Books Reviewed – Calling Parents and Geeks

I’ve been getting a steady stream of books and a few have stood out in terms of offering some good information, while also having recipes as well.  I wouldn’t call them cookbooks, but they are informative books about food.

Beter Food for Kids by Joanne Saab, RD and Daina Kalnins, MSC, RD (of Canada;s Hospital for Sick Children) is rich with information about nutrition for kids ages 2 to 10.  There’s everything from reading food labels, to how much vitamins and nutrients are in which foods, to food allergies and safe food handling practices.  This book also has quite a few recipes (over 200) for snacks, and mealtimes throughout the day.  The quinoa with broccoli and chocolate chip squares were well received at my house.  Note: The health standards are Canadian, not American.

Pros: Lots of quick and easy recipes and nutritional info for each.  Most information is presented clearly with helpful charts.  Great for parents with children with nutrition issues, and those who want a real guide about vitamins and nutrients.  I’m a sucker for books that advocate healthy eating habits for kids.

Cons: Dissappointed the book does not advocate for organics and takes a government line that food manufacturers are honest (“Manufacturers of food products cannot make claims about their products unless they are proven to be true” – maybe this is true in Canada, but not in the US).

Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter is a for those who want to know the how’s and why’s about food and cooking.  This is for someone who wants to go outside a recipe and create their own combinations, experiements and inventions in the kitchen.  Want to know the physiology of taste and smell?  Want to know the temperature when sugar carmelizes?  Anyone for molecular gastromomy?

Pros: Good for those with food science questions, who need more info than a cookbook.  Lots of recipes as examples to tips and experiments to test your new knowledge (and make good food).  Interesting interviews with food experts in many fields.  Good reference to have on hand, if have food question.

Cons: Not for everyone.  Small print and lots (sometimes too much) of information.  Wish the pictures were sometimes bigger or in color to stand out.  For this type of book, I prefer the simple layout and presentation of Harold McGee’s, On Food and Cooking.

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Out of the Garden Pancakes…The Greener Latke?

 

I’ve been wanting to take some photos of my Out of the Garden Pancakes, so I made them for dinner for meatless Monday this week.  When making them I was reminded of latkes and that Hannukah is coming up so soon this year.  My kids even said “These look like green latkes.”  I think these could be another addition to your Hannukah table and would go nicely with the usual potato latkes if you’re looking for a twist and some color.

Out of the Garden Pancakes

from The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler page 115

Children who “don’t eat vegetables” will eat these pancakes.  They are a filling entrée, a   hearty snack or a side dish for grilled meats.

Makes about 10, (4 inch) pancakes

1 cup organic broccoli or broccoli florets

12 organic asparagus spears

1 cup (6 ounces) sliced organic brown mushrooms

¼ cup chopped organic onion

1 large garlic clove, minced

¼ cup expeller pressed canola oil

2/3 cup organic whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon fresh dill weed

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 large cage free, organic egg

¼ cup organic milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place broccoli and asparagus in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with about 1 to 2 inches of lightly boiling water.  Do not let water touch vegetables.  Cover and steam vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. 

Put steamed broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off to chop, or chop by hand.  Be careful not to puree.  Transfer chopped ingredients into a large bowl and stir in oil, flour, dill and salt.  Add the egg and milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. 

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Drop batter by ¼ cups into the skillet and cook until firm on bottom, about 2 minutes.  Turn the pancakes with a spatula and sprinkle cooked side with cheddar cheese, if desired.  Cook other side until golden, about 1minute.

TIP

Adult Treats.  This recipe can become adult hors d’oeuvres by dropping batter by tablespoonful for bite size treats.  Top these pancakes with a spoonful of baby’s left-over apple puree or a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

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I Heart Pumpkins with Pumpkin Pudding Recipe

I love pumpkins.  They signify fall to me, and Halloween is just the beginning.  I love their shapes, their colors (my favorite color is of course orange), and their tastes… Really everything from butter to muffins to breads to pancakes to pies to ice cream (I can go on and on).  I just can’t get enough.  Luckily you can buy canned pumpkin year round.  If you can’t in your area, now is the perfect time to stock up.

