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Food Adventure Help!

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Hey everyone,
so as a food science student, I have an assignment to choose a food/ingredient that I think my peers will not be very familiar with.. I then have to prepare some type of recipe for my peers, have them taste, and examine the mystery food and then guess what they think it is. Of course, I am turning to my fellow chows for some good suggestions. I have some ideas myself, but would be interested in hearing your ideas. Feel free to supply a recipe to go along with the food if you have a good one! I am basically looking for a food that is a bit more exotic or underused that can be delicious when well prepared. Thanks!

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  1. The goat milk thread might be one to look at. Goat milk is certainly underused.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/677713

    1. Burdock Root! (it was an ingredient on the FN show Chopped the other night!)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Emme

        hmm thats a new one.. what can I do with it?

        1. re: hungryabbey

          http://www.prodigalgardens.info/burdo...
          http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine...
          http://moscowfood.coop/archive/burdoc...

          ...tons of ideas!

          1. re: hungryabbey

            One of my favorite vegetables! It is known as gobo in Japanese. My favorite dish with it is kinpira gobo.

        2. Ooh! Celery root! I pimp this recipe every chance I get:
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          1. Oh, I remember you from the steamer and bruleed rice pudding threads, how's school going?

            Anything with Star Anise:

            Star Anise "Braised" chicken breasts, adapted by me from Food & Wine

            3 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
            2 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
            6 scallions including green tops, 5 cut into 4-inch lengths, 1 chopped
            6 1/2-inch slices peeled fresh ginger, smashed, plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
            4 cloves garlic, smashed, or more to taste
            1/4 cup brown sugar, preferably dark, or palm sugar
            1/4 cup good quality soy sauce
            5 whole star anise
            3 cinnamon sticks
            6 black peppercorns
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            1/4 cup dry sherry or shao xing wine
            4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)

            Directions
            1.In a large saucepan, combine the broth, carrots, the 5 scallions, the smashed ginger, the garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
            2.Add the sherry and chicken and bring back to a simmer over moderately low heat, covered. Turn the chicken and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 5 minutes.
            3.With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, carrots, and star anise to large shallow bowls. Strain the broth and add the minced ginger and 2 tablespoons of the chopped scallion. Ladle the broth over the chicken and top with the remaining chopped scallion.

            Serve with plain boiled rice and sauteed fresh spinach with sesame oil and garlic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              That looks delish!

            2. It's probably not the right season, but for a future idea...cattail roots/aka Cossack Asparagus. It tastes like asparagus, but looks like leeks. They would NEVER guess.

              1. If your assignment isn't due 'til spring, I would recommend fiddlehead ferns, which taste kind of like asparagus but look very different. If your assignment is due in the next ten minutes, maybe yuca? Unless your peers are Latin American, then that won't work at all. They'd ID it in a heartbeat.

                Emme's burdock suggestion is also a good one (I love pickled burdock), and in that vein, perhaps daikon or jicama.

                1. you've already gotten some great suggestions (like Emme, i thought of burdock root immediately because i watched Chopped last night!) others that come to mind:
                  - salsify
                  - nopales
                  - geoduck clam
                  - umeboshi plum
                  - quince

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I was considering the salsify choice as well; a very underused, although delicious, vegetable.

                    Pan-browned Salsify:
                    4 large salsify
                    The juice of one lemon
                    1 teaspoon peppercorns
                    5 sprigs fresh thyme
                    1 bay leaf
                    1 teaspoon coriander seed
                    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                    1 tablespoon butter
                    salt and black pepper, to taste

                    Peel the salsify, place in saucepan and cover with water; add lemon juice, peppercorns, sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, coriander, and salt to taste.
                    Bring to a simmer and cook until tender.
                    Remove salsify from liquid and cool, cut into small pieces of equal size.
                    Heat skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.
                    Add salsify and season with salt and pepper.
                    Cook until golden brown.
                    Add the butter and the remaining sprigs of thyme and toss until the butter melts.

                    Or maybe a herb and wine braise with salsify and Jerusalem artichokes, for double the confusion.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      wow sounds wonderful. great ideas!!

                  2. Fried Chitterlings, also known as "Chitlins", served on a bed of buttered collard greens wth a red wine vinegar sauce (a reductions of red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and butter)

                    1. The Best Vegetable You’ve Never Tried
                      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/din...
                      recipe - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/din...

                      1. I bet they'd be hard pressed to identify tongue ... when my mother made it, not one person ever knew what it was.

                        1. Cow udder.

                          Batter and deep fry and serve with fries (a la "fish and chips") or braise in a red wine sauce (a la pot roast).

                          1. If it hasn't been covered in class already, you might check into epazote. It's a staple of Mexican cooking, perhaps largely because it alleviates the gassy effect of beans. I use it when I make chili, but be warned, it's a strong flavor and a little goes a long long way.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: ennuisans

                              Jerusalem artichokes, which actually are the starchy root of a kind of sunflower.

                              1. re: Prairie Gal

                                this was my initial thought.. i have a wonderful jerusalem artichoke soup recipe.. and usually when i tell ppl abotu it they say " whats that??"

                                1. re: Prairie Gal

                                  i LOVE Jerusalem artichokes!!

                                  1. re: Prairie Gal

                                    many people experience quite unpleasant gastrointestinal effects after consuming sunchokes, so i figured it wasn't a good idea to suggest them unless the OP really dislikes her classmates ;)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Ha, ha, it certainly would be a educational moment.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        hm, well that would be interesting to do some research as to why that is (we are nutrition students)

                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          It's the inulin.

                                          They're already out of season, but crosnes would have been interesting. And if you're seriously considering abats (offal), I'd vote for prairie oysters.

                                          1. re: wattacetti

                                            Yes, I was thinking about that inulin. But we're all fiber-freaks, so I would think most of us can handle it. I have never had a problem with sunchokes.
                                            Jerusalum Artichokes should still be available in a month right (Im in Canada).

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              Just to make sure there's no confusion, epazote, my earlier suggestion, is also called Jerusalem Oak. Jerusalem Artichokes are different, but certainly a good suggestion as well.

                                  2. Cardoons!

                                    Golden Fried Cardoon
                                    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/go...

                                    Braised Cardoon
                                    http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/653...

                                    Cardoons With Parmesan
                                    http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/149...

                                    Baked Cardoons, Roman-Style: Cardi Gratinati alla Romana
                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                    Soup of Pureed Cardoons
                                    http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/card...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: toveggiegirl

                                      hm this is very nice sounding for sure. I'll look into that

                                    2. what about lily bulbs or water lilies?

                                      you can slice the roots and make a crunchy salad or braise/cook in a mixture of meat stew and of course, fry them.

                                      lily bulbs and be stir friend and tossed in salads as well...

                                      it is rather inexpensive too.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jeniyo

                                        hm also a nice one, I will have to see what I can get at the grocery store. Thanks everyone!

                                      2. Scuppernongs! aka Muscadines. Yer gonna have to wander the woods of south Georgia to find 'em though.

                                        I would cut off a finger if it would get me a jar of my PaPat's scuppernong jelly.