As you may have seen in my Happy 2014 blog post, my new years resolution is to take on a seasonal fruit / vegetable each month to expand my cooking repertoire. It’s also a bonus if I can use this fruit/vegetable to make a kid approved meal (or snack).
January’s Challenge: Fresh Chives
To tell you the truth, I had never actually used fresh chives in my cooking before. I found them to be a great taste booster this month and will definitely be using them again. It is wonderful to introduce new tastes to babies, toddlers and children through using different herbs. Herbs do still count as part of your daily vegetable intake. However, you don’t use much of them so they don’t make a substantial impact on your RDI. But if they make the flavour more appealing/exciting they can help increase the amount eaten of meat, cereal, dairy, fruits or other vegetables.
I made 3 unique dishes with the fresh chives in January:
- Baked Eggs in Tomatoes with Chives
- Pear & Chive Filo Parcels
- Soba Noodles with Zucchini, Creme Fraiche & Chives
The biggest hit with my toddler was the Soba Noodles. However, I figured it would be a no-brainer, as noodles are one of her preferred foods and so is zucchini. The Filo Parcels were my favourite. I found the chives gave the pear such an amazing flavour and I love the crispy filo pastry. See my notes below the recipe about my meal tactics and why my combination of foods would be great for you to copy if you have a fussy eater on your hands.
Baked Eggs in Tomatoes with Chives
This is a simple idea for a lunch or brunch. Take the top off of your tomatoes and hollow them out. Chop up some fresh chives & whisk them into the egg with a small dash of milk. Fill your tomatoes with the egg mixture and bake at 180oC for 30min.
I do have to admit to failing on this recipe once by using a bit too much milk and running out of baking time. Under pressure from my eagerly awaiting daughter, I decided to turn her baked tomato into what I call Vegie Eggs. Basically, what I do is chop/grate up vegetables & fresh herbs that I have, mix with a dash of milk & an egg in a ramekin and microwave for 1 min. The egg will be cooked through and is like a little dome of omelette without the fuss of using a pan. This is great for getting vegies in at breakfast during the mid-week rush. Hint: you can also reserve the middles of your tomatoes from the above recipe to make vegie eggs the next day.
Pear and Chive Filo Parcels
I LOVED this for lunch with my daughter! We had one pear between us to make 2 parcels. After I tasted it, I wished I had made us 2 parcels each because they were so yummy.
Take a pear and cut it in half from top to bottom removing the seeds & the stalk. Fill the cavity (from the deseeding) with 1 tsp of creme fraiche. Top with chopped fresh chives. Wrap each pear half in a sheet of filo pastry and ensure it is sealed by brushing on some milk around the edges (or I just used a finger full of creme fraiche). Cook this in a 180oC preheated oven for 15mins. You should see that the pastry goes a nice golden colour at the edges.
Serving Suggestion for Kids:
My daughter loves filo pastry so she was happy to have the parcel on her plate. The pear can be very hot straight out of the oven – So, I cut it up to cool on her plate. In the meantime, I had available for her some grapes to choose (a preferred fruit) and shredded iceberg lettuce (our learning vegetable). She was happy to talk about the temperatures of the hot pear and the cool grapes & lettuce. We then made “wheels” out of our shredded lettuce by spinning the lettuce between our forefinger & thumb. We drove our wheels through the “mud” – ie. Stonefruit Chutney (see recipe here). Having a condiment and a game with the shredded lettuce helped her motor plan a new way to eat her shredded lettuce and gave her something to bite into. Lettuce can be tricky for children as it is hard to get into their mouths and then when it is there it can be hard to maneuver with their tongue. A thicker condiment, like a chutney, can add some bulk to it.
Another part of play with food lessons that I incorporated into this lunch was my love of breaking down the barrier between fruits and vegetables by combining them on the same meal. This is a link to some of the other topics we cover in lessons.
Soba Noodles with Zucchini, Creme Fraiche & Chives
Cook your Soba noodles as per the packet instructions. I like to vary up the types of grains that we eat. You could use pasta too for this meal. Once cooked, drain the noodles and add 1/2 a zucchini worth of batons and chopped fresh chives (quantity to your liking). Allow that to sit for 5-10mins (while you set the table & kick off your wash-up routine). Stir through a generous tablespoon of creme fraiche and put into a serving bowl for the table.
Note: Zucchini does not need to be cooked (and definitely not over cooked to be a soggy mess). Check that you are happy with the texture of your zucchini before serving – I like mine a bit crunchy so I only left ours in the hot noodles for 5 mins before adding the creme fraiche.
This is what we served up ourselves for lunch & what my daughter thought of it:
Why is she making such a mess? She’s LEARNING to eat. My theory is that they have to learn to eat first before we worry about manners. Sensory exploration of food is so important for growing minds.
Leave me some comments if you’ve tried Fresh Chives in anything else you think I should try out. I also pin inspirational recipes for my new years resolutions on Pinterest – so have a look at my boards using the link in the side bar.