Stuff My Kid Eats: Roast Chicken Salad with Butternut Squash and Barley

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Lunchtime at our house can be a battle. Up until a few months ago I would change-up our lunch options rather frequently, and my daughter was usually pretty cool with it, but recently she’s discovered a new streak of independence and wants none of that. Most of the parenting books I’ve read say that toddlers should be allowed to make a couple decisions throughout the day, so I decided to let her choose her mid-day meal (within reason). But it’s always the same. “I want peanut butter sandwich – no jelly. Grapes. Carrots. Cottage Cheese. And milk, please…… Pretty please may I have it right now?!!!!” (The last part was added because it takes me longer than 5 seconds to make her lunch.) Now because I’m a mom, I always attempt to offer her a second option; “Mommy’s having blank, are you sure you don’t want some, too?” And this is where she acts as if her world is crumbling down (especially if I utter the word salad, which can single-handedly bring the child to tears). “No!” she cries, and repeats her original request in a quavery voice. I almost always acquiesce, but as we set down to eat, I notice her grubby little hand reach across the counter to steal some of my food. “Oh that’s good, Mom!” she’ll say, then abandon her sandwich and start eating off my plate. (This is why at any given moment you’ll find a neglected, half-eaten peanut butter sandwich in my refrigerator.) So, although my toddler strives so hard for her independence, she is still human, which means that the grass will always be greener on mommy’s side of the fence, and this is what’s on mommy’s side of the fence today…

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Roast Chicken Salad with Butternut Squash and Barley

This is a great lunchtime salad; it’s light, it’s healthy, and it has everything you need for a satisfying meal right in one bowl – not to mention it makes plenty of leftovers for the rest of week! Note: vegetarians, see VEGETARIAN MODIFICATIONS at the end of the post. (Recipe slightly adapted from Men’s Health magazine)

  • 1 cup pearl barley or farro, rinsed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. cround cumin
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups roughly torn rotisserie chicken (bones and skin removed)
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled and shaved
  • 3 cups peeled and thinly cut butternut squash
  • 1 ½ cups red seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled

Place the barley or farro in a medium pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 25-45 minutes (or per package instructions). Drain and cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, OJ, ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Add the barley/farro, torn chicken, parsnips, squash, grapes, and parsley to the bowl; toss everything to coat with the dressing. Top with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese and serve.

VEGETARIAN MODIFICATION: Replace chicken with 1 15-oz. can of pinto beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

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Carrot, Ginger, & Orange Soup with Walnut Pesto Panini

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When I was a kid Easter was a pretty intense time for my sister and me. You see, the Easter Bunny used to hide our baskets every year. But he wouldn’t just hide our baskets, he would HIDE our baskets! He was pretty extreme, and took pleasure in stashing our baskets in impossible-to-find places and delighting in the length of time it took my sister and me to find them. His signature hiding spots were places you wouldn’t think to look as a kid, like on top of the furnace in the creepy basement that my sister and I hated; or hanging in the laundry chute, suspended between two floors; or wrapped in a garbage bag under the kitchen sink. In my 8-year old mind, I was sure that the Easter Bunny didn’t give it up as easily as Santa because we left him carrots instead of cookies. He was jealous. And bitter. And everyone knows that there’s nothing worse than a bitter bunny. Well, maybe not. But still it got me thinking, surely our little cotton-tailed friend would be much happier if we left him something tastier than cold, raw carrots. Something warm and creamy and slightly sweet. Something a little bit like this….

Carrot, Ginger, & Orange Soup

Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. carrots (about 3 cups), chopped
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Finely ground white or green peppercorn
  • parsley and sour cream for serving (optional)

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Sauté carrots and onion until soft and onion becomes translucent but not brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add stock, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to low and simmer, partially covered, until carrots are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Carefully remove and discard cinnamon and bay, then using an immersion hand-blender, purée soup until smooth, or alternatively, working in two batches, purée soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, return to pot.

Add OJ and stir until fully incorporated, season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into preheated bowl, then top with sour cream and parsley.

