Category Archives: Veggies Starring as….Themselves

Hats Off To Moosewood’s Vegetarian Burritos!

This post is a tribute to the recipe that marked a new stage in the Littlest Chef’s culinary evolution — Moosewood Restaurant’s Vegetarian Burrito recipe!

For those of you who may have lost track, the Littlest Chef is now almost 8 years old! Throughout her life, we have been very committed to helping her learn to appreciate a healthy diet inspired by the full range of cultures and seasonal offerings. We eat almost exclusively unprocessed foods, with an emphasis on whole grains and locally produced and organic ingredients whenever possible, and we are careful to keep our salt, sugar and fat intake in moderation. It hasn’t always been easy, but overall, we’re really pleased with the results of our efforts. The Littlest Chef now eats an incredibly varied and healthful diet that includes some rather atypical favorites for a child her age (i.e., lima beans).

Her diet has evolved over several stages:

  1. Age 6 months – 12 months: very adventurous; favorites included guacamole, baba ghanouj, and dal made with yellow split peas
  2. Age 1-3 years: more cautious; preference for eating the same thing over and over again (i.e., Can we have fwies, mommy? Pwease?)
  3. Age 4-6 years: the deconstructivist period; mostly open to eating what we were eating, as long as it could be presented in a deconstructed form (i.e., without sauces or with sauces on side); a little reluctant to eat less common vegetables, but did join the “mushroom club”
  4. Age 6-7 years: the reconstruction period; growing appreciation for seasonings and sauces; eats most veggies, but kicked out of the mushroom club for attitude unbecoming a mushroom lover
  5. Now – 7-3/4 years: the synthesis period; still hasn’t rejoined the mushroom club….miles away from joining the eggplant club, but embracing foods with many integrated ingredients.

And….from stage left….we welcome Moosewood’s Vegetarian Burritos!  This recipe was a mainstay of my single woman’s culinary repertoire.  It is healthy, tasty, meatless, and the burritos can be frozen individually for future quick meals.  I recently realized that I had never made these burritos for the Littlest Chef, probably because the well-integrated texture would have been soundly rejected.

Since she is now a lover of legumes in any form, I thought it was time to try this recipe. The results were amazing.  She didn’t blink an eye at the texture and immediately started happily eating the burrito.  Then, she split a 2nd one with her dad.  And she kept track of how many were left so she could be sure to have one for lunch the next day! The book that this recipe comes from was my first cookbook, and it is like an old friend to me now.  How fitting that a recipe from this book, one that was such a staple for me for many years, was the recipe that made me realize my Littlest Chef’s palate had turned yet another corner!

All hail the wonders of a good Moosewood recipe! I am serving these burritos tonight, and thinking about the smile on the Littlest Chef’s face when she finds out what’s for dinner makes me smile right now! Enjoy!


Tomato Raisins

When James Peterson’s guide to vegetables was published, I quickly became intriqued by his recipe for Slow-baked Cherry Tomatoes with Herbs. The two-hour cooking time was especially interesting, as I’d primarily used my garden’s cherry tomato bounty raw in the past.  I planned to serve my first batch of these tomatoes as “tomato croutons” in a garden salad at a dinner party. When the tomatoes were finished roasting, all of the counter space was already occupied, so I simply turned off the oven and kept cooking, planning to pull them out after they’d cooled.

Continue reading Tomato Raisins

Collards a Southerner Would Hardly Recognize

On my family’s farm in Ohio, we used to grow collard greens that we sold at a Farmer’s Market in Cleveland. Every year, my mother would ask one of our customers for advice on how to cook the greens. We would all give them a try, but I can’t say there were ever any converts. Years later, at a wine dinner in Florida, I found myself seated next to a very elegant African American woman who waxed on about the best way to cook collards.  She recommended the same slow cooked method favored by most traditionalists, but she recommended a splash of vodka and a teaspoon of vanilla be added.  I tried this approach, and I found myself still in the “unappreciative” category.  Fast forward several years, and I’ve been living and working in the Carolinas for over five years.  I regularly interact with true Southerners who really know their way around collard greens, and I’m still trying to understand what the fuss is about.

Try, no more!  I get it!  Our produce delivery from Absolute Organics included collard greens this week, and I was determined to give them a real go.  I read many, many recipes for slow cooked collard greens and couldn’t shake the notion that in this household, I’d be the only one eating them. Then, I found this recipe for Citrus Collards with Raisins. These collards are blanched (a step that helps to remove the bitter edge that some collards have) and then sautéed only briefly with garlic, raisins, and orange juice. Interesting, right?  Then, there was the last sentence of the recipe: “this also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas.”

Since I had some whole wheat tortillas and jarlsberg cheese hanging around, this seemed a perfect way to put the collards in a husband and child friendly form.  I used dried cranberries because we like them better than raisins in this house. Our citrus collard quesadillas were fabulous, except that a cheese with more punch would have been better! For my family that includes Texas natives, these are going to make a perfect day-after-Thanksgiving lunch: quesadillas with leftover turkey, citrus collards with dried cranberries, and pepper jack cheese. It will be Tex-Mex meets the South meets Thanksgiving!