THE BLOG
05/16/2011 10:08 am ET | Updated Jul 16, 2011

Five Delicious Foods You've Never Tried

While I've never thought of myself as a particularly adventurous eater, others have always looked oddly at my food. As a child in small-town Pennsylvania, everyone else was mystified by hummus. Even in culinary school I was known for my eccentric food choices. So I present you with some of my favorite foods that you may not have even considered eating. These are not the weirdest foods I've ever eaten, but rather ones I think you'll be able to find at a good grocery store or farmers' market.

Lamb's heart - I first tried this -- and loved it -- in the Middle East. Most organ meat is underrated, but this offal is particularly delicious. I've only ever been able to get it from lamb vendors at the farmers' market; it's so unpopular they usually just give it to me for free. Just remove any visible veins, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss into a preheated earthenware or glass pan with a small amount of butter. Cover and cook 30 minutes at 350F. Enjoy on its own or sliced in a sandwich.

Sea vegetables - While they're more commonly referred to as seaweed, most available for purchase are actually farmed. In other words, they aren't actual invasive-like weeds. These are unfortunately expensive, but can be delicious and have amazing nutritional qualities. Try soaking hijiki or arame in water for 15 minutes; drain and sauté with sesame oil and shoyu (traditionally fermented soy sauce). You can also accompany with onions, carrots or any other vegetable sliced thinly.

Seitan - Defining this food probably makes it sound even worse. A simple wheat flour and water dough is washed repeatedly to remove the starch and isolate the wheat gluten (protein), and then boiled in a flavorful broth. A relatively popular meat substitute/protein source for vegetarians and vegans, seitan can be sliced like deli meat or cut into chunks but tastes best when ground. There isn't a strong flavor, so any seasoning will work. Try substituting seitan for ground meat in chili or, my favorite, sloppy joes.

Turkey or chicken necks - An extremely cheap and succulent part of the bird that can be cooked easily in the oven or stovetop half-covered in stock (i.e. braised). Some people don't like eating meat on the bone, but the neck bone is really no different than the ever-popular wing. I like the necks plain with salt and pepper, but hot sauce works well too.

Coconut milk ice cream - Anything with coconut milk is pretty delicious, but this naturally vegan confection stands out to me because most vegan "ice creams" are so bad. Whether the driving force is -- lactose intolerance, veganism, not eating meat with dairy or simply looking for a new food -- coconut milk is much richer (i.e. fattier) and more flavorful than the more common soy and rice milk ice creams. If you're a fan of coconut, try plain; if not, a strong flavor like chocolate or coffee will cover up the taste of the coconut itself.