8.15.2008

The Return of Veg Friday



It used to be that receiving child-size help in the kitchen meant allocating LOTS of extra time for explaining, demonstrating, overseeing, sidetracking, refereeing the inevitable squabbles and making sure the compostables didn't end up in the salad bowl and vice versa. I don't mind the extra time it takes but it means we sometimes have to start dinner much earlier in the day. Like at breakfast.



These days though, we're turning a corner where the 'help' is actually beginning to be well, helpful. Shucking corn, snapping peas, digging out favas, plucking basil leaves...these are all things that a little one (or two) can sit quietly and do without much council. I never thought I'd be able to say this, but making dinner with two small people is becoming enjoyable. Aside from the battles over the salad spinner, that is.

So Veg Friday... We're back on track this week, although this heat wave is throwing us for a lazy loop. Hopefully our green tomatoes will get that nudge of sun that they've been needing to redden up. Aside from a yummy Mushroom Barley soup from my favorite Moosewood Cookbook, I finally gave up on trying to concoct menu ideas for parsley (because who the heck plans menus around parsley anyway???) I just plain froze it and did the same with our pile of garden basil (via pesto) and crazy-big gignormous mountain of chard leaves. B-bye overly grow-y green stuff. See ya this winter!



The lettuce, lemon cucumber, and cherry tomatoes were easy summer salad appointees, while the heirloom tomatoes and strawberries were victim to merciless devourment by the husband and childrens. The green onion and green peppers were intended to be used in stuffed peppers this evening but got ix-nayed when the weather decided to skyrocket. They will sit comfortably in the crisper (unlike the rest of us) until the weather is conducive to going anywhere near the oven.

Sadly, the green beans sufferred a humiliating fate involving feta cheese and heavy cream. I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that any fresh, innocent green bean that should enter this house in the future will be treated with the utmost respect and admiration in memory of its brave and fearless ancestors.



Finally, my very intelligent friend gave me the idea to use the shallots in salad dressing. She is clever enough to marinate them in balsamic vinegar earlier in the day and then add them before dressing the greens. I, however, am too lazy and short-sighted to think of that early enough in the day so I've taken to force-marinating by simmering the sliced shallots, balsamic vinegar and a teeny bit of honey together in a pan for a couple minutes, then whisk with seasoned rice vinegar and olive oil. And voila, instant yumminess!

Wow that was a long post. Have a good weekend everyone and stay cool!

7 comments:

Amanda @ www.kiddio.org said...

Ooh, I've recently discovered the wonder of shallots, and in salad dressing! They're just so mild, not bitey like garlic or onion.
My standard dressing starts with a lot of shallots, cider vinegar, honey, oil, and a bit of ginger or italian seasonings. Alternately, I like shallots, balsamic, ginger, olive oil, dijon, and a big squirt of honey. Having a similar lack of foresight I make them in big batches and keep them in the fridge, but I love the idea of simmering the shallots in the vinegar and honey. Yum!

MoziEsmé said...

I'm eagerly awaiting the day when baby will be HELPFUL in the kitchen! Though it is a lot of fun working with her in there now; just a lot of cleanup . . .

Jessica said...

I love the moosewood cookbook. My friend, Claire, will only cook from that cookbook stating that every other recipe in the world from any other book is subpar! I also love those placemats at your table!!!!!

Tilly said...

I'm the recipient of kiddie help at the moment and we've just reached the stage where things get put in the cupboard rather than taken out and strewn all over the floor! I love the placemats - think I'll try those when Nipper is a little bit older.

www.pepperpaints.com said...

green beans, like most veggies in our house, receive little more than a lite steaming and maybe some olive oil and salt. I once spent a lot of time and ingredients to make a green bean casserole and nobody ate it! I learned and now stick with simple!

stepstep said...

i heart you and only you

DomaMama said...

It's great having more help in the kitchen these days! We're in the bubble of years when they're both facile enough and willing to help. SB helped me preserve peaches this weekend. True, some of those peaches are bit too gouged up by little kid fingers to win us any state fair competitions, but that's why we plan to just gobble them up at home.