Here’s some photos from this year’s trip to the pumpkin patch.  We go to the same one every year (Peter’s Patch at the Springhill Jersey Cheese Co.), so I won’t bore you with the same blog (read last year’s).  However we experience it new every year as we share it with someone different each year.  This year with friends with kids.  It was such fun to see the kids all having full together:  milking cows, digging potatoes, petting donkeys, choosing pumkpins and racing up hay bales.  Here are a few favorite photos from the day.

 

I found this amazing looking recipe for pumpkin pudding from one of the Top Chef Dessert Judges on the Daily Candy website.  I’m hoping to recipe test it for something different for this year’s Thanksgiving table.  If you try it before me, let me know how it goes.

Dannielle’s Pumpkin Pudding
 

Serves four
 

Ingredients
 

1 envelope gelatin
¼ c. water
3 eggs, separated

½ c. milk

¾ c. brown sugar

1 15-oz. can of pumpkin

1½ tsp. pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. cream of tartar (optional)

1/3 c. sugar

1. Dissolve gelatin in water and set aside.

2. Combine egg yolks, milk, brown sugar, and pumpkin in saucepan, stir well, and cook over

medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in spice and vanilla, and then add gelatin mixture.

4. With handheld or stand mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form

(about four minutes). Slowly add white sugar and fold into the pumpkin mixture.

5. Divide among teacups, cute little bowls, or carved-out mini pumpkins, and refrigerate until

set.

6. Garnish with fresh whipped cream.

*NOTE* November 23rd Update – DISSAPPOINTING PUDDING

I made the pudding and while my family enjoyed it, I did not.  It had a texture that I didn’t care for.  Not like a creamy pudding at all – more like pumpkin pie filling.  I didn;t feel it was special enough for the big day.  Please note it makes much more than the recipe stated “4 servings”.  It filled 8 parfait glasses!

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Halloween Fruit Treats

 

It’s finally arrived…Halloween.  I love Halloween.  This year we had our costumes particularly early as my son chose Star Wars costumes for each of us.  However there is still last minute costume alterations (thanks goodness for Nana) and all the school party festivities.  I was a bit leary of Halloween on a Sunday.  But for the school activities it was nice to spread out and celebrate on Friday.  Then we had a day to fix costumes and prepare for tonight.  Although I’m sure no one will get to bed on time, eventhough it’s a school night.

Here are some fun treats I made for my son’s Halloween party.  These were easy to do, but time consuming when doing 2 dozen.  I guess I needed something to do while enjoying the world series game (Go Giants).  I found this idea on a website and thought it was a cute idea for something festive yet healthy.  Of course I had to change the original from fruit cocktail to cut fresh fruit, so that’s why it took longer than expected.  They came out even cute than expected and were a big hit with kids and parents.

I made 24 of these, but I made 2 samples to see how they worked.  It’s kind of nice that you can do as many as you’d like (time permitting), you’ll just have to adjust how much fruit you cut.  I made way too much and would cut it in half.  Although it’s never bad to have extra fruit salad on hand.  Without the jack-o-lantern faces, I’ll plan to do this again for anytime of year.

Jack -O-Lantern Fruit Cups

navel oranges

bite size cut fruits – I used pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, apples (figure about 3/4 cup per orange)

Cut top 1/4 of orange across the top to make a lid/top and set aside

Using a paring knife cut all the way around inside of orange from pith.  Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon,  dig out orange.  Reserve orange for cutting and adding to fruit cups.  Scrape inside orange to get other large pieces but be careful not to tear orange side.

Fill each orange with fruit salad.  Put lid back on.

Using a Sharpee pen, draw desired faces.  (If my kids were awake and I hadn’t started the project so late, I would’ve enlisted their help and artistry).

Scrape out orange and juice over bowl to save
Hollow the oranges and arrange in muffin tins
Color the faces and fill cups
hardest part - finding room in the fridge
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Eat Your Flowers – With Organic Blooming Salad Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

My son has always been an adventurous eater (think mussels, clams, shitake mushrooms), and luckily (in the eating arena) my daughter does everything her big brother does.  Although sometimes I worry they will eat something they shouldn’t while exploring outside, such as a poison mushroom or wild cherry that is not edible.  I’ve explained many times about eating things not purchased from a store, or farmer’s market.  However from as young as I can remember my son would eat rosemary and fennel from the neighbors’ yard or pick wild blackberries from vines on the road.

