Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't Hide the Veggies!

Have you read those cookbooks that teach you how to sneak healthy vegetables into yummy, kid-friendly dishes? I haven't. I didn't buy it. And I don't buy it.

I want my child to know what a red pepper tastes like (he loves them). And broccoli (not so much) (yet). How does sneaking them into brownies develop healthy, life-long eating habits? Besides, if I want to lie to him, I'll just tell him that Nutella is healthy.

Perhaps the boy's vegetable repertoire isn't all that extensive, but at least they are real, whole foods. That he enjoys. On purpose.

Back in the Cafe Jennifer days, we would occasionally put a little bowl of marinated cucumbers and sweet onions on the table as guests arrived. An Appalachian amuse-bouche, if you will. This is a very simple presentation -- one of those 3 ingredient quickies. (I'm really only blogging about it so I can share my opinion about the whole sneaky veggie travesty.) I skip the onions for the boy, and cut the cukes into a more whimsical shape than we did at the restaurant, but if I set a bowl of these cucumbers on the counter as I'm making dinner, they are gone before we sit down to eat.

Scrub them well. With a vegetable peeler, cut away stripes from the peel. This way there's enough peel to preserve the crunch, but not too much for finicky kids with small vegetable repertoires. 

Mix together 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup white vinegar, and 1/4 cup cold water.*
(Don't freak out about the sugar; most of it stays in the bowl. Remember, this is a marinade!)
Stir it a bit to help the sugar dissolve.

Slice the cucumbers in half long-ways, and scoop out the seeds. (A grapefruit spoons works like a charm, though it isn't too difficult to begin with :-) )

Then I slice them across, into little striped half moons.

I think you could take it from here, but I will add one more note: If you have time to pop the marinating cukes in the fridge for about 10 minutes, the crunch factor goes up a notch. But, if there is a hungry boy staring at you while you make these, *reduce the water a little and add an ice cube or 2.


Eat your veggies!

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