A year of pescetarian parenting and related discoveries.

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Friday, April 30

Food Poems

      In recognition of the last day of National Poetry Month I'd like to promote this fun site of food poems to share with children. There are some delicious ones!

Wednesday, April 28

Anti-cancer Foods


     I've long been preaching the gospel of super foods as important to warding off cancer, but this recent article gives great new info on which fruits and vegetables are most helpful in reducing the risk of different cancers. For example if you have specific reason to worry about breast cancer, it tells you which superfoods are most helpful. This is really useful information that isn't being widely touted, which is a shame. Check it out. Tell your friends.

Monday, April 26

Seasonal Eats Are Best

      I love cooking seasonal dishes. It's the very best way of using fresh local ingredients, and enjoying them when they are at their best, resulting in the best tasting food, but also the most nutritious. So much is lost in transit and storage, in addition to the price the planet pays. Here is a wonderful spring supper recipe from our friends at Meatless Monday. Miso Morel Pasta with Peas I've got to wait awhile before I can get some good fresh peas living up here in the north. If you try it first let me know what you think.
     Speaking of seasonal eats, I did enjoy my first lobster roll of the season this weekend, while eating on the decks (what we call outdoor dining with a harbor view in my town). Breezy but nice. Had a cup of chowder on the side to keep me warm. My daughter had her favorite fried clams with french fries and was happy, well relatively.
     Over the last week I made eggplant parmigiana subs for the family. Those did not go over well. Not sure why, they were fresh and tasty. I prepare them with an egg and panko crumb coating, and then pan fry in olive oil with seasoning and herbs. Then bake a bit with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

      And my first dinner on the grill for the year did go over well. I would have expected this one to be unpopular with the kids, but it was well received. They can be awfully unpredictable. It was a lazy evening plan actually. I bought a quantity of swordfish kebabs at a very reasonable price and marinated them in hot plum chipolte grilling and glazing sauce. The ingredients of the sauce are; pureed plums, sugar, chipolte peppers, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar. I didn't make it myself, but heartily recommend it. The fish was outstanding. I served it with grilled potato slices with my first fresh herbs, and grilled portabello mushroom slices marinated in an herb infused and salty oil that also came out great. I'm hesitant to say what I really thought which is that the 'shrooms had a steaky taste that was quite satisfying. Here is a photo of that dinner in progress;

Note that veggies should always be the most abundant part of the meal.

Monday, April 19

Meatless Monday / Cooking Kids

      Really want to help promote this brand new initiative by our friends at Meatless Mondays, so many resources in one spot for the whole family. http://www.healthymonday.org/the-kids-cook-monday/
     Last night I took my daughter, Grace, out to an Indian restaurant for dinner. I wanted to teach her about the long standing tradition of vegetarianism in India that has resulted in so many wonderful dishes that are now loved all over the world. She was obnoxiously uninterested. To the point where she refused to try the mango ice cream for dessert just so she could make a point. The heady aroma of ethnic spices seemed to give her a lot of trouble. I ordered a variety of things urging her to try each; naan, spinach paneer, basmati rice, and tandoori shrimp, and a cup of chai tea. It was all so tasty and lovingly prepared. I enjoyed it immensely last night at dinner, and some leftovers for lunch today. She didn't really like anything. We both noticed there were a lot of families there. I noticed most of the children were quite content.
    Here is a link to a cooking demonstration of authentic palak paneer with a recipe;