Last month the Sunset Magazine arrived with a beautiful salad on the cover.  Like most photos of foods, my son sees it and asks “can we make that?”  But then asks “are those flowers?”  I explain they are edible flowers.  This however really peaks his interest and I realize I may be in for some trouble.  I read the recipe and the article about growing edible flowers and promise to make the salad for Easter.  I thought it was perfect since it was so beautiful, plus I’d been assigned salad for my family’s gathering.

Unfortunately I had to disappoint my son (and myself).  I couldn’t find the edible flowers anywhere.  No stores in the Bay Area were able to get their supply in time for Easter.  For reasons I don’t know.  I explained to my son we would find them for another time.

We were at the farmer’s market a few weeks later and there they were – Calendulas.  My son was longingly looking at them with a “can we, can we?”  The grower said to go ahead and try it (but cautioned just to eat the petals).  My son of course liked them (his sister seemed to as well) and we were off to make the salad.

Surprisingly my daughter was more excited about actually making the salad (she loved pulling off the petals).  But I must say it was beautiful and tasty (although I credit mostly the dressing and fresh spring peas) and worth the wait.  I’m dreaming of planting them myself to be able to find them when I need them next year.  (However like the house was a fixer, so is the yard – so stay tuned)  In the meantime I’m researching and reading (especially Rosalind and Gene) and have started our gardening foray with some small lettuces, tomatoes and herbs…

Here’s a variation of Sunset’s “Blooming Salad”

Dressing:
2  ½ tbsp. organic Safflower or canola oil
½ tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. minced tarragon
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:
Rinse and dry handfuls of mache, mesclun and chervil sprigs and out in a large glass bowl.

Add slices of Persian cucumber, sugar snap peas and radish slices

Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss.

Pull petals from organic edible flowers* such as calendulas, nasturtiums, bachelor’s buttons, borage and violas and sprinkle over salad.
~

See also Lisa’s two new books out now at local bookstores:

Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods For Kids of all Ages.

… and Bay Area’s New Crop of Gardeners Digging In
~~
*Edible Flower Disclaimer
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and lives in Sausalito, California.

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Every Day is a Holiday for Kids – with Organic Lemon Pancake Recipe

From LISA BARNES

Think the holiday season takes a break after New Year’s and before July 4th? There’s groundhog day, winter solstice, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, May Day, Cinqo de Mayo, mother’s day, father’s day, and many others (real and imaginative). For children every day is a holiday. That means there are many reasons and excuses to make things special. The best thing about celebrating with children is that they find fun in the little things.

In writing my latest book The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Eat, Drink and Be MerryI reflected a lot about my childhood memories. My mom always made things special with decorations and crafts, especially at holidays. Our Halloween costumes were amazing (think Peter Pan with wired shadow, and Sigmund the sea monster. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t sit in them – we got lots of kudos and the best candy and prizes. St. Patrick’s Day breakfast was dyed, of course, a festive green – from our pancakes to our milk. Our eggs for the Easter egg contest were not simply dyed but then decorated with glitter and noodles.

For me food is a way to celebrate everything – culture, history, seasons, geography. (And to be honest I’m not crafty and can’t sew)…

To celebrate Earth Day I took my children to the local park and we cleaned up trash and wiped down the equipment. Next we picked up some seeds and planted them in pots outside. My daughter placed marigolds, beets, onions and cucumbers in the same pot, so we’ll see what comes up. Perhaps a new varietal of something tasty. Finally we made Earth Day Cookies. What are Earth Day Cookies you ask? Well they’re sugar cookies frosted like the earth. But it could’ve been anything. Call it something festive and ask your kids to decorate it, and something special is created.

We celebrated “Tres de Mayo” this year because my husband was going to be out of town on the real day. I did homemade tacos, beans and rice with all the trimmings. However not wanting to miss Cinqo de Mayo, my kids and I celebrated with nachos for dinner. What could be easier? And yes, it was basically left-overs “repackaged” as a party on a plate. Although my daughter asked “This is just a pile. Is it dinner?” When she saw the veggie platter with her favorite jicama, she was satisfied with the menu.

When my kids are off from school they will sometimes ask if it’s a Lemon Pancake Day. This is a quick and easy giant pancake that’s impressive and sweet for all ages. Quicker than other pancakes, it’s a way to celebrate sleeping in and hanging out in pajamas. See I told you any day could be made into a holiday?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the creative moms out there who make their child’s everyday a special one.

