What Ya Got Cookin'?: From 'Yuk' to 'Yum!': Fixing Your Food Fears | WYPR

What Ya Got Cookin'?: From 'Yuk' to 'Yum!': Fixing Your Food Fears

Apr 20, 2017

Not your favorite vegetables? Listen up!
Credit Photo courtesy Dr. Axe

For most of us, there’s at least one food we just can’t think about eating: otherwise-respectable fare like broccoli or Brussels sprouts, cabbage or kale, organ meats or sardines, tofu or…gorgonzola cheese. One look, or one whiff, and our minds tell us, no way…  

Today we're going to explore ways we might get around such food blocks, on this installment of What Ya Got Cooking? -- a regular Midday feature where we talk about recipes, food trends, traditions and good eats with our resident foodies:  John Shields and Sascha Wolhandler. 

John Shields is a chef, cookbook author and, with partner John Gilligan, the proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  He’s also the host of Coastal Cooking and Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields on Maryland Public Television and PBS.

Sascha Wolhandler runs Sascha’s 527 Cafe with her husband, Steve Susser.  

John and Sascha join Tom today with their tips for overcoming food aversions with a little creative cooking…and they share a few ideas for making the most of the delicious new spring veggies now available at local farmers markets

So, what foods do YOU avoid?  Got a recipe that’s changed your mind about a food you’ve always hated?  You’re welcome to join the conversation!



It’s a town hall forum with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes. They’ll be taking questions at the War Memorial Building at 101 North Gay Street in Baltimore.  The forum starts tonight at 7.  It’s being organized by Indivisible Baltimore.  For more details, click here


Here are a few recipes for discovering joy in foods (like mushy canned peas) you've always avoided:

Gertie’s Garden Spring Pea and Mint “Bruschetta” (courtesy of John Shields)

2 cups shelled fresh sweet English peas (about 2 1/4 pounds in the pod)
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced mint
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add the peas and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and transfer to a small food processor. Process until all the peas are broken down but not too smooth. You do not want to pure them - a little texture is just fine.

Transfer the peas to a bowl and add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mint. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Slice the baguette on a slight diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces. Place the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast under the broiler until light golden brown.

To serve, spread the pea purée on the toasts and top with a little goat cheese. Serve immediately. 

Not your favorite vegetable?  Try these other tasty recipes from Sascha Wolhandler:

Grilled Asparagus

Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper

Clean asparagus, cut off ends where they bend, toss in olive oil salt and pepper and place on hot grill.  Get grill marks and place on the cooler side of the grill until done -firm but with some softness.

Sauteed Ramps  (a foraged field vegetable similar to a leek or scallion)

1 bunch ramps
glog of olive oil ( about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon butter
salt and pepper

Cut the roots off the ramps and discard. Wash the ramps and separate the white bulbs from the leaves- Leave the bulbs whole and make some horizontal cuts on the leaves or leave whole if desired

Heat oil and butter in saute pan, when bubbling add the bulbs , cook till translucent and add the leaves till wilted.  Salt and pepper.


1 bunch of Rhubarb
1 1/3 cups fine sugar
water about 1/4 cup

Wash and cut off the ends at the base and near the leaves.
Cut rhubarb into chunks ( about 2 inches)
Place in sauce pan with sugar and the water.  Cook over low heat covered, for 10 minutes till rhubarb done , Rhubarb will be mushy.  Might need extra water or sugar, taste to desired sweetness or sourness.

Use as accompaniment to pork or chicken.