But I hate eggplant!

My husband made some yummy beef kalbi (Korean short ribs) that are marinated in all sorts of yumminess including mirin, kiwifruit and 7up (yes, 7up!).  He grilled the beef  along with some gorgeous striped eggplant, and served with brown rice and a plain salad.   Continue reading

But I hate eggplant!

My husband made some yummy beef kalbi (Korean short ribs) that are marinated in all sorts of yumminess including mirin, kiwifruit and 7up (yes, 7up!).  He grilled the beef  along with some gorgeous striped eggplant, and served with brown rice and a plain salad.  My eldest cried out when he saw his plate, “I hate eggplant!” and so I told him to give it one taste which he did then made a disgusted look.  So, I said to just give it to me (it was so delicious).  I reminded him of other times he’s had eggplant and liked it

“No I didn’t” was his reply. My middle son echoed it. Whatever.  

So two nights later I made a summer stew with eggplant, kale, baby potatoes (some from our “garden”— pathetic effort this year), sweet potatoes, chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic, fresh ginger, onion, Middle Eastern spices and cilantro.  It was so good and we were in a rush to get places so I even packed up my middle son’s in a thermos flask to eat on the road. 

Funny thing is they both devoured the dish and when I mentioned that there was eggplant in it, my middle son denied that it was even there.  I had to physically point it out to him.  He then tasted one piece and said, “Oh, Ok.”

So… sometimes it’s just how you serve it.  Alone, grilled, in a dish with many other items, raw, steamed, baked, with certain spices, etc… It may not be received well one way, but they may actually like it done differently.  

I find with many kids it can be the texture that puts them off with certain vegetables, that’s why raw over cooked or vice versa may be preferred. 

Same chicken, 2 nights 2 ways

One dish I absolutely love that my mother-in-law makes is her chicken stew.  She makes it full of large pieces of chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery.  And she makes dumplings too.  I decided the other day I’d make a chicken stew but wasn’t in the mood to make the dumplings so I opted for egg noodles instead.  I didn’t have my MIL’s recipe but she’d explained it a few years back so I thought I could manage it.  I had boneless chicken breasts and thighs which I poached in the liquid.  It’s a perfect dish to make in the slow cooker and great to eat on a cold night.  The boys all ate it with gusto, although my middle son says he only likes raw carrots and wasn’t going to eat it until he noticed I gave him a bowl with no carrots in it. 

There was quite a bit left over.  Since I was doing a lot for a charity event that we were expecting around 500 people to attend, I was thinking something easy.  So, I took the leftovers and cut everything into bite-sized pieces, thickened the liquid with corn starch, added peas and put it into a puff pastry crust.  Voila! Chicken pot pie!  I had it in the oven cooking when I left with my mother babysitting.  When I returned I was told the boys liked it— except my middle son complained about the carrots!

Chicken Stew

½ small onion, diced

2-4 pounds chicken pieces

1 leek, well rinsed and cut into pieces

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots

5-7 small potatoes

3-4 parsnips

1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

2-3 cups chicken stock

Salt (go lightly on salt at first) and pepper to taste

I sautéed the onion in olive oil then added the chicken and leeks with stock. Add carrots, potatoes and parsnips which are cut into 1-2 inch pieces along with rest of ingredients.  Bring to boil then lower to simmer for 45 minutes.  Adjust seasoning.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken stew leftovers

2 puff pastry sheets

½ cup frozen peas

Roll out sheet of puff pastry on well-floured surface.  Line pie plate with pastry, add smaller chopped pieces of stew reserving liquid. Mix well 2 tsp corn starch with 4 tsp water.  Put reserved liquid in sauce pan, bring to boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir well. Lower to simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Add thickened sauce to pie.  Add frozen peas.  Moisten edges of pastry and top with other rolled puff pastry sheet.  Press edges together and trim excess.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in preheated 400°F oven.


Photos taken with iphone.  My Canon EOS 20D has not been working lately.

A Winter’s Soup

A snowy Winter’s day seems like the perfect day to make soup.  The boys were home because of a “snow day” but they would have been home anyway since they had strep throat. We were expecting 7-11 inches and got somewhere on the higher side. I had wanted to make a curried cauliflower soup for the first time but since I had less than a complete head, I figured I’d add some carrots, potatoes and a couple of parsnips to the pot. Make it more of a curried vegetable soup. 


Curried Winter Vegetable Soup

1 small onion, minced

1 head (or there about) cauliflower, cut into pieces

3 potatoes, diced

4 carrots (use fewer for a more rounded flavor)., sliced

2 small parsnips, sliced

3 cups vegetable stock

1 Tbsp oil- vegetable, canola, peanut, safflower

Water—enough to cover vegetables after stock is added

Sea salt to taste (add towards the end)

Curry spice mix— I used 2 tsp Penzy’s Singapore Spice blend (black pepper, lemon peel, garlic, onion, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, cloves, cayenne) with some extra:

            ¼ tsp garlic powder

            ¼ tsp turmeric

            ¼ tsp cumin

            ¼ tsp ginger

Cream (optional)

Saute the onions in the oil.  Add the curry spices.  Mix in the cauliflower so it’s well coated. Add stock, rest of vegetables and any needed water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer until all the vegetables are tender.  Add salt to taste (Important to add salt towards the end, because as the water/stock boils away the salt becomes more concentrated and you can’t undo it). Blend with an immersion blender.  Add cream if you’d like… or not.

I really liked it but will make it with fewer carrots next time; they were the predominant flavor.  As far as the kids: my middle son said he didn’t like it even though he tried it and ate half of it without any fuss.  Actually, he was quite keen to try it.  My youngest refused and the eldest wasn’t interested at the time (he wasn’t feeling well).  We’ll see if I can get any of them to like it. It might just be a my kids really won’t eat this one! Or maybe I can blame it on the strep.  I’ll try again with the leftovers tomorrow.

At least my middle son had a little bit of energy to play in the snow.


This gallery contains 8 photos.

Braised Short Ribs I’ll follow up with full recipe.  Served it over wide egg noodles. You’ll need beef short ribs, parsnips, purple top turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, thyme, beef/veal stock or demi glace, salt and pepper, red wine. 8 … Continue reading

Three Potato, Four

(Continued from One Potato, Two Potato)

This is honestly one of our family’s favorite recipes.  It takes time, so don’t try it if you don’t have any time.  I usually only make it on Sundays or when there’s a holiday. 

Mushroom and Leek Scalloped Potatoes

5-6 peeled potatoes (I like Yukon best)

2-3 leeks (white and light green part)

quart Shiitake mushrooms

quart Crimini mushrooms

3 cups cream

salt and fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

tsp olive oil and Tbsp butter for sautéing

Highly season (nutmeg and lots of salt and pepper— only time you’ll be adding any) and lightly reduce cream (bring to boil then turn down to med-low heat) for 15 minutes.  Set aside.  Slice leeks into rings and soak in cold water to remove dirt.  In a sauté pan heat olive oil and butter sweat the leeks (lightly sauté covered) making sure they don’t brown.   After couple of minutes add mushrooms and continue until both soft.  Using a mandolin slice the potatoes into thin slices (about 1/4 inch).  Layer in 9×13 oven dish potatoes until bottom is covered.  Add a layer of mushrooms and leeks.  Add another layer of potatoes. Repeat.  Pour cream over top so that it just reaches top layer.  Cook in preheated oven at 350 for an hour.  Place a cookie tray or piece of tin foil on rack beneath to reduce overflow spill cleanup.   This is such a delicious treat.  The flavor combination is heavenly.  And it’s enough for a couple of meals. The kids and every adult that’s ever tried this has loved it.   My youngest tends to pick out the mushrooms first because he loves them so much.  He also tends to leave the leeks on the plate.  My middle son leaves his leeks behind too, but he makes a little more noise about it.  Whereas my eight year old just wolfs it all down as it should be enjoyed.


And they were so happy with dinner that it led to an impromptu family dance.  Think it started as a broccoli dance, but they all got a little carried away!

One potato, two potato…

I really, really thought I was going to have more time to write when the kids got back to school, but I seem to have less time than before.  I try to write late at night after the kids are in bed, but lately I keep falling asleep when I’m reading bedtime stories, much to the chagrin of my kids.  I mean I’m actually falling asleep during the story.  My sons have been known to pry open my eyes, poke me and yell, “Wake up!” or ” Mommy, keep reading!”  So, I have been remiss in the frequency of my posts.  But today, I’ve made some time. 

Here are two potato recipes that the kids love.  One is a fairly quick and very easy soup recipe, the other, scalloped potatoes, takes more time both in preparation and in baking.   But they are favorites within my immediate and extended family.   My husband is often requested to make the scalloped potatoes at family holiday gatherings. 

Potato Leek Soup  

3 large potatoes (russet or similar)

3 leeks (whites only)

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt since the broth probably has enough)

Cut the leeks lengthwise then stand upright in cold water to wash.  Once fully rinsed, chop and place in sauce pan.  Peel and chop potatoes then add to leeks.  Add broth.Simmer until potatoes are soft (about 25 minutes).  Take off heat and add cream.  Season with fresh ground pepper and, if needed, salt. Use immersion blender to purée (standing blender will work too).   

Serve.  Can chill and serve cold too (Vichyssoise).

My eldest loves this so much he squealed when I showed it to him.  He could barely wait for a taste. 

His enthusiasm led my middle son’s curiosity to try it as well which then spread to my youngest, who normally stays away from creamy soups.  They all loved it.  Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing.

Scalloped potatoes to follow…

Eintopf! Or I found something my middle one loves!

Oh it’s such a wonderful sound to hear yippees and exclamations of delight from my middle son when he sees his dinner.  Those of you who’ve read my blog regularly would know that this is a rare occurrence, it’s often the opposite reaction.  But yesterday I made a dinner that he’d requested the week before, and one that I never knew he liked that much until last night when he saw the bowl of steaming stew.  I made a family recipe, one that my mother learned while living in Switzerland from my German father’s mother.  We’ve always called it Eintopf, which means “one pot” and my Oma also called it “Wirsingkohl” for the type of cabbage (Savoy) that is in it. To me it is the ultimate comfort food, to my husband it took him a few times to like it. 

My kids love it.  I think what food you grow up with can influence you later on in life.  Some people who say their mother (or father) was a terrible cook but remember fondly a dish she made and can get nostalgic about it even if it wasn’t the best they’ve ever had— they may still prefer it done the way Mom made it. 

For instance, I like marmite and vegemite, I grew up eating it from a young age, whereas most American’s would think the savory spread gross.  My kids also like marmite (preferred over vegemite) because I’ve been giving it to them since they were able to eat toast.  I think this is true with many foods especially vegetables but it’s not necessarily a done deal.  My husband too likes marmite as did my father, both of whom didn’t eat it until they were adults.  I guess I’m trying to say that it’s never to late to try to introduce new foods.  Our tastes can change and we may be more open to new foods at various times and under particular circumstances.  I think not forcing the issue helps get children, even older ones, to try new things.  Again, cook what you know (healthy things, please), introduce family recipes, things you’ve enjoyed or something with a story— and eat with them.  Show them.  Don’t force it and you may be surprised when the pickiest one, shouts with joy over something you’ve made. 

Eintopf (One Pot Beef Stew)

·        1-2 lbs stew beef (chuck), trimmed and cut into cubes

·        1 large onion

·        1 large Savoy cabbage, rinsed and shredded

·        5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces

·        2 Tbsp caraway seeds

·        2 cups beef stock (or beef bouillon)

·        salt and pepper to taste

·        1 cup flour

·        3 Tbsp olive oil

·        2 bay leaves

My mother always made this in a pressure cooker, but I make mine in a slow cooker.  Both need to sauté onions and brown the beef first, but once that’s done just add everything to slow cooker.  Pressure cooker and stove is cooked in stages.

In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper.  Add beef and coat all sides then set aside.  In sauté pan, cook onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil then add to slow cooker.  Brown floured meat in 1 Tbsp olive oil- might need to do in lots of 2 or 3 so as to not overcrowd the pan.  Once browned on all sides, add to slow cooker. Add stock, caraway seeds, potatoes then cabbage on top (cabbage doesn’t need to be in liquid).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.  Meet should be tender and fall apart with a fork.  Serve in bowls with a spoon.

Honestly it is one of our family favorites.  Eyes light up and smiles abound when this is served.  I hope you all have one dish that elicits such a response.  It makes me happy that I can make them something that is healthy and they all like.