Monday, February 25, 2008

Peaches and Craftiness

In our home our brother/son didn't like his veggies as a baby. While this may be normal (because seriously, have you ever tried some of those baby food vegetables?) there are surely myriad mother-tested ways of getting healthy foods into baby bellies. The successful method in our house was to load up the baby spoon with several beguiling hunks of canned peaches, then cram the nooks and crannies with green peas, well out of view, of course. If there was even a hint of green seen on the in-coming bite, the hatch would close at once, no more flights admitted - if you know what I mean. Craftiness became the supreme goal.

Oh, the power of the mind. I mean, couldn't that little baby tell that there were some impostors swimming around in his mouth as chewed on those "peaches?" Evidently not, because if he thought he only had peaches on that spoon, then he'd accept the whole bite, no puckering, spitting, gagging, or hollering. Packaging and branding are what it's all about, I tell you.

So, in light of that life lesson, we suggest you tell your kids that the name of the following recipe is Worms and Eyeballs. Our kids/grandkids like it so much that such craftiness wasn't needed, but it might help bump up enthusiasm and give the kids something to talk about while they gobble it down.

For the rest of you, we'll tell you it's a delightful pasta with a peanut sauce that is flavored with lime and cilantro, lots of julienned fresh veggies, and turkey meatballs flavored with a hint of fresh ginger and sesame to top it off. The colors and flavors are vibrant and catch you off guard since it is a wildly different meal than a regular plate of spaghetti and meatballs. And it looks so pretty you just feel good while you enjoy every last bite.

Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles
Serves 4 to 6
We like trying lots of different vegetables with this since it successfully pairs with so many. You can use any mix of the following in addition to, or in place of, the carrots and cucumbers for a total amount of 3 cups:
  • Julienned fresh snow peas
  • Finely chopped napa cabbage
  • Julienned zucchini
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Thinly sliced red, green or yellow sweet pepper
1 lb thin spaghetti
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter (just peanuts, no partially hydogenated veg. fats)
(Skippy makes a good one that doesn't require stirring all that accumulated oil on top.)
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or plain vinegar with 1 tsp sugar)
2 - 4 T sugar depending on preference
2 tsp minced garlic
1 and 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 and 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
Red pepper to taste - we start with about 1/8 tsp and add more depending on who's eating
Juice from one half lime, plus more before serving
1 cup green onions, sliced lengthwise, including greens. Reserve 2 Tbsp for garnish
2 large carrots, julienned or coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 c cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced
2 Tbs toasted or black sesame seeds or 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Cook pasta al dente, drain, and rinse. In a bowl whisk peanut butter, water, soy sauce and vinegar until smooth. Stir in garlic, ginger, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. In a large bowl toss hot pasta with peanut sauce, carrots, onions, sliced cucumber and any of the additional vegetables you may wish to add. After tossing, sprinkle with reserved chopped green onion and sesame seeds or chopped peanuts. Squeeze a little more lime juice over the top of the noodles just prior to serving. Can be served hot or at room temperature--by itself or with the meatballs or some grilled chicken on the side. If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it down with a few spoonsful of water and a dash of soy sauce.

Gingered Asian Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp mashed garlic
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 3/4 tsp ground dry ginger)
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs ( I prefer panko crumbs)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, including greens, plus 2 Tbs. for garnish
Teriyaki Sauce (You can make the recipe below or use a commercially prepared one. We like Yoshida's.)
In a mixing bowl combine ground turkey, soy sauce, water, garlic, ginger and egg substitute. Stir to blend well. Add all remaining ingredients except 2 tablespoons of green onion. Mix until well blended. Make balls about the size of large walnuts (we use a cookie dough scoop).
Arrange meatballs in a single layer in a large, rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done through. If the meatballs are right out of the refrigerator, they may require a few more minutes in the oven. Being pouoltry, they need to be done all the way through, but overcooking can dry them out, so be sure to test them. To serve, drizzle with teriyaki sauce and sprinkle with the remaining chopped green onions. These can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake.
Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup water or cooking sherry
Combine sugar and corn starch in a small pan. Gradually add soy sauce and stir to blend. Add all remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat till mixture boils and thickens.

1 comment:

Monica M said...

I like your blog. We have one that a group of us started.