Manny’s Organic Lemon Pancake

Gayle Pirie and John Clark, chef-owners of San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema restaurant and co-authors of “Country Egg, City Egg” developed this recipe to recreate a child comfort food enjoyed on sleep-over mornings.This “dramatic egg pancake” is also known as a Dutch Baby.

3 cage- free, organic eggs
½ cup organic milk
½ cup organic all purpose flour*
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
Organic confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the flour and salt and whisk until a smooth batter with tiny bubbles is achieved.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. When the butter is hot and begins to sizzle, add the batter, and remove from heat. Place skillet on center rack of oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until pancake is light golden and has risen like a soufflé. The edges will be creeping over the rim of the skillet and be nicely browned.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.

*All-purpose not for All. Not everyone can eat all-purpose flour. I’ve made this recipe successfully with spelt, gluten-free, and rice flours. Use whichever works with your family’s diet and preference.

~

See also Lisa’s two new books out now at local bookstores:

Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods For Kids of all Ages.

~~

Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry and lives in Sausalito, California.

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“Oh. I Don’t Like Green Stuff” with Organic Spinach Hummus Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

My children’s preschool is revamping their snack offerings to the kids. They weren’t doing a poor job before, but thankfully there is an interest and effort in making improvements and of course getting the best value for the children’s health and the school’s money.

I helped the director review menu items and vendors to provide a variety of fresh, healthy foods including hummus, whole wheat crackers, veggies and dips, edamame, yogurt etc…  For St. Patrick’s Day the school was planning a green menu for snacktime and asked me to make my green hummus. I of course said I’d be happy to. I packed each container for the 4 classes: the mouse class (age 2), the rabbits (age 3), the monkeys (age 4) and the giraffes (age 5).

The teachers were all very appreciative when I dropped by with the hummus. The director and I were secretly wondering how the children would receive the “green dip”.  When I got to my son’s class (the upperclass giraffes) I was greeted by a shout from my son’s friend, “What’s That?!”  The teacher said “look it’s leprechan dip”.  He replied “Oh.  I don’t like green stuff!”  My son said “Don’t worry Zach.  My mom made it and she doesn’t know any leprechans”.

When I picked up my kids, I was greeted by my daughter (a mouse) who said “I ate all the green dip!”  The teacher said all the kids and teachers really enjoyed it.  Then I saw the director and she summed up the tasting experience which was very interesting.  The younger kids were more likely to try the dip, and then like it and eat it. However the older kids were less likely to try, having a preconceived idea of “green stuff”. When I got to the giraffe class the teachers said about half tried it – mostly the girls. And my son couldn’t get Zach to try it – handmade by leprechan’s or not.

I made some extra for our family, to serve with my other St. Patrick’s favorites, corned beef, cabbage and Irish soda bread.

Organic Spinach Hummus Recipe (from Petit Appetit Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

Is your family ho-hum for hummus? Try this variation using spinach. This is quick and easy dish to perk up a crudité plate for a play group or simply pack with pita points in your child’s lunchbox.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces canned organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic
1 cup packed organic spinach leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pita points or vegetable sticks, to serve

In a blender or food processor, combine chickpeas and garlic and puree until smooth. Add spinach, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend thoroughly. With motor running, gradually add olive oil and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

To make the task even easier, purchase prepackaged organic spinach or baby spinach leaves, but still remember to wash.

*Spinach is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and also high in nitrites. Reduce your family’s exposure by buying organic.
~
See also Lisa’s two new books out at bookstores and online:

Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods For Kids of all Ages.
~~
Lisa Barnes
is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org
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Help! I Have No Kitchen (with Organic Roll Up Recipe)

From Lisa Barnes

The past month has been a bit kooky in the kitchen. First we were without refrigeration. An ancient sub-zero died and our landlord couldn’t figure out how to remove it  (800 pounds! up three flights in a townhouse). It was an adventure at first. Ice chests for the food and I told the kids it was like camping. But it sure got old trying to dig through all the ice to find the cream cheese (always at the bottom) to make my son’s favorite wrap for school lunch in the morning. For someone who teaches how to create convenience for family cooking by freezing quantities of purees for baby and left-overs of family meals – this was a challenge. Cooking with no leftovers seemed wasteful. Next we had a new refrigerator outside on our deck (no really – waitng for someone to solve the subzero issue). I have a huge appreciation for refrigeration. My friend Kristi joked about my going totally green and how I’m cutting back on electricity by not having a refrigerator. She even found this article in the NY Times about people giving up their refrigerator by choice. Now that’s a commitment.

