale and prefer the flatter stuff, i think, though both are tasty (and how often does the word dinosaur come up in non-chicken-nugget-related food conversations? not often enough, obviously); i recommend a sharp parmesan and a bit of lemon juice at the end, if you've got it.

on tap this evening or tomorrow, from the farmer's market at my office: jerusalem artichokes. i think i've eaten them a grand total of once in my life (at a potluck thanksgiving a few years ago); any pointers or favorite recipes, o internets?

*though i don't want to be a twentysomething again, god. i'm still working on the math, is what i'm saying.


jacob said...

re: kale - there's a potato and kale enchilada recipe in veganomicon that is a bit of a pain in the ass to make, but totally worth it. actually, i just found it online: http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=2062. Non-traditional, definitely, and you might want to add some extra spice, but a very good winter sunday evening dinner.

Rachel (Heart of Light) said...

We used our dinosaur kale for kale chips last week. Yum. But are you the one who wasn't into kale chips? Now I can't remember.

lauren said...

that sounds fantastic, actually. did you use grapeseed or olive oil? i've never tried grapeseed, but i've been interested; mexican food is an excellent excuse.

on indie mex, though i normally can't stand sweet potatoes, i had a sweet potato and...poblano?...quesadilla at enid's in greenpoint a few years ago; holy hell was that a good plate of food. i've been trying to work out the sweet/spicy thing (with little or no success) ever since.

ETA: @rachel, i've actually never tried kale chips - but yours sounded tasty, so i certainly will. i'm going to be frying (and baking, when virtuous) like mad once we get to our new kitchen, which is a bit more ventilated than the current one and will hopefully solve our The Cat Smells Like Dinner Again dilemma.

jacob said...

i'm pretty sure we've used olive oil for that recipe (i don't even think we have grapeseed oil). now i'm wondering how sweet potatoes would work in this recipe. the recipe isn't that sweet to begin with, so maybe? maybe starchiness would be an issue? you could also do a sweet and waxy potato mash as a compromise and see how it turns out.

valya said...

a few years ago, some jerusalem artichokes showed up in our organic farm delivery. stumped, i gave them to my mom. the next day they turned up as a fantastic gratin.

this may or may not be the recipe she used: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jerusalem-Artichoke-and-Sage-Gratin-13437

lauren said...

good lord, v: that'll do, to put it mildly. i was originally thinking of some sort of puree, until i realized that my immersion blender is at the bottom of a box i already packed; as i do have a grater and one baking dish, the universe obviously wants me to pay tribute to your mum.