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Walnut Pesto Panini

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Glancing down at this recipe it may look like it has many parts, but it’s actually very simple: 1) grill chicken, 2) make pesto, 3) assemble sandwich. Done! Oh, but I forgot, then you have to eat the sandwich, and lick the tomato juices off your fingers, and wipe the melted cheese strands off your chin, and then get up and make another sandwich because the first one was so good. So, yeah, I guess it is a difficult recipe, but I think you can handle it.

Walnut Pesto Panini

Serves 4

FOR THE CHICKEN

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

FOR THE WALNUT PESTO

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

FOR THE PANINI

  • 2 pre-split whole wheat pita pockets, cut in half
  • 4 slices mild white cheese (such as Gouda, Swiss, or Provolone), cut in half
  • 4 slices of tomato, cut in half

TO MAKE THE CHICKEN

In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, Dijon, and salt and pepper. Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally (making a cutlet), and place between two pieces of plastic wrap and, with a meat mallet, pound until ¼-inch thick. Place chicken in the lemon/Dijon mixture, coating evenly, and allow to marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Lightly mist a skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip off, and place in the hot skillet. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook second side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing very thin.

TO MAKE THE PESTO

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and process until mostly blended and somewhat paste-like, season with pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE THE PANINI

Preheat a panini press to medium-high heat, or alternatively, heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.

Spread 1-2 Tbsp. of pesto on the inside of pita pocket, covering both sides.  Place sliced chicken inside of pita and top with 1 slice of cheese, cut in half so that it fits within the pita.

Place pita sandwiches in a panini press and cook until cheese has melted and pita starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes. If using a griddle or skillet, put pita sandwich on griddle/skillet and place a plate, weighted down with a tin can, on top of pita. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip pita and cook on the other side, topped with the weighted plate, until cheese has melted and pita starts to brown, another minute or so.

Slide tomato slices into sandwich, slice in half and serve hot.

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THIS HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE EASTER BUNNY.

The Soup Bowl Recipes Team

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Today marks my 3-month blogaversary (cue champagne cork popping), and I wanted to take a quick moment to thank the Soup Bowl Recipes team for all their help.

To the Toddler, Cowriter and Taste Tester: Thank you for occasionally deleting my posts, spitting out my meals, stealing food from my photo shoots, and monkeying around with important ingredients while my back is turned. You have been an amazing inspiration and pain in the butt. I love you “to infinity and beyond!”

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To the Cat, Artistic Director and Model: Thank you for overseeing every photo shoot whether I want you to or not, for getting cat hair in my food, and photobombing my pictures as often as you can. You are a loyal companion and also a pain in the butt. I love you (most of the time).

To the Husband, Food Critic, Waffle Maker, and Comic Relief: Thank you for giving me your honest, un-sugarcoated opinion of every meal even when it stings, for wrangling the Cat and the Toddler when they are getting underfoot, for making me laugh when I’m taking myself too seriously, and most of all, for stealing me away from the kitchen every so often to show me a good time. You have been a tremendous support and the biggest pain in my butt of them all. I love you and your delicious waffles!

And also a big thanks to my good friend Mike – your expertise in the world of blogging and social media has been tremendously helpful!

I couldn’t have done any of this without any of you. And now, back to work…

Lemon Lace Cookies

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This recipe is older than I am, like, circa 1966 I think. It’s one of the first cookies I remember eating as a kid, and I’m not sure, but I suspect that it came from a cookbook specializing in meals that use 5 ingredients or less. You know the type of cookbooks, the ones that rely heavily on Jell-O and packaged soup mix? My mom had a bunch of these when she first got married, and although she phased them out as she became a skilled cook, this recipe stuck around. She tried to get rid of it, but it was a favorite of my sister and mine. We would beg her, plead with her to make them so that we could bring them to school for a party, or sell them at a bake sale or something. She absolutely hated these cookies. Hated them! She was embarrassed that they weren’t made from scratch; that the ingredients included cake mix and Cool Whip instead of flour and cream. Whenever anyone would ask her for the recipe, she’d wince and inevitably “forget” to jot it down for them. Regardless of the somewhat retro ingredients, these cookies are still one of my favorites and always mark the beginning of Spring for my sister and me. [On a side note, I’m betting that I’ll be receiving a call from my mother this afternoon scolding me for crediting her with this abomination of a cookie. But it’s worth it.] Enjoy!

Lemon Lace Cookies

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together all ingredients except powdered sugar.

