Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Daikon Go Down

5 days into this experiment, and I have already learned that one of my approaches is probably the wrong way to go about liking stuff. Today, I learned a valuable lesson from a daikon and a sprig of parsley.

For lunch, I made a Meatball Bahn Mi (and may I take a moment to point out that Gimme Lean beef and / or sausage are the keys to making vegan meatballs and burgers? That stuff actually holds together!), a recipe I chose to help me with my daikon aversion. The daikon I acquired at the Farmer's Market was more or less the size of a baseball bat. As I went wild, shredding that bad boy for the slaw (a process I could not have completed without my handy Julienne Peeler), I figured I needed to start sampling the daikon, to get used to the taste, so that its presence didn't ruin my sandwich experience. I just started eating the naked daikon as if I were eating popcorn. This was not pleasant! I have noted my issues with radishes, which I was hoping to break myself into slowly by using the daikon as my transitional radish, since I'm told it is a "mild" radish. To me, it supplied all of the strangely spicy radish badness that I remembered from the last time I dared to put a radish in my mouth (which I believe was during the Reagan Administration). I figured as long as it included daikon, my sandwich was going to be a lost cause.

Anyway, the daikon goes into a slaw with shredded carrots, green onions and basil, and the whole shebang is marinated in a mixture of lime juice and sugar. The banh mi has a slew of other ingredients (meatballs with water chestnuts in them, cilantro, cucumbers, vegenaise mixed with Sriracha), which I hoped would at least mask the daikon badness enough for me to eat my lunch. When it was ready, it looked something like this:

And it was one goddamn great sandwich, daikon and all!

Here's the thing: marinating that daikon in the sugar and lime juice made ALL the difference in the world! I was able to pick pieces of the daikon off my sandwich, and eat it all by itself, and it tasted GOOD. So, I learned that plain daikon is >8-p but marinated daikon is :-D . After avoiding it my entire life, I'm not afraid of daikon as an ingredient anymore, assuming that it will probably always be given some kind of special marinated treatment before it is used as an ingredient.

Now, for my Parsley Process. As promised, I was going to eat some doses of parsley on its own, to get used to the flavor of Parsley Overload, to help me conquer tabbouleh. So, I took a large pinch of parsley (about a tablespoon), and ate it. Or, shall I say, I *tried* to eat it. I chewed it up a little.... then gagged.... then spat the whole wad out in the sink. I was kind of shocked I had that reaction! I don't consider myself to hate parsley so much that I would be unable to even swallow a tablespoon of it on its own! I eat it all the time.... in recipes. I think I should give up on trying to like certain things (like daikon and parsley), by trying to eat them unadorned and naked. Some things just need a little help from their friends to be palatable. ;-)

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