In December we bought a fixer house and have been remodeling the kitchen and baths (as green as possible but we’ll have appliances).  With a move in date approaching, I’ve been so excited. A new kitchen with a  new refrigerator (not a Sub Zero) inside the actual kitchen.

However as remodels go, there’ve been glitches. We moved in this week and the kitchen wasn’t finished.  However what was working was the new refrigerator. Funny, irony. Now I’m about 6 days in without a range. No problem I thought, I’ll do more raw foods – better for us anyways right? Well it is cold and rainy outside and salads, wraps and cold foods just aren’t comforting like a nice bowl of hot soup.  We’ve been eating out more which is taking a toll (on our wallets and my sanity – taking 2 kids out to eat too often loses its luster).  I just want to cook a hot meal and make a cup of tea and eat from our dishes.

We’ve also been undoing (just temporarily) some of our green habits and eating traditions. We’ve used some plastic utensils and old birthday paper plates, I found when packing. I felt bad and bought biodegradable plates, and bowls and then unpacked the silverware (even though I can’t wash it). We also bought bottled water. I know, the guilt! I just don’t want to drink from the one working sink in the bathroom (I’m sure it’s perfectly fine). But we’re increasing our garage and recyclables without unpacking many dishes (which can’t be washed without a sink). We also ate some food in the bedrooms. This has never happened. We always sit at the dining room table or in the kitchen to eat or drink. It’s just a rule. Of course the kids think it’s pretty cool to eat a granola bar and yogurt in their room for an afternoon snack. I just keep telling myself (and the kids) it’s an adventure and once the workers are out of my kitchen we go back to the table.

So I’ve been questioning which of the three kitchen items I could do without the longest… the range, the refrigerator or the sink? Not having the range makes me more creative. Not having the refrigerator takes me to the store and farmer’s market more often, but at least I’m eating very fresh. Surprisingly I think the sink has been the hardest to go without. Not being able to wash/rinse dishes (my husband joked how about taking them outside in the rain), let alone put them somewhere is hard. Plus there’s the water to drink and cook with (again hard with the bathroom sink). And washing your hands (and little sticky faces).  Boy I realize we use the kitchen sink quite often.

I know I am going to appreciate my kitchen and fixer quite a bit (I hope soon!)

And to add to the chaos my new book Petit Appetit Eat, Drink and Be Merry was released this week.  Here’s my son’s wrap recipe from the book. Luckily there’s a never ending supply of creativity of what can be wrapped up.

Jonas’ Turkey Roll-Up
At the time of this writing my son requests this be packed for school almost every day. The best part is it is simple and can be done in only a few minutes. If my son ever gets out of a rut he’ll realize how versatile this can be too; prosciutto or roast beef slices can be substituted for the turkey. For a veggie option grate or thinly slice veggies such as zucchini, carrots, bell pepper and layer with cheese. I usually make one whole lavosh roll-up for the day, half for my son’s lunchbox and half for my daughter’s on-the-go snack.

1 roll; 2 servings

1 piece lavosh (about 13 × 9 inches)
2 ounces organic Neufchatel cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced organic cooked turkey

Spread lavosh with a layer of cheese. Layer turkey in single layer on cheese.

Starting from narrow side, roll lavosh until you reach the end. You may want to add a small spread of cream cheese to secure roll. Using a sharp knife, make a quick cut in the center of roll. Cut each half in half again. Then each quarter in half, so you have 8 pieces.

Kids Korner Need more glue! My son likes these rolled tightly and packed in his bento-style container. He likes to be sure I spread enough “glue”, a.k.a cream cheese to keep them together without unraveling.
~
See also Lisa’s Getting Greener or Getting Fooled – Label Deception
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry [Avail. March 2009], and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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Spinach Shrimpy Fusilli (Organic Recipe)

From Lisa Barnes

Ask your child to say that ten times, fast. High in protein and iron, this dish is a good way to introduce shrimp into your family’s diet. The pasta is creamy and comforting and really highlights the fresh flavor of the shrimp and spinach.

