The other day I told my partner, “I just want a cookbook of really really easy recipes for super nutritious foods that kids will love.” To which he replied, “And I think it would be cool to find the Holy Grail. And maybe also the Philosopher’s Stone. Yeah, that would be pretty cool. We could use them as bookends . . . ” And I finished “. . . to put on either side of ‘The Cookbook’.”
We’re a hilarious comedy duo; you should check us out some time.
Well the next day, I went to the library where I spotted this cookbook I’ve noticed a bunch of times before and completely dismissed as pretty but not at all interesting to me. This time was different. This time, it was ‘The Cookbook’ I’ve been longing for!
It’s called Deceptively Delicious, a well-designed book of recipes written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife Jennifer. And while I haven’t actually *tried* any of the recipes in the book (I have much more time for reading than I do for cooking these days, and even that means like 20 minutes a day!), the concept is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity!
And what is this amazing revolutionary concept you ask? Simply this: puree vegetables and fruits and add them to everything. Any recipe you can think of can probably take an extra quarter- to half-cup of fruit or veggie puree. Brilliant! Now you can get your kids to “eat their veggies” without the begging, bribing or cajoling.
The book has some great strategies: First of all, do a bunch of purees at the beginning of the week, portion them in ziplocks and stick them in the freezer for use later in the week. That way you can build up a stock of different veggie purees, for use where they make sense.
Then you simply thaw a puree when you need it. Cooking strategies include: Mixing veggie puree with the egg for breadcrumb coatings (chicken nuggets, tofu nuggets, mozzarella sticks). Using sweet veggies like squash, sweet potato and carrots added into sweet breakfast items and baked things. Matching colours to add yellow veggies secretly to carb dishes like couscous or “buttered” noodles, orange veggies like carrots to cheese sauce or cauliflower puree to potatoes.
So, while I haven’t yet tried any recipes, I got my partner to pick up a squash, a cauliflower, some sweet potatoes and some frozen spinach at the grocery store today. If I get some time tonight I’m going to roast a bunch of stuff for pureeing very soon.
I will update you on the success of this trickery. In any case I’m hoping to increase my own veggie intake. While my daughter has been fattening up on mama’s suddenly abundant milk supply (and foregoing most food while she’s at it), my own diet has been distinctly lacking in anything fresh and colourful lately. So anything that allows me to quickly and easily add veggies where there were none before, is a great, great thing. Maybe even the Holy Grail.