A fellow family-food blogger, and creator of the game “Crunch a Color,” Jennifer Lee, has a new book out next week: The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes. The premise of the challenge is simply to cook a new food item together each week. In addition to recipes, the book offers advice for shopping together (at the farmers market, preferably) and other strategies to help children develop a healthy relationship with food. And then it leads you through 52 foods grouped by season with kid-tested recipes. I particularly like that these aren’t cutesy recipes for kids, but real dishes that the whole family will enjoy. My son quickly flipped to the edamame section and asked to make the Edamame Pasta Salad next.
We accepted Jennifer’s challenge to create a recipe around one of the 52 new foods in the book, and started with Bok Choy. We may have had it once or twice in the past, but it never really caught the kids’ attention until the boy started playing Plants vs. Zombies. Yes, sometimes a video game can lead to healthy food discoveries — who knew?! One day we were strolling through the market and he pointed to a table exclaiming, “look, bok choy!” Of course I seized the opportunity and brought several bunches home to try. Bok choy may have an odd sounding name, but it’s really a fairly mild vegetable and can be cooked in ways that bring out the sweetness, like the cider-braised technique I used here. I added sliced sausage to make it a main dish, but you can simply omit the sausage if you want to keep it vegetarian and serve it as a side.
When they realized I was going to take pictures of them prepping the bok choy, they decided to get a little silly. Much to my surprise, my leafy-green-loathing foodie tot quickly followed her big brother’s lead and chomped down on a raw leaf, declaring, “Oh, now I love bok choy!”
This recipe provided a good opportunity for knife skills practice as the bok choy just needs a simple trim of the bottom (and check out the neat flower shape that remains), and the sausage was easily sliced as well.
As for the finished dish …. well, the foodie tot stuck to the sausage, but the foodie boy asked for seconds. At least now I know to just give the tot her leaves fresh!
Today is Food Day, and in my opinion, the single most important thing we can do today is to welcome the kids into the kitchen and cook something together. Will you join us and take the #52NewFoods Challenge?
Recipe: Cider-Braised Bok Choy and Sausage
- 5-6 bunches of bok choy
- 4 chicken and apple (or other mild) sausages
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- sea salt & pepper
1. Help children trim ends from bok choy and separate leaves. Place in colander to rinse and let drain.
2. Slice sausages into 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown sausages, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
4. Add bok choy to pan, pour cider over and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, until bok choy is tender.
GIVEAWAY ~ One lucky reader will receive a copy of the 52 New Foods Challenge book: Simply follow the instructions below to enter. A winner will be selected next Friday, October 31.