Roasted eggplant, vegetables, versatility and “picky” eaters

Red_onionsOnions make you cry chemical reaction tears when you cut them but eaten after a trip under high heat they make you cry from how good they are. Unfortunately I haven’t convinced the more opinionated eater in my house that this is so and she usually picks around them but since she loves the rest of this dish who am I to judge. I can eat the whole roasting pan of this stuff, so it just means more onions for me.

There are a lot of recipes for roasted vegetables on the net so I am not sharing to show off some culinary masterpiece my goal here is to share the versatility of this dish. How many different meals you can make from just roasted one large batch of veggies.

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I also hope to encourage you a bit about picky eaters. This dish and it’s incarnations has helped my kids tremendously in learning how to behave when food they do not like is served.

 

 

 

I have a few rules and this one helps us practice them.
1) you do not get to change-up your dish, but you are not obligated to eat it either. However if you are hungry later this is what I will offer you.
2) if it’s a new dish you absolutely must try at least 3 bites. You also cannot say you do not like something unless it has been in your mouth chewed and swallowed.
3) we do not spit out our food. No matter how gross you think it is. (Some exceptions made here)
4) use your utensils
5) food you do not like stays in the bowl. Eat around it.

Those are the nonnegotiables. I also encourage:
1) Take mixed bites. The food was cooked together because it tastes better that way. When you pick it apart of course it’s not as good.
2) stay at the table
3) don’t worry if someone else is finished already we will wait don’t rush.

I adapt just slightly to them:

1) I don’t ever serve my daughter a bowl of food brimming with onions and mushrooms I try to bury those and feature the aspect she likes. Same dish slightly different presentation.
2) if it isn’t good like this add a condiment that makes sense. I let them out ketchup on this dish for example. Why not seriously it’s a bowl of veggies if ketchup helps them eat so be it.
3) if there is a choice to be had, I let them make it ahead of time. (I have broccoli and corn tonight do you want only one or both?) choices go best when they are not tired.

I make the offending food fun and different. And this brings me back to the recipe. It is full of offending food for one child or another yet depending how I serve it, the “yucky” food can be gobbled up with relish and delight.

This is how I feel most of the time when faced with nonsensical child behaviour around food:

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Roasted Eggplant Casserole

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, cubed (peel if desired)
3 leeks
1 onion
3-4 colourful peppers
1 zucchini
1 potato (any variety)
Any other vegetables you have on hand
6 cloves garlic
1 cup chickpeas, Rinsed and drained
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp balsamic
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 425

cut the eggplant and toss it with 2 tsp kosher salt and put it in fridge to “sweat” while preparing the rest.
Remove dark green portion of leeks and quarter and wash thoroughly. Slice 1cm thick. Roughly chop all other veggies and peel and cube the potato.

Peel the garlic but leave whole cutting larger cloves in half.

Toss all veggies with the chickpeas balsamic and olive oil and pour into a large casserole dish or baking dish. I use a 2.5qt glass baking dish. Stick the garlic cloves equidistant apart all over the dish then lay thyme springs on top.

Roast in oven for 40-50 min stirring every 15 min until leeks and onions have browned.

The vegetables can be changed up easily here. I never have exactly this on hand but leeks or onions eggplant and peppers are the base without it the rest doesn’t cut it for me. I replaced the eggplant with Portobello the other day and although good it was a drier meatier dish rather than rich creamy roasted vegetables. Personally I will be sticking with eggplant.

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Dishes you can make with this:
Pizza: blend up a portion of this into a spreadable pizza sauce, top with your usual pizza toppings. we make this on pita for a fast meal. I leave it a little chunky and put some whole pieces as part of the topping but you can puree smooth too

Pasta sauce: blend it up or leave it chunky and mix with some oil or into a standard tomato sauce.

Sandwich: works best on a wrap with hummus and fresh tomatoes and ‘cheese’

Base for stew/soup: Add to pot with broth and canned beans  heat and Voila!

Variations:
For a vegetable side omit potatoes and chickpeas
For carrot loving kids make with carrots
Make with Portobello mushrooms for a meatier texture.

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