Archives for posts with tag: food

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It’s zucchini week.

Zucchini “french fries” have already been rejected. “Mommy, these are too spicy for me.” (Note to self – do not use thai red chili flakes on toddler zucchini “french fries”)

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And wow, I’m so glad that I bought this 8-ball zucchini at the farmer’s market on Sunday. You know, because when you are a full-time working single mom, you have so much time to artfully prepare a stuffed 8 ball zucchini squash between 6:00pm – 6:15pm on Tuesday evening.

But you know what, if Tinker Bell can craft aerodynamic pom-poms for her shoes then I can make a magnificent Tuesday night feast – that will probably not be eaten because it is not mac and cheese.

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I thought for sure that strawberries would be well-received, consumed and enjoyed. We made this strawberry shortcake together, including whip cream from scratch. We read Strawberry Shortcake for two straight days.

I swear I will not give up. Only 47 weeks left.

Here’s the link in case the video isn’t working for you: http://youtu.be/H-qZD85uG18

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Delicious dinner courtesy of the GrowNYC GreenMarket – Young Onions or Spring Onion from Kernen Farms in Bridgeton, New Jersey, one bunch of spinach from 5lbs of Dirt, and wonderful bath of Shitake mushrooms from John Madura Farm in Pine Island, NY and some ridiculously delicious pork from Grazin Acres– all stir-fried together in a toddler-friendly way that made Madeline say “Mmmm”… or did she?Was it just my imagination?

I know that food was ingested, I know that she ate the pork and spinach, but I’m unsure about the Spring Onion. Given that it’s Spring Onion week, I’m going to say – yes, yes – indeed – she ate it and liked it.

I must say that I’m beginning to enjoy this little experiment. What’s my favorite part?

Definitely not watching my beautifully prepared dinners rejected with a look of malice and disdain (see asparagus and radishes).

It’s going to the Green Market every weekend. I love feeling like Miss America walking home with my bunch of seasonal and local Rhubarb. I’ve always cooked based on what I wanted to eat and making it happen. Now, I’m deciding what to prepare based on what looks good at the market.

Although it’s early on in the year, I wanted to share some quick things I’ve learned about my weekly shopping trips:

  • Do a once over – It’s like perusing the buffet when you are on a diet – don’t just jump at the first thing that looks good. Walk through the entire market first to see what looks good, and then start buying.
  • Decide on one meal – Buy food for one meal, not the week (unless you have some sort of plan)
  • Get ready to Google – As you start selecting items, start googling to figure out how you can put them together.
  • Set a budget – You can drop some serious coin at the market so have a number in mind and stick to it.
  • Eat raw stuff – Taste the fresh produce.
  • Bring a bag – This will make you look cool.
  • Enjoy it – Yes, this is so much more fun than battling the crowds at the grocery store – especially if you in NYC.

Happy shopping.

(Photo from Evan Sung for The New York Times)

Young toddler meets young onions.

Tonight’s dinner. Pray for me.

The T.V. needs to go to sleep. The babies need your binky. The sandbox is closed. Mommy is allergic to dogs.

Yes, that’s ketchup.  Special “rhubarbian” ketchup courtesy of Jean-Jorge Vongerichten.  And you just smeared it all over your sweet potato fries.  And ate them all with a smile on your face.

No, I didn’t take it personally when you ate a total 3 of my tiny homemade radish chips Saturday morning. It only took me over an hour artfully slicing farmer’s market radishes on a dangerous faux-mandolin from a kitchen discount store.  And I only almost sliced off my entire right palm a couple of times.  Guess what? It only took about 75 radishes to make a half a cup of chips — but who’s counting?  Who would have thought that radishes would dehydrate to the size of M&M’s like shrinky-dinks in the oven anyway?

So when we decided at the Upper West Side farmer’s market that Sunday would be the Imagestart of “rhubarb” week, maybe I did harbor a little ill will.  Chalk it up to post-traumatic radish-induced stress disorder.

