Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dinner from the Backyard

BuggaBoo and Doozer have gotten pickier about their food as of late.  It's been slowly coming on and it's annoying.  Pickier eaters make for a more expensive food budget; that doesn't work for us.

So we've set up a positive reward system for them.  As a team we pick four food for the kids to work on.  Each food has ten spots next to it for stickers, for a total of forty stickers.  These kids aren't allowed to shun a food, but once the sheet is filled they get a special prize.  This time around BuggaBoo and Doozer decided to work towards a new dessert.

Why ten tries?  It takes a person 10-15 tries in a short amount of time to like a new food.  Nearly every food can be likable. 

This time around the kids are working on lima beans, peas, corn, and dandelion greens.

Hold up, dandelion greens?  Yup!  They're free and grow profusely in our backyard.  They are also very nutritious.  I also want to work more foraged foods into our diet.  Dandelions are great for beginners, so the kids get to help with the harvest.  And they're useful in many different ways.

So far I've used the greens and the unopened buds.  Last night we had dandelion, cat's ear, and bok choy (all from the backyard/garden) sauteed with garlic with sunny side up eggs cooked on top.  Today I picked and cleaned the buds for pickling, first soaking them in a brine solution to cut down on the bitterness.  They're pickling in the fridge right now.  I hope to use them in potato salad.

Tonight dinner was homemade dandelion pasta.  I first found a recipe for spinach pasta, then I subbed the dandelions for the spinach.  I blanched the clean greens, drained, and then pureed them in the blender with a bit of water.  Since I had picked so many greens I doubled the recipe, and I'm glad I did.  I served the pasta with an "alfredo" sauce with lima beans tossed in.  That was the kids were able to get two stickers for one meal.

The pasta was a huge hit.  The kids ate it all and asked for more.  They asked me to make it again.  Doozer even thanked me for dinner.  The three year old, thanking me for dandelion pasta.  I was blown away.

The pasta didn't even have a hint of bitterness.  It was also very hearty and chewy, I was surprised at how little it took to fill me up.  I'm a really big eater, so this was great for me. 

I want to play around with a gluten-free version.  I found this millet/tapioca pasta that looks like it might be a good springboard.  And I would feel better about the pasta for the kids if it was gluten-free, since we all seem to do better on a gluten-free diet.

Tomorrow or such I'll let you know how the dandelion buds turn out.

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