New Food – Aspa – Broccoflower

IMG_7686I found this at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The vegetable was labeled Aspa – broccoflower. The teen waiting on me told me it was a combination asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower.

Since I like all those vegetables, I had great expectations.

The vegetable reminded me a Buddhist temple with all its tower shapes.

I figured I would cook it as I would any of those vegetables and should it should be easy to incorporate into a dish.

I looked it up when I got home and found several references to broccoflower, but none with the asparagus added in. The images looked like the one on my counter so I’m thinking it’s just broccoli and cauliflower inspite of the label.

Then I tasted it – I don’t know if I just happened to pick up a bad one, but it was not good. I couldn’t distinguish any of the individual vegetable tastes, but instead tasted bitterness.

Not good.

I took some to a friend who also likes these three vegetables and she agreed that it didn’t taste good.

So I don’t know what the problem is. Have any of you had this vegetable? If so, did I just get a bad one?

New Food – Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli

I’ve gotten kind of behind on my new foods with everything happening – like contractors gutting the bathroom and ripping siding off the house.

IMG_7639So tonight I stopped at one of my favorite they-must-have-something-I-haven’t eaten grocery stores and wandered around. I did find one interesting food – and purchased it, but also knew I wouldn’t have time to experiment tonight so continued looking for something easier.

Then I saw a package of pumpkin and sage ravioli and though I’ve eaten a lot of ravioli in my life, I am fairly sure I’ve never done the pumpkin thing.  Instead of pumpkin lattes, I decided on some pumpkin pasta.

Making it was fairly simple – similar to any frozen ravioli product and within five minutes, I had my dinner.IMG_7642

Which tasted like pumpkin.  In fact, when you opened a ravioli up (what’s the plural of ravioli anyhow? Raviolis? Raviola?) – it looked just like pumpkin pie filling inside.

IMG_7644Yep. Pasta stuffed with pumpkin which is probably why it’s called Pumpkin Ravioli. (I didn’t really taste the sage.)

That’s how it works out sometime.

I would give it a 7 out of 10. Not bad.


New Food – Blood Orange Olive Oil

The Ingredients
The Dressing
The Cooking Pecans
The Spinach
The Salad

Wandering through the Farmer’s Market on a search for rhubarb, I stopped to chat a lady selling various flavors of olive oil. Since I often sauté vegetables and serve them on rice, I have tried different flavors before – most often lemon.

When I asked her what kind was her favorite – she told me the blood orange. I took a taste and liked it – very orangey, very smooth (Is olive oil smooth?), very tasty.

She then gave me a recipe for pineapple, spinach, pecan, blood orange olive oil salad.

So I made some. The dressing is the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, dry mustard.

The pecans are caramelized in brown sugar and butter and the pineapple and spinach are chopped into pieces … and it’s all mixed together.

Result? Extremely good salad.

9 out of 10.


Saturday Morning at the Farmer’s Market

I am here for the rhubarb.

People meander: the health-conscious mom with her kids, the impatient man shuffling after his wife, the couple with their dog, the lady with the long, gray hair carrying her cloth bags.

The vendors smile enticingly wanting you to try the homemade bread, the polish sausage, the just-off-the plant strawberries.

A man in a corner booth plays his guitar, a child stops at a Lego tray, an older couple sits behind their display of flowers.

The line for the mini donuts stretches long as always. I wait to get some but find them mushy and dry at the same time. I eat one and throw the other two away.

The bookmobile rolls to a stop at the edge of the tents.

The sun warms me and I walk the aisles and I look for the rhubarb.

Sold out already.

I’ll be back next week.





New Food – Gazpacho

Good thing I had someone looking out for me this week in the quest for new food. With lots of activity with house renovations I had no time to go to the grocery store or on any other kind of a new-food hunt.

But I was lovingly gifted with a bowl of gazpacho.

If you don’t know what it is – gazpacho is vegetable soup – served cold. The soup is common in Spain and Portugal. The soup has a long history and is believed to have shown up in the Iberian Peninsula with the Romans.

Traditionally, the soup is made with a pestle and mortar to create the soup’s consistency.

To make gazpacho (which I didn’t), all the vegetables are washed and then peeled (if necessary) — then chopped. This is when you get out the pestle and mortar and pound. The mixture is then mixed with cold water, vinegar, olive oil and salt. One of the primary ingredients is cucumbers.DSC_0048

So I like soup, but wasn’t so sure I’d like this cold soup. Tentatively, I took a taste and found it surprisingly good! The soup did strongly taste of cucumbers – but that was ok because I like cucumbers.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

New Food – Chocolate from Poland


DSC_0047Back in 1851, Karol Wedel, founded the Wedel Chocolate company in Eastern Europe. His son Emil then apprenticed in several other chocolate businesses mostly in Western Europe and after several years, came home and inherited his father’s shop in Poland..  Emil’s son Jan was next to own the business and was known as the “Willy Wonka” of pre-war Poland. The picture below is of that original Warsaw shop and no, I didn’t take this picture. I got it from Wikipedia.


During the war, the Wedel Company continued making chocolate, but they also produced bread for those starving in the war-ravaged country. They were of German ancestry, but did not buy into Hitler’s propaganda.

But eventually the war caught up to them … and the Wedel chocolate factory was destroyed. Afterwards, Jan once again built his business, but the Communists took it over, nationalized it and changed the name. No longer could they export the candy. People had learned to look for the Wedel logo … not some other brand. The Communists decided to go back to the original name, but the damage had been done. Finally in 1989, the company was again privatized.


Anyhow, combining work with fun. I recently wrote a multi-cultural workshop for fall conferences and suggested the trainers buy candy bars made in another country for prizes. I wanted to see how easily they could find the candy and whether it would be cost effective.  In the process, I could try a new food.

I went to a grocery store specializing in foods from all over and found the candy aisle. For some reason the brand name Wedel jumped out at me. (My name has mistakenly been spelled that way at times.) I read the back about how the candy comes from Poland, etc. and decided this would be my experiment.

I bought the milk chocolate/hazelnut bar for 99 cents which I thought was a decent price (doable for the workshop). And was on my way … though not before the tiny, elderly Indian lady at the door asked me if I “loved Jesus.” I assured her I did and was rewarded with a big smile.


This morning I ate a piece and let’s just say it was delicious.

But then I thought – I have a food tasting crew on my property today. (Putting in new windows.) So, I took some out to them and asked them what they thought. They all loved it … and said they could eat the entire bar IMMEDIATELY. I handed it over.

Here they are testing the chocolate from Poland. I think I need to give it a 10 out of 10.