And maybe I was a little afraid when I saw that the stalks of rhubarb were half the size of me and thought there was no way on God’s green earth that it would fit in your mouth, let alone that you would put it in your mouth.  So when I saw Vongerichten’s Rhubarb Ketchup recipe, I passively accepted the fact that I would just have to smear the truth to get you to try it.

So I mixed that rhubarb with an almost inconceivable amount of sugar…and you ate it.  And you liked it.  And now you like rhubarb.  You like it a lot.  And that’s how it’s going to be.

Here’s to rhubarb week!

Stay honest.

After Sunday night’s epic triumph of raw asparagus ingestion, I got cocky.

Oh yeah, I thought, my baby girl is so adventurous, her palate is so sophisticated, she is so committed to this project – I’m going to whip up another asparagus dish just to prove how easy it is to get a toddler to eat their vegetables. And you know what else, I’m going to make something that you would never think a kid would eat – I’ll make Asparagus with a Beet Lemon Vinaigrette courtesy of Chef Mimi

I hit Whole Foods on my lunch break to gather the proper ingredients, shortened our post-daycare/work playground stint and made a beautiful meal of baked Tilapia, baby potatoes, roasted beets with goat cheese and asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette to top it off. Oh, I took my time expertly plating Madeline’s compartmentalized dinosaur dish as if I was Michel Bras preparing his famous gargouillou. Her high chair was strategically positioned close enough to the table to facilitate meaningful dialogue between us and at an angle where the T.V. could be seen (in case of emergency). Then, I graciously invited her to the table.

As she took her seat, she caught one sight of my masterpiece and turned stone cold whiteImage.  I knew that look, I had seen it many times before in my days as a waitress at the Ground Round when I would place the New Yankee Pot Roast in front of an unsuspecting diner. It was a mix of terror, disgust and a dash of anxiety all wrapped into one. I prayed to Sunday’s hero Daniel Tiger for help.  None came.

And then began the onslaught of ridicule and rejection…

“I don’t want it!” “I don’t like it!” “More milk! “I want to watch Ni-hao Kai Lan!”

I tried reasoning. I tried distraction. I tried anything I could to get one bite of that damn asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette past Maddie’s hermetically sealed lips. Itwas no use. I sat back and ate dinner as she watched, slammed chocolate milk from her sippy cup and stared at my culinary Kandinsky until I was finished.  I could hear her telepathically — , “Did you really think I was going to eat that?” She very kindly carried her plate to the kitchen to be washed and said, “Thank you, Mommy” when I took it away.

In one a word – I was – DENIED.

On another note:

Dear Chef Mimi,

Your recipe for asparagus with beet lemon vinaigrette is superb, a taste of spring after a long winter It makes for a pretty presentation and is quite flavorful. I truly enjoyed the mixture of nutty beets with abite of bright lemon essence. I imagined serving it at an outdoor dinner party, brunch or even a summer barbeque – Madeline extends her gratitude for the recipe but has politely requested that it not be served at her 3rd birthday.

Best,

Ellen

ImageMy daughter ate raw asparagus on Sunday night – lots of it. It wasn’t artfully sculpted to look like Gumby, Kermit or an alligator. I just peeled it and she ate it. She kept saying, “Try something new.”

I would like to thank some people for making this moment possible. The first – Daniel Tiger – the feline rebirth of Mr. Rogers – for singing the “Gotta Try Foods Because They Might Taste Good” that is readily available on the PBS Kids app.

Second, the GrowNYC Green Market Recipe Series for inspiring me to actually peel fresh asparagus and it eat. I normally drench them in olive oil and roast them for 25 minutes (which tastes delicious) but this time we dared to just peel and eat it without extensive preparation.

The farm in Riverhead, Long Island that grew the asparagus – A bunch was $5.00 – not cheap but worth it.

And finally, Madeline for her courage in the face of adversity.

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