Friday, January 27, 2012

Veggies in Disguise

Since I've begun to think about reproducing, I've had kid-friendly food on the brain. Yes, I realize that any child I might bear won't be eating anything more complicated than breast milk or strained peas for at least a year after he or she comes into the world, a date which is yet to be determined. I've also read that I can train my child's palate, to a certain degree, through my choices of food while pregnant and breast-feeding. Theoretically, if I eat a lot of veggies while the kid is developing, he or she will develop a taste for them. But even if my kids come out loving broccoli and curry and liver (though that would be an anomaly, since I still can't stand the stuff, but who knows what one will crave while gestating) there's still something fun about sneaking vegetables into dishes that are otherwise nutritionally lacking. If nothing else, it's a good way to get the hubby and myself to eat more veggies, and to save on calories in the process.

Last night, for example, I made macaroni (and cauliflower) and cheese. I would give you the recipe, but when I make a cheese sauce, I sort of eyeball it, and this would work with any mac and cheese recipe, though I believe I've seen a lot of these recipes around the web lately. I replaced about half of the pasta with cauliflower, which I dumped into the pasta water three minutes before the pasta was done, tossed it all in the sauce, and voila: a much healthier dinner. Because the hubby and I are adults and know we should eat our veggies, we ate it happily, but I did wonder if a child would be fooled. Everything in the dish was white (I used Swiss and Parmesan for the cheese sauce) but still, I could have picked out every single piece of cauliflower were I eight years old and picky.

When I was little, my brother and I had an aversion to chunks of vegetables. It was the texture more than the taste that repelled us, so my mother put the vegetables in the blender before mixing them into her meatloaf or what-have-you. I've probably mentioned this before because I think it's genius. It's also a technique that would work beautifully with mac and cheese. Steam the cauliflower, make the cheese sauce, and then puree it together. Instead of supplementing the pasta, the cauliflower would supplement the cheese. Calories cut, either way. I will be trying this next time.

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