Posts Tagged ‘broccoli’

Eat Your Greens on St. Patrick’s Day

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The boy is having a St. Patrick’s Day party at Pre-K today, and of course everyone was asked to bring in something green. We were brainstorming ideas and the first thing that he came up with was peas. I have to say I was more than a little proud that he thought of naturally green things first, and vegetables at that — though it didn’t take long before he was asking for green cupcakes.

green veggies for st. patrick's day

We celebrated St. Patrick’s at home a little early with an “Irish” fondue party last weekend. I boiled potatoes, blanched broccoli and sliced raw green peppers. I was hoping that the cheese sauce would entice the boy to try the peppers, but no such luck. At any rate, if you’re struggling with green veggies in your house, sometimes a simple dip (hummus or homemade ranch) can make all the difference. And fondue — a warm, cheesy dip — is fun for the whole family.

Irish fondue

Recipe: Irish Fondue

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound Landaff or Caerphilly cheese*
  • 1/4 pound Gruyere
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons Irish ale (like Harp)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 clove garlic

Serve with: vegetables, raw or blanched, boiled potatoes, sliced apples or pears, and cubes of bread.

Instructions: Set up your fondue pot. If you have the kind with a glass pot that sits inside a larger metal pot, add boiling water to the larger pot and light the flame to keep it warm. (If you have an electric fondue pot, you can cook the cheese right in the pot. I don’t, so I started it on the stove.)

Cut your garlic clove in half and rub down the inside of a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan. Pour 1 cup beer into pan and heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk flour into 2 tablespoons beer to make a smooth slurry.

When beer is warm, add shredded cheese, whisking until melted. Slowly whisk in flour/beer slurry, then let cook, stirring frequently, for a couple minutes, until thickened.  Pour into the fondue pot (the inner glass pot, in my case) and set over the flame to keep warm. You’ll want to stir the cheese periodically as you eat to keep it from hardening on the bottom.

*About the cheese: Landaff is a wonderful cheese made in New Hampshire that you may be able to find in Whole Foods. It’s an American version of the traditional Irish Caerphilly. If you can’t find either of those cheeses, try a mild cheddar (Dubliner of course is always good for St. Patrick’s Day).

Tips for Fondue with Kids:

  • Obviously this recipe does have alcohol — most cooks off while cooking. I haven’t tried this yet, but I suspect you may be able to make this recipe with sparkling apple cider if you prefer.
  • It may be easier to spoon some fondue into a small bowl for dipping — to avoid messes and burnt tongues!
  • Ask your kids for suggestions of what to dip — the boy asked for peanuts, so I added a small bowl of them to the spread. (And no, I don’t believe he actually dipped them, he’s just been on a peanut kick lately.)

Meatless Monday: Warm Red Quinoa Salad

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Okay, so quinoa may not be the first thing to come to mind for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, but what better day to think about heart health? This warm and hearty salad is loaded with super foods — broccoli for vitamins A & K (and lowering cholesterol), dried cranberries for antioxidants, walnuts for healthy omega-3s, and the aforementioned quinoa, a source of protein. And, it’s naturally red. To go totally vegan, substitute sauteed tofu for the feta. This would also make a nice side dish to some wild salmon. Happy *Heart* Day!

Recipe: Warm Red Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Cranberries & Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red quinoa (rinsed*)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed (optional)

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • squirt of lemon juice

Instructions: In saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add quinoa, stirring to coat with the oil and cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir. Add water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Heat dry skillet over medium low heat and toast walnuts, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Remove walnuts from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and shallot to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to brown. Add broccoli and water, cover and cook until broccoli is tender — about 5 minutes. Uncover, add cranberries and remove from heat.

Combine quinoa, broccoli, walnuts and vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add feta, if using, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

* Note: I used pre-rinsed quinoa in this recipe. If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it in a fine mesh colander and let drain for several minutes before cooking.

quinoa broccoli feta cranberries

Feeding Baby: Broccoli’s not recommended until baby is well established on solid foods as it is harder to digest. For babies 8+ months, pull out a few pieces of the cooked broccoli, a spoonful of quinoa and puree with a little water as needed to reach the desired consistency. (The boy is in a no-mingling-of-flavors phase, so the above is his salad, deconstructed. This is also ideal for serving finger-feeding toddlers.)

(And just so you don’t think I’m a total Valentine’s scrooge — here’s our dessert: black and pink cookies …

black and pinks

At Market: Broccoli!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Allow me to gloat briefly: my son’s favorite vegetable is broccoli. When I serve broccoli, he asks for seconds. When I told him the broccoli in our garden needed to grow a little bigger, he said, “But I really wanted to eat it tonight,” in such a sad voice that I snipped it and steamed it just for him.

how do you test broccoli for ripeness?

how do *you* test broccoli for ripeness?

Now before you resent me too much, let me assure you that there are plenty of green vegetables he won’t touch. Including anything leafy. (I blame myself, for telling him not to eat leaves at the playground when he was a toddler.) But as long as he loves broccoli, we’re eating it once or twice a week. And it’s in season right now at our local farmers markets, along with its cousin cauliflower, squash, Brussels sprouts, beets, apples, pears, those pesky leafy greens, and more root vegetables than you could ever find time to roast.

