Left to my own devices in a supermarket, I get the grabbiest in the produce department. (This is particularly true in winter, when my body gets the idea it can ingest sunlight via plant life.)
A lot of peeps who cook regularly are cooking up against the forces of meat rot--I, however, picked up my momma's penchant for picking up more vegetables than an oft-eating-alone lady can possibly consume. It's a tarantella of cooking vs. vegetal wilt.
I tried to walk past the pile of fennel bulbs at Stew Leonard's. NONONO. You don't need it! You've got arugula, radicchio, avocados, tomatoes, cabbage, green chilis, apples, pears...walk AWAY from the freakin' fennel!!!
Fail whale, a la fennel-resistance.
Ditto for a package of pearl barley (AKA Fail Whale Two, Rise of the Grocery Glutton).
I justified it this way: I'd never made fennel or barley before...I'm learning something new!
Love it when learning is tasty. 'Twas easy too: I parboiled the barley separately (about 30 minutes, with some chicken bones leftover from a previous dinner) and sauteed the thin-sliced fennel bulb and a shallot in some olive oil, butter, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Tossed the barley in with the fennel to coat, and sprinkled in the chopped fronds as I was turning off the heat.
The pearl barley had a great chew and nuttiness that complemented the tender, anise tang of fennel--it was a warm, welcoming bowl that was at once familiar and intriguing.
Feeling protein-guilt, I topped it with some diced fresh mozzarella and roasted pumpkin seeds. The cheese was a good add--the pumpkin seeds, not so much. There was something about them that smothered out the welcome licorice waft.
Next time, pistachios or pine nuts...oooh, maybe crumbled bacon, or Parmesan.
Need more convincing? Well, both fennel and barley pack considerable fiber (always a plus); fennel brings vitamin C and potassium to the party, and barley has all the cereal benefits of iron, zinc, manganese, selenium, and niacin...all of the above are said to be helpful in combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, i.e. serious wintertime funk).
Considering all the other gluttony you bear witness to, maybe revealing more acts of vegetable surrender is in order. Remind me.