goat cheese

I made this with my students at school and they loved it too- so it is kid-tested by many picky eaters.

The secret: honey!

I made step-by-step cards for my students and the boys used those so if you have a bit of extra time to make cards that show each step then you will for sure get participation in the making of dinner and with that comes an extra bonus: kids are more likely to eat what they help cook!

I don’t have great pictures of the steps of the recipe and the pictures don’t have to be well-drawn by any means.  Just go for it; you’ll have fun and your kids will love it along with learning early reading and math skills (that’s the preschool teacher inside me).  Get 4 index cards and draw a picture of 1) knife, cheese, a piece of toast 2) grinding or chopping walnuts and piece of toast 3) a couple of leaves of thyme and toast 4) smiley face and yum!

toastIf they are part of the process, kids will be excited about what is served for dinner.  But make sure that you also have something else with dinner that you know they already like.  This takes the pressure off and allows your kids to just try the new food.  If you force it, it won’t happen.

Make sure also that you eat dinner together as a family.  I can’t stress this enough.  If you make yummy things like goat cheese toasts, then you’ll be more likely to share your meal with your kids and you can all enjoy the food together.  Michael Pollan talks a lot about this and says that sharing meals together is what life is all about.

INGREDIENTS

whole-grain bread, 4 slices, each about 2 1/2 by 5 inches, lightly toasted
fresh goat cheese, 3 oz, at room temperature
walnuts, 1/4 cup  coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
honey, for drizzling and fresh Thyme leaves

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375°F. Arrange the toasts on a small rimmed baking sheet. Spread the toast slices evenly with the goat 1 cheese, and sprinkle with the walnuts, dividing them evenly. Bake until the walnuts are toasted and the cheese is warm, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the toasts to plates and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle each toast with honey, then sprinkle with the thyme leaves and serve.

I just realized that I toasted them before so that the kids could do the rest of the recipe themselves and then eat them.  But next time I’m going to try the recipe the original way.

This recipe is from Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Jeanne Kelley

tart 3

OK, so I’ll be honest here; my kids didn’t like this the first time (or two) that we made it.  But now they love it and request it all the time.  It has all the fixin’s that kids love: crispy pastry crust, honey topping and something fried.  It isn’t a weeknight dinner since it takes a couple of steps to prepare, but that being said, it isn’t complicated, just takes a bit more time. 

It is the perfect weekend dish, served with a salad or a steak (or both!!) and I’ve served it at a brunch as well with tons of compliments.  I got the original recipe from Gourmet October 2005.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package)
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 12 1/8″-thick rounds peeled butternut squash
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • black pepper

tart1

Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (which I didn’t have). Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) on a lightly floured surface to a 10″ square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.
    2. Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Arrange twelve 1/8″-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash’s neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2″ border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash.  (oops!  I don’t have parchment paper so I used aluminum foil!!)  Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.)tart2
    3. Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
    4. Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25-30 minutes longer.
    5. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
    6. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain
    7. Slice tart. Arrange 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top; drizzle with chile-infused honey. Garnish with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.

tart 4

 So don’t despair if they only have one bite the first time or two, keep at it and soon this will be one of your recipes on rotation!

quinoa

This is one of my new favorite recipes for my favorite meal of the day.  I like to make different kinds of pancakes and my old favorites are Red Beet Pancakes and Pumpkin Pancakes and just recently I’ve been making a lot of quinoa pancakes. 

IMG_0909

I researched a lot of different recipes and couldn’t find one that was just what I was looking for so I ended up making my own recipe.  I didn’t want to use quinoa flour and I didn’t want whole quinoa so I created a recipe that blends cooked quinoa in with the rest of the ingredients and here’s how the final product came out:

IMG_0910

 

Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked quinoa

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

3 tablespoons melted butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend the first three ingredients in a blender and then add the remaining ingredients and mix.  Spoon onto a hot griddle or pan and flip when you see lots of bubbles.  Enjoy with maple syrup or molasses!

IMG_0914

 

noodles

One thing I’ve noticed about little kids is that they like to dip their food into something.  For most kids, it is ketchup.  They will eat almost any food dipped into ketchup.  My kids also like salsa, garlic mayonnaise and soy sauce.

(When my boys were almost two, they enjoyed dipping foods into salsa SO much that they dipped their banana bread in salsa.  Yum!)

This meal is a delicious, healthy, vegan (could be gluten-free with the right noodles and tamari instead of soy sauce) and is a crowd winner with my boys and my meat-eating husband!

This was originally published in the New York Times and my husband’s mom had the paper copy of it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere electronically.

 

Cold Noodles With Spicy Peanut Sauce

8 ounces thin Chinese egg noodles or Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba)

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter or sesame butter

5 tablespoons brewed black tea

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chili oil

2 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil

2 teaspoons wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 scallion, chopped.

 

  1. Boil noodles until tender, drain, rinse in cold water and set aside, covered. 2. Mix peanut butter with tea until peanut butter has dissolved. Add soy sauce, chili oil (more or less depending on how spicy you want the dish), sesame oil, vinegar, sugar and garlic. Pour sauce over noodles and toss.

 

  1. Sprinkle with scallions, toss again and serve.

 

Roasted Tofu

Drain one container of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and marinate for several hours (or however much time you have) in:

4 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons Sherry wine (I substitute 1 teaspoon honey and 2 teaspoons water if I don’t have sherry)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic chopped

I cook the tofu two ways.  The healthier option takes a bit longer but I like the texture a bit more.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a bit of olive oil onto a cookie sheet.  Spread the tofu out on the cookie sheet and spray once more with olive oil.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes or until brown, turning once.

The other way to cook it is to fry the tofu pieces in a good amount of oil on the stove top.  This takes about 10-15 minutes to get them all cooked so if you are short on time, you can just brown them in a pan.

 

I like to serve these noodle with a bunch of broccoli and a bowl of soy sauce for dipping the broccoli and the tofu pieces.   

delicious

At book club a couple of months ago, the hostess made the most delicious sweet potato cakes and I have to share them:

Crispy Sweet Potato Cakes:

Courtesy of Bal Anreson

2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 table spoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Mango Chutney for serving. (I’ll be honest, I didn’t make the mango chutney, I just served them with some salad dressing to dip, but the Mango Chutney is delicious too!)


Directions:

Mash the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl and add chickpea flour, garam masala, ginger, salt, cilantro and yogurt.  Mix well and form into small patties.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook patties in batches so they have plenty of room to fry.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden and cooked through.  

Mango Chutney

1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons chopped red onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chat masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 ounces mango chunks

Place juice, onion  cilantro, chat masala and salt in a food processor and process to a paste. ad the mango chunks and pulse until chunks are coarsely chopped.

Yum!

My husband and children loved these!

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