As part of my February Foodie Challenge, I was on a quest this month to try 4 new foods. We don’t have a ton of ethnic food stores around us in St. Albert where I know I would have found foods that I had never tried before, but at the nearest grocery store (and at a restaurant in Banff), I managed to find some items I had never tasted!
My four NEW foods were Scottish oatmeal (basically steel cut oats), tempeh, brazil nuts, and millet. I bought blue potatoes but then as soon as my mom saw them she told me I had had them before and they just tasted like normal potatoes. Fail. Nevertheless, I conquered 4 new foods this month, some better than others, and some that will be a staple in my diet now!
I think these are just steel cut oats, packaged and sold as “Scottish” but perhaps just ground up a bit more than actual steel cut oats. I bought these because my ancestors are Scottish and I am an oatmeal lover… what better combination?
The only real difference with these as far as cooking them is the time. Scottish oats take about 10 minutes of simmering to soak up all of the water, where as my usual quick oats take only a couple of minutes to cook. Not a huge deal. The taste was definitely heartier than regular oats and they were thicker than I normally make my oats, but obviously that is adjustable. I added some delicious toppings to my oatmeal and it was dynamite. I think my Scottish roots are where I get my fondness of oatmeal.
This is the one that is going to be a staple in my diet. It was SO GOOD. The reason it was so good is probably because I got the marinated kind which meant it was a little salty and flavourful and oh. so. delicious. I have had tofu but I had never tried tempeh before and I was pleasantly surprised!
Both times I cooked it it was ready before I had finished cutting the rest of the vegetables for my salad. It took about 5 minutes total to cook it, ~2 minutes on each side to brown it up and heat it! It looks just as delicious as most vegetarian protein sources do but the taste is so much better. I couldn’t find “plain” tempeh and I usually don’t buy marinated products because the sodium and added sugars and such in them are ridiculous, but… desperate times.
Each time I made it I put the tempeh on top of salad to beef up (<- pun intended) my salad. It kind of looked like strips of meat when it was cooked but it was so much better 😉 It was crispy on the outside and a little softer on the inside. What is tempeh exactly? It’s like tofu, just prepared differently with a slightly nuttier taste. You can actually see the bean shapes in the tempeh which is super cool.
I’m sure I have had brazil nuts at some point in my 21 years but I can’t remember distinctly tasting them on their own. They are HUGE and very dense with tons of (healthy) fats. I liked the taste and texture but I am an eat-more-than-three-nuts person so these would be super dangerous for me.
One super awesome nutritional fact about brazil nuts is their vitamin and mineral content. It’s off the charts! With the vitamins and minerals comes the fat. It is all SUPER good fat for you, but it is really easy to over-do it with only a few of these nuts! Regardless, they are wonderfully tasty little nutrition powerhouses. I paired mine with a couple of dried dates as a snack!
At Wild Flour Bakery in Banff, I was undecided as to which salad I would have for lunch but I figured I should try the millet salad because I had never had millet before! I love expanding my grains because I know there are so many great ones out there but we tend to get caught up in a rice and quinoa cycle in my house. Millet is slightly smaller than quinoa but has a great nutty taste. A little more couscous size but a lot more firm like rice. It was great! It helped that it was prepared in a marvellous salad!
There we have it! FOUR new foods I tried this month! I have one more recipe to release this month and considering February is over after TOMORROW, I think you should be fully prepared for a recipe coming at you! That also means I need to start setting some March goals!
What is the latest “new” food your tried?!
Any tempeh lovers?! Where do I buy the plain stuff?