Cauliflower is a tough vegetable to like. I wasn’t a huge fan myself until I discovered simple roasted cauliflower, as in the recipe below, or cauliflower and potatoes roasted with some spices (cumin, coriander & chilli powder). I have Ria “more interested” in cauliflower since I told her that it is a flower that you can eat. She’s is not fully convinced but I keep trying to talk it up. For now, I mash the cauliflower below with some rice and yogurt and serve the chicken cut up in bite size pieces on top and she’ll gobble it up after school when she is starving. It’s pretty amazing how finickiness goes down the hungrier they are! I am not into “hiding” vegetables but sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do!
I am also looking forward to trying Cauliflower Cheese by Food-4-Tots – it looks delicious and I think mixed with some macaroni it could be a kiddie hit.
Chicken with Cauliflower (adapted from Everyday Food)
I modified the recipe slightly by sprinkling some cumin powder and a pinch of chllli flakes on the cauliflower before adding it to the pan. Also, if you like “crunchier” cauliflower don’t salt it till the cooking it done. The salt draws out the water and makes the cauliflower mushy. Which if you are mashing it for the kids is not a terrible thing.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into large florets
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Season chicken with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Place cauliflower around chicken, turning to coat in pan juices; season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through and cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in parsley, vinegar, and capers (if using).
This recipe is adapted from Everyday Food from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. I made it with wild, locally caught red snapper but you can use any firm-fleshed white fish like halibut, cod or haddock. It is more a braised dish than a steamed one since it is made right in the pan rather than in a steamer. I added some sugar to give it a little sweet and salty taste which works well for the kiddos. You can use jarred ginger though fresh is better. Feel free to dice the scallions versus thinly slicing them lengthwise. When you are in a rush and need to get dinner on the table, forget pretty. Taste is number one and this tastes pretty good!
- 4 skinless red snapper fillets, (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Ground pepper
- 6 scallions, green parts cut into 3-inch lengths
- In a large skillet, combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and ginger.
- Season both sides of 4 skinless cod fillets (6 to 8 ounces each) with ground pepper; place in skillet with vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until fish is almost opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut green parts of 6 scallions into 3-inch lengths; thinly slice lengthwise (fine dice works as well). Scatter over fish; cook (covered) until fish is opaque throughout and scallions are just wilted, about 2 minutes more.
Serve with rice, noodles or pasta and favorite steamed or stir-fried veggies!
My friend Colleen swears by this recipe and has made it regularly for her family since I gave it to her along with a jar of curry powder. Colleen is an impressive mother of three (boys!!) who not only manages to somehow feed all her boys remarkably well but also has them eating some pretty exotic flavors. She does her job with the organizational skills of the consultant she was in her past life and I am convinced there are spreadsheets and Microsoft Project charts lurking in the background. Grocery shopping has been outsourced to her husband on Saturdays (brave woman – whenever I send my hubby to the store there is at least one disaster and always too much money spent) since Colleen plans the meals a week in advance. I have one kid and am far less organized – maybe I need some of those charts!
One of Colleen’s sons, Luke is Ria’s preschool mate and I am convinced the kid has some Indian or at least Asian genes somewhere. Here’s the Luke story that convinced me of this: A few months ago, my mother-in-law and I made pakoras (or bhaji, Indian spiced fritters) for the teachers’ lunch and after school at pick-up time I tried to convince Luke to eat some leftover pakoras. “Here Lukey, try these, they are really yummy and crunchy and just like french fries” (clever marketing – what kid doesn’t like french fries?). I was all proud of myself as Luke smiled at me and grabbed TWO. (damn, I’m good!). He took a big bite and said to me “These are pakoras!” Nice talking down to the kid, Simran. Colleen, you are doing something right!
Curried Chicken Drumsticks with Carrots (adapted from Everyday Food)
Little fingers love drumsticks. When I am particularly strapped for time, I use bagged baby carrots. This dish cooks itself in the oven and I line the baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. Curry powder is available at most grocery stores and is a blend of spices and has nothing to do with curry leaves. It can be made at home by blending spices of your choice or bought cheaper at Indian grocery stores (Jai Ho in SF)
8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
1-2 tbsps curry powder (use more or less based on how your kids will deal with it)
2 lbs carrots, cut into equal sized 2 inch lengths (or use baby carrots for less work)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 limes zested and juiced
1 cup brown or white rice
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place chicken and carrots on a large rimmed baking sheet; season evenly with curry powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Use your hands to make sure carrots and chicken are well-coated with spices. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, turning chicken and carrots after 20 minutes.
- Make rice in a rice-cooker or saucepan. Once ready, scatter the lime zest over the rice.
- Transfer chicken and rice to a plate. Sprinkle lime juice on top. Fluff rice gently with a fork; serve with chicken and carrots.