Though I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater, there are some foods that I am not super crazy about and still some that I abhor. The foods that I absolutely can’t stomach usually have something to do with a really bad childhood food memory. Like the time my aunt cooked the sh*t out of beef liver and then tried to convince us it was steak. I might have been ten but I wasn’t stupid. Around the same age as the ‘liver incident’ we had a ‘lamb incident’. We had decided to travel up to Northern Saskatchewan to spend Christmas with my uncle in a mining camp at Rainbow Lake. With a pantry and walk in freezer full of all sorts of interesting things to cook with my crazy family decided to have a crack at doing a leg of lamb. Unfortunately they had absolutely no idea how it should be cooked (this was pre-google times) and so, they made sure it was ‘extremely’ well done. The flavour of that ‘lamb’ still haunts me to this day…I’m pretty sure it was much closer to what mutton would have tasted like, complete with mint sauce.
I didn’t have lamb again until a couple of years ago when we were invited out to our first BBQ in Australia. The BBQ was being thrown by a mixture of Kiwi’s and Aussies so I figured I would be safe. Well, I did have some of the lamb chops and they weren’t half bad. Still they had a bit of that flavour that I just can’t seem to get past. Several weeks later I tried again (I can be quite stubborn). I bought a lamb shoulder roast and stuffed about 12 garlic cloves into slits I cut in the sides and massaged it with olive oil, salt and pepper. I think that was a turning point for me because since then I’ve done several lamb dishes and some recent posts by fellow bloggers have got me to thinking that I should give a leg of lamb a try. Lamb is not as common in Alberta as beef and definitely not as popular here as it is in New Zealand or Australia. Much of our local lamb is supplied by Ewe-Nique Farms which operates just southwest of Champion, Alberta. I could take a drive out there and buy my lamb directly but there are also several places that sell Ewe-Nique products in Calgary. So, I guess all I have to do is go buy one….
Another ‘take it or leave it’ food for me is any cruciferous vegetable. Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Turnips, Rutabagas, Broccoli, and Cauliflower. Most of these do not taste great when boiled for extreme lengths of time, even with butter, salt and pepper. Blech. It took me a long time to enjoy cabbage (other than Sauerkraut) but I’ve found some recipes that make it palatable. I am extra careful because I don’t want to scar my children with bad food memories but admittedly, there’s a great possibility that I’ve already done that. Brussels Sprouts are best with bacon and I have NEVER found a turnip/rutabaga recipe that I would even try. Yup, they are on the ‘abhor and ignore’ list. I can’t even bring myself to tell you why. Shudder.
Broccoli and Cauliflower. Those are two flowery vegetables that I am on the fence about. Though I grew up eating them in their mushy form I have actually eaten them and enjoyed them. I have kids and I do want to keep on exposing them to lots of vegetables so they have been part of our regular rotation. Sure, I’ll steam them and have them with butter but I make sure I buy the freshest looking broccoli bunch with nice, tight dark green florets and also employ a very short cooking time so they are still a bit crunchy. My kids actually really like broccoli in stir fries because they soak up all the sauce. So maybe serving broccoli even though it’s not my favourite has been beneficial to my family after all.
Cauliflower is a different story. I get a bit crazy now and then a buy a whole head because it’s cheap. Then it takes up a lot of room in my crisper where it stays until it gets a bit spotty. Then I desperately look for a new recipe to mask it’s boring flavour. I’ve had some really great Aloo Gobi at Indian restaurants but I’ve never successfully recreated it on my own. Simmering it in milk and then adding butter and making it into a purée is a family favourite all around BUT it kind of defeats the healthful benefits that I am trying to give my family. Still, I won’t give up. I know there is a Cauliflower recipe out there that is delicious and healthy. There just has to be.
My newest Cauliflower experiment comes courtesy of Blondie & Pitbull who suggests this recipe is reminiscent of rice. If you’re on a low GI diet and can’t eat rice then maybe it does. To me, it’s just cauliflower chopped up into bits. It’s not rice at all. However, this has to be one of my favourite cauliflower dishes (other than purée and Aloo Gobi) so far. It really isn’t half bad. I didn’t follow the recipe as I just added everything in there at once and I probably had it in the oven a bit longer as well. I used spicy chili powder and also added some garlic.
I served the Cauliflower alongside some very simple grilled chicken thighs. All I did was rub the thighs with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. I grilled them and made a simple pouring sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano. salt and pepper. Super easy and delicious.
We couldn’t be entirely healthful in our meal though, so I made up some duck fat roasted potatoes as well. It was a very nice Thursday night meal and hopefully no one left the table scarred for life.
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