Food Adventuring

I’ve always been a food adventurer.  More a foodie than a gourmet (funnel cake appeals to me as much as tiramisu), and yet for some reason, I rarely carried over that adventuring into dieting.  Whenever I restricted calories, I stuck to mostly traditional “diet foods.”   I don’t know why I wasn’t able to think outside the box, but dieting meant “diet foods,” and also usually meant boredom and frustration and going off the diet (at least periodically).

This time, I decided to incorporate food adventuring into my weight loss plan, and see what happens.  Some of my successes and failures during this journey (in no particular order):

Dragonfruit (pitaya)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitaya

  Beautiful, bright red and golden green on the outside.  Moist, white flesh speckled with tiny black seeds, a texture a bit like kiwi.  The texture was pleasant and juicy, but the taste was a disappointment.  It didn’t taste bad, it just lacked oomph.  Imagine sugar water.  Sweet, but nothing else.  I would eat it again if it was given to me, but I would never again pay $7 for one fruit.  Still, it was fun to try.

Lychees

  Mmmm, I didn’t think I’d find a fruit that could replace Ranier cherries as my favorite fruit, but fresh (not canned!) lychees are as wonderful as their reputation.

Ugli fruit, Uniq fruit, pluots, white peaches/nectarines, and fancy varieties of apples

  These aren’t exactly “new” for me, but while I have always loved the fancy hybrid and varieties of fruits, I am less reluctant to buy them because of the somewhat higher price.  I have to be budget conscious, but I don’t buy the cheapest varieties just because they’re the cheapest.   Flavor matters too.

Wheat and rye berries.

   I discovered wheat berries in the 80’s in Yoplait’s “breakfast yogurt,” but until a couple years ago, had never cooked them myself.  Now they’re a staple.  I like them added to yogurt, oatmeal or dry cereal (or used by themselves as a hot or cold cereal).  I also use them as a base or add-in to salads.

  I tried rye berries for the first time when I made a sloppy joe-like bean and rye berrie dish (see recipe in recipe section of blog).  So absolutely yummy.

Bitter melon -

  Not so yummy.  It’s supposed to be very good for weight loss and diabetes (if eaten or juiced/drunk on an almost daily basis), but it lives up to it’s name and is very bitter.  I probably won’t be eating much of this, though I may try it again.

Asian eggplant

   I HATE european eggplant.  I’ve never been able to de-bitter one successfully (yes, I’ve tried salt and milk and multiple rinses).  However, I love thin asian eggplants, and even the tiny egg-sized and shaped ones (though not quite as much as there are more seeds than I care for in the tiny ones).  No de-bittering required, and the skin is even edible.  I like them roasted best (cut in large chunks, tossed in a bit of oil and seasonings - a bit of ranch dressing mix powder is my favorite fast mix, baked at 425 until carmelized).

Brussels sprouts

  I’ve hated Brussels sprouts most of my life, but discovered that I love them roasted (just like the eggplant, though I halve the sprouts before tossing with the oil and seasoning).

Ground cherries (physalis) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis

  They look like tiny little tomatillos, and taste a bit like them, but sweet.  Sort of like gooseberries.  I’m not sure whether these were a success or a failure.  I mostly liked them, but can’t say that I’ve had a “taste” for them since trying them.  Hubby didn’t like them, he didn’t like the texture or “green tomato,” flavor (I’m not sure that I would have compared the flavor to tomato, or even completely tomatillo, but I agree that it did have more of a “sweet vegetable” flavor to me than a sweet fruit.  More astringent than tart.)

Canned fish

  I’ve always eaten canned tuna and sardines, whether dieting or not, but in standard grocery stores and in ethnic groceries, the variety is endless.   I do have to be careful here, because some products are canned in oil or high calorie sauces, but whether it’s big-brand flavored varieties of tuna, or sardines in curry sauce or clams in chili sauce from the oriental grocery, canned fish and seafood packs a lot of flavor punch for the calorie (which some would see as a downfall - hubby hates the smell of canned fish products other than tuna so much that we have a deal that I only eat them when he is not in the house - or at least give him warning so he can decide whether to leave for a while).  I never want for a dinner companion though, as our cat becomes very friendly when she smells that I’ve opened a can.  Her favorite is sardines in green curry.  It’s pretty spicy, but she will beg for it like a lapdog - even will “sit pretty” on her hind legs.

Snails

  These are my next culinary adventure.  I bought a pound of frozen boiled apple snails in a thai grocery.   They’ve been in there about a month or two, because I haven’t the foggiest idea how to cook or serve them, but Google of course, came to the rescue - and now I can’t decide which of the yummy-sounding recipes I’m going to try.  I have about 24 hours to decide, because they’re in the refrigerator thawing.

 

 

 

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