I was never a picky child -- I loved lima beans and broccoli, enjoyed homemade guacamole when my dad made it on taco night, and ate just about everything my mother served.
But, for as long as I can remember, there have been two foods that I really can't stand -- cooked carrots, and fish of any kind (except tuna.)
Now, I know the cooked carrots thing seems strange, and to this day, I still really don't care for them, but I will eat them. But fish? Good thing I'm a vegetarian! I can't STAND the smell of fish, look of fish, and I can't remember the last time I've actually eaten even a bite of fish! Sorry to all of you fish-lovers out there, and yes, it is a good source of Omega-3s, but I can't do it! UUUUUUUUUUGH!
Consequently, I've had a really hard time getting behind eating seaweed/sea vegetables, because of their "fishy" smell. It took me years to convince myself to eat a piece of vegetarian sushi, because the smell of the nori was enough to put me off. However, I persisted, and I do now love sushi!
Color me brave -- I picked out a new recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers to try this week -- "Tofu Hijiki Saute." Ok, first off . . . I was SHOCKED by how expensive hijiki is! Whoa! I did check the Asian grocery store, but my closest and largest one didn't stock it . . . drat. (There are better Asian markets in St. Paul -- I'll look over there next time!) The Wedge carried a few different sized packets, but all were well over ten bucks! I thought this was a "weed," people! Second . . . as I poured the hot water over the hijiki to soak, I was overcome by a FISHY SMELL. Oh, lord, did I start to worry!
I moved the fishy weed out of the kitchen so I didn't have to smell it, and continued cooking, all the while, worried as heck I wasn't going to be able to EAT this meal I was working so hard to prepare! Bravely, I drained the hijiki, added it to the wok, folded everything together, and spooned a serving over my brown rice:
And . . . I was pleasantly surprised! Most of the "fishy" smell seemed to have dissipated by the time the hijiki made it into the wok, and the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil flavors soaked into the rehydrated dark shreds nicely. I'm hooked!
Hijiki will have to be a treat at our house, unfortunately, since it is a little cost-prohibitive. I've used plenty of nori over the years for sushi, and have used kombu for making vegetarian dashi. What other kinds of sea vegetables have you tried? Any recommendations for us?