Exploring new vegetables

For the past few years, I’ve been making an effort to add vegetables into my diet in tasty ways. It’s been a process of exploration, as I figure out ways to cook that I had never tried before and to flavor items that I had no experience with. For example, roasting vegetables of all kinds was a revelation. Suddenly I liked things cooked that I had never liked before.

But there are still challenges.

One thing I’ve definitely learned is that there are still things that I simply do not like. Example: cooked spinach of almost any kind. If I have something with cooked spinach in it, and I can taste the cooked spinach flavor, I really don’t like it. I’ve tried. More than once. The only cooked spinach form I have found acceptable is lightly wilted with flavorings, and even that is just acceptable, not a favorite. If the spinach flavor is buried, though, it’s okay, such as in spinach quiche, where I mainly taste egg and cheese.

But there are other items where it’s just a matter of finding the right way to cook it. Example: beets. Roasting definitely seems like a good choice, though I still need to try steamed. That way I can put flavoring on it that makes the beet flavor palatable. And perhaps even better, eating it with things. Beets don’t seem to work all that well as a standalone dish for me. The beet flavor is too strong, and I’m not wildly enthusiastic. But this past week I roasted some with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper, and ate them mixed together with hamburger and stir-fried squash/zucchini and onions. The beets seemed to work better in the mix, whereas alone they seemed rather unbalanced.

So, tomorrow I head to the farmer’s market, and I may pick up some beets, if they are there. Maybe a roasted vegetable salad? Cauliflower, beets, potatoes, onions… hmm, that is sounding rather good. I just hope they are all in season right now — I think it may be too early or late for some of those. But something else will appear. To me, that is part of the challenge and appeal of buying at the farmer’s market, finding a way to make something with what is there all together.

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