Friday, April 16

Noodles and soup for the tummy beast

     Tonight we had the pasta with carrot walnut sauce (see last post for recipe) and it was very good even without using the freshly roasted garlic. I had roasted garlic on hand which made prep much quicker. I added chopped fresh parsley and a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese to mine. My foodie friend Barb was visiting and she liked it. It is an excellent meal for vegetarian children because the healthy components are not very visible. It looks like a big bowl of noodles. The tastes are subtle, nothing to overpower little taste buds. Really worth a try.
     Other than that I have been working so hard this week I haven't been doing a lot of cooking from scratch. A few nights ago my 13 year old daughter and I did have another go at making miso soup. We are still perfecting our recipe and wont post it til we get it just right (there are plenty of versions on the web) but we got quite a bit closer with this second version. The first time we used dark instead of white miso and neither of us liked the result. You can see the color difference in the following photos, and there is a taste difference also. The dark is much stronger in flavor. Here are some photos of her efforts so far. You'll remember, because this is one of her favorite vegetarian dishes, that I want to teach her to whip it up for herself whenever she wants it.

     Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Something else that I believe adults should share with the children in their lives. Here is a poem that children will enjoy, for you to share with your little loved ones. They might also enjoy drawing the tummy beast and what he wants to eat after you have read it together.

The Tummy Beast by Roald Dahl
One afternoon I said to mummy,
“Who is this person in my tummy?
“Who must be small and very thin
“Or how could he have gotten in?”
My mother said from where she sat,
“It isn’t nice to talk like that.”
“It’s true!” I cried. “I swear it, mummy!
“There is a person in my tummy!
“He talks to me at night in bed,
“He’s always asking to be fed,
“Throughout the day, he screams at me,
“Demanding sugar buns for tea.
“He tells me it is not a sin
“To go and raid the biscuit tin.
“I know quite well it’s awfully wrong
“To guzzle food the whole day long,
“But really I can’t help it, mummy,
“Not with this person in my tummy.”
“You horrid child!” my mother cried.
“Admit it right away, you’ve lied!”
“You’re simply trying to produce
“A silly asinine excuse!
“You are the greedy guzzling brat!
“And that is why you’re always fat!”
I tried once more, “Believe me, mummy,
“There is a person in my tummy.”
“I’ve had enough!” my mother said,
“You’d better go at once to bed!”
Just then, a nicely timed event
Delivered me from punishment.
Deep in my tummy something stirred,
And then an awful noise was heard,
A snorting grumbling grunting sound
That made my tummy jump around.
My darling mother nearly died,
“My goodness, what was that?” she cried.
At once the tummy voice came through,
It shouted, “Hey there! Listen you!
“I’m getting hungry! I want eats!
“I want lots of chocs and sweets!
“Get me half a pound of nuts!
“Look snappy or I’ll twist your guts!”
“That’s him!” I cried. “He’s in my tummy!
“So now do you believe me, mummy?”
But mummy answered nothing more,
For she had fainted on the floor.

Source: Dirty Beasts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001)

Monday, April 12


     You have got to love them. You just must! They are an offical super food, offering life enhancing nutrition. And they are delicious. In the raw. Roasted. Toasted. For breakfast in your yogurt. For lunch in your salad. For dinner in your pasta. For dessert in your brownie.
     Here is a shot of a scrumptious salad I had this weekend, that was made so by the addition of candied walnuts.

      Yes, I said for dinner in your pasta. Check out this interesting vegan recipe from Meatless Mondays;
http://www.meatlessmonday.com/carrot-walnut-tagliatelle/?utm_source=Meatless+Monday&utm_campaign=4574305fa1-Eater%27s_Digest_Monday_04_12_2010&utm_medium=email We are going to be checking it out at our house as soon as I pick up some carrot juice.
     Seriously, everyone, not just vegetarians, should be making an effort to work walnuts into their daily diet. The key is (as always) moderation. I have read that when you have more than 9 nuts per day, you forfiet the benefits by overdoing it, and it becomes a high fat habit that isn't so good for you. I have found that to be an easy rule to remember and to work with. The facts are walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts. In 2004, the FDA endorsed the health benefits of walnuts by approving the heart health claim. There should always be a bag in the fridge. I've got plenty, but need to go pick up some carrot juice now.

