Friday, April 29, 2011

Exploring Vegetables

We're in a stage right now in which Tye can chew many foods with her 12 teeth (including 4 molars), but some vegetables remain challenging.  For example, raw carrots, which she bites chunks out of and then can't chew the chunks well enough and so they're spit out onto the table; or greens and lettuces, which require a great deal of oral dexterity to manipulate once they're soft and soggy on the tongue.  I don't want to hide these vegetables- say, pureed in other foods- because I want Tye to experience the flavors and textures of the vegetables.  But now I'm constantly searching for ways to prepare vegetables in a size and shape Tye can handle.  

One success we've had is soup, which allows me to cook the vegetables in any size I want.  A few favorites recently include:
  • Cauliflower and Stilton Soup:  Though this sounds like a stinky flavor combo, the cauliflower and blue cheese paired beautifully for a buttery, super-rich flavor.  Tye ate several helpings, as did Tyler and I! (Unlike the recipe, I skipped pureeing the soup and left it chunky) 
  • Spicy Chard Soup:  I used a scissors to chop the chard in Tye's portion into small enough pieces for her to handle, and she loved the broth (I subbed vegetable broth).  My favorite part of this soup is being able to add toppings-including hard boiled eggs, lemon Greek yogurt, and pita chips- to each diner's desires, making a unique bowl each time.
  • Farmshare Soup:  Last summer, the evening before our farm share delivery, I would dice up all the remaining vegetables in our crisper bin, then sautee them and add a box of creamy tomato soup.  Everything is good in this, from greens to sweet corn to root vegetables.  Since tomato soup is Tye's favorite, this always results in a full belly.

Now that warmer weather is arriving, I'm looking to find other recipes for vegetable exploration (even if I'm okay with eating soup year-round, sometimes others prefer a cooler dish).  So far this season, we've been experimenting with:
  • Cinnamon-spiced Chard Pancakes: A new family favorite, these are a great last-minute meal and a fun finger food (you can substitute bread crumbs, saltine cracker crumbs, panko, or almond flour for the matzoh meal)
  • Vegetable Quiches, like this Broccoli Garlic Quiche, or most often, a combination of recipes since I like to use a variety of vegetables
  • Fried Rice: I sautee onion, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil, then add whatever diced vegetables I have; add a couple eggs scrambled separately.  For as many vegetables as you have, add about an even amount of brown rice cooked in broth.  Season with soy sauce.  Last night's veggie fried rice included grated carrots, red cabbage, broccoli, beet greens, green onion, and halved grape tomatoes.  Tye ate everything but the tomatoes, but she even tasted those several times.  
We don't cook a separate meal for Tye, so she has been exposed to a variety of flavors and aromas in our kitchen.  She loves some strange foods- like olives, blue cheese, and seaweed- but considering I was eating all of those during my pregnancy and while nursing, perhaps it's not that strange.  Tye can also handle spicy foods already, even hotter than either her grandmas, which amazes us.  When we're out at a restaurant, Tye's mature palate is helpful because we can feed her from our plates rather than order her a kiddie menu item  (I've yet to find a restaurant where this method doesn't work).  In a family where eating is an important social event, tasting the same foods as us also allows Tye to participate in the meal.    After all, an appreciation for good food doesn't have to wait for a full set of teeth.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love your comments!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...