We started a new tradition in the City Girl household in which our oldest (almost 5 year old) gets to choose whatever vegetables or fruit he wants at the co-op when we go shopping. I do this partly to let him feel like he 'gets' something of his own choosing at the store, and partly so he can feel invested in some of the fruits and vegetables we buy in the hopes that he's more likely to eat them.
Now, don't get me wrong. This kid is a fabulous vegetable eater and always has been! But we're talkin' the 'normal' veggies. You know, green beans, broccoli, corn, carrots, peas. Those kinda things. So last year when we joined a CSA there was plenty he turned his nose up at. So my hope was that by letting him have some fun with it during these winter months when we have to go purchasing them at the co-op, that he might get into some of these more 'unusual' veggies a bit more before this year's CSA starts up again.
So last week he declared,"Let's get some of these radishes!" while holding up a bunch of beets. After my chuckling subsided I explained that they were beets and told him I think I knew just the thing we could make with them.
Another one of our recent endeavors is to involve him more in the cooking. I find that when he has helped to make something, even something he might normally turn his nose up at, he's typically more invested and more willing (sometimes even eager!) to give it a try. So, we made Eastern European Vegetable Stew from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook. He helped cut the onions, using his kids' scissors. (Really it works great! Try it!) Dumped them in and helped stir the soup. I showed him what the beets looked like as I chopped them. And lo and behold Little City Boy ate not just one bowlful but THREE! He LOVED it! What a joyful dinner we had!
So City Girl wants to know: Do you have any tips for involving the kids in cooking? Anything that helps your kiddos get excited about trying healthy foods? I only recently learned the kid scissors trick and am psyched that there's now some 'chopping' Little City Boy can help with too! They work great on onions, peppers, spinach, and pretty much anything that's not a very hard vegetable. Of course, the grown-up has to do some work - I chopped the onions into slices first and then he cut up the slices with his scissors.
And don't you worry - This City girl is not holdin' out on you! In case you want to try it at home, here's the recipe. As I look at this again, I realize we forgot to add the cider vinegar but it still tasted great!
Eastern European Vegetable Stew
2 T vegetable oil or olive oil
2 c chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 c peeled & diced potatoes
1 c peeled & diced carrots
1 c peeled & diced parsnips
2 c peeled & diced turnips and/or rutabaga (I used 1 c each)
2 c peeled & diced beets
6 c water
2 t salt
2 bay leaves
1 T minced fresh thyme (1 t dried)
1/4 c cider vinegar
5 c rinsed & chopped beet greens, Swiss chard, or spinach
1/2 c sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt (optional - but oh so good! City Girl would never eat this without it because in my opinion it makes the soup!!)
In a large soup pot, heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Cover & saute on medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft. Add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips and/or rutabaga, beets, water, salt, bay leaves, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil; then cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the vinegar and greens. Gently simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender. Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if you like.