Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vegging Out

9/15/08 - FSI (Food Selection & Identification, MSCD)

Tour: Coosemans, specialty produce supplier, Denver, CO
Photo of TWS favorite find at Coosemans, the Lobster Mushroom, courtesy http://www.coosemans.com/

Chef Lamb is da man. He has put together such an exciting and pertinent syllabus for this class. Direct experience-learning is the next best thing to keeping your eyes on the road while driving. I could vividly describe every moment of the tour because I was so fully present ... but here's a summary.

Dan McMaster, 17-year veteran at Coosemans, guided us through a labyrinth of crazy legumes like the dragon tongue bean; cute looking baby bite-sized squash both green and yellow; varietals like funky purple fingerling potatoes; nutty-smelling microgreens called mache; wierd sea beans; onion and garlic offerings; mystical mushrooms like the maitaki ("hen of the woods"), renji (king oyster), wood-ear, shiitake, and my personal fave ... the lobster mushroom. Yup, it is the color and scent of a lobster. Then we moved on to tarot root; cactus pears; malanga; tamarind; carambola (star fruit); rambutan (lychee); quince; ti leaves; cactus leaves ... and finally lovely & fragrant florals like orchids, carnations, pansies, and lemon leaves.

We saw lettuces and peppers, fruits and herbs. Way more than listed here. And we'll never be the same again.

My philosophy, dear readers: Education is zilcho unless you put it into practice.

The day after this tour, I saw some of those bite-sized squash at the local store. Roasted them with butter, oil, salt, pepper, oregano, onion powder, and a little beer. Aw yeah.

Need some inspiration? Though a wholesaler, check out Coosemans' website. Ask your local grocer to order in your favorite oddity, and mention that Coosemans stocks it.


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