Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Too 'Picy, Mama"

From the second she was born, we followed one simple maxim for feeding our child: she eats what we eat. I wasn't going to be a short-order cook who makes one thing for the grown-ups and something else for the kid. Plus, I have a theory that the way to develop a well-rounded palate and avoid the terror of a "picky eater" is to expose the child to a lot of different foods early on.

Once The Child was on solid food (and once we'd slowly introduced each food, the way you do, to make sure there are no allergies), I bought a little grinder and whatever was on the menu was ground up for her to eat. It worked. With only one child there was no control group so this isn't a scientific proof but she is decidedly not picky. She doesn't enjoy super fatty cuts of meat (nor do I) and is not a fan of the sweet potato (it's a mouth feel issue) but otherwise, she is a good eater.

Adjustments do have to be made for tender palates, however. The Spouse and I enjoy spicy food, Mexican, Thai, Indian. Now,she wasn't a fan of curry. The only time she had colic was the night I ate a curry supper and the distaste for curry is something she is only now just beginning to get over. When it came to other spicy cuisine I would always make a very mild version for her and that seemed to work just fine.

By the time she was 3 she would eat mild salsa with great relish and I grew to be a tad smug, if only in my own mind, about my very advanced child with the impossibly eclectic taste. Until the evening when we sat down to a gorgeous vat of posole, lovingly prepared by our friend, Brooke. She told me the family recipe was a spicy one and that she would tone it down, considerably, so that it would be palatable to all. Well, she tried. The Child was having none of it.

"Oh, no," she said, pushing away the bowl. "It too 'picy for me, Mama". From then on she would often inquire, "Is that gonna be 'picy, Mama? I don't like it too 'picy".

Of course, now, at 13, The Child is gradually working her way up to about 1000 on the scale of Scoville units. I can sometimes even sneak a bit of jalapeno in on her. But I respect that these things take time and don't force her. This recipe, for example, can be adapted for her by just setting aside some of the meat mixture without the curry paste. Or else we wait until she's out somewhere and mix it up as hot as we can stand.

Mini Red Curry Burgers

¾ lb. extra-lean ground beef or lamb
1 medium zucchini, grated
salt & pepper
1 bunch green onion, chopped (white and light green)
1/3 cup low fat yogurt
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
(2 t. is the original recipe amount but frankly, a rounded teaspoon is plenty. Unless you actually enjoy having the back of your head blown off).

For the sauce:

Combine 2 T. grated zucchini with yogurt and 1 T. onion plus salt & pepper to taste

For the burgers:

Combine ground meat with remaining zucchini and onion, salt & pepper (to taste) and Thai red curry paste.

Form into eight 2” patties. Grill on non-stick pan over med-high heat, about 4 min per side for medium.

Pop the tiny little burgers into mini pita pockets with 2 T. sauce.

1 comment:

Seattle Coffee Girl said...

Hmmm...this recipe looks oddly familiar... :)