Tuesday, December 03, 2013

49 Before 50: Try New Tastes

A little further down the list from "Cook The Books" (at number 26) which is all about making full use of my cook book collection, comes "Try New Tastes" (number 34).

The two aims are subtly different.  While I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, I am not so easily persuaded to try new foods.  I am super-sensitive to flavours and I "know what I like".  Blue cheese?  Under no circumstances.  Beer?  You would have to hold my nose.  Shellfish?  No thank you.

But what delicious treats am I missing out on?  Come on Roo, live a little!

So the other day, when I was scanning the supermarket shelves on the lookout for dried dill and came across dried limes they had to come home with me, even though I had not the foggiest idea what to do with them.

I soon came across this article, describing them as: "Actual Amazeballs"!
But it was this piece in the New York Times which had me hooked.
And on Saturday night, I cooked Chicken Stew with Dried Limes.  No, not one of my vegan days.

Dried limes look pretty intimidating and I don't see myself going down the route of smashing them with a hammer, scraping out the innards and then powdering the remains to use as a spice.  Apart from anything else, I don't have a mortar and pestle anymore (Hello?  Santa Claus?  Are you reading this?!).  But it was a simple matter to pierce a couple and throw them into the pot alongside the chicken, the rice, the various alliums, dark green cabbage (rather than spinach) and a handful of green beans (because I felt like it).

The kitchen smelled fantastic!  FL pottered in halfway through, having just woken from a long sleep and stopped dead in his tracks:  "What are you cooking?  What IS that?!"
And we both truly savoured our dinner, taking far longer than usual to eat and compare notes on the meal, before going back to the pot for seconds :)

The interest it provoked in my dear husband made the whole adventure even more worthwhile.  He can be terribly traditional in his food preferences, but  loves a good spicy meal.  The fragrant floating ping-pong balls in this stew piqued his imagination and led to a discussion of other things I might try.  I remember seeing kokum in the corner shop when I lived in London - ooh what could I do with that?   Like dried limes, dried mangosteen apparently adds a tangy depth to a dish, what I have seen called "achari": a musky pickley piquancy...?  And she's off...

Back to the bag of dried limes, and it won't be long before I try Yotam Ottolenghi's Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime, without the optional yoghurt, for one of my 49 before 50 vegan days.

I love it when a plan comes together!

What about you?  Have you tried any new foods lately?


beate grigutsch said...

this dried limes stuff sounds very yummy!
maybe i can dry some on the stove...

Judith said...

I have ALWAYS wanted a mortar and pestle ~ they just look as if you 'must' know what you are doing ... hope Santa is listening to both of us this year! I use a heap of limes each week, we have our own huge tree that just bears all year round - but never dried ... that would be new to me ... J

colleen said...

I haven't tried anything new lately bit I've promised to make a bouche de noel for a friend and I've never cooked with chestnuts before, so there's an adventure.

violicious said...

I got rid of my mortar and pestle in exchange for a dishtowel and either hammer or rolling pin....try it, it works! When in Toronto we lived in a Persian neighborhood and got to know dried limes. I also have to recommend pickled limes. So delicious! They dress up at rice dishes. All of them! Dried salted cherries in savory dishes are also amazing.

Jennifer C said...

I have never seen dried lines in a grocery here. Now I'm curious to try them :)

ElleC said...

For about a year, whenever I went out for a meal, I made myself try something I had never had before. If I didn't like my meal, so what, right?

One evening I chose a salad with steak and blue cheese, it was wonderful! Without a doubt the best salad of my life. I now will eat blue cheese, I add it to cheese sauce and it is wonderful with a vinaigrette salad dressing. You never know unless you try. I have to find some dried limes now.

However beets or liver or kidney will never pass my lips. Ever.

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Ooh I love it when something fires the taste buds. I've been cooking a lot of recipes from A girl called Jack. I highly recommend including her mushroom soup. It's delicious.

Colleen said...

I love how we can amaze our partners sometimes with the food we give them to eat. It's so...warm.

However, I have never ever heard of or seen dried limes and I've lived in NYC and San Francisco and have been interested in cooking for years! What have I missed????

Linda C said...

Pickled limes - I have been wondering about them recently. I don't know how popular the book LITTLE WOMEN is in the the Uk, but, in my day, heh-heh, most or many young girls tead it- or at least were given it as a present by older family members. (I was so surprised to find that not everyone read these books we were given as presents. I always did). Anyway, my point here is I remember the youngest sister Amy was extremely fond of pickled limes. I think they could be purchased at a confectionery or maybe a grocery. In one episode Amy got into trouble at school, maybe she had some and would not share them. Anyway, the teacher took them and threw them out the window where the little "Irish" children grabbed them and ate them all. Not sure if they were Irish or. Author Louisa Mae Alcott- father a sort of New England type mystic , right after the Civil War, started a commune, or maybe someone else did that. My point is I always wonder how to make "pickled limes"


MaryinTN said...

Dried limes sound wonderful. I have always like Indian pickled limes. Kokum is good in fish dishes....in Sri Lanka it is known as fish tamarind. Try Indian pickled karawela (bitter melon). Priya is a good brand as is 777. I have some canned mushrooms I'd like to make something with. Abalone mushroom is what the can calls them.

Linda C said...

We have been getting tumeric root in our CSA (Farm) boxes several times usually. I have used it powdered - I know it is used for curries and its yellow coloring. Anyone else use it? Do you ever see it, Roo? The Indian woman in a little shop told a friend she peel it and soaks it and chops it in little pieces over salad. No cooking? What do you think?


Are you in the part of Scotland where it is so cold and the winds are so terribly strong? Keep warm - I hope you have plenty of wood easy to get to.

Roobeedoo said...

Hi LindaC - I have never tried fresh turmeric but I have seen it in the Asian supermarket.

Yes - we have wild winds, but I have brought in enough firewood for two days and covered the rest with a tarpaulin :)