Did you know that broccoli lowers cholesterol, has high levels of vitamins A & K, and contains folic acid (good for pregnant and nursing mamas)? Ninety percent of the time I just steam broccoli and serve it with butter and sea salt. But if you’re looking to mix things up, or if your little ones aren’t quite as enthusiastic about broccoli, here are some other ideas from around the blogs.


Kid-Friendly Broccoli Recipes


Healthy Habits take Root at the Market

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

FoodieTots @ the Farmers Market Week continues with some background on why we love the market for teaching healthy habits. This post was originally a guest contribution at Food with Kid Appeal ~ visit Jenna’s blog for more tips to inspire healthy eating with your kids.

This weekend, my son rediscovered his toy shopping cart and insisted on hauling it out for a pre-bedtime grocery shopping trip. He proceeded to entertain us by driving back and forth across the living room and kitchen, visiting the orange juice guy, the ketchup guy, the jam place, and returning his empty milk carton to the door for the milkman to refill. I love that he thinks we have “a guy” for everything!

broccoli kids farmers market

My son has been shopping our weekly farmers market since he was an infant in a baby carrier. At the time, it was the perfect Saturday morning outing when he woke up at the crack of dawn and nothing else was open. At two and a half now, his tastes are still fairly fickle but he generally will at least try a bite of anything that comes from the market. By engaging my son in the shopping experience, and the sensory wonderland that is available at a farmers market rather than a grocery store, I have found that he is genuinely curious and excited about food.

yellow string beansShopping at a farmers market or organic grocer provides you with a much wider array of fruits and vegetables than what are generally available at the big box grocery. From heirloom tomatoes in shades of yellow, green, red and purple to orange cauliflower and purple beans, they provide a rainbow of choices that appeal to kids visually. My son was never a huge fan of green beans, but the day we brought home purple beans from the market, he was enthralled. One day this past fall I asked him to bag some beans, giving him the choice of yellow or green. To my surprise, he chose to take some of both, and when we had them for dinner he proudly held them up to his dad and exclaimed, “I picked these yellow and green beans all myself!”

I also find that while my son may look skeptically at a new item placed on his dinner plate, he is almost guaranteed to sample something handed to him by a vendor at the market. Our neighborhood market’s cheese man is his favorite, no doubt due to the generous sample of cave-aged cheddar he receives each week. My son devours it, exclaiming to everyone in sight that, “Tom the Cheese Guy gave me this!” (He now asks at home, “Are those Tom’s eggs? … is that Tom’s cheese?” before determing whether to taste something. Heaven forbid we run out mid-week!) One of our favorite fruit vendors will sometimes slip him a perfectly toddler-sized Seckel pear, which he enjoys with relish. A while back, I was checking out something new to me, sunchokes. When the farmer handed me one to sample, my son demanded a taste as well. He declared it “too spicy,” but I can guarantee that he never would have been interested in trying it had I tried to slip it onto his plate at home.

As parents know, kids love to feel like they are in control, so empowering them to choose their favorites while you shop is a great way to get them engaged in what they are eating. By shopping at a market or organic grocer where virtually all the options are healthy, it helps reduce the temptation of processed foods and gets them excited about healthy foods. My son will often request fruit or cheese as a snack, which I hope will remain a habit as he gets older. When he’s older, I plan to use the market as an opportunity to teach him about money as well, by giving him his own budget and letting him determine what, and how much, to buy. And of course I will be encouraging him to join me in the kitchen as much as possible to learn how to cook his healthy selections, too.

Shared with Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade — check out the round-upround-up!

one local summer 2009

Calling all farmers market fans! One Local Summer returns in June. If you’re up for the challenge of cooking one all-local meal each week, click the image above to sign up. Here’s a reminder of some of the Chesapeake Bay foodshed meals we enjoyed last year.

Ginger Soy Shrimp Fusili

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

This was an easy pasta dish made easier with a few Trader Joe’s favorites – cooked, peeled frozen shrimp and Ginger Soy Broth, plus my own prepped and frozen broccoli and garlic scape pesto from last week. I also used TJ’s flax seed pasta to fulfill my Whole Grains Challenge quota for the day. (OK, so it was 1 of 3 meals, but every small step counts, right?)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag flax seed fusili
  • 3 c ginger soy broth (added to water to boil pasta)
  • 1 c frozen broccoli
  • 1 bag shrimp, thawed and tails removed
  • 2 T garlic scape pesto* (or whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 t roasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 c cashews

Instructions: I added the 3 c of ginger soy broth to the pasta water. Cook pasta as instructed, adding broccoli for final 2 minutes. Reserve cooking water for later. Heat pesto and oils in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook just a couple minutes, about 3-4, adding cashews for final minute. Toss with cooked pasta, broccoli, and about 1/4 c of the pasta water. Enjoy!

* Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto

Take one bunch of garlic scapes (3-4) and chop into 1 inch pieces. Add to food processor with 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c nuts of your choice (I used cashews, pecans and pistachios are also great), and 1/4 c parmiaggano cheese. Chop till fine. This is pretty potent, so use with care!

Toddler Notes: I believe this was the first time we really served shrimp to the toddler. He wasn’t interested the first night, but ate one bite the second. He ate all his broccoli first and then stole every last piece off the husband’s plate, before getting to the noodles. Hooray for broccoli!

Submitted to Presto Pasta Nights, created by Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by Closet Cooking.