Between the palm of your hands, roll about 1½ – 2 Tbsp. of batter into a 1-inch ball.

IMG_0889{I’ve found that the most effective way of cleaning batter off your fingers is with your tongue.}

Then roll the ball in powdered sugar, covering evenly.

IMG_0890{See how my pinky’s up? This is an important step that helps make the cookies more delicate.}

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. See? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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Book Club – April 2014

Book Club – April 2014

COOKBOOK:

What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

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A comprehensive beverage pairing guide for the true food lover. Whether you’re new to pairings or a sommelier in training, this book is a must-have for your next dinner party! From Dim Sum (Champagne) to Domino’s Pizza (Malbec), if you’re eating it, they’ll offer complimentary beverage options. (And not just alcohol — who knew Kit Kat bars would match so well with African tea?)

FOODIE BOOKS  

Not cookbooks, per say, but other books (memoirs, novels, short essays) centered around the joys of cooking and eating.

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

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Owner and chef of New York’s Prune restaurant, Hamilton details the bumpy but fascinating road that led her to her life’s work and opening her award winning eatery.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

Stuff My Kid (Mostly) Eats

Now before you go saying: “Whaaaaatever! There’s no way her toddler eats that! My kid would never eat roasted cauliflower!” Well, she didn’t, not technically. She ate the entire slice of frittata that I gave her, yet somehow managed to ferret out every little piece of cauliflower in it. At the end of the meal, there was a very sad looking pile of mutilated white stuff at the edge of her plate which she pointed to and firmly said “NO!” So there it is. That is my disclaimer. My kid doesn’t eat everything! At any rate, the meal was great, my husband and I loved it, and you could easily substitute the cauliflower for another vegetable that won’t cause a juvenile uprising at the dinner table. (Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking.)

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

The beauty of this dish is that the ingredients can be adapted to fit your taste, AND it works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 1 small red or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ small head), cut into 1-inch pieces, or 2 cups of another favorite vegetable
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley, dill, etc.)
  • ½ tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled, about 1 ½ cups, or 6 oz. of another cheese of your choosing (Oh, I just love alliteration!)

Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.

Combine the onion, vinegar, and ½ tsp. salt in a small bowl; let sit for 10 minutes and then drain and pat the onion dry. Set aside.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower (or another vegetable) with 2 tsp. of the oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Broil, tossing once or twice, until the edges are golden, 3 to 6 minutes.

Reposition rack in the center of the oven and set the oven to 400°F.

Whisk the eggs, herbs, mustard, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the pieces are dark golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the roasted cauliflower, and then slowly pour in the egg mixture, redistributing the vegetables evenly. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake until the eggs are set in the center, about 10-15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and then use a silicone spatula to slide the frittata onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice into wedges and serve.

Sidekick: Serve with a crisp dry white wine like a Chablis, or an Italian dry white like a Soave or Gavi di Gavi.

Egg Drop Soup with Pork Roast Sandwiches

Egg Drop Soup

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Egg drop soup is one of those often overlooked soups; something you may order in a Chinese restaurant, but rarely think to make. This version is healthy, bursting with flavor, and very easy to make, and if you pair it with a simple pork roast sandwich, you’re got yourself the perfect meal for a light Easter lunch or dinner.

Egg Drop Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
  • 6 cups chicken stock (see recipes in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1½ cups peas (preferrably fresh)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. greated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

 

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Set a soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil, heat until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until soft, about 2-5 mintues. Add garlic, lemon zest, and ginger  and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a liquid measuring cup whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt.

Once stock is boiling, add peas, then slowly drizzle in egg mixture in 4 or 5 spots, stir until egg sets. Season with salt and pepper and ladle into preheated bowls. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Pork Roast Sandwiches

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Pork Roast Sandwiches

Serves 6

  • 1½ -2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 onion rolls
  • 6 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously season tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper. Place tenderloin on a rack set above a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, or until internal temperature of pork is 145°F.

Meanwhile, on a griddle or under a broiler, lightly toast onion rolls. Keep warm.

Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. With a very sharp knife, slice pork paper-thin. Spread each roll with 1 Tbsp. of mustard then pork, divided evenly among rolls.

Sidekick: Serve with a glass of Riesling.