Cooking with Confidence: Produce

When was the last time you experimented with the wonderful array of produce that trucks its way into your grocery store? Yes, I have heard of the 100 mile diet, but there are times when variety adds interest to the dining table and your palate. Variety also provides fodder for a blog post!

Whether it be in the kitchen, or in other areas of your life, stress can have a hand in giving you a case of the "ho-hums". Your quest to keep yourself safe can even narrow the walls of your kitchen and minimize the number of culinary adventures you are willing to take.

In meal preparation, routine can easily become a rut. This translates to the same meals overandoverandover again. The familiar is safe; even if your taste buds are longing for a new flavour, your fear may hold you back. You end up dragging your past into the kitchen with you - the recipe that flopped, the meal your family hated, the association with a certain type of food to an unsavoury event. You've learned that it's far safer to stick with what you know.

What if you could broaden your palate? Adding in new produce and ways to cook it? Cooking suddenly becomes more interesting. Hmmm, I wonder what I can do with this? A little experimentation, a little success and a lot more confidence. You may even become the favoured dinner guest since you're so easy to please.

Thanks to the immediacy and the accessibility of the internet, it doesn't take too much time, nor effort, to figure out what to do with that unusual fruit or vegetable. Strike up a conversation with a fellow-shopper to see how they prepare that particular fruit or veggie.

Address and undress your stress

An amazing thing happens when you transform your stress. "Issues" often melt away, as I discovered one morning. When you aren't struggling with the after-effects of stress hormones, you are free to be how you were meant to be, before stress came along and rewrote the famous line from the movie The Sixth Sense:

"I see danger. I see danger, everywhere."

A balanced nervous system leads to a balanced you. When you feel better, you're in a better position to explore, create, perform, enjoy...

Auntie Stress - Romanesco


When I first saw this vegetable I thought it had to win the beauty prize. The romanesco, with its Fibonacci-like swirls are a thing to behold - almost too beautiful to eat, but eat it we do. We've had it a number of ways: served raw, with a dip, in a smoothie, steamed or lightly massaged with oil, then roasted.

Click for more information on romanesco.

Auntie Stress - Buddhas Hands

Buddha's Hand

Now, how about this curiosity? When I spotted Buddha's Hand in the grocery store, I immediately went in search of the produce manager. It's a member of the citrus family, which means you can easily add that citrus flavour to any number of dishes, without struggling to plane the surface (and your fingers) of whatever citrus fruit you're using. It's too much to use in one go, so I finely chopped it, then froze it on a cookie sheet. When it was completely frozen, I stored it in a container, ready to be tossed into who-knows-what - smoothies, muffins, main dishes. It may even end up in my Strawberry Freezer Jam.

Here is a link to 5 Things You Can Do with Buddha's Hand.

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4 Replies to “Cooking with Confidence: Produce”

  1. It’s amazing what nature has provided for us yet in some countries it has taken years to find these items. Thanks for always keeping up on how to make being healthy exciting.

    1. Thanks, Beth.

      I haven’t yet had the gumption to try durian. My former Chinese ESL student warned me that once you got past the odour, the fruit was delicious. Have you had the opportunity to try it?

  2. Joining a CSA is a good way to enjoy fresh, organic and yes, different vegetables and fruits. You are getting what is in season and it makes you have to try different things. I had eaten brussel sprouts many times. I did not know that they grew on a stalk!

    1. Hi Karen,

      I didn’t know that re. brussel sprouts neither, until I saw them artfully arranged in the grocery store.

      There’s a heritage organic farm, smack in the middle of Surrey, that I’ve started to frequent. Fresh and tasty!

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