How are you doing? As I typed the title of this post, I couldn’t believe that this is the 50th week of Try Something New Tuesdays. That’s almost an entire year! Speaking of which, I’ve got a blog birthday coming up soon, which means there *just might* be a giveaway too. Stay tuned!! Onto the new things tried yesterday:
1. Recipe of the Week: Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken. Although my preferences seem to be shifting away from chicken and more towards fish as a protein source, I did manage to create a very tasty chicken dinner the other night that I’m rather proud of.
In the past, the task of stuffing chicken breasts with anything has always gone horribly wrong. I either slice too far in and poke through the side of the chicken, or the stuffing doesn’t taste right, or I burn the whole thing (but that has only happened once). This time I kept things simple and had great success. Go figure.
2. Belgian endive. This is a veggie I’ve seen in the produce section at Sobeys for weeks but haven’t picked up until now. Since Romaine lettuce and other greens seem to be getting crazy expensive these days, I thought it would be worth experimenting with some new ones.
Apparently Belgian endive was discovered by mistake by a Belgian farmer in 1830.
Belgian endive that we eat today is the result of an accident. A Belgian farmer was growing chicory for its root. The root was used as a coffee substitute in Europe. He threw some of these roots into the soft soil of a dark shed and forgot them. Three weeks later, he found that tight blanched heads had grown. The result has been systematically cultivated since. (Source)
According to this source, the flavour of Belgian endive changes slightly depending on how it’s cooked. It is often eaten raw in salads or as part of an appetizer, but can also be cooked into things like soups and braised in entrees. Belgian endive is rich in vitamins A and K, fiber, and folate, and is super low in calories at about 1 per leaf.
Since most of the recipes I browsed earlier this week were for appetizers, that’s exactly how I experienced my Belgian endive. For lunch, I packed a salad mix of the following:
- canned salmon
- chopped celery
- diced tomato
- finely chopped celery
- a dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and dried dill
I used the leaves of the Belgian endive (which are very sturdy and scoop-like) as a vehicle for getting the salmon salad to my mouth. But first, I admired it for a few minutes:
The leaves were quite bitter, but not like the dandelion greens that I tried a while back (I wasn’t really a fan of those!) The taste was rather pleasant in this combo, and since I’ve got 2 heads of Belgian endive left, I’m thinking of making a creation similar to these Belgian Endive Spears with Curried Chicken Salad. Or maybe I’ll just throwing some in a green salad since I don’t fancy going out to buy a $2 head of Romaine this week.
3. Golden Beets.
Golden beets are a variation that I recently caught my eye at Sobeys, which is a bit confusing because apparently their peak season is autumn. They’re much brighter than regular purple beets and they all seemed to be a bit smaller too.
I read that the beet greens actually have greater nutritional value than the beets themselves (2x the potassium and tons of beta carotene), so I washed some of them up and blended them into my morning green monster.
Much like spinach, the beet greens seemed to be fairly mild and the taste wasn’t significantly different.
As for the actual bulbs themselves, I read that roasting and steaming is the best way to bring out their natural flavour, so I took some inspiration from this recipe for Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets and created a very tasty side dish for my dinner. After preheating the oven to 425F, I tossed the following ingredients into a big bowl:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried herbs (i used marjoram, parsley and rosemary)
- 1/4 tsp dried lemon zest
- a few pinches of Herbamare (you could just use sea salt)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- a big squirt of lemon juice
While waiting for the oven to preheat, I peeled the beets and chopped them into bite-sized pieces. I realize that the skin probably has some valuable nutrients in it, but I didn’t have time for a big scrubbing session so I pulled out my OXO peeler and shaved off all the grubby bits.
After tossing them in the mixture in the bowl, I spread them out on a baking sheet lined with foil and roasted them for about 25 minutes. I didn’t have the misfortune of dropping the beets on my clothing, but had I done so (which usually happens) I don’t think golden beets would have provided the same staining nightmare as purple beets. Just a handy hint for all the kitchen klutzes out there like me.
Towards the end, I switched the oven to the broil setting to make them a little crispier. This was the end result:
So what else did I eat these little golden nuggets of joy with? My next new thing of course…
4. Halibut! Yup, another fish species I haven’t tried yet! Well, until yesterday. This trial intrigued me because my packet of halibut (which was from Sobeys) came with a sticker that advertised a website, ThisFish.ca. First, what is This Fish all about?
An initiative of Ecotrust Canada and industry partners, Thisfish sets out to make the seafood business more transparent and, well, less fishy. A growing community of trusted fishermen, fishing organizations, processors, restaurants and retailers—all dedicated to quality and sustainability—is currently testing this innovative system in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada. (Source)
Here, you can find out where exactly your piece of fish came from. All I had to do was type in the code on the sticker.
Ta-daaaa! It turns out that my fish is Pacific Halibut, caught by a fish harvester named James Klaasen on the Ocean Baron 2. The fish was caught in the Hecate Strait, and was processed by Pasco Seafood Enterprises. Very cool, don’t you think?
Alright, now what did I do with my halibut?
First, I let it sit in a marinade of olive oil and lime juice for about an hour. Before popping it in the oven, I sprinkled a little sea salt, pepper, and dried parsley. Then I baked it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
OK, the beets – super tasty! I loved these, and they were much more mild in taste than the purple beets I tried all those Tuesdays ago. I’ve got some left over and I’m thinking they’ll make a fab addition to a salad. The halibut however, was a little disappointing. I’m glad I used the lime juice and olive oil as a marinade, because it was quite bland with a bit of a funny aftertaste that other white fish like cod and tilapia don’t have. I haven’t come across many breeds of fish I don’t like, but I can’t say this one would be something I’d order in a restaurant. On the plus side, it did make for a pretty dinner.
Finally, my questions for today:
- When you purchase fish, do you take its source into consideration?
- Have you ever tried Belgian endive? What did you think?
- Did you try anything new yesterday?