Saturday, April 10

Lobster Burgers

      This post is to follow up on a previous one about getting the grill out and alternative burgers. I live just minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean and I have been eating lobster all of my life. On a hot summer day a lobster roll is a lovely thing. But I have never had a lobster burger. I have never seen a lobster burger. While visiting other blogs this week I came across a couple of recipes for such a thing that were created by restaurant chefs, and I wanted to share them. I'm a bit torn between the two, they are rather different, and each has a special homemade mayo that sounds delightful. I can't decide if I'm going to try both or merge them into one new one that appeals to me. Either way, it is definitely something I am going to plan for a special occaision dinner on the deck ... soon ... still too cold and windy this weekend and still too much yard work to tend to first, but think summer.


 Lobster Burgers for 4

By Chef Michel Richard of Citronelle via washingtonian.com

4 lobsters (1 pound each)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 slices
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound scallops
2 tablespoons milk
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
4 brioche buns

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Set the tomato slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with garlic and sugar, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes and cool.
When the water is boiling, cook the lobsters for 5 minutes. Transfer to cold water. When the lobsters are cool, remove meat from the claws, legs, knuckles, and tail. Cut the meat into large pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
In a food processor, puree the scallops for a few seconds until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk. Fold the scallop mixture into the lobster meat. Season with salt and pepper. Mold into 4 lightly packed patties and keep cold.
In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soy sauce, and ginger.
In a pan over medium heat, sautee the patties in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden, about 5 minutes on each side.
Split the buns and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil. Lightly toast. Serve the burgers with a slice of tomato and the ginger mayonnaise.

      My daughter especially, though even she loves lobster, would like us all reminded this is what they really look like in their natural habitat;

Thursday, April 8

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

     Just when I'm trying so hard to cut down on cheese (I adore cheese) I keep getting messages from all over the world wide web that showery old April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month. I felt that a blog devoted to pescetarian parenting woud certainly be remiss if we didn't acknowledge such a fabulous fake holiday. Who doesn't love a grilled cheese sandwich? A comfort food if ever there was one. But the relatively boring old American "cheese" on buttered white bread does not have to be the sandwich that you take your current comfort in. And children should explore the many wonderful varieties that can be created. This is one of those times when a panini grill would be nice, but I'll soldier on with my old cast iron pan as I have been doing for years. I'm going to share two of my all time favorite versions, and a third from another blog that sounds like a pescetarian dream. All would still be good with the traditional bowl of tomato soup.

     Melted Mozzarella Panini

     For this you want a nice thick Italian bread with some heft to it. Heat up pan. Use olive oil instead of butter to prepare outsides of bread. Layer the bottom bread with slices of the freshest mozzarella you can afford. Top that with freshly sliced tomato, and then chopped fresh basil. Gently grill on both sides until very warm and cheese is melted. Serve cut in half.

     Grilled Granny Brie Sandwich

     For this you can go with your favorite bread. Pictured above on a seeded soft Italian white. Layer one slice with brie cheese and the other with a bit of honey. Top the cheese with freshly sliced Granny Smith apple. Gently grill in a modest amount of butter on both sides til warm and melted. I used to do this with a slice of smoked turkey, but it's not at all necessary, and I think children would prefer it without. A few chopped walnuts can be added if you need some protien. Serve cut in quarters.

      Gourmet Grilled Cheese: Southern Style Crab Grilled Cheese Melt Sandwich Recipe

Tuesday, April 6

Get out the grill!

     I haven't broken out my grill yet, but I am getting ready, and excited. I love cooking on my big ole backyard grill and I am adamant about only cooking over charcoal or wood outside. Gas is for indoor, not outdoor, cooking. I really don't see the point of a gas grill. Seems silly to me, with a good gas range right in the kitchen. And the taste of a wood and/ or charcoal cooked burger or pizza (and marshmellows!) is well worth it. I want to share this recipe for burgers that I am especialy intrigued with because they qualify as super food burgers, and because they are quite different from the black bean burgers I usually make. The brief video is also nice if you prefer a visual cooking lesson over a writen recipe.    http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_2875471/Get_Out_the_Grill
     The following health tips are from grillsavvy.com;

      What Can You Do to Make Charcoal Grilling Healthier?