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces uncooked organic fusilli pasta
10 ounces fresh organic spinach leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup sliced organic pearl onions, about 8 to 10
1 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and salt and sauté until shrimp turn pink, 2 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender. Drain well and return hot pasta to cooking pot. Stir in spinach while pasta is hot and allow spinach to wilt.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat, and add onion. Sauté, stirring often, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in broth and lemon zest and cook until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Stir in ricotta cheese until combined. Stir in nutmeg and pepper. Add shrimp and ricotta mixture to pasta and gently toss together.
~
See also Lisa’s Popeye Pureé (Organic Spinach For Kids Recipe)
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry [Avail. March 2009], and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Tonobalaguer | Dreamstime.com/
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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Fat Tuesday, with Organic Jambalaya and Citrus Corn Muffins Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

Before having children my husband and I always managed to celebrate Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday in the local southern restaurant/bar. We love New Orleans – the people, the jazz, the food, the food, the food….  We haven’t been in a few years (pre Katrina) so we use any excuse to celebrate and bring attention to the great city at our house. Unfortuantely some of our favorite cajun restaurants are gone from San Francisco. If anyone can make a suggestion in the Bay Area, please let me know.

Fat Tuesday at our house will start with my kids and I making festive feather masks and donning our colorful beads. Next we will sit down to one of our favorite meals of jambalaya with corn muffins.  Every night at the dinner table my family has a ritual. Each person (no matter how young) shares three things they are thankful for, along with telling everyone the favorite part of their day. For Fat Tuesday we will be especially thankful and remember the people who lost their family, friends, homes and jobs, and who continue to struggle in the areas hit by Katrina.

Years ago I bought a souvenir cookbook on one of our New Orleans visits. It is very well used with stains and dog eared pages, but it still works great. I changed a favorite jambalaya recipe to one that is child friendly and not too hot (although you can make adjustments) for my own book. Enjoy!

Organic Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya is an easy one pot meal to make for the whole family. In the South this is considered a major comfort food.  For a spicier meal, substitute a Cajun Andouille sausage. This one is less spicy, for little mouths, and more health conscious than authentic Jambalaya recipes. But there are plenty of flavors from all of the fresh ingredients. Serve with citrus-corn muffins, below.

2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil
½ pound organc chicken-apple sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
1 small onion, chopped, about ½ cup
1 large organic red bell pepper, chopped, about 1 cup
1 clove garlic, minced
1¾ cups organic chicken broth
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes, or 8 ounces of Pomi tomatoes, drained and chopped
¼ cup Pomi tomato sauce
1 Bay leaf
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon chopped, fresh oregano
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 large (3/4 pound) boneless, skinless organic chicken breast, cut in 2 inch strips

In a large, heavy stockpot heat oil over medium-high heat.

Add sausage, onion, pepper and garlic. Stir together and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, and spices.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in rice. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cover and simmer 5 additional minutes until chicken is cooked and rice is tender. Let stand, covered 10 minutes. Remove Bay leaf before serving.

One to watch and wash!  A one pot meal is a great time saver. All the ingredients can be prepped beforehand (even the night before) and then added when ready. Only one pot means one pot to watch when cooking and only one to wash when finished.

Organic Citrus-Corn Muffins Recipe

This savory muffin is inspired from a spa recipe. These muffins make a great accompaniment to family soups and salads, as well as the perfect healthy snack for active toddlers. You can bake these in adult size or mini muffin tins. If using mini tins, reduce baking time to 10 -12 minutes.

1 tablespoon grated organic orange zest (about 2 medium oranges)
2 cups unbleached flour
½ cup organic cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large, cage- free, organic eggs
½ cup organic light brown sugar, packed
½ cup mashed organic banana, (about 1 large banana)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease 12 cup standard muffin tin or 24 cup mini muffin tin with vegetable oil. Using a small knife or zester, remove zest from oranges.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, banana and zest. Mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold wet buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix, as muffins will be tough. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about ¾ full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins are brown on top and pick test (see below) is successful. Remove muffin tin from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Turn out muffins onto rack to cool completely. If muffins stick to pan, run a dull knife around edge of muffins and pan to release.

Makes 18 large muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Get picky! Keep toothpicks or small wooden skewers on hand to check muffins and other baked goods for doneness. Simply insert pick in center, and when comes out clean, muffins are done.

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See also Lisa’s Quick Organic Snacks For Kids
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry [Avail. March 2009], and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Nola.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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