Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our cooking competition (Round 1)

Lunchtime approached, and I was at a complete loss of what to do. Burnt out on mac 'n cheese, grilled cheese and pasta, I faced a fridge with, frankly, a lot of random items.

Two bunches of radishes, eagerly bought by a 4 year old at the farmers market the previous weekend and then forgotten.

A few small kolhrabi, grabbed from the garden before last weekend's promised freezing temperatures.

A bunch of bok choi, a few packages of mushrooms, an abandoned half of an onion and snow peas, all bought with the intentions of making meals that just didn't happen.

I was stumped. And the troops were hungry.

Luckily, inspiration hit: A cooking contest! Think Iron Chef meets desperate mom.

I proposed the idea to my oldest: I would make some different veggie dishes, and they would judge and see what tastes the best. Thankfully, she was sold.

Into a small pan went the kolhrabi, sliced and sauteed in butter. (Not fancy, but as we'd never actually eaten kolhrabi before - we simply picked it because the name was funny - I figured we would play it safe.) Another pan held radishes to be sauteed as well.

In the wok went the main event: Veggie stirfry with a splash or two of teriyaki sauce, served over leftover rice.

The kids eagerly waited. By now, my daughter had deemed herself as "Giada" the judge, and her brother would be "Ted."

The kohlrabi was done first. "It's really juicy and good," she said. Hmm, juicy wasn't quite the word I'd associate it, but I did like the flavor. "Ted" took one bite and spit it on the plate.

The radishes were next. "It's pretty good," "Giada" said, munching away. "You did a nice job. You have good ingredents."

Though we've had cooked radishes before, perhaps these just looked like a pinker version of the kolhrabi. "Ted" spit his out and threw it on the floor for emphasis.

While we waited for the stir fry to be ready, we agreed that we'd go ahead and grow the kolrabi again next year - that much was a success. And then we served the main event. "Giada" gobbled the shitake mushrooms first. "Ted" went for the rice, then took one bite of the snow peas, decidedly dropping the pieces in protest - first on my plate and then on the floor. As added emphasis, down went the fork as well. The plate appeared to be at risk of a similar fate.

Despite one grouchy judge, our little "competition" worked wonders. It got my daughter at least trying a new vegetable or two, and cleaned out my fridge. Now, I've just got to figure out what's for dinner!


Green Bean said...

What fun! I'll need to try something like that with my boys. My oldest - God love him - will eat anything you put in front of him. My youngest, well, let's say he's a bit more like "Ted."

Robbie said...

I was surprised about how well they went for it - and even "Ted" at least put the food to his lips. Since we're going through a phase of wanting only cheesy things (pizza, mac, grilled cheese), it was a nice break. Of course after a vegetarian meal, they were hungry again in no time!