      The first solution is to use natural charcoals instead of commercially processed charcoals that are pre-soaked with poisonous chemicals and petroleum bases. Whether you burn lumps or briquettes, they are still the same. One so-called natural charcoal brand is "Noram de Mexico’s Sierra Madre 100% oak hardwood" which can be bought at Sam’s Clubs across the States.
     You can also raise your own awareness of food safety and learn how to recognize the warning signs usually used in the food industry. A site called Food-Safety-and-You.com has a great resource of all things related to the safety of food and cooking to help you avoid buying toxic products.
     Many experienced barbecue lovers and experts advise us to cook charcoal barbeque grills on low temperature and reduce the cooking time to minimal as possible. One of many ways to lower temperature and keep grilling time short is to use charcoal smokers with completely sealed lids, such as charcoal kettle grills. These types of barbecue smokers are often very affordable (you can get one for under $50, like the Weber One touch Silver) and consider portable grills that are designed for ease of transportation.

Monday, April 5

Feedback on my Easter Feed and Tofu Tacos

     Easter was exhausting, and I am still recovering. In additon to all of that cooking and cleaning several hours of yardwork have worn me out, but it was so wonderful to be outside and regrouping from our strange monsoon season. The roof has been repaired and we are in recovery mode around here in every way. There were an awful lot of leftovers which I am afraid are going to go to waste. I can't deal with wasting food and go to considerable lengths to avoid it. The kids did not love the meal, and I noticed a very clear pattern that the biggest aversion to the dishes served were with the youngest diner (who had probably consumed more candy than anyone else) and decreased with each person as we went up the age scale. Our ages were 13, 17, 18, 33, 47, and 87. The three of us on this side of the hill enjoyed all of the dishes. My daughter, the youngest, snubbed even the crab rangoon, which were prepared especially for her, because they were not deep fried. I hope the fact that the three older of us also got to enjoy wine with our meal was not a factor! The kids especially had a problem with the nut loaf which tasted really good. When asked to explain their non-interest in it they couldn't say much besides the name was a turn off to them, and they still didn't have a better idea about what to eat instead. Some guests said it needed more kick to it, and it may have needed the brewer's yeast which I left out because I didn't have any, and just added a bit of beer instead. Personally I was disappointed in the vegetable dish with manchego almond sauce. It was ok, but didn't live up to my expectations.We're sorry we got so caught up in the holiday that we forgot to take pictures.
     From Meatless Monday's this week I have chosen the following recipe to try with the kids, and will blog about when we do. http://www.meatlessmonday.com/korean-bbq-tofu-tacos/?utm_source=Meatless+Monday&utm_campaign=176686e93f-Eater%27s_Digest_Monday_04_05_2010&utm_medium=email
      Also please take just a couple of minutes to check out the following which has more insight about school lunch;

Saturday, April 3

Easter Menu

     Ok, I think I have finalized our Easter dinner menu; my first holiday meal on the pescetarian diet. The kids were completely uncooperative in helping me come up with a menu except to say that they really didn't want fish as an entree, and Grace was adamant that we still have my holiday mashed potatoes. SO this is it I think, and will be served as individual courses in this order;

baked crab rangoon
creamy carrot soup with bread
holiday cashew loaf with eggplant, served with
     mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and
     broccoli and cauliflower gratin with manchego and almond sauce
Grandma's pineapple pie with whipped cream

     What do you think? I haven't tried making this nut loaf yet so that is a bit risky, but that's my plan. And I don't know what kind of gravy should be served with it. Any ideas? Here is the link to the recipe I am going to use. It's from RecipeZaar.
     Have a joyous holiday dinner.