babble-intro-img
babble is rabble.ca's discussion board but it's much more than that: it's an online community for folks who just won't shut up. It's a place to tell each other — and the world — what's up with our work and campaigns.

Cooking creatively for picky eaters

Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001

I've recently declared my emancipation from cooking increasingly boring colonialist-based foods. The endless parade of stew with dumplings, pot roasts, Yorkshire puddings and biscuits has me bored to tears, and I really love to cook. It's been years since I've made West African yam and peanut soup, borscht, biriyani, etc. So I have vowed to cook at least one meal per week that is what my family might call exotic. My husband has a few dislikes but is essentially an organic garberator. My youngest would be happy on a diet of PB&Js, Mac and cheese, and fish and chips. Last week I started off with east Asian cooking, combining Thai favourites with Chinese dumplings and won ton soup. Apart from a request to ease up on the napa cabbage (flatulence-inducing), the food was greeted with enthusiasm - even by my picky eater. Next stop, African and Carribean (neither of which I've cooked in a decade or more). Any of you out there have a hard time feeding people creatively?


Comments

Slumberjack
Offline
Joined: Aug 8 2005

I've been hooked on Iranian food for years.  A little saffron goes a long way in many dishes, the wide variety of stews, and there's a particular stew made with pulled chicken, simmered in a pomegranate reduction sauce and poured over basmati rice with a little crunch at the bottom of the rice cooker for added texture.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001
Oh man, I'm drooling. Pomegranate reduction sauce? Saffron and pulled chicken? I must try that! Did you know that saffron was as valuable as gold at one point? A brick of it could buy half a kingdom, or as many mercenaries it would take to conquer one.

Slumberjack
Offline
Joined: Aug 8 2005

Yes, it's still a relatively expensive spice by comparison, but luckily my ex and I are on good enough terms that an occasional gift will find its way from Iran to my cupboard via in-laws.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001
Turmeric is a poor substitute for saffron, but it's probably the closest, if you can't afford saffron. When you think of it, the harvesting of crocus stigmas is so labour-intensive, it's no wonder it's so expensive. I've cooked a number of dishes that ask for saffron and have done without it or any substitute and the result is still very good.

Slumberjack
Offline
Joined: Aug 8 2005

Yes, we've used turmeric as well when we were plumb out of saffron.  Actually the type of saffron they sell hereabouts in the one natural foods shop we have is an even poorer substitue for turmeric.


6079_Smith_W
Online
Joined: Jun 10 2010

Best pomegranate salad. It's from Turkey:

Even quantities of pomegranate, walnut chunks, and green pimento olive, with the marinade.

 


kropotkin1951
Offline
Joined: Jun 6 2002

I am lucky that none of my family are picky eaters.  I concentrate on good fresh local ingredients first and it has been my experience that most things turn out well. I found that to be a winning formula when it was just me and my boys.

Now that I am married again and my boys have moved out I cook all the week day meals but on weekends when my wife wants to cook I turn the kitchen over to her since she has the cooks training in our house. The coop we live in is very multicultural so we have gotten a fair number of South Asian recipes and yes there is nothing like saffron.


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

Does saffron taste like tumeric? I didn't know that, as I've never tasted saffron. I have tumeric here, but don't use it often.


Catchfire
Offline
Joined: Apr 16 2003

Heh. The only picky eater in my household is fifteen months old. Just a matter of weeks ago he would eat literally anything we put in front of him. Now all the hits of yesteryear lie squandered and abused in tragic smears across skin and highchair. If it's not some combination of toast, peanut butter and cream cheese--no thank you, we're not interested.

Now we haven't tried saffron-scented rice and minted chicken, mind.


lagatta
Offline
Joined: Apr 17 2002
Saffron tastes nothing like turmeric (which I find quite bitter - I take pills containing it) Saffron is wonderful. Boom Boom, hard to believe you've never tasted saffron, living in Ottawa. Silk Roads? Or was that after your time?

Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

Yes, Silk Roads was after my time. I actually lived with a family from India while I attended Carleton one year - never had saffron then, either.


Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001

Yeah, I've never understood substituting turmeric for saffron either.  They are completely different taste-wise.  And yet, as Rebecca says, it's often recommended as a poor but closest substitute.  I'm assuming the replacement is made for the colour, not for the taste.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001

Probably colour, since the two taste nothing alike. 

I think it's time for me to cook Afro-Caribbean dishes again. My faves: yam and peanut soup, rice and peas, fried plantain, jerk anything-that's-no-longer-moving (or mooing, for that matter).  After that, maybe Indo-Caribbean.  There's no such thing as 'too much curry and chutney'.


Caissa
Offline
Joined: Jun 14 2006

When I was taking a French course at George Brown College, I developed a taste for jerk ox-tail at a near by restaraunt.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001

Mama Becca's Jerk Oxtail Soup

1 1/2 – 2 lbs oxtail cut into 1-2 inch pieces.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 1/2 lbs yams


2 medium sweet potatoes


4 eddoes (about 1 lb) (can substitute taro)

3 medium potatoes


2 scallions


3 sprigs thyme


4 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  salt to taste


2 tablespoon tomato paste


1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf


3 cloves of garlic crushed


1 large onion diced


1 large carrot sliced


8 cups of water


Caissa
Offline
Joined: Jun 14 2006

Now all I would have to do is convince the picky eaters in my house to eat it.


Timebandit
Offline
Joined: Sep 25 2001

When we were in Tobago, there was a little restaurant that had goat curry as the special one night, so we all tried it.  My gods, was it good!  I've managed to replicate it somewhat at home.  We even fount stewing goat at Superstore.  Mmmmmm.  Rice and fried plantain on the side.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001

Caissa wrote:

Now all I would have to do is convince the picky eaters in my house to eat it.

Can't help ya there :)


6079_Smith_W
Online
Joined: Jun 10 2010

Wow, it's the diet of my people:

http://boingboing.net/2012/11/15/the-fabulous-french-fry-and-ha.html

Oh, and here's another one:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11864290

and @ Timebandit

That with a bit of kuchella on the side sounds like heaven.

 

 


Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001

I was trying to expand my cooking horizons by finding videos on YouTube on how to poach an egg.  I've never done it before.  Anyhow, after watching a few videos (and I think I get the idea - just have to practice now), I ran across this amazing video of a breakfast preparation at a Japanese restaurant in Hiroshima.  I have no idea what all of the ingredients are, but it sure looks good!  Looks like one of those things could feed four people, though... :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyYlACBVKeU&feature=related


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

I've been cooking poached eggs for almost 60 years - it's easy. Boil water, then slowly drop the egg into the water. When cooked, remove egg from water. Smile  I don't care for them much, though, because you get a watery plate.


Caissa
Offline
Joined: Jun 14 2006

Ms. C. uses an egg poacher. She has poached eggs at least once a weekend.


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

In my family, I am the egg poacher. Wink


Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001

I have to say, the poached egg I made for myself this morning was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.  What did we ever do before YouTube?  I did it with just a pot filled with water with a touch of salt and vinegar, and a slotted spoon, and it worked very nicely.

I've been home recovering from surgery for the past little while (I have a few more weeks to go) and I can finally eat some interesting food again.  And I have time to play in the kitchen here and there between resting.  So I'm looking forward to getting a little more creative in the kitchen myself.


Rebecca West
Offline
Joined: Nov 28 2001

I love soft poached eggs on rye toast.  I used to have an egg poacher, but it's just not the same as a pot of boiling water ...


Catchfire
Offline
Joined: Apr 16 2003

An egg poacher does not poach eggs. It steams them. The only way to poach is to crack the egg in the water. I use Michelle's technique, although occasionally I use the French whirlpool instead. I love poached eggs: if I'm not benedicting them up as a treat, I just put them on toast or a bagel with a bit of salt, pepper and paprika. A delicious, simple and healthy breakfast!


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

Hope you recover fast, Michelle. Poached eggs are a comfort food at times of injury or illness - they're a breakfast staple at our hospital here on the coast.


Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001

Thanks Boom Boom, I am recovering quite nicely and on schedule. 

I'm not sure what you mean by a "French whirlpool," Catchfire, but I did use the whirlpool technique of swirling the hot water in a circle before slipping the egg into the water.  It worked nicely.  But some of the videos I saw showed people poaching without bothering to swirl the water in a circle first and they seemed to work okay too.


Timebandit
Offline
Joined: Sep 25 2001

I made coconut pudding for dessert tonight.  It's basically a blancmange with some coconut milk substituted for part of the milk, a splash of vanilla for fun.  It's one of Ms T's favourites.  Served warm!


Boom Boom
Offline
Joined: Dec 29 2004

I make rice pudding (with or without raisins, depending on what I have at hand) once a month. I love the stuff. Better than the commercial varieties.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or register to post comments