We happened on these strange little monsters in the local grocery store the other night, and couldn’t resist picking them up. The first one, I still have no idea what it is. We haven’t broken it open yet… we’re perhaps just waiting for it to hatch. (Honestly, we could have saved… oh, tens of dollars… using these for the climax of “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead”.) Let me know if you have ideas!
The second, though, Michelle decided was just some field-growth of low-lying spinach, and boiled it on up. Chewey, tough, it wasn’t my favorite new vegetable until I discovered the name: “Taigucai” (太古菜), which translates to “Too ancient vegetable.” Now that’s just too cool.
From kungfueats: “Chinese flat cabbage… is a variety of cabbage that grows only a few inches high but spreads out flat like a plate and can be over a foot in diameter. It is mostly prevalent in Shanghai especially during the winter since it is able to withstand frost. Not only is cabbage cheap and prevalent, it also provides you with a healthy dining option. It’s a great source of riboflavin (a B vitamin), vitamin C, and glutamine. Cabbage is also low in calories but high in fiber which makes it an excellent choice for dieting.”
Update 1/23: Thanks to the smart foodies (and Park Slope Food Co-op Employees/Shoppers!) who identified the first one as the Italian romanesco broccoli! Have yet to cook it up, but kudos to hat for this recc: http://www.seriouseats.com /recipes/2009/10/seriously-italian-broccoli-romanesco-recipes.html