Vegetable Fritters

March 4, 2015

Fritters are a wonderful way to use up knobby bits of root vegetables, spicy radishes, or the cabbage that just keeps coming from our winter CSA. They are also the secret to surviving zucchini season if you are one of those people who sees zucchini as a pointless, watery, tasteless vegetable.

I borrow Deb‘s approach to fritters, which is to say that I finely chop or grate a pile of vegetables, stir in a beaten egg or two, and enough flour to bind, and then fry them up like adorable little latkes.

Last night, I grated green meat radishes, carrots, parsnips, jerusalem artichoke, and celery root until I had about three cups of grated vegetables. I stirred in two beaten eggs and 1/3 cup of floor, then fried them up like little latkes. I think I could have made this with 4 cups of vegetables and maybe a little extra flour, but Ava had reached her limit for letting me grate vegetables without her.

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Cooking with a Toddler: Helping vs. Participating

March 3, 2015

Ava is pretty hands-on in the kitchen, but not always or usually in a “productive” or “efficient” way. She might pull the greens out of the pot of water, put them in the salad spinner, spin them…and then put the greens on the floor. She wants to hold the carrot peeler and poke the pile of carrot peels rather than holding the carrot peeler with me while I peel. She will proudly carry a small bag of trash to the trash room and then howl when I put it down the trash chute.

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Cooking Dinner with a Toddler: Integrating Sensory Play into Everyday Activities

March 2, 2015

One of the many reasons that I cook dinner with Ava is that it gives us an excellent opportunity to integrate sensory play into our everyday life. She loves washing her hands at the sink (she sits on the counter, with her feet in the sink while I hold her) and protests whenever I turn the faucet off. She loves fishing for vegetables in a pot of water. She loves crinkling the onion and garlic skin. She loves digging in the cabinets and shopping bags for treasures – last night, she crawled into a cabinet until the only thing I could see were her legs. She loves smushing the bread dough and pulling pieces off. She loves smelling the spices and her empty jar of vanilla.

I could replicate all these experiences outside the context of cooking dinner. There are amazing sensory and artistic activities online, cool toys like water and sand tables, and pricy preschools that focus on experiential learning, but I wouldn’t have the time to do this every single day if it did not fit into our routines and necessities.

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Cooking Dinner with a Toddler: The How

March 1, 2015

I cook dinner pretty much every night during the week. It’s not always easy, but there is a limit to how often we can patronize Maharaja Palace. As you might imagine, or as you might know from first-hand experience, cooking dinner with a baby or a toddler has its idiosyncracies.

I’ve learned to think about the sequence of meal preparation in a whole different way. What can I do with Ava in my arms? What can I do WITH Ava on the floor? What do I have to do by myself (or with Ava strapped to my back) at counter height? What can Ava do to entertain herself while I am chopping vegetables? When do I absolutely have to put Ava in her safe space for a minute?